AN: This story is written by using a set of prompts from the Caesar's Palace Forum. I wrote them in the order they were presented and rearranged them to fit a more chronological order. To add to the challenge, each prompt is exactly 100 words. I found inspiration in Tomorrow is a Stranger whose author deserves the hugest of hugs for her lovely beta work and support. Estoma, I couldn't have done it without you. You make me a better writer every day.
The prompts are used to tell snippets of a true story with a character, I feel, is strong enough to bear it. It contains heavy adult themes pertaining to sexual abuse, rape and murder.
Comments/reviews are welcome.
Five years before she would be crowned victor, a young girl bleeds for the first time, another step in the inevitable process of becoming a woman. Her breasts are no longer the small buds she once detested and the lines of her chin strengthen and lifts a little higher with the new found confidence of growing up. Five years before she would be noticed by all of Panem, the young woman catches the eyes of another, not sober or young, lively eyes - but of her father. Although she is no longer a child, she is still her daddy's little girl.
Five years before sweet, meaningless nothings are murmured in backrooms of parties, her father quietly calls her name in the night, pleading for her to come outside. She scrambles from her bed, eager to assist in his time of need. Slurred, painful breaths ask of her help and explain why outside in the woodshed is best as to not wake Mother. His work at the mill has left his muscles suffering. When she finishes kneading the knots in his shoulder, other muscles lower and lower beg for attention. Five years before she was paid to touch, her hand is forced.
Five years before she would spend forty nights in the Capitol, lying in the fine silk sheets of the rich and colorful citizens and allow them to grace her naked body with their gold and jewels, a young woman will spend forty months on her knees in the dry sticks and needles of the forest she calls 7. No enchanting tale can keep her father from beckoning her in the cold twilight hours to the woodshed, where her hands and mouth entertain him instead. She will always be his favorite he says as he strokes her hair below his belt.
Five years before her image would appear on banners and buildings, a young woman hides among the trees - begging the sun to stay out a little longer. For when the sun goes to bed, the moon can do nothing but watch as her father poses her among the cord of wood as he captures digital images of her to trade with the Peacekeepers. Some nights are as quiet as the frozen stream when his devious income supplies him with an unshakable slumber. Five years before she knows no one will open her bedroom door, she sits in the dark, waiting.
Five years before she shares drinks with a fellow Victor, she tastes liquor for the first time on her father's lips. Five years before she feels soft, pristine hands graze her naked flesh, calloused fingers venture inside her. Five years before she sees the brightly colored rooms and occupants, she sees only dark shadows. She grows accustomed to the taste, feel and sight of iniquities, as well as the vengeful thoughts that fill her head. Five years before she hears whispers of admiration, she hears moans mixed with threats if she tells. Only in the silence does she feel safe.
Five years before she would kill a boy her own age, she kisses a boy her own height. She startles him when she parts his lips with her tongue and her hands find their way to his belt without hesitation. Even though this is her first real kiss, he calls her a whore and runs away. The peacekeepers already know, because they had seen her images, but the children make up their minds. Five years before she praises the Capitol, she tries to convince the others she is just like them - she tries to convince herself she is still innocent.
Five years before she would smile and wave at the cameras and clients, she lovingly smiles at her mother even though splinters left festering marks on her backside and his taste is still on her tongue. Five years before she would be portrayed a weakling, killer, victor and soon to be property all in one day, she is a daughter, sister, friend, child and plaything. She is an object to be desired before and after she swings her axe. As the leaves and caterpillars have their seasons for changing, she has only the time it takes a tear to fall.
Five years before her goal was to survive, she tries to make her father happy. When he is happy, he is quieter and he doesn't strike her mother. It is only the days that left him sore and parched from the mill, that his gullet is filled with white liquor to ease the tension in his back, that he whispers her name. Five years before she would be a victor, she is his sweet, little girl who makes him feel better. Yet she's no longer that little girl, but a protector against the nocturnal evil from reaching her loved ones.
Five years before she buries her blade in the belly of the boy from 2, she grips the rough wooden handle in fear for the first time, hiding the axe between the logs in the shed. Five years before she gave up being an expensive distraction in the Capitol, she realizes that no matter the favors, she will never be able to suffice. Her father's belligerent fists were turning on her brother and his unfulfilled desires were drifting dangerously close to her sister. Five years before she kills for her own life in the arena, she kills for her siblings'.
Five years before she hides from her enemies, she leads her father behind the house to the woodshed. She even asks him what he wants her to do to him, hoping the thoughts of his desires arouse him before her hands have to. Five years before she lets the career strike her to the ground, she lets her father smell her hair one last time before she turns and swings her hatchet upwards into his chest. Five years before she waited to hear the trumpets, she watches her father fall. They said she was weak, but she just needed time.
Five years before she hears the final canon, knowing there will be no more bloodshed, she sits in her bed and smiles, knowing the man outside, face down in the dry sticks and needles, will no longer whisper her name in the night. The moon even glows a bit brighter, rejoicing in her victory, telling her that she knew all along the young woman from 7 would triumph. Given enough time, her enemies, present and future, she would demonstrate her wicked abilities. Five years before she loses everything to the fire, she gains everything with the power of her axe.
Five years before she had to identify the charred remains of her family, she takes her mother's place in identifying her father's body. When she sees his contorted body rolled over onto his back, already set in rigor, she smiles at the depth the axe has plunged into his sternum. His face is purple and red, twisted and flattened from its resting place on the ground. He was a handsome man, but this is the best he has ever looked. When the officer explains her father must have fallen over drunk, she plays her tears of joy for those of sadness.
Five years before she holds a knife to a client's jaw after he attempted to take her from behind, she watches the blood bubble from her father's mouth and she holds her breath until his last. He once broke down in her arms, apologizing for making her bite down on a handkerchief to keep quiet. Five years before the fire that would be ignited by her insubordination that claimed her family was deemed an accident, the peacekeepers write off her crime, for they were as guilty as he when they purchased her images. Everyone knows the truth - yet none accepts.
Five years before she would break her contract with Snow, she makes a promise with the peacekeepers to have her name strategically placed on the top of the slivers of paper in the crystal bowl, to be plucked out and read while officials look away and Panem awaits another tribute. They say she should be jailed for committing such a crime but in fact the real criminals in white know what she is now capable of. Five years before she says no for the first time, she stands on the stage, ready to fight for her family and life, again.
15. Vena cava
Five years after she says she has no one left, she wraps her arms around her husband and takes in the view of the mountain District she now calls home. His touch is all the protection she needs and his kiss is the kind she always deserved. Five years after the walls of the arena shatter, her heart is restored with two extra pieces, one stands beside her while the other grows in her belly. Though the past is rooted like the pines, old memories fall away to the breeze. The moon no longer looks away, she smiles with Johanna.