District 1 Awakening: Lucky Ones
Lucky Ones by Lecrae
When it's all said and done
You and I are the lucky ones
We fought many
And we'll fight the night until we see the sun…
Note: I know I haven't said this in a while but many thanks to those who have been reading and reviewing I know I don't do this often enough so thank you for reading and continuing to support the SYOT Haunted Series.
Gemma Hambiln (16) D1 Victor of the 96th Games
Victor Gemma Hambiln,
I've scheduled an appointment with the Capitol's best plastic surgeon, Anastasia Roman, and expect your arrival approximately three weeks after the 4th Quarter Quell. I will mail you further details. Best regards to your tributes this year.
May the odds be ever in your favor,
President Seraphina Echo
I found the envelope ensconced in the back of the mailbox, the curvy, slender calligraphy sending chills down my spine. It was the same letter Jewel had received, the news of the breast implants leading to cancer. She was diagnosed months later after complaints of chest pain. The once beautiful and smart Victor I knew transformed. The months of chemo had left her frail, her shimmering blonde hair falling in chunks when I brushed her hair. Her once lively blue eyes now dim and hollow, her immune system weak to the point that caring for her body had become a chore. Her skin yellowed, the sickly tinge bringing nausea to all who saw her.
She no longer was sought by Capitol men or women, she was no longer accepted into the bustling city life of the Capitol. Jewel had vanished and all that was left was a carbon bag filled with screwed up DNA and bitter resentment for the woman who had forced the implants on her: President Seraphina Echo. Now of course, Capitol plastic surgeons have greatly improved the implants. Protests here in District 1 swept through the large District like wild fire, the beautiful Victors Jewel and Emerald developing the deadly disease. Emerald's was caught early enough for treatment, just a couple of pills for several months and she was fine. She, however, kept her STDs a secret. She died of syphilis in her home at the Victor's Village. Her death was ruled accidental, a freak accident, but only Jewel and I know what had happened to her. Jewel's cancer had not been caught early on, stage four leaving her just months to live.
It has been three years now…
Now I am next, to face the deeds of all female Victors. To become the next slut they whore in the Capitol. Wearing short skirts that barely cover my ass and push up bras. My hair crimped, curled, straightened, dyed… damaged by hair products. Imminent, most likely within the next month will I lose the one thing that the Capitol has not stolen from me.
Gathering my things, I gently close the door and head to Jewel's. Her final hours waning and diminishing, her final minutes on Earth being in the day I need to leave. I grit my teeth. How could she do this?! Making me leave the day my mentor, my best friend is about to die. No condolences, no pity party, not even a vase of flowers.
I am her only visitor.
I find myself at the door, her home only a few houses away and I gently press my index finger on the round doorbell. It chimes softly and I hear the soft carpeted footsteps of the nurse. She welcomes me in and escorts me to Jewel's master bedroom, the house smelling of sterile liquids and death. It lingering ever so faintly in the regal air of a Victor's. A dying Victor's…
Her room is filled with medical equipment, two male nurses at her side administering IV and other sorts of vitamins and nutrients. The nurse peaks her head up and signals the two nurses to leave. Scurrying out of the room, Jewel's eyes open slightly. She squints and her face squishes up, her voice coming out hoarse and scratchy.
"Who is it?"
"A visitor is here to see you."
Jewel's face contorts. "GET OUT!" Her expression falters, leaving her sputtering and retching. Blood trickles down the sides of her mouth, her yellowed skin enhancing her deathly appearance.
"It's Gemma." I turn my head to see the nurses disappearing within the still darkness, their silhouettes vanishing from view. I turn my head back to see Jewel smiling, the corners of her lips turned and joyous. The small moment of happiness spurs me into crying in her strong arms. I however take cautionary steps toward her, like if any sudden move could break her body, her being. Her eyes flutter open and icy blue orbs staring back at me, the melanin in her eyes gone. She stares and her pupils begin to take shape. We both wait, wait for her to die.
"I didn't think you'd come."
I raise my eyebrows. "Why not?"
She shrugs slightly. "It's reaping day."
"You know the twist this year, don't you?"
She shakes her head. "No. I'd imagine it's crazy." She coughs, phlegm being heard within her raspy heaves. "Children, elderly, couples…?"
"The dead ones… past tributes." The room stills. The eerie beep of the heart monitor echoes in the large room, goose bumps forming on my forearms.
"Really?" She tilts her head slightly. "Seems quite fascinating… the fact they'll revive failed tributes…"
"A second opportunity."
She nods slowly. "Exactly…"
Seeing how this conversation has turned dull I try to take the mood off the situation. "So… I'll bring you back those snow globes you love so much from the Capitol…"
She grins. "The ones in winter, where the snowflakes fall in tiny droplets and turn the virgin snow red…" Her Arena had been a tundra, snow blizzards frosting the area whenever a tribute was presumably lost. Many tributes had died of hypothermia, the final battle fought in snow. The blood had turned the snow red and since then Jewel has had a morbid fascination for the frozen rain.
"Do you see the bump, Gemma. The baby will be born soon." She points to her stomach, thin skin with her ribs above jutting out from her chest. Any moment does it look like the ends of her ribs will pierce her skin. "What should I name her, Gem? Rubie, Garnette, Sapphire…" She retches some more phlegm. "Garnette Jewel Azure. How does that sound?"
Her mind had been slipping since the treatment, deteriorating every year, month, day, hour, and minute since the diagnosis. She had convinced herself that she was pregnant, always remembering her Arena, and now she slips away, fading into the nothing.
"Jewel." My voice cracks, tears begin to fall from my eyes and leave trails of misery in their wake. I open my mouth to say something, anything, but no words sound.
Jewel smiles. "I don't need a doctor to tell me that I'm dying…" Her words hit like a brick, leaving me speechless. "I want you to pull the cord." She points to the outlet that provides energy to the machines keeping her alive. "I want you to end this misery."
I inhale sharply. "I can't." My body begins to heave, my body preparing for the deep pain that strikes my heart every day. "I can't do that, J-Jewel."
Deep in the meadow
Under the willow
A bed of grass
A soft green pillow…
Her voice is hoarse, but filled with emotion. She smiles faintly and turns to me, her hands finding mine and holding me, her strength forming an invisible barrier around us. I remember the words, the song that she and Emerald sang to me after the months of my Games. They would harmonize together, their voices sweet and loving, sending me into sweet bliss of slumber that would take me away from the bloodshed I had witnessed. She awaits for the next verse and my mouth lets my soprano voice take flight.
Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes, and let your troubles lay
And when it's morning, they'll wash away…
She smiles and together we sing our favorite verse.
Here it's safe and here it's warm, and here the daisies guard you from every harm
And here your dreams are sweet, and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you…
Her lips turn up into a beautiful smile, her blue eyes dazzling and regretful. Her breathing begins to slow, her body begins to feel like ice, the once marvelous and unique snowflake now melting…
"Don't ever forget what Katniss and Peeta tried to do for us…"
Her eyes close and she patiently waits for her end, for me to pull the plug. I hold her ice cold hands, small and bony, and sob for her. Letting her know that at least one person on this Earth cares for her, is here for her in her darkest hour. I untangle my hands from hers and notice the four white marks left by my own, contrasting brightly against her jaundiced hand.
I stand and walk several feet to the outlet, my hands shaking and eyes begin to strain as the room begins to haze. I crouch down and tentatively place my fingertips at the base of the cord, my strength faltering and mania coming alive. I look back and see Jewel still, her mouth forming the words 'goodbye'.
I grant her final wish. I yank the cord back and hear the machines dying, one by one, until the only thing that sounds is her heart monitor, the beeps becoming less and less…
I go to her bedside and knell beside her, bringing three fingers to my lips and saluting her. Her eyes are closed, hands folded neatly at her sides and hair trimmed at her shoulder blades. The moment had been waiting for is here, the long droned beep of the heart monitor sounds signaling her fate and I gaze at her face. Two tears stream from both eyelids and cascade down her sunken cheekbones as her final breath is taken.
The beep drones and fades as the pounding of blood in my eardrums awakens and the room slowly begins to distort, my breathing becoming erratic. Tears begin to force their way out of me, heaving and begging for the release, to mourn for the closest person that was still alive. I fall to the floor, feeling my chest flare in heart and pain and feel the effects of my disorder come to life once again.
My limbs are quaking uncontrollably and my eyes begin to dart back and forth making it seem like the whole room is in an earthquake. Screams erupt from my throat and terror fills my head as the realization that I am the only Victor in 1 left begin to saturate in my mind.
The nurses run into the room and hold down my limbs as I thrash and scream for vengeance, for the panic to go away. One of them takes out a clear syringe and thrusts the needle inside of me, the clear liquid running cold in my veins. The room begins to blur and my mind relaxes, the hysteria disappearing leaving me numb and pained. The last image I see is Jewel's corpse and the nurse bringing her hand over my face to close my eyelids…
What you had witnessed was the disorder that has run in my family for generations, the first of my relatives developing the anxiety during the chaos of the Dark Days. Generation after generation does the disorder take hold of the offspring of the Hambiln's and sets their life in panic and disorder. My mother had contracted the hysteria from my grandfather and me from her. The pills never seem to work when random attacks spark fire during activities like yoga and knitting, my mother secluding herself from the world until committing suicide the day that I choose to volunteer for the Games.
I killed someone, even before I had step foot in the Cornucopia…
I had sworn then not to kill, that I would let the competition attack each other while I hid from everyone, the Careers ultimately rejecting me as an ally. So I hid in bushes and fled from mutt attacks the whole two weeks I was in there. The final battle being between me and the District 6 female, with mysterious arrows shooting from the Cornucopia ultimately killing her, with me being declared Victor.
That is when my panic attacks started, after my Games when I found the only reason I had won was for the Head Gamemaker Ronaldo. He had wanted me to marry him, that sick son of a bitch. I was only twelve years old at the time, the youngest Victor in history, and all that I had wanted to return to my father's arms and apologize for mom.
Ronaldo was executed and President Echo was in blistering fury as rumors of my Victory were spread throughout Panem. My family was executed several months later and I was left alone, well, at least I thought. Jewel and Emerald adopted me and soon we were one small knit family who would have sleepovers to comfort the other, with fashion shows and make up. Birthday parties were shared between the three of us and we were like sisters, Jewel being the oldest and me the youngest. Those were fun times, our recoveries enhanced by each other, our sorrows shared with two others who know our pain.
Now I am alone…
I open my eyes slowly, letting my eyelashes flutter against my smooth cheeks and wake to a blinding light. I bring my a small hand to my face and awaken to a hospital bed, my clothes still the ones I left home with, a lacy white blouse and jean shorts with sandals. I turn my head to the right and see three bodies on metal tables, two males and a female with a large belly.
I sit upright and rub my pounding head, finding an orange prescription bottle of anxiety pills at the base of the bed.
Victor Gemma Hambiln
Take one pill a day for one month
Dr. Jeremiah Alexander
I scoff and throw the bottle in the trash bin several yards away and pick up the purple manila folders near various medical monitors and equipment
Tribute of the 2nd Quarter Quell- Placed 3rd
Sister of Glamour Gemstone of the 2nd Quarter Quell- Placed 2nd
Carmini "Carminha" Floyd
Tribute of the 87th Games- Placed 6th
Tribute of the 10th Games- Placed 17th
I bring my gaze to the female in the middle, her body having more tubes running in and out of here than the others. As I walk over to her, my eyes widen and strain as the image of her stomach comes into view. Round and full under her hospital gown, her belly button erect. I snatch her folder from the small stack and frantically look for any information regarding her condition.
Tribute of the 87th Games
Signs of pregnancy were indicated when her body was brought to the District 1 morgue after the 87th Games. She was approximately 2 months pregnant and had not been showing, keeping her nausea, sensitivity to smells, and other pregnancy symptoms a secret.
The effects of the EX- 13 Awakening Serum brought not only Ms. Floyd back, but also her unborn child who is now due in the next week or so. The effects of the serum seem to accelerate development in unborn children in the womb and set them one week before delivery. Further testing needed.
I look down at her and feel the pang of resentment and anger that has filled me these last couple of years, churning into a deadly concoction of rebellion and hatred. She had died knowing her child would be safe from this world, that she and the baby could rest peacefully.
I hate them.
All of them.
For doing this.
Her hair is dyed blonde, her brown roots highlighting her slightly tanned features. She is tall, around 5'9''. She is pretty, not the supermodel kind, but a feminine pretty. Her soft features and pregnancy glow enhance her overall beauty, something that makes this moment bittersweet.
I turn my attention to the young male who lies equidistant from Carmini and discover a 14 year old boy with dark brown hair and pale skin, appearing to be around 5'7''. I look into his files and discover his bright blue eyes, the dreamy kind that all the girls drool over. His name is Steele Lawrence.
Finally is the older boy who is on the far side of Steele's bed and find your average blonde haired, blue eyed Career male who apparently fought in the 2nd Quarter Quell with his twin sister, Glamour who ultimately died with him placing third and his sister placing second by Haymitch Abernathy.
I uncover the sheet on all three and await their awakenings, for the drama to begin and the stress and anxiety to envelope me. I take my seat at the medical bed and let my legs swing back and forth as I wait for the three of them to wake up.
My thoughts wonder to Jewel and Emerald, our times together and the song that has kept us sane. The song that has been passed from generation to generation, the great Katniss Everdeen making the song a national anthem for change, the rebellion we had failed to win.
I let out a shaky breath and feel my eyes watering, the sting of the pain and hardships bringing the beautiful, soothing song to mind and I begin to sing.
Deep in the meadow, under the willow
A bed of grass, a soft green pillow
Lay down your head, and close your eyes
And when they open, the sun will rise…
I cannot continue to sing, my heart bursting with the painful memories. I shudder and sob, screaming, wanting the pain to stop. I do not wish to die, but live. Live past the events that have been presented to me, my fate and crush them under my strength. I wish to be free, to unlock the door to my cage and fly. Fly far, far away from here. And hide from the painfully true memories that snug themselves in my head.
The low moan startles me and catches my breath as the young woman begins to stir, her fingers moving fluidly as she sits upright. Her eyes widen, her pupils growing smaller with every moment and she brings a hand to her stomach.
She gasps and tears start to fall in droplets from her honey brown eyes, the corners of her mouth twitching. Her eyes dart all around her, to me, to the boys, and to her stomach. She covers her ears and rocks back and forth, mumbling incoherently.
Her monitor sounds two different sets of heart beats, one for her and the baby's whose is much faster and high pitched. My gaze turns to Glint as his crystal blue eyes open for the first time since his death, somewhat glazed and dark as he begins to scream.
I grab for a syringe and inject him with the anxiety drugs I've had to give myself over the years, the stuff being really hard to find and expensive. His body relaxes and he sits quietly, staring intently at the monitor that shows his past Games history and statistics.
I motion the two to the glass doors, guiding them to their loved ones who have survived over the years without them. I watch as Carmini waddles down the hallway to a middle aged woman and man who look similar, Glint hugging an elderly woman with greying blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes.
I walk back into the room and bring a chair besides Steele who has yet to wake to a dark world which has lived on for the past ninety years. His dark brown hair is swept to the side, his bangs perfectly placed over his soon to be opened bright blue eyes. His skin is pale, white as sheet. His hands are calloused, his fingertips scratching against my one slim fingers untouched by hard work.
I find the urge to kiss him, like in the old tale 'Snow White' when her prince kisses her from eternal sleep… maybe, just maybe, fairy tales like that can work in this harsh reality. I bring my supple lips just centimeters away from his, his breath minty and skin smelling of zesty soap. Bringing a hand to his cheek and caressing him, this moment feels special, intimate and something I will never get to experience for real in my life.
His lips feel soft, strong against my own and soon I stop and bring my head away from his to see the clearest blue staring back at me.
I jump back frightened and hit my head on the seat of the chair, a sharp pain spreading from the crown of my head.
I open my eyes and see Steele at my side, assisting me as I gather all my energy on not making a fool of myself any more than I have in the past couple of minutes and feel his hand on the small of my back, feeling the heat rush to my cheeks.
"Are you okay?"
I nod. "I-I'm fine."
He looks around the room, his eyebrows raised. "Where are we?"
I cough, clearing my throat. "At the Justice Building. It's the 4th Quarter Quell." I smirk. "You and two others have been brought back to compete in the Games again."
He frowns. "You're serious?" He seems calm, but disappointed.
"Yeah, I know it's hard to believe… but it's true." I do not know what else to say to him, embarrassed for the discovery and hurt from the fall.
"I'm Gemma Hambiln, Victor of the 96th Games."
He nods. "Steele Lawrence, District 1 tribute of the 10th Annual Hunger Games."
I grin. "I see… so your, like, a hundred and four?"
He grins back. "A hundred and five in September."
I laugh. "So just a couple weeks?"
"Yeah, if what you say is true…"
We both wait for Glint and Carmini to come back and continue to make small talk, my heart warming to the sound of his voice and words of his past.
Maybe I can find happiness again...
A/N: Here are the District 1 tributes: Carmini "Carminha" Floyd, Glint Gemstone, and Steele Lawrence with Victors Jewel Azure and Gemma Hambiln.
Announcements: Districts 5 and 6 Awakenings will be shorter than the other Districts due to their only being one Victor alive and lack of ideas for their chapters :/ Blogs for both Victors and Tributes have been updated
Love Always, Domi