It has been two days since the President's declaration, and the Capitol has not calmed like she told everyone it would. Despite this, Father tells us that we do not have to wait in the back room any longer, and I have been holographic communicator to relay my best friend.
Terra answers on the second tone. Her face is pinched and red through her hologram as if she had been crying. I wonder for a moment how awful this all must be to make my best friend break her straight face. Then I remember and my heart breaks instantly; her youngest brother turned twelve last month.
She never cries, but I know she would cry for Adrian. He was hit by a transportation vehicle on the way home from classes when he was six and spent a month in the labs plus another in the Remake building to restore his broken body. There is no scarring on him, but he never was even a shadow of the happy kid I remember. He was always rather quiet but now he is somehow distanced as well. His eyes, violet like the rest of his family, don't have the comfortable warmth like his parents and older siblings. He doesn't go to school anymore. The doctors told her parents there was no use in sending him there for he would never learn and communicate with his peers. On top of all that he now has the chance of becoming a tribute. My best friend is crying because there is a chance, no matter how slim, that he will be dead in less than two weeks and there's nothing she or her parents can do about it. I can tell just by the look on her face that she's terrified for him.
I wish I could be like Terra. Terrified for the fate of someone I love but unafraid for myself. The truth is, I'm scared for my own life above anyone else's. I know Lisette is safe for she's merely eleven, and Alcander would never want me to fear for him. It would embarrass him far more than help him. The only person left then is myself. As selfish as it might be I just want to make it through this unscathed. I'm not self-sacrificing like Terra, brave like Alcander, or safe like Lisette. I just don't want to die for the revenge of Katniss Everdeen.
"So the Reaping is tomorrow," I hear myself say, avoiding looking at or even acknowledging the clear grief in front of me. One thing I know from being friends with Terra for so long is that I should not interfere. She's not the personal-pitying type. It's better just not to say anything than to risk saying something wrong. If she really needs to get something off her chest she can tell me herself and know that I will listen. That's what we do really, just be there for each other but don't get too stuck into the other's life. We're both very independent, if not a tad stubborn, but it works for now.
"Yeah," she says simply. I don't know why I even bothered to call her. Why am I even trying to make this seem normal when it's obviously not? The Capitol has never been involved with the Hunger Games by means of sending our own tributes. But now we are. It could be someone I know; Alcander, Terra, her brother... even me.
"I understand her," I hear the familiar voice break through the silent despair that lay between us. "I mean, I understand her reasons."
She doesn't even need to say a name, really, her words and the circumstance tell me that the "she" Terra speaks of is none other than Katniss Everdeen.
"I understand that she is a monster," I retort quickly with a sneer.
"No, I don't think she is really," Terra says to me but for some reason I feel as if she is only thinking aloud rather than forming conversation. "She wants revenge, my mother told me that that in one of the first interviews after the end of the Rebellion she said that her younger sister died in the bombing outside the Mansion. No one saw her die specifically but she was supposed to be in the team of nursing attendants that swarmed to help the hurt children. I think I understand why she hurts, and that is why she is doing this to us. "
"She just wants someone to blame for everything that happened and we're an easy scapegoat," I sneer.
"But are we totally innocent, Elsa?"
"We didn't bomb the nurses, Terra," I mutter, dishevelled that my friend could possibly feel any sympathy for the very person that is calling for the death of twenty-four of our people. The President had no choice but to enact the Hunger Games long ago. It was the only thinkable thing that could keep the district people in line and to stop another rebellion from quelling. "President Snow denied the whole thing in his final interview. It was her own people that killed her sister, not ours."
"They thought they had to-"
"Had to? They had to drop a load of bombs on a bunch of children?!" My voice has by now exceeded the careful whisper I had been trying to maintain so as not to wake my father or my siblings. I hit a button harshly to stop my own video feed so that I can calm myself down out of view of my friend. Terra must be able to hear my long drawn out breaths because she says nothing until I reconnect my feed.
"Who put the children there?" She whispers, pain registering on her face as she speaks the accusing words. Any words that may have come get lost in the air between us as my mouth hangs open. I have no counter for these words, it is no secret that the President and his council had called for the delivery of all children under eight years to his courtyard. It was supposed to be a method of protection. Those were the words that President Snow used to calm the distressed parents of the young children. It is also not unknown that more than one person had considered whether the protection was actually for the children, or for himself.
"I'm going to go now," Terra says finally. I nod lamely and watch her hologram fade from the now empty space in front of me. Things feel changed somehow. I no longer can take the side of the Capitol, my own people, so easily. The hundreds of bomb deaths were our fault at least as much as the district's, possibly even more. The President had been wrong. He had been scared when the rebels came to his home. He had been selfish to put an army of toddlers and children between the districts and himself. Maybe, because of him, we did deserve this punishment.
All these maybes, these newly thought of possibilities about the intentions of our great President play through my mind like a broken music player. The only thing that I am now certain of is that, no matter if her actions against us can be justified or not, Katniss Everdeen is a monster. A monster that, like the Hunger Games started by President Snow's ancestors, cannot be stopped until someone deals the first blow.
A/N: Alright, so this didn't take as long as I thought it might. I hope you are all starting to like this story, if not sorry? A bit more has been revealed about our main character, including her first name! Let me know how you think the story is progressing and if you have any suggestions as to what I can improve upon I would love to hear those as well!