DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Hunger Games. Here's a little something with characters I haven't really written about. Enjoy!
~ Johanna Mason's point of view ~
I wonder how Snow feels now, trapped in his own home. The way that he's made us feel for years? Probably. I'm hoping. Serves him right. Giving him a taste of his own medicine might do him some good before he's killed on national TV.
Coin's called us to some sort of meeting in one of the rooms in the large mansion. I get there first, and of course there's nobody else there. Katniss's been the meaning of a mental breakdown. Even worse than I am in water. She's been here for weeks, and all that Haymitch says she's done is walk the halls. What else it there to do, though? Being in a war, sometimes your head needs time to wrap around things.
Annie's been a mess ever since Finnick was taken down by those mutts. I had tried getting my name in the bucket to kill President Snow powered mainly by that, but Katniss and Coin's names were already at the top of the list. I'll get my chance though, sometime or other. Do something to those Capitol monsters who decided that hey, let's pull kids from the districts and make them kill each other. Sick form of entertainment.
I've been stalking the halls of his mansion ever since I arrived from District 13 this morning ago. Still wear my grey uniform. The color sucks. The walls remind me of the walls of my torture chamber. The sinks here are massive. I stay away from them as much as possible. I grew up in District 7, the place of the trees and outdoors. Won't kill me to not wash my hands.
Sometimes out of the corner of my eye I see Katniss. She looks bad. We all look bad. My hair's nearly half an inch long now, but the scars stay. I don't mind. Scars show everyone that the Capitol tried to break me, and they failed in their attempt. Their failure will be shown for all who see me. Battle scars that can't be tampered by those disgusting, fleeting Capitol prep teams. Ick. I'd rather clean a ditch than be with any of them.
Entering the room, there's a sofa. I flounce onto to it, not even caring if I break the thing or not. It's not like it's mine. I don't care if it breaks. My bones hurt but I ignore them. I wipe at my eyes, which had heavy bags under them. For all the time I have had to spend in bed over all these months, I've never gotten enough sleep. I don't really care, though.
I look around lazily, wondering why Coin called us to come here. Nothing special in here. Nothing that I can see. I sit up, despite the fact that I don't want to, and decide to look around. I've always liked spoiling surprises.
Looking around, there's drawers along the wall. That and windows and walls and doors and the usual stuff are the only things in this room. I pull open a drawer. Nothing more than dried flowers. White roses. Ugly things, all shriveled up, reminding me of dried skin. I skip ahead through other drawers, shuffling around, looking for anything interesting. Books are in some. Weird. Books are normally on shelves. If you have shelves.
There's paintbrushes, and paper and pencils. They're all lined up neatly, and I mix them about. It's small, even stupid to me, but I enjoy ruining the perfect, lovely paradise that Snow has been reigning his era of terror in. Templates and spare spoons. Photos and handkerchiefs. Models of tokens from winning tributes.
I stop when I see a replica of mine. A little cross made out of pine trees. How could something so earthy and honest come to be in this mess hole of greed? I shove the drawer close, snarling at the fact that Snow's still alive at this point. The war's over. We won. Let's get our rewards and pleasures.
"Wait, wait, don't do that," someone says. I look over my shoulder to see Annie, her hair spread down her back, hurrying to me. I move over as she opens the drawer and starts to look through it frantically.
"What are you doing?" I ask her. I get my answer when she pulls something out and cradles it in her hands, which she clasps and presses to her chest.
"Oh, Finnick," she says. Finnick's token. A fish hook. He used to say how he has more now when he mentors with Mags. She used to make him hooks out of everything and anything. Now they're both gone.
"I wish he was here," Annie says. It sounds like she's crying.
I fold my arms and sigh. "Couldn't survive when the Capitol was alive. That's what happens to victors."
"But we're still here," she whispers.
It's too complicated to tell her that they've killed us inside, made us monsters that want out of this world. Simple-minded Annie, too crazy to understand most anything.
"Yeah, but he was special," I say. "Everyone liked him."
Annie nods, "It's hard not to."
"True," I say. "Wanna look through the rest with me?"
She looks back at the drawer before nodding. She's going to be sorely disappointed if she thinks she'll find something else of Finnick's in here. The Capitol liked him, but Snow didn't have his stuff lying all over his house. He was above the Games. They were his job. The fact that he thought of it as a job while he came home to his luxurious mansion once again makes me have another mood swing. I feel like killing something now, and so I attack a drawer with a vengeance.
There's got to be more stuff of value in here. It's Snow's house for pete's sake. There's got to be something here that'll make me pause.
"What are you doing?" I hear behind me. I immediately frown and turn to see Enobaria, her hands on her hips, looking rather sassy. Oi. She's always annoyed me. Her and her Career tributes and her high-and-mighty spirit. The Capitol's lap dog. She's not even worth my time to look back to. She was brought to the Capitol by the Capitol as well. It's obvious between the two of us who they tortured and who they didn't.
"What I want," I say, and I turn back, showing her that just because she's from 2 doesn't mean that I have to listen to her anymore. I wonder if I can get away with punching her to show her how I feel when Annie gasps. "Oh my."
"What is it?" Enobaria asks, and I quickly hurry over to Annie before Enobaria can. No way will I let her get near her. I take what's in Annie's hands and turning back to Enobaria, say, "None of your business, Fangs."
"It's as much my business as it is yours, Mason," Enobaria says.
"It's the Box," says Annie, pointing to the object.
I look down in my hands and for the first time, notice what I'm holding. It's the Box. THE BOX. The box where cards are pulled from to tell all what the next Quarter Quell will be like. What sort of mad, sick and twisted twist would be that year to make it even more bloody and entertaining than a regular Hunger Games.
The first Quell had districts choosing their own tributes. The second had four tributes from each district in. Haymitch Abernathy won that year. Look at him now, just as scarred and battered as the rest of us. The third I was in. The one that got this entire nation screwed.
"Yeah," says Enobaria. "Why do you think it isn't under lock and key?"
"Don't know," I say. Snow probably would have shown people random cards when they came visiting. Only I know he didn't. Finnick's testimony proved that he isn't that careless with his presidency. I wonder if one of Finnick's secrets was of some of the other quells.
Suddenly, I want to see what the rest are. How they would have tortured the tributes further. I quickly take Annie's hand, which trembles, and hurry her to the huge couch. We plop down and I struggle as I try to pull off the box top.
Enobaria comes over and demands the box. I say quickly, "NO." My hands manage to grapple the ends and bring them up, and we're all greeted with a bunch of yellowish-white envelopes. All lined up and prim looking, ready to announce the deaths of kids.
We stare at them for a moment, taking them in. It's almost like we think that there's going to be Peacekeepers pouring in to snatch them back and apprehend us. It's hard to even remember that the rebellion is over, that the Peacekeepers aren't here anymore. Geez, are we all messed up.
"Are we going to look at them?" Enobaria says, and before I can do anything, she snatches the box from me.
Feeling furious, I make a grab for the box and bring it back to my lap. She has one of the envelopes, though, and she opens it and imitates President Snow as she says, "'For the two-hundredth Quarter Quell, the districts shall offer up two tributes of any age, to show that no one, even those who are not young, cannot escape the power of the Capitol.'"
Annie shirks and I say, "Oh, now look at what you did."
Enobaria rolls her eyes and says, "I know you want to do it too."
I roll my eyes and bring out another envelope. Opening it, cracking the seal, I say, my lips dripping with Capitol accent and sarcasm, "'For the three-hundred-seventy-fifth Quarter Quell, the districts shall offer up two tributes of the youngest Reaping age, to show the districts that the Capitol can take those who are just beginning.'"
Annie has her hand near her mouth, looking sad and horrified.
I quickly pull out another one and say, "'For the four-hundred-twenty-fifth Quarter Quell, each district is to offer up one boy and one girl from every age group, making twelve tributes from each district, to show that everyone in the Reaping is vulnerable.'" That's disgusting.
I throw it down, saying, "They were going to have one hundred forty-four kids in one Game?" It's bad enough that these Games even happened, never mind that they were going to increase the number of clueless kids in there.
"The Capitol did what it wanted," Enobaria says.
Shaking my head, I look down and open random envelopes, saying, annoyed, "How many of these damn Quells were they planning on? Did they honestly think that the Games would go on for five hundred years?"
"I suppose so," Annie says quietly. She looks thoughtful as she says quietly, "Those poor kids."
"Yeah," I say, annoyed, as I put the lid back on and shove the box to the coffee table. Looking back at it, I feel like I should be able to burn holes in it, the way I'm looking at it. It's disgusting, how the Capitol thought it could carry on with those kinds of Games. Imagine the way that the year with 144 tributes would have been. Bet the Capitol would have enjoyed that year. Well, they're not going to get to.
"I'm glad that they're not going to happen," Annie says.
The door shakes and in walks Haymitch, Peeta, who looks shaky, and Beetee. Coin follows them with a crisp smile, looking rather happy. No need to wonder why. She has Panem now. She's the president. It's just a question of why the other victors are here.
Katniss shows up and Coin explains. She suggests another Hunger Games, only with Capitol children. I jump at the idea. Yes, duh. If all those years and Games haven't convinced me enough with all of the Capitol's cruelty, it's this box of Quells. 144 kids . . . . I immediately vote yes.
Peeta, being the goody-goody, votes no, and so does Annie, who I now hates violence. Katniss and Haymitch vote yes. Beetee says no. Enobaria says yes. Finally, she's actually helpful for once.
"Excellent! That carries the vote. Now, we really must take our places for the execution," Coin says. We all stand up and I grab Annie's hand and pull her on ahead. The Games are to continue, for one last time, to show that the Capitol can never come on out from the districts' power.
Sounds like a Quell right there.
I like writing Johanna. It's like writing a more sarcastic, annoyed Katniss who doesn't have complex relationships with everyone. I hope you liked it, and thanks for reading!