Hi, and good day to all of you from Sweden :) This is a really sad chapter, but I suppose that most of these will be a bit gloomy, there isn't all that much about the HG that really are "happy-go-lucky". Well anyway, enjoy! :)
I stare blankly at the sight up on the stage. There he stands, the love of my life, on his probable death row, ready for an imminent execution. My head won't process it fully; it won't admit what I already know. That I will never see him again; that he will be lost to me forever hereafter. That he will never come back home.
My eyes are dry, my mind is blank. I can't think. I can't understand.
I can remotely make up what is being said around me. I can hear them pity me, pity Chord, pity Zane. I don't want their pity, I don't want their negative thoughts near me. In pure despite I decide that Chord will make it, he will get home. He has no choice. He has to show these people, he has to let them know what he's worth. Even if that means the unthinkable, that he will be forced to kill all twenty-three children himself.
I'm being selfish now. I know that. But I want him back, I want him back so badly, and these people have given me even more reasons why.
I curl my toes, I grit my teeth sternly together and I clench my fists alongside my entire body in a small attempt to keep from screaming out of frustration. My entire body stiffens trying to keep the screams away as they only seem to come nearer for me to burst out. He can't leave me alone. Two years is too little time with him, I need more. I crave more. I crave for his existence to be near me still. To be with me forever. I can't survive without him. How am I supposed to? And how will the children take it. Through my still hazed condition I turn my head so I can look over at Zane, and just like me he is in utter shock over Chord's sudden outburst. I slide under the ropes that make up my folly and walk the few steps over to Zane and embrace him in my arms. I shelter him from the sight of those up on stage by holding his head to my shoulder, and as he begins to shake both from relief and sorrow I tilt my head down so my cheek is resting on his head.
I feel his tears soaking through the fabric of my dress, and I stroke his back with my hands in a sad attempt at comforting him. Just as I thought it doesn't work. I give up in frustration and stop moving my hands as I look up at the stage once more just to see how they are leading away Chord and the little girl into the justice building.
I begin to panic. We haven't even been allowed to tell him goodbye. I don't have to worry about it long though. Up on the stage Mr. Bellantyn is stepping over to the microphone, and grips it lightly.
"For all of you who wishes to say goodbye to our two tributes they are given an hour for visits before their leave to the Capitol. Just so you all know," he drifts off slowly, and my grip around Zane tightens for a moment with the response of a muted moan from him. I quickly release him from my hold and our eyes meet for a brief moment before we run back to the others in the crowd. We find the Overwill's and the children and together all of us hurry into the justice building.
We aren't the first ones there. Sitting on some couches in the middle of the waiting room sits a huge group of people, and since I don't know any of them I guess they are here on account of the girl. Skyla. I wonder if somebody else will come to visit Chord. He doesn't know all too many people. He has only been here for six months, and a great deal of that time has been spent with building our house or taking care of the kids. But he ought to know some people from work.
We sit down on two small couches near the back corner in the room. I hold on to Niles; Zane and Carly sits on either side of me, Carly holding Iason in her arms, who for once is fairly calm and doesn't try to slide down or jump up or anything. He just sits there and looks at us all.
The entire room is quiet, and awkwardly so. I want to tell them how sorry I'm on their behalf, but since I wouldn't want them to say it to me, I keep my mouth shut.
When ten minutes have passed without anybody coming to show us to our loved ones I begin to worry. I thought they said we had an hour. What the hell are they doing?
After five minutes more we can finally hear footsteps outside in the hall, and soon four peacekeepers step inside our room. We all stand up and look at them, and they sign for Skyla's group of family and friends to follow them. I sit back down with a sigh. They leave the room, but one of the older ladies from the group steps up to me and take my hand for a moment and squeeze it lightly before following the others.
I close my eyes and try to listen to what is going on outside of this room, but I can't hear anything. It's dead silent out there. I stroke Niles arms slowly as I wait. I look at Zane who is crying with his eyes fiercely shut, his hands clasping together in his knees and I realize gradually what it is that he is thinking about. I lean over to his ears and whisper in them so that nobody else will hear my words:
"It wasn't your fault. Trust me, it wasn't your fault." I don't know if the few idiotic words would help him, but I was far to dazed to be able to think of anything more reassuring to tell him. But when I felt his head resting lightly on my shoulder I knew that it was enough for him to hear right now.
Then suddenly footsteps are coming close rapidly, and three men launches in through the doors. I recognize them from Chord's work, and I think I know who all of them are. There's Adric, the blonde, nerdy guy who is in his mid-twenties, his girlfriend lives not even ten houses down our block. He is one of the few people I know whose family hasn't been wrecked due to the war. There's Hal, his mind is still stuck in the rebellion, and his eyes are always on his watch for danger. He lost his wife and two infant children, a pair of lovely twins, just two weeks into the war when a bomb blew up close to their tent. He made it out unharmed, but they didn't, and he blames himself for it. And then there's Ovis, the sixteen-year-old who just like Chord had to get a job in order to feed his family. His dad died, so now he and his mother are taking care of his seven brothers and sisters.
They all sit down near us, but they stand up just as quickly as some more white-dressed peacekeepers come and signs for us to follow their lead. They take us through long halls until we finally come to stand in front of a door where they tell us Chord is waiting.
"But you have to go in there in smaller groups, and each group will only get five minutes." Before I manage to think about it Adric, Hal and Ovis has volunteered to go in there first and soon they are in there. I sort of envy them, but at the same time I want to wait with it. The thought of seeing him for the very last time is daunting, it's terrible to even think of.
We decide that Bridget and her husband Toby will go next, then the children on their own, and then I will be saved for last. But that's just as good, then I will be given time to think about what to tell him. I have no idea what I would want him to hear. That I love him, of course, and that I always will. I want to tell him to win this, to come home. Home to me, home to the children, home to all of us who loves him. I want him to promise to do everything he can to come back.
I hear how the boys are coming back out from Chord's room and walking out of the door where we came from, and I gaze up to see how the Overwill's are going in instead. Time is beginning to run out. I have to make up my mind about what to tell him. But it's too hard. It's too hard to even imagine saying goodbye.
Oh, how I want him to come back home with me now, that all of this has been a dream, that it is just a wretched nightmare, taunting me in my sleep. But I know that this is too cruel for my mind to make up, too elaborate. I don't have the imagination to dream of this terror. But still, I hope I will just wake up in my bed with Chord sleeping beside me, with no signs of him going anywhere.
What can I tell him? To slay all others without remorse? To give up all of his principals? Why not just ask him to be everything he isn't. He is far too kind to do something like massacre a bunch of younglings.
But I can ask him to do his best to come home. That we'll be waiting for him. I can ask him to at least try to win this, for us all.
The time must be running quickly away as Bridget is coming out from Chord's room, quickly followed by her husband. I stand up and lead all four children to the door, and when they walk in I get a short glimpse of Chord standing in there waiting. When the door is shut in front of me I lean back at the wall and slide down on the floor, burying my face in my hands.
I wish Chord could slay, just for this once. I mean, he has done it before, but they were grown men and women, Capitol soldiers, and we were in a war against them. But this time it is different.
I know he can kill if he wishes to; I've helped him train for that sole purpose even. I know how good he is, how talented. When I helped him build up his strength after his injury in the war we spent a lot of time training with different weapons. It was required out of the soldiers to be able to control not only guns which were mostly used, but also things like swords and knives since mere firepower didn't always was needed. He was very skilled with weapons like knives even in his damaged stage, far better than me, but I succeeded him in one particular way. When it came to archery I beat him time and time again. Not to say he wasn't good at it, he was a fair archer, but I was simply better. It made sort of sense, considering that I had used it daily for a long time hunting animals, while he had only used it training every now and then on still dummies.
Watching him train with his short sword was enchanting. He was beautiful the way he was able to move with it, spinning around in circles, lashing out at imaginary targets, spinning the sword in every possible way. Even when he moved so slowly that he barely moved the few movements of his were just like art. He knew exactly how to use that thing to get everything out from it. It was just as clear to see that the sword was his weapon as it was to see that the bow was mine. He was lethal with that thing, counting on that he could get close enough to the enemy so he could actually use it.
I haven't actually seen him kill anything; I didn't know him before his injury, and he didn't get back into shape before the wars end. Even on the way back home it was me who made sure that we had meat to eat, and he found other things like greens and stuff to eat.
I do hope he will have use of all of his skills in the arena, and that he won't give up just because the other tributes probably are way younger than him. I know it is extremely selfish of me, but I want him to get back home, no matter who it is that has to die for it to happen.
I panic as I see the peacekeepers opening the doors and calling out the children. They walk out of the room soon and sit down next to the Overwill's. I've run out of time, what will I tell him? My thoughts scatter frantically through my mind as I get up from the floor and walk slowly toward the door. My head is entirely blank. I have no idea whatsoever about what I should tell him.
I walk in the door and I am greeted with his arms that encircle my body. My cheek is pressed against his. The warmth of it all causes my eyes to overflow, tears flood down my cheeks and fall down onto his back, wetting his shirt. Chord's hands strokes my back soothingly and I wish I could stop weeping, but there's no way I can stop it from streaming. He mutters out "it's okay, it's going to be okay" in my ear but I know it's not. I get a grip of myself; I force my tears away and pull myself away from his embrace. I stare into his brown eyes as I tell him:
"You have to come back!" my eyes should witness complete determination as I tell him this, letting him know that I'm more than serious about my request.
"I will," he answers simply, but it's not enough for me.
"I promise. I swear on my life, on yours, Zane's, Carly's, Niles' and Iason's life. I swear I will get back home. I will come back to you. We will be a family again." He looks dead serious as he makes his promise, and I trust him. I know that he will come back. I can feel it. There's no other outcome of this.
I bury my face in his neck again and mutter out:
"How will I make it until you get back? We haven't been apart for more than some hours before."
"You have the children, and you can always look at my picture whenever you miss me. And I will be with you constantly. I will never leave your side. You might not see me, but I will be there." I sigh before he continues. "I hope you won't mind I brought with me one of the pictures from home though." He drops his hands from my back and pulls out a small photo from his pocket. I look at the picture, and I instantly recognize the motive. It is the photo of our entire family gathered, and I have to streak away a tear that has suddenly appeared at the sight of the picture. It was such a happy moment. I hope we will have that at least once more.
"I don't mind," I tell him with a smile. I lean up to his face and gently kiss his lips. As I draw away I feel his hands on my back pulling me back, and our lips meet again, only more desperate this time. Our lips cling to each other as we kiss uncontrollably. I feel his tongue gently streak across my bottom lip begging for permission to enter, and I let it. Our tongues greet each other and play wildly as I lift my hands up so I can draw my fingers through Chord's golden hair. I tug it ever so harshly, but he doesn't even seem to notice. His arms are holding my neck softly; even in this desperate state of his he is still so careful with me.
I panic yet again as I hear footsteps outside the door and I draw myself even closer to Chord as the peacekeepers open the door and calls on me to go out. I refuse; I just keep holding on to Chord and kissing him breathless. They walk over and begin to tug on me, forcing me to let go of Chord. They bend my hands out from their grip of his hair leaving several locks of his hair in my fists as a result, and they force his arms away from my back where they dreadfully try to keep me close to their touch. Our lips are the last thing that breaks apart from each other. As they with huge effort and determination carry me away I shout "I love you!" time and time again to Chord as I with no results try to wriggle out of their grasp of me, and I can hear him cry out the exact same words.
As they close the door behind me they let me go and I fall down on the floor. I stare blankly in front of me and keep whispering "I love you, I love you, I love you." It becomes a chant. Even as I feel the children hugging me I still keep murmuring the words. I can't stop. I can feel how they pull me up and lead me out of the building, but I still won't stop mouthing my words.
They lead me down a street, and I find it sort of familiar. Then it hits me that it is the way to the train station. Of course. Chord will have to take the train to leave to the Capitol. I awake from my chant and look over at the people around me. They're all there: all four children and the Overwill's couple. Mr. Overwill seems to be carrying little Iason who is looking over at me. I pick up Niles who is walking on her own and walk in a faster tempo. We have to get there before Chord and the others do.
I need to see him one last time, I have to, just one more time before he goes. Just one more time…
I hardly see the people surrounding us on our way to the train station, bickering away about these tributes, not caring about who may hear them. I just avoid the few ones that are in my way. It feels like I'm far too slow to make it there, but in reality I was almost running the entire way there. I slowed my pace somewhat when I noticed how all the others had a hard time keeping up. As they caught up with me again we were fairly close to the station, so we made a final effort in keeping up our speed.
When we had been standing there, next to the train, for several minutes just waiting for a sign of Chord's arrival in the huge crowd of people I somewhat regretted being in such a hurry, since I had too much time to think instead. So I was hugely grateful but at the same time extremely miserable when we finally saw their deep-green car approaching. I couldn't believe this might be the last time I would ever see him. That I possibly will not be able to stare into his beautiful chocolate eyes again, to not be able to ever kiss his tender lips once more.
We watch as Gliese skips out of the car, in too much a hurry to even bother to wait for the chauffeur to open her door. Then we see little Skyla follow her closely. I can see that she has been crying, and a lot at that. I look around the crowd briskly to try to tell if her family is here, but I can't see them so I suppose not. She doesn't at least try to find them in the huge mix of people here, she just try to get away from here as quickly as possible.
I hug Niles tightly too me, her tiny arms gripping my neck tighter as a response as we all watch Chord stepping out of the massive car. My throat clenches when I finally accept that this is the last time I will see him for a long, long time.
As I watch him walk up the ramp to the train painfully slowly, he looks around the crowd that's encircling them goodbye, in search of us. But I don't try to get his attention, and neither does any of the children, the sound the horde of people surrounding us does would fade our weak voices flat immediately. Instead we just watch him walk towards his fate, grieving how horrible this day has turned out, both for him, for us, and for all others experiencing the exact same thing around Panem. We watch how he gets on the train without having found any of his loved ones here to tell him goodbye, and how his head falls down to his chest. This is a familiar movement to me, he always does this when he is sad, and I begin to regret that I didn't even try to get his attention.
I follow his movements through the tiny windows of the train, and I see how he sits down right beside the window where we're standing. I only pray that he will look up in time to see us here, that we will be able to say farewell to him. As if reading my mind his head slowly turns towards the window and our eyes meet for a brief second before the train begins to move. I can see how his hand begins a small wave just as his wagon is pulling away from our sight.
I sit down on my knees with all four children around me, and we watch how the train moves away from us in a quick tempo, carrying away the one thing that has made us all feel safe for the last month. He was the one who made us all happy, he was the one we all owed our lives. Without him I would have been a cynical bitch; having spent four years of my life watching people die might alone have made me wretched, but to then also be given the news of my family's death not one month after would give me a certain fate of horror. Chord kept me positive through all of this, and he even made sure that I always helped the ones I could.
And Carly would have been forced to watch me fall apart right in front of her, disintegrate into nothing, if it wasn't for Chord. He gave her a family after that hers had disappeared under her watch.
Zane, Niles and Iason truly owed Chord everything, without him they would still be wandering the streets. They would probably even be dead by now. A horrible thought.
We fall into each other's arms as the train slowly moves out of sight for us, and we keep embracing each other for who knows how long. I get too many stains on my dress to count, but it doesn't matter, that can always be washed away later. Right now it is more important that all of them will be allowed to cry their sorrow out.
I can feel Bridget patting my shoulder and I release one of my hands from its seat behind Zane's back to reach up and stroke it in return. This simple gesture is more than enough to let me know her feelings of seeing us like this. I try to smile at her too, but I can't manage to do that without breaking into even more tears so I turn my focus back on crying.
Eventually though, all of us runs out of tears, and we merely keep shaking next to each other for a short while. I look at all of them. I streak away some resistant tears from Niles cheeks, and rub Zane's hand for a while. I pat Carly's arms and lift up Iason in my knee. He is a bit grumpy, not knowing really why we all wouldn't stop crying. Why we wouldn't turn our focus on him. I tickle him a little bit and his temper disappears almost immediately, and is replaced with a smile instead. He smiles at all of us, and none of us can keep from smiling a bit ourselves. This guy is the one who gets us out of our sad states and up from the ground.
I look up at the sky above us, and to my huge surprise it hasn't changed all too much at all. Maybe the sun has changed its position a bit, but in my mind it should have been so much more. It feels like we have been sitting here for the entire day, that it should be dark out, but guessing from the sun, we haven't even been crying for a whole hour.
Still with Iason in my arms, and with Mr. Overwill picking up Niles, we all walk side by side together back to our home, at least attempting not to cry anymore, to be strong. To believe that he will come back.
So, a really sad chapter :(
Please review, it will help my writing a lot :D