Human interaction alone was enough reason for Ridley to wish she was anywhere but on the train.
There was more to it than that, though. There always was. The train cars reminded her of a ghost, a boy who had thrown knives at her head and laughed and told her he was already doomed. First, say a truth. His voice floated through her mind. Her own response taunted her. I've never killed anyone before. She'd known what was coming. She'd known that even if she died, she would die with blood on her hands. She'd spoken that truth because they'd both been living in a moment when change was happening at the speed of light and they'd known they wouldn't come out unscathed. A part of her had foreseen that moment as the last time she would honestly be able to say it. Now, she only wanted to speak in certainties.
Say a truth.
Her good hand brushed against where the knife had lodged into the wall. "I've visited your grave forty seven times since you died."
The sound of a door whizzing open made her glance over her shoulder. More ghosts. Ridley had already made the mistake of getting too attached to another person on this train and she had no intention of repeating it. Instead she simply turned and crossed her arms, gold fingers cold against the crook of her elbow.
Bette's words, burned into her memory, echoed within her. "If you have any questions, you should ask them now."
Post by absalom ottrel d1m [zori] on Feb 14, 2020 23:21:44 GMT -5
His father had made a show of putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder, and calling him 'my boy' as though he were referring to a pet more than progeny. His mother smile without so much as a word, and they soaked in the sight of Absalom in the little room preparing to be carted off for good. It was as though all their prayers had been answered: their son would make a name of the Ottrels, and they would likely never have to take care of Absalom again.
Absalom felt a shiver creep through his back when he looked at his father’s face. For a man that had always been as hard as he could on his son, Absalom couldn't remember when he'd last seen him so happy. He felt a chill pass for a moment, until he realized that in leaving district one, he may never have had to see his parents ever again. Their goodbyes came with half-hearted we’ll see you again soon’s, with Absalom nodding along as the heavy wooden door closed.
Sarkine barged in a few minutes later, eyes puffy and red, her voice hoarse. She wrapped her small body around his big frame in a hug making it hard to exhale. He wrapped tight around her, eyes closed, and rested his forehead against hers.
He wouldn’t remember what she’d said – she spoke too fast through broken gasps and it brought a lump to his throat – but he remembered how she made him feel. She pulled at the little cloth bracelet they’d made together at his wrist, to remember her by. He would describe it as a sort of calm, as though if he could feel this way all the time, he could be okay. He’d hold onto that, as much as he could. He reasoned it would be important.
Then he was alone.
A keeper in white came to fetch him. Absalom was staring at the bracelet on his wrist, unmoved at the sound of the door. The man had to put a shoulder on his arm and pull him toward the exit, away from his thoughts and the memories of his sister.
When he found Ridley Le Roux waiting for him in one of the cars further down the train, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of the girl. She was all that anyone in the district would talk about, and with good reason. She was the last district one to return the crown in ten years.
He thought that maybe meeting a celebrity was supposed to be different. He wasn’t sure how, as though he was meant to feel his heart beat faster or to be filled with more fear. But looking at the gold of her arm and the way she looked just as many of the girls of one did, Absalom saw only someone that he might have to rely on – if she wanted that.
‘ If you have any questions, you should ask them now.’ She spoke, and Absalom stiffened.
He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to ask. What should he study most? What was the worst thing he would have to do? Was it awful having to go to the bathroom in the arena?
“Um.” He brought his arms across his chest and chewed the bottom of his lip a little too long. Perhaps he would start with a tried and true tactic he used in school to get an answer without knowing the answer. “If you could’ve asked yourself any questions last year, what would they have been?”
Post by 1f — sophie fray — tris on Feb 19, 2020 16:31:25 GMT -5
Sophie followed lazily behind Absalom, entering the cart a few seconds after her district partner. Her features expressed little amusement with her surroundings, only a tilt of her head here and the quirk of an eyebrow there. It was pretty, and the aroma of gourmet food wafted through the halls, but it wasn't exciting. It was familiar.
Even as she was greeted by Ridley, her face did not betray her emotions. She simply glanced down at her nails as she spoke, only looking up when Absalom replied. She didn't know what to make of the boy quite yet. He seemed like the typical career, at least on the surface, but there was a gentleness to him that she had never seen before.
They were strangers, but he was kind to her — a quiet sort of kindness — and perhaps that was enough.
She offered him a smile, albeit small and fleeting. "Yeah, what he said. That's smart." Really, she just didn't want to talk directly to her, but supporting her partner was a nice alternative. She wasn't dumb enough to challenge Ridley, at least not yet. There was a time, though Sophie refused to admit it, that she admired the victor.
When Ridley won, she was cheering.
And now she's silent. Now she's going to war.
The girl wasn't brave enough to hate her mother — to hate the woman that forced her to volunteer — so she hated the lioness, instead. "Don't bore us. Our lives are depressing enough."
❝ will i never rest in sunlight again — slow, languid, & golden with peace? ❞