The Victor

Aria Oreota (18), District 4 Female-POV

My eyes open sharply and a mess of confusion takes over me. Where am I?

It's horribly dark, with one uncomfortable spotlight blaring down on me. Colourful blurs glide past me, murmuring things which I can't make out. I should get myself up; I'll be able to see where I am… God I hate the dark…

Then everything comes crashing down on top of me. The games… Savannah… that horrible darkness… Wait… does this mean I won? I can't believe it… I actually won…

Attempting to sit up, I push myself up on my elbows, but instantly fall back down, pain shooting through my body…

I can't say anything… Then again I don't want to say anything… They all stare at me with admiration, but there is nothing to admire about me. I'm a murderer… and I had almost forgotten as well.

I had thought that forgetting everything I had done to win this wouldn't hurt, but it does.

"Hello Aria, how are you feeling? We've stopped the bleeding in your stomach now, so you should be fine," a man standing next to me says.

All I can do is stare at him, and he looks at me puzzled.

"Everything's okay…" he whispers, moving his hand towards my shoulder.

Instinct takes over me, and I let out a high shriek, punching him square in the face. The man falls back holding his bleeding nose, anger filling his eyes. A few people start to move towards me, and I feel myself stand up and start to back away against the wall.

"You're safe Aria…" an older looking woman says holding her hands up in the air.

How am I safe? I'm in a room with people who watched me murder innocent kids. How am I supposed to know if they don't want me dead too?

"Stay away from me…" I hiss.

"We only want to help you…" she replies.

Looking to the side of me, there is a mirrored wall which holds my reflection. But it can't be me… at least it doesn't look like me… My skin no longer has a golden glow, but is covered in dirt and blood, plastered with bruises and scratches. What used to be long, brown, flowing hair, is now short and singed, knotted around my head in a horrible frizz. I wouldn't even recognise the oh-so-perfect girl everyone thought I was back home.

When I look away, everyone is gawping at me again. What do they want? What are they going to do to me?

Looking around for something I can use for protection, I spot a pair of scissors lying on a table nearby. Before they can stop me, I leap for them, pushing through all the pain. I grip them hard my knuckles turning white, holding them up to the woman. She looks shocked her mouth wide and turns to the rest of them.

"She's not ready… put her down…"

About four men run towards me and hold down my arms and legs while I kick and scream, while the woman is given a large needle and stabs it into my arm, pushing down hard on the plunger.

"Get some rest victor; you have a lot in store for you…"

And then everything goes dark again.

"Aria…Aria can you hear me?" A familiar face stares at me, "It's me, Wavell, how are you feeling?"

I realise I'm no longer in that terrible dark room, but now in a lavish Capitol bedroom. I push myself up to a sitting position on the bed I am lying on and rub my sleep deprived eyes.

"Why does everyone keep asking me that?" I groan.

"Darling, have you forgotten the last six days!" she grins at me and pulls me into a hug, "Congratulations by the way, I knew you could do it!"

I stay in the awkward embrace for a few seconds, knowing Wavell wouldn't cause me any harm. She's probably the only person I actually know in the Capitol after all.

When she lets go, I pull the satin bed sheet closer to me like some sort of security blanket.

"Please don't…" I mutter, "I hate myself as it is, I don't want to be congratulated for it…"

"What do you mean?" she asks looking confused, "You shouldn't hate yourself, everybody loves you!"

All I can do is stare at her with shock, "Love me? I'm sure Savannah's family doesn't love me! I'm sure Mercy's family doesn't love me! To be honest I'm probably the most hated person in the whole of Panem at the moment! So don't say that everyone loves me, because they don't!"

Before she can even reply, I burst into tears holding my face in my hands, "I'm so sorry Wavell, I didn't mean to shout at you, I'm just a mess at the moment."

"Its fine," she whispers, gently squeezing my hand.

"What is wrong with me?" I shout, scrunching up my fists into the mattress, "I feel terrible, I look terrible…"

"You obviously haven't seen yourself then…" she replies. She smiles, but I can tell she is hiding something.

"Wavell… what is it?"

Looking down at my hands, I suddenly notice how immaculate they look… and my arms do too… very different to how they were some hours ago.

I slowly pull the sheets off of me and look down at my body. Even though I am in a baggy night gown, I can already see some… alterations have been made.

"Wavell… please tell me what the hell is going on!?" I screech jumping off of the bed towards a mirror.

She scrunches up her face not sure how to explain, "You see… when you came back…you looked really bad… you were so bruised and bony… there was nothing to you, that's how skinny you were!"

"Well that's what happens when you don't eat properly for a week!" I protest.

"I know, I know…anyway the doctors put you on a medical drip to get you back to health, and then they used some 'Capitol Magic' on you, basically clearing up all the marks on your skin, all the scars…"

My hand falls to my stomach and I feel for what should be a scar from where Savannah stabbed me, but there is nothing, even when I look there is just a faint line in its place.

"Afterwards, the President thought while they were fixing you up, they could make a few changes to you physically, you're a beautiful girl, and they wanted to exaggerate that."

Staring at myself in the mirror, my old athletic build has disappeared, replaced with a new set of curves. My chest has doubled in size, but they have kept my tiny waist so they seem even bigger. Suddenly feeling like a hundred eyes are staring at my new body, I pull a cardigan out of a wardrobe and tug it round myself.

No longer a scruffy mess, my hair is now back to how it used to be, somehow grown to its old length and with some golden highlights added. Even my eyebrows and eyelashes have been tinted, making my eyes 'pop' even more than usual.

Finding myself grabbing at my face and body in shock, I turn to Wavell looking for answers, but knowing I won't get any.

"Why? I hardly even recognise myself now, it's going to be obvious to everyone that they have done all of this!"

"They probably don't care Aria…" she whispers leaning in close to my ear, "You're theirs now… be very careful what you do from now on, do you understand?"

Before I can ask what she is going on about, she quickly hugs me and leaves the room in a rush. What does she mean? Am I in danger?

Feeling overwhelmed, I pull my knees up to my chest and hug my body close, feeling familiar sobs escape from my throat.

Why did they do this to me? First they change me mentally, by sending me into the arena, and now they've altered me physically? Can they not just leave me alone for five minutes?

Coincidentally, a heavy knock rattles against the door and a familiar looking man walks in. Wiping away the tears from my eyes, I realise exactly who it is and move off of the bed.

"Well, well, well, they really weren't lying when they said you looked beautiful." The President smirks, slowly walking towards me with that razor sharp grin of his.

Hugging my cardigan to my body, I stand expressionless, not wanting to even look at him, let alone speak. If it wasn't for this evil, malicious, man I would have never been made into the girl I am now.

He reaches a large, grimy hand to my face, stroking my cheek. It takes all the will power I have not to kill him with my bare hands.

"What's wrong, cat got your tongue?" he chuckles viciously, "You are awfully rude, not even greeting your president," his hand has now moved to my arm, squeezing it a bit too tightly, but I make sure not to flinch, I've been through much worse, "Speak girl!"

Replying with silence and a blank expression, he releases a frustrated groan which switches into a deep laugh, "Oh so you want to be a problem then?" He takes my arm and tugs it hard towards him, his long fingernails piercing my skin. His wiry lips are nearly touching my ears, his warm breath smelling of expensive liquor, "Listen girly, you think you can defy me? You will listen to me, you will do what I say because if you don't…" he pauses, a smirk etched onto his face, "You little victor, will be joining the rest of them in the ground."

I gulp and slowly nod in agreement, his grip loosening. He can't be serious… can he?

"Good, so we understand each other then?" he asks smiling almost viciously.

I stare straight into his eyes, "Yes Sir."

"Great, now stop hugging yourself like a mental patient, you should be very proud of your new self."

As my hands fall away I see his eyes scan my body and he smiles, as if he can see under the nightgown. I dig my nails into the side of my leg, trying to resist the urge from smashing my fist into that ugly face of his.

"Perfect, they're going to love you." He whispers.

Who are? What is he talking about?

Strolling forward he leans toward me and kisses my cheek lightly, before turning and heading to the door. Just as he is about to leave, his eyes meet mine, "Remember, you will not be a problem."

I fight the need to scream and reply politely, my voice coming out tired and raspy, "Yes Sir."

The door then slams behind him but I can still hear his feet tapping down the corridor, his voice drumming inside my head.

You will not be a problem.

Tendrils of icy air bites at my skin, causing a hard shiver to climb up my spine. The deserted land I stand on causes an eerie silence, resorting to me looking over my shoulder every minute.

Everything feels so familiar, yet there is an alien touch to it all, sort of like déjà vu. Why do I recognise this place so much?

Footsteps echo behind me growing nearer and nearer. Slowly I spin on my heels becoming face to face with a cold set of eyes. But these aren't normal eyes; they're black holes, containing no feeling, no emotion. They're skin is pale and ghostly, covered in cuts and bruises, and they also project the smell of a rotting corpse. When they speak, it comes off as frozen and robotic…

"Hello Aria."

"Oliver?" I gasp, slowly backing away.

He follows me, "Why did you do this to me Aria? Why?

"I'm sorry… I had to…" I reply shaking.

Trying to get away I hurry backwards, but only find myself running into something, or more like someone.

"Poe!" I cry having to resist the urge to hug my district partner, even though he smells slightly of moulding flesh.

"Why did you do this to me Aria? Why?" he repeats the same words Oliver did, but they hurt more coming from him.

"You know why Poe! I eased your pain… you were going to die anyway!" I argue, tears springing to my eyes. I've always hated myself for Poe's death, even though the actual reasoning behind it was a kind gesture on my behalf.

The two boys move closer to me and it all becomes too much, my knees giving way beneath me, "Please, please forgive me I just wanted to live!" I plea, curling into a ball covering my head with my bony hands protectively.

"Don't you think we all wanted to live Aria?" two new voices state in unison.

Raising my head I see Jazzy and Chase standing together, blood dripping down to the floor from their linked hands.

"Why did you do this to me Aria? Why?" the same words as the others repeated again by Jazzy in that similar mechanical voice.

All of them take another step forward, inching closer and closer to me. I suddenly realise there are a few more faces that have joined, Reina and Kyran.

"But…but... I didn't even kill you! I helped you!" I scream, wanting to grab them by the shoulders and shake them into realisation.

"You might as well have…" they reply icily.

Tears are now streaming down my face and I wipe away at them frustrated with myself. Why do I keep getting like this? I had to do the things I did… didn't I?

Out of nowhere I feel a hard tug on my hair, jolting my neck backwards. A clump of hair in their hand, Mercy looks down at me with a look of disgust, "Why did you do this to me Aria? Why?"

"Stop saying that!" I scream covering my ears, "Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"Why couldn't you just leave us alone?" another voice asks angrily.

Savannah stands in front of me, her lasso swinging in her grasp. Attempting to run away, a few of the others move forward clasping my limbs to the ground.

"Please! Please let me go!" I scream trying to kick my legs to free myself.

Savannah gracefully hooks her lasso around my neck and clutches it tightly.

"You deserve this…" she spits.

With a hard tug of the rope and a loud crack, everything goes black, and I'm left with the echo of their voices.

"Why…Why…Why?"

Jolting to an upright position, a gasp escaping my lips, I grip hold of my covers rocking back and forth.

It was just a dream, just a bad, bad dream.

Crawling out of bed, I search for a towel to wipe away the nervous sweat sticking to the back of my neck.

Escaping from the horrible images of the nightmare, I pull open the door to my room and quietly pull it to a close behind me. Silently I pad through the hall, my mind unfamiliar to the surroundings, not sure where to go, which corner to turn round.

After a few unsure guesses, I find the large living room which is seemingly empty, besides the two avoxes standing in either corner. The television flickers and looking closer I realise it is showing an image of myself. Besides it is Carlton Flickerman, that overly enthusiastic grin on show as usual. He rambles on about the games which is to be expected I guess. It has only been a day or so since and I'm sure it is the talk of Panem at the moment.

Sitting on the edge of one of the seats scattered around, I avert my attention to the screen, listening intently.

"Aria Oreota from District Four has been crowned The Victor of the First Annual Hunger Games!" Carlton exclaims like it has just been announced… maybe this is a repeat of an earlier showing?

"Make sure you tune in to my show in two days' time, where I will be interviewing the amazing girl herself!"

Wait… I have to be interviewed? I thought I had escaped the cameras for at least maybe three or four days, they really don't waste time around here. Honestly I could really do without it; I don't exactly feel like talking about anything that's happened.

"Now just for all you citizens of the Capitol are some clips of Aria in action!"

Dread washes over me as I search round crazily for the remote before I have to see anymore. Clips are already being shown; the first is me running into Oliver… I'm holding something… Oh no…

"WHERE'S THE REMOTE?!" I scream at the avoxes, running over to one and shaking them hard.

They both stare at me in shock as I sink to the floor, my hands running through my hair and holding it tightly in fear. The screen is now featuring Mercy and I…

"Please…" I cry, "Please make it stop, I don't want to watch anymore…"

One avox scurries over to a table and snatches up the remote, sharply pressing a button causing the screen to darken.

Holding on to the wall I pull myself up and lean against the cool concrete, secretly wiping the tears off my cheeks with the back of my hands.

"Um… thank you…" I whisper, before running out of the room in shame and slamming my bedroom door, deciding the safest thing to do would be to stay here for a while.

"You look utterly flawless!" Wavell gushes, her hand over her heart.

After being eventually forced out of my room and made to eat a morsel of food (not a lot would stay down after all,) I was told about the interview I already knew about, and was immediately sent to try on my dress for tonight.

The piece really is beautiful. The sea green dress starts similar to a corset, having a low neck line (why am I not surprised?) which then moves down to my waist where it is pulled in. It then flows out into layers and layers of material, stretching out across the floor like a train. Down the side of me are red rubies which travel down through and across the skirt, sparkling in the light.

At first I thought it was just a pretty touch, but then I realised that it was supposed to look like I'd been in battle and sprayed with something else that is also red. Wow… they just won't let me forget now will they?

Even in the dressing room I can hear the cheering crowd scream my name in excitement. My palms are damp with nervous sweat and I have to stop myself from wiping them on the expensive dress. Biting my lip I turn to my escort, staring at her for some sort of rescue.

"I can't do this…" I moan, beginning to pace back and forth in my kitten heels.

"Yes you can darling, you will be fine!" she protests as she collects up a few supplies my stylist asked her to bring.

"No I'm not… they are going to make me watch myself killing innocent people and I have to just sit there smiling as if it is all okay!" I shout as I find a cloth and wipe the dampness from my hands.

"Be quiet!" she hushes gripping my wrists tightly, "Remember what I told you? You need to be very careful what you say before it gets you into trouble!" She moves away, rubbing her temples delicately.

"I know, I know, but it's hard when so much they do is so wrong!" I protest.

We are interrupted by a soft knock at the door, which appears to be a girl who can't be much older than me, hugging a clipboard to her chest. Although I know she is from the Capitol, she doesn't look fake or altered, she would probably fit well in District one. She meets my gaze and stares almost guiltily, not sure how to start.

"Sapphire! How nice to see you!" Wavell squeals, running over to the girl and greeting her with a tight hug, "Aria this is Sapphire, the head gamemakers daughter!"

Oh, that explains why she looked so awkward. Her Father was the maker of my hell for the past six days.

I'm not really sure what to do, awkwardly holding out my hand, "I'm Aria, nice to meet you."

She smiles awkwardly a faded blush on her cheeks and returns the handshake, "I know who you are… But still it's a pleasure to finally meet you in person."

"So what is it you need?" Wavell asks.

She gestures to me, "I'm here to take Aria for the interview. Are you ready to go?"

I look pleadingly at Wavell who just waves me off like I have nothing to worry about. I plaster a fake smile on my face and take a deep breath, turning to Sapphire, "Yes, let's go."

Carefully trying not to trip up over my dress, I walk with Sapphire down the hall towards the stage. Once we've turned a corner and are away from any sign of people, she turns to me and sighs, "I'm really sorry for what my Father put you through."

Puzzled, I turn to her my eyebrow arched quizzically, "You're sorry? Wow I never thought I'd hear someone from the Capitol say that…"

Another sigh, "Believe me, I'm nothing like the people here…"

I want to ask more but we have already arrived backstage and my body goes weak when I see how many people are in the crowd. Was there that many at the last interviews?

Carlton is already entertaining the crowd, getting them worked up for my arrival. As he begins to hush the crowd, someone drags me forward to the edge of the curtain.

"Ladies and Gentleman of the Capitol put your hands together, for The Victor of the First Annual Hunger Games, from District Four, Aria Oreota!"

With a little nudge from behind I begin to cross the stage, my knees shaking nervously. The crowd of Capitolites scream excitedly, some waving and jumping around, others throwing flowers, I even see a few people collapse because they are so overwhelmed.

Putting on my winning smile I used for my first interview in the Capitol, I wave to the crowd, blowing kisses and mouthing 'thank you' to some who throw flowers. I've never felt so fake in my life… this is going to be torture.

Carlton takes my hand and bows, kissing my knuckles lightly, "It is so delightful to be able to see you again!"

I wonder if he thought someone else would win. I guess it could be hard for him, having to meet and get to know these tributes and then see them die.

What am I saying, he's said himself he loves the games, he would try to stop them if he cared that much.

"Believe me; I'm much more grateful than you are!" I joke causing loud chuckles from the audience.

It saddens me that they don't realise how I actually mean what I'm saying. I'm sure all the other tributes prayed to be sitting where I am right now.

Sitting down on a chair opposite Carlton, he waits for the crowd to quiet down before leaning forward and smiling eagerly, like I have a secret he wants to know, "So first of all congratulations, secondly, how does it feel to be the first ever victor!" he booms enthusiastically causing more cheers.

This is going to be a long night.

Smiling I put my hand to my chest full of gratitude, "Thank you, I really did try to win this and obviously all that trying worked! I feel great, really, really happy!"

So many lies coming from my mouth, but maybe this is how it will have to be from now on. I can't exactly say 'I feel terrible because thanks to you cruel people I now have to live with the fact I'm a murderer!' … no I don't think that would go down too well.

The truth is they want to hear what they want to hear. If I was to tell them what I really think I'm sure they wouldn't listen because they think the games is this wonderful thing! They couldn't be more wrong…

"I must say you were amazing in there! We all know you had your ups and downs, who didn't right? But you got through it and you made it here now so well done!" another set of cheers, another cheesy smile from Carlton, is this what it is going to be like all night?

The next few hours are utter hell, and if I hadn't been in The Hunger Games I would say it was the worst time of my life. Carlton went on to ask me many questions about the games, which I either had to lie about, or try and change the subject because I really couldn't tell the truth.

It's hard to spend so much time talking about people who are most likely deep in the ground by now and even harder if it was because of you. However the Capitol found me amazing, fighting so hard to get home.

The weirdest thing was when Carlton brought up about me actually volunteering for the games, I wanted so much to go back in time and slap myself into realisation. Was I really so delusional? Why would I want to do this to myself? I suppose I didn't really know what I was getting into, and my father was rather pushy.

Wow it feels like years ago when I was in the justice building, saying goodbye to my family, telling Anita I would help her train when I got back, shouting at my father to stop his affair.

After talking for around an hour, I then had to sit for two more hours watching the 'best bits' of the games.

And let me tell you, I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone.

It started off okay; there were the chariot rides and some scenes of the tributes in training. I never realised how scared some people looked. Most of them just seemed so young and innocent… Then they highlighted my great training score, showed my interview and then we were into the games.

Really difficult. That's how it looked, and that's how it was to watch. All the deaths I saw, all the cannons I heard, were just more and more guilt and pain to add to my giant list of 'things I feel terrible about.'

What hurt the most was how happy the crowd looked, how ecstatic they were to see each death. At one point someone even said 'this was my favourite one' with a huge grin on their face, I had to try so hard not to dive onto them and scratch at their unnatural face with these claw-like fingernails. That would take that smirk off their face for sure.

I know I seem rather bipolar at the moment, one minute wanting to kill someone the next crying over someone I actually did kill, but there is a difference. For example, if the President threw me back into the arena with twenty three others from the Capitol, I'm not sure if I would hesitate so much over slamming a sharp blade threw one of their chests. No, that seems quite appealing actually.

When we got to see Kyran and Reina die, I almost ran straight off the stage. Once they had died, they zoomed straight onto my face. My torn, broken face which had just about had enough. I'm guessing I look a bit like that now, minus all the blood and dirt of course.

I never realised how bad I actually got, how I was so affected by everything. I finally realised how lucky I am to be alive, because maybe it would have taken one more death to just tip me over the edge, to make me give up on everything all together, taking the easy way out.

We're now on the final battle, and as I sit here in front of millions of people playing nervously with the soft material of my dress, all I can think about while watching is what if it was me? What if I was the one to fall off of that cliff and to leave Savannah here to face it all? Would she have dealt with it better?

It's too late to think of the consequences now, because we've finished watching the re-cap and Carlton is staring at me expectantly, but I'm too busy staring at the end shot of me on my knees, gripping the ground in shock.

The crowd probably find it a rather liberating picture, after all that fighting I've finally won.

Me… I see a scared girl who is tired of fighting and doesn't know what to do anymore.

"Aria darling you were fabulous tonight!" a random woman drunkenly shouts at me, passing a flute of champagne.

With a small shrug to the smiling woman, I tip the glass to my lips, letting the sparkling liquid slide down my throat. I wipe my mouth with the back of my arm and smirk, "Thanks, I needed that."

Someone tugs at my arm and I'm dragged away before I can take another glass of alcohol. Wavell stares at me with concern, "Do you really think you should be doing that?" she hisses in that motherly tone I'm starting to get sick of.

"Listen Wavell," I slur slightly, "I've had a hard night, actually make that a hard few weeks! So please just for one night will you let me enjoy this fabulous party and I promise I will be perfectly sober for whatever you have planned for me tomorrow."

"Well actually tomorrow you're going back to your district, so please try and behave yourself a bit!" she exclaims.

My stomach turns at the thought and for a second I feel today's breakfast might show another appearance. That mean I'll be seeing my family again… it's been so long… well it's felt like it… Will they even recognise me anymore?

With a small hiccup I place my hand over my heart, the fast beat pounding against my palm, "I promise, but only if you try and enjoy yourself just a little bit…"

She smiles raising a perfectly arched eyebrow, "Ok I will try, but please don't be stupid…"

I waltz off before I can here anymore, as some more people start to come over to congratulate me, gushing how amazing I am.

If this is what it is going to be like all night, I'm going to need another drink.

As if they can read my mind, a pair of large hands pass me a small glass of an expensive looking beverage. I'm not even that keen on alcohol, but I still gulp down the mouthful, licking the remains from my lips.

Almost forgetting someone actually gave me the drink, I look up to find the President staring at me with… wait is that a smile?

"Sir… what have I done to deserve your gracious company?" I curtsy while trying not to slur my words, which I think I pretty much failed at.

"What has happened to my Victor?" he laughs.

The sound of the alien laughter echoes through my head. It feels like the laugh is fake, or that there is more behind this friendly behaviour.

"Then again," he whispers evilly in my ear, "I must say I sort of like it…"

I shudder taking a step away from him, not liking his sudden cosines.

Taking my arm roughly he pulls me towards him holding me tight so I can't get away. He holds me like we are embracing each other, so wandering eyes would not see his true behaviour.

The familiar smell of strong liquor fills my nostrils as he spits words into my ears, "Listen, remember what I said about not being a problem? Well here's your time to shine…"

Before I can even question what he is talking about, another man from the Capitol is joining us, a pleased smirk across his face.

"Aria, I would like you to meet Pierre, he will be the head gamemaker of next year's games and is also a very good friend of mine, and hopefully soon a very good friend of yours too…" The president sneers at me giving a small wink.

The man known as Pierre takes my hand and kisses it lightly. I quickly drag it away, finding his lips horribly cold. He is a very lanky man, his face thin and angular. He looks me over with hungry, red eyes, licking his lips satisfied with what he sees.

"Nice to…um… be acquainted with you," I reply shakily, not sure what the Presidents intentions are.

He gives me another look over, and I feel bile rise in my throat as his grimy hands stroke my face, "Oh, I feel it is the other way round, you are ever so beautiful."

Heat rises in my cheeks, my voice coming out in a nervous whisper, "Thank you…Now I'm afraid I must go find…"

My excuse is interrupted as the President drags me back, his eyes staring harshly, "No Aria that would be awfully rude now wouldn't it, I'd like you to spend some time with Pierre, show him… a good time."

Before I can refuse he strolls off, leaving me alone with Pierre. He takes my arm, leading me off into the crowd whispering sweet words which burn my ears. I think about politely refusing him and walking away, until another sparkling drink is handed to me, a note attached.

Frowning I unfold the piece of paper, struggling to read the writing with my blurred vision,

Do whatever he wants, and remember what we agreed. We wouldn't want someone to get hurt now would we?

Biting my lip to stop myself from crying, I crumple up the piece of paper in my hand and drop it to the ground beside me.

Pierre leans towards me and speaks in a low whisper, "Let's go somewhere a bit more…private."

He takes my arm just as I finish downing my drink and drags me away from the party. As we walk past the bar, I take a large bottle in my hand; I swig some of the contents and gulp down the bitter liquid, keeping it with me hoping it will help me forget the next few hours.

As I leave the room and take another mouthful of drink, I wonder if I'll only ever be just something for the Capitol's entertainment.

Staring out the window of the train, I rub my head in agony regretting the excessive drinking from the night before and try and block out Wavell's constant lecture on 'why I should always listen to her.'

She's asked me many times why did I get into such a state, but I couldn't give her an answer. Why would I want to relive last night?

She found me late in the evening, stumbling around uttering nonsense, my hair ruined, my make-up smudged all over my face and my dress a mess. Then apparently she asked me what the hell happened to me and I responded by puking all over her new shoes.

Yeah… I'm not really her favourite person right now.

"You're not even listening to me are you…" she sighs, appearing next to me at the window.

"Honestly, no… I've got other things on my mind…"

"I wish you would just tell me what happened…"

"Stop!" I shout, "I've told you I don't remember so just leave it!"

"Fine, but if you decide you want to tell me something you know where I'll be…" she replies, "Look we've arrived," she smiles pointing out of the window at the busy train station.

Anxiously I head towards the door and await the sliding doors. When they finally open I gasp at the loud cheering, the shock of how happy my District is to see me.

Stepping out onto the platform I'm taken aback by the crowd of people running towards me, enveloping me in hugs and shouting 'well done.'

Before hardly anyone knew me, I was the quiet girl who sat in the corner who kept to herself. Now the whole District is screaming my name, and I find it hard to believe how so much has changed.

Someone grabs me and pulls me into a tight squeeze, their strong, familiar smelling perfume putting me at ease.

"Mum?" I cry.

"Aria! Oh honey I've missed you so much!" she gasps tears streaming down her face.

"I've missed you too! Where's Dad?" I ask, looking round the group of people.

"I'm here! Congratulations Aria!" he chuckles wrapping me in his arms, "I knew you could do it!"

"Where's Anita?" I ask, searching for my little sister.

"She's waiting at home, come on let's get out of here," my Father replies.

Shortly after a quick speech to my District about my victory we arrive home, and when I see Anita I run towards her, gripping her tightly.

"You were amazing!" she starts, "I hope I'll be as good as you when it's my turn!"

Gripping her arm I look at her confused, "What?"

"You know, you promised you would help me train for when it's my games! You know so I can win like you!" her face drops when she sees my expression, "What's wrong?"

Disgusted, I hold her even tighter, "You are never going into them games, do you understand? Never! I will not let you go through that like I did!"

Everyone stares at me as I let go of a surprised Anita who is rubbing her arms where I held her too hard.

Sick of so many eyes being on me I push open the door to my house and run into the kitchen, searching for something to make me feel better. I snatch up a bottle and run upstairs to my room slamming the door behind me. Unscrewing the bottle, I lean against the wall and slide to the floor, taking a relieving drink.

I can't let my sister go through what I have, I can't watch her turn into the mess I've become.

I am Aria Oreota, eighteen years old, from District Four.

A week ago, I went into The Hunger Games with twenty three others.

I was made to kill innocent people, others tried to kill me, and we all just wanted one thing, to win.

I've been used, broken and hurt, both physically and mentally.

And now, I am The Victor of The First Annual Hunger Games.

But the truth is I'm just like the twenty three others.

I tried my hardest, fought for my life and yet I still lost.

Because being The Victor doesn't mean you've won.

No, you might as well be dead and buried with the others.

Because the truth is you'll never actually win.

I am Aria Oreota, The Victor of The First Annual Hunger Games.

But my battle is far from over.

And I have a feeling however hard I try…

I'll never really win.


There you go, The Victor of The First Annual Hunger Games... Aria Oreota!

Believe me it was a tough choice, but I decided Aria would be a great victor to write about.

It's really sad that after around a year this story is over, but it really has been great writing the story!

I'm afraid I don't think I'll be doing a sequel, as the next year is really important for me in school and I feel like I need to concentrate on that and the fact I also won't have enough time to actually try and write more.

But anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to read the story and for all the great reviews!

I've really loved writing this story, and I'm sure if had the time I would love to coninue it.

Thank You For Reading! -DeepInTheMeadowIWriteStories