Author: Maria Sunderland PM
One-Shot. Haymitch Abernathy won the 50th annual Hunger Games. He showed off to the Capitol and paid for it. Then comes the 51st Hunger Games, the first one he must mentor, and the first of many he will lose. This is the result of his first loss and how it will affect him. Rated M for violence.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Haymitch A. - Words: 2,217 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8259680
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games or its characters, which belong to Suzanne Collins. No copyright infringement intended.
Note: This is a story I came up with on a whim. I do hope you will enjoy this quick, one shot.
District 12 lost.
I let that sink in while the train takes me back to District 12. Last year, I won the Hunger Games. I foiled the Gamemakers by using the force field that held the arena together against them. I thought I was a genius. I thought they would applaud me. "Clever Haymitch!", they'd say. "Great job! Maybe you could work with us on the next arena! We need brains like yours!"
Well, that's what I had in mind when I won. That way I didn't have to think about Maysilee. Or the kid I had to kill to escape the Careers before she showed up.
Instead, they crowned me victor, sent me home, and my family, my girlfriend, Moira, were dead within two weeks of my return. I'm fairly certain they were poisoned. I found my mother with the burning pan fused to her cheek on the floor when she gripped it as she collapsed; probably an attempt to grab onto something as her legs failed to support her. The look of shock and horror on her face when I found her told me she had time to suffer as the hot metal and boiling oil cooked her face before she died.
My father dropped dead in the mines about an hour later. His end was less gruesome then my mother's I suppose. Did it hurt less? Well, I was told he twitched for about twenty minutes, that his mouth foamed white and red all that time. His eyes were bloodied from the strain his body was in until his heart stopped. So I don't know if it hurt more or less then my mother. It wasn't pleasant that's for sure.
Moira... Moira went to sleep one night and didn't wake up. Following my victory in the Games, her parents forbid me to see her. I walked away, not arguing. I was smart. I'd think of a plan. I had played the Gamemakers of the Capitol. Two parents of a Seam girl sure as hell weren't going to keep me front seeing her.
President Coriolanus Snow did.
The next morning after I was told I could not see Moira again, she was found laying in her blood soaked bed. Her mattress had absorbed a lot, but much of it had slipped to the floor, through the large cracks, and dropped on the kitchen table below. That's how her parents knew something was wrong. I was never allowed to see her. They said it was suicide. Her arms were opened from her wrists to the inside of her elbows.
I don't believe it.
I knew what was happening and I was not going to let the Capitol break me because I showed them up. They were too stupid to realize their mistake. Fine. I wouldn't admit to the anger and sorrow that gripped me. Sure, I only slept during the day and carried a knife with me at all times, even when I did sleep. And sure, I watched my food for hours, smelled it, touched it, before I would dare put it in my mouth, by then cold and tasteless. I even managed to get myself geese from the Capitol and fed them half my plate, watching to see if they wouldn't keel over and die - even if I had been the one cooking the food.
Not a single one of them died and they reproduced like stupid rabbits. Of course the Capitol wouldn't let me give the excess to the District and they were brought back to feed the already gluttonous bastards of the big metropolis.
Then came the uneventful Victory Tour. Glaring eyes were on me. They didn't like that a district like mine would be allowed victory. I didn't care. Their anger fueled my determination, my smugness, which was all I had left not to lose it to the nightmares that plagued me. Nightmares of the games, Maysilee taking her last, bloody breath, my mother's contorted, burned face.
And then, months later, was the time I would shine again. I'd show the Capitol they had won nothing. They could take away those I loved but I would always show them. I was not broken. The two reaped kids showed promise. The girl was my age when I was reaped. She died electrified three hours after the game started. The boy was fourteen, scared to death, and died at the Cornucopia, his head crushed and becoming one with the horn thanks to a Career with a mace. The hover plane alone wasn't enough to remove him from the field. They had to temporarily seal off access to the Cornucopia at the beginning of the Games so they could scrape what was left off the metal, holding onto a dangling body.
This didn't go as planned.
Well, no matter. I'll just go home. Try again next year. Maybe I'll get a better pair of tributes. Those two were clearly not skilled enough. I shrug, watching as the familiar grounds of District 12 appear in the window. The train pulls up, I grab my bag and step off onto the platform. Last year it was packed. This year I expect it to be empty.
Ten feet from me stands a couple. A woman whose bloodshot eyes tell me she's been crying a whole lot, and a man, about six feet and built like an obvious miner, eyes me with disdain.
"So we didn't win this year", I tell them with a shrug. "I can't do everything. You'll have to find another way to feed yourselves until next year, instead of depending on me."
This has the woman burst into hysterics. She rushes at me, pounding my chest. I can't make out what she's saying, between her wailing and snort filled gurgles. I push her back and step away from her with a frown.
She collapses on the ground in front of me. She calls me heartless, a bastard, and a lot of nasty things my mother would have washed my mouth with soap over. I look to my right in time to see the hook come my way. I don't have time to evade it and I go down, sprawled on the ground. The train departs with a hiss of smoke which engulfs the platform long enough to have about a dozen people surround me when I come to.
My jaw's hurting. My head's pounding. There's the familiar taste of copper in my mouth as blood seeps across my tongue from where I bit my cheek. I spit on the ground and struggle back on my feet. I'm ready for a fight if that's what they want! Haymitch Abernathy doesn't back down from fights, no sir!
The woman who gripped me earlier is now clinging to my legs, gazing up at me with so much sorrow my heart begins breaking -
- NO! I won't give in! I won't let them break me!
I try to shove the woman away but she won't let go until she grabs onto my collar, her face in kissing distance. Her breath is warm. It holds the salt like smell of tears. Finally, this close, I make out a word other then cussing or wishes of my demise. A name. Her daughter's name is the name of the girl I mentored into the arena. The one who lasted no more then three hours on the first day. Her mother was forced to watch as her only daughter burned to a crisp agonizingly slow, screaming, crying for the Gamemakers to make it stop, let her die and worst of all, screaming for her mother to help her. She felt the whole thing until the end because the current, while strong, wasn't strong enough to kill in one go. She watched as her only daughter's eyes exploded in a gush of fire and leaked on black, burned cheeks; watched as her only daughter's auburn hair caught fire. The Capitol spared no detail of her death, as they spared no detail on anyone's death. Hers was particularly spectacular.
I feel myself quiver, frozen in place as this woman hits me repeatedly with hardly any strength left. I killed her daughter. I failed to protect her. I realize then that the people around me, those who then proceed to beat me right there on the platform, are relatives of the dead tributes I failed to mentor. For a while I fight back, giving the big brother of the boy whose head became one with the Cornucopia a headache he'll remember a long time, but he comes back at me with a kick in the stomach that has me vomit any food I had on the train on the way home. Then I give in. I let them beat me until they're satisfied. I'm too cocky to apologize. Too cocky to admit I screwed up.
They leave me in my pool of multicolored vomit - cupcakes and fruits, ladies and gentlemen - and blood. I don't know how long I stay there. An hour? A day?
I force myself to get up; force myself to walk on home to the Victor's Village on my own because no one, not my parents, not Moira, or my old friends who have since deserted me, will come fetch me or help me. People eye me in the square. I hear someone say I should have died in the arena last year. I give that person the flip and receive something upside the head. From the sound of it, it's a glass bottle. Luckily it doesn't shatter on impact or when it hits the ground, but I still go down like a rock. I hear laughter but it comes from miles away.
When I get up, people are staring and I don't understand why. I'm as bloodied and beaten as I was when I walked on by. I smell as much like shit as I did before. What changed?
Someone shouts that I'm crying. "I'm not", I cry back though it doesn't sound like my own voice. They're right. I'm sobbing like a child. My eyes sting, my cheeks are wet and I'm making this completely vulnerable sound of despair they didn't even hear when they buried my mother and father. Hell, I didn't even cry at my parents' funerals. I was too angry with the Capitol - made me look like the king of assholes to everyone else because they couldn't understand what was going through my head at the time.
When I reach my house in the empty Village, there's a package on the steps of my porch. I wipe the snot from my nose and upper lip with the sleeve of my jacket. Even with my nose so clogged up my ears are popping, I can smell the strong, sickening perfume of roses coming from it. I contemplate not opening it but my hands move on their own. What I find inside is a bottle of fine whiskey.
I sit in the steps, wincing as every part of my body screams in protest. Night is fast approaching, but the sky is bright enough for me to make out the note attached to the bottle. I chuckle against my own judgement because in fact, this is what just did it for me. This is what breaks me. A single note. Ten words.
Ten words and I'm done for.
I look at the bottle another while, unsure. Maybe it's poison. Maybe I won't have to look at the tributes I failed whenever I close my eyes, or their families as they wail and rage and, rightfully, detest everything that I am.
I tear the cap off the bottle, smell it, feel the hairs in my nostrils curl. I also feel a strong sense of relief. I take a first sip and choke on it. But every gulp becomes easier. Every gulp keeps me away from the horrors. Every swallow has me escape the guilt a little more.
And soon, I feel light and without a worry.
The smell of the whiskey, for now, has outlasted that of the roses.
It is poison. Just not the kind I expected. It numbs my body from the pain, both physical and emotional, so I accept it.
I take the note, look at it again. I have to squint because it's gotten much darker now, but also because the words are dancing in front of my eyes. I burst out laughing again, sounding deranged.
Upon the card, smeared with my own blood, it reads:
May the odds be ever in your favor.
- Coriolanus Snow.