Thursday, June 20, 2013

sometimes i like to write stories #3: my first fan-fic (Hunger Games: Marvel, The Boy from District 1)

M a r v e l
The Boy from District 1
(This is just something I wrote sophomore year during my obsessed-with-Hunger-Games phase ^_^)
I place my right leg in first, but as I put in my left, my foot steps down on the fabric of my trousers much too quickly. I lose my balance, yelling as I face-plant onto the plush floor. I feel the warmth of the sunlight where my legs are exposed, the light streaming through the glass ceiling above. I emit a long, droning sigh. Someone laughs from behind me. My eyes grow wide as my face flushes red as a tomato.
Sequin skips from the doorway to my side. She gently brushes a thick brown curl from my eyes, then takes my hand and helps me stand. “You should’ve knocked,” I scowl, pulling up my trousers. “I wasn’t decent.”
Sequin laughs, a laugh like wind chimes in the breeze. “Your mother let me in,” she replies. My cheeks continue to blush as she stares at my face.
“Hand me a belt from over there,” I mutter. Sequin giggles. She lightly kisses my flushing cheek, then turns and walks over to the wooden wardrobe. As she opens it, a few rolled-up socks topple out onto the floor. Belts of every shade and fabric lay in a heap at the bottom of the wardrobe. Our district, District 1, makes luxury goods, so excess items are commonplace. Sequin has more dresses than there are colors.
“How can you expect to win the Hunger Games with your clumsiness?” Sequin teases. She hands me my favorite belt.
“Who says I’ll be chosen?” I retort.
“Who says you won’t?” I look up at her face; her eyes fill with worry and sadness.
My pulse begins to race. “Well,” I nervously say. “If I’m chosen, I’ve- We’ve been training for this our whole lives. That should give us an advantage.” She smiles weakly, pretending to be reassured, yet I can still see the sorrow shadowed beneath her happy expression. As if my words could calm her down. Nothing people say can hold back our fear. I am nervous- we both are- but we cannot show it. It is all a matter of pride: for our district, our families, ourselves. Career Tributes always win, or at least they haul in the most bets. Sequin and I know our odds are better compared to those from the poorer districts of Panem. However, the fact that only one tribute can survive while the rest are sure to die still keeps us up at night. Sequin leaves my side, walking to the wardrobe once more. She retrieves a sky blue shirt and a silky tie. Their colors are bright and cheerful, a paradox to the emotions I feel inside. I change into them quickly.
My room is spacious, illuminated only by sunlight. All our power must be conserved for the broadcast of the reaping. Both of our families, plus the thousand others in our district, installed mega-gloss screens to view the Games in pixel projection. Now, we will have a clearer view than ever before, as if the tributes are being killed right in front of our faces. Sequin straightens my tie, and I fix the clip in her hair. We stride towards the ample gold-rimmed mirror mounted on the wall. Then, we stare at each other’s reflections.
We stood in this very spot before we left for our first reaping. We gazed at ourselves wondering if we would ever come back here, if we would ever be together again. That was six years ago. We were twelve.
“We look so,” the young Sequin paused. My eyes left her reflection to truly see her face. Her nose crinkled up, which meant she was deep in thought. She searched for the perfect word. “Fancy!” she exclaimed. I laughed at her choice. We were both done-up for the reaping. Flowers and sparkles danced upon Sequin as a tailored shirt and pants had been placed on me.
“Well, I think,” I began. Sequin turned to face me, her brown eyes watching, awaiting my word. “We look super fancy!” She laughed, so I laughed. Then Sequin laughed even more. And we laughed and laughed to conceal our fear. We laughed until we choked, struggling to choke down the pain. We laughed because we thought laughter could keep death away. I was still trying to laugh when Sequin’s brown eyes filled with tears. Then I took her in my arms, and I held her close as we cried.
" It’ll be okay,” I whispered to Sequin. “I’ll protect you.” In kindergarten, I could protect her from anything, and since then, we have always been by each other’s side. Yet, the Hunger Games are different. At twelve, I did not know how I could protect her from the games. Even now, I still do not know. Only boys can volunteer for boys at the reaping. And only girls can volunteer for girls.
“I love you, Marvel,” she whispered back to me. Then, I kissed her for the first time. I wiped my eyes with my sleeve, and gently released her from my embrace. Then, I fled to my desk, retrieving a handkerchief and a tiny object. When I returned, I quickly wiped her tears away.
“I was going to give this,” my voice trembled feebly against my sobs. My hand was shaking as I gave the small silver ring to Sequin, “t-to you for your birthd-d-ay.” She held the ring up close to her face. Through her tear stained eyes, she could still read the engraving on the small silver heart: M and S. “Friends forever,” I said softly.
Neither of us was chosen that day, or in the five reapings to follow. And this reaping, now that we are eighteen, is the last one we must enter. I look at Sequin. Her hair falls in soft brown curls down the back of her lavender dress. Her gown is lined in sequins, which makes me smile, but I see something else which make me smile even more. “You’re wearing it,” I beam.
           Sequin looks down at her hand. The dainty silver ring sits on her slim finger. “I never take it off,” she admits, blushing. The light streaming through the glass above begins to dim and lessen.
“I love you, Sequin.” The words fall out of my mouth before I can think. Sequin wraps her arms around my neck and mine find their place around her waist. We kiss, and I hold her, and I never want to let her go. Her hands run through my curls, I feel the softness of her skin, and I strain to keep the soft scent of her perfume in my memory forever. By now, the room fills with shadows. The sun is off elsewhere; white clouds float up above us. We release each other. I look into her bright brown eyes, and we smile. The melodic bleeps from the clock mean the hour is upon us. Soon, the reaping will begin. “Let’s go,” Sequin says, taking my hand in hers. I feel the silver ring on her finger. “Let’s go together.”
“The girl tribute of District 1 is Glimmer Satellite!” The crowd cheers madly. The face of a blonde haired girl is projected on the glossy mega-screen on stage, her confidence evident in her smile and composure. But, I barely glance at the fresh tribute. My face spins to the section of eighteen-year-old girls several feet away. All eyes watch to see as the girl tribute, Glimmer, marches to the podium- all but mine and one other pair. My heart stops as my eyes lock with Sequin’s. She smiles back at me, and I feel relief. Sequin will forever be safe. Yet, I see her happy expression flash to one of despair before I realize what I hear.
“And our boy tribute is Marvel Star!”
“Sequin,” I take both her hands in mine. She struggles to hold back her tears, but one manages to escape. The lone tear falls from her eye onto the glittering tile floor. I stand up from the velvet chair and kiss the shimmering trail her tear left on her cheek. She kisses my lips, and I long for more. Suddenly, the grandeur doors fly open. “One more minute, please,” I say to the body guard. His clothes are dark. The words “District One” are inscribed on his golden badge, yet it is the Capitol Seal emblazoned imposingly on his shirt which stands out. He struts towards us, reaching for Sequin’s wrist. “One more minute!” I scream. The guard yanks Sequin back, but I pry his hand away and pull Sequin closer to me in a strong embrace. He glares, yet Sequin kisses me once more. Then, a second guard arrives. I feel a pang of heartbreak as they pull Sequin away from me, bu, I also feel something else, something cool being placed in my palm. “Come back for me,” she whispers. “I believe in you.” The doors slam shut behind her, and I am alone.
“You may choose one token from your District to bring into the arena,” the cold voice of our mentor says. “When I was a tribute, I brought this.”Cashmere holds up a ring to our faces. It is golden with a bulbous gemstone set upon it. I look at the ring, the berry-sized jewel sparkles with infinite colors. Suddenly, the bejeweled diamond splits open, revealing a miniscule metal dart. “The spike,” Cashmere explains maliciously, “is coated with poison. Stab a tribute, kill a tribute.” The word kill sends a shiver running up my spine. Glimmer and the other mentors laugh at the sadistic brilliance of the secret weapon. I take no part in their happy exchange. Impervious, I stare at the darkness outside the train window. Glimmer eyes the ring greedily. She glances at me, then, lurches across the table, snatching the poison ring from Cashmere’s hand. Cashmere smiles at Glimmer approvingly. Then all eyes turn upon me.
“And for you,” Gloss says, holding up a locket. “It emits-“
“No thanks,” I interrupt. The dumbfounded onlookers stare at the little silver ring I hold up in my hand. “I have my token.”
The spotlights shoot bright colors everywhere. Wonderful, vivid, and glittering are the colors. Cameras flash. Music throbs through the heart of the Capitol. Vivid hair styles, spinning skirts, and tattoos that shimmer decorate the screaming crowds in the stands. The world is a sea of silver, sparkles, and neon. It should dazzle me, as should the wonder of everything else in the Capitol; yet, I feel nothing but pain. I see my face on the glass mega-screen. It looks impassive and somewhat angry, so I force my anger away. As the camera zooms back to my face, I wear a bland expression of content. Good. I refuse to let Sequin see my pain. Jewels and sparkles cover my silver body, as do sequins. I try not to cry as I remember her. The colors begin to nauseate me, and the noise is so loud it pounds through my flesh. I feel so weak, but I cannot cry now.
Looking over at Glimmer, I see her embrace her stunning bejeweled costume. Her long blonde hair flies behind her. It has been enhanced with glitter, as has her face. She smiles widely, waving and blowing kisses to the awestruck Capitol audience. I try to wave my hand, yet my emotions stab me from the inside. Teetering on the moving chariot, I feel as if I am going to fall. However, I plant my feet steady on the platform. “How can you expect to win the Hunger Games with your clumsiness?” I glance at the small ring on my finger. I must stay strong for Sequin.
I hear the sound of the cannon. Stab, a young girl finds a knife in her throat. Crack, I shatter a boy’s skull. The smell of blood overwhelms me, and I realize the smell comes from my own hands. Golden and glaring, the sunlight reflecting off the Cornucopia blinds my eyes. The six of us guard it, the Career Tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4. I look away from the Cornucopia to the arena around us. It encompasses miles and miles of landscape, everything natural, except at its center. Here, we stand. The golden Cornucopia looms as tall as a pine tree, surrounded by a broad circle of hard-packed earth. This is where the most tributes are killed. This is where the games begin. Glimmer smirks at me as I grimace at the scene. She mercilessly stabs a fleeing young girl. Bodies of tributes are strewn on the ground. The dirt is stained with streaks of dark red. Suddenly, an arrow slashes my arm. I wince at the pain and retrieve the arrow off dirt, and I use it to kill the girl who tried to kill me. The six Careers stare at each other, weapons in hand. We stare out at the dead bodies. Silence.
“I hear something!” the girl from District 4 shouts. More silence. A rustle to my right sends the six of us running. I see our prey, and I suddenly feel empathy. He is the boy from District 12. It’s a mad chase, wild and unfair, six strong Careers against one unarmed boy. All of us head for the woods. The blonde boy, I recall, has an unusual name like some sort of bread. Though I forget his name, I still remember his story. He loves a girl too, and she is here with him, in the arena. I hear him scream. I did not realize I had stopped running. Trees surround me. I follow the horrific sound.
When I catch up to the other Careers, I see the District 2 girl, Clove, clutching the blonde boy in her scarred arms. She holds a sharp silver blade to the blonde boy’s heart. “Why should we keep you?” she asks fiercely. Her long brown hair is matted with sweat and dirt. Her freckles are hidden beneath smears of red and brown. The boy keeps a calm disposition, yet his breaths are hoarse and panicked. The spot where Clove holds her knife begins dripping with the boy’s blood. Drops of red trickle down his shirt, staining the lush green grass.
“I-I” he winces in pain. “I will help you find the District 12 tribute girl. I know her abilities, her strengths, everything,” he clenches his teeth together, “and you will never kill her without my help.” A tear falls from the boy’s face, yet the pressure of Clove’s knife against his flesh fails to ease.
           “Clove,” I say. Her face whips in my direction. “You’re hurting the kid.” She shoots me a menacing glare, and the trickle of blood from the boy’s chest grows to a steady flow.
           “Curly kid’s right,” the brooding District 2 tribute replies, “Take the fucking knife off him. It’s no help to us if he’s dead.” Her glare aims directly at Cato’s eyes. I feel the blood on my hands harden as I watch the stain on the blonde boy’s shirt grow larger. Finally, Clove scowls and flings the knife onto the forest floor. She drops the District 12 boy onto the ground with a thud. A small puddle of blood has formed beside the boy’s limp body.
           “He says he can help us. Let’s keep him,” I tell the Careers. They agree to this. Then, I help the blonde boy up. He and I take up the rear of the pack. With the other Careers’ backs to us, the blonde boy quickly glances at me with a smile of gratitude. I manage a smile back.
           At night fall, we set up camp around the Cornucopia. A tower of food and supplies are piled high to its side. Then, we agree to take shifts to keep watch in case any brave tribute tries to stab us in our sleep. The blonde boy volunteers for the first shift, so I do too. The moon is out, but clouds cover the stars. We sit side by side on the dirt floor, a few yards away from the Cornucopia. I glare at the sky for a while, wishing I were home, anywhere but here. The icy wind scrapes my cheeks, but my jacket, thin flannel blanket, and sleeping bag manage to keep me warm. I think about the less fortunate tributes, the ones without supplies. The blonde boy from District 12 is staring up at the sky too. The night is nearly silent, except for the chirping of birds in the distance. Suddenly, the Capitol anthem booms through the arena. I look back at the Careers, all of whom remain asleep, oblivious to the music. The faces of the dead are projected in the sky. I try not to recognize the ones I killed, but I still do. I feel sick. Thirteen are dead, but none from the Career Pack or District 12. It is silent once more.
           “What’s your name?” I ask. The boy looks at me, obviously startled.
           “My name’s Peeta,” he says. “Peeta Mellark.” I reach my hand out to him. He shakes it and smiles feebly. “What’s your name?”
           “I’m Marvel Star,” I reply.
           “Whoa. Killer name,” Peeta replies enthusiastically. Then his eyes grow wide with worry.
“Yeah,” I mutter, “Killer.”
There is an awkward pause. Then, Peeta says, “Thanks for saving me today. That crazy knife girl... nearly sliced me in half.”
           “No problem. I’ve been wanting to ask you something.” Peeta turns to face me as I struggle to find the right words. “Are you really in love with the girl from 12?”
           He gazes out into the woods. Finally, he replies, “Hopelessly in love.”
           “You should’ve stayed with her!” I yell with rage. Peeta stares back at me, his eyes not filled with shock, but hurt. I hide my face in my hands. “If you were really in love with her, you would’ve stayed with her. Your days together...” I cannot hold back my pain any longer. “They won’t last.” I try to stifle a cry, but tears pour from my shut eyelids. My chest heaves, I sob, and I do not care if the Careers hear me cry. Suddenly, I stop. I wipe away the tears: I must stay strong for Sequin. Angrily, I try to suppress my sniffling, the cold air being the opposite of helpful. I slow down my breaths, my face hidden by my arms. I refuse to let the world see my pathetic face. Minutes pass by before I look up at the dark forest around me.
           “You love someone, too,” Peeta says quietly.
           “Yes,” I choke out. “That’s why I saved you. Only so you could escape. Only so you could find the girl from your district and be with her one last time.”
           “Thank you,” Peeta whispered.
I hear an explosion in the distance. Our food supply, it’s gone. There is no use being allies with the remaining Careers anymore. Frantically, I run into the woods with my black backpack.  Bright light seeps through the gaps between the pine needles. I run through the afternoon, sweat prickling down my neck. My brown curls flatten against my skull. My entire shirt is drenched, and I begin to thirst. My chest is heaving, and my lungs hurt like hell, but I keep running until I trip. I open my backpack, find rope, and begin making a net.
My heartbeat is the only thing I hear. The sun is too bright, beating me from in between the leaves of the canopy above. My pulse throbs through my head. I feel faint. Suddenly, I see a shadow. I wait perched behind a tall shrub. A thick wooden spear with a stone arrow head is clutched in my sweating, trembling hands. I wonder if Sequin is watching me. The figure steps about the grass, her footsteps light and silent. She constantly looks around her, and I hear a bird sing in the distance. The little girl smiles, and my heart sinks as she takes her next step.
The net lifts the tiny girl into the air along with the plethora of leaves used to camouflage it. Dead leaves flutter down to the place where she once stood. She screams, and I panic. I thrash around the bush which once concealed me, and race toward the captured tribute dangling from my trap. She says the same name over and over again in a high-pitched cry, “Katniss! Katniss!” Tears stream down the poor girl’s eyes as she flails in the net, and my heart is racing, my hands trembling. I look into the little girl’s brown eyes- bright brown eyes, just like Sequin’s. “Shhh,” I plea, wishing to stop her cries. Her face is distorted, filled with fear. Every scream tears me apart. I do not want to kill her, but killing her will bring me one step closer to home. A shrill shriek flies from her mouth, piercing the clear blue sky. Then, I stab the tribute with my spear. The shaft sinks right through her stomach. Blood stains her shirt, flowing out from the foul wound. She whimpers. Silence. I look at the little girl’s dying body, my eyes wide with shock.
           The girl from District 12 appears from the glade of pines across the clearing. The girl from district 12: she is safe, and Peeta is alive. I start to smile as I try to pry the spear out of the dead tribute’s body. Yet, as strong as I tug, it refuses to give, staying latched in her tiny bones. Dread fills my mind, and my pulse begins to quicken. Sweat forms on my brows. My hands tremble as I panic, and the smell of blood fills my nostrils. I want to leave the spear, but it is my only weapon.
An arrow drives deep into the center of my neck. I fall to my knees. Blood pours from my wound, the long wooden shaft protruding from where it struck. I yank the weapon out; then, I stare at the red arrow in my dirty, shaking hands. I collapse backward. My head falls into a puddle of my own blood. As I gaze up at spheres of green and yellow, I place one hand on the other and feel the small heart of my silver ring. I love you, Sequin, I think to myself, wishing I had the strength to say it out loud.
*   *   *

“I killed a boy whose name I don’t even know. Somewhere his family is weeping for him. His friends call for my blood. Maybe he had a girlfriend who really believed he would come back...” –Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

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