Thimble Thursday: Chapter 3 – Thimble & Jack open up to Panem

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Chapter 3 – Interview

Thimble Trickson Family/Friends Interview: 

Reporter: I’m proud to welcome a friend from District 8, Jack Topper! Jack, how do you know Thimble? 

Jack: I work with her at the sewing factory. We met when I was seventeen and she was eleven. 

Reporter: That’s quite an age gap. Do you see her as a younger sister of sorts? 

Jack: Absolutely. It gets repetitive, standing in one place all day, sewing the same uniforms over and over again. That’s why you’ve got to make friends.

Reporter: Are people friendly at the factory? 

Jack: Mostly. The factory owner, Frank, definitely is not, so we try and make up for it by being nice to each other. It makes the days go by easier, you know? 

Reporter: A smile is all it takes to brighten someone’s day, I agree. Tell me, what was your first impression of Thimble, all those years ago? 

Jack: When I first saw Thimble, she had a needle stuck in her finger, and for a second I thought she’d passed out with her eyes open because she completely froze for almost a minute, staring at it.  I used to stab my fingers by accident all the time, so I thought it was rather comical. She didn’t appreciate me laughing though. I think her first impression of me was pretty low.

Reporter: And how did that transition into a friendship? 

Jack: I think that shared experience brought us closer together. Good bonding time, you know?  I told her ‘a little blood never hurt anyone’, and she brightened up a bit. Feeling like you’re alone is the worst thing, but having a friend makes it much, much better, even if you are stuck in a sewing factory for twelve hours a day. 

Reporter: You speak very fondly of Thimble. Can you see this ‘friendship’ ever turning into something more? 

Jack: I’m an in-the-present kind of guy, and that question relies on a bunch of variables that I have no control over right now.  Our relationship has never gone close to that direction, but in the future, when we’re both older, you never know what could happen.

Reporter: You speak of the future confidently, like you know Thimble’s coming back. Do you think she’ll be able to overcome the odds and come home as victor? 

Jack: That’s another complicated question. I believe in Thimble 100%, and I know she’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. And that’s all I let myself think about. 

Reporter: If Thimble were to win, do you think things would be the same as they were before, or do you think she would be different after having experienced the Hunger Games? 

Jack: Every victor has to face their own demons, and the road back to normality is a treacherous one. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took a while for her to re-adjust to regular life. But I know Thimble really well. And that’s never going to change. 

Reporter: Are you close with Thimble’s family? 

Jack: Yes, I know her mother quite well. She’s a lovely woman. 

Reporter: How about Thimble’s late father?

Jack: I didn’t meet Thimble until after her father had passed away. But she’s told me all about him; I feel like somehow I’ve always known him. 

Reporter: I realize that you’re 19, and beyond the age limit, but if you could have, would you have volunteered for District 8’s male tribute in order to go to the games with Thimble? 

Jack: I ask myself that question every night. And the answer is ‘yes’. Thimble and her mother are the only family I have, and I would have done everything in my power to protect them. 

Reporter: What happened to your family? 

Jack: They died when I was very young. I grew up under the care of an old woman who lived alone in the corner of town. She passed away two years ago. 

Reporter: And now you live alone? 

Jack: I did, for a while. Now I live with Thimble and her mother. 

Reporter: So you’re actually like her adopted brother.

Jack: Exactly. 

Reporter: I can see how a potential romance could be awkward. 

Jack: Yes. I love Thimble as a sister. And her mother is like my own. 

Reporter: If you could say something to Thimble right now, what would it be? 

Jack: *smiles* go kick some ass. 

Reporter: Thank you for your time, Jack. It was a pleasure to meet you. 

Jack: Thanks. 

 

 

 

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Caesar:  Let us Welcome district 8’s Thimble Trickson!  Tell us, what is something you love about being the in the Capitol?

Thimble: I love the novelty. In District 8, I work in a factory sewing peacekeeper uniforms. I do the same thing every day, but here, I never even wear the same clothes twice. Everything is new and changing and exciting.

Caesar:  You are one of the youngest people in this competition.  Does that create any anxiety at all?

Thimble: I’ve realized that if I focus on all the things that create anxiety, I’d probably have a panic attack before the Games even started. I know I’m going against the odds, but I’m not counting on the odds. I’m going to do what I can do because that’s all I can do. Sometimes it’s comforting to know that there are things that are out of your hands. You’ve just gotta do your part and leave the rest.

Caesar:  What do you think your strengths are that will help you to possibly win this competition?

Thimble: My mentor made me swear not to reveal my strategies on live TV, but I think the fact that people don’t know what to expect from me, or don’t expect anything at all, is an advantage for me in itself. I’ll just leave it at that. 

Caesar:  Who do you have back at home rooting for you and counting you to make it back home?

Thimble: My mother works at the same factory I do, and I know she’s watching right now. She’s always been there for me, encouraging, supporting. Thinking of her makes me feel stronger, even though I’m so far away. And all of my friends, who I consider almost family are there as well.

Caesar: We’ve been briefed about your family, now you father is no longer with us, do you remember much about him, and if so, what would you feel he would have advised you to do in this situation?

Thimble: I was nine  years old when my father died, but I still remember him like yesterday. He had smiling blue eyes, and he would always tell me: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And I think that’s exactly what he would say today.  

Caesar:  Did anyone visit you before you left to come here and did they give you any advice?

Thimble: My mother came to visit before I left.  She told me she was proud of me for who I am, not for anything I have to gain in the arena.  And a couple of my friends came to say goodbye.

Caesar: Now we all heard your outburst after your reaping, can you explain what was going through your mind to be so bold to instruct your district to spit on the ground instead of clapping for you?

Thimble: If I die, I’m going to go out with a bang, and the reaping is no exception. The districts can’t stop the Hunger Games, but we don’t have to support them. It was an impulse, what I said, but it’s true. We shouldn’t have to pretend we like this. And we’re sure as hell not giving up.

Caesar:  Is there anything else you’d like to say to anyone back at home or possible sponsors?

Thimble: Thank you for listening to me. And to everyone back home, thank you for believing in me. I’ll fight for you with everything I have.

 

Ned Rickman: Chapter 3 – The Interview

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Chapter 3 – The Interview 

(Caesar Flickman’s questions provided by the judges of the writing contest) 

Caesar Flickman: Welcome, Ned Rickman! How are you?

Ned: I’m great, thanks. 

Caesar: We’ve been learning as much as we can about all of our tributes, and you are one of the most surprising tributes,” Caesar says. “You’ve got an excellent job and career ahead of you, and yet you volunteered. You don’t seem to be a reckless decision maker; can you tell us what made you decide to volunteer? It’s not common from your district to see a volunteer.” 

Ned: I’ve always been a very careful person. You’re right in thinking I’m not a reckless decision maker, and volunteering at the reaping went against everything I believed in. But something in me urged me to do it, and I obeyed, even if I didn’t understand why. Yes, I have a good job and future ahead of me, but if I can’t even live up to myself, how can I do anything for my district? I believe that everything happens for a reason, and if I survive the Hunger Games, I will come back a changed man, a better man. I will know reason, but I will also know risks. I’ll understand caution, but I’ll also understand cost. And I’ll be stronger; we all will.

Caesar: Did anyone come to visit you before you came to the Capitol, and did they give you any advice?

Ned: My parents came to say goodbye. But they never said ‘goodbye’. They believe in me, and that’s more encouraging than any advice I’ve received.

Caesar: With such a great career ahead of you, you are sure to have a girlfriend, am I correct?

Ned: You’d think. But, what people don’t realize is that my job actually consumes all of my time and energy. I’d feel sorry for any girl who had to go out with me.

Caesar: You’ve been regarded as a genius! I’ve been told that President Snow has even said that you may be able to be head gamemaker one day. How do you feel about this?

Ned: Honoured, to say the least.

Caesar: Do you have anything you’d like to say to someone back home or to someone who’d like to sponsor you?

Ned: I’d like to say thanks to everyone who’s supporting me. It makes a huge difference, not only in my head, but also in here. *puts hand on chest* 

Sunday Night with Ned Rickman: Chapter 2 – Goodbye

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Chapter 2 – Fear

Some things hurt right away, like being force-fed your own personal slice of hell.  You think that once it’s down, you’ve survived. But that’s only the beginning. Now it’s part of you; now it’s killing you from the inside out. The worst things are the ones that hurt later. 

 

The whirring sound of the train is lulling me into a restless nightmare.  Every time I close my eyes I see hers. I didn’t want her to come say goodbye to me. I didn’t want to see her at all. But I can’t stop thinking about it, over and over. Mom and Dad were saying their goodbyes after the ceremony before she came in.

 

Mom and Dad looked more flustered than I did. As soon as I saw Mom’s face, I knew she wanted to scream ‘why?’. She wanted to tell me that it wasn’t worth dying for a girl I would probably never live to love. But she didn’t say it. She wiped her tears, her mouth a thin, tight line and came over to hug me. She kissed my cheek. They both said they were proud of me, and they loved me.

And then Dad pulled all three of us into one big hug. That’s when the door cracked open, and I saw her long, dark hair swishing through the opening. Her eyes were bright, timid. 

“We’ll see you soon, son,” Dad said, turning away so I couldn’t see his face, taking Mom with him. 

Suzie stood in the doorway, wordlessly. For a second we both just stood there looking at each other.  Her eyes were still red from crying, and her dress was a pale blue. Part of me was screaming; this might be the last time I would ever see Suzie again.  What if I died before I ever told her? What if she never knew? What if she did? What would happen then? 

“You didn’t have to come,” I finally said. The seconds, which had been tripping over each other in their hurry had now slammed to a complete stop, leaving me hanging in the moment, squirming. 

Suzie took a step closer. She looked at the floor. “I’ve never talked to you before,” she said quietly, “and yet you just saved my brother’s life…I had to say ‘thank you’” 

Silence flooded the room again.  My brain was jumping like it was getting electrocuted, so many thoughts were pulsing through at once, sentence fragments, explanations, whole novels in my head I wanted to tell her. But I was mute. 

“Why?” she almost whispered. “Why did you volunteer?” 

Because I love you. There is only one answer for that question. Wasn’t it obvious? 

She just looked at me with those big eyes, a thousand different shades of green. 

“I…I just did,” I said. “I felt like it was the right thing to do.” 

Suzie sucked in a breath.  Her lips pursed in thought, and I fought the urge to pull her against me and kiss her. 

Her eyes flitted back to mine, and she threw her arms around my neck, reaching up on her tip toes. “I don’t want to be the reason you die,” she whispered, her voice cracking. “I know it’s a horribly selfish thing to say, considering what you’re doing, but I’ll never be able to live with myself if something happens to you.” 

I pulled back and looked into her eyes. Could she sense what I felt? “You won’t be the reason I die,” I said. “You’ll be the reason I live.” 

For the quickest instant, a smile hovered on her face, lighting up her eyes. “I’ll never forget you, Ned Rickman,” she said. “I’m indebted to you forever.”

And all too quickly, the clock jumped back into play as the seconds zipped away again, out of my reach. Suzie’s dark hair swished as she pulled back towards the door. Just before she got there, she paused. “I believe in you,” she said. And then she was gone.

 

“Morphling. You ever heard of it?” Lyda Humphrey asks, blue eyes hard, grey-streaked red hair pulled back in a tight bun. I’d never met her before this morning, but I heard that she won the games twenty-two years ago when she was eighteen by setting death traps for her opponents in the arena. After coming home, her fiancé disappeared, and she got hooked on the drug, Morhpling. 

“Of course I’ve heard of it,” I reply, sitting on an orange leather couch, the pounding in my chest dulled to a slow death march. 

“A victor’s best friend, I’m telling you,” she drawls, sitting at the dark oak table in the centre of the cab, forking a piece of stake. “Want some?” she adds, pointing to her plate. 

“I already ate.” One last hurried meal with my family–the last meal I might ever have with them.

“Not like this you haven’t,” she says. “One good thing about getting reaped is they treat you like a king before sending you to the slaughterhouse.” 

I’m glad Humphrey has such high expectations for me. “What happened to your fiancé?” I ask. 

The grin evaporates from her face, and she stops chewing. “Kenneth and I were going to get married. Screw everyone who said seventeen was too young–we knew what we wanted. But then his father got hurt–accident at the Hub–and the medicine he needed wasn’t available. But Kenneth got it; he never told me how. He was brave, Kenneth was. The bravest person I’ve ever met.  The Reaping was coming; we were going to get married the week after…” 

For a  second, Humphrey looks younger. The ghost of a girl, the one she used to, be breaks through the narrow lines of her long, worn face. And then the bitterness returns. “But I got reaped,” she says. “And I thought I’d never see him again.” 

“How did you do it?” I asked. “Did knowing he was waiting for you help you in the arena, or did it just make things worse?” 

“Love makes you crazy, boy,” she says. “I’m sure you’ve heard of those death traps I constructed; they weren’t a pretty sight, but I did it because I had to. And it paid off. I won.  I got back home, and there was a huge celebration. But Kenneth wasn’t there. He’d been taken to the Capitol for questioning about stealing the medical supplies that’d saved his father’s life. I never saw Kenneth again.” 

“Why?” I ask softly. “Were they trying to get to you?” 

“They’re always trying to get to you,” Lyda says, stabbing her steak with her knife. “The Capitol will take everything you have. Even if you beat them in the Games, they’ll break you. Because once your will is broken, they own you. And you’ll never step out of line.” She looks up, fury in her eyes. “So I had my Morphling to make it better, to make the pain go away. But it  only made it worse. I saw Kenneth in my head, heard his voice. If I didn’t get off the stuff, I would’ve gone crazy–crazier than I am now.” 

She sighs and pushes her plate away. “Point is, don’t let them know your weakness. You’ve got a girl, don’t tell them. You’ve got hopes and dreams, keep’em to yourself. An awful lot of people spill their guts to Ceasar Flickman, and it always comes back and bites them in the ass.” She looks at me. “You’ve got a girl, don’t ya? That brunette who was squealing all over that boy you volunteered for?” 

I nod. “I did it for her.” 

She clicked her tongue. “That’s a problem.” 

“What do you mean it’s a problem? It was my choice.” 

“It’s your weakness,” Humphrey says, “just like it was mine.” 

“You didn’t go into the games to save someone you loved.” 

“But I had someone I loved, and it nearly drove me mad.” 

“But you won.” 

“And I lost myself. If you want to win you have to forget the brunette, forget everyone. You have to do it for yourself.” 

“I am doing it for myself.” 

Humphrey looks at me. “So if the Peacekeepers attacked her house and killed her and her family this instant, you’re saying that you’d still be just as thrilled about winning the games? You’d still have a drive to live?” 

“First of all, I was never ‘thrilled’ about the Games,” I reply. “And yeah, I’d still fight. I’d win so I could get revenge. What do you think I’d do–roll over and die?” 

“I dunno. But love makes you crazy, I’m warning you,” Humphrey says. “I don’t know what’s going through your head, but I know what went through mine.” 

“What did you do when they killed Kenneth?” I ask. 

“Morphling. I told you. If my family didn’t force me off it, I would’ve been dead–brain dead at the very least.” 

I look over to the other side of the train where Nevelyn, the other tribute, sits. 

Humphrey notices my gaze. “I sure hope she’s not in love,” she says. 

Nevelyn’s bright red hair falls down her back, and she sitting on a chair talking to Wril Meggo, the male mentor. Despite the fact that he’s sixty-two, his face still looks young, and almost happy, with laughing blue eyes that have obviously never seen Morphling. His wispy grey hair goes down to his shoulders, and he’s eating a muffin so big it shouldn’t be allowed to exist.  Meggo won the games when he was only fourteen. I’ve been told he was a skinny kid, and nobody took him seriously. He surprised them by jumping down from trees in the middle of the night and stabbing the other tributes to death. 

I lean back against the couch and focus on breathing, maybe even sleeping. I’ll need all of my strength. But as soon as the room starts to dim and slow around me, I see her eyes. I feel her breath on my neck when she hugged me, her voice in my ears. In my dream she’s begging me, “Don’t go. Don’t die.” I’m holding her so close I can feel her heartbeat. And then she melts in my hands, staining my skin red. In an instant she’s gone, and only a puddle remains, dark red, bubbling around my feet, burning me. The flames lick my bloodstained clothes, and her voice whimpers from the ground, “Don’t go. Don’t die.” But she’s dead, and I’m burning alive. 

* * * 

A bead of sweat rolls down my back, and I feel a cramp coming on. But I don’t loosen my from grip from the handle. I hold the pickaxe tighter and bring it down on the wood again and again, harder, faster. With every slice, every satisfying split of wood, I regain strength.  I won’t stop until all that’s left is wood chips, ashes. I’ll destroy it all. 

Some of the other tributes have paused to watch me, but I don’t care who sees me. I don’t care what they do, and I don’t give a damn if Humphrey thinks I’m weak. This is who I am; this is how I feel. Deal with it. 

The knots, pressure points, and trap-setting stations aren’t nearly as interesting as the pickaxe one. I also enjoyed the knife session. I feel like there’s a beast inside me, clawing to get out. Maybe Humphrey was right. It hasn’t even been forty-eight hours since I left District 6, and I already feel like someone else. 

Meggo tries to flag me down after my shower, but I ignore him and let Eliana usher me off to meet my stylist. She’s a tiny girl, Enriqua Songlasia, with hazel eyes as big as hour glasses and pixie-short hair, bright pink. 

“Get it over with,” I say, dropping my clothes, waiting for her to turn me into a zombie replica of myself. That’s what people in the Capitol are–aliens. No one here looks normal. It’s as if humanity wasn’t good enough for them so they decided to cake it with face paint and hair dye to cover everything up. But that’s just the it–some things can’t be covered.

Enriqua begins her work. She doesn’t talk very much, so I’m surprised when she actually speaks. “I know you hate the Capitol,” she says softly. 

“I didn’t say anything.” 

“You didn’t have to,” Enriqua replies. “But I’m not going to make you like them. I’m making you into a finer version of yourself. And in the end, you decide who that’s going to be.” 

Her voice is inspiring, full of life. But her eyes are large and sad. It’s a deadness, a subtle pain that she can’t quite extinguish from her face, even beneath the layers of black makeup. Something horrible happened to her; I just know it.  But I don’t ask. I’ve been through enough today.

 

Nevelyn and I are showered in food every minute we’re not training or sleeping. Like Humphrey said, you really do get treated like a king. Eliana follows us around like a body guard, gushing about how lovely everything is. It’s at times like that when Nevelyn and I look at each other, and I know we both want to strangle Eliana. No one should be so happy about the Hunger Games. 

“Ned,” Meggo calls, right before I head upstairs for the night. I’ve been dodging him all day; I’ve started to think I’d get on better without my mentors than with them. 

“What?” I ask. 

“You’re afraid, son,” Meggo says, the blue light gleaming in his eyes. 

I spin around to face him. “Afraid of what?” 

“Suzie.” 

“Huh?” 

“You can’t tell her how you feel, and I know that’s hard,” Meggo says. “But I think it’s deeper than that. I don’t think you’re afraid of coming here and risking your life in the Games, or being broadcasted live across Panem. I think you’re afraid of going back to District 6 and actually talking to this girl.” 

For a full five seconds, I’m speechless. “Why would you think that?” 

Scars and wrinkles line Meggo’s face, but his eyes still look young. “Because all of this is under your control, to some extent. You choose who you fight, and how. You take your own chances, you reap your own rewards. But with this girl, you’ve got nothing. It’s beyond you.” 

“That’s not true,” I say, gritting my teeth. 

“Then why did you wait so long?” Meggo asks. “Why didn’t you tell her before?” 

Because I was busy. Because it might not work. Because I was afraid. 

“You’re trapping yourself, putting your mind in a cage,” Meggo goes on. “You have to free yourself. You can’t control her emotions, but you can control yours. It’s all in your head.” “What do you want me to do?” 

“Don’t win the Games for her,” Meggo says simply. “Win them for you. You can love her after. But she doesn’t determine your fate. You do. Now go get some sleep. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.” 

* * * 

“District Six, Ned Rickman,” a nasally voice says, announcing me into the training room for my evaluation.  I got up at 5am, refreshed after a dreamless sleep. I stand before the Gamemakers, eating their banquet at the table. I don’t know how to impress them, so I don’t even try. Instead I fall back into my old routine. I close my eyes and think back to District Six, in The Hub. I hear the whir of the train, the sound of metal against metal, the hum of the engine, the murmur of conversation as the workers take their morning break. I can almost feel the breeze on my face. It’s familiar to me, and it’s calming. 

And I begin writing on the ground, in the sand. Math is my strength; I write out a long and complicated equation that the judges probably don’t even understand.  And then I act it out. I take the ropes, which I contort with fine knots, the dummies for the knife-throwing practice, the traps for the animals. I put them together in a mathematical equation that defies both logic and gravity, that sends the knife spinning through the air, drops the rope, pulls the trap, strings up the dummy and stabs through its heart. 

I walk out the door and don’t look back. 

“This is for you, Suzie,” I whisper. “Even if I never get to tell you. Even if I do.” 

Thimble Thursday: Chapter 1 – Drown

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Many apologies for the late post–pretend it’s still Thursday–here is Thimble’s first chapter! 

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Name: Thimble Trickson

District: 8

Age: 14

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Chapter 1 – Drown

They call me Thimble. Maybe it’s because I’m small. Maybe it’s because I’m quick.  I make more uniforms than anyone else on my floor. Maybe that’s why they make me do more work. I spend more time at the factory than I do at home, but I don’t get paid very much. I’m only 14. They don’t have to give me full wages. 

My mother has worked at the factory for 27 years. Her eyes are still as sharp as when she was a child, but they’ve lost their sparkle. She looks much older than she did five years ago when  Father died. Now she doesn’t smile anymore. But she tells me one day things will be better. One day we will be free. 

 

“Thimble!” Mother cries out. I see her through the crowd. I catch her worried eyes through the bodies. We’re surrounded by stomping, talking, whispering. Everyone is fearful. Nobody is quiet. I stop where I am and wait for Mother to catch up. We both wear white. White is what you wear at weddings. But today two children will be selected to die. 

Last year was my first Reaping. I was so scared, my pounding chest woke me up in the middle of the night, and I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t sleep. Every time I shut my eyes I saw Thorn–the boy from District 8 the year before, get stabbed through with a double edged blade by a Career from District 1. Blood spurted everywhere. This is what the Hunger Games is, killing and dying.  Everywhere I look there is death.

All the factories are closed for The Reaping. School is cancelled. The people from The Capitol come and talk to use like they’re doing us a favour, like we want this. But we don’t. We hate them, just like we hate the Peacekeepers, whose uniforms we have to make every day. Tina Lesgarbes, the Mayor, is speaking into the microphone now, trying to quiet the crowd. There are many of us, spilling out over the town square and down the street past the houses and into the backyards.  The sun shines dimly; even it is afraid to show its face. 

“Citizens of District 8, please welcome Kiran Hutch!” 

Nobody claps for the tall, twig-like man who ascends the platform. His hair is dyed silver, as if he is trying to look like a robot. What he really looks like is an middle aged man with a poor sense of style. Or a poor stylist. 

“Ahem,” he says, clearing his voice into the microphone. It sounds like he has phlegm in his throat. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says. “You are a noble people for a noble game. And you will fight with heart and valour. Today we will band together. Today we will make our mark on the world.” 

I frown. If Hutch’s going for the robot look, he’s definitely aiming for a smooth-oiled speech. But it’s not working. I see people rolling their eyes. The Hunger Games is anything but noble. it’s a cowardly act of cruelty from The Capitol. It’s murder. 

“Let us begin the days affair with a quick recap of the glory of former days,” Hutch says, and then we are forced to watch the same video as last year, and the year before, about the ‘glory’ of The Hunger Games. We watch Threadbare, our fifteen-year-old male tribute from two decades ago, sew a raft of leaves and twigs together and sail to victory. He was the last remaining tribute in the flood that the Gamemakers tortured the tributes with that year. Threadbare commit suicide two months after he was crowned victor–the video doesn’t show that part. 

“And now, to the good part,” Hutch says when it’s over. he snickers to himself and dips his hand into the brimming bowl. “Girls,” he says, nodding. And then he opens the piece of paper he has selected and reads.

Not me, not me, not me, not me–If I think the word over and over enough, maybe it will come true. A bead of sweat trickles down between my shoulder blade. Mother squeezes my hand. 

“Thimble Trickson”

I have never drowned before; but I’ve heard what it feels like. Your lungs scream for air. Even in ice cold water, you feel like you’re burning alive. You thrash and tear at the water. And then your eyes glazes over, and the life ebbs out of you as your spirit fades away. That is when the water claims you. And then you float to the surface, after it is too late. 

I am drowning now. 

Mother is gasping. She’s trying not to cry. My heart is pounding again. I think it’s going to pop right out of my chest. My sweaty hands are shaking. And before I know it, my feet are moving. The crowd parts in front of me. Annie Xander, from school, lowers her eyes when they meet mine. Jose Alvarez, whose brother was killed in last year’s Hunger Games, pats me on the shoulder as I go by. I don’t feel anything. I am on fire. I am burning inside. 

“Thimble!” Hutch claps a hand on my back as I step up onto the platform. I don’t know how my legs are still supporting me. I feel like I’m about to fall down. “You’re a brave one, aren’t you,” he says. 

I never noticed how large his eyes are. 

“You’re going to make us proud; I can just see it,” he says, then chuckles as he turns to the crowd. “How about a round of applause for Thimble!” 

The crowd is full of eyes. Eyes flooded with pity. Eyes beaming with relief. There is a second of silence. Clap for me? What, so they can send me off with a joyful noise to my death? Like this is a celebration? It might as well be a cemetery. 

Without thinking, I grab the microphone from Hutch. “Don’t clap for me,” I snap. “Spit on the ground. Spit at the Capitol. We came from the ground, from the dust, and dirt, and when I come back to this district, I might be in the ground. The Capitol can kill me, but they can’t make me clap. We’re not their puppets; we’re people. We are free.” 

And then I see something flash through their eyes, for the quickest second–hope. And I can’t hear the chaos in my head. I can’t hear the sobs building up in my throat. All I can hear is spit hitting the ground, and the silence that’s more thunderous than a sea of applause.

 

NEW Hunger Games Fanfiction Contest!

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Last year I was part of a Hunger Games Fan fiction contest called Writing Fire: Hunger Games for Writers on Figment, and it is beginning again this month! It’s a lot of fun, and anyone can join. Here’s how it works.

The Rules: Each writer can create 1-3 tributes, which they submit into the Reaping. The three Judges/Gamemakers of the contest draw the names of 24 tributes from a hat, and the Writing Games begin.

The goal is to keep your tribute alive in order to win. Each tribute/writer is judged on strength of writing, creativity, and grammar. 

When two tributes battle each other in the arena, each author will write their version of the chapter. The Gamemakers will read both and choose the strongest chapter as the winner. That tribute will go on, and the loser will be eliminated from the Games. 

The Gamemakers will give the authors prompts throughout the tributes’ time in the arena. There can be attacks from creatures and monsters, natural disasters, or other tributes. 

I found the contest to be extremely interesting, entertaining, and a great challenge to get my creative juices flowing. I am excited to enter again this year, and I encourage you to join as well! Here is the link if you’d like to check it out: 

http://figment.com/groups/15284-WRITING-FIRE-Hunger-Games-for-Writers

Happy writing 🙂