"It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane." ~ Philip K. Dick,
I wake up with gauze wrapped around my arms and strapped down to the bed. "I guess I'm still dangerous" I whisper.
"No" I hear. I'm startled and look around anxiously. "Just to yourself." The blonde boy appears by my side.
"Really?" I ask amused, "So you people enjoy watching someone suffer?"
"Not at all." He sits down.
"Tell me your name" I instruct.
"Peeta" He sighs.
"Why are you here?"
"We want to help you, Katniss." I scoff at this, "We can help you."
"I can't be helped." I say.
"Yes you can, but you have to try" He sighs
"Why should I?" I ask, not in a contradicting way. But a curious way nonetheless.
"Because I love you" He says. "I know you've seen a lot and you may not feel the same way. But I love you, and I need you. I need you to try for me. Do just this for me. Please" He's begging me again. I feel uncomfortable with him. Or something like that because my heart is doing this weird uncomfortable thing. "I've spent so long trying to keep you alive, you can't die on me now."
I look at him trying to feel something, anything. I pity him for loving me. I'm just some useless corpse.
"Why do you all care so much? I don't care at all"
"Because... You're you" He says, "Prim misses you Katniss, Gale misses you, your mom misses you. Even Haymitch misses you and that's saying something." He takes my hand that's strapped to the bed.
"They miss someone who isn't here anymore." I say.
He's crying again, "You're still you Katniss."
"No I'm not." I sigh.
"Yes you are, Snow may have hurt you but he didn't take you a-"
"I was raped!" I shout at him, "The one thing I held dear, the one thing I had was taken from me! I'm not myself anymore! Stop kidding yourself into thinking I am!" I can feel blood ooze from the cuts in my arms. I've reopened the stitches in my arms in my anger. He calls for a nurse and I'm knocked out yet again.
The next time I wake up I meet with someone else.
"Morning" It's an older stern-looking woman. I feel like I've done something to piss her off as she scowls ever so easily. I think she's repeatedly stabbing me with her mind.
"Morning?" I ask unsure.
"You've been wasting my time." The woman says. She stands up and thrusts clothing onto my chest. "Get dressed there's work to be done." I nod and quickly change. "I'm President Coin, District Thirteen's elected official. Walk with me" She says.
The shirt's a bit too small, but it's long-sleeved which I'm grateful for. I can cover my arm wrappings.
She begins to give me some assignment about battle planning. "You'll be fighting, I'm not worried about you. You've got a good amount of crazy, crazy is good for a soldier keeps them sane."
I ponder those words, though they are fairly contradictory I think I understand them.
"This is the training room, I'll send you here when the recruits are finished." I peer into the glass that she has gestured to.
I see people working and training, they're throwing knives and shooting at targets.
I look around and see a few familiar faces. Haymitch stands by watching others train, the man with dark hair works diligently crouched . Then I spot Peeta and he's spotted me.
He looks confused, afraid even. Like I'm an unstable mess. I am an unstable mess.
I see a few of them glance up at me and stop completely as well.
"Little lamb..." I hear my decaying mind speak up, "They only want to harm you little lamb."
"No" I whisper grabbing Coin's attention.
"All anyone wants to do is hurt you."
"Leave me alone." I grasp my head as if to keep it in place.
"Remember I have your sanity"
"SHUT UP!" I scream and begin to back away. I need to fight for my sanity, the shreds of it left at the very least.
"All anyone wants to do is hurt you." It says again.
"Katniss, listen to me. You have more self-control and power than anyone I know. You can beat him" Coin says in a not so confident way. "You have the power to destroy him. This rebellion has the power to destroy him."
"You're worthless." The voice says again.
"You have the power to end this." She's not talking about my insanity, she isn't talking about silencing the voice, she's talking about the rebellion.
What a bitch.
The voice of my sick brain goes silent and I am left with tears still slipping down my face.
"Come on," Coin says. "We have work to do." She leads me out of the room, my body shakes violently.
"Coin!" We hear making our way down the hall. "Coin what are you doing?" We turn to see Peeta chasing after us.
"Soldier, what are you doing out of training?"
"Did you not see what just happened to her?" He gestures to me, "She's not ready, she needs time to heal."
"Too much time has been wasted already. She just needs work."
"She looks like she'll throw up at any moment." I feel slightly insulted by this.
"She'll just have to suck it up then soldier. Her well-being is no concern of yours."
"Like hell she isn't"
"Go back to training, Everdeen get a head start" Coin points down the hall. I nod and start on my way. I begin at a low jog so I can block out the rest of the conversation.
I start crying again, and feeling more pity for myself. Why do I have to pity myself so much?
I turn a few corners, realize I'm lost, and sit on the ground. I sob into my arms pathetically.
I punch my shaking legs a bit, curse under my breath, and stand up. Wiping my eyes dry I take to walking through the halls.
I'm so useless. I can't seem to get anything right. I'm dead weight to everyone.
I shouldn't be bringing these people down. I should be dead.
I clutch my head firmly tugging on strands of hair. I'm going crazy, fuck that I am crazy.
I fall against a wall and gasp for breath. I hate myself for this. I knock my head back against the wall.
I'm desperate for an escape. Even simply sleeping will be grace to end this cycle of thinking.
"I am not worthless" I whisper.
"Yes you are" My brain says, "You always have been. Little whore"
"Stop" I beg.
"Why? That's what you are a stupid little whore. Capitol Prostitute. Nothing more than a piece of flesh to bone. Nothing more than a sex toy so others can indulge their craving for human reproduction."
"Leave me alone." There is no fight in my voice like before.
"Why?" It asks, "Why should you, a murdering wretch be spared?" I cannot fight back to this voice, "Remember, you did this to yourself. You had to live. Your life has killed thousands. You have killed more than you know.
"Your life has left others lifeless. And for what? Some stupid boy? Some stupid berries? You did this, you deserve this."
"Yes" I answer, "Yes I do."
"You got everything that was coming to you. Surgery may have hidden the scars, but they will never be gone. It will always be there, the pain, the deserving pain. It hurt so much more because you deserved it."
I open my eyes now, "I'm going crazy" I say.
"Honey, you already are." My brain tells me, and it is so true.
I stand up, I shake away those thoughts and keep moving. However they don't die away, and me suppressing the thoughts makes my head ache.
I look up and see a figure standing at the end of the hall. They see frazzled and distressed like me.
Are they real? Are they not even there? I'm not sure, "Hello?" I ask in a small frightened voice.
The figure turns to me and walks closer. We walk up until we're face to face. It's Johanna, her eyes are frightened but seem relieved that it's me.
"Johanna... Are you real?" I ask.
She nods and tears threaten to spill out of her eyes. "Yeah, brainless, I'm real" She hugs me then and for the first time in a long time I'm held in an embrace I don't seeth with hate over. I like this human contact. I'm happy to be in someone's presence.
Maybe because I know how fucked up she is, maybe because we're both fucked up. But I'm happy, and I hug her back, even if we are both fucked up.
"I thought they lied to me... I thought they killed you. You went through more hell than I did Brainless." She's crying I can feel her tears.
"They drove me insane" I confess because I think she'll get me.
"The took me to hell and back, they took you to hell and left you there. Fuck them, be insane Brainless, just so long as you're here." I start crying then, because she needs someone. We both need someone, and what's crazy is that we both need someone crazy.
And we're both crazy, so we both need each other.
"Thank you for being real" I cry into her shoulder.
"Thank you, for the spark" She says and I completely understand, even though I shouldn't at all.
I start to feel stronger as we cry together. Two broken girls crying, and somehow I feel more complete.
"Let's go inside." She suggests and takes me into her apartment. She tells me about her work, how Coin thinks her thirst for vengeance sets her above the rest.
I show her my scars from cutting, I tell her about crying and pitying myself. She understands and so do I.
"She told me, that I've got a good amount of crazy, crazy is good for a soldier keeps them sane." I say.
"Perfectly contradictory that bitch is... I mean woman."
"No she's a stone cold bitch" I say.
"Amen hun." Johanna salutes me, "The bat shit crazy woman needs to rot in the deepest corner in hell right next to Snow."
"He'd probably be scared into submission by her." Talking about Snow with Johanna seems frighteningly simple. I'm afraid of this, but embrace it.
They'd make ugly demon babies" She says.
"Why would you even think that?" I ask disgusted and remember that Snow had put his offspring in me at one point. And killed it the day after. Then I sadly imagine Snow and Coin having sex.
"I don't know but now I'll never un-see it" She laughs, and I laugh too. Because laughing is easier than crying.
"Johanna?" I ask.
"Did you see the video... Of me-"
"Yes." She says solemnly. "Why?"
I want to tell someone about the torture, I need to tell someone. I only told her about the hospital, sparing her of the detailed torture and rape. "Eight hundred and forty-six times." I say.
"Eight hundred and forty-six times, I was raped. One hundred and seventy-three times by women. Two hundred and twelve times were by groups."
"You don't have to talk about this." She says to me.
"If I don't... I'll just keep giving in to that stupid voice that's telling me I'm dead weight." I feel safe with Johanna. She's crazy, she went crazy long before we were captured.
I tell her what it felt like to be the real girl on fire. About the seizing and the mutants and the rape. Mostly about the rape. About the pills for abortions.
"That's one thing I don't know" I say. I haven't shed a single tear, "How many babies I lost."
Johanna is crying, not hard, but silent cascading tears. Tears that have drawn lines down her cheeks. Her eyes are not red, her breathing is normal, her head rests on her hand, and she looks at me with blank eyes.
"I feel like a whiny bitch now" She says. I crack a smile. She hasn't wiped away any tears. They drip off her chin onto the table we're sitting at.
She takes my hands and looks at me, "You... Brainless, can't be so stupid as this."
I laugh at this, "What?" I ask.
"You can't be so stupid to let that mother fucker have his way with you, sell your body for sex and pain, then just cry about it. Not even you are that stupid.
"The only way anything is going to change, the only way the scar tissue can grow is if you get off your lazy ass and do something about it.
"Don't wait around for lover boy to save you. Don't have ANYONE save you. You have and you will save yourself.
"The only way you'll stop pitying yourself, the only way you'll shut up that voice is to get up and do something to change it." Jo is still crying but her voice is steady and true. "I'm having a moment here" She says. "And now I'm the hypocrite."
"Well then" I speak up, "Stop being a hypocrite you stupid bitch" I say and she laughs.
"Fuck you Brainless."
"Fuck you too" I say with a smile.
And you know what I don't think I followed Johanna's advice. Because I didn't really save myself. Because really she did. She saved me, and I guess in a way I just saved her.
We need each other, and to be needed by someone you need just as much... Well I hope you feel that some day because I can't describe it.
There are enough words to say so, but none of them are proper. None of them are deserving of even describe how it feels.
You don't always need to save yourself. You just need someone to tell you to do it. And then just like that, they're your hero.
And you feel fixed even though you aren't and you know it. You know you're still the remains of a freak accident but suddenly the accident isn't tragic. It's fucking hilarious and you have someone to watch you pick up the pieces and laugh while doing so.
You smile while fixing yourself. Which seems weird but it's awesome. Without her I'd never gotten off my ass. I might have killed myself.
And she tells me about how she thought about killing herself. How after her Games she thought about ODing right then and there. How after we were rescued she almost did kill herself just like me.
But then she saw those videos and she stopped. So in a way I saved her, just as much as she saved me.
She says she felt selfish for wanting to die when I had gone through worse. She says I'm brainless but that's only good because I'm brave.
I didn't feel brave before but now I do. I guess that makes us friends. I guess that makes us heroines for our own stories.
We both know we've got a hell of a mess to clean, but we'll do it, and we'll find a way to laugh when it's almost too much to bear. Because that's what friends do.
"Sometimes you just want everyone to fuck off. That's when you find the one person who needs your help as much as you need theirs. They show you that you didn't want everyone to fuck off, you just wanted that one person."