Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to Suzanne Collins or anyone else who has purchased the rights to HG

Written for the One-Shot Hunger Games on the Starvation forum. Also my HG entry for the 5, 10, 20, 50, 70, 100 Fandoms Challenge on HPFC.

Prompt: Lullaby


Sleep, sleep little child

Rest your weary head

Sleep, sleep little child

Time to go to bed

She closes the little girl's eyes before dragging the spear from the emaciated chest. Four days the girl must have been starving. Now she can sleep.

Her voice is as ragged as her clothes, the jagged stone and tough thorny bushes catching and tearing the brown cloth as she staggers back to her cave. Four days and she has put three little children to bed, because she is the oldest and it is her job.

She always goes around the home at night, tucking them in and giving them a kiss once the wardens turn the lights out. Singing the song so they can go to sleep.

Sleep, sleep little child

Rest your weary head

Emmer's here with her spear

To make you good and dead

Six days with only water and nuts and a small bird to eat. The sky showed more little children last night, now there are only four left. The other three aren't very little but they still need to sleep. The small swishy boy with the golden curls, the big tall girl with the stone-chiseled face, the even bigger boy with the squashed nose. They will be hunting for poor Emmer, poor District Eight all alone.

Twine was the first little child she put to bed, screaming for the shattered leg after he fell. She promised before the games she would look after him and she did. No-one else could sleep when someone was screaming.

Sleep, sleep little child

Rest your weary head

We are invited to a feast

Time to go get fed

Ten days and her legs tremble while she staggers down the narrow path. Three of them are left to fight for the delicious food and freedom. She sings to make herself walk faster, the only song she knows over and over, one foot in front of the other.

If she doesn't hurry the other two will eat all the food. Naughty children to eat all the food before everyone is at the table. Naughty children get sent to bed with a smack on the ear.

The path twists and turns and suddenly the golden horn is there ahead. The table at its mouth is piled high with steaming platters, sunlight gleaming from the silverware and pitchers of juice. The wind brings the scent of sausage and beans, of pan-cakes and syrup. A bowl in the centre is overflowing with a rainbow of fruits.

The other children aren't there yet, and she is the oldest so it's only fair that she eats first. She is stuffing cakes and bacon into her mouth when the canon fires, so close, too close. Food dribbles down her chin like a messy child as she grabs for her spear but it is too late.

The blade pierces her lung, so she gurgles the last words as she stares into the cold face of the big girl from District Two.

Sleep, sleep little child

Rest your weary head

Put your sword into my chest

And cut poor Emmer's thread