The Hunger Games [Character Submission Open]



  • Yeah, I'm recovering from a hard week at school haha. Thanks. I'm on vacation now and don't have access to the book, but I'll get it out as soon as I get back. Let's just call this a mid-book break.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Everything alright?

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Alright folks, I'm back. And you can expect the normal, two day schedule again!

    71% of readers chose to [A. Accept Munrow's offer.]

    Scowling, he reached his hand forth, dragging the other one cuffed behind. He shook Munrow's hand hard, hoping to inflict some pain, but the old man only withdrew and laughed. "I don't know how you live with yourself, you coward," Saul sneered.

    "It's easy once you get past the childish assumption that everything is about you." There was a glint in his eye, shining off the moon. "I'm doing this so the rest of the District doesn't have to suffer knowing they betrayed one of their own. I'm bearing that burden for them. So, yes, I am able to sleep with my cowardice."

    Saul slumped back, and eyed his plate of food. He wanted so badly to throw it in his stupid face, but he would just leap out of the way. "We will begin your lessons tomorrow. We won't have much time, with the deadline so quickly approaching. We have less than a week. But for now, I will teach you the first lesson of swordplay. Empty your mind, and calm the hell down."

    "Calm down?" Saul spat. "You're telling me to calm down after you set fire to your own orchard, blamed me and my sister for something we didn't do, and then decided to send us off to die in a war we didn't start? How can you tell me to calm down?"

    "It beats throwing a tantrum like you're doing." The man shook his head, the grey tassels on his beard swinging like beads. "If it helps, I'm going to leave you alone to speak with your sister for a little while. Don't try to escape. If you do, things will be much worse for you."

    The fire was eating Saul up from the inside, but he sat still, and waited for him to leave. After he was gone, Saul leaned forward. "Peara, are you alright? Did he hurt you?"

    "I'm fine," Peara replied, shivering. "Saul… I don't like that man. How did you work for him for so long?"

    He swallowed back a snarl. "Back then I had no idea what kind of man he was."

    "Is what they're saying true?" she asked. "We're going to be in the Hunger Games? How can that be? They didn't do the Reaping this year."

    "It's true… It's all true." He slammed his hands onto the table in frustration, splintering one of its legs. If only he had shut up about the fire… Then nothing could have been pinned on him and Munrow would have gotten the blame… He hated to say it, but he would have happily watched his home burn to the ground if it meant he and his sister would not have to die.

    "I'm going to die, aren't I?" she cried from across the table. If he hadn't been cuffed, he would have leapt up and wrapped her in a tight hug, but the ropes were too short for that.

    "You're not going to die. I'll make sure of it."

    "But… Only one of us can make it out," she responded. "There's only one victor."

    "And it's you."

    "What will happen to you?"

    It was a terrible question. Saul wouldn't answer. She knew what he meant, and he did as well. Saying it out loud would just have punched a deeper hole in his gut. "Saul…" Peara squeaked. "Why do you stick up for me?"

    "What?" he asked, baffled. "Why would you ask something like that?"

    "The world hates me. Everyone hates me, just because I was born with this thing that makes my skin white. So, why do you look out for me? Because then they try to get you too."

    "Peara, you're my sister," Saul reassured her. That had always been the answer. There was no other. "I love you more than anything. And you may not realize this, but you're there for me just as much as I'm there for you. We're all we have left."

    She looked down at her cuffed hands, wrists chafed and red. "But… If I win the Hunger Games, what will I have left?"

    I hadn't thought of that… "You'll be alive. I'll look out for you, from wherever I'm at. I'll be there. Don't you worry."

    "I'm already worried, Saul…" She held her knees to her chest like a baby.

    "Me too…" Saul's words had frozen inside him. Why am I like this? He was never the most eloquent with words, but normally he could get the job done. But this time, every word he said sounded clumsy. "I just…" He let out a long sigh. "I just wish that whatever happens in your life, people would see you as you… And not just an Albar."

    "I want to live," she cried.

    "So do I."

    "I want it to stop."

    "So do I."

    A few minutes in silence ebbed past before the door nicked open again, yielding some dusty light from the fading evening. "Oh my god!" came a familiar voice. It was the spritely director at St. Rhodes', Ethel Jugby. She was around the side of the table in a flash, holding her small wax candle. Munrow followed close behind. "Peara! Saul! I came as soon as I heard about this. This can't be happening…"

    "You speak to them as though they were equals," Munrow spat. "They are prisoners. Our tributes…"

    "I've known these kids since they were crying little babies!" Ethel chanted back. "Learn some manners!"

    Ethel was only a little older than thirty, but you wouldn't be able to tell from looking at her. She looked no more than eighteen. Her black hair was tied in a ponytail on her shoulder and she wore a hot pink blouse with dots in white. She was often mistaken for a woman from the Capitol. "It's true, isn't it?" Ethel asked, bending down the table. "You're the new tributes…"

    "May the odds be ever in your favor…" Saul repeated, slumping down into the chair. "You heard?"

    "Everyone heard, Saul. Most of them are in relief… well, because their children didn't get chosen… They told me you were imprisoned by a local shop owner. Just lucky I knew where you were."

    "I think you've had enough time, ma'am," Munrow said, scowling into his beard. "This is a private establishment. I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

    She sneered at him. "It stopped being private the minute you turned it into a prison! These kids don't deserve this!"

    "Neither do any of the other kids in District Eleven… Am I the only one looking out for the common interest here?"

    "Yes," she shot back, but he took her forcefully by the arm and dragged her out of the room. "Let go of me, or so help me I'll—"

    "Ethel!" Peara shouted, coming forward in her chair as far as she could. Her chains clinked together.

    "Pea! You're gonna be okay! Never leave Saul's side! Never leave him!" The more she struggled, the more Munrow tightened his ox-like grip. Saul could see the white marks where his fingers were cutting into her arms. "Let go of me, creep!" One of her hands escaped and she slapped him hard across the jaw. When her hand came away, there was a red welt emblazoned on his cheek.

    His own palm was in the air an instant later. He brought it down harshly and landed it on Ethel's cheek, forcefully knocking her to the ground. "Learn your respect," he scolded her. Saul felt the tightness of his restraints.

    Mr. Munrow began to drag Ethel from the room by her wrists. She put up much less of a fight from the ground. Once back, he slammed the door and went to the center of the room, halfway between Saul and Peara. "You're a monster," Saul muttered under his breath.

    "I know…" he replied between heavy breaths. "But so are you."

    End of Chapter 12

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 13: The Dimmer Light

    Marten Lewis

    Regret. It coursed through him, through his blood. It ran between the seams of his conscience like water through a strainer. Marten had never killed before, and if he was lucky, he would never have to again. Why am I not upset? After all, he'd thrown his life away in a split second decision. He wasn't sure if he would ever see his mother or his sister again, and it was entirely his fault. Yet, every time he wanted to bend over and let the cold wash over him, all that came was regret. It was a lonely feeling—like the whole world was watching him and laughing.

    His cell was dark and his chains were chilly. He could not see, and the odor was worse than rancid. He tried holding his breath to stop the vomit, but the more he held in, the worse his nausea got. Both his arms were chained agonizingly on either side, fastened to the walls of the cell, and his shirt had been torn clean off. His legs ached like they had never ached before. The Peacekeepers had put him through a forced march into town, spanning at least ten miles. He was used to hiking, but with the weight of their looks on his shoulders, his footprints sunk even deeper.

    He lifted his head enough to watch strands of his curly blond hair fall in front of his eyes. The thick, rusty iron bars in front of him were spaced closely enough that even the thinnest man would have a hard time squeezing anything larger than an arm through. Every other wall in the cell was made of coarse, dry brick. The prison was the sturdiest place in all of District Four.

    "Ah, the young killer…" the Peacekeeper's voice echoed just beyond his field of vision. When he presented himself, Marten could see his ugly, gaunt grey features. He was the very same man who'd knocked him out in the rushing waters. "Does it make you feel good, knowing that somewhere out there a family is going to sleep tonight without a son? A brother? Do you like the feeling of blood trickling down your arms? I know I will."

    Marten remained silent. The purpose of speaking was lost on him. Every word he said was poison.

    "Not a talker, huh?" the Peacekeeper asked. He pulled a small knife from the pouch on his right leg and began caressing its sides with his fingers. "My name is Poole. The boy you killed was my nephew. He was full of ambition. He was going places with his life you could only dream of—places that I could only dream of… And now he's gone. Because of you."

    Marten ignored him, not meeting the man's condescending glare. He already had enough guilt in his heart without the man adding any more. Poole slid open the gate to the cell and stepped inside. The sunlight from the window behind him was slowly fading, but he could still see the speckles of dust parting as the Peacekeeper strode through them.

    "I want you to know that you have been sentenced to life in prison. No trial. No nothing. You will spend the rest of your pathetic, solitary life within these walls. I didn't agree with their decision. I told them you had to die. An eye for an eye, right?"

    Marten shook his head from side to side. His words were nails on a chalkboard, grating at his ears. Poole reached down and grabbed the boy by the chin, jolting it uncomfortably to the side. "Look at me… You are nothing."

    Marten slowly put his knee in front of him and used it to climb up to a standing position. He towered six inches taller than the man, but Poole didn't back down. He drove a practiced fist into Marten's rib cage, and could feel it crack slightly. Marten cowered in pain, but breathing heavily, he fought through it and stood.

    Poole shook his head and frowned. "At least you've got courage. I'll give you that much." He delivered a swift blow to Marten's ankle and sent him spiraling back to the ground. He hit hard and swift, and coughed out the dust he'd inhaled. "Do you know what I'm going to do with this knife?"

    Marten shook his head, sweat dropping off his chin and onto the ground. Poole spit into his face and it only added to his wish to vomit. He walked around to behind him and bent down to his level. "I want you to say it… Say what you said to Ronn as you bashed the life from his skull." Marten shrugged, closing his eyes. "Don't tell me you don't know, damn you. You remember exactly what you said. Don't insult me by playing coy…"

    "You are nothing…" Marten muttered softly.


    "You are nothing!" he repeated his head jerking sideways.

    "No, you are nothing," Poole said. There was a jolt of pain in Marten's left shoulder blade, and he screamed as it slid downward. It wasn't a deep cut, but there was a trickle of red down the small of his back. Despite the pain, Marten steadied himself. "Say it again."

    "You are nothing!"

    Poole slid the knife into him again, the steel turning into cries of pain. It was on his right shoulder. This time rather than a line, there was a shape to it. It covered more surface than the last cut, and hurt ten times more. Overcoming the pain was hell.


    "YOU ARE NOTHING!" The words barely escaped his lips.

    The Peacekeeper moved into his lower back and made many small cuts, spanning from the left side of his torso all the way to the right. Marten collapsed on the ground, finally crying. His back had been lit ablaze. The pain wouldn't leave, wouldn't stop. All the skin had been flayed from his back. "You still don't understand pain," Poole barked at him, crossing around to his front and dropping the bloody knife at his feet. If I can just break free… Reach the knife…

    "You lay there in a puddle of your own blood feeling sorry for yourself," Poole continued. "It hurts, doesn't it… Now just imagine what it feels like on the inside."

    "I know what loss is…" Marten choked through his coughs.

    "No, you don't," Poole whispered back. "You have no idea what it's like to be surrounded by death every day. It's haunting. Everywhere I look, I have to deal with another case like yours. They all feel the same, that they were entitled to those other men's lives. Then they don't get what they deserve. I'm sick of it… so it's going to end today."

    "Think of what they'll say," Marten whispered back, voice thin as a twig. "They'll throw you in here with me…"

    "Does it look like I care?" Poole shook his head.

    With a lot of effort, Marten managed to lift himself back onto his knees. He tried to peer over his shoulder to see what he'd done, but the first spot of blood made him queasy. He could tell that the Peacekeeper carved words there, but he didn't have the strength to look to find out. "What did you do to me? What does it say?"

    Poole stood, dusting off his pants. "What do you think it says?"

    Marten didn't respond. He knew exactly what it said, but he wouldn't think about it, not willingly. Yet, when the thought left, the regret seeped back through. Now, mixed with the bloody pain in his bag, it stung like poison.

    "You're weak," Poole uttered, spitting into his unkempt beard. "You can't even hold your own against the pain. A man endures the suffering."

    "Is that what you're doing here? Enduring?" Marten scowled up at him, though even opening his eyelids was a chore. "You're a hypocrite… You're going to kill me, and then talk about how wrong killing is…"

    "Yes, I'm weak too," he admitted. He picked up the bloody knife in front of him and wiped it off on the cloth of his armor, staining it red. "But it doesn't bother me, knowing I will avenge my nephew's murder. Do you have any last words, Marten Lewis?"

    How should Marten respond?

  • Man, some of these characters are trapped in such shitty situations. Munrow is such a scumbag.

    I chose for Marten to stand up. He can't just sit there and wait to die. And pleading for forgiveness would likely only infuriate Poole.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 13: The Dimmer Light Marten Lewis Regret. It coursed through him, through his blood. It ran b

  • Yeah. I don't know why, but I find writing scumbags comes pretty easy to me. Maybe I'm just a sociopath haha

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Man, some of these characters are trapped in such shitty situations. Munrow is such a scumbag. I chose for Marten to stand up. He can't just sit there and wait to die. And pleading for forgiveness would likely only infuriate Poole.

  • I think I'll wait til tomorrow to post the next part to give people time to vote.

  • Damn, talk about brutal. I choose for Marten to stand up. He’s gonna be pissed either way, might as well stand up for yourself :tongue:

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 13: The Dimmer Light Marten Lewis Regret. It coursed through him, through his blood. It ran b

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    75% of readers chose to [B. Stand back up.]

    "No." He summoned the rest of his strength, what little was left, and placed his leg in front of his chest. He grunted and heaved, and before long he was on his feet. His vision blurred and there was air in his head. "Kill me and be done with it," he spat.

    Poole chanced a look at his captive, and gripped his knife tighter. He saw the fury there, the intensity in his eyes. Marten had felt it too, the second before he killed Ronn. It was hesitation… But Poole's face hardened and he raised the knife behind his head. Marten clutched his chains and prepped for death.

    "My boy's got a pair on him. That much is certain," came a thick, husky voice from out of sight. Marten hadn't heard that voice in years, but he could never forget it. The man coughed. "He takes after his old man…"

    The Peacekeeper turned and left through the iron bars for a moment, into the shadow of the jail. He peeked over into the cell adjacent. "You, shut up!" he yelled, cracking the stone walls. "This is happening one way or another. Your son killed my nephew. He has to die! It's the natural order of things."

    "Then why haven't I died yet?" Marten's father replied. He couldn't see the man, yet he saw the smirk. "Tell me, Poole… I've killed four or five in my time. What makes him so special he gets the chopping block before I do?"

    Poole disappeared from view completely, and into the argument, but Marten could hear them, their angry, harsh voices. "You wanna die, Lewis?" Poole leveled the jail with his voice. "I can make that happen!"

    "What makes you the one to do it?" His father replied in haste. "You think you got a right to take the place of District Four's vigilante executioner? You kill me or my boy… you oughtta be locked up in here with us."

    "I will accept the consequences of my actions fully…" he said. "This is what I was meant to do. I am the justice this District needs."

    "Does the District need revenge… or do you?"

    A long pause. Poole was so evidently hesitant to be here in the first place, and had only just talked himself into going through with this volatile plan. "My… my nephew is…"

    "Your nephew is dead?" Dad barked. "Yeah. You've said that more than a few times now. Don't excuse it though. You kill him… What do you think my family's gonna do to you? And what will your family do to them? Kill if you have to. In this world, killing is necessary, but it ain't revenge. It only leads to more broken families."

    "I can see your point," the Peacekeeper sighed, "but how am I supposed to just let this go? He needs to feel the pain he brought me!"

    "You dragged a knife through his back."

    "Not deep enough."

    "Just drop it," Dad snarled. Marten could hear the heavy footsteps. His father was approaching the bars of his cage. His chains were rattling as he moved. "Drop it right now, and this whole thing ends here. You let justice take its natural course, and you'll get your vengeance someday."

    "I know…" Poole replied. His words leaked regret. "I'm in the Peacekeeping force… I know the law, but… He has no respect—acts like we're equals…"

    "Shake on it." Marten's father reached a hand through the bars, his chains scraping against the iron. "You take this handshake, and chuck this in the river. No one needs to get hurt."

    "I suppose you're right." They shook hands briefly. Marten let out a sigh of relief, a guilty one. I'm going to live, he thought. But the Peacekeeper was right. I deserve to die. "I'm sorry… I was just so angry, I didn't know—"

    There was a rusty, metallic crash that echoed through the chamber. The sound of a struggle lasted for five seconds, with clawing sounds, and flesh banging against iron bars. Then, a loud snap, and a thud on the ground, and it was over. Several moments, later, Marten's father appeared in front of his cell, fingering a set of keys.

    "You didn't…" Marten couldn't say it.

    "Didn't what?" Dad unlocked the grate and began to undo his metal cuffs, one by one. Zak Lewis was a giant of a man, but the cell had made him somewhat smaller. The clothes he was wearing were in tatters, and looked as though they were made from random scraps of cloth found on the street. He was barefoot to match. His blond beard was three feet long, and was shot with grey where before it had been brilliant gold. Marten's father behind it still had the glowing green eyes of a man who hated the world. "You know exactly what I did. And I did it for you, Marten."

    "You killed him…" Marten choked out. He rubbed his swollen wrists.

    "He would have killed you," Dad retorted. He left the cell, not troubling to close the door, and Marten limped slowly behind, supported by the wall. It was the first time they had spoken since he was very young. "I may be a monster for leaving your mother to raise the two of you, but I try to do the most I can from that cell. Don't have to no more, though."

    "Pop," Marten whispered. Every word he spoke felt wrong. "Where will you go? You're a fugitive."

    "And so are you," he replied, removing his ruined shirt and putting on prison whites from the wardrobe beside the door. He handed one to his son. "You learn to play the hand you're dealt, son. We were stacked against."

    Marten slipped the shirt over his head, knowing the back would be stained red before long. In the cell adjacent, there he was, broken and bleeding. The Peacekeeper's head had been turned all the way around, and his eyes were ever staring, ever judging. "He was mourning his nephew," Marten said. "He had every right to be angry."

    Dad coughed, threw on a pair of combat boots and began suiting into a Peacekeeper's uniform. "Look, it may have been a ploy just to get out of that cell, but I meant everything I said to the man. Vengeance ain't the answer. I know you think I'm a monster because of the stuff I've done… But all of it—every single act—I've done out of necessity or self-defense. He stopped having the right to get mad when he carved words into your back."


    His father interrupted him as he zipped up the back of his suit, pushing open the door into the chill of outside. It was far brighter out there, even with the night descending down on them. "I'm gonna leave. You may not see me again for a long time, but I want you to know I love you, boy. Got it?"

    "…yes," Marten finally replied, hesitantly.

    "Go back to Willy and your mother," he commanded. "Let them know you're safe, but don't tell them anything about where I am. They'd just get overly upset. Not like you. You're a tough kid for standing up to the face of death like that. I know I ain't been around a lot, but I see a lot of myself in you."

    "Okay, Pop." He wasn't sure how not to obey, with the forcefulness of his father's tone. "They'll find me, though… They'll take me."

    "Yes. And they'll kill you. Just like they'll kill me." He put the white helmet on his head and the only thing Marten could make out beneath the black visor was his smile. "But you need to get one last goodbye in before you bite it. Me… I have a few things I gotta do."

    Dad picked up the electric gun that was mounted on the wall by the security desk. He loaded it and held it as if he had always known how to use one. Within moments he was outside, and had disappeared into the woods. Before he left, he looked over his left shoulder and waved back for the last time. Marten found it so hard to wave back, so unnatural… He didn't like to let things go, especially when they were important to him.

    Marten was grateful for the little warmth the blood-stained shirt provided him, and for the way it covered his scars. He was determined not to look at them, at least not until he got them bandaged. It still hurt like hell, but he knew he could make it home before he bled to death.

    As he stepped out into the warm summer night, the light of the day had all but vanished. At least he had a task to set his mind to, but he felt more alone now than he ever had before. It was dark in prison, yet the dimmer light felt like a beacon in the fog compared to the walk home.

    End of Chapter 13

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 14: House Arrest

    Marten Lewis

    Somehow, the moonlight lit up his house just as well as the sun did. It was one story, but wider than a normal home, as they had to cram more family members inside than an average home in District Four. Marten opened the rickety wooden door slowly, not sure what he would find inside. He had lived here all his life, yet today it felt strange and alien.

    When he stepped in, the floor let out a loud creak, and he was shocked to find the place was unlit and empty. Normally at this time, his cousins were jumping around the living room, his uncle would be playing poker at the table with his wife and Marten's mother and the house would ring with the sound of music and laughter. It was eerily quiet.

    He stepped through his house for a few moments wondering where everyone had gone. But the searing pain was then too much to overcome. Within seconds he found the bathroom, and with a thrust of his hand, he pulled open the medicine cabinet and found a brown bottle of liquid. He wasn't sure what it was called, but he knew his mother always used it whenever he cut himself when he was little. He tore his shirt from his shoulders and poured the entire bottle down his neck.

    It stung harshly in every place where the knife had drawn a wound. He couldn't take it, and buckled over, gripping the rims of the sink with enough force almost to crack it. For the first time, with every bit of the wound aching like hell, Marten could finally tell for sure what Poole had written into his back. "I AM NOTHING." It felt awkward to read words by touch rather than by his sight, but he couldn't see anything transcribed on his back. The cuts pulled open slightly when he poured the brown liquid onto them, but the way he felt them close again, he knew it was going to leave a scar...

    Marten fumbled through the cabinet and found a roll of gauze. He found the end of it, and pressed it down to his lower chest using the sink. He passed the roll around him over and over until his entire back was covered in white and red. He took the small medical stapler on the top shelf and clipped the end to one of the other strands beside it. He felt blood soak into the back of the bandage, but not nearly as quickly as it had stained his shirt. He moved his arm around in every direction it could slowly. It hurt, but far less than it would have if it had not been treated.

    Satisfied with his job, he closed the cabinet and looked into the mirror he uncovered. He saw a man whose sweat had made his once curly blonde hair droop into almost straight form. His round, firm face was coated with dust from prison. He saw a man who had been beaten to death by the world around him. He saw a murderer in that mirror. When he was young, he used to come in this room and look himself in the eyes. He used to wonder whether in his later years, he could look at himself and be proud of who he had become. Now, with Ronn's blood on his hands, he wasn't sure whether he ever would again.

    A woman stood outside the door. In her hand was a short kitchen knife poised at his throat, but she was so shaky, he wasn't sure whether it could be trusted to hurt him very badly. Her hair was light black with some gray in it, and her eyes were the same shade as Marten's. Once either of them realized who the other was, all the hostility was dropped. It was his mother.

    She wrapped her arms hard around him. He wanted to grunt in pain from the cuts on his back, but he fought through it and hugged her back. "I thought you were gone..." she cried into her son's chest. She was one of the shorter members of the family.

    "I'm right here, Mum," he replied. She didn't let go just yet.

    "I was so sure when they announced you'd been arrested, we would never be allowed to see you any more, like what happened with your father... How on earth did you get out of prison?"

    Marten thought back to the events of that evening. His father had sabotaged the Peacekeeper's attempt to execute him, but in doing so, he had cost another life. Mum was already worn so thin... He wasn't sure if unleashing the truth on her might just break her down completely. It felt as though she were on thin ice.

    Should Marten tell the truth?

  • She deserves to know the truth. She deserves to have a son who can be honest with her.

    Well this is an interesting turn of events. I guess excluding his mother that Marten comes from a family of giants. :p Jokes aside Marten's story is getting really interesting for me. His father seems quite interesting as well. Hope we see him again.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 14: House Arrest Marten Lewis Somehow, the moonlight lit up his house just as well as the sun

  • Ah, I am sorry for not commenting on the last part. I am on a vacation for a week and my internet connection, while acceptable when working, is simply not reliable and I did not make it in time. I voted though, on the option that ultimately won, standing up again.

    Here, I am not sure. I voted to tell the truth, but this is one of the parts I don't remember from the old story and this could mean many things. I think last time we picked the correct option, because I don't remember anything dramatic happening, but maybe I just don't remember, or maybe we picked the other option. However, I don't always want to check, that feels a bit like cheating (aside from Penn's parts, because I want to change her storyline as much as possible), so I'm just going with my gut feeling here and choose to tell the truth.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 14: House Arrest Marten Lewis Somehow, the moonlight lit up his house just as well as the sun

  • Yea sorry, I've been super busy lately, and also, the chapter after this one is a Penn chapter, and I have to do an overhaul since we changed her story. I'll put the next part out soon.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    You there? @TeamKennyW00T

  • @Javier Raviolli @Tales-from-Telltale @Mathea @TWD_stan @AgentZ46 @LiquidChicagoTed

    Hey guys, I'm back after an extended vacation. I did some soul searching haha and I realized I don't ever finish anything I start. I've been pretty shitty as a content creator, so I'd like to apologize. So I'm gonna get back into this, push through it until I'm done.

    So anyway, expect the next parts either tonight or tomorrow. If you want, you could reread the last couple parts to jog your memories. (Particularly the last Penn chapter because we're coming up on the Penn Chronicles)

    I hope you guys are still interested. If so, welcome back.

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    86% of readers chose to [A. Tell her about your father.]

    "Dad saved me…" Marten replied. "A Peacekeeper was torturing me… Dad talked to him and convinced him to stop. He got the keys and escaped…"

    "What do you mean, he got the keys?" his mother inquired further. Marten found it harder to admit what he'd seen than he thought it was. It had been so surreal…

    "He… he killed him, Mom. Broke his neck… stole his keys…"

    "Oh my god." She leaned against the wall, yielding a nostalgic creak. She stared at the ground, her head in her hands. "They're going to kill him… The last time… Oh god."

    Marten wrapped his thick-muscled arms around his mother. He could barely listen to himself say the words aloud. He couldn't even imagine what she was feeling, having suffered worse than any with the death of Grandad. He felt her tears soaking his shoulder.

    "Marten?" came a voice from the end of the hall, thin and melodic. Aunt Myra was standing there, a mixture of relieved and confused. Now that Grandad was gone, she was the only one taller than him in the Lewis family. Once the moment had passed, she joined them immediately, tightening the hug tenfold.

    The three of them went to the kitchen and sat down at the long, studded dining table. No one was here, yet Marten still felt the need to sit at the left end—his usual place. Aunt Myra and Mom sat down next to him. "Where did everyone go?" Marten asked his family.

    "Honey, they're all at the Town Hall," Aunt Myra replied.

    "What are they doing there?"

    "The District… is being forced to choose a tribute this year…" she sighed. "Bandy and Travs took all the kids down there this evening."

    "What?" Marten bursted out. "I thought the Reaping was cancelled."

    "It was. This ain't the Reaping; it's worse. They're voting…"

    "A vote?" Marten felt as though he should be scared or even surprised by the news, but he wasn't. So much had happened in the past twenty-four hours that none of it fazed him anymore.

    "Marten…" Mom sighed, a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. "You're a fugitive now…"

    The thought hadn't even occurred to him until now, but he supposed she was correct. He was, indeed, an escapee from prison. Although it was his father who'd released him, he was sure they'd come looking for him eventually. District Four could never just give up a murder case like this. Marten wasn't afraid. He was guilty of killing the carpenter's son, and would willingly bare his neck to any punishment that came his way. He just wished he could sit down for one more meal with the whole family…

    Marten replied with a solitary glare. "I am," he finally said. "I've got a bit of time before they find me, though. I want to stay here."

    "That's fine, hon," said Aunt Myra. "Stay as long as you can."

    His mother shot him a look of desperation, pulling a lock of sandy blonde hair behind her ear. "Is it true what they said? You killed Ronn? The carpenter's boy?"


    "They're going to kill you, aren't they? With Zak, they knew they made a mistake… They won't make it again."

    "Most likely."

    Mom began weeping silently into the table, distancing herself from it all. Myra leaned over and wrapped an arm around her sister-in-law. "I've had to bury too many family members this week," she cried. "Why can't things go back to the way they were? I hate this District!"

    "It's okay, Marten's here now. Everything's going to be okay," said Aunt Myra, offering a shush. She was trying to calm her down, but with her husky frame and deep voice, she had never been very good at it. When her efforts proved unsuccessful, she turned to her nephew. "Did he deserve it?"


    She visibly relaxed. It was as though it made the act of murder somehow better… He knew she had been waiting to hear that answer ever since she'd heard of the incident. "That's all we need to know," she sighed. "Do you want something to eat, honey?"

    "I'm starving," he responded with haste. It had been an entire day since last he'd eaten. "Can you make me your poached eggs? I always love them that way."

    "Of course," she replied. She stood from the table and began to cook, lighting up the stove with an oily pan full of sizzling eggs.

    "You used to be afraid of the water," his mother told him, tears in her eyes but a smile on her face.


    She sighed. "I don't know if you remember this, but when you were four years old, your father and I used to take you down to the river to teach you to fish. It was your first time…" she interrupted herself with an unexpected laugh. "The way you looked at me when you stepped in, it was like you weren't even sure what the water was."

    "You're right," he replied. "I don't remember any of this."

    "We happily waded you into the water, and every step you took, the tighter you clung to my leg. At one point, your father had enough of it and just kind of yanked you off. He set you down in the water where you couldn't touch the bottom, and you were panicking like hell… I tried to tell him to stop, but every time he just told me this was how he learned from his father, and that it was the only way to learn."

    "Let me guess. I drowned." Marten smiled, hoping he had lightened the mood.

    His mother smiled too, and took a moment to respond. "No. Actually, you looked like you were going to for a moment. If your head would have gone under the water, we would have scooped you out immediately. You were in no real danger, but at the time, I was worried sick for you. All of my panic was for nothing though. Before thirty seconds had passed, you had learned to swim."

    "What's the point of this story, Mom?"

    She brought her hand to his cheek. "That day was the first time I realized just how tough you were. I wasn't capable of understanding your father's methods then, but I'm starting to see them now. You have a strong will, Marten… Nothing can break you. Me? I'm not like you Lewises. I can't throw a fishing line… I can't swim for my life… I can't handle it when people are killed around me. You can, though."

    "Yes," said Marten. As much as it pained him to admit, he didn't feel any remorse for Roon or for Poole. When he thought of either of them, he felt regret, but no sympathy. Both got what they deserved. And that realizations scared the hell out of him. He knew that he should feel sorry for the people he killed and watched die. He knew he should feel sorry for their families, but he couldn't feel anything.

    "The world is going to throw in your face anything it can get its grimy hands on," his mother continued. "When it does, don't let it change you, Marten. Be that little boy your father set down in the river. Be like a stone in the creek. Let the world flow around you, yet stay adamant. Please? For my sake… I don't think I could stand it if you were broken too."

    "Have you been preparing that, Mom?" Marten asked, chuckling.

    "Every single day," Aunt Myra said softly from the kitchen.

    "It's true," she said. "I know I've been waiting to say this for the longest time… I wanted to tell you when you were a man… And I can't see any better time than now. I don't approve of the things you've done, son. I hate it, but I know you. And I know you're going to do everything in your power to make it right."

    "I will, Mom."

    "But don't you think for one moment that—"

    As she said that there was a loud pounding on the door, bringing the entire house to shake. There were two people shouting outside: one of which was his sister's. The other was vaguely familiar. Marten stood and stepped forward quietly to make out the words. His mother and aunt did the same. He expected the door to be opened by Uncle Bandy and Uncle Travs and all his cousins, but this was unexpected. Half of him was even hoping it might be his father…

    "Please, sir!" Willy pleaded. Her words bled through the paper-thin walls. "Don't go in there! Our family has suffered enough already!"

    "And you don't think other families feel the same way, girl? Get the hell out of my way." The man's voice was gruff and angry.

    "No!" There was another slam on the door. Marten's mother anxiously clutched his shoulders.

    "Who is that?" Mom asked softly.

    Aunt Myra stepped forwards cautiously and whispered, "It's that escort from the Capitol. What's he doing here?" She began to open the door slowly, leaving the conversation outside exposed. Willy stood up, shocked that the door had fallen from behind her. "What's the meaning of this?" Aunt Myra asked to the pair standing outside.

    In the entryway, there was a man of average height, wearing a greasy mop of black hair and a mustache that didn't quite reach his chin. His jaw was thick, yet clean-shaven. He was a rather ugly man, but made up for it with his impressive voice. Marten knew him as the escort who normally hosted Four's Reapings every year. His name was Marc Bishoppe.

    The man frowned in the entryway and pulled down the flaps of his suit to stand up taller. Perhaps he hoped to appear more intimidating to people who towered above him. "The meaning of this, miss, is that the citizens of Panem have come to a conclusion on who they will choose to occupy the position of male tribute in the Twenty-Fifth Annual Hunger Games."

    "They've chosen me?" Marten asked, stepping out from behind his aunt.

    "That would be correct, sir," replied the escort, "although, I'm sure it won't surprise you. You are charged with the murder of a good citizen of District Four, are you not?"

    "This is an outrage!" cried Willy, still outside the door. "Send him back to prison, lock him up, but you aren't going to use my little brother as a pawn in your game!"

    Marten felt his mother's fingers digging into his shoulders. "So why was it you?" Aunt Myra asked offensively.

    "Hm?" He opened his ear. "I beg your pardon?"

    "Out of all the people to send to gather the tributes, why did they choose you to pick up a murderer?" She puffed up her shoulders, but he stood firm.

    Bishoppe raised an eyebrow, as if this were the most obvious thing in the world. "I am the escort, am I not? If you choose to become violent, and I advise that you do not, I can simply have guards at my back within moments. Mr. Lewis, I would ask you to understand, that this truly is the best option for you."

    "The word option implies I have a choice," Marten said, his knuckles turning white.

    Bishoppe chuckled under his mustachios. "You're correct, being that you don't. Your peers have unanimously decided it should be the citizen with the least to lose. You have a life sentence to your name. Imagine this is your trial, my boy. And in the eyes of the court, you have been served."

    Willy stepped into her home and slammed the door behind her, shaking the house once more. Marten hadn't even noticed the man had simply walked inside. Yet, now all five people stood in a circle arguing about his fate. "You can't break our family apart further!" Willy screamed in his face. "You can't break our spirit!"

    Marc Bishoppe took a moment and sighed, wiped the spittle from his face and flicked it onto the floor. "I'm afraid I do not need to, Miss Lewis. I only need him for one month. And if everything goes well for you, he will emerge not only a victor, but a free man."

    "They'll forgive my crimes?" Marten raised a suspicious eyebrow.

    "My good sir, all victors are murderers." He bowed, hoping to look impressive. "The only difference is you will have a few more deaths on your hands."

    "I don't have a choice, do I?" Marten sighed.

    "You do not." Bishoppe shook his head.

    "Don't do it," Willy pleaded, hugging her brother. "Don't go with him."

    "The stone in the creek," his mother whispered. "The stone in the creek…"

    Marten didn't want to be a tribute, but could he truly send another to their death in his place? In all likelihood, that man would be far more worthy of a full life than himself. "You're going in that arena," the carpenter's boy last words had been before his blood decorated the river, "and when the timer hits zero, if you're lucky, you'll make a minute." The memory was almost haunting now—even more than before. Had he known?

    Marten sucked up his gut and spoke the words. "I suppose… I volunteer as tribute."

    End of Chapter 14

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 15: The Underbrush

    Penn Cassidy

    Penn Cassidy slid under the fence as if she was born to do so. There was a spot at the corner of District One where the fence had been dug under by animals, shallow, but large enough to allow her to pass through unharmed. Even if the electric fence was armed right now, she would be fine to crawl under. She knew from her father's rantings that the fence was hardly ever lit—only when there were escapees from prison. They were just making it all too easy for her.

    Penn felt dishonest about leaving, she truly did. She wished her father had come on this journey with her. No matter how it felt at times, she knew he did love her, but she had come to the conclusion that he had been holding her back all this time. She didn't understand why so badly he had wished her not to be in the Games. They were the only thing she felt she knew. The Games would bring her purpose… Yes… They had to.

    "Woo!" Penn shouted when she jumped to her feet on the other side of the fence. She felt adrenaline coursing through her veins. She was, as of now, no longer a member of District One. She wished Dray had been here to watch her succeed.

    Her boyfriend had so wanted to come with her, the sweet guy. That's what he had told her all night as she gave him goodbye kisses. She was glad she had at least one man in her life who was willing to support her. She stood by her decision, though, to leave him behind. He would only have gotten in the way. And when Penn arrived back, a victor, she didn't want to live in boring District Nine with him. They would hail her a hero in District One.

    It felt good, being a fugitive. Penn gazed around into the beautiful forest around her. No one could tell her what to do out here. Not her father, Not District One, not the Capitol, not even President Snow… No one…

    Penn turned back to face to the fence to face the District she had called home for so many years of her life. She promptly raised her arm in the air and threw up her middle finger, closely followed by her other one. She danced around in the dirt there for a moment, letting the morning breeze wash over her.

    Once she was done, she sighed, and walked into the unknown. She had no idea how far it was to District Nine, but she would get there eventually. She had packed so much food, she thought she might have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a year… But it wouldn't take her a year. The world wasn't that big. She thought it must be a few miles or more—any more and this hike would be more of an expedition. She just had to make it there as soon as possible… As Daddy had said, she wouldn't be eligible for the Reaping after the age of eighteen. She had to make it this year. She couldn't miss this.

    As she zigzagged through the forest, Penn allowed herself to see its beauty. The light shone through gaps between the trees, lighting the path ahead. As it was very early in the autumn, leaves had just begun to fall from their branches, and the wind was strewing them all over the forest floor. It was peaceful and serene here, and it brought her a kind of joy, the most she'd felt since waking up. After she won the Hunger Games, she would have to bring Dray back here.

    Penn imagined that District Nine had some sort of Town Hall, similar to the one in District One. She only had to find it and announce her plans to volunteer. They would obviously accept with no questions asked. After all, she was offering to win the Games for them. The only thing she would ask is for a share of the winnings, to make sure her family was secure. She would let Nine have the rest. What did she need all that food and money for? It would be awfully selfish of her to hoard it all back to One.

    And, from what she had heard, District Nine rarely had a volunteer. If there was a volunteer this time, Penn would have to get more creative, but she was banking on that not happening. The way she saw it, she was liberating them from having to choose one of their own, sacrificing one of their own girls. Maybe she should have brought one of the guys from the Hall of Careers… She cursed herself. Her plan was too good not to share it with someone.

    Trudging through the forest, Penn began to recollect her goodbyes this morning. She had woken up at the break of dawn, careful not to wake up her boyfriend. She had crawled out the window, since her house had never been much for silences (creaking with the slightest footsteps). After she had made it away without waking her father, she would be home free.

    But, surprisingly, before she even escaped the town, Dray came up behind her, weary from sleep. His black hair had fallen all in disarray and he had hastily thrown on a pair of pants—her pants, and they were way too small. He hadn't had enough time to pick a shirt, and had left his muscular chest all exposed.

    "Are you leaving?" Dray asked groggily, his first words that morning.

    "Yes," she had replied. "I didn't want to wake you."

    "I wanted to say goodbye," he said. "I've been thinking… Last night, you were kind of mean to your father. I know what he was telling you was garbage, but he did have a few good points."

    Yesterday, Penn would have punched anyone in the gut for defending her father, but now, after a full night's rest, she was willing to listen to reason. "Like what?"

    "Everything he wanted was for you," he said. His eyes were big and glossy, and were full of pain. "I looked at him last night and saw a man who would do anything to protect his daughter. I guess it just hurt him when she wanted to get herself… wanted to be in the Games to be rid of him. You responded to what he thought was protection with anger. I don't know… I just think you went a little overboard on him."

    Guilt began to flood Penn's mind, because she had known he was right. It was a terrible feeling, but she needed to have it. "I know what you're saying, and I get it," she told him. "Maybe I was a bit hard on Daddy. But last night… I don't know, I was just so angry. I couldn't handle it. Has there ever been a time when you've felt like that, Dray?"

    "There was one time," he answered, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "We talked about it a lot before, but… yeah, you wouldn't remember."

    "What was that?"

    He had backed away, towards the house, and Penn had been worried he meant to run, but he hadn't. "I went off on you, about a month ago."

    "On me?" Penn was surprised. She stepped forward, folding her hands beneath her. "What was it about?"

    He had opened his mouth, but had caught himself from saying anything. He turned away, tears in his eyes. "No, I don't want to start this again. Can we just pretend it didn't happen?"

    Penn hadn't responded, bewildered by her boyfriend's odd response. She just walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. "I'll see you later, yeah?"

    Dray smiled. "Yeah. Give 'em hell for me."

    Penn laughed, and kissed him full on the lips. There came a whistle from one of the cottages to her right, and a laugh from the man who'd won the Seventh Games. "I love you, Dray."

    Dray nodded. He never said he loved her.

    Back in the present, Penn looked behind her. District One's fence was no longer in sight. There was no turning back now. All that was there to occupy Penn's thoughts now was Dray's goodbye. No. She wouldn't think about that anymore. This was a good day, and she didn't want to ruin it by souring her mood. It probably didn't even mean anything.

    Penn spent her time hiking on the way to District Nine playing a game with herself. She would try to remember everything she could about her life before her fall in the ravine. It was coming back piece by piece, fading in and out. Every now and then, she would catch a glimpse of something she thought was a memory. Maybe she had made it up, maybe she hadn't…

    She zipped up her brown windbreaker, as it was growing chilly. Whenever she tried to think about something, it was a dark spot in her mind, like there was something there, but it was blocked or covered up. She knew how to speak, to read… And she knew how to kill. Everything else she knew only because Dray or her father had told her.

    She thought about Dray, about his goodbye. The thoughts came unbidden, so she tried to focus on other ones, and found she didn't have any. They were all covered up. She couldn't remember how they had met… their first kiss… anything. And that made her the saddest of all.

    Maybe those memories would come back if she recreated them. She decided she would put the idea to Dray the next time she saw him. She wanted to know who he was… But thinking that came dangerously close to "she wanted to know who she was…"

    It was best not to dwell on the past, she decided. She would make new memories, fonder ones, after this was all over. But for right now, she needed to focus on getting to District Nine. That was all that mattered. She picked up her pace.

    When the sun was high in the sky above her, beating down through the canopy and onto her head, she decided she was hungry. She sat down there on a stump and pulled out the peanut butter, the loaf of bread she had pulled from the pantry, and a small butter knife. It smelled so good, she wanted to break down and scarf it down right there, but not before she put on the jelly…

    Once it was all done, Penn sat back happily on her log and munched on the sandwich. Behind her, she could hear the soft, constant flow of the creek she had been walking parallel to. She hoped that it didn't cross her path—then she would be forced to ford the river, or climb over, and she really didn't want to get wet. These were all the clothes she had…

    There was a small rustle in the bushes behind her, and she yelped, leaping up from the log in fright. Other people might have let go of the sandwich in their terror, but Penn only clutched onto it harder. She whipped her head around, her jet-black hair flapping in the wind. Behind her was not a snarling wolf or a pouncing bobcat, but… well, she didn't know what it was.

    It looked sort of like an armadillo, except it had much bigger eyes, and floppy ears that fell to the ground. As it waddled toward her on short, stubby legs, it looked up at Penn with big black eyes, waiting expectantly. It shivered visibly; was it cold? It was quite possibly the cutest thing that Penn had ever seen.

    "What's your name?" Penn asked, kneeling down to the strange little creature. It responded by making a series of short chirps from its nostrils, and nudged closer to Penn. Its big, soft eyes darted back and forth from Penn to the peanut butter sandwich, and Penn thought she knew what it wanted.

    Should Penn feed the animal?

  • edited July 2018

    Everyone who read my Hunger Games story the first time, I hope you liked that Penn chapter. It was the first one I truly had to overhaul from the last story.

    Anyway, how much time do you guys think should I leave between parts so that everyone can keep up?

    Oh and feel free guys to submit another character. I'd like to fill out the roster.

  • O thanks, I read and voted on it already.

    @Javier Raviolli @Tales-from-Telltale @Mathea @TWD_stan @AgentZ46 Hey guys the parts are up

  • edited July 2018

    Oh I see. What did you think? And do you think you'll submit another character?

    O thanks, I read and voted on it already.

  • I liked it. I might submit another character later, but I don't have any ideas right now.

    Oh I see. What did you think? And do you think you'll submit another character?

  • I'll get around to reading, don't worry. :p

    @Javier Raviolli @Tales-from-Telltale @Mathea @TWD_stan @AgentZ46 Hey guys the parts are up

  • edited July 2018

    Alright so I'm going to be honest. I don't think it's the greatest idea to feed the animal because Penn has no idea what it is. But I also don't think it's the greatest idea to deny it food when it already knows the Penn has it. It may be cute but I don't know if this thing is going to attack Penn if she refuses to feed it.

    The worst outcome I can see to feeding it is that it follows Penn around in hopes of getting more food, that's about it. That being said, I think it's better to just feed it and let it go away once it's fed or follow Penn around for more food instead of potentially getting attacked.

    Nice part, by the way!

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 15: The Underbrush Penn Cassidy Penn Cassidy slid under the fence as if she was born to do so

  • Thanks! So you voted to not feed the animal? I think your vote might have been placed wrong, cause it's telling me you voted for the other option.

    Alright so I'm going to be honest. I don't think it's the greatest idea to feed the animal because Penn has no idea what it is. But I also d

  • edited July 2018

    Oh no, I chose to feed the animal.

    Edit: My wording was a little off in the post, I believe I fixed it. :)

    Thanks! So you voted to not feed the animal? I think your vote might have been placed wrong, cause it's telling me you voted for the other option.

  • edited July 2018

    Alright, guys, I'm going to release the next chapter tomorrow around noon, so all those who haven't yet, you should read it and vote before the time runs out! I'm not going to close the voting, as I usually won't need to, so votes will be accepted all the way up to the point where I release the chapter. However, it is looking like Penn will be feeding the creature.

    I also just wanted to show you guys, I've updated the cover for this book to make it work a bit better. Here it is.

  • So glad that this is back! I’ve missed this a bit too much haha. I choose to feed the animal, cause why not? :tongue:

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 15: The Underbrush Penn Cassidy Penn Cassidy slid under the fence as if she was born to do so

  • Hey welcome back!

    TWD_stan posted: »

    So glad that this is back! I’ve missed this a bit too much haha. I choose to feed the animal, cause why not?

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    57% of readers chose to [B. Share your sandwich with the creature.]

    "Do you want some?" She tore off a bit of her sandwich and handed it to the armadillo creature.

    But it bypassed the sandwich altogether, reaching straight for the outstretched hand behind it. It opened its mouth wide to reveal a jaw full of long, pointy teeth, and clamped down hard on Penn's wrist. She wasn't sure what hit harder—the surprise, or the pain. The pain, most likely… It felt like a billion white hot irons digging into her skin. Yes… the pain…

    She instinctively leapt into the air and shook her arm around, but the creature wouldn't let go, and it only grew more and more painful the more its teeth ripped around her hand. Blood was slowly gushing from the bite, and drenching the ground around her.

    Penn cried and hit the armadillo twice in the snout. It didn't budge, so she resorted to grabbing a fallen tree branch beside her. She snapped it on her shin violently and swiftly jabbed into the armadillo, but… its shell was hard as iron.

    Feeling the stabs, and the attempts at its life, the armadillo let go of Penn's hand and leapt up onto her, its claws digging into her chest and clothes. When the creature got close to her jugular, she caught it, one hand on each jaw. It shifted her weight and both of them went tumbling down to the ground. But for the two of them, all the forest was silent.

    The mud gave out from under Penn, and they both ended up rolling down a long hill into a shallow creek below. The mud caked her hair and her eyes, blinding her, but the water had washed into her wound, making it feel much better. She dunked her head underwater for a moment, and came up feeling more alive than she ever had before.

    She threw the animal against the ground as hard as she could, making a sudden splat against the soft mud. Before it could reorient itself, Penn had her knife in hand, the one in the sheath at her side. She knelt down to the armadillo and stabbed it in the stomach, right underneath the heart. And then, feeling adrenaline coursing through her, she stabbed it again. And again. And again.

    Once the animal was dead, Penn composed herself. She was thoroughly caked in mud. She spent half an hour (or so she judged by the position of the sun) scrubbing it all off in the river… the mud and the blood. There were flecks of it on her face…

    Is this who I am? she wondered. She had known she could kill from what her father and boyfriend had told her, but she didn't know it could feel so… she didn't know how it could feel. Why had she done that? The animal was dead after the first thrust of her dagger… That scared her more than anything—more than her loss of memory, more than the Hunger Games…

    And so, with tears in her eyes, and doubt in her heart, Penn threw the bloody dagger as hard and far as she could, and it went plunk down in the water at the far end of the creek. She didn't want to be that girl—the murderer… That wasn't why she was doing this.

    Penn made her way back up the side of the hill, haunted by the brutality of what she had just done. Only when the adrenaline had all faded away did she realize how much her arm hurt. The bite looked gnarly, spreading all the way from wrist to forearm. She ripped off a piece of her muddy blouse, exposing her belly, and tied it around her arm, instantly soaking the linen red. She would need to get it looked at when she got to District Nine.

    She walked for what seemed like forever. When she looked up at the sun to see how long she'd been out, she saw it was half past noon. She had been walking for six hours give or take. The further she walked, the forest became less and less dense until there were barely any trees and a field as far as she could see. Everything was flat, and the grass was tall and yellow. It tickled when she touched her fingers to it—the fingers of her good hand. For the first time since she woke up, Penn could see the whole sky with no cloud cover or trees blocking her vision. It looked… peaceful… She almost regretted having to leave it behind for the Hunger Games. Almost…

    But it wasn't peaceful. The bite on her arm was proof enough of that. Penn reflected that she would not want to come and live out here after this was all done. She wanted to stay in District One, where she had made her home the past two weeks. Her father wanted to go live in the Capitol to find Mom. She didn't see any reason that she couldn't go with him.

    After walking another hour, Penn came to a long fence. It ran as far as she could see in either direction, and the wires were only inches apart. It was tighter and more secure than the fence in District One, ten feet high, and at the top, there was a brightly-colored sign warning of the danger. It looked, for the most part, the same as the other one. Penn stepped carefully toward it.

    It could be electrified, she reflected. She really didn't want to walk all the way around to find another entrance. Time was wasting… But the voltage was turned off in District One because the Capitol trusted them not to escape. She had heard it was different with the other Districts.

    So, carefully, she bent down next to the fence and picked up a small earthworm from the soil. It wiggled around in her fingers before she dropped it on one of the wires. Nothing happened. The worm simply fell back down to the ground and burrowed away. So it wasn't electric… That was a relief.

    Then she wished she hadn't thrown away her knife. If she hadn't she could have cut through the wires. It would have been difficult, but she could have done it. When she looked up, the top of the fence was daunting, incredibly intimidating. What if it turned on as she was climbing?

    But what other option did she have? Penn placed a hand on a wire, relaxed when she didn't feel a thousand volts of electricity and began to climb. It was difficult climbing, since the wires were flimsy and would occasionally give out from under her foot, but soon enough she was at the top of the fence. Victory was so close she could almost taste it…

    When she hopped down on the other side, tears came to her eyes. She remembered something. One of the shadowy veils had been ripped away… She saw Dray standing there in his stupid cap before her, and she saw her father, and in the distance, a tornado ripping up the earth…

    It was seven months ago, she remembered. There had been a huge whirlwind north of District One. It had ripped up a huge chunk from the forest. Everyone was safe inside, but she had thought it was a nice idea to tear up the road.

    Dray had come out to stop her, protesting through wind-strewn hair. "The storm is dangerous! Get inside now!" he had yelled at her. But she hadn't listened. Every time he tried to tell her, she would scoff and get closer to it. And then…

    The slap stung, even harder remembering about it now than when it had actually happened. Dray had hit her… Then, standing there in the wheat fields beside the fence to District Nine, covered in mud and blood, she remembered their goodbye. He had never told her he loved her, and now she knew why. She felt the overwhelming urge to cry. But she didn't. She was a tribute now. She needed to be confident, cool, collected. They would never let her volunteer if they saw weakness in her.

    She stepped away from the fence, into the massive field that was District Nine. She needed to get to town before nightfall, to get a doctor to see about her bandage, but the nightfall came and went. It was three days before she found the town.

    On the top of the hill, Penn saw the valley beneath her. They were so high up now, she could see the curvature of the earth, a breathtaking visage. It was miles away, but at the bottom of the valley there laid a town. It wasn't much larger than One, but she knew it was where she needed to go. When Penn took her first step forward, she finally let herself weep. She finally had a direction to travel on her journey. She had given up so much to be here. This was where Penn needed to be. This was her purpose.

    End of Chapter 15

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    Chapter 16: Foreign

    Penn Cassidy

    When Penn took her first step into town, she knew where she was going. It was a large, yet shoddy village that looked as though it had rust developing on every square inch of each building. She was surprised when she saw it, as it was quite different than the style and architecture of District One. Everything seemed out of place here. Everything was foreign.

    Men and women shot her looks of confusion as she passed them. One woman was washing clothes in a basin full of dirty water. Three little boys ran through the road, playing games with each other, and none of them had a shirt. Penn could see their bones peeking through their skin.

    How could people live like this? These people… They have nothing… She didn't get it. Then she remembered. Her father had explained it to her more than once. Not all the Districts were as privileged as One. It was wealthy only because they won the Games so often. Most of the other non-Career Districts lived like this. It was terrible. She was glad she was going to give her winnings to these people. They needed more help than she did.

    Penn strode through the town. Everywhere they went, people saw her and looked confused, and they should be. Her blouse was torn up and muddy, her hair was dirty and in disarray, she looked like a failure. But still, she looked cleaner than some of them.

    She noticed there were no Peacekeepers here. No men dressed in white standing above the people, carrying firearms… There was only the people… She thought it strange, as the guards flowed through District One like fish in the sea.

    With a bit of thought, Penn thought she knew why that was. The Capitol wasn't as afraid of Nine as they were of them. They didn't feel like they even needed Peacekeepers here, and they were right. These people looked like they barely had enough food to survive, let alone plot rebellion.

    She stepped up to an older woman, sitting on an old rickety rocking chair in front of her home. She had a sort of scowl on her face, but Penn didn't care. "Mam, I'm looking for a doctor. Where would he be?"

    She looked at her and spat on the ground. "You ain't from 'round here," she said, ignoring Penn's question.

    "How can you tell?"

    "I can smell it on you," she replied. "You don't have the weathered hands of someone who's had grain running through her fingers. Your clothes aren't stained with sweat. You ain't from 'round here. So where you from?"

    Penn was taken aback for a moment. She didn't realize it was so glaringly obvious. "My family just moved here from across the District," she lied. "You didn't answer my question. Where is the doctor?"

    "We ain't got no doctor here. You don't want to die, don't get yourself killed."

    Penn looked back down to her scarred arm, worried it might be infected, but plowed on. She didn't have time for this. If there was no doctor, she would just have to bear the pain. If the infection took her arm, so be it. "Well, where can I wash up?"

    "We have a well in the middle of town, girl," said the woman.

    "Yes, but where can I take a shower? Or a bath?"

    The old woman guffawed, and spat on the ground again. "You want to take a shower? Heh, I'm sure you do… Give all the young boys a show. You're pretty enough. Like I said, we got the well."

    Penn frowned. So she couldn't get her arm treated, and she couldn't wash up. "Can I at least get some new clothes from somewhere."

    The old woman spat on the ground, and rocked back and forth in her chair. She smiled, and Penn knew she was having fun with this. You worthless old hag, Penn thought, cursing her in her mind.

    "Fine," Penn stamped her foot on the ground, just below where the woman's spittle had landed. If she couldn't present herself at her best, she would just have to go looking like she did. District Nine was so awful… "Where can I find the mayor?" she asked.

    "You got lucky, girl," said the old woman. "Heh. Mayor Boz lives in a town east of here, but he's visiting for the week."

    "Visiting? For what?"

    "To reap from the children, dear." She rocked back and forth slowly. "I'd advise you not to bother him until after his meeting. He's been very irritable the past few days. Worked up over something or other."

    "Where can I find him?" Penn asked in a frustrated tone.

    "In the building down the way with the concrete pillars." Finally, a concrete answer…

    "Thank you," Penn said, before pivoting and storming off in the way the woman pointed.

    She walked farther down the road until she reached the building the old woman had referenced—the one with the pillars of stone. It was the grandest building in the town, and it looked as though it was where the most important people would be. Penn prepared herself for what she would find inside as she reached down and grabbed the doorknob. "This is it," she whispered to herself. This was the moment she had been waiting for.

    She strode through the large metal doors, casting them open as hard as she could. Inside, she found a gathering of five people. There was a man with a short, dirty top hat and a thick, black mustache. She assumed him to be the mayor. Around him was another man with crazy, green hair and eye shadow, standing in the center of the room with hands behind his back. So he's from the Capitol, Penn thought. And around them stood a young boy and girl around Penn's age and one man with the same shade of brown hair as the girl.

    The five of them looked as though they had been in an intense argument beforehand, but all looked bewildered as they pondered her entrance. She stepped through the aisle towards the stage at the end of the room, and the mustached man spoke up first. "Who are you, girl? We have business to accomplish here."

    "I am your business," said Penn confidently, presenting herself before their judging eyes. She must have been quite a sight, she figured. "My name is Penn Cassidy, and I volunteer as tribute."

    There was a moment of shared silence. The five on the stage looked back and forth between Penn and themselves in confusion. The mayor, however, looked straight ahead into Penn's eyes and stared her down. He received the same from her.

    "What are we going to do here, sir?" asked the brown-haired man to the mayor.

    The mayor, who the old woman had named Boz, averted a glance to the floor before he stroked his mustache and answered his question. "We haven't heard more than a few words from this girl. Let us wait before we jump to conclusions, Ulysses."

    The man called Ulysses shot the same look hesitantly back at Penn. She could tell he didn't quite know what was going on. Penn started to walk forward. "I come from the land over the hill," she told him. "My home is District One."

    "You come from… District One?" the mayor questioned her. She could tell he was trying very hard not to glare at or remark upon her ragged appearance. "How did you…? No, never mind. Why did you come here? You're a long way from home, little lamb. What brings you to our bountiful District?"

    "I'm hoping, I can take your spot as the female tribute," Penn told the group.

    The mayor paused for a moment, and then gestured for Penn to approach the stage. She did. "Come. Let us find common ground where there is so little."

    Penn took the suggestion and followed up the stairs. The mayor strode over to an off-white plastic table placed on the back of the stage, and the four others followed him and sat down gingerly. When Penn took her seat, she took the one adjacent to no one. She trusted no one. She looked at the seat between herself and the boy from District Nine. She wished Dray had been here… She would have felt much better knowing someone there supported her.

    No one spoke for a moment, but the mayor broke the silence. "Well, there is tension here, and I'm not one to abstain from it. But I will begin by introducing myself and my companions. My name is Herman Boz. I am the elected official for our District."

    The man with the fluffy green hair added, finger in the air, "And as such, he will have the final say in the matter of the tributes for this year's Hunger Games." The way the Capitol man was constantly smiling made Penn feel uneasy. "He handles their affairs. You are sitting beside them now. Say hello to the nice girl, Emmy."

    "Hello…" The girl from District Nine seemed very timid. She looked about three years younger, and was too soft to go into the Games. Penn could tell from her voice. Emmy wanted as much as her will allowed not to be in that room. At least she wouldn't have to.

    "And you too, Willem."

    "No," the boy responded confidently. Penn liked his spirit more. Willem's hair was short and bristly. His eyebrows were thick, his chin was defined, and he had a very roguish look about him. He was a bit taller than Dray… Better looking…

    "No?" The green-haired man was instantly furious.

    "Sorry," he replied sarcastically. "No, sir."

    Mayor Boz seemed annoyed with boy's outburst. "Yes. And this would be our beloved escort from the Capitol, Mr. Fivel."

    "You can call me Cedrick, dear." The green man was smiling again within seconds, revealing a shade of lipstick that matched the color of his hair. This was bar none the strangest man Penn had ever seen.

    "I don't think that I will," Mayor Boz replied.

    "Can we discuss the matter at hand?" asked a wide-eyed Ulysses, slamming his fist down on the plastic table. Penn knew that at least this man was on the right track. The others, even the mayor, didn't have the important things in mind.

    "Quiet." Mayor Boz elevated his voice slightly, yet enough to overshadow Ulysses's outburst. This man was not one to be tested. He let out a long sigh and opened his eyes. "I know who you are, Penn Cassidy. And I'm sure you've come a long way to be here, but I've come an even greater distance. District Nine is farther across than any measly gap between Districts. So, if you wish to speak to me and interrupt my meeting, you will not waste my time. You are covered in dirt and grime, Penn Cassidy, and your shirt is torn up. How do you ever expect me to take you as a serious offer when you look as though you slept with a pig last night?"

    Penn stomped her foot on the ground and glared defiantly at the mayor. It didn't matter if it was true; it was rude. "You'll take my offer, sir, because it makes the most sense. And, how can you make a comment on my dirty clothes when the clothes on your people look like they were made from grain sacks?"

    Ulysses scowled at her from across the table. He barked at the mayor, "She has no right to insult our people like this! Our hard-working people…"

    "Daddy…" Emmy complained, pulling on her father's arm. It wasn't working.

    "Yeah, you heard me!" shouted the angry District Nine man. He stood up and stared down Mayor Boz. "She has no right, just like you have no right to throw my daughter into something like this. She committed a petty theft. Don't kill her for it!"

    Boz didn't raise his voice, or even get out of his seat. "You may shout at me the next time stealing half of someone's entire grain storage is considered petty theft, Ulysses. Those people may not be able to survive the coming winter because of your daughter's actions. Sit down, or I will be forced to expel you from this meeting." Ulysses grumbled words under his breath and ran a hand through his gray hair, but reluctantly returned to his seat.

    Fivel looked rapidly between each of the people on the table and clapped his hands together, still smiling. His fingernails were painted blue to offset his hair. "I know what we should do!" he proclaimed. "Let us have the young intruder and her friend explain themselves. I feel as though they should at least present their side of the arrangement!"

    The boy called Willem looked over at Penn and smiled. She couldn't help but smile back. Then, Penn remembered she already had a boyfriend and shake her head out of it.

    She spent a moment to think about it. She needed to show these men what she was made of, to show that she wasn't just a ragged girl from the jungle. She could do some target practice with her throwing knife… the one from the river… But she was a Career. She had to let them know she knew how to kill.

    "I can kill," Penn said. It felt weird saying the words aloud. She had always thought about it, but this was the first time since she woke up that she had spoken the word "kill." It left a different taste on her tongue than she respected. Maybe she was remembering the armadillo creature at the riverside…

    Mayor Boz shook his head. "I'll have you know, District one, that I have seven Peacekeepers guarding me backstage. They will believe any word I say, so implore you to choose wisely."

    She wasn't sure they believed her, she fingered at the empty sheath at her waist, wishing desperately there was still a knife there. If she only told them how good she was with it… They might believe her, but it was a huge risk. And, playing around with a knife in front of the mayor of District Nine might have certain repercussions… But if she truly wanted them to believe, she would have to show them. They would have to see.

    Should Penn demonstrate her skills?

  • edited July 2018

    There we got it. Yes, there we got it. I was waiting for Penn to arrive in District 9, because that was where I really wish to change the course of her storyline and her as a character. So far, I must say I actually sort of enjoy this changed Penn. Leaving Dray in District 1 has been a huge game changer, but I am afraid it is far from enough to change my opinion on her. I mean, Dray is a great person, but he somehow had a bad influence on her despite all this. Now I can only hope that we can prevent Penn from becoming the worst. She has been on a good path for that so far and no one is more surprised about this than me. That scene with the armadillo thingy has been a good example of that, I genuinely enjoyed her thoughts in that case. But well, now we're in District 9 and things are different and trust me, things can change in an instant. If Penn ends up not being awful by the end of Book 1, well, I think then I can consider my opinion changed, but she isn't quite there yet.

    As for the choice, you all know that I hate the old Penn with a passion, a super intense burning passion and not even rebooting the story has saved her in my view, because she is always in danger of making the same mistakes again. She left Dray this time, which is a good thing. However, take my word for it, she is not redeemed yet. This choice right here, last time I picked the option for her to show off her skills. This time, I will naturally pick the opposite and well, this is perhaps the choice I am the most certain about in, well, the entire story, not just Penn's, not just the reboot, the entirety, period. It seems so easy, but with Penn, nothing is easy. Take a moment to reflect. Think of what can happen. Think of what can happen at worst if she shows off her skills with a knife in a room full of people who do not quite trust her. Then think about it again, because I can assure you, you don't think big enough. Think of what could be the absolute worst. Then consider if you want to risk it, if you truly want Penn to play with a knife while surrounded by innocent people who have no reason to trust her with not being a crazy madwoman. Sure, there is always the chance that they do not believe her. At the same time, do they have to? Does it matter at all if they see her skills with their own eyes? She is their best bet already, nothing will change about that if she shows what an oh-so-skilled badass she is. Let us play it safe, the importance of thinking thoroughly with Penn cannot be overstated. As such, I say NO, no she should absolutely not demonstrate her skills. Even convincing them is optional at best, because these people don't have to believe her. If they don't want to send one of their own, a little girl on top of that, then Penn is the only option they have. All she has to do is to tell them where she truly comes from and that she is so horrible that all she ever wanted was to become a mass murderer in the arena and well, it's a given that they are going to take her. They don't have to see, they don't have to believe, they are going to pick her regardless, because they are out of options. There is absolutely zero reason to take any sort of a risk here.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 16: Foreign Penn Cas

  • Oh my god :D Welcome back, Liquid! I've been waiting for this part just for your reaction.

    I'm glad you liked my revamped Chapter 15, since it was the first, and really the only part that has differed from the original story. I even added in the armadillo, because the original choice wouldn't have worked if Dray wasn't there. I actually like this version a lot more anyway. It's more meaningful.

    There we got it. Yes, there we got it. I was waiting for Penn to arrive in District 9, because that was where I really wish to change the co

  • edited July 2018

    I'm pretty sure that Penn is my favorite character. I just find her so interesting! :)
    Seems that she's gotta thing for bad boys. :p

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 16: Foreign Penn Cas

  • Huh, I knew this thing will bite her. That's why I didn't vote for sharing the food.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 16: Foreign Penn Cas

  • Haha don't tell Liquid

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    I'm pretty sure that Penn is my favorite character. I just find her so interesting! Seems that she's gotta thing for bad boys.

  • Out of curiosity, since I didn't read the original, what would have happened if Dray went with her?

    There we got it. Yes, there we got it. I was waiting for Penn to arrive in District 9, because that was where I really wish to change the co

  • Well, I don't think I can fully elaborate without spoiling things, so I won't be able to give you a full answer at this point, I am afraid. Basically, the big stuff Dray's presence had an influence on is still to come at this point and obviously I do not know how much of the original storyline is going to happen regardless of our choices (because it might potentially more tied to the choices of characters around Penn we cannot influence for example). I would like to give you a full overview of why I hate the original Penn so badly at the very end of Book 1, when I don't run into danger of spoiling anything. Until then, I cannot be certain how much stuff is going to happen similarly, perhaps through our own choices as Penn or through the choices of the characters around her. Changing every single choice no matter how small seems like a great way to influence things for the better though. Without spoiling, I think I can safely reveal that the act of taking Dray in itself wasn't the one that led to disaster, but paired with several other choices, some of them clear and immediate mistakes, it ended with an utter clusterfuck of horrible events and Penn coming out as a character I truly loathe as a result, one whom I wouldn't have even accepted any redemption for. The rebooted Penn, thanks to our more careful choices this time around, is admittedly on a better path so far, but I think we still have to be careful and even then, there might be events we don't have an influence on, be they Penn's fault or not. I think it would have been possible that taking Dray would have not been all that bad if paired with sensible choices later on, as there are other choices (I think) having way more weight in the original outcome of her storyline, but the important thing is, it could have ended badly and by leaving him, we defused at least one of several bombs.

    Out of curiosity, since I didn't read the original, what would have happened if Dray went with her?

  • Huh, tell me wha...

    I'm pretty sure that Penn is my favorite character. I just find her so interesting! :)

    Just kidding, just kidding :p This time around, I must actually admit I consider Penn on a better path and my negativity towards her character solely stems from the original, with this new Penn being arguably fairly alright. So, I can actually understand why some might consider her their favourite. While I still won't ever say that she is my favourite character (for, well, reasons, reasons and Aura), I must actually say that she isn't all that bad this time around, at least not so far. Sure, there is quite some stuff about her that still legitimately irks me, most importantly her absolutely horrible opinion on the games and her being appallingly self-centered whenever it comes to that particular topic, but it is clear to see how the different choices lead to a different Penn in the rebooted Book 1 so far, with the true reasons for my hate simply not being there at this very point. What still remains about her worst traits might be improved on in time, I suppose. All I am hesitant about so far is that I know how she used to be as a result of our bad choices in the original and that I am not certain the new Penn will stick, that she will eventually fall back into old habits, but that might be something we have at least a certain degree of influence over. Trust me that I genuinely want her to be redeemed in my eyes and while the original Penn was simply way beyond any of that, this new version of her is actually on a surprisingly different path so far and no one is more surprised about this than me. So with the initial success from her earlier parts, I'm going to continue picking careful options for her and I legitimately hope that she will remain a character even I can have at least some minor sympathies for. Don't expect me to say too much positive stuff about her, she still has miles to go before we can get to that, but I have to admit that she's not all bad this time :)

    Haha don't tell Liquid

  • I will tell you after Penn's arc is done ;)

    Out of curiosity, since I didn't read the original, what would have happened if Dray went with her?

  • Next part will be up tomorrow morning guys!

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