Maple couldn't breathe. Her breath shot out in raspy, sporadic intervals and her chest rose up and down in distress.
She screamed again.
Whipping around in frantic circles, Maple threw herself at the double doors, banging madly on the tarnished wood and and screeching her voice hoarse until the annoyed peacekeepers came marching, twin expressions of irritation on their faces
The annoyance soon morphed into horror, however, as they took in the scene before them.
Maple, disheveled and distraught, wailing like a wild animal, threw herself out of the room and vomited up whatever mush she had swallowed the day before. Her nauseating hacking and gagging only caused herself to become more revolted and throw up clear fluid. She didn't dare look back into the room.
Small, brown feet dangled from the ceiling, connected with the rest of Orchard's body, swinging slightly as the broken fan whirled and became stuck, never moving more than an inch before Orchard's satiny dress tangled the fan in place.
Orchard hung from the ceiling fan by the fabric of her dress, sheets of ripped material flowing hauntingly. The violet cloth wrapped loosely around her neck and tangled thickly around the fan, whirling and halting, causing the slightest movement in Orchard's corpse.
Orchard's body was completely naked, save for the strips of violet fabric swirling and grazing her skin and her thick sheen of black hair falling madly around the edges of her face and her back. The image was grotesquely artistic, blank brown eyes open yet staring at nothing, graceful body completely exposed yet totally lifeless.
She was practically a ghost.
Maple retched, and retched, and retched and retched but she couldn't get the image out of her head. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks and drip dropped into the pool of her own vomit. She ignored the sounds of the peacekeepers muttering behind her, then around her, then Kili's outraged cries as his face no doubt turned beetroot red.
Two peacekeepers roughly yanked her to her feet and Maple shrieked, bucking and crying and continuing to hack dry retches. The first peacekeeper became annoyed and angrily slapped her across the cheek, leaving a furious red handprint and Maple inhaled sharply, the tantrum dimming. She hung limply in the arms of the faceless peacekeeper, docile and draped onto his forearms, breathing raggedly, but silent.
Maple could care less about where they were going, but she ended up heaped onto a couch with tarnished brash legs, trembling vigorously and pale as a sheet. The boy tribute sat on the other side, staring at her with a mix of curiosity and terror
"Who's she?" He asked.
Kili didn't bother to answer, simply pacing and pacing and pacing, angry muttering and strings of curses ringing from his mouth.
"What the fuck are we suppose to do? What the FUCK. WHAT THE ABSOLUTELY FUCKING HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO.
Maple remained silent, shaky breaths filling the pauses between Kili's curses
"Who is she?" The boy asked again.
Kili whipped around, violet eyes sharp with anger and in no mood to deal with him.
"That," he thundered, "is the girl who found Orchard's carcass hanging from the ceiling.
Grey eyes bugged out and the poor boy leaned forward and threw up whatever he had eaten.
Kili rolled his eyes in disgust, resuming his ranting and swearing. Suddenly, his eyes lit up.
"I've got it!" He shrieked, "it's not perfect, but it'll do."The next thing Maple noticed, a large screen rolled down from the ceiling and on it flashed Orchard's pretty, smiling face.
A newscaster's heavily made up face rolled up, proclaiming that a rebellious citizen had walked into visiting hours and, assuming that she was a friend, the peacekeepers let her in only to realize too late that she was there murder Orchard. Orchard's funeral was to be an elegant event at the Capitol, where she would be honoured for her loyalty to the execution of the murderer was played live.
It was Orchard's eleven-year-old sister, the last one to see her alive
Maple didn't stop retching until there was nothing left.