Prologue Part I:
Colette Levine-Kane, 8, District Two Resident
As I walk around the playground, I continue to shuffle my feet and kick at the dirty rocks just lying there. I'm the last one here, and all of my friends have left with their parents. It sucks, always being the last one of your friends to get picked up; I can't count how many times Dad- I mean Hero... has failed to pick me up early.
I know that he's a Victor and all, and that he has work to do, but that doesn't mean he can't take time out of his day to pick me up first for once. All of my friends continue to laugh at me all-day everyday. The fact that I was taken away from my real dad is bad enough to handle, with all the immature brats teasing me about it every single day, but not having a mother as well...
That's just the icing on the cake.
Sometimes life is difficult, and I question why I live it. But then other times I knock myself out of these deep thoughts, realizing that there's so much more to do than wait on people. I can handle myself, I'm a young, talented, independent female, so there's no reason why I should let other people get in my way of success.
What I do is my business and what they do is theirs. But still. You'd think once – not twice, but just once – that I'd be the first to go home, being picked up with my legs over Hero's shoulder, him holding them and walking me home as I wave to all my friends, yelling, ''How's it feel now, huh, seeing me as the first to leave?! Later!''
But it's fine, it really is. I don't care anymore, and whatever anyone says won't bother me, because I can-
''Colette!'' Two voices call out at once; one familiar – Hero's, obviously – and one not so familiar. Slowly turning, I come to face with a woman who I swear I've seen before. When I lift my head up to look at Hero, he chuckles proudly and places his hand on my head, ruffling my hair up a bit.
''Hey!'' I shout, in a playful way. ''Quit it, you jerk!''
He stops instantly, something that he's never done before, and puts both of his hands behind his back. ''Colette, take a closer look,'' he says, slowly moving his eyes to the side. I follow the same way his eyes do, now locking eyes with the beautiful woman in front of me; her long, straight brown hair shimmers beautifully in the light, her gray eyes pop out and resemble mine, just a little bit, and the longer I stare into them, the more they begin to frighten me – just like how people have told me my eyes do the same to them...
''W-Who are you?'' I ask timidly, still staring straight into the eyes of this woman. Then it hits me. Her face! I've seen it before – in a picture or something, I'm not sure – but I know for a fact that I've seen it! Wait... ''Isha?!'' I ask, unable to remove my gaze from her figure. ''No... Mom!''
She smiles sweetly at me, but her face soon begins faltering. First, her nose grows very red at the tip; then, her small mouth screws itself around by her left ear; and gradually, her face wrinkles in happiness. And if you listen intently and watch closely, you could hear small sniffs and see a pair of tears racing down her cheeks.
''Honey, I missed you!'' She says shakily, wrapping me around in a tight embrace. She presses my body against hers, her smooth skin warm with a tender feeling to it. Now I can't help but shed a few tears myself. Quickly, I stare up, the tears blinding my vision, but I still reach my hand out to get a hold of Hero's.
''You brought her to me,'' I sniff, trying my best to laugh but my shaky voice won't allow me to. ''Thank you so much!'' I nudge at his hand, trying to pull him into the hug. ''Get in here, you!''
Like I asked, Hero wraps both of his arms around the two of us, and we stand like this for minutes on end. To me, this is a family. The one that I've always wanted, and the one that I finally got.
''It's been too long, Colette,'' Mom sniffs, still smiling genuinely. ''I'm finally back, with you and Hero. We can grow together, learn from each other, and be toget-''
My eyes open like two flashlight beams, knocking me right out of that dream... Though my eyes are open, I can't think of why. My heart is pounding, my mind empty. It's as if adrenaline has been emptied into my stomach. I shake my head vigorously, knocking myself completely awake and away from the inactivity going on in my mind.
Slowly, I hop out of bed and get myself prepared – I brush my teeth quickly, hop into the shower and out, and manage to groom my hair and lay out my clothes just in time, before Hero and I have to go back to District One. I know that Hero has to be back today, because of the Reaping tomorrow, so I want to make him happy and proud when he sees me all prepared.
Now checking the time, I jump back in shock, realizing that I'm six hours ahead of the time that I was supposed to wake up at. Shaking my head in disappointment, I suck my teeth and snap my fingers while slowly walking back to bed, and kick my slippers off. ''You've got to be kidding me,'' I sigh. ''What am I supposed to do now?''
Go back to sleep, my mind tells me, but that isn't possible. When it comes to me, you just can't go back to sleep – it's utterly impossible! At least I have my dollies and tea cups to keep me busy; they're all that I need in order to enjoy myself, besides fun-time with Hero. Those are always great, playing with that old goofball!
''Colette!'' Mom's face flashes into my mind, and just like that I remember what I was dreaming about – her, and me, and Hero! Forcefully, I kick myself out of bed, again, and rush to my closet – yes, I ignored the clothes that I put out before, those don't matter now. Trying my hardest to find a coat, I finally grab one, take it out and put it on.
Quietly opening up my door, I slowly shut it, making sure that I don't wake Hero up. I scurry down the stairs with my bunny slippers and blue pajama pants on, opening and closing the front double-doors just like I did with my room door.
After shutting the door, I take off sprinting, my small legs carrying me further and further until I finally reach District Two's main cemetery. Unlike the morgues – where all the dead tribute bodies go to – here, at the cemetery, lies all of the other dead bodies. Although my mother's body isn't here, her tombstone and a picture of her is, along with rows of flowers.
I look around, staring at the row of tombstones that stand erect in silence to the left and right, in front and behind, like a sea of the dead. Some of them are crumbled with the weathering of centuries, some were smooth marble with new black writing and laid with floral tributes. Most, though, were overgrown and unkempt. Sometimes I wonder how a place could be so full and empty at the same time.
Shaking my head vigorously, I bring my mind back to why I came here – to visit my mother one last time before heading off. At the end of the rows, where two mighty tombstones stand, both engraved with multiple messages stating how much they were loved, and their pictures carved on all sides, showing their beauty and how much they were adored here in District Two. Looking at these two graves makes me smile, yet it also makes me sad at the same time.
The grave next to mom's belongs to a boy named Asyrin Katchet, who placed sixth last year after a stab through the ribs, but unfortunately, he took my mom down with him, as she placed fifth. It sucks, but at least they were friends in their final moments of life. I wonder if they're roaming around in Heaven somewhere, holding hands and staring down at Hero and I. I sure hope so.
But this is kinda depressing. Life is but a roaming shadow, as we can see here. Life is just something that struts and frets his few moments upon the stage, and then is heard no longer. It's a tale imparted by a foolish wit, full of noise and fury and pain and anguish and so much more... yet meaningless nonetheless. Such a beautiful lie, yet also a depressing truth.
Suddenly, I feel a hand grab my shoulder, the touch warm with a feeling of love. ''How'd I know you'd be here?'' Hero asks, a sparkle in his eyes. I nudge my hand and elbow him in the stomach softly.
''Because you know me well, doofus!'' I joke, wrapping my arms around his waist in a hug. ''I'm sorry, I just couldn't help myself. I just had to visit her once more, to tell her how much I love her... You understand, don't you?''
''Of course I understand,'' he holds my hand. ''Say, while we're here, why don't we pay our respects to your mother? You know, to show her how much we care about her. And we can't forget about Asyrin either, you know.''
''But I don't even know Asyrin!'' I pout.
''Colette, play nice,'' Hero smiles. ''He was your mother's friend, after all, so the least we can do is share some love to him as well.''
''Alright, fine!'' I agree. ''But I won't enjoy it-''
''Hero!'' President Real's face appears from Hero's holographic watch – the one he was given right after he became a Victor. ''The plans have changed, I need you back in District One in three hou-'' He stops abruptly. ''Child, where have you gotten yourself lost off to now?''
''I'm not lost, sir,'' Hero groans. ''I'm at the cemetery with Colette. We're here to pay Isha and Asyrin one last-''
''I don't care about that.'' He cuts in. ''Anyway, get back to District One, now! There's a train waiting for the both of you, so hurry up. I've changed the Reaping time, and neither me, or anyone else in Panem, wants their newest Victor to arrive late, so get going!''
With that, he disappears and leaves. ''Jeez, what a douche!'' I groan, placing my hands behind the back of my head.
''Colette, don't use that type of language,'' Hero says, reaching down to pick me up. I let go of my head and raise my hands up, allowing him to place me on his shoulders.
''Sorry!'' I quickly cover my mouth. ''Watching that Asyrin guy you were friends with really made me acquire some... inappropriate language.''
Hero chuckles, looking at me through his peripheral vision. ''Doesn't mean you have to copy him, and you know that.'' He's right, I really shouldn't. ''Besides, you don't need to follow what other people do. You're an independent young woman who knows what she wants in life, so be yourself and do as you please, okay? You're going far, kid. Just like your mother.''
''Why, thank you,'' I flip my hair. ''I'm flattered that you think that. You know, when I am big and out in the World, I'll bring you along with me whenever I go on one of my famous journeys!''
We both begin to laugh now, with enormous grins on our faces. ''I can't wait.''
''But seriously, that President sure is an ass- I mean, butthole! I don't like him,'' I state. ''Besides, who gets up way before the time arrives just to tell someone to do something? That's so unfair for the other people who have to deal with their lack of sympathy, you get me?''
Hero stops real quick and turns his face to the side. He smiles and then gives me an accusatory look, and I'm taken aback. ''N-No, what I did was different! Y-You d-don't understand, I had t-to-''
''I totally understand,'' he reassures. ''I would've done the same if I was in your situation. You don't need to be nervous. I just want to let you know that I can't wait to see what big things you do when you're older. Isha would be proud of you. Hey, I bet she's smiling at us from Heaven right now.''
My face turns red and I begin to blush, but I still maintain my composure. Now leaning closer to Hero's face, I give him a quick peck on the cheek and say, ''This is why I love you, Hero.''
''I love you, too, Colette.''
''Good!'' I cheer. ''Now, go forward, pony! Forward, I said!''
''B-But that's not where our destination is located!''
''I do not care, you are my pony, and you will listen to what I say. Now forward!''
Just as Hero begins to pick up speed, he trips over a rock and face plants into the ground, bringing me down with him. I fall right beside him, but his hand cushions my landing. ''You're such a clumsy fool!''
Sliding closer towards him, I place one of my arms each around the bottom of his chin and on top of his head, smiling brightly as I place my forehead on his forehead.
''But you're my clumsy fool.''
A/N: Hey, and welcome to my third SYOT! And also the sequel to Second Chance. For those of you reading SC, I know that I haven't finished it yet (there's still one more chapter), and this first POV might be a bit confusing. I know, but trust me: everything will be cleared up and you'll see exactly why we're at this point in the next chapter. Whenever I get it out, that is... Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed the prologue. At the moment of me writing this, I still haven't figured out a name for this story, and I'm not going back to edit this A/N, so yeah... XD And for those of you who are new, if you want to you can read Second Chance, but you don't have to. I don't mind you submitting without knowing exactly what's going on. :)
Also, the rules for this story will be posted on my profile, all the way at the bottom. Just as a warning, this story WILL have cursing in it. I cannot lie to you and say that it won't, so if you're uncomfortable with that to a point where you can't handle it, I suggest clicking off of this story. Secondly, I will NOT have any trigger warnings. So if there's drug usage, alcohol abuse, domestic violence or whatever, I won't put a warning in because I don't like letting people know what happens in the beginning of a POV or whatever. I just feel like that removes all the surprise from it, and the tributes will be looked at differently, so yeah. And thirdly, I don't care what type of tribute you submit – you can make it a necrophiliac, an abused tribute, a prostitute, a killer, a trans, a homophobic, a gay/lesbian; whatever your heart desires. I don't mind anything. And for strengths and weaknesses, please don't give me sentences. I would much prefer if you could give me a list of adjectives, so an example would be like:
Strengths: Diligent, Beguiling, Vigorous, Composed
Weaknesses: Loyal, Manipulated, Obsessive, Oblivious
I just put random ones down, but you get the point xD So yeah, besides that, I hope that you take your time to submit a tribute! I can't wait to see where this story takes off, and I know that whatever tributes I receive will be great, so I'm excited about that. Besides that, I think I'm done here and wanna wrap this up. Do let me know your opinions on this prologue and what you think. If you don't mind, I have a few questions I'd like for you all to answer, if it's not too much trouble. :)
What do you think of Colette?
Do you like her and Hero's relationship?
How did you like the prologue overall?
Are you planning on submitting?
Anyway, that's all for now. Once again, thank you for reading, and I hope that you all enjoyed. Please follow, favorite, review, and submit. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I wouldn't mind answering any of them. So that's all, for now. Oh, and the Deadline for this story is Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 12PM Eastern Time. Ugh, looking back on this A/N, I see myself as a strict person. I'm totally not, by the way, so I just wanted to let you know to have fun while submitting these tributes. I'll see you all next time, and have a wonderful day/night! :)