Somewhere, there is a mirror. And in that place, there is a girl standing in front of it.
All over the world, there are mirrors. And everywhere, girls stand in front of them, sorting their hair, their makeup, or their thoughts. Today, Antigone Meralla was doing the latter. One thought was bouncing around her head, refusing to leave Antigone be.
Starting the next day, she could die at any moment.
After the events of a complex web of events had unfolded, Antigone found herself sucked into the Hunger Games, a merciless fight to the death. And according to her stylist, her beauty - the thing she despises most - could be her saving grace. The difference between life and death.
It wasn't uncommon for Antigone to wish she was plain, that she fit in with the daffodils instead of radiating like an orchid in the middle of the garden, but for the first time in her life, she finds herself thankful. A rare word from the voice of a girl who believes the entire world is out to get her. But for once, she thanks whoever granted her the gift of beauty at birth. That person could easily be the same who gave her the gifts of salvation and life.
"Acts of kindness are a circle. People remember what you do for them and are kind to you in return. Nonetheless, the first kindness is impossible to repay; it satisfies itself with starting a never-ending chain, breaking only with death."
Antigone had once said this, and even thinking about it now made her smile. It was nice to know that - unlike others - everything she said was worth listening to. Today, she receives kindness from her stylist, Jocasta, in the form of her outfit.Pure, unadulterated beauty radiates from the reflection of the mirror. The girl looks to be in her twenties, with her slumped frame and thin, hollowed face. Nobody watching could guess today is her seventeenth birthday. In her carefully built light blue gown, long and puffy as a princess would expect from her clothing, Antigone's fiery hair and stormy eyes now contract against an almost sea-like gown. The fire, the sky, and the sea. All perfectly in her reach. She will make a beautiful corpse. "No," she mutters, careful to shake any negativity away. "I will be a beautiful tribute, and, if I am granted this honour by the Fates, an even more beautiful victor. And then I will let myself be alone... forgotten. Just like Father." Antigone shakes her head; these are dangerous thoughts. The Mayor of Thirteen had warned her what would happen if she ever had the bad luck to mention her father. "Besides," he'd said, "your daddy isn't helping you now, is he?" And then he'd - Antigone's eyes flash open, startled. They must have closed while she was thinking, and she let herself go back to that day. It would never happen again, she'd promised herself that. And she was strong now. There was no reason it would ever happen again. It would happen the day she once again met her father. Nevermore. "And now, from District Thirteen, Antigone Meralla!" a soft voice calls: Calliope Carthage, Master of Ceremonies. Her rhubarb pink pigtails bob up and down and her dimples widen as the beautiful girl walks in, cool, calm, and composed. "Hello, Miss Carthrage," she says, a small smile accompanying the greeting. "Hi, Antigone!" Calliope chirps, shaking the tribute's hand. "You can call me Callie, it's a bit easier to say. How about we start at the very beginning of this whole experience?" "That sounds great, Callie. Thank you." "When it was time for your goodbyes, who came to see you off?" Callie asks, her high-pitch slightly too squeaky for Antigone's tastes. However, she seems to have good intentions in mind, so Antigone resigns herself to complete this interview without any trouble interfering. "My mother came, to remind me that I had to come back. She also thanked me for volunteering. A few boys came too, pretending to be upset, asking me why I'd done it. But I know they don't really care, so I had absolutely no problem with letting them down." "So I'll take it you weren't expected to volunteer, then?" Callie asks, a slightly puzzled look on her face, as if she didn't quite grasp why people would be against the girl's volunteering. "Some expected me to, but to others it was a complete surprise. I guess you can never really guess how people react, but why should others matter? I didn't volunteer for the boys." "Yes, of course," Callie looks a tad uncomfortable, but brushes it off and continues with her interview. "So, do you have a special someone back home?" "No," Antigone replies, her eyes staring down the interviewer. Callie might seem sweet, but she still works for the Capitol. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch for her to turn her into a romantic sap. "I don't take kindly to people who look to me only for my appearance. Last time I checked, I was more than a shell." "Of course you are, sweetie," Callie says, grabbing the girls' hand. Antigone quickly flinches away, accompanied with a glare. "Sorry. I didn't think you disliked physical contact. I love learning about people, like I just did! Do you have an interesting story to share?" Thoughts swirl around in Antigone's heads. Her father's banishment. Her mother offering her life to save her reputation. The mayor…. Stories. Fear. No. Antigone is stronger than that. She doesn't need to whine to somebody whose soul goal is to make her likeable before they kill her. She doesn't need to be upset about it at all. "No. Nothing at all."