"Make sure I'm not fucked up. Well news flash jackass, I am."
"Talon we haven't-"
The door slams into silence, a million eyes are watching me and all of them my own. The collar around my neck is a shackle suffocating me as it burrows beneath my skin. I can't breathe. I'm soaked in sweat tearing at my neck until the button breaks and rolls across the floor. It stops in front of some kid with a hand full of gummies. He stares up at me with eyes the color of lilac soap and I laugh. I laugh like there's nothing else in the world to do as the kid starts crying. I leave the button and my dignity back with the kid and his tears.
Outside the sun is shrouded in cloud cover as I sit in some backwater street by the pier. A girl lets out a gleeful shriek similar to the stark shouts of the seagulls that glide from their nests in the crooked crags of the cliffs. From back behind some time torn shop, I watch some boy splash her again and I shrivel back into the shaded street. He used to do that all the time to me, coat me in sea salted water until I was almost as drenched as him. I almost see that whole memory before it breaks back to... My head buries itself in my palms, fingers furling into my dangling threads of blonde. Letting out a sound more moan than sob, I let go of my hair and fumble through the pockets of my pants.
The shivering of my skin stops a little while after the pair of pills. I used to call them paradise in my palms, something to make the nights out cliff diving with Jesse and the others all the more exciting. Always with the wrong crowd, chasing the next highest wave that's gonna drown you. That's always what Turner used to say to me, used to say with that same stare that seemed to freeze even the ocean. He was the nice one too, Mum and Dad would scream louder than a brood of banshees when I would come home after a couple days away. Disappointment such a damn disappointment, thank fuck there's Turner. A trickle of blood slips across my lips from where my teeth have torn into my mouth. Until there wasn't Turner.
Another pill finds its way into my mouth.
Troublesome Talon and Terrible Turner Grey, that's what everyone called us. I was the wild child always loud and open while Turner was the one to be feared and revered. I spent mornings huddled over porch stoops hurling up what usually was some kind of mixture of alcohol and pastas while Turner carved across the glistening glass sea. He was born to take the house of Grey under his reign, a true tyrant like this District desires. I was always meant to be there by his side enjoying my allowances of existence as long as I didn't mess things up too majorly. I still remember those last few nights, although it feels like forever ago now.
It was the the Bloodbath party night. The careers from the Training Center throw it for the tributes. It's actually pretty fucking morbid, but who cares as long as you're getting wasted right? Drinking games like shots for deaths and chugging your drink if the tributes from our District survived. As for the siblings of tributes, ah yes, the guests of honor. Free booze, shots after shots and of course a couple palms of paradise. I think I remember singing to Turner asleep in the arena with a cigarette between my teeth and Jesse kissing up my neck.
The next morning literally didn't exist. I woke up naked in a hammock around two o'clock out on the porch with Jesse still wrapped around me. He drank just as much as I had, but to be fair that was how most of our days went. I didn't go home that day, instead I went to the bluffs. I didn't want to be around the screens or to hear the screams. So I sat up above the pier and just existed watching the waves. I never thought Turner wouldn't win. It never even crossed my mind because he was always the best I'd ever seen. Cold and calculated with a certain savagery. I'm a career and a surfer just like him, just like all Greys, but he was the gold standard. I hover more around the bronze class and I vibe that. But to a bronze, how could a gold possibly lose?
With a pocket empty of pills, I woke up the next day still up on that bluff high as a kite. I woke up to the sound of Jesse's shouts. I woke up to his figure growing closer and I could see it on his face. I didn't have to be near any of the screens to hear that canon cry. I started running before Jesse even reached me, before the weight of what I was running towards even crashed down on me. Always chasing the next highest wave that's going to drown you, that's what he always said. But he was the wave that drowned me.
Unable to even stand straight, I've never been frozen in front of the surf shop like that. I could hear whispers of twenty third behind me, but all I could feel was the fear of what was ahead. The emotional, anxiety riddled, and drug addicted younger brother was now the eldest son and the heir of the family. I was the unwanted heir still high while my brother died having to walk into my family's shop where I hadn't been with them. Pushing open those doors was like unlocking my own personalized Pandora's box.
It's been over a year since then. Mum still won't talk to me and the only time Dad spends with me is in the shop trying to make my technique "half" as good as my brother's. I spend my mornings now in the Training Center under mandatory private lessons, lessons I spend half of the time vomiting in the bathrooms from the night before. I have therapy after because clearly that's working. And lastly? I haven't surfed since then, haven't even gone close enough to touch the water. That was his. I have everything now that was meant to be his and I won't take that too.
On the outside I seem fine, physically fit just as the Prince of the Greys should be. I look like him too these days, with my long blonde hair and the same colored eyes. The same color, but not the same stare. His was cold and looked through you while mine is clouded and leaves you questioning whether I even see you. I don't know if I do myself. What is there to see anyway? He always had no emotions and I've always had too many, too much to handle without outside intervention.