Kids of Yesterday by My Chemical Romance
When we were young we used to say
That you only hear the music when your heart begins to break
Brennen Dwyloe, 17, Victor of the 76th Hunger Games
When I woke up I didn't believe any of it. It seemed like nothing more than a vivid nightmare from which I had finally emerged. None of the people I had met, killed, or lost were real to me for days. They told me I did well, though, that it had always meant to be me that would be the winner. I didn't know what they meant for so long.
Then, last night, I realized it all was true. The visions that had begun to come back to me in both waking and sleeping hours were real. Not imaginary. Real. I stayed awake for hours, shaking like a leaf nearly fallen from an oak tree. That's how I felt too, like I was falling. I had been okay until my senses returned, then I began to feel. Now I must stop feeling or I will not make it through the next few hours.
I play with the oversized, grey cuffs that line my white jacket. I am dressed to perfection, even more so than when I had my interviews weeks ago or even during the Tribute Parade. I wear a white jacket and slate grey pants, with pieces of grey and strings of metal around my neck. I look how I think I felt before I was Reaped and before I came here. With my hair spiked up tastefully on top of my head, I look tough. I look like I am ready to take on the world though one would not ever know I am no more ready to face the world than I was to look myself in the mirror this morning.
"You look perfect, Brennen," Ennia tells me and I look up to see her smiling up at me. She is so small, I hadn't quite noticed that about her before. She too seems different than before, though, and I know what dirt speckles her eyes and it is kind of like mine but I would describe mine more as splatters and not speckles. Everyone in my prep team seems to have the same kind of appearance. They look scared.
I didn't think about that before last night, I mean I didn't consider what they were scared of. I thought they might have been scared for me. I wasn't in the greatest of health when the hovercraft pulled me out of the arena, not by a long shot. I can't even begin to list off what the doctor told me when I was awakened. I was entranced by his first words, the ones that told me I had lost six toes during my time in the arena, something about hypothermia. It wasn't a big deal, so they never gave me prosthetics. I would be able to get them later on if I wanted. The thought of getting fake anything surgically sewn to my body makes me shiver.
The hours went on and I was cleared by the hospital and returned to my suite in the Training Center. That's when I should have realized everyone wasn't scared for my health. I was fine and recovered by then. It just took me a day or so to figure it out, they were scared of the same thing I was scared of. They were frightened that what they saw on television was real, and maybe a small part of them was even scared of me.
I remember when I first came to the Capitol and my stylist and her team were so excited, chirping like birds around me as they made me into the very image of Capitol beauty. Today, though, it was a completely different experience. They worked silently and their eyes looked tired and were rimmed with purple crescents. I wanted to yell at them. I wanted to scream and make a scene and tell them to go back to normal because I needed that from them. I thought I could pretend none of this had even happened if the people around me could do the same. They couldn't do it and I'm nearly certain I could not either. I want so badly to forget but my mind just refuses to forget the images that come back in my nightmares.
Invidius killing Natalya, punching her skin into the frozen ground until her heart stopped beating.
Cecilia's district partner finding her clenched in my arms and killing her out of crazed bloodlust before turning the same weapon on his own heart.
Kor letting go of his life when I watched without any kind of way to help him.
These aren't just my memories, I have to remember that because it is so hard think that way. Everyone else watched this all the same way I did most times, without an knowledge of what to do and no way of helping any of it. My nightmares could very well be theirs. I somehow doubt that anyone could feel the same as someone who was there, but I can't imagine having to be so close to the person that survived that. The only one that lived, not through accident but through murder.
I killed people, innocent kids, and I lived. I am about to be celebrated as a hero and I have no idea how I am supposed to act like one. I know the people want to see someone who is strong and cunning and confident, but I feel like I'm being broken into a thousand shards of glass with every step I take. I cannot even compare to the person they expect to see on the stage tonight.
What about when I get back to District Two? Am I even going back? Do they want me back? I can't help but think the answer is no. I wonder if my parents even care that I'm gone. If they do I'm sure they don't want to see me. They are perfect people, the ideal citizen that everyone envies. I was their perfect son, emphasis on the was. That was did not end when I was Reaped, it ended far earlier than that. I haven't been the son they thought I was since I was about ten, the day I smoked my first cigar or maybe the day I kissed my first girlfriend.
No, I was far from perfect even before that.
"Brennen, you remember what we went through last night?" Ennia asks and I nod.
"I remember," I croak.
"One more thing," Ennia tell me as a knock on the door signals that I will be needed in a few minutes. She lifts the sleeve of her long dress and I see the long point of metal that could only belong to a syringe tucked into it. I look at her with a shocked gaze but something about the deadness in her eyes tells me that this isn't something sanctioned or given by the Capitol. "It's to make you forget, even for just a couple hours."
I don't trust myself to speak because I don't know if I can express what I want to thank her for. Thank you for drugging me doesn't sound sincere in the least, but it is true enough. I was on morphling for the time I was at the hospital and that's the reason why I think it was so easy for me to rationalize myself out of my own memory. I give her my arm readily and the sharpness is an almost welcome pain.
"You're on in a few minutes," she tells me but already her voice is starting to sound far away and hollow. I smile, or at least try to. Whatever she has give me is strong, but I welcome the feeling of warmth and calm that envelops my body with ease. Someone grabs my arm and leads me away, but I can't be sure who it is as all I can make out is a wave of white. I hear clapping that sounds like it is underwater, and bright lights hurt my eyes.
I think I answer all the questions right, but all I can tell for sure is that I never spoke one word of lie and despite the drugs I still remembered.
The artist theme for this story will be My Chemical Romance.
Song: Kids of Yesterday
On the blog you can now find the Graveyard posted under Thinking of You. These are the obituaries for the tributes, where I hope anyone feeling they've missed something from a tribute can gain closure or whatnot.
I am very thankful to everyone that submitted a character for this story. I know it has been a rough, and horribly long, road but I hope you all have enjoyed it and continue to read my stories. I loved each and every character from Heath to Grace to Kor and to Cole. Each of them contributed to this story and helped make it great. Thank you for your characters!
Brennen will appear in Cradle to the Grave as a mentor now that his victory has been confirmed. I want to thank nb1998 for submitting him, I loved working with him and I hope I was able to o him justice in this last, rather short, entry from him. Thank you a lot for submitting to him, I had a lot of fun with him and he was my perfect Victor in the end.
Now that this story is done, I hope all of you who have read t can give me some feedback, thanks!
Do you approve of the Victor?
Who did you think would win at any point in the story?
Who was your favourite character, no matter their placement?
Specifically for those who submitted, do you think I got your character right?
What did you think of the arena?
Thoughts on the obituaries? Most sad? Most thought-provoking? Etc.
And with that, this story is complete. Thanks to all of you for reading!