The Hunger Games: The First Quarter Quell [BEING STARTED OVER]



  • Already voted! I might not be on for two days though because of school. :/

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @supersagig @mr.quality @AAA_Jane @UkilledKenny @TWD_stan @WildlingKing I think you guys might not have noticed I updated. And sorry WildlingKing. I accidentally forgot to add you on the link the first time.

  • edited October 2015

    Oh, the feels ;_; The games are going to crush me, I guarantee, regardless of wether or not Aura is going to win, as I am sure that I'm going to get very attached to most of the other tributes as well. Anyway, that was a great part again. I also realized I forgot to comment on the last part for Penn, so I do that first. Penn is definitely an interesting character. I'm surprised that she seems to be from District 1, as the character list identifies her as the District 9 tribute. I guess something very interesting is going to happen so that she ends up as the D9 tribute and I'm can't wait to read it. As for this part, I really feel for Aura. Not even her volunteering went smoothly, even if her dickhead father is at least guaranteed to get his wish to send her to the arena. I am also not sure what to make of Cass. She's apparently Aura's friend, so that is something good. However, my paranoia kicked in and now I half expect her to turn out as a false friend. That's most likely not true, but if it is, I'm calling it now! Anyway, despite my unexplainably bad feelings around Cass, I chose to leave with her, simply because if she genuinely is Aura's friend, this could be the last chance they have at spending time with each other.

    Chapter 5: The Twenty-Fifth Aura Cantarella "Move! Get your asses in formation!" Aura was rushed into the line of by a man wearing

  • Oh, this is back :D Gotta catch up.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @supersagig @mr.quality @AAA_Jane @UkilledKenny @TWD_stan @WildlingKing I think you guys might not have noticed I updated. And sorry WildlingKing. I accidentally forgot to add you on the link the first time.

  • Thanks for the long reply haha. Yeah Penn's part is gonna be fun.

    Oh, the feels ;_; The games are going to crush me, I guarantee, regardless of wether or not Aura is going to win, as I am sure that I'm goin

  • Oh okay. See ya later then.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    Already voted! I might not be on for two days though because of school.

  • The feels... They hurt...

    Chapter 5: The Twenty-Fifth Aura Cantarella "Move! Get your asses in formation!" Aura was rushed into the line of by a man wearing

  • Choo choo?

    mr.quality posted: »

    The feels... They hurt...

  • 86% of readers chose to [B. Leave with Cass.]

    "One last goodbye." Aura reached out her arm and caught her friend's. The two began to walk in the way they usually did toward their Haven. They had spent most every day together since they were twelve. Why stop now?

    "I don't want to go to the Capital..." Aura spoke softly. "I realized that this morning. I want more than most things not to have to play a part in Snow's sick game."

    "I know. None of us do." Cass sighed. "Yet the minute any of us let out a sigh, there they are, aiming a missile launcher at our home. Why did you want to volunteer in the first place? You never got to tell me?"

    Aura looked over to find her friend's chubby round face. "My father... He told me if I didn't, he would put Barker and Corvin through the same shit he put me and Ava through."

    "Damn..." Cass sighed. "You're really going to go through with it?"

    "I'll go through anything if it means those boys don't have to suffer." She cried. "They deserve better than this town."

    Aura and Cass passed tree after tree. To any other, they would all look the same, but they knew exactly where they were going. They travelled through these woods all the time. "You asked me to promise you something just before you got dragged off."


    "What was that?"

    Aura sighed. She had been hoping she would be able to put this question off until she really left for the games. "I was going to ask you to watch after my brothers when I'm gone. You'd be a good mother to them. They need one..."

    "I can do that. I owe it to you for being such a good friend over the years. Now I'm going to ask something of you." Cass stopped and pulled her friend's hand so that Aura could meet her eyes. She normally didn't like eye contact, but it felt normal with Cass. "No matter how much the Games drag you down... Or how much bullshit they force you into doing... Promise me when you come back you'll still be the same."

    "I can't even promise that I come back..." Aura replied.

    "Oh you'll come back." Cass smiled. "You're different than the other tributes. You have a more reason to win than just survival. You're doing it for your family. And when you return home, you'll be hailed as a hero. Panem will cry your name. Well... I hope I'm there when it happens... To witness the day my best friend becomes a victor..."

    End of Chapter 5

    Sorry for the short part guys, I couldn't think of any more to squeeze in.

  • Okay, I'm taking back what I said after the last part. Cass is adorable and it really looks like she's a genuine friend to Aura. I hope that choice won't come back to bite me in the ass, but for now, I kinda like her.

    86% of readers chose to [B. Leave with Cass.] "One last goodbye." Aura reached out her arm and caught her friend's. The two began to wa

  • Oh sheeeet (metal sheet of course).

    Dem feels.

    86% of readers chose to [B. Leave with Cass.] "One last goodbye." Aura reached out her arm and caught her friend's. The two began to wa

  • That train left the station with no intent to return...

    Choo choo?

  • Aww.. Cass and Aura are adorable. To bad Aura is in line to be shipped off to a postmodern death camp from hell.

    86% of readers chose to [B. Leave with Cass.] "One last goodbye." Aura reached out her arm and caught her friend's. The two began to wa

  • Chapter 6: What If It Were Me

    Aura Cantarella

    The Haven was only a place they chose in the reaches of the woods, yet, it felt like it were always meant for them. The way the sunlight reached through the trees and glimmered off the slowly falling water pouring into the spring... It felt as though the world was worth living in. Aura knew better. Although, she knew just outside the reaches of Panem, there were more places like this... There were places the darkness hadn't touched yet.

    Aura gazed around as she set foot in the grass. The area they had named "The Haven" was rich in plantlife. Almost every type of plant she'd ever seen could be found within about thirty feet from where she stood, and in the center of it, there was a small freshwater spring with a section of the creek dropping off into a waterfall. It was very serene. She slipped off her shoes and socks. The grass felt like shag carpet here.

    "Somehow, this place always makes me forget..." Cass noted, sitting down on a rock near the spring. "You remember the time you told me liked to sing, and I got upset at you because you were way better than me?"

    "...No." Aura replied, sitting on another rock across from her friend. Most places in the woods were rough and gray, but their Haven had many good places to sit and think. "Sorry, but it doesn't ring any bells."

    "See? This place makes you forget." Cass laughed, shook her head, and Aura joined in. "No, but seriously, there was this time when we were thirteen. I had always thought to myself that one day I would be a musical star... One day I'd rise in fame and eventually get to live in the Capital and meet President fucking Snow."

    "I mean, those are pretty realistic aspirations." Aura laughed.

    "Yeah, my point exactly." Cass's mood dropped lower and she turned backwards, sticking her fingers in the water and waving it around in ripples. "I used to tell myself I would one day accomplish these things, and my mom and dad would agree with me because they're cute... And then you came along, and everything I knew about my singing ability was shattered."

    Aura was saddened hearing this. She never knew Cass felt this way. "You're a great singer!" She encouraged.

    "Well next to you, I fell flat on my face." Cass sighed. "The first time you opened your mouth, it was the most beautiful thing I'd heard. I'm jealous your brothers get to hear you every night."

    Aura really didn't know how to respond to this. She didn't know whether to coddle her friend or to act in modesty. "Cass, I..."

    "You were so good... And then you told me about your father." Cass's look was one of anger as she said this. "You said that he told you it was your destiny to die in the games. And trust me, I said some pretty nasty things that a thirteen-year-old should not be saying, but I kept them to myself. I kept them to myself because, you seemed to agree with the man... He told you to kill yourself and you said okay."

    "I was younger." Aura defended her actions. "My dad didn't let me actually watch the Games until three years ago. I didn't know what they were about."

    "But what I was most upset about..." She continued. "It wasn't that you were going off to the Games. It was that you weren't going to be a singer... It was like, one minute I'm thinking I'm a musician, and the next moment someone clearly better arrives, and they're going off to die in the arena. How fucked up is that?"


    "Is that weird? Selfish?"

    "A bit." Aura told the truth. "But understandable. I would've thought the same."

    "But my point is..." She said. "Our lives used to be so simple... We had time to worry about what clothes we were going to wear, and what the school lunch was. That was all taken away when the Games started. I don't even think it's Panem at all. It's only the Games..."

    "The Games are what make this nation shit." Aura agreed.

    "The Games and Snow." Cass corrected her. It felt so freeing to be able to speak bad about the president without keeping a watchful eye over the shoulder for passing Peacekeepers.

    "The Games and Snow." Aura repeated.

    "Your voice is just one on a long list of things the Capital has ripped away from us." Cass spoke quietly. It was morbid, but most likely, it was true.

    They sat in silence for up to five minutes. Neither knew what to say, as in simply a week, Aura would be off to what would likely be her death. Rowan liked to tell her that the Cantarella's had skill in the ways of combat. He told her it gave her a sure advantage. Then he had her watch the recordings of both his and Crispin's games. She didn't know about Crispin, but Rowan survived simply by being in the right place.

    Aura heard a loud splash, and then a squeal as Cass scrunched up into a ball. When Aura looked to see what was going on, she saw her friend soaking wet. She looked past her and saw a face in the water. He wiped his wet red bangs out of his eyes and she knew it was Garth, holding a huge grin on his face.

    "Garth!" Cass shouted, knowing it was him before even turning around. Perhaps she saw the look on Aura's face, or perhaps she was that good at reading situations.

    "C'mon, hon!" Garth laughed. He waved his hands through the water, throwing it in Cass's direction. "A little water's not gonna hurt you."

    Cass got up and turned around. She pulled off her shirt and shorts and leapt into the water with her boyfriend. "No, but I'm gonna hurt you!"

    "Oh god!" Garth screamed sarcastically. He turned away and swam to the other side of the spring. Garth was a tall man, but very skinny, and his facial structure matched. He wore nothing but his shorts, and Aura could see his shirt lying on the rock on the other side of the spring. She didn't even notice him sneak up, nor jump in.

    Aura laughed at the situation, and moved just to the rock that Cass had been sitting on. It was slightly wet from the splash, yet she didn't mind. As Cass's head peaked back above the water, she wiped her brown hair back to the right side of her head and behind her back. Garth waded back to meet her in the center. "Way to take the stress off guys." Aura laughed.

    "After today, we could use it." Garth replied. "That was some shit you pulled at the Reaping. You don't... Really mean it, do you?"

    "Hm?" Aura asked for clarity.

    "You're not going to volunteer... Are you?"

    "I am." She told him. "I have to."

    "God..." He sighed. "You don't have to now, though. You saw the Head Gamemaker just like everyone else did. The District is going to choose. It doesn't have to be you."

    "The District isn't going to ignore a bold statement like that." Cass told him. "She actually might have a better chance now that she did that. The sponsors will have definitely liked the show..."

    "I wonder if they were looking at me." Garth laughed. "I was posing for the camera back in my section."

    "The other way to win sponsors at the Reaping." Aura told them. Cass and Garth chuckled back into their light-hearted state.

    "Come on in, Aura." Cass encouraged her. "The water's great. Even warmer than usual."

    "I'm fine up here." She replied.

    "This may be your last chance to swim here. Come on, it's like your second home." Garth told her. Aura shrugged and he frowned.

    The longer she gazed at the two of them, the more she wanted to jump in, until she stood up and pulled her skirt to her ankles. "Fuck it." Aura muttered to herself. He was right. This might be the last time she spent here. She was going to make it count. She jumped into the water in a cannonball, causing what felt like an even larger splash than Garth's.

    When her head rose once again above the water, Cass and Garth had migrated to the side and were lying up against the mud. She did the same
    "I want today to last forever." She told them.

    "I think everyone wants that." Cass agreed.

    "Tomorrow I'm going to have to go back and deal with my dad's training shit again. I'll be doing that almost nonstop until I have to board that monorail." She sighed. "And then, only God knows what the hell comes after. But today, I'm just going to sit... I'm just going to relax."

    "You've earned it, hon." Cass smiled.

    "How do you want to go?" Garth asked. The question came from nowhere, and the man couldn't look away from the waterfall?"

    "What?" The others chimed simultaneously.

    "How do you want to die?" Garth asked. He turned to meet her eyes, and she noticed a kind of hidden pain she's never seen in him before. He definitely didn't like to show it. "Because, if I were you, I'd be thinking about it every waking moment..."

    "I don't know." Aura replied. She was taken off guard by the question. "I suppose I never really thought about how it would happen."

    "Me? I'd like to go taking someone else out." Garth replied. "Someone who'd hurt a final act of revenge."

    Cass looked at him with worried eyes. "Where did this come from?"

    "Ever since I heard Aura shout at the top of her lungs she's going to volunteer, I haven't stopped thinking about it." He said. Of course, he wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. He was nineteen, and above the age limit for the Reaping. "I keep wondering, like, what if it was me? Would I be one of the ones who sticks it out? Perseveres? Cause it sure as hell feels like I'd be too nervous to do it."

    Cass sighed. "If it were me, I wouldn't be able to handle it. I feel like, if there's any way to die, it should be your own way. And if it's early on in the Games, so what? There are very few things you'd be able to choose for yourself in the arena. This should be one of them."

    "I don't think you can choose how you die." Garth says. "You should try to go as long as you can. Do whatever needs to be done to come out on top. Because you can't give up. You just have to keep going on."

    Cass sighed and looked at the ground. "There's one way you can choose your fate... I know everyone looks down upon those who are killed in the bloodbath, but think how much pain would be avoided. Think how much guilt they didn't have to suffer. They got to die with nothing on their conscience."

    "Don't talk like that." Garth frowned. "If you have a chance, you have to take it. What do you think Aura? You're the one who's actually going into the Games here."

    Aura was having trouble deciding who's ideals to pick. The way she heard it, Cass thought it was better to die your own way. Garth felt as though he would try to stick it out as long as he had the strength to do so. They kept asking "What if it were me?" They were speaking of Aura. She peered into the glimmering water of the falls to her right, and came to her conclusion. She knew there wasn't any other way to look at it.

  • edited October 2015

    I can't handle all these feels ;_; Cass and Garth and Aura are just too cute together and to think that there's roughly a 95% chance that this is the last time they are together is simply heartbreaking. I'm going to get nightmares from these games. Anyway, Garth is right. Aura can't just give up in the arena, she has to try her best to survive. After all, she has a couple of very good reasons to carry on as long as she can: Her brothers, her friends, perhaps a chance to roundhouse kick her sonofabitch father in the face once she returns... Gosh, it isn't even the day of the reaping and I'm already drowning in feels.

    Chapter 6: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a place they chose in the reaches of the woods, yet, it felt like it

  • Well technically it was the day of the reaping haha. There just wasn't one.

    I can't handle all these feels ;_; Cass and Garth and Aura are just too cute together and to think that there's roughly a 95% chance that th

  • And we got multiple tribute POVs. This will be a thick metal sheeet.

    Chapter 6: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a place they chose in the reaches of the woods, yet, it felt like it

  • 80% of readers chose to [B. Side with Garth.]

    "You can't just give up, Cass." Aura told her. "There's always a way out of everything... Even death. And if there isn't, you make your own. But you can't give up."

    Cass frowned. "I guess you do have a bit of your father in you after all."

    Aura frowned back. Garth could sense the slight tension and tried to get rid of it immediately. He waved his hand through the water, and splashed water in both of their directions. Aura and Cass turned to him in shock. "What?" He asked. "We're in the pool."

    "Regardless, I'd still prefer you remain in one piece, hon." Cass told her.

    "Seconded." Garth added.

    Aura chuckled. "Motion carried."

    They sat there in the pool for what felt like forever, yet Aura knew it wasn't hardly an hour. And when the sun started going down, she knew her last day with her friends was over. "I should be heading back now. The longer I keep Corvin and Barker waiting, the harder my training's going to be next week."

    "Stay a little longer." Garth pleaded. He swam to the other side of the spring, beneath the waterfall. As gallons of water poured onto his head. He laughed and raised his arms in the air. "Pretend this is your last day on earth! Let's go fucking crazy!"

    Aura climbed out of the spring and shook herself off in a pathetic attempt to air-dry. She slipped her skirt back on quickly. "No offense, man, but it may actually be my last day on earth, and I'd like to spend it with my family."

    "Fair enough." Garth told her.

    Cass swam to where they had entered and looked up to meet Aura's eyes. "Hey, Aura, you know we love you, right?"

    Aura smiled. "I would forget my own name before I forgot that."

    "Hey, Aura." Garth said. "When you win and become rich and famous, don't forget about us little people. We deserve a shot too."

    Aura chuckled and turned away. "Okay, Garth." She walked back to the entrance path they had cleared years ago and leaned against a tree. She looked over her shoulder and got one last look at the place she had called home for so long. Tomorrow, it was all gone. She teared up as she spoke. "...Goodbye..."

    The two of them simply looked back in her direction. There was a huge chance this was the last time she ever saw the two of them, and they knew it too. In a month, Aura would be either dead or a murderer. There wasn't any winning in this. "...Goodbye, Aura." Cass said softly, just before bursting out into tears. Garth swam across the pool and wrapped her in his arms, comforting her. He looked in Aura's direction and nodded, and she knew he meant it just as much as his girlfriend did.

    Aura turned, and finally left the Haven. It was so dark, she could hardly see. She was cold, wet and lonely. She was angry at her father... At her District... Angry at everything. Once she was only a mile away from home, she couldn't take the stress anymore. She slumped down into the dirt next to a tree, and began to sob into her hands.

    She let her collected persona go now that no one was left to judge her. She cried until she had trouble breathing, gasped, and then cried it away again. They were tears she had been holding inside her a long time, and letting them out felt like the flood gates bursting open.

    "Why?!" She shouted at the top of her lungs. She knew someone might hear in town, but at this point she didn't care. She stood up and looked into the evening sky as a cloud floated past the moon. "Why the fuck does it have to be me?!"

    Silence... But what did she expect?

    As she let her head focus more at eye level. She rubbed the buildup from her eyes and found something unusual on a tree next to the dusty path. There was a nail protruding from its bark, and hanging on it, was a framed wooden sign on a yellow string. She'd never seen it here before. She could barely see, but there was just enough light left in the day to make out the picture. On it, was a picture of an owl with its head facing the side.

    There was a small wooden trinket hanging from the nail as well as the sign. Aura ripped it off and examined it closer. It was a miniature owl, looking exactly the same as the one on the sign, with a yellow beak, horn-like feathers, and regal appearance. She placed it in the breast pocket of her blouse and began to read the cursive words written on the sign. They read:

    "The Owl sees where the Hawk does not.

    "The Owl is a friend.

    "From, Schrodinger"

    End of Chapter 6

  • edited October 2015
    **Chapter 7:** The Tributes

    Penn Cassidy

    Nothing had changed. Penn wasn't sure what it had been before, but she had been told nothing had changed. There still stood a man before the teenagers of District One, wielding the names of each. The Reaping would continue.

    She knew very little what these games meant, but the more and more she learned, the more Penn wished to take a part. She looked around at the Hall of Careers and knew that a few days ago, this was her home. They called her a Career.

    Penn stood beside her father, Jomal, in a crowd of screaming and/or drunk kids. The lights in the chamber were suspended high above on the ceiling, and were dimmed far beyond the point of clear vision. The man standing on stage was smiling through the screams of excited teens and loud blaring music. And Penn knew, had she had her memories, she wouldn't have been anywhere else. The room was filled with excitement. The tributes were about to be chosen.

    Yesterday, the projection of a short man appeared in the center of town. He told them that this year, instead of being picked at random in a giant glass bowl, the tributes would be chosen by the District itself. This was an easy problem for District 1. Hundreds of kids were trained since birth to take up the position, and this year, they would pick the very best of them.

    "This is some crazy shit, huh?!" A guy in front of her said, while wading through the masses. He was clearly on something. He continued to float on by.

    "C'mon, Penn. We have to get you to the front." Jomal told her in a quiet voice, or at least relatively quiet. He seemed sort of emotionless as he said it. "You're going to be chosen."

    "Greetings, District 1 Candidates!" Shouted the large man in the center of the room on the stage. The crowd cheered in response. He was huge and had very dark black hair. From what Penn had heard from the random mumblings of potential tributes, his name was Plexus, and he won the fifth annual Hunger Games. And now, twenty years later, he led the aspiring Careers in this facility. "Welcome to the first Quarter Quell. Or, as I like to call it, the chance to show Panem what the Careers are fucking about!"

    It was technically illegal, in the eyes of the Capital, to train children before the Games, yet it was something most Peacekeepers let slip by. She had been told by her father that she had been one of these Careers, and as Plexus stood above the crowd, she was confident she'd be the one chosen.

    When she brushed past one drunk career after another, she realized they had turned this into some sort of huge party. She wondered, if her father wasn't here with her, if she wouldn't be drunk along side the lot of them. She felt like she was wading through idiots, yet she knew not to tell them that to their faces. All were trained killers with an shaky trigger finger. Even though it was complete idiocy, Penn somehow found the whole thing... Somewhat entertaining... She thought dreamily of the honor it would bring her to stand up on the stage alongside Plexus and be chosen as tribute.

    "You're smiling." Jomal nudged her on the shoulder. "I see you still have some of your old spirit left."

    She turned to her father, but didn't respond. This is where she felt at home, someplace where it was loud and noisy, and everyone was cheering in unison. It felt like the sound was enveloping her, and she enjoyed it.

    Once the two of them, fought to the front of the crowd, Penn found a familiar face smiling back at her. "Hey, Penn!" The guy said. "He wore a sort of soft hat that rounded the top of his head and he had a bit of black stubble on his chin. It was her boyfriend, Dray. She met him a week ago when she woke up in prison. He wasn't the most attractive guy she'd ever seen, but he was nice, and he did the job.

    He walked over and wrapped his arms around her, pecking her on the cheek. His breath smelled of alcohol. "Have you been drinking?" She asked.

    "Who around here hasn't?" He laughed. The crowd began to leap up and down in unison to the beat of the music. Dray followed along. "Woo!"

    Penn looked back to her father, expecting a disapproving look, but he simply smiled in her direction. Penn sighed. It felt very strange waking up and already being committed to a couple people she hardly knew.

    "Alright, let's get down to business!" Plexus shouted into the mic up on stage and the Careers began to grow even louder. Penn could hardly hear anymore. "Everyone should be here now. Can I hear what our name is?!"

    "District One!" Everyone chimed in unison.

    "What is our trade?!"

    "THE GAMES!"

    Penn looked over and laughed at her father. He looked very disappointed and a tad angry. "What's wrong, Daddy?" She asked.

    "Our trade is accessories." He frowned. "It's definitely not the games..."

    "Shh!" Dray brought his finger to his lips slowly. The rest of the room went silent and the loud music shut off. "They're starting..."

    "As we know, there is no volunteering for this one, guys." Plexus told them through the speakers, turning around on the stage. The crowd circled around him. "You all have voted on the strongest fighter among us, and I stand here today, on righteous ground... The site where our children become heroes! One of you will join them today!"

    Everyone in the room, Penn included, watched Plexus walk over to the glass bowl on his left. It was the one full of the male names. He ripped a name out of the bowl gruffly, causing a few others to plunge to the floor. He held it up and shouted.

    "Micah Grimshott!" He shouted, and everyone began to cheer. From the other side of the stage, a tall, skinny boy with silvery blonde-hair stepped onto the stage. He stepped confidently up to Plexus and shook his hand. "Congratulations to our new male tribute!"

    There was a lot of clapping from the audience, and Micah turned to the rest of them and held his arms high above his head. "District 1, bitches!"

    There were quiet grumbles as soon as the room quieted down. "He's so skinny." Dray whispered. "Why'd people vote for him?"

    "There are more tactics than brute strength..." Penn replied. She pressed her fingers hard into his side and he jumped to the side in pain.

    He laughed. "I guess you're right."

    Plexus walked across the other stage to the other bowl. It was the bowl she had a feeling she'd be picked from. She was the female tribute... She had to be. He reached into the pile of names and withdrew one. Penn grew more and more anxious with every second that passed. It was going to be her...

    "Skeeter Lascius!" Plexus called into the crowd. Penn immediately frowned in annoyance, and Dray wrapped his arms around her tighter. Jomal patted her on the shoulder. When the girl made her way through the applause and onto the stage, everyone could see she had piercing blue eyes under streaks of blonde hair. Penn could see a terrified look she was hiding under a face of courage. She practically reeked of fear. It was disgusting.

    "And our female tribute!" Plexus bellowed. "Shake hands to seal the pact!" The moment Micah and Skeeter shook hands together, Penn was furious. She was so sure she would be the one to bring honor to the District. She turned away in a hurry and began to weave through the crowd.

    "Hey, honey..." Her father said, presumably following after her.

    "Penn, it's not the end of the world." Dray called back.

    The music began to pick up once again and the loud blaring of cheering and alcoholism continued. Penn was sick of it. She threw the door of the facility open and tromped up the stairs until she arrived in the rec room in the center of town square. It was a stupid way of camouflaging the Hall of Careers... Anyone who enjoyed fucking ping pong would see it on a daily basis.

    She slammed the doors behind her and walked out into the night cold, leaving the vibrating building behind her. She wrapped her arms around herself and she heard her father's voice behind her. "Penny, I know you're upset, but it's time to go home now. Why don't we-?"

    "You told me I was special..." Penn interrupted him. She turned and pointed her accusatory finger at him. "You told me people feared me. You said they shouted my name when I walked down the street."

    "They do..." He continued.

    "No, they don't!" She screamed. "Stop telling me they fucking do!"

    "Penn..." Dray said, approaching her slowly. "I think you're being a bit rash here..."

    Penn turned around, feeling a harsh anger towards him. Like he had the nerve to say that to his own girlfriend... "Fuck off..." She whispered. "I just lost all my memory, guys! Poof! Goodbye! The Games were going to be the one thing that could bring me some sense of identity!" She collapsed onto the ground, angry with the world, but as she did, she came to a realization.

    Dray wrapped his arms around her on the ground, and attempted to help her up. When his attempt was futile, he gave up. "Why don't we find you some place warmer to spend the night than the town square..."

    "Is everything all right here, citizens?" There was an official voice to their right and she turned to see a man in all white, a "Peacekeeper" holding his helmet in his hand. "There were reports of disturbing the peace."

    "I think we're fine, sir." Jomal told him calmly. He jerked his head in his daughter's direction. "We're fine, right, Penn?"

    "We're fine..." Penn repeated. As the Peacekeeper left, she stood up and turned to her father. "Dad, you were talking about escape a few days ago... You said I was caught trying to escape... Where was I going?"

    Jomal sighed and shook his head. "This isn't the best place to discuss this. Let's take it home."

    "Discuss what?" Dray asked, confused.

    Penn agreed and the three of them followed the road until it led to the group of houses where the wealthier members of the District lived. By the time they made it to their street, she had collected herself. She wasn't sure why she went so far off the deep end on the two people who actually meant anything to her. When they arrived at her home, she knew it by number. It was 881, and the paint was green and actually not peeling from the wall like every other house down the way. She walked up and opened the door, immediately finding a seat at the table. She was eager to learn what she asked for.

    "What was I doing the other day...?" She asked. "Why did they find me outside District 1?"

    He sat down in the seat to the left of her and across from Dray. It creaked under his weight. "You used to know this, but I've planned an escape from the District for quite some time now."

    "Escape to where?" She asked.

    "The Capital..." He replied. "It's the land of paradise... Ever since your mother was taken, I've been formulating a plan to sneak out and rescue her. You were caught outside the perimeter because you fell, and they caught you."

    "You didn't go down to help me out?" Penn raised an eyebrow.

    "I couldn't. There was too much at stake. "He looked out the window towards the night sky. So did Penn. the moon was lit like a beacon amongst the stars. "If they caught us together, they would've judged you harsher. I didn't want you to end up like your mother..."

    Dray leaned into the table. Penn could tell his confusion. "I would like to point out that this all goes way over my head. Why would you want to leave...? I like it here."

    "'Here' is not in our best interests." Jomal told him. "It may be your home, but it is not ours."

    Penn squinted at the moon, formulating her own plan. "Are there any non-Career districts adjacent to this one?" She asked. "Ones where the Games is not their trade?"

    "The only one I can think of would be District 9. Why do you ask?" Penn glanced back in his direction. The corner of her mouth began to turn into a smile. "Oh no... You're not thinking..."

    "I've already made my decision." Penn said, lying back in her seat confidently. "You wanna get out of here and to the Capital so badly, you're going to have to make a pit stop in 9 first."

    "This is because of the Games, isn't it?" He cried. "The other districts have nothing for us, Penn. The Capital is where need to be when these Games start..."

    "The Hunger Games would give me purpose." Penn told him. "Dad, when was the last time you had a chance to do something that would not only bring you honor... But glory? Whose to say I'll ever get this chance again? I'm eighteen. Next year, I'm not eligible anymore."

    "Damnit, Penn, you can't be in the Hunger Games!" He pressed his fingers against his temple. "You won't survive it."

    "Are you saying that because you're afraid for me?" She frowned. "Spare me the lecture, Dad. I'm going with or without you."

    "You can't get out without my plans..." Jomal told her. It was obvious to Penn she was winning this.

    "Oh I know." Penn replied. "But I'm going to try anyway. I might have a much larger chance of not getting caught if you come with me."

    "You can't do this... Please..."

    "I don't get you're fretting over this." She frowned and slammed her hand down on the kitchen table, rattling and shaking it. "I want this, Dad! I sure as hell want it more than getting to the damn Capital. Now are you coming with me?"

    Jomal looked angrily up at her and rubbed his beard. There were tears welling in his eyes. "I'm fretting because I'm not ready to let my baby girl die in someone else's game..."

    She smacked her hand on the table again. "Well I am. Just think where they're gonna come if I try and fail to use YOUR escape plan?"

    Penn's father breathed a sigh of anger through his nose. It looked to her as though it were extremely difficult to admit she was right, but she knew she was. How else would she finally be able to find purpose than these games? "Fine..." He barked. "We'll go to District 9... I want you to know how much this hurts me."

    Penn was becoming angry. "It hurts me that you're this against letting me bring honor to the District."

    "This ain't about the District." He frowned, looking up at her through the corner of his eye. "This is about you."

    Penn walked over to the window and gazed from it. She smiled, knowing that in a few days time, she would be a tribute. She found herself hoping she would have many prime opportunities to punch that girl Skeeter in her timid face. This was who Penn was... She was a warrior. Sure, she had to burn bridges to make new ones, but she needed this... She told herself again... She needed this...

    "Hey Penny, if you're going to District 9, I'm coming with you." Dray said definitively. He stood up next to his girlfriend. "It may be new to me, but I'm going to support you every step of the way."

    Penn turned to him and sighed. She wasn't so sure about it. "My father is coming with me for a reason, honey. He's coming to help guide me to the other District. I appreciate your support, but I think you should really stay here. This is your home. Your family... You'd leave it all behind..."

    "I want to come with you." He smiled. "I don't care if I have to find a new life in District 9. I'll go on... But... Don't leave me here alone... You were the first good thing to happen to me in a long line of bad ones... I want to be here for you."

    Penn turned around to face him and kissed him lightly on the lips. In the few seconds she took, she knew exactly what was going to happen next. She had already worked out her whole plan in her head on the way home. This was all going to be fine... She was fine... She was fine...
  • edited October 2015

    I don't know why but something weird happened and it won't let me put the title in bold or show the link to the choice, so here it it is.

    **Chapter 7:** The Tributes Penn Cassidy Nothing had changed. Penn wasn't sure what it had been before, but she had been told noth

  • edited October 2015

    Ah, I missed the opportunity to comment on the last part, so I'm going to do that now. Aura's part was awesome again. When she broke down and cried, that was just heartbreaking. And Cass and Garth... gosh, they were so adorable together, I can't even handle it. I know, Aura's chances aren't the best, but I'm nonetheless rooting for her. Her chances aren't the worst either and she is at least determined to return to her brothers and friends. I'm curious what this owl pendant she found is about and who Schrodinger is, what the owl symoblizes and what his cryptic message means. I wouldn't be surprised if that's going to be important for her in the future.

    Penn on the other hand... after this part, I don't like her that much anymore, to say the least. In fact, I like her the least out of all the PoV's at the moment. The contrast to Aura was particularly stark, as on the one hand we have a girl who has no illusions about the games and who got forced into them againt her will by her glory-seeking father, while on the other hand we have a girl who is so brainwashed that not even the complete loss of her memory managed to undo it and who wants to fight in the games so desperately that she even plans to switch district simply to get another chance at the Reapings, even against the will of her loving father, whom she selfishly and needlessly endangers in the process. Now that I think about it, I'd even say I am starting to hate Penn.

    I am never a fan of tributes who actually enjoy being in the games, but Penn is a particularly horrifying example, as her wish to kill other teens for the entertainment of the Capitol is strong enough to survive even the complete loss of her memory. I mean, is she freaking serious about switching districts just to get another chance? Right now, she looks absolutely insane, like a typical career in an admittedly atypical situation and on top of that, she comes off as extremely shallow and selfish. She doesn't even take her fathers wishes into consideration and even has the guts to blame him for trying to protect her from the games, in a way that reminds me of a spoilt brat that complains about getting the wrong Iphone for christmas. The only thing she apparently cares for is getting into the arena at all costs, even if she knows how much it hurts her father and her boyfriend and even if she knows how dangerous it will be for her father. She even wishes to hurt poor Skeeter, just because that girl was reaped in her place. Gosh, the longer I think about it, the worse she becomes. Definitely by a country mile my least favourite character in the story, at least as long as I don't know how bad the other careers are. At least Skeeter sounds alright and I have pity for the poor girl, but Micah seems to be nothing more than a male Penn at the moment.

    As for this choice, I chose for her to allow Dray to accompany her, simply because I hope that this will cause his death. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate Dray. Neither do I like him in particular, but he's not too bad. However, if he dies during their escape, perhaps this will teach Penn that death is not a fucking game and that it is horrible when people die. I sadly doubt that she will get any better, as she is without a doubt still going to volunteer for the spot of the D9 female, but a man can hope. In any way, Penn is a batshit-insane glory hound and by far the least likeable character so far. Even Marten has a life beyond the games and at least does not wish to participate in them, which makes me like him a lot more than Penn, even if I still don't like him in particular. Definitely my least favourite PoV and I wouldn't even be too sad if she would die during her escape from D1 without ever getting a chance to fulfill her deep-seated wish of becoming a teenage gladiator.

    **Chapter 7:** The Tributes Penn Cassidy Nothing had changed. Penn wasn't sure what it had been before, but she had been told noth

  • Lol wow. I wrote Penn to be conceited, but this is just... wow. Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of her character arc, so don't give up on her quite yet. :)

    Ah, I missed the opportunity to comment on the last part, so I'm going to do that now. Aura's part was awesome again. When she broke down an

  • It's not only that she is conceited, but she also appeared to me as slightly delusional and incredibly self-absorbed. She has a loving father, whom she apparently couldn't care less for and a boyfriend, who, in her own words, simply 'does the job'. And the fact that she wishes to participate in this madness so badly that she wants to throw her chance at a better life away and even risks the death of her father during this escape is absolutely terrible. His line about her having a bit of her old spirit left makes me assume that she used to be even worse before her memory loss. At least at the moment, she has plenty of character traits that are downright despicable, while I fail to see any likeable traits in her. Perhaps I simply feel so strong against her because she is in many ways the polar opposite of my favourite Aura, who just gave me major feels in the previous part. But of course you are right, it's only the beginning of the story, so I'm always open to change my opinion about her later, if she truly changes from her selfish, bratty and shallow current self.

    Lol wow. I wrote Penn to be conceited, but this is just... wow. Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of her character arc, so don't give up on her quite yet.

  • Oh trust me, the Games will change her. They have a way of doing that

    It's not only that she is conceited, but she also appeared to me as slightly delusional and incredibly self-absorbed. She has a loving fathe

  • Lol, if Penn is such a bitch when she has no memory, how was when she had it? XD

    I voted to let Dray accompany her.

    **Chapter 7:** The Tributes Penn Cassidy Nothing had changed. Penn wasn't sure what it had been before, but she had been told noth

  • edited October 2015

    Actually she was better. The memory loss is part of the problem, since she's going out of her way and out of the way of everyone else to try and give herself a purpose. Oh, and welcome back sagig.

    supersagig posted: »

    Lol, if Penn is such a bitch when she has no memory, how was when she had it? XD I voted to let Dray accompany her.

  • Penn's taking it a bit too far Jesus Christ. I have a feeling she's gonna pose as a major threat D: She's like a mini Connor 2.0 from TWD_25's story, except a bit scarier.

    I also voted for Dray to accompany her.

    **Chapter 7:** The Tributes Penn Cassidy Nothing had changed. Penn wasn't sure what it had been before, but she had been told noth

  • Who's Connor?

    TWD_stan posted: »

    Penn's taking it a bit too far Jesus Christ. I have a feeling she's gonna pose as a major threat She's like a mini Connor 2.0 from TWD_25's story, except a bit scarier. I also voted for Dray to accompany her.

  • edited October 2015

    He's the District 8 male in TWD_25's interactive Hunger Games story, which is sadly currently on hold. Connor is a complete psychopath, who volunteered for the games with the goal of killing as many people as possible. His most obvious character traits aside from his psychopathy are his ridiculous arrogance, his suicidal overconfidence and his thirst for blood that is extreme even when judging him by Career standards. While he is still alive in the story before it was put on hold, he hasn't achieved anything of note so far and is actually rather pathetic, up to the point where his complete failure of killing anyone brought him close to a mental breakdown.

    While Connor is probably universally among the most hated characters in TWD_25's story for a very good reason, I have to admit that Penn is by far not as horrible as he is and comparing them might be a bit harsh on her, no matter how much I dislike her. At least she's not that much of a bloodthirsty psychopath, even if her eagerness to join the games comes close. Well, at least she's not more bloodthirsty and psychopathic than ordinary careers. Both, Penn and Connor are very unlikeable characters who desperately want to be in the games and they have similarly self-delusional levels of arrogance though, so I can see why Stan draws this comparison. In the end, Connor is basically a character that is meant to be hated, while I hope that Penn will turn out less evil and psychopathic than he did and maybe she even becomes a tiny bit likeable. She's at least not beyond redemption yet and still has the chance to get better, while Connor was always intended as an irredeemable and villainous character. Though, in his defense, I have to say that his parts have been hilarious and always enjoyable to read. I think he can be compared to Arielle (who has been your character if I'm not mistaken, right?) from ayylmao's story, but far less capable and menacing.

    Who's Connor?

  • Lol Arielle... Yeah she was my character. Ayylmao's story disappearing was actually one of the inspirations I had for writing this one. And yeah, if it's like you said, Penn and Connor have similar qualities but one main difference: the reason they want to be in the games. It sounds like Connor is only there for bloodlust and is out to kill as many people as possible, while Penn, who had amnesia, isn't out for blood so much as she is for glory. She really just wants to be IN the games for the attention and glory. Though, she also is going off of hearing about the Hunger Games from other people, and still doesn't have a full understanding of what the Games really are.

    He's the District 8 male in TWD_25's interactive Hunger Games story, which is sadly currently on hold. Connor is a complete psychopath, who

  • 80% of readers chose to [A. Take Dray with you.]

    When she took her lips away from his, she was happy she had a boyfriend who supported her more than her father would. Maybe he didn't understand where she was coming from, having never been a Career himself, but he was willing to try.

    "Alright." Penn told him, smiling. "You can come, since you really want to."

    Dray beamed when he learned he got his wish. Penn didn't know him for nearly as long as he's known her, yet she could tell he really loved her. It was a nice feeling, being loved...

    She walked over to the kitchen, feeling sort of cheerful. She won the argument. She was finally going to take place in the Games. She began piecing together a ham and cheese sandwich from the contents of the cupboards and cooler. She hadn't realized how hungry she was, but she hadn't eaten in a day. She picked up a large knife from the drawer beneath her and began to slice it in halves. She only expected to eat one. Best to keep up her figure for the games.

    "Penn, you don't know what the Games are..." Her father said, his head in his hands. Penn finished up her sandwich and took a bite.

    "Of course I do." Penn shot back. She took another bite and relished the flavor that she felt as though she had never tasted before.

    "How can you eat at a time like this?" Her father asked, sounding very defeated. "And Dray, how can you stand for this?"

    Dray frowned. "I stand with her because I'll always be by her side."

    "And when her side isn't there?" He responded. "What will you do then?"

    Dray looked confused. It was as though he truly didn't believe there was any alternative to Penn living through the Games. She was confident in herself, but not that much so. She knew he wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree...

    Jomal held his head over the table, knowing he had lost. His long hair fell around his face so Penn couldn't make out his expression. She assumed it to be anger. "I'll go with you tomorrow... There is a small hole in the fence security system. It opens up for five minutes every four days... If you want to catch it, we leave at dawn..."

    "Thanks, Dad." Penn smiled, setting her sandwich down on the counter. "Thank you for finally agreeing with me. At least you still get to use your master escape plan! And hey, once I get back, we can just make a new one to get to the Capital and find mom. Things are looking up."

    "You've already convinced me of your reasoning..." The way he said this, he didn't sound very convinced. "Don't ask me to be happy about it..."

    "I still don't understand why you're so freaked out about all of this, Dad. Dray agrees with me, right?"

    "That would be correct." He laughed.

    "This is my one shot at getting back at the Reaping. I deserved to be up on stage." Penn continued. "I want this more than anything, Dad..."

    "You want it more than me?" He asked, sounding heartbroken. She had to admit, the way her dad said this was saddening to hear, but he was thinking about this the wrong way. "You want it more than your father? More than your boyfriend?"

    "Daddy?" She frowned. She laid her sandwich down back on her plate, and sat in the seat next to him. With the way he sounded, she realized just how much she had been hurting him. She felt regret, yet not enough to stray her from her cause. "Dad? You're thinking about this the wrong way. I don't want to give you up at all... I just don't want to give up this opportunity."

    "The opportunity to participate in something there is a one in twenty-four chance of never returning from?" He replied. "What if you die in the arena? Have you thought about the consequences? Dray and I... Your mother... I don't think I could go on."

    "I'm going to return." She repeated. She was so sure of this statement, she had been drilling it into her head from the moment she first heard about the Games. This was all going to work out. No one was going to have to sacrifice anything.

    "If she says she's going to come home, she means it." Dray added, sitting down in the open space next to the two of them. "I've never known this girl to go back on a promise. If she's sure of her word, I am too."

    Jomal turned away from his daughter, looking at the opposite wall. There was a hole in the drywall, and Penn wasn't sure why. The way her father looked at it was slightly disconcerting to her. "You know nothing of the Games..." Jomal muttered under his breath. "I've tried to give you everything you wanted in life, honey... I watched you grow up, and I was sad when I watched you go off to the Hall of Careers that first day, but I let you continue because you believed in it. Even yesterday, I knew you wouldn't be called... I never thought you'd go to these lengths... I know you better than you know yourself..."

    The statement only made her angry. "I know the Hunger Games better than I know you, Dad!" She shouted, standing up from her seat. She didn't take care to push it in before clutching the sandwich in her hand. "Ever since I woke up, I've heard nothing except your talk of the Games! I've heard nothing except my friends' talk of the Games! What do I know about you?"

    "Nothing..." Jomal admitted. He puffed up his chest, as if he was trying not to tell her what he was about to. "Which is why, until you find yourself, you're not going to be allowed to make your own decisions. I will not be joining you if you keep up this attitude. You can count me out..."

    "Dad! That will take months... Years! I only have this shot once! This the Twenty-fifth annual Hunger Games! The First fucking Quarter Quell!

    "Right... Twenty-fifth Hunger Games... That's what they are." He looked up at her and she saw the tears in his eyes. "That's not what they mean... Year after year, the districts send off one of their best and brightest, and none of them ever return. Do you not fear death?!"

    "Death is nothing to be afraid of, Dad!" She shouted back, getting very fed up with his stubbornness. "I already died once... This can't be any worse. And you don't have to fear death either. I'm going to come back... I'm a survivor."

    "No, you are not a fighter." Her father spoke to her. "You are many things, honey. Many wonderful things, but you are not a fighter. If you try to be a hero, you're going to fail."

    "I'm coming back, dad." Penn shook her head and threw the last bite of her ham sandwich into the trash can. She pointed at it with a look of determination. "And when I do, this family won't ever have to worry about that again. No one in this district will."

    "No one in District 9, anyway..." Jomal told her. "Have you really thought through this at all? Say you do switch districts, and by the slightest of chances, you make it into the Games. By an even slighter chance, you then emerge a victor, back in District Nine. You think this district will count you as a hero when you return? No, they'll think of you as the thief who stole their winnings to one of the most important Games in history."

    In a fit of anger, Penn picked up the kitchen knife from the sandwich and hurled it across the room at the painting of an old man. It wasn't framed, nor was any other painting here. The knife landed centered between the eyes of the old man. It would have been a fatal shot had it been real. "I've been able to do that since I woke up, Dad! I can't miss! I simply look at a thing and know exactly how to hit it from thirty feet away. How can you look at that and tell me that this is a bad idea?"

    The man looked shocked and saddened by her actions. "I don't. I look at that and tell you that you just ruined one of your mother's last paintings..."

    "Stop calling her my mother! Stop calling yourself my father! I don't know you..." She shouted. She directed her attention to her boyfriend. "I don't know any of you..."

    She ran through the house, and instinctively knew the way to her room. She found her bed and buried her face in it. She didn't have a pillow to scream into, or else she would have. She kept asking herself one question... Who was she? Who was she? There was only one way to find out... The Hunger Games.

    The more and more she thought about the situation without input from anyone else, the more she started the criticize herself. She ruined the painting... She made her father cry... After a while, she came around to the idea that she might be wrong, but she pushed it from her mind. The truth would only make her hurt more than she already did.

    Five minutes later, she heard a loud thud and her father screaming. As the scream slowly faded and died out, it became crying. She heard Dray attempting to comfort the man, yet not having any luck. She couldn't understand the situation at hand... She wanted to hug both of them and pull them tight, yet every time they opened their mouths, Penn's first instinct was to push them away. "Who am I?" She asked aloud to no one.

    "You are my girl." Dray responded. It made her jump in surprise and turn around to find him standing there.

    "Please, Dray... I just want to be alone right now." Penn told him.

    He ignored her request, whilst sitting on her bed beside her. He wrapped his right arm around her shoulder, and she instantly felt safer than she did before. "You'll have enough time for that later. I want to spend every last moment I have with you." Penn buried her face in his side and let out all the tears. "That was a tense situation, I know, but things will work themselves out."

    "Dray... Tomorrow at dawn, you and I are leaving..." She whispered.

    "What about your father?"

    "If he wants to go to the Capital so bad, let him go himself..." She cried.

    "I got you..."

    She laid there for minutes upon minutes in the arms of her boyfriend. Even counting the ones she couldn't remember, she was sure today was the most stressful day she'd ever experienced. She just wanted it all to go away. She wanted to wake up tomorrow and know who she was. Alas, it was futile. And then Penn closed her eyes and drifted into sleep. Finally she could rest. Finally she was at peace.

    End of Chapter 7

  • So she at least likes her boyfriend.

    80% of readers chose to [A. Take Dray with you.] When she took her lips away from his, she was happy she had a boyfriend who supported

  • Yup. This is the most difficulty I've ever had writing a character... disagreeing with everything i'm writing down lol.

    TheLier posted: »

    So she at least likes her boyfriend.

  • But... But... But... I want more...

    Great part!

    80% of readers chose to [A. Take Dray with you.] When she took her lips away from his, she was happy she had a boyfriend who supported

  • Whilst reading this, I couldn't help but feel pity for Penn :/

    80% of readers chose to [A. Take Dray with you.] When she took her lips away from his, she was happy she had a boyfriend who supported

  • edited October 2015

    Chapter 8: The Ultimate Price

    Theoram Warrik

    "You have the opportunity to save someone you love and hold dear to you. But, doing so has a very likely chance you will never come back. And there is a slighter chance that everything and everyone else you love will be gone. Would you take it? Risk everything to save everything?"

  • That was an interesting part, perhaps the shortest I have ever seen in any story. Nonetheless, an interesting question. In the end, I picked yes, even though I have a bad feeling for this question.

    Also, I noticed I haven't commented on the last part, so I'm doing it now. What can I say, my dislike for Penn grew even stronger now. I have no pity for her. She wants to be in the games so badly that she is even willing to endanger her father, she does not give a damn about him and the way she just threw a tantrum at him and a knife at her mothers painting just because he voiced his concern about her, that makes her look like an incredibly spoilt brat who whines about not getting her way for once. On top of that, she's infuriatingly naive. She really reminds me of a stereotypical spoilt bitch, who is so convinced that she is a special snowflake, that no one understands her oh-so-complex thoughts and feelings, that everyone has to fully support her in whatever crazy idea she got and that everyone who does not give her everything she wants is mean and unfair. I definitely hope she will realize what a horrible and selfish person she is.

    Chapter 8: The Ultimate Price Theoram Warrik "You have the opportunity to save someone you love and hold dear to you. But, doing so ha

  • Haha yeah I had the idea yesterday to start out a chapter with a choice. My initial idea was either [A. Red wire.] or [B. Black wire.] but then I thought maybe a moral question would be better, like the Honesty/Loyalty one from Until Dawn.

    That was an interesting part, perhaps the shortest I have ever seen in any story. Nonetheless, an interesting question. In the end, I picked

  • Woah, I wonder what this choice holds. I voted yes :3

    Chapter 8: The Ultimate Price Theoram Warrik "You have the opportunity to save someone you love and hold dear to you. But, doing so ha

  • edited October 2015

    Sorry this one took so long guys.

    67% of readers chose to say [A. Yes.]

    "Of course." Theo replied. Although Lynona had asked for hypothetical reasons, Theo knew exactly the feeling of having to choose. It felt like being dragged into a pit with your own guilt. He was determined such an incident would never occur again.

    "I knew it." Lynona laughed, shaking her head. "The man's an optimist."

    "Why would you expect anything less from the old war horse?" Kirt smiled. "He's been in school longer than we've even had this job. I couldn't put up with that for too long without a dash of idealism along the way."

    Theo set his hand on the railing and began to limp up the steps of the museum. He had to put most of his weight on the marble stone wall simply to lift his bad leg high enough to reach the next step, but he was confident in himself. Whenever either of his friends offered their hand for assist, he would refuse it. He knew where he was going.

    The three of them reached the top of the staircase and Theo leaned against the wall to peer out upon the floor below. It had mementos of times long past. Before the Dark Days... Before even Panem... Though not much was known about the time before Panem, anything that seeped through the cracks always wound up in this museum. It was something Theo took a delight in. He'd strolled these halls for weeks on end. He had come to memorize the names of every bust, every painting, and every collection this place had to offer. They once offered him the position of curator, but there was no chance in hell he could stray away from his goal. He knew from the very beginning he would be a Gamemaker. It might have taken him quite a while to achieve, but his task never left his mind. This was his first year on the job. This was his only chance to make the world right.

    "So how'd you enjoy your first month as a Gamemaker, Theo?" Lynona asked him. The curiosity in her voice was evident. "You handle the sponsors, correct?"

    "The sponsors, yes." He replied.

    "Quite a big job for someone on their first day, huh, man!" She patted him on the back.

    He smiled, reaching his arm out, pretending he was holding the joystick used to operated the sponsor drones. "Roman trusts my steady hand."

    "That's not all of you the man trusts." Kirt laughed. "If any one of us had the same amount of favor he places in you, we'd be sitting pretty in our seats with income practically flying into our wallets."

    Theo laughed. Although he didn't advocate modesty, he couldn't help but act as though it wasn't like he said. Kirt was correct though. Theo's friendship with the head Gamemaker did earn him quite a spot on the panel.

    Lynona Williams. She was young for a Gamemaker, having been straight out of Academy. She had yellow hair which came up in the back in a curl. She wasn't too huge on Capital fashion, but picky enough to put curls in every day. They were never in the same place it seemed, moving around each day in a random manner. Theo had known her for approximately three weeks, two of which were spent discussing the Games. She was surprised when Theo told her he had volunteered a jungle as the setting. She was less impressed with the jungle as she was with the fact it was Theo's idea.

    Kirt Beckham, on the other hand, he had known for a long time. They'd met in the Academy when they were only separated by a five-year gap. He had thicker glasses back then. Even though there were corrective measures in place, Kirt's love of technology eventually prevailed and the optometrists gave up and settled with glasses. Regardless, the other kids picked on him day to day for his eyes. Theo took pity on the kid, knowing what it felt like to be different. He walked with him every day, making sure he got to his courses without volatile gazes. He didn't hold any body modifications, as Theo's constant speech of his dislike for them eventually got to him.

    "What is the time?" Lynona asked. "She should be here by now."

    "It's 10:32." Theo told her, checking his pocket watch. "She shouldn't arrive for another eight minutes."

    "Be nice to her, Lynona." Kirt said, leaning up against the railing. "Even if she's a bit late, she's got a kid to worry about. Give her some air."

    "Ugh." She replied. Any passer by might mistake the reaction for Lynona's dislike of children, but this was not the case. The woman was severely annoyed by lateness. The first time Theo met her was when he was scolded for being a few minutes late to the first panel meeting for the Games.

    The woman they were waiting to meet went by the name Rhetora Flickerman. He had arranged this meeting in the museum of all places. For what, the other two did not know, but he made sure Lynona and Kirt would be there.

    Theo lifted his leg in the other direction and walked over to the displays in glass cases. The one he found himself observing was some sort of carpet remnant singed with burn marks around the edges and rolled up onto a pole. What was visible was a bronze eagle, sort of like the symbol of Panem. He read the label aloud: "The carpet on the floor of the Oval Office. District 13."

    "District 13?" Lynona raised an eyebrow. "I haven't heard about them in a while. I thought the President was doing all he could to wipe that page clean from our memories."

    "At least you weren't alive to witness the Dark Days..." Theo sighed, not losing sight of the mysterious blue rug. He assumed the reason of the scorch marks was tied to its being in District 13. "There are some things you would rather wipe off the slate..."

    "I was only a child at the time." Kirt said. "Maybe three or four. But I remember the terror... The fear everyone felt. Let's just say I'm glad they're over with."

    "How about you, Theo?" Lynona asked him, turning in his direction. Her yellow bangs flopped with the movement of her head. "Where were you when they ended?"

    "I was born right into the middle of the war." He replied. "When they ended, I remember being in class. Someone shouted into the room that it was over, and everyone poured out into the streets... There were cries of hallelujah, and parties for nights on end."

    "Sounds wonderful." She smiled, expecting the same reaction from the two of them. She didn't get one.

    Kirt shook his head. "Everyone was simply glad they could go to sleep at night without the rain of bomb fire above their heads."

    "Though that last day, before the call was made to drop the warhead on Thirteen, President Revarius Snow was shot in the head by a rebel." Theo went on. "Have you ever wondered why our President today was so young when he first came into office?"

    "I have wondered that, yes." She said.

    Kirt shook his head. "It's because his presidency is a goddamn monarchy."

    "Then why don't they simply call him the King?"

    Theo shook his head. "Frankly, because I think the word 'President' sounds better in the man's head."

    It took about half an hour, and Theo kept glancing at the clock from time to time. Rhetora was late. He had specifically called for this meeting at 10:40 in the morning. Twenty minutes had passed since that deadline. Kirt and Lynona were becoming visibly antsy.

    "Are you sure you said today?" Lynona asked. "Maybe she misunderstood and thought the meeting it was next week or something."

    "No one misunderstood. She'll be here within the hour." Theo replied, staring down at the curator of the museum. He couldn't know what they were speaking about. This museum was built long ago, and was one of the few places in the Capital where sound could not be traced.

    She frowned. "Well the hour just started again... I don't know if I can wait here that long, Theo. I was going to meet with Adette after this and go to that fashion show in our quadrant..."

    "Fashion has no say in this matter." Theo told her. His tone became gradually more serious. "You may leave if you wish, but I urge you to stay."

    Kirt tugged lightly on her arm. "Lynona, please. This must be important if Theo took all this time preparing this meeting."

    "Kirt is correct." He added to his friend's statement. "What I'm going to share with you today is very valuable. I've chosen you three because you have the most open minds. But if you have any objections, you should state your mind right now. Because, after I tell you, there's no going back."

    "Shit..." Lynona sighed into her palm. "This is serious, isn't it?"

    Theo turned his gaze away from her again. He found he could never keep eye contact with anyone for longer than a few seconds, always feeling guilty for some reason. "I've never been more serious about anything in my life."

    As soon as he was finished talking, he heard the unmistakable cry of the young child that was Rhetora's son. Theo peered over the railing to find a woman with signature pink fluffy hair and pure white make up dragging a little boy by the hand. "Oh, come on, you!" She shouted in anger. "Just stop tugging on my arm for one second!"

    "I don't want to go to the museum! We always go to the museum! Why can't we go to the movies?!"

    "I already told you-"

    "Excuse me, miss..." The bald curator in the center of the room said. "If you cannot contain your child, you'll be asked to leave. This is a quiet place for the observers."

    "I'm so sorry, sir. It's just-" She started.

    "Hey, hold on a second, man." Kirt called down to him. He quickly hurried down the stairs and called out the curator by name. "Are you really going to keep this child from his learning because he's being too loud?"

    "He's distracting the visitors."

    "With utmost respect, look around you, sir." Kirt pointed to the rest of the museum. Theo and Lynona began to climb to staircase to meet the scenario. "We are the only visitors here."

    The curator looked stunned, and then he sighed. "You can stay as long as you can keep that boy under control."

    "Thank you." Kirt replied. The five of them travelled back up the stairs and found the spot they had been standing before: in the balcony just beside the shredded rug from a time long before. "That was a close one."

    "Caesar, honey, you can't be so loud." Rhetora turned to her child, who looked up at her with a strange greed in his eyes and a tuft of fiery red hair. "This is an important meeting. I'll take you out to the shooting range afterwards if you stay quiet and act like a good boy, okay?"

    "Okay..." Caesar pouted. Theo knew the boy well enough to know that he threw tantrums on a regular basis, but only was so because that's what he was taught by the rest of the kids around him. The lad was impressionable to say the least. "The shooting range and the demolition show?"

    "I already told you." She replied sternly. "I never bought the tickets to that."

    "Alright, Rhetora, if you're done with all that, let's get down to business." Lynona shrugged in a loud whisper. The four adults sat upon a stone bench along the wall and behind a painting resembling a dignified man in a top hat. He wore all black, a style which hadn't been seen since before the Dark Days. Caesar slumped down on the wall next to it and immediately pulled out a sort of hand held gaming device. "I'm sure we'd all like to know what the hell Theo called us here for. Care to shed some light?"

    "Yeah, Theo." Rhetora agreed, pulling her eyes with heavy liner away from her son and to the conversation. "What's the big problem?"

    Theo sighed and eventually worked up the will which he had been saving since he'd first heard of the hunger games. It was though the first bit of his plan was beginning to fall together finally. "I need your help... with an ideal..."

    "An ideal?" Kirt asked from the other side of Lynona on his left.

    "I guess you could say I've become obsessed with the prospect of life returning to the way it was when he was around." Theo pointed to the portrait and read the name underneath: Abraham Lincoln. "I've called you three to this meeting because each of you have something I need to make this ideal a reality."

    "You rehearsed this, didn't you?" Kirt asked.

    "More than once." Theo laughed in response. "I need to know if you're on board."

    "I'm in." Rhetora replied immediately.

    "As am I." Kirt repeated.

    Lynona looked confused by their responses. "How can you guys sign onto something when you don't even know what the fuck it is?" Caesar looked up in bewilderment at the swear word, but she waved him off. "What are you talking about, Theo? I'd really like to know before I wrap a blindfold around my head and fumble through the dark."

    Theo stared at various tiles on the ground. "I'm going to put a stop to something... Something that has been continuing on for far too long."

    "Just spit it out." Lynona frowned.

    Theo made sure his voice was a whisper before replying. No one was around to hear but the curator, yet he wasn't taking any chances. He looked up to meet her gaze. "I'm going end the Games."

    They all looked taken aback. Even Caesar seemed astonished, hearing the conversation. Small noises could be heard from his video game regarding a game over. There was a period of silence for at least ten seconds while they all stared at him wide-eyed. It was interrupted when Rhetora began to laugh. When she saw Theo's serious expression, she stopped dead. "Theo... You're joking right?"

    "No." He told her. "The Hunger Games and President Snow have taken too much of a toll on this world. It has only a mere fraction left of what it was when I was born."

    "When we were born, it was constant chaos..." Kirt said. He sounded more confused than frightened. "People died left and right. How could you want that back?"

    "Tell me, Kirt, why you joined the panel of Gamemakers." Theo avoided the question with one of his own.

    "Well..." The question caught him off guard. "I joined because I thought perhaps I can provide for my family better here. Don't get me wrong, the Games are bull, but it's hard to support a family of five on nothing but selling stuff door to door."

    "And you, Lynona?" Theo turned to her, sending her the same kind eyes he held for Kirt. "Why did you join?"

    "God, I don't know..." She said with a whimper in her voice. She was obviously freaking out from the situation. "I thought it would be fun, maybe... I don't know!"

    "Rhetora..." He turned to his right side to see what she had to say. "Why did you quit the panel last year?"

    She smirked and looked down at her child to the right of her. "I was frankly tired of watching people die. I couldn't help but think, what if my little Caesar was in their place? Would I still set the dogs after him? Would I still let the twister loose?"

    "Mom, I would never be in the Games." Caesar lifted his eyebrow. "I don't live in the districts..."

    "Thank you for your input, you all." Theo stood up and hobbled over to the railing over the balcony, making sure the contraption on his leg didn't seize up. "You see, I've called you all here today because you three have something in common. You all hate the Games as much as I do. Even you, Lynona, who have tricked yourself into believing they were fun. You are the only ones I can trust."

    "Theo..." Lynona had tears visibly forming in her eyes from the stress. "...Maybe you're right, and they need to go. What would we do? How do we single-handedly shut down the organization the entire Capital is built upon? And maybe you're wrong... What if it doesn't work? The President would have us all executed... If not worse..."

    "It's the ultimate price..." Theo replied. "You're right, dear friend, except in one regard. Whether either of those scenarios come true, we win this war."

    "How can we win a war if we're pushing up daisies, Theo?"

    "Because the other Gamemakers will see what we've done... We could inspire something... It's time to think about something bigger than ourselves." He looked over at the three of them. Kirt seemed excited while Rhetora looked interested to say the least. Lynona still looked afraid. "It's time to take a stand..."

    "That's funny, coming from the cripple." Kirt laughed. Theo would normally have been offended, but knew the words coming from his friend were simply friendly. "What I said before doesn't change. I'm in."

    Rhetora nodded in agreement. "Whatever plan you have, Theo, I trust you."

    "Shit..." Lynona cursed under her breath, careful not to let the sound reach Caesars young ears. "How can I do this? You're asking me to risk everything... And I don't even know what I'm supposed to do..."

    "Risk everything to save everything?" Theo responded. "Wasn't that what you said before? If I can agree to it without context, why can't you?"

    After a few moments, she stood up, knowing that she had lost. She began to climb down the steps of the balcony to leave the conversation. "Lynona, wait!" Kirt called quietly, so the curator wouldn't hear. "Come back!"

    "Let her go." Theo said, putting his hand on the man's chest as he tried to catch up with her. "It's a lot to ask. Honestly, I didn't even expect you two to agree to it immediately."

    Kirt sighed as Lynona left the building and the glass doors shut tight behind her. "So what did we sign on for? What do you want us to do, captain?"

    "I can't explain just yet." Theo replied. Rhetora stood up too so the three of them were arranged in a circle. "Just know, I will eventually need both of you to accomplish this task. Just keep going on with your normal lives until I give you the signal."

    "What is this signal?" Rhetora asked, growing more interested by the second.

    "I will send each of you a letter when the time is right." Theo said. "I can't send it to you through the network, because they track it like bloodhounds. From now on, everything I do will be written on paper."

    "What will the message be? How will we know it's you?" Kirt questioned.

    "You will know it's me." Theo lifted his bad leg and began to walk around the room until it did not feel as though it were locked that way. "You will know by the way I curve my 'S.'"

    "That's not a lot to go on." He complained, leaning against the railing.

    "When you're tampering with something as complex and difficult to understand as the human psyche, you need to know when and where to stop." Theo shook his head. "It's not just the Games... We're dancing around the mind of President Snow..."

    "Mom!" Caesar complained. "I'm bored... Can we leave now?"

    "Not quite yet, honey." Rhetora told him firmly.

    "But I wanna go NOW!" He began to shake his head and tried to leave. Rhetora grabbed him hard by the arm and held him in place on the balcony.

    Just as the scene took place, Theo felt a buzz in his pocket. When he checked his device, he saw it read that he was being summoned. He read further down the message. It was sent by an unknown number, but Theo could assume the identity. "You are being summoned to the Capitol Building. Report at precisely 3:00 p.m. or corrective measures will be taken to assure your arrival."

    Theo immediately became very worried. There was no way Snow could have traced their meeting. He took such care in making sure they would not be found. The museum had no sound detection in their security cameras. The curator was partly deaf... No one would be here at this time... He came to the conclusion that if there was some reason to be summoned, it wasn't because of his plan... I couldn't be. He'd worked too long for his final act to finish before it was due.

    When he looked back up, his heartbeat fell back into place. The bald curator had made his way up to the balcony and was arguing with Rhetora about the rowdiness of her child. "You will have to leave." He told her. "This place is one of knowledge and serenity."

    "Please, sir? Just five more minutes." She pleaded. "I would really like to look at this painting a bit longer."

    Caesar couldn't sit still. "Let me go! Let me go!"

    "No. You'll have to leave now."

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