"It's gonna be jarring. This is something you just need to prep yourself for. You'll understand when you see him." Haymitch's words ring in my ears. The feeling of trepidation has been creeping slowly through my mind, receding, and then swelling again. Why would he refuse to tell me exactly what there was to prepare myself for? Irritation momentarily overrides my thoughts. I would have no patience for his methods of communication if it weren't for the fact that we shared that unspoken bond. We both had memories and experiences that allowed us to make exceptions for each other.
The elevator doors open, and I am presented with a long hallway. The walls are cold and grey, and the barely audible buzz of the fluorescent lights on the ceiling bore into my ears. A small, unassuming metal door lies at the end of the corridor. There is nothing special about this hallway, not even anything sinister to indicate that I should be afraid, or on edge, or "prepared", as Haymitch said to me. But something seems off. There is something dreadfully wrong going on down here, and a mild, but significant sense of terror begins to climb up my throat. Possibilities and terrifying scenarios begin to flit through my head. Why is this person so secluded? What if he's just an official? And What if I'm just being tested? Is someone being held hostage behind that door? Am I to be interrogated? Will a squad of peacekeepers rush out and perforate my flesh with bullets? What if this hallway is merely a trap, what if an officer ten stories above pushes a button, and it collapses around me, crushing me like an ant, then chalks up my death as a tragic accident?
I cool myself. Haymitch wouldn't have asked me to do this. I dislike him, at times. yet I also trust him. He would've tried to tell me something if I was in danger. But as I walk down the hallway, the fear doesn't retreat. It is a long walk. A much longer walk than it should be. I reach the door. I put my hand on the doorknob, hesitating before turning the cold, steel sphere... I breath in, and let go. I decide to knock.
"Hello? I was sent to meet with you". No response. I step back, and look at the door, expecting a label or a plaque of sort to inform me of who I am about to meet. If anyone at all.
"I'm Katniss Everdeen. I was sent to meet you" I repeat myself. I am answered with silence. I debate walking back to the elevator. But... No. I resolve to stay. Perhaps out of commitment, but perhaps I don't want to expose my back to the door. I put my hand on the doorknob, and turn it. The door opens smoothly without a creak.
I step into the room slowly. The room is solid concrete, same as the hallway. A brightly lit panel, shining white and fastened to the ceiling, is the only source of light in the room. A sink, a showerhead, and a toilet are in the corner, all made of steel. And before me lies a cot. A boy, perhaps slightly older than me, sits there, staring at his feet, twiddling his thumbs. He raises his head slowly. A well-defined jaw frames his features, and his prominent cheekbones accent his eyes... which are oddly sunken in. He has caramel brown skin, and messy black hair falls in front of his face, giving him an almost casual aura. I can't identify anything about him that should be disconcerting, but I feel a spike of adrenaline rush through me. I'm afraid of him. There is no logical reason for my fear. Just his essence puts me on edge. He speaks suddenly.
"Do you hear the drums?" he enquires. He speaks in a shaky whisper that nearly sounds joyful, the timbre of his voice is raspy, like nails on steel.
"I'm sorry?" I say. Who could this person be? He can't be a Capitol official, that much is certain. A potential mentor, perhaps? If so, why would Haymitch neglect to tell me about him?
"Listen. Katnip." I twitch. Why did he call me that? How did he know that anyone calls me that? He raises a finger, and I begin to tense up- was he going to act violently? Is this what I was supposed to ready myself for? My eyes flit around the room. How would I defend myself? But he simply places his finger on the cot, and begins to tap steadily. He stares ahead blankly, and to whisper in time to his tapping.
"Tum,Tum,Tum,Tum,Tum..." I'm becoming more uncomfortable as the seconds drag on.
He stops his chant.
"They get softer. At times. But, they're always there." The last words drip from his teeth like blood. I'm reminded of President Snow. His neck twitches, I can see his muscles tighten. I catch myself, about to draw in a breath.
"I can't say I hear any drums." I babble stupidly. He doesn't respond. He keeps tapping, and whispering.
I focus on his tapping finger, trying to collect myself. I'm shaking. But what is the likelihood I'm actually in danger? He seems more... mentally deficient than dangerous, I suppose. I draw my gaze up to his face. Were his eyes jet black before?
He moves so fast and suddenly- His left hand is constricting my throat, his right is over my mouth, he hoists my body off the ground and against the cold, metal door. My eyes are glued to the deep black pools that stare back at me, insanity raging within them. I'm sputtering, gasping, I'm struggling with all my strength, but he doesn't even seem to notice. I try to rasp out a please, a stop, anything to make him cease his assault. In horror, I feel something in pop, and I sob. I claw at his arm helplessly, tears streaming down my cheeks. Rage storms through the back of my mind, furious to see myself reduced to pathetic pleas for mercy, but fear and desperation override this feeling a hundred fold. I kick him in the stomach, and pain shoots through my foot. He isn't affected by the blow at all. I try again, and again he fails to respond. I try to breath in; he's too strong. My vision is clouding.
I whimper. I don't want to die. Nothing else matters. I'll leave my family. I'll volunteer Gale to take my place in the games. I'll put a gun to Prim's head, pull the trigger. Anything. Anything to stop this onslaught. He tightens his grip, and I lose all resolve. Tears stream down my face freely, I cry, I go limp.
And with no warning, he lowers me to the floor and pulls me into an embrace. He whispers into my ear.
"Tum,Tum,Tum,Tum,Tum." His chant stops, and he backs away.
With out his support, I fall to the floor, gasping and racking with sobs. I look up into his eyes like a wounded animal, which have faded to a light hazel... With a businesslike expression on his face, he nods at me once, and says, in perfectly normal tones,
"I haven't had a visitor for quite some time." He strides to his cot, and sits on the bed cross-legged, staring at the wall, back to me.
"Good day." He says, as though dismissing me.
I lie on the floor, humiliated, broken, beaten- And so easily. I backpedal from the room, a picture of defeat. I push the door closed with my foot, and collapse onto my back, breathing hard, shakily wiping away my tears. Minutes pass, and I discover that I have the strength to stand. I do so, slowly, rubbing my neck as I rise to my feet. What was Haymitch's reasoning for sending me here?
I begin to walk toward the elevator, backwards, not wanting to take my eyes off the door.
Sup, guys, hope you're doing well. I started this because I always wanted someone in the arena that was just an absolute animal. Every tribute has limits, but I wanted someone... that could push the bounds. Reviews are greatly appreciated, as I always attempt to revise my work.