I sit on the same cold metal table I did on my first day here. My legs are dangling over the edge and I kick my legs back and forth. My prep team did the same routine they did on the night of the chariot ride. They rid me of all body hair, rub some pale green goop on my skin and peeled it off an hour later, cut and file my nails, and wash, dry, and brush out my hair.
Now, I'm left alone in the empty, tiled room. I like the quiet though. It lets me recover and regroup after my breakdown from earlier. The silence is blissful, and slowly, I calm down completely. I have come to accept my certain death and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except to fight.
What Levi said to me got me thinking. If he believes that I have the fight in me, than why not use it? Why should I let that skill go to waste? Of course, I would only take a human life when necessary, if then. I have also taken the possibility that I might die by an ambush or of natural causes, such as exposure or dehydration accounted for. And I'm strangely okay with that.
The sound of the metallic, automatic, sliding door opens brings me to notice that Justice Summers, my stylist, has come to join me. She carries various dark colored bags and tows a small, wheeled, plastic case behind her.
"Hello Alvera," she says tiredly. "Let's get this over with, shall we? Hmm?" Her accent is so thick; it's hard to understand her.
"Sure," I respond, hopping off the table and walking to the center of the room. She hangs a black canvas bag on a hook, unzips it, and positions the material so that it hangs out of the bag. She picks up her bright pink case and puts it on another table that is longer than the one I occupied not five minutes ago. She opens it and takes out countless containers, tubes, and pencils.
"So what am I going to be wearing tonight," I ask without any real interest, I just wanted to break the silence. In return she just points to the yellow mass of fabric that is hanging on the wall. And since I don't care too much about it, I don't bother going to look.
"So do you have a plan for tonight," she asks me while pushing me to sit down in a chair I hadn't realized was there.
"A plan?" I don't know how to respond. I haven't even considered what I was going for tonight. What's my angle? How will I respond to Caesar's questions?
"Yeah, a plan. You know, a—," I cut her off before she can say another word.
"Yeah, I know. I'm just not sure what I want people to perceive me as. I can be witty, or fierce, or funny, or sexy, or weak, or so much more. But none of those fit me. "I will probably just be myself. I don't know how to be anything else," I tell her as she draws thick lines around my blue eyes.
"I see," she says absentmindedly. She has already gone into what I call her "zone". It's when she becomes so absorbed in her work that she doesn't really acknowledge me or anything else for that matter, other than her work. Which, I guess is a good thing that she is so involved and self-aware. I wouldn't want a bad stylist…
Hours pass, and my face has been smothered in make-up. She pulls away after one more swipe to my lips with a light pink colored gloss. "There. We are done with that, now how about we get you dress." She glances at the clock before adding, "Oh! We're running a bit behind!"
She scurries over to the dress and brings it back to me. "Put this on," she says before shoving it at me. She turns back to the case and pulls out hair brushes and hair elastics and other things that I didn't know the name of.
I unzip the back and step into the dress and wait for Justice to zip up the back. I refrain from looking in the mirror just yet, so I sit back down, waiting for her to start working on my hair. She pulls it up quickly, but carefully into a bun, leaving strand near my face down. Next she turns me away from the mirror to face her so that she can see what she is doing.
I'm not exactly sure what that is though; I just know that I can feel the heat radiating off of the object she is holding so very close to face. After about a half hour of doing this, she sprays something on my hair and has me stand up.
"There," she says, looking relieved. "You're all done."
I look at myself in the mirror. And just like the night of the chariot rides, I am stunned with how gorgeous I look. My dress is yellow, with a one shouldered gathered top, and a skirt that flows away from my body. On my left side there is bead work that looks almost like the sun with its bright rays, and more beads on the shoulder strap. My hair is done up in a bun and my normally straight hair is in curls that line my face. It looks casual yet elegant.
"I love it! You make me look so pretty! I bet the people back home won't even recognize me." I say the last part quietly. Home is still a bittersweet topic. I miss it still, but I know that I shouldn't because I know that I will never be returning.
"Oh, thank you, darling, but it's my job to make you look good. But I'm glad you like it. Now put these on, and we will be ready to go!"
She hands me a pair of shoes to slip on. They are strappy, black, suede heels that don't look particular comfortable. But, even so, I put them on without a fight.
"Alright, let's go," I say, standing straight up.
And together we make our way down to the meeting place for all tribute before the interview. And this is where the panic sets in. What if I mess up? Or say something wrong? What if they don't like me and I get no sponsors?
I must pale in the face because Alice looks at me with concern. "Alvera, what's wrong? Are you okay? Do you need to sit down?" She is already starting to flag down one of the people in a red shirt that have been catering to our every need this past week.
"No, I'm fine. Just a bit nervous is all," I say with a slight shake of my head. I put a hand to my face and slide down the wall I was just leaning against so that I am sitting on the floor. I sit with my feet turned so that they are brought back to my waist, not wanting anyone to see my underwear.
She asks everyone if she could have a moment aloe with me, and everyone give us our space. She squats down so she is eye level with me. "Alvera, will you look at me?" I comply with her request. "Good. There's nothing to be nervous about, I promise. The questions will be all about you. You will most likely be asked about your family, your life before the Games, and what your strategy will be. It will be okay, I swear. Now how about we line up?"
She offers me her hand to help me up off the floor. "Thanks," I mutter, still looking down at the floor. We line up and soon all the mentors, stylists, and Capitol reporters are ushered out from back stage. After everyone but the stage manager and all the tributes are the only ones left, the girl from District one goes out for her interview. They all last for three minutes.
Soon, she's back and heads over to the elevators to go back up to her floor then goes her district partner. Then goes the pairs from Two and Three. And when it's my turn to be questioned, I take a deep breath and head into the blinding lights.
"Next, the girl tribute from District Five! Everyone please welcome Miss Alvera Arca!" Caesar Flickerman's voice booms throughout the square, and I walk to my place, waving at the roaring crowd.
"Settle down. Settle down, everyone," he says after a couple minutes. "So, Alvera, how are you this fine night?"
My time has official started. Stay calm, I tell myself. "I'm well, Caesar, how about yourself?"
"I'm great, thank you for asking. So, you're from District Five, what's that like," he asks me. I'm not sure how to answer that. How do I feel about my home? The one I will never return to?
"Well, it's home, Sir. I'm not really sure what else to say." I give a little laugh at the end of my response, and he seems to accept my answer.
"I see. Well I'm sure everyone here is wondering something." Oh, no. Here it comes. He's going to ask about my accident. "Why don't you tell us about what happened in training?"
I collect myself and look at the clock before answering. Two minutes left. "Well, on the second day of training, I was really nervous. I was in a place I have never been in before, surrounded by a whole bunch of strangers. And I guess I was too nervous to eat or drink anything. So after lunch that day, I was going to a new station—,"
He cuts in, but only to say, "Knife throwing, if I recall correctly, right?"
"Yes, knife throwing. But I was walking back from the target when I passed out. And a knife slipped through my hand and cut me in the process." I hold up my hand to show the audience the bandage that was still wrapped around my hand. "And that's about it. I mean, I was in the hospital until this morning…" I trail off, not knowing where to go from that.
"Ah, yes. Then you had your private training session. Speaking of which, I have your score right here, if you are wondering what you got."
I sit up a little bit straighter, and I catch a glimpse of myself on a screen that was set up towards the side of the stage. Excitement is clear on my face. "Yes, I would love to know where I rank," I tell him.
He gives me a little laugh. "Alright, are you read?" I nod in response. "Okay, you scored a…a seven! Congratulations!" And then the timer sounds with perfect timing. "Well, it looks like we are out of time! Can we get one last round of applause for, Alvera?" I stand up, shake Caesar's hand, and walk off the stage, smiling and waving at the audience the entire way off.
I now make my way up to my room. I take off my dress, the necklace, shoes, and undo my hair. I shower, removing all the Capitol made products from my body, and get changed into a set of pajamas. I lie down on the bed and begin thinking yet again,
What will the arena be like? What kind of environment will I be forced into? But one question is my top priority at the moment.
I find myself wondering, how will I die, before I settle into a fitful sleep.
Hello everybody! This was a long chapter, about two thousand words. Did you like it? I wanna know so I can improve with the future chapters! I'm not too crazy about it, but I am loving the dress. I posted links to the pictures on my profile; they will be at the bottom! Go check 'em out!
Also, I have a basic idea for the arena, what do you guys want to see in it? Again, I wanna know so review!
I will see you guys later.
REVIEW AND DFTBA!