Welcome to another issue of Ask the Capitol ®!

In this segment, we address the subject of Avoxes. As can be seen, and sometimes not seen, Avoxes provide an integral service to the Capitol. Why without them, regular Capitol citizens would be doing menial labor.

However, many people wonder as to the process in which an Avox is created. Well, we seek to put such questions to rest.

We hope you will find this step-by-step guide informative.

STEP I: Condemnation and Acquisition.

Avoxes don't grow on trees, you know. So where do they come from? Well, Avoxes were once regular people. However, those individuals have committed a crime. Not just any crime, however; so don't fret if you've been caught shoplifting or have outstanding debts. To be condemned as an Avox, one has to commit a crime against the Capitol itself. The thought of such a thing is shameful, isn't it?

Droplets of blood splatter against the pavement as our new Head Peacekeeper rears his whip back to give Gale another set of lashings. As each hit rends the hunter's back to ribbons and forces out another agonized gasp, I feel an additional surge of anger. I can't say that I miss Cray, that lecherous pervert, but his replacement's no more honorable; he's merely replaced corruption with terror.

I try to say something, but Purnia lays a firm hand on my shoulder.

"Anders, are you trying to get yourself in trouble?" she hisses at me.

"He's going to kill Gale!" I hiss back.

"I don't like it anymore than you, and I'm trying to figure something out. But just telling Romulus Thread he's wrong won't stop anything."

After a couple more lashes, Gale slumps into unconsciousness. But Thread just keeps on going.

To hell with figuring something out. I shrug away Purnia's hand and step forward. In the process, the crowd mutters a bit as Purnia gives a resigned sigh: "Dammit Darius…"


Thread stops in mid-swing to regard me. "Yes, Corporal?" His tone is as harsh and unyielding as his stare, and it's enough to make getting back in line appealing.

However, and something encourages me to stand my ground.

"I believe that you made your point clear. You really don't have to continue, sir."

His eyes narrow, and he moves towards me until we're less than a foot apart. "Are you questioning the law?"

Yes. "No, sir. Just that Ga—the accused's clearly been pushed to the brink. You whip him more, and he may not survive."

"It is not my problem if this criminal expires before all prescribed lashes have been administered. Now get back in line; I will tolerate no further insubordination." Just like that, he turns away while already gearing up to send out another lash.

Before I can stop myself, I yell out, "Stop, you're killing him!" and lunge forward to grab Thread's wrist.

Big mistake.

I'm not even able to make contact as he whips around to issue a rapid strike to my temple.

Blotches cloud my vision and a searing pain floods my skull as I crumple to the ground. I try to get back up, but a foot planted on my back forces me back to the pavement. Through the haze and ebbing consciousness, I can hear Thread as if from far away:

"The corruption runs deeper than I thought," he mutters before bellowing to the crowd, "Any more examples that need to be made?"

Then darkness takes me.

A/N: The title, story description, and preface should give a good idea of what to expect. But just in case I wasn't clear enough, this is a detailed story about Avoxes. So if you find the subject of torture, abuse, and removal of body parts distressing, it's probably not a good idea to proceed. Just strong forewarning.

Otherwise, enjoy. I mean, the subject matter isn't enjoyable — you get the picture.