-QUICK NOTE: to those of you who've read this story( Thank-you by the way), as you may notice this chapter, and several others, have change quite a bit. I'm currently in the middle of revising this story and the main character. Since this was one of the first things I originally wrote as a teen writer. I've realized some of the characters aren't as well-written as I would have liked, especially the main character. Some of the themes/internal conflicts aren't as subtle and nuanced as I'd like. (as of April 14, 2017)
Ok, Disclaimer time (yeah, I know, groan)I do not, nor do I claim to have any rights to the Hunger Games series. All rights belong to Suzanne Collins. (I think we all know that…) because If I did, well if you've read my profile you know how Mockjay would have gone. I also do not own the song used in this chapter; A Place in This World, all rights belong to Taylor Swift.
The only thing I do own are my OCs, (who you will shortly meet) and the plot. Oh, and also this story is a sequel to the prequel; 'The tragedy of a Pearl so some characters might seem familiar And sorry if there are a few typos, I honestly have tried my hardest to edit and correct everything.
Well enough with this boring nonsense, let's get onto the story right?
Chapter 1: Grey Pasts and Dark Futures
A Place in This World by: Taylor Swift
I'm alone, on my own.
And that's all I know.
I'll be strong, I'll be wrong,
Oh but life, goes on.
I sit on the shore, the scent of salty ocean air filling my nostrils. The dirty bronze sand squishes between my toes as I stare out at the sea, watching the waves as they come rippling up the shoreline then roaring back out into the ocean. This is where I live, my home is District Four. I am sixteen-years old my name is-
"Hey sea rat, what'ch you doing so far from home." The voice belongs to none other than the one boy who's pestered me my entire life.
"What do you want Riptide?" I groan, flinging my messy brown hair away from my eyes.
Oh joy, I think, as I look up to see his whole party has trailed behind him today. I could see the growing smirk on his face that I hated so much.
"I heard Odair's back in town, seeing as how tomorrow's reaping day. Bet you two will have somethin' to talk about, since you're both in the same line of work."
I didn't have to look up to see the rest of the career boys laughing viciously behind him.
He knew it wasn't true, those rumors about me, of course they weren't.. I will never forget that day three years ago in late August; the sun was blazing hot, the catch had been good that year and school had just started. It was in the middle of the second week back,
August 13th to be exact. I had just walked into class, handing in my essay which I'd worked hard on all week. I strode over to my desk to take my seat, earning death glares from the other six kids in class who were the Careers of our district.
The anthem had just played and we sat at our desks ready to learn when received a call, she nodded a few times before hanging up and meeting my eyes. It was at that moment I knew something was wrong. Nothing could hide the look of… was it pity? Or sadness. Whichever it was, she sounded as though she was about to cry when she said to me, "Alanna, you're wanted in the principle's office right away."
'Now what have I done!' I think, as I sling my pack over my shoulder, 'Did my mother find the note I stashed under my bed about my 'uncontrollable blasphemous, mouth in school against the Capitol'?'
As I shut the office door behind me, what I face could not have come out of even the worst of nightmares. To say I was unprepared to see, four peacekeepers standing next to the Principle in pristine white Capitol uniforms, was the understatement of the year, probably in all of history.
'Now I really have done it?' I think, the peacekeepers found out about the note and now they're taking me away! I'll probably become an Avox. Or worst case be executed for daring the just and fairness of our wonderful government.
"Alanna dear," said the principle in a strained voice, "why don't you… have a seat, there's something you need to know."
This can not be good, I bet I'll be bound an executed right in the square for all of District 4 to see…
"Your mother drowned on a boat collision this morning," said the gruff voice of one of the peacekeepers.
I was in a complete shock, out of all days my mother chose today to get over her odd fear of boats! They say a shark happened to be in those waters at that very time, no remains of her could be found to be buried.
And just like that I was told to pack my belongings and wait to be escorted to District Four's Community Home for Children.
It was absolutely horrible, the things that go on there, are just too awful for words.
Rumors went about the Community Home girls in Four, things I wouldn't want to repeat. And as you can guess things were said about me as well. From that day Riptide found out about me and the Community Home he teased me daily, especially since he was from one of the richest families in District Four. And now he has and will never leave the matter alone.
I feel so angry, if only I had trident I'd spear him right now. I don't though, and I am far too angry for words. I look up and say, in the deadliest tone of voice I possesses. "Get out of here." I pick up a rock, tempted to throw it at him but instead I fling it into the ocean.
Riptide's sidekick Tidepool, elbowed him. "You know," he says, "I heard Odair paid a lot of money for her."
My fits were now clutched at my sides, I laid the net of fish beside me and stomped over towards them, fury lighting my face, "If you have any brains in that otherwise empty skull of yours, you'll leave before I gut you like those fish."
I say gesturing with the knife in my hand towards the fish.
Flickers of nervousness and doubt run across their face's, they stand there for a few moments, each exchanging glances with each other. I allow myself a small prideful smirk.
Riptide however, does not seem swayed by my threat though, instead he takes a few steps towards me, standing way too close for comfort. His fingers fiddling with my hair as he leans in and whispers,"Wear somethin' pretty tomorrow."
I shove him away from me with sigh. I pick up my net and quickly trudge up the beach, blocking out the rest of his commentary.
I make my way through the undergrowth of trees to where lies the old shack I used play in as a little child. Now I use it as my storage hold.
I close the rusty door and slump down on a stool untying my net. The little house reeks of fish and sand, but I don't mind I got use to the scent ages ago.
I count my catch today; one, two, three...six fish all with sparkling blue-ish/green scales. Well, not a bad day's catch, but not my usual hull.
A draft blows in from the broken window, slightly chilly, but not bone-chillingly cold like it would be in the months to come.
Letting a slight shiver run through me, I cross over to the window putting my fingers to the glass. Looking out, I see the last droplets of golden sunlight. The blood-red rays hung low in the evening sky. Crimson red, like the blood that was spilled every year in the annual Hunger Games.
A gentle breeze blows past, stealing all the warmth in my body at the thought of tomorrow. I just hope I wasn't the one reaped. I pull a ratty old blanket over the window to block the wind and the red sight before my eyes.
A scratching noise comes from behind my back, I turn towards the tiny hole in the wall that's just small enough for a cat to fit through. I see his furry little head nuzzle its way through, and the rest of him shortly follows.
Trouble rubs up against my legs, making sure he leaves his sent, showing that I am his and he is mine.
I pull a small herring out of my net and toss it to him.
He is the one thing I have left of my old life, my baby, the little kitten I've had since eight years of age. He lives outside now, ever since I was taken away, he always stays near the little shack though. This is our daily routine; I fish, he roams, I gut and cook the fish, he gives me company.
"What ever would I do without you," I say, stroking his head and watching him eat the fish.
It is, of course, illegal to keep any of the fish hull for ourselves; all seafood is to go directly to the Capitol. But the peacekeepers can't patrol the shores 24/7 so it easy to sneak a fish or two home with you, when you can.
And I was lucky enough to get a job working down by the docks last year. Something my mother would never have allowed. I'm lucky enough that Mr. Helmerson lets meet keep a few stray fish here and there when the catch has been fairly good.
I spend a few minutes outside collecting some fallen palm branches to make a fire in the middle of the little hut. In the center of the floor lies a shallow hole intended for a cooking fire, there's a little wire cage in the back corner of the room to place over the fire to prevent the flames from growing out of control. I sit on my stool placing a rusty old pan on top of it, watching the flames flicker as it cooks the fish I cleaned and gutted.
Trouble lays by the fire, his head wrapped 'round my feet.
Hours later the flames have all but gone out, I lay down on the floor pulling a tattered blanket over my side as I settle in for the night, having made up my mind not to go back to the community home tonight, not with it being the night before the reaping and all. I shiver at the memory and pulling the cloth closer around me, remembering how I had to learn that lesson the hard way.
Besides, it's not like the caretakers there actually gave one inch about us. They locked the doors at the end of the night and it was your own fault if you got locked out. If you went missing for a couple or so days, they marked you dead. Downed; likely in some kind of accident, since most of the community home kids had to take up side jobs to pay for the things the community home did not provide. Which was frankly everything; except for a worn out bed, stale bread, and murky water, which you got twice a day, if you were lucky. That is, if you could get to the dinner hall before all the boys devoured everything edible in sight. So, basically, you got a roof, a bed, and as for everything else, you were left to your devices. I suppose in a way, you could say it was a Hunger Games of its own, survival of the fittest. After dark though, when they locked the doors and went home, was when the real horrors began. Most night were… bearable, the boys stayed on their end and the girls stay on theirs, but it was always the boys causing all the trouble, getting into fights over some argument earlier that day, or prank. The yelling and shouting echoed throughout the place.
One morning, some one-and I don't remember who- had found Aquarius slumped on the bathroom floor, dead. Those where the mellow nights, but reaping night was when all hell broke loose; if you had any brains, as I quickly found out, you'd high-tail it out of there before dark.
I must go back tomorrow though, I can't show up looking like I do currently; with my hair a matted mess, and my ratty pair of ripped pants and shirt. Even if I do have a low opinion of fashion, I can't show up in the square like this, that will just prove the point that community home kids are nothing but dirty sea rats.
I for one, despite what's been said about me, am not. Or maybe I am. I don't know. It's not like I care. I've never cared much what people thought of me. I remember my mother used to scold me for the cocky replies I continually spat out at the school bullies. She said my smart mouth would get the better of me some day.
And how had I replied? I had boldly said, "Well, when it does I'll have a ship-load of witty comebacks waiting at the dock." I watch my mother rolled her eyes as I picked up a roll and took a large bite. I close my eyes thinking bitterly of that day, how I had now savored and cherished every last moment I had with my mother as I had that roll.
I can still remember the taste of the soft flaky stuff; the bread meeting in my mouth like chocolate, how it tasted like the perfect mixture of butter and salt, my mother's secret recipe. Which she never told anyone, even me.
I absent-mindedly lick my lips, longing for another one those rolls, longing for my mother.
I tell myself to suck it up; she's gone, and that's that. No amount of memories or tears will bring her back to me. I scoot closer to the fire, quickly banishing the unwanted thoughts from my head before they cause anymore pain. I let the sound of cracking flames and Trouble's soft purr lull me to sleep.
Author's Note: So hope you guys like the new story so far, please review if can, thanks.
And I know, I know 'Where's Finnick!?' trust me guys Odair will get his shining entrance in the next chapter.