Blood in the streets says the song... Only now it filled with bodies. Rotting bodies of the dead and forgotten. Who is responsible for this tragedy? The end of the world as we know it.
No answers are given or even possible. Chaos rules what it's left of humanity. We are the survivors of countless experimental procedures, that tried to comprehend what had befallen us.
Twenty-four pairs, one man, one woman was chosen from different districts of our dear Panem, in the hope that a cure could be found from our particular gene pool.
You see, not everyone got infected. It appeared some of us had an innate immunity to the sickness. A disease so foul, never seen, wiped out towns in a matter of days. The biggest concern had been the symptoms. They weren't the same on everyone, there were no patterns to the infection. The source, at first thought to have been the water supply, then it inferred it came from the meat from bovine animals.
In the end it was fruitless to find the origin of the plague, as entire families succumbed and perished. Only one doctor with great connections in the government had the audacity to begin a secret study known as the "Hunger Games", selecting people from different backgrounds and districts, that hadn't been infected. Dr. Aurelius believed these uninfected citizens were the possible piece of the puzzle, which in turn would help him find a cure for the rest of the dying population. If he was fast enough.
Only we were not willingly participating on the study. I was taken.
"F12 step forward."
The disembodied voice woke me from my unrestful slumber. It was nothing new. It came always at the most inopportune times. It demanded compliance or else.
"F12 you are scheduled to meet with M12 at 0800 hours. You will bathe and dress according to regulations. Thank you."
I could feel the light of the scan go through, as it took the necessary information, It happened at least three times a day. What information it garnered it was all a mystery to me. As for the hour, it was staring right at my face, my only companion until released to my next prison.
Three more hours to go. Until I would meet Peeta. Peeta Mellark or M12, is another unfortunate soul caught in this experimental project. He had a life all set for him, with a future wife and a career. He was his parents' pride and joy, all-star student with the most the infectious smile and the brightest blue eyes.
It wasn't fair he was stuck here... with me. Yet, it wasn't better out there anymore. His life, all those plans and dreams were gone along with his parents and his perfect girlfriend.
Thinking about what his life would've been, brings back what mine would've been. I was the oldest, responsible for my little sister, Primrose, while my mother slaved herself as healer and nurse to all her neighbors. My father was one of the first to die from the infection, as she had carried it home it seemed. The guilt and the stress of seeing everything around us fall apart my mother died about a week later. It was only Prim and I, with her horrible cat Buttercup. Strangely, the damn cat disappeared leaving my sister devastated. I see it now as an omen, the beginning of the end. All I had left was my Prim, and I tried to protect her as best I could. She died in my arms, as blood and other fluids oozed out of every orifice from her body. By then I didn't care if I died. All I wanted was to see my sister grow up and become the young woman I knew she could be. A doctor, healing the sick and helping the needy, a mother of children... Prim loved babies. So unlike me. I had no aspirations for marriage, much less for children in my future.
It was like I was being punished for my nonchalant attitude, that everything I held dear was taken from me. Not even my best friend and confidant Madge survived, as my only male friend had to endure seeing her wither away in front of his eyes helpless. Gale cursed everything and everyone, feeling just like me, abandoned and forsaken by some deity who had taken the time to declare judgement on our miserable lives. For a while it was Gale and I, it appeared we were immune and would be able to survive together. He was prepared to live the rest of his days with me. But even then I was incapable of committing myself to another. Deep down I feared it was just too good to last.
In the end, I was right.
It was time. I took a deep breath, and tried to take out the creases from my barely there clothes. My nipples were hard as pebbles and visible through my tank top. I didn't want to think it had anything to do with what I was about to engage in.
It was shameful.
It cemented in my soul, the fact I had no more dignity. It had been stripped away the very moment I was taken. All for the good of the human race, for country, for the glory and restoration of our great country Panem. As I looked into my reflection, I could see what defeat and total despair had imprinted on my skin. I was no longer Katniss Everdeen, the daughter of Hunter and Emily Everdeen, and sister of Primrose Everdeen. What was left of that girl was a mirage, and what was left was a husk that still breathed and had a heartbeat. It was never enough. There was always some new test, some new theory that needed to be tested out... on us.
The only hope left.
It was useless to try to end it. They would force feed us, make us live for the sole purpose of producing what they were searching, a chimera.
A loud beep alerted me to the opening latch. It was time to do my duties, like a true daughter of Panem, who I owed my life to. Their words.
My choices... well I had no more of those. I was F12, on her way to service M12.
I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath to concentrate on the remaining steps until another door would open and I would feel his eyes on me, lingering on my exposed skin. I couldn't blame him, after all we were all each other had. The only human contact, as our tormentors stayed safe behind the screens and cameras, incessantly watching.
I made eye contact with his blue orbs, and saw a blush rise on his cheeks. I shook my head at him. No names.
We had no names here.
We were no one, yet we exist still... barely.
His naked torso was still wet, droplets running down...down. My eyes follow them into his shorts. My breathing picked up suddenly, knowing there's no running away from this room, from this moment.
"Come here... I won't hurt you... again."
I could see the shame reflected on his face. It wasn't his fault. It was this place and what its done to us, side effects of everything.
"I-I know. Let's just get it over with, so I can go back to my room".
His gaze looked even more wounded at my words, but I was too nervous to care. I was too conscious of the fact we were watched every single second.
His touch was ice-cold, and I took a step back hitting the closed-door. He wasn't deterred from his progress and advanced towards me. I felt caged in, feeling light-headed. I was going to panic and pass out.
"Shh... calm down, Katniss. I won't hurt. I simply want to hold you in my arms. Please?"
Peeta whispered so low, I could barely understand his words. I tried to heed his words, and started to relax. He was only going to hug me to his chest. It wasn't like that time when he was out of his mind. I looked into his eyes and saw his eyes were clear. No storm brewing on the surface.
I let myself go, and then I felt the comfort of his arms around me. I nuzzled my face on his chest searching the warmth only he could offer. His lips were grazing my ear, and I knew he wanted to say something.
"We need to do this. I don't think I can stand the alternative. Dr. Aurelius said the serum he injected me with was the wrong dosage. So, it's only me now. They think our bodies on their own might be better, without any enhancements. I'm sorry for all of this. I know you would prefer to be with your lover, but this is all. If I could I would protect you, and now I know this is what I have to do to make sure you won't be harmed."
He tried kissing my lips, but I turned away. No, Gale wasn't my lover and I didn't love him in that way. I simply couldn't allow myself to feel... feel anything for Peeta. We were paired together, as the best possible match to create the elusive cure. That was the goal.
Keep your eyes on the target, Katniss.
My hands found his flaccid penis.
"Just do as you're told, M12. We have a duty to our country. So get to it."
Inside me I cringed at my cold tone, but it was the only way to remain indifferent against this man.
"As you wish, F12".
It was like the light had been taken from the room, as he took my clothes off and dropped his pants on the floor.
"Where do you want it? Here standing up? Or lying down? Either way is fine by me."
Enter Robot Peeta. It was what I wanted. Yet I felt cheated and bereft.
His body was so massive in comparison to mine, that he covered me from all angles. In the back of my mind, I suspected he wanted to protect me from all the prying eyes. His hands suddenly took hold of my hips and propelled my legs to take hold of his waist. I was pretty sure I heard myself gasp at his forcefulness and determination.
"Are you ready for me?"
A nudge and a thrust, and he was completely inside me. A silent scream was all he got out of me. The same mantra inside my head, this is your duty to your country. Just breathe. I closed my eyes willing for the minutes to go by, for our time to be over. His exhales hit my neck, and I feel that he trying to hold back. No, please let go. Please.
My back hit the wall, as the exertion of holding it up took its toll on Peeta. Or so I thought. His hand found its way between us and his fingers finds my clitoris. I tried to break from his hold over me, but his movements are relentless. I am powerless and moans of pleasure escaped from my opened mouth.
"Let go, Katniss... Just let go".
The shame enveloped me, and I wanted to hit and scream at him. Tears poured down my cheeks, as he made me orgasm against the wall. Between a wail and a scream, all the pent-up energy was freed. With my legs back on the floor, I need the wall to support me from falling right at his feet.
He moved a few steps back, panting and sweating, with his fists coiled. Slowly his blue eyes moved from staring at the floor and locked with mine. They show the same despair I see in mine, yet there's more hidden inside his soul. Longing.
I averted my gaze.
The loud beeping noise declared time was up. The latch opened next. With an unknown agility I picked up my clothes and walked away.
Away from M12.