"Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Felicity Westerly!" Claudius Templesmith's voice echoes around the arena. A hovercraft comes to pick me up. I climb the ladder and step into the mini-hospital.
"Well done Miss Westerly!" one of the nurses beams. I smile, "Thanks." Then they escort me into an operating room. "Oh, that stomach wound. We'll fix that right away!" she says. I nod. I am trying to remain happy. After all, I am going home. I get to see Thomas, father, and Hutch…
Oh my goodness, Hutch. I realize now that I've been away from him, I do love him. I just can't wait until I arrive back in District 5. I won't have to work at the power plant. I won't have to help run the hardware store with father, because we don't need to! Sure, he'll still keep the business going for the people's sake, but we don't have to depend on the income like we use to.
The one thing that makes me feel so awful and guilty, the fact so many died. Katniss, didn't she have a little sister? Rue was only 12. Peeta was always seemed the kindest. And Ronald…I remember the image of his 4 younger sisters clutching onto their parents. The fact that countless, innocent children died makes me want to go back to the arena and jump off that cliff.
"Here, take these." The nurse hands me two pills, painkillers or knockouts I suppose. I swallow them and then I black out.
I awake back in my room in the Training Center. I suddenly fill with fear and panic. Was that a dream? Is today the real Hunger Games? Is Ronald in the room across from me right now, still alive and well?
But I feel stitches across my stomach, where the boy from 3 struck me. I didn't have a dream, I'm lucky. My mother told me, once you've been in and out of the arena, nightmares never stop. I push back my hair. Instead of the braided buns, it's down and the curly mess again. As I get up, I notice in a mirror that I'm only in underclothes. MY stomach is in full view, and I am in shock. I'm like a skeleton. You can see my ribs so easily, just by my movements. I am way too skinny. There's a knock at my door. "Come in." I choke out.
Phobia, Tazmarie, Orion, and Dellani step in. Surprisingly, Phobia is wearing a tattered and worn gold ankle-length dress that shimmers. They all hug me. When they begin prepping me, Dellani notices my staring at Phobia. "She's worn that dress for 5 days straight." She whispers. "Why?" I ask, stunned. "She was wearing it when you won, she thinks it's good luck." She tells me. I stifle back a laugh.
Once they're done with my body, they put me in an orange mini gown, with a poofy, glittery skirt and a smooth shiny top. The fit me into white flat shoes, they call them ballet flats. They brush my hair, and that's it. "We thought it would look nicer natural." Dellani tells me and Phobia nods.
The famous victor interview with Ceasar Flickerman goes by quickly. We watch the whole games first. They mainly show me, but towards the end, they show where the muttations started out in. The grain pastures. Clove and Cato were hunting down Thresh, and they all were killed. The wolves must have played with their kills since it took a day for them to chase Katniss and I. I cringe when the final moment is played. The audience claps when I push Katniss. They're too cruel.
Then comes the talking part. Ceasar asks me simple questions like, "How did you feel then?" "Do you have any regrets?" and "What are you looking forward to?"
After all the partying, I return home.
District 5 has never felt so good. I step off the train and I am driven to the town center, to the Justice Building. I stand on the stage and great everyone. They are all smiling and cheering and waving. But there's a group of people who are cruelly staring at me. The Petzers, Ronald's family. Also a few kids about my age, his friends probably.
In the middle of the crowd I see Thomas, sitting on my father's shoulders, cheering and smiling so bright. His red hair is longer than when I left, in need of a haircut. Hutch stands next to them cheering as loud as Thomas. My father, he is still tearing up, but it's happy and proud crying. He smiles at me, so happy. If only mother could see me.
Later, after the festivities have died down, Hutch and I meet up in the Victor's Village. Our stuff has been moved back to our old house, the fancy one. Hutch holds me close. "So, the Victory Tour is coming up, then the games. You'll be out of the District quite a lot." He remarks. "Well I do get bring a guest," I say, smiling, staring adoringly at him, "will you do me the honor?" "Certainly." He tells me sweetly. And I give a long kiss, hoping the moment never ends.
To be continued….