"It is time," he said as he stood over the impatient people of the District, "To once again send two of our own children to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Let us begin the Reaping!"
He did not look to see the reaction of his district before reaching into the glass ball that held the names of the female children. "Ladies first," he announced, pulling out a slip of paper. He unfolded it and read out to the crowd, "Mariela Pitre!" He then reached into the other ball. "Quillon Blackfare!"
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Post by my 1st gf turned into the moon on Sept 30, 2017 13:50:15 GMT -5
Grandmother tells me I'll be fine—("As always, we have assurances.")—and I have no reason not to believe her. The pearls at her throat, the emerald broach on her fur coat, the diamond rings sparkling under our chandelier—they speak louder than words. It's plausible that the Capitol takes certain liberties when it comes to whose name is in those glass bowls. And it's plausible that people who are loyal to the Capitol, an elderly couple whose actions from long ago were detrimental to the victory of the Capitol over the rebels, are granted perks. Including safety for their grandchild.
My heart still beats more frantically on Reaping day when I see that perfectly manicured hand reach into those bowls and grab at names. My palms still sweat and my knees still feel weak despite all the assurances my grandmother says we've been granted. I've always felt silly, worrying so much. Each year I'd stand in fear and each year I'd return to my grandmother's side. And each year she'd laugh at me.
("Silly girl, you look like a heathen, fists clenched like that. And quit frowning! You'll get lines.")
And each year she'd press her bony fingers to my chin and tell me I was above sweating. Sweating was for field workers and mine laborers, not proper, young ladies like me. Because apparently feeling anything other than entitled—("Chin up, dear. And quit slouching! Ugh, will you ever listen to me?")—isn't allowed either.
I've gotten better at acting ladylike over the years. But that doesn't stop Grandmother from scolding. And it doesn't stop my heart from racing or my palms from sweating. And apparently it's with good reason. Because today, it seems the assurances have run out.
I hear a snickering to my right as my heart stops. I can't seem to catch my breath as I stand tall, chin high, heels pressed together. I think I feel tears pricking at the corners of my eyes, but I know if I cry my mascara will run. Grandmother would throw a fit. Just like she did when I was twelve.
"You can have her!" someone shouts to my left.
My chin falls and I know my Grandmother is likely disapproving of me as my shoulders slouch into a defensive position. My chest feels like it's caving in on itself. I try to swallow the lump in my throat, but it simply reappears again. I press my sweaty palms to my skirt, pray for my knees to stop shaking so I can move—"Let's go."—but apparently that's far too much to ask. I'm pulled out of the crowd by a Peacekeeper; at least he's stable enough to keep me upright. Scraped knees aren't very ladylike.
I thought perhaps I would hear my Grandmother protesting about all of this being a mistake.But all I hear is a few yelps of celebration as I'm escorted up to the platform. A boy spits at my feet and grins—"Have fun."—and a group of girls scowls at me with satisfied twists of their lips. You'd think after sixteen years of all this hatred I'd be used to this. But it feels different and stings far worse when people are cheering for you to die.
I feel small. As I turn to face the sea of people gathered in the square, a few people clap. I hear jeers and joyous whistles. I feel like I'm crumbling. And as the loudspeaker booms for silence so that the Reaping may continue on, I manage to lift my eyes for a moment to see my Grandmother staring back at me from the back of the crowd. She's standing tall, lips pursed and hands folded in front of her.
She shakes her head. And it's as if I'm standing right next to her when I see her lips move.
"Don't embarrass me."
But it's too late for all that. I've already ruined my make-up with my tears.
People cheer as she walks up and I want to vomit. They're not cheering because they're proud Maybe that sick, twisted upper district shit would be easier to handle than this. Fucking vermin, cheering because they hate her. Nine and all of its hate. I feel it nestled in my bones and I want to rip it out with my fingernails but I suppose it's what makes me me: hate. It's probably what made Radley leave -- fuck him. Fuck him, I don't need him. Don't miss him standing next to me in this crowd. Don't miss his dark humour. Don't miss his jibes of the idea that perhaps dying wouldn't be so bad if you got to leave this place. I used to elbow him in the side, seethe 'Don't say that'.
But I think I get it now.
Hand sliding down my face, I with it, I kind of want to laugh.
And I do. I laugh.
Of course it would be me. Of course it would be me, one day left and I'd be free from this shitty world in this shitty District, tomorrow I could have left and started to look for Radley with a gun strapped to my leg looking for my reflection but of course, I am me and I'm going to die.
And Radley is Radley and he isn't fucking here.
I stop laughing when the men in white grab my arms and pull me from the crowds - "alright, fuck" I mutter, shaking them off. Suit and tie and hair slicked back hair as if I'm made from money and not ashes, I trip over my own shoes - fuck - but don't quite fall. Someone snickers, I shoot them a look that could kill and the kid freezes - I smirk. Good, it's good practice for what's to come.
I count the steps ascended and look out across at all of their sad, sick faces and start to think that maybe Radley was smart to leave. I want to tell them they can call me Q, just Q. That was his job. And he's not here. Some childish part of me wants to hear his voice one last time, calling out to save my ass, but he's far too selfish to ever volunteer in my place. I know that, but I always had hope that we could be better. That he could be better.
Hopeless, I accept my fate and stand in the silence of his absence and my impending death.