Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Jun 11, 2021 5:13:00 GMT -5
The ringing never stops.
They poked and prodded and put you under, cut you open and stitched you back up. There's four thick stitches behind each ear to match the six dissolving in your forehead and the nine in the back of your leg. When they sit you down with somber looks on their faces you don't bother to try and read their lips. You don't even look at them.
The last thing you heard was Lachlan whistling Afraid.
And now you'll never stop hearing it - not for the rest of your life.
Someone scribbles the doctor's notes down for you to read. Ruptured eardrums, it says. Decibels. Impact noise.Concussive energy in the cochlea. As if that's supposed to help you. As if understanding what had happened to you would make swallowing the fact that you'll never hear again any easier.
As if it would make you any less
afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid.
Me too, you whisper into the dark at midnight. You feel the words crunch in your throat like bone, trying desperately to drown out the ringing. You lie there, almost glad you cannot hear how pathetic you sound, picturing his face as you try to imagine what his laugh sounded like before you-
I'm afraid too.
table by elegant.
“and men said that the blood of the stars flowed in her veins.”
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Jun 11, 2021 5:39:30 GMT -5
When you finally arrive back in District Ten the air feels heavier. The silence heavier still.
Anyone who looks at you, even the Keepers, has an edge about them. Their eyes don't linger for long, darting away as soon as you catch their curious, mortified gazes. At first you think it the gross scar across your forehead, or that you're hurried from place to place surrounded by Peacekeepers, but after a while you realise that the reason nobody wants to look at you is because they're terrified of you.
It was easier when nobody knew what you could do. And now the whole world knows. If they whisper about you, you can't hear what they say - but the way they shuffle, avoid your eyes, the way they make you feel so terribly lonely speaks volumes.
And why should they want to be near you, let alone talk to you? The only friend you ever had and you sent him tumbling to his early death. And the worst part is, you didn't even try. It was just instinct. Muscle memory. An innate reaction drilled into you for as long as you can remember: survive.
Who knew wanting to live would be such a lonely thing.
You turn to walk home and a Keeper grabs your arm, tells you they have a home built for you instead. The way he grips your skin lightly with a shaking, clammy palm tells you he knows you could poke both his eyes out right then and there with a grip too tight, too firm, too sudden. That you'd killed a dozen men like him, that he knows it.
Even you're a little terrified of you. But you're a good girl, trained to follow orders and never ask questions, so you follow him into a Keeper van and let him take you to your new home. It's natural for a girl of the Circle to simply do.
It's natural for a girl of Panem, soon to be paraded around for all to see, to wonder why a van of armed Keepers drive in the opposite direction toward your side of town. So when the clock in your new, grand living room strikes twelve you grab your coat and a kitchen knife and set off, comforted by the familiarity of the night and the invisibility it gives you.
The stars do not shy away from you, welcoming you back into their light like you hadn't slaughtered child after child on national television. They told you tomorrow you would leave, to spend the night getting to know the house in what they called the Victor's Village, and although you're used to a large home you're not used to the never-ending quiet, the emptiness of the halls, the unnerving stillness of a home uninhabited. If not tonight, then never again.
Childish of you to want to see them one last time. But they were all you knew before your life as Victor, some of them all you knew before the beginning of Terror, back when you were just a little girl called Terra. They deserved a goodbye. Boss deserved a thank-you.
They deserved it, but you should have known they'd never give you what you wanted. Not now. Not after what you did. Children from Ten aren't supposed to know how to slaughter six children. Street-rats shouldn't know how to wield a blade so skillfully. Little girls who live in a house full of children shouldn't have been able to drive a sword through another's skull in the blink of an eye.
Orphans shouldn't be able to tell that these children were poisoned before the Keepers littered their bodies with bullets, but you stand in the dim lamplight of Montague House and see in-between the bulging irises and blood soaked clothes the little remnants of foam at the corners of their mouths, the blood-shot whites of their eyes, their green tongues, the half-finished food in each and every one of their bowls.
They're all dead. Afraid, your ears tell you, afraid - and you should be. You should be petrified, staring at a scene so familiar. Breakfast. Blood. Bullets. It's like fragments of your memories have crashed together at the same point in time and you're standing in the wake of their destruction.
You should be terrified at what you're looking at. You should shake and scream and cry to see the only home you've ever known reduced to a morgue, spend your whole life wondering whether it was the Stroms or the Copperheads or the Cottonmouths or whether Boss himself decided it better to kill the children himself before the Keepers did.
Instead you just stare at the six symbols carved on the wall, smothered with blood and bullet holes, and light the place on fire.
Destroy the evidence - muscle memory.
You walk away from the blazing building and know now why they're all so terrified of you.
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Jun 27, 2021 2:30:34 GMT -5
This house is too empty and the world is too quiet. You wanted to bury him but they had already burned his body to ash. You wanted to visit his family but they were long gone. You wanted to see where he grew up but the war had long since destroyed it.
He had no-one left. Nothing. Not even a voice. And you took it from him.
You gave him all that you had and in the process, you took all that he had left to give.
And you dare to still want some of him left for yourself?
This house is too empty and you cannot hear them coming to get you. Coming to kill you for what you did. You had the idea to wait them out, spot them coming from afar, tried to perch on the roof and slipped. They said your balance never the same with the ringing and you wanted to prove them wrong, foolish stubborn girl. Thank god you still have your hands to catch your fall. Or maybe not, you had thought, dangling at the edge with copper roofing cutting scars into your palms. This is no gift, nothing to thank, nothing to celebrate.
Ringing, ringing, ringing, you cannot turn as sharply as you once did without faltering. You cannot sleep. You cannot run without falling. You cannot stand up quickly without feeling the world tilt. You cannot shake the paranoia that creaks and groans in-between your bones. You cannot communicate. You cannot connect. You cannot, and likely never will again.
This is a curse.
So you pulled yourself to safety, climbed down slowly from your rooftop and waited. Curled up and crouching barefoot in your living room, as still as glass. A purple curve of the moon embedded below each eye, sharpening the knife in your hands, twitching at every false movement in the windows and waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting in the ringing ringing ringing ringing ringing afraid afraid afraid afraid they're coming to kill you they're coming to kill you they're coming to kill you they're coming to kill you even though they're all dead.
Afraid, your broken ears demand you listen.
He was afraid. He told you so.
And you took everything he had left regardless,
The dark is pillaging. You become empty, raw, the ringing leaving you with nothing but fear and rage.
Their ghosts will get you. You won't hear them come in. You wait and wait and wait until you're crying, howling, screaming into the polished wooden floors of the house they tell you to call a home and it's not fair that this home stands untouched and Lachlan's home is rubble, that he is dust, ash like Montague House.
You scream and scream and scream, desperate to drown it out, the hunger to hear your voice once more ripping down your throat. Six words, over and over and over, you can feel your grief in your chest, in your lungs, in your pounding head. But you cannot hear your voice.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
You have nothing left. Not even a sound.
They want you to remember that.
Forever, the last thing he said to you.
Forever, you had responded.
You rise with the sun, empty girl in the echoes of Lachlan Renwick.
table by elegant.
“and men said that the blood of the stars flowed in her veins.”
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Jun 28, 2021 5:16:35 GMT -5
opening act .
They take you to One first, counting the districts like fingers on your hands. Dead eyes staring at you as you stand on the stage, disappointed sighs and unamused crosses of arms. It's written across their faces, in their postures, in their jewels and their perfume and their privilege: How dare you, they scowl.
How dare you, Ten, stand where a One should be.
You speak into the mic slowly, eyes low and fixated on the cards they gave you. Practice makes perfect, concentrating on the way your voice feels in your throat, the way you push meaningless words out of the spaces between your teeth, trying to ignore what the words say and what the spaces between the lines mean. It's painful, but you think you've got it right until the feeling of thudding feet to your left catches you off guard and without thinking, you react-
A twist, a shove, a sharp jab down, some poor kid in a headlock with one hand gripped to the microphone stand and another flopping half-heartedly at your bicep curled around his neck. Your eyes are wide, mouth hissing around the panic that foams in your cheeks. District One is a ripple of wincing, covering their ears in panic - and then slowly, slowly, they unfurl their arms and gawp at you.
Mouths agape, gasps you cannot hear. Sick and horrified.
Later someone scribbles down on paper that you broke his neck. He survived, but he'll never walk again. You had spoken too loudly and the sound scratched across the air, a razor slicing through every eardrum in the vicinity. A terrible noise. One that you couldn't hear.
He went to adjust the volume on the microphone and you nearly killed him in the process.
Feral, violent girl. Someone just as sick and twisted got inspired by your display of effortless savagery and they want you to show all of the children on your tour just how you managed to take down the most fucked-up kid One had to offer, starting tomorrow.
They delay your departure to Two by a week. But something needs to be worked on first before you can teach them all you know. You're getting good at hearing their voices without your ears, a new vocal coach every day on an impatient carousel. Catching someone's lips curling around "fucking ridiculo-" before their face turns away from your vision and you're plunged into silence once more, all rage. All fear. All the instinct that blooms from both.
Your fingers twitch, imagine wringing their neck with your bare hands. Picture choking out the words they dare spit at you until their vocal chords are unrepairable. Terrible girl. You will never be rid of who you are at your core.
They know that. You are learning what you need to know. Slowly you are beginning to understand what they want from you. They want you to pay for who you took, for the boy who's crown you stole, to teach them how to stop girls like you in their tracks before they can become Terra Montague, Victor of the Fifth Hunger Games.
Amusing how they ask it of you, like you have any say in the matter.
Yes, you reply, just as you had to Ramsey Robichaux. You know you have no choice.
Children -- no, child of Montague; the last one left standing -- know how to obey orders without question.
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Aug 14, 2021 2:49:24 GMT -5
goldwing, i. .
You sign on the metaphorical dotted line.
There is no bargaining, for you have nothing and no-one left for them to bargain with. They know that as well as you do. Boss poisoned the children of Montague, the Capitol riddled their bodies with bullets, and you burned down the building just to be sure of it.
It is a stalemate. You have something they want. You want nothing at all. They could put a bullet in your skull but the world has already seen too much of what you can do. Everyone will see right through your execution and this brave new world is too young to survive another uprising.
No-man's land, you oblige with three words;
I'll do it.
The Capitol representative sighs with relief through her nostrils, masking it with a curt nod.
You find a poster drifting across the street walking up to the Justice Building of One, your face designed to disgust and intrigue at the same time. A reminder, a warning, an offering. Terra Montague is a martyr, an apostle, somehow one in the same.
Only a few turn up at first, the most deranged and desperate children. But as words you cannot hear spread, more come. A handful, a dozen, a whole hall full. These children, and their parents, are smarter than they seem - it pays to have a trick up your sleeve should your name be called. Teleprompters ask you questions, some specific to the games and some far-flung. You respond with short words you cannot hear and the language you've spent years mastering.
Blades fly across the room, faux limbs are snapped, throats are slit but nobody bleeds. You show them how you used the sinking ship to your advantage, ricocheting off of a wall and slicing through the air. Quickly, efficiently, quietly. For the first time since the canon exploded on your ship, you're thankful you cannot hear their responses to your wickedness.
They watch first, then mirror your actions. Some have a natural talent, some none at all, some catch on after the first few sessions. They have questions, mostly about weapons and movements, but one girl stands at the front row and you know just by looking at her that she would have been recruited by the Circle if this awful world had orphaned her in Ten five years ago.
// how did you do it?
the teleprompter asks.
Do what? you inquire, looking her square in the eyes. It's a sign of respect, and you think of Teddy King boarding your ship - equal, in all ways but one.
// hide in plain sight?
It is the only question you cannot answer.
Later, you close your eyes and see that girl's steely gaze, asking yourself the same question over and over and over again. There are some things, some people, some forces you can't hide from, even when you're a ghost in the shadows.
You know what awaits you back in Ten. But you try not to think about it as the train slips closer and closer to District Two with every passing mile.
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Jan 12, 2023 23:23:47 GMT -5
Alone in the seventh year, you cut your hair off.
They should have let you see Babe. He's the only person that can allow you to sleep peacefully these days, knowing his presence in the room is just as deadly. Knowing that you're protected, even when you're vulnerable. Knowing that you'll wake up and he'll still be sitting there, ten hours later, with a cup of coffee and a middle finger for a good morning.
But this year they kept you in glass cages and it almost - almost - cost them you.
How could you not?
She haunts you. Cordelia Blake, two thousand miles away and yet she's here with you every hour of every day. The threat of her, of others like her. Those that want you dead. Those that could very well make her deepest desires real.
Every day you see her in the mirror, despite the dark hair. Every night you hear her words, despite your deafened ears. So you lie awake like you used to back at Montague house, still. Eyes open. Wait until the sun comes up, watch it rise, spot birds settling on the fence of the Victor's Village they constructed last spring because people kept trying to vandalise your home. Wonder what their morning songs sound like. Think of Lachlan, ache. Sip coffee, swallow, sigh, repeat.
No sleep, certainly no rest for the wicked. Cordelia Blake, Cordelia Blake, Cordelia Blake. You go a little mad, pressure mounting against your chest until you grab a pair of scissors from underneath your pillow and--
You cut the weight off, shake the loose strands from your shoulders, and grin in the mirror like she.
table by elegant.
“and men said that the blood of the stars flowed in her veins.”
Post by wolf turing, d3. ✨ zoë. on Mar 31, 2023 18:56:04 GMT -5
In your dreams you watch Lachlan float away and jump in after him.
Overboard you go, abandoning your sword and what's left of the tributes, the glory, victorhood. A worthless crown. No whales or sharks to be seen, just you and Lachlan and the blue of the ocean. The seagulls stay, how strange. Spiraling, diving, they float higher and higher and higher until they are specks, nothing more.
The water takes you out of the arena, down, down, down into the ocean. As much as you paddle and flail and thrash against the water you cannot get any closer to him. Arms stretched out, the ocean turns to a river, down you go.
You yell his name at the top of your lungs. How strange that you can hear yourself in your dreams. But Lachlan cannot hear you. His head bobs as the current takes you hostage, swerving and turning, impossibly fast. The river bends and then you tip, falling, over the edge of a waterfall. Lachlan falls, hands catch a rock, you scream.
When you look over the edge you cannot see him. As you gently tip forward, following him to wherever he went, impact shakes you awake with a gasp.
There it is, the memory of waves crashing against boat, stone, bodies.