Characters: Gale Hawthorne and OCs.
Notes: This was inspired by a PJO fanfic I read and a book called "Looking for JJ." Both were very good reads, and if I can remember their authors, I'll say. This is my first fic like this, but as many teenagers will agree, I do love a bit of angst. Katniss' daughter has blonde hair, to fit the plot line. "Jay Carnefex" is derived from, of course, Mockingjay, and Carnefex is a name derived from Ancient Rome, inkeeping with the District 2 tradition.
Warning: Extremely dark. Rated M for torture, murder, and depressing themes.
In hindsight, Gale should've realised that Catnip wouldn't pick up the phone. He gave his fake name without hesitation, but it didn't change anything. They didn't know who he was, but that didn't matter now. They would soon.
"Hello?" A small voice answered. It had none of her fire. In some ways, Gale was glad. He could pretend that this little girl was his child. It was easier that way.
"Hello," he replied simply, his voice catching in his throat. There was silence on the other end of the line. She coughed blatantly.
"This is the Mellark household. Can I do anything for you?" Her voice was formal, refined. Nothing like Katniss at all. Still, when she said "Mellark", his heart skipped a horrible beat. He waited for another prompt, but the girl remained silent.
"This is Jay Carnefex," he told her, before realising that this meant nothing to her ignorant mind. "Is your mother Katniss Everdeen?"
The girl paused, as if considering the name. Maybe it was wrong. Maybe she didn't end up with him. Maybe there was still hope.
"There's my mother, Katniss Mellark. Is that whom you were referring to?" She sounded so timid and sweet. Gale didn't like her, but the thing was, she wasn't like Peeta or Katniss. He wondered what horrors caused this girl to be so unmanageable and soft.
"Yes," he choked back, the wheels in his brain whirring. This could change everything. This could save him.
"I'll pass you over immediately." He waited by the phone, hearing faint, arguing voices in the background. One was defensive and stubborn, the other quiet and... defeated?
Suddenly, the noises became louder, and Gale could hear the distinct noise of a phone being passed between two hands.
"Sorry, that was my daughter, Victorie. She's quite shy on the phone. This is Katniss Mellark; how can I help?"
Gale didn't know what to say, and so he was silent as he listened to her breathing into the speaker. He coughed, clearing his throat of the tears. "This is Jay Carnefex," he told Catnip, waiting for any reaction; none came. He could imagine her scrunching up her eyebrows in thought.
"I'm sorry, but do I know you?"
This sent him over the edge. It was irrational; irresponsible. Why should she know his fake name, given to him by Paylor to secure his safety and a normal life? Why shouldn't she only remember the name that killed her sister?
"No," Gale said, but his voice had taken on a steely quality. If she hated him now, she was going to realise that this felt like love compared to what would come soon.
"But you will."
Scene 1 - Valentine Quarry
Gale saw her first. It was three days after the phone call that changed his broken, messed up mind, and he was watching a small girl pass by his house. She pulled her collar closer around her neck to fight the piercing, November rain.
He closed the curtains in his window, and picked up the object resting by his front door. It was an old, basic, pre-Panem weapon. Apparently it had been used to play some sort of game, but anybody could look at it and know its true purpose. He reached for a pair of sunglasses and slipped them onto his olive-skinned face.
Everybody knew the war hero Gale Hawthorne. Nobody knew the name Jay Carnefex, but they would; they all would.
He opened the door silently, and crept outside. The girl was walking around the corner and through the alleyway, unaware of the man's footsteps echoing on the pathway behind her. She wasn't scared of walking through the street alone at night. Ever since the end of the Hunger Games and the reigns of Snow and Coin, people now had a false sense of hope and safety.
Jay would change that.
"Hello," Gale said in the same way he had said hello to Katniss and Peeta's daughter on the phone three days ago. She turned suddenly, her hand on her heart. She was about thirteen or fourteen, Gale suspected. The perfect age.
She breathed a sigh of relief. What was she scared of seeing? Why was she relieved at noticing a tall man with his face covered when she was all alone at night?
"Hello," she replied, her voice not shaking. He could see her blonde hair fully now, and her blue eyes twinkled back at him.
He grinned then. This little girl had no idea, like she had had. Little blonde haired, blue eyed thirteen year old Primrose Everdeen. This girl was the perfect candidate to heal his fragile memories. Maybe this would help him.
Maybe there was still hope.
He raised his baseball bat. The girl seemed shocked at first, then scared. She barely had time to blink, however, before the weapon came crashing down on her head. She didn't scream, or cry out, and for that Gale was thankful. Maybe she just knew that she was defeated.
Her body crumpled onto the ground, a red, coppery stain forming around her blonde halo of hair.
"Night night, Prim," Gale whispered, and the bat came down again. He had to be sure that this little girl could not tell a soul about what had happened. He had to be sure that she was dead.
It was in the news the next morning. Gale turned on the television screen, unsure about what to anticipate. Had he left a clue? Was he waiting for a knock on the door, a taser to the head?
The top news stories to came on. He wondered if they had found her body yet. Maybe it was still waiting outside, in that little alleyway of District 2.
"...Angel murdered..." "...Peacekeepers are calling out for any witnesses..." "...child-killer on the loose..." "...Is this the end of our peace?"
So, he guessed they had.
Different news channels said different things; different Districts had different theories. Everybody was asking the same questions though; who and why?
Her name was Valentine Quarry. She was fourteen years old. She had a younger brother who worshipped her, two parents who loved her and friends who had only just begun to mourn her. Valentine Quarry was not Primrose Everdeen, though.
She was not enough.
Scene 2 - Cleo Peace
Gale watched her first. She was too tall, perhaps; too old. She had to be about fifteen, but she would have to do. He watched her for longer; looking out for where she went on Wednesday afternoons; who her friends were; when she walked alone.
He didn't know her name, but that was no problem. He would find out in the afternoon anyway.
He followed her, one December morning. It was early; too early for anybody but the dawn chorus mockingjays to be awake. She was humming slightly; that was good. Prim like to hum.
"Hello," Gale said when they were a good two miles from his house, in the opposite direction of where he had killed Valentine Quarry. The girl turned, and blinked at him. Gale could tell that she was trying to place where she had seen his face before.
"Hello. Have we met before?"
This was too easy. She was actually walking towards him, her head tilted at an angle as she studied him, trying to look through his dark sunglasses.
"No," he said, and he took his weapon from his pocket. It was more high-tec than the baseball bat he used in November, but still from Pre-Panem days. It was what they called a "revolver". Basically a type of small, hand-held gun.
He aimed it straight at her heart, and she looked like a deer caught in the beam of a flashlight. He pulled the trigger.
"Sleep tight, Prim," Gale whispered, and he raised the revolver again. This time he aimed it at her head. She fell to the ground, a moan uttered from her pretty lips. It was probably Gale's imagination, though; he knew that she was defeated.
Blood dripped from both wounds, but he fired the gun again, this time at her legs. That was so she could not run.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
He had to make sure that the teenager could not tell a soul what had happened. He had to make sure that she was dead.
It was on the television in the afternoon. Gale had heard the sirens; he knew that they had found the girl's body. It had been sitting up, her blue eyes glassy, against a nearby wall. He had heard the tell-tale, high-pitched scream.
It was enough to confirm that her corpse had been found; that the notorious child-killer had struck again.
"...girl found dead..." "...Notorious child-killer still at large..." "...multiple gun-shot wounds..." "...could this be the blip in society..." "...Will the Pre-Panem times come back to haunt us?"
They were the same headlines, phrased in a way to make them new, and even more terrifying.
Her name was Cleo Peace. She was fifteen years old. She was an only child but her friends were as close as brothers and sisters, and was the only thing her mother had left. Cleo Peace was not Primrose Everdeen, though.
She was still not enough.
Scene 3 - Evangeline Stone
Gale was getting restless. It was the New Year, a fresh start. But he didn't want a fresh start; he wanted to be free of his hunger, of the pain pressing on his mind ever second of every day.
He wanted it to stop, and so he did not stop.
She was even younger than the first; only a baby to him. They didn't expect him to come after eight year olds. They thought he was targeting teenagers, but they, whoever they were, were wrong.
He opened his curtains slightly to see her walking past his window. It was a January afternoon; the sun was shining but the snow on the ground was the sign that it was still cold outside. The girl was wearing a puffer jacket two sizes too big for her, and fluffy earmuffs that just covered her cold ears.
She would be perfect.
Gale decided to go for a neighbourly look this time. He had a plan this time. This time, things would be different.
He had left a large stone just outside of his house. The girl did exactly what he had expected her to do, and tripped. Her face hit the glistening snow with a crunch, and she cried out in pain. Gale smiled to himself, and then ran outside to 'help' the girl.
"Help!" She whispered as he bent over her small frame.
Her hair was very long and tied into babyish plaits. Her blue eyes were duller than that of the past two girls, but it didn't matter. She was very similar; maybe it would be enough.
"Hello," Gale said. She looked up at him, pain written all over her face. He would end that pain, Gale decided. It would be worse for a moment, and then it would be gone.
"Hello," she replied.
"Come inside," Gale told her gently, holding her arm as she limped with him and into his District 2 home.
"Thank you," she whispered, remembering the manners they taught her at school. She was shy and timid and thankful; very much like Prim. Prim had a sense of pride and confidence in her ability to heal, though. This girl seemed like she had no real talent; then again, she had never had the prospect of the Games hanging over her.
Gale smiled at her warmly, and picked the first aid kit sitting on one of his shelves. Inside it was a bandage, sandwiched between two evil looking knives. This was not the first aid kit of Gale Hawthorne, no; this belonged to Jay Carnefex.
"Hold still now," he whispered to the small, trembling girl as he wrapped the bandage around her bleeding knee. She winced, but held a brave face.
"Thank you," she repeated, but part of Gale wanted to scream at her. Why should she thank him? Was she that stupid? That made him angry; he didn't like ignorant people.
He gave her one final, forced smile though before standing up.
He towered above her, and then crouched down again. He took one knife from his first aid kit. The girl looked at him questionably, the confusion showing on her pale, round face.
"Just one last step; let's get that wound cleaned up."
He grinned, but it was like that of a shark looking down at fish. They were unimportant and incompetent. Gale was superior. And he had to do this for them, for the katniss and primrose plants outside his window.
The knife came down. She didn't scream; she must have been braver than she looked. Maybe she just knew she was defeated.
Her lip trembled though and a solitary tear ran down her cheek.
"Don't let the bed bugs bite, Prim," Gale whispered to her, and he lifted the knife again. He plunged it into her unyielding chest, hearing her whispered pleas as he did so. She was still fighting him, fighting the pain. She should be dead by now.
The knife came down, and her mouth went slack. She didn't speak anymore.
He had to make sure that this baby girl could not tell a soul about what had happened. He had to make sure that she was dead.
It was on the evening news. Gale had taken her body and put it into the black rubbish bin. It must have looked normal, however, because nobody stopped him.
He left the black bag sitting in a dumpster, and like a funeral, he walked away whistling a depressing tune.
"...District treasure slaughtered..." "...left in a black bin bag..." "... Killer's attacks becoming more violent..." "... What spurs this vicious coward to kill?"
Maybe he was becoming more violent. The headlines were becoming catchier, grabbing everybody as the blank, plain text sat happily atop the front page of every newspaper in Panem.
Her name was Evangeline Stone. She was eight years old. She had two brothers who wished they had never teased her, a mother who hugged her tightly and a father who regretted ever leaving her. She had been the youngest and the toughest. Evangeline Stone was not Primrose Everdeen, though.
She was still not enough.
Scene 4 - Cimber Pierce
This was the final blow, Gale decided.
He watched the girl, if she could be counted as that. She was about twenty, with cropped blonde hair and shining blue eyes. She had simple clothes on, the type that Prim would wear. She seemed intent on her conversation into her ear-piece. She rushed past his house, her pretty face twisted into fierce concentration.
He went out of the back way of his house. He climbed a neighbouring tree, his bow hooked over his back. He hadn't used it in a while, but he had had the best teacher.
She was still walking, but thankfully she had slowed down slightly. She looked tired. Gale would end that.
"Hello," he said suddenly, and the girl, the woman, looked up. There was a faint look of surprise on her face.
She smiled up warily at the tree where Gale was perched, but she didn't see the arrows he was loading into his bow. It was dark, and the shadows covered his movements.
"Hello," she replied. Her blonde eyebrows scrunched together, trying to recognise him. She didn't in the end, and kept on walking. Maybe she presumed he was a little kid playing a practical joke.
She continued walking, talking into her earpiece. She looked back once, to see where Gale was, but she saw only the shadows that masked him. He moved from tree to tree, only the slight rustle of leaves threatening to give away his position.
He took a deep breath and steadied his shaking weapon.
Ready, aim, fire.
He fired the arrow and it struck her neck; he decided that the shot was good enough. She didn't scream; they never did. Maybe she knew that she had been defeated. She was beyond help.
He loaded and fired another arrow, and this weapon struck the centre of her heart. His lessons with Catnip had paid off.
"Goodnight, Prim," he whispered.
He loaded another arrow, and it hit her forehead, just slightly above her right eye. Blood poured like a steady, fatal fountain from that small wound. It dripped from her chest and onto the stone pavement of District 2. Her bag had fallen to the floor and Gale could hear faint murmurs coming from her ear piece.
He thought that maybe the person on the other end of the line was repeating her name over and over again and received no answer. Gale couldn't make out the word.
He had to make sure that the woman could not tell a soul about what had happened. He had to make sure that she was dead.
It was on the news later than night. Gale had stayed up all night to see whether or not they had found the body, three arrows piercing her flesh.
He had escaped from the tree and scrambled into his house. He had locked the door, just in case, and turned off the lights. They would never suspect him, the war hero Gale Hawthorne. They wouldn't suspect the quiet citizen called Jay Carnefex, either.
"...another random attack..." "...no connection between the victims..." "...arrows left in her body..." "...No witnesses or suspects have yet been found..."
The thing was, it was not random. They were missing the obvious. They were looking at facts and figures, names of places and family trees. They were wrong.
There was only one connection, but it was so simple that everybody was overlooking it.
Her name was Cimber Pierce. She was twenty-one years old. She had a boyfriend who adored her, a mother and father who missed her, a large group of friends and colleagues who didn't know what to say about her. Cimber Pierce was not Primrose Everdeen, though.
She was still not enough.
Scene 5 - Victorie Mellark
Gale was curious. There was no other word for it. He wanted to know if there was a merchant-seam girl like Primrose Everdeen, and there was only one way to find out. District 12 was the only place that he might be able to stop.
He had hopped on a train in March. He didn't think about the date, though. It was too hard; to think about the day she died.
When he arrived in District 12, he had a smile on his face. He wanted to forget everything that happened here, but he couldn't. And that just made him strong, more bent to take revenge on himself.
There was a girl sitting in the meadow when he arrived there. She had soft blonde hair that flew around her, and her calm, rich blue eyes were looking down at a book in her hand. Her legs were curled underneath her and a flower was tucked just behind her ear. She was humming a simple tune, and as she blinked, her sunshine eyelashes just brushed against her cheek.
She was dressed in vibrant orange and yellow and red; colours Gale had never wanted to see again.
"Hello," he told her, approached her small form carefully. He avoided twigs, and therefore his feet made no noise as they walked across the blooming flowers.
The girl did not say hello. Instead, she watched him intently. She was trying to place his face, like they all had.
"Who are you?" She asked cautiously, peering at him through the bright sunshine. She placed down her book, and Gale realised that the title was "Animal Farm." She rose from her place next to an old oak tree, but did not make any move towards him. "What do you want?"
"Just to say hello," Gale replied, and her mouth twisted into a small 'o'.
"Hello, then." She turned her back towards him, and danced slightly back to her spot, resting her back against the bark and picking up Animal Farm again.
Gale didn't like being ignored.
"What's your name?" He asked the small girl, trying to fight the urge to say something more vicious. She looked up in surprise, and gave a pleasant, hesitant smile. She tilted her head, and her blonde hair caressed her face gently.
"Victorie; Victorie Primrose Mellark. What's yours?"
"Jay Carnefex," Gale replied easily. He moved slightly towards her, but she didn't notice. His heart skipped a beat again. She looked just like Prim. She was wearing a fiery dress. She was reading Animal Farm out in the meadow with an evening primrose tucked into her hair.
This was the girl. This was who he had been waiting for.
"That's an... interesting name. I've never heard it before. Are you from District 12?" The girl, Victorie, asked him. He had never asked any of the girls their names before; it was a sign. A sign that she was the one.
Gale wanted to reply that yes, indeed, he was from here. But something held him back.
"No. I'm on a visit from District 2."
Victorie's eyes widened at the thought, and Gale realised that news of his murders in District 2 had spread fast. She suddenly seemed more wary of him, and she backed away slightly. She muttered something about hearing her mother calling her, but he had heard no such thing.
"Leaving so soon?" He asked and the girl nodded her pretty blonde head.
Gale moved forwards and took the first aid kit from his rucksack. He still had that one knife that he hadn't used, and he slipped that dagger into his pocket. But Victorie Mellark would not die like Evangeline Stone.
No, Gale had plans for Victorie Primrose Mellark.
He leapt forwards, but the girl rolled out of the way. She was petite and swift, but Gale had strength and knowledge on his side. A twelve year old girl stood no chance.
Gale caught Victorie by her hair, and lifted her up. Tears watered in her eyes, but again she did not scream. She knew that she had been defeated. She knew.
She struggled slightly, but he did not realise his deathly grip on her golden locks. He got the knife from his pocket, where he had put it moments before. He carved the rough shape of a tear on her pale, soft cheek. She closed her eyes against the pain but otherwise made no reaction to his blade.
That infuriated Gale.
Then, he had a brilliant idea. This was a way to make sure that the whole of Panem knew the name Jay Carnefex; not Gale Hawthorne. Oh, they would make the connection. He would make sure that everybody knew that Gale Hawthorne killed those girls. But Gale Hawthorne would not be the infamous killer.
Jay Carnefex would finally take the spotlight.
He flashed a smile at the writhing girl in his arms. He looked at the knife glinting evilly in the brilliant sunlight. He was ready.
"Sleep tight, Prim," he whispered to her, and he dug his knife into her forehead. He moved it downwards, and to the right. And he started again.
The finished result made him laugh. It was so perfect. The girl, Prim, was crying on the floor, and a lot of blood was pouring from her wounds, staining the grass below. It was too much blood. She would be dead soon.
Then it was all over.
"Deep in the meadow, under the willow, a bed of grass, a soft green pillow; lay down your head and close your eyes, and when they open, the sun will rise."
What was she doing? Gale listened to her quietened, uneven breathes as she sang quietly.
"Here it's safe and here it's warm, here the daises guard you from every harm. Here your dreams are sweet – and tomorrow brings them true..." Prim stopped, and Gale saw her close her eyes silently. A single tear fell as her head rolled backwards and hit the grass.
"Here is the place when I love you," Gale finished, just as quietly. He had made sure that Prim was dead.
Gale was waiting for the train home when he saw it. On the screen, hovering just above the station, the news channel turned on. He closed his eyes tightly, but even though he covered his ears, he could still hear the woman's announcements.
"...another body found..." "...daughter of the two heroic victors and rebels, Katniss and Peeta Mellark..." "...a promising young girl..." "...the killer is finally named..." "Is this the final murder?"
Yes. This was the final murder made by Jay Carnefex. However, Gale Hawthorne still had one more debt to pay.
Her name was Victorie Primrose Mellark. She was twelve years old. She had a little brother and a mother and a father, but that didn't matter. She was really Primrose Everdeen. She was twelve years old. She had an older sister and a mother but no father.
She was Primrose Everdeen. She was enough.
"...Primrose Mellark was found with the name "Jay Carnefex" carved onto her chest. Jay Carnefex is in fact the alter ego of war hero Gale Hawthorne..."
He heard the train coming. It rumbled in his ears and shook the ground where he stood. People weren't looking in his direction at all; their eyes were all fixed on the screen. But Gale knew what he had to do. He had one more card to deal.
"...there is yet no evidence as to why he killed these girls, ranging from ages eight to twenty-one..."
Gale knows. Gale can see their rich blue eyes and soft blonde hair. He can see their plump childish features and cropped hairstyles, with their orange dresses and bandaged knees.
They were all Prim.
"...the only connection was the fact that all the girls have blonde hair and blue eyes..."
Every time he saw one die, part of his brain gave up.
The first two victims were the Prims of the near future, just after the rebellion. Valentine Quarry was the one that he would've stayed in District 12 for. Cleo Peace was the elegant young woman that would tell stories to children in her spare time.
The third murder was of the Prim of the past, of better times and memories. Evangeline Stone was the one that Gale remembered from youth, just before Mr Everdeen and Mr Hawthorne died.
The fourth, Cimber Pierce, was the Prim that would never ever be, the woman Gale would never get to see.
Then there was the final blow.
She was called Victorie Primrose Mellark. He knew who she was; he could tell by her voice, her name, her meadow. She was the Prim that burnt.
"...the current whereabouts of Jay Carnefex is unknown..."
Gale knew why. Because Jay Carneefx was dead; that was his final murder. But Gale Hawthorne still had a score to settle.
The train was approaching, getting ready to stop for the platform ahead. Gale moved further down the station, down the yellow line, so that the train was very close. It didn't slow down, not even a little bit, as it defeated Jay Carnefex, and Gale Hawthorne jumped.