Author: dustflare PM
After winning the Hunger Games, your life is never the same. You're transformed into someone you don't want to be.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,943 - Updated: 12-17-11 - Published: 11-13-11 - id: 7548264
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Salty tears leak from my eyes, drip over my slightly parted lips, and splash into the steaming mug before me. I clutch the mug with ghostly white knuckles. My breath comes out in jagged, breaking gasps that I fight to steady. But the tears won't stop. The gruesome images will never cease to haunt me.
My brain takes a moment to register the knocks coming from the other side of the mahogany door in my living room. Slowly, I rise from my chair, leaving behind my drink, and walk silently over to the door. Face blank, breathing still ragged, I turn the knob and gently pull the door open to see my neighbor, Wolf, leaning against the outside wall.
"What do you want?" My voice cracks. Though he shows no sign of fear, I'm almost certain I look like a monster. I've been crying for countless minutes and hours and days, trying to straighten myself out. My clothes haven't been changed in almost a week. Sleep hasn't come for half that time, either.
"Just came to see if you were alright." He raises an eyebrow, looking somewhat concerned. I can't really tell what he's thinking or feeling, though, behind that mask of apathy that's always plastered on his face. Rarely do I see him smile.
I purse my lips and quickly reply, "No, I'm not alright," before slamming the door shut. I don't want to deal with him right now, not in this state. Besides, he would never understand. Unlike me, he's got plenty of friends to rely on and definitely is not in the process of figuring out how to survive through the next couple of months. He probably doesn't even wonder what horrors the next day will bring!
MaybeI'llbeabletosleep, I think doubtfully. I head up to my room and flop onto the regal white bed. Folding my arms behind my head, I stare up at the ceiling and sigh. For a moment, all is peaceful. Suddenly, I hear the door bang open and I leap up from the bed and rush to the banister.
Clutching onto the wooden railing for support, I gaze down at the living room and see Wolf smirking up at me. "Sorry, I didn't know it was unlocked." Grinning, he climbs up the stairs, two at a time. I'm impressed when I realize he took his shoes off when he entered my house. Still, I'm very perturbed.
"What was that for?" I growl, slapping him across the face. Red splotches appear almost instantly from the strike, and I think I even see my handprint.
"Someone's angry," he mutters, cursing lightly under his breath. "Want me to fix the door? I wouldn't mind."
I let out a raspy sigh of exasperation. No. Just get out of my house." The sentence sounds queer as it slips from my cracked, parched lips. Instead of an order, it's more like a statement.
Wolf backs away a little. "Sorry, I- I um… Like I said, I ca-can clean up the mess…" Isheafraidofme?
"It's fine," I say tartly. "I don't really care. Just another mess in my life." The last part comes out as a mutter.
Wolf's face softens and he nods. "I understand. My life's pretty… messed up," he says quickly, with a wink. He sits down on the top step, obviously making himself feel at home. "Life is a struggle."
"Totally," I groan, plopping down beside him. For some reason, I know I can trust him. It just seems natural. "You were the victor of the first Hunger Games, right?"
He nods again, solemnly this time. Pain flickers in his stormy gray eyes, causing me to trust him even more. The real Wolf is hiding behind another man. "Cost me my family." He pauses. "I had to kill my sister."
I blink in surprise. "Wait, so that District Two girl… she was your sister? I thought you two sharing a last name was just a coincidence!"
"Not a coincidence," he says cadaverously. "We both lived in Thirteen, but we got separated after the– you know. Rebellion."
"Sorry," I mumble, kicking the white poles connecting the banister to the stairs. "I have family there, too. And a best friend in District Eight; she says it's awful."
Wolf grunts. "No need to apologize." Another pause. "You should come to my house. After all, I live down the street."
"Why would I want to come to your house?" I ask, raising an eyebrow. "I'm perfectly happy here, thanks."
"You don't seem happy," he says with a light laugh. "Come on, Aliah. I even have a cat! Her name's Keeta."
I giggle and bound down the stairs. "I love cats! My mother bought a little black-and-white kitten when I was six. That was the best birthday." With a sigh, I muse over the happenings of my sixth birthday.
The first thing I saw when I woke up was, as always, the squeaky floorboards of the attic. Propping myself up on my elbows, I blinked a few times, my eyes still adjusting to the waking world. Sunlight sieved through the dirty window, replacing the dim light of the room.
A yawn escaped my mouth and doused my eyes, fogging up my vision once again. I stumbled over to the bathroom. Per usual, my bister hair was kinked in all directions and my t-shirt was rumpled.
After brushing my teeth and combing out my hair, I quickly put on a lavender dress and headed downstairs and almost tripped when I reached the bottom.
It was already afternoon, so my entire family had time to get here. Sitting at the kitchen table was my mother and grandmother, chatting away and gesturing frantically. My sister beckoned me over to the couch and I look my place between her and my little brother, Kaden. Grinning from ear to ear, seventeen-year-old Jada carefully placed a little box on my lap, about the size of my hand.
"What is it? I asked, blinking up at her with clear blue eyes shining like stars. I shook the box, trying to figure out what was in it, and pouted when no sound came.
"Open it up and see!" she exclaimed. So I ripped the red paper right off the package and found myself staring at a velvet case. Tentatively, I flipped up the latch and peered inside.
Inside the case was a silver ring, reflecting the light from the candle behind me. With a gasp, I picked it up to examine it closer. In the middle was a beryl sapphire, attached to the ring by diminutive diamonds sparkling in the light. "It's beautiful," I breathed. And it truly was. That tiny gift was the best I ever received. It was the most stunning object I had ever laid eyes on. I slipped it onto one of my chubby fingers and smiled, gazing down at my present.
Then came another shock. When Mother opened the kitchen door, a black-and-white kitten bounded right through her legs and leaped into my lap. Laughing merrily, I stroked its fur.
"Her name is Storm," I decided matter-of-factly. "Storm." At the sound of her new name, the kitten licked my cheek with her pink sandpaper tongue and I giggled.
He escorts me into his house, which is almost a replica of mine. Same carpeted, regal white stairs and burnished rail spiraling to the second floor. Same creamy, circular living room with that fireplace beckoning you over, inviting you for a cup of hot chocolate. Only the furniture is unique; he's added his own touch to the place. It's more homely.
"Want some strawberries?" asks Wolf, leading me to the kitchen. "I just bought them earlier. The packet hasn't even been opened."
I shrug. "Yeah, I guess. Got any cheese?"
With a light laugh, he opens the refrigerator door. I try to peek inside, but all I see is a few bags of fruit and vegetables and some sauces. There's a lot more, but the rest is out of view. "Here you go."