I look at myself in the mirror this morning and notice a difference from yesterday. My hair is still golden and luscious, my face still unreachable and powerful, I still look the same. There is no visible change to me, not since I won the hunger games, unlike my father who wore down at every stunt I pulled, every person I killed. They still haunt me at night, in nightmares. But during the day I am safe, during the day I am protected. My father has changed considerably since I was reaped. But me? No. I do not look different but I act different, I am always alert, ready. I am no longer so stuck up, I have began to treasure human life and the lesson that Vivian taught me was that I should be kind to others. It doesn't mean I'm always nice, I mean, I'm human. But I try. But really that is beside the point. I have changed since yesterday, though I am not doing anything differently. I am just the same old me, the same old Kara Jaymond. But I am sixteen.
My reflection still stares back and I pick up my ring from my bedside table. It is three rings welded together. It may look like nothing but it means more to me than anything else in the world. The centre ring was my mothers; it is a deep blue sapphire which twinkles like my eyes, resting on a single gold loop. Below it is a pearl, attached to a gold loop, just as my sapphire was. I promised June I'd give it to her mother and I did. But her mother didn't want it and I saw her chuck it into the street as soon as I handed it to her. So I went back and scrabbled around in the dirt until I found it and convinced the local blacksmith to weld them together to make a double ring.
Then I examine the third and final part of this ring. This was given to me by Precious Good and is Anvike Tall's ring, it was his district token. He gave it to her but she couldn't bear the burden so she gave it to me. I was going to put it on her grave but then I remembered her telling me that she didn't want it, that it haunted her, so I attached the silver ring onto mine, the heart shaped diamond winking at me from the top. It could have looked a lot prettier and with my new found wealth and my home in victor's village but no, I kept it as it is, I've had enough of the Capitol enhancing the way I look, yet alone changing my life.
But as I know it's my birthday I also know one other thing, the reaping is in a week. The thought almost paralyses me. The reaping, just under one year ago my life was turned upside down when I was reaped into the hunger games alongside, alongside... Vivian.
I don't want to think about it, I just don't. But the faces grin at me from inside my mind, Dral, Vivian, June, Precious. Dead, dead, DEAD! I clasp my head and fall back onto my bed, my thoughts confused. They're dead, all dead, I mustn't blame myself though, I've had enough of blaming myself. It was the Capitol that did that to them, not me, the Capitol.
I gulp back tears and stagger downstairs, gripping the banister. I am still wearing my pajamas when I get down to the bottom of the stairs and become face to face with dad. I smile a warm, coaxing smile. Dad. His health hasn't been looking too great but that shouldn't be a problem, he'll be fine. He's always fine. But dad doesn't return the smile and I look at him, puzzled.
"Dad, what's wrong?" I ask but then freeze when I see the door to his study behind him left open slightly ajar and the man sitting on the desk, smiling at us as if we were just small ants he is examining, petty and feeble and easy to crush. I look up and dad and he gives me a scared look and I slowly walk past him and knock onto the door of the study. If Snow's here it can't be too good, if Snow's here the tiny sanction I have built up around myself and my father will be flattened, badly.
"Enter." A voice rasps, his voice, president Snow's voice. I shiver at the maliciousness and enter, only realizing when I get in that I am only in my pajamas. I stare awkwardly at Snow who is tapping a pen on my father's table, creating a steady beat. He beckons for me to sit down and reluctantly I draw back the chair opposite and place myself on it, remaining alert and careful. Snow looks up from the table and his eyes lock with mine. I don't blink or even flinch and I can smell the sweet scent of roses mingled with blood from his mouth. I don't even want to know what the blood is from; I just want to know why Snow is here, in both me and my father's house. His eyes break from mine and he spends a minute looking at me, his eyes scanning me as a jaguar would do to its prey, then he silently gets up and heads towards the door. But I can't let him go. What is he doing here?
"Why did you come here?" I ask and Snow looks at me and smiles, a bitter, cold, reluctant smile which sends shivers of fear down my spine and makes me freeze, as if paralysed, in the seat in my own house, scared out of my wits. So I just stay still, his malicious smile breaking my thoughts. Then his mouth twists out of a smile and grimaces at me, then lets out a few words which stick to my consciousness, creating fear and terror to say the least.
"To see you Kara Jaymond. To see you."
So there it is, the end of Gnawing Hunger and its epilogue. But it's not the end of Kara or her story. I have a sequel and a prequel out there for you to enjoy too!
Now I want to say a thank you to everyone who has reviewed and a special thank you to my first proper reviewers, tmousey21 and Let The Foxx Fly who have been following me all through this. And a huge thank you to anyone who has read all of this and I hope that this maybe inspired you to write something long too because this is my first long story I've written, before this everything was just a few pages but this along with your amazing reviewing has started to convince me that maybe I could get something published, but that's really a dream for the future, at least ten years anyway, maybe more.
I have to also say that this was done in record time! I wrote this in about a quarter of a year, so if you think of it like that you probably notice how much I have dedicated to this. I'm actually sad it's over now, I was getting really attached to Kara, but I guess that's why I'm writing a sequel and prequel, I just couldn't bear the thought of letting her go! I have done so many Gnawing hunger related things it's ridiculous, I even drew pictures of all of Kara's outfits and have a giant map of the arena in my room! I tried drawing the characters but decided that it wasn't such a good idea really after such a failed attempt. The sequel is probably going to be more like the other hunger games books, the second and the third, but I didn't like those as much as the first so I am going to try and get it to be more like this! Below is the Gnawing Hunger related things I have put up and a brief summary about what they are as well as a link to get to them.
For the link just put 'h_t_t_p_:_w_w_w_._f_a_n_f_i_c_t_i_o_n (without the underscores) in front of each one.
Enter The Everlasting Black – The songs from Gnawing hunger re-sang but in different one-shots by different people in different circumstances. But all of the people have a connection to characters in Gnawing hunger.
The Realisation of Hunger – A collection of one-shots from Gnawing Hunger such as hidden scenes and ones from different people's eyes. I take requests of what to do!
Shattered Hearts – The sequel to Gnawing Hunger. Kara Jaymond may have won the hunger games but it's far from over. Forced to mentor tributes and with a much worse fate hanging in the air, Kara has to make a decision which will either make her or break her.
Falling For Him – The prequel to Gnawing hunger. "I, Marie Eyre, am getting married today. And I'm pregnant with another man's child." You only heard a brief glimpse about what really happened with Kara's parents. A tale full of deceit, lies, class division and forbidden love. Not to mention the hunger games.
Yes, so this is officially the end of Gnawing Hunger, but like I said before, there is a sequel and a prequel, just I hope you prefer their names than 'Gnawing Hunger'. Believe it or not, originally this was called 'Kara's Hunger Games', then I called it 'Kill or be Killed' and finally I settled on 'Gnawing Hunger'.
Thank you so much again to everyone who has read and reviewed this far and remember, if you want a beta reader I'm just a PM away! I really hope you enjoyed this!