A/N - thank you to Vicky for reading this/betaing this before it was uploaded! This is for Project PULL.


"The feeling of being so miserable... and no one can help you. All everyone is doing is making it worse. No one seems to notice how much you're dying and how much you just want everything to end."


anonymous


I never expected life would be easy. It sure as well wasn't. The Hunger Games wasn't even a huge factor in my awful life - bullying definitely overpowered that by a long way. The bullying was a result of…being me.

No one really understood, and they still don't; I didn't choose to be the most well-off person in the district. Even my family didn't. We got chosen by the Capitol seventy four years ago to be the ones who would look after district 12; we were the most trustworthy at that time, the ones who would uphold the Capitol's rules 'the best'. Still are, really. My father understands that the lives of his people are on his shoulders – the people don't respect that. They don't respect me.

As they scream numerous words at me - RICH BITCH, GO DIE - I struggle to rise to my feet. Picking up the school books that were dropped out of my hands, I barely resist shedding the tears, crying about my worthless life. Life isn't fair; I realise that. I guess I always have…it's just moments like these that prove it. I run off, because I don't want to hear the taunts any longer…there's only so many I can take.

I'm not going through that many bad things compared to others, when you look at the bigger picture. Prim just had her sister – her light in this dark world - taken away from her. She feels guilty, even though numerous people have tried to tell her it wasn't her fault. There's still hope; Katniss scored an eleven for her training score, higher than everyone else, even those brutal Careers who lunge forward to score fame, glory and money, even if it means their lives. That's something, at least.

I run to my room as soon as I get home, not letting my father see the graze on my cheek after my 'accidental' fall; he may be more lenient than other District mayors, but that wouldn't stop him having those who attacked me in the stocks. Closing the door quietly to ensure I don't wake my mother, I treat the wound in my ensuite, applying a wet tissue to it. The pain numbs and the blood stops flowing, and I let out a sigh of relief. I hold the tissue to my cheek still with my left hand, and I pick up the remote to the rusty TV in my room. Everyone thinks we're rich – when in fact, we're only marginally better off than the merchants. It's my dad who has everything in his office, because the Capitol demand it. The rest of the house is just…normal.

They're playing a recap of the interviews that were aired during the day - only Prim and her 'cousins' were allowed to miss school to watch them. They rush through many of the interview recaps; they're clearly wanting to get to a very important interview. I can guess whose it is.

Sure enough, it's Katniss Everdeen that blows everyone's mind - her fiery dress evidently sealing her new nickname: the Girl on Fire. I watch as she stumbles through her interview - this isn't a recap, this is a rerun. Her time ends, and the crowds gathered before the stage groan at her departure, but Peeta Mellark comes to the stage, giving the Capitol ladies a new boy to swoon over.

It's rather a shock when Peeta release his crush to the world - on national TV too; I don't know what he's thinking - but Katniss' face isn't a surprise. Her inquisitive, studious expression is so her, and to pull it all off she looks surprised; of course she looks surprised. She is surprised. Anyone would be in this situation.

The interviews end with the national anthem and I don't bother singing it; I think the last time I sang it was when I was seven - young, innocent and unknowing of what the Hunger Games really were.

Why must we become this: lost, broken children, who should be going out and having parties, not worrying about whether they'll survive the next day. What happened to make us so fearful, not joyful? We're broken, why can't anyone else see that? Why can't we be like those children we read about in history, the people whose actions destroyed the planet…but at least they had fun. Their children weren't in peril. We're broken.

Maybe it's because we're all broken...I think, and I hold my head in my hands. Everyone dies, I need to realise this fact – and faster than I already am. Katniss is going to die. I'm going to die. It's just that now, in the arena, it isn't Katniss' time to die. It's a premature death and we can't do anything about it.

At times, I don't really know why I'm so affected. I don't even think Katniss would consider me to be her friend; maybe we were just acquaintances. But Katniss is a friend to me, and even if she dies in this ruthless games (which she will – some children are better at acting like soldiers than she is), she will always be in my heart as my first and only friend.

"Madge?" someone calls, and I look towards the door. My father slowly enters, the bags under his eyes more prominent than ever, and he slumps in the doorway. He's so tired; the district puts all the responsibility on him and it makes him so broken. Every day, he signs a death certificate and sends it off to the Capitol. Every day, he has to walk around the town as its residents give him death stares. Every day, he has to hide from the Capitol that our district is home to a black market, and he has to hide that two teenagers are poaching, too.

Now that's changed to one, I suppose.

I nod to my dad and pat the space on the bed next to me. "Sit," I say, and he sits down next to me, resting his right arm around my shoulder. I lean into him, and stay like that for a while. My parents have been some of the little things that can comfort me, they make me happy after a long day of bullying.

"It's hard, isn't it?" he whispers into my hair, and I nod. He places a kiss to my forehead and I sigh. He's hit the nail spot on – it's definitely hard. Having to go through losing the one you love. Dad's lost mum; she's pretty much gone now, lost to the results of the Hunger Games, even though she never participated. I don't want to stoop down to what my mother's become.

"You'll get through it," my father says, stroking my hair. "Don't worry, I'll help."

The fact is, he can't. He can't help his little girl who's going through so much at the moment. The only way to make me better again is to bring Katniss home, to let her live. Is that too much to ask? Can't one life be spared?

Then, I realise I can't: Katniss' future is going to happen, and that future is just death.


A/N - don't favourite/alert this without reviewing