The Hunger Games [Character Submission Open]



  • These are some interesting parts. I have two new characters, in my head, that I plan to submit very soon (tonight).

  • Sounds good. I had been limiting each user to one character, but it seems like we've just about got as many readers as we're going to. Submit away!

    These are some interesting parts. I have two new characters, in my head, that I plan to submit very soon (tonight).

  • So our characters will appear in how long period of time? Perhaps I would be able to edit a bit my character till then if you don't mind, as it was written quite hastily and on mobile.

  • Yeah, the rest of the tributes will come into the story when they go to the Capitol.

    Mathea posted: »

    So our characters will appear in how long period of time? Perhaps I would be able to edit a bit my character till then if you don't mind, as it was written quite hastily and on mobile.

  • Can you PM me the character details?


    Yeah, the rest of the tributes will come into the story when they go to the Capitol.

  • No problem

    Mathea posted: »

    Can you PM me the character details? Thanks

  • Hey guys, since readers will probably be trickling in pretty slowly from here on out if they trickle in at all, I'll let you guys fill out the rest of the character spots if you'd like to. Just as long as you guys are okay with your characters being set aside if we fill up the lists and a new reader comes along and wants to submit one.

  • Liquid, you’re alive! And damn, I think I’m still the only person that doesn’t dislike Penn as much. I mean, she has done some questionable shit... but... :anguished:

    Oh no, Penn and Luke are two different things entirely, be assured of that I'll also try to make it not as uncomfortable as the whole Luke

  • We have faith in you. ??

    Oh my god! Two for one special! Lol, yeah. The thing is, after a while, after this story passes where the old one ended, technically the old story will be an alternate version of this one. Feels kind of weird. I think it'll work out though.

  • edited February 2018

    I... am alive? Oh my god, I am alive! Jokes aside, I haven't realized I was considered dead, I've been around all along =)

    And questionable shit? I think we both know what she did went far beyond questionable and firmly into the evil territory. I still can't see a single reason to not hate absolutely everything about her.

    Since I realized this forum has a new and kinda cool spoiler feature, I also realized I can actually talk about the specific reasons that made me hate her so much without the fear of spoiling Agent and the other newcomers. Let's see how this works out :)

    I mean, can you honestly forgive her for what she did? Quick recap here, she murdered an innocent girl, then got her boyfriend and the girl's father killed and, if I am not mistaken, District 9 attacked when the Capitol people arrived to get her out of there, likely killing or seriously injuring even more people. Before that, she screwed over her boyfriend and her own father for absolutely disgusting reasons (namely her desperately wanting the opportunity to murder more children) and being so utterly unreflective over her own involvement in all of this that she ended up feeling bad for herself and not for the girl she murdered out of her own stupidity. So, she already has the blood of at least three good people on her hands before the games even start and given that she is borderline worthless at her best, each of them deserved to live over her. I mean, I suppose you have forgotten about that detail, but in the Book 2 preview, there was one paragraph in which she seriously ended up blaming Skeeter more than she ever blamed herself, because Skeeter dared to be reaped as the D1 tribute. After that, I must say that Penn is too far gone for any sort of redemption, no matter what happens, she'll remain the worst. There can be no redemption from murdering an innocent child, at least outside of the games. In the games, there can always be the excuse that they literally have no choice, but Penn had a choice, she had several choices and she willingly screwed herself up beyond saving. If at least her personality wouldn't be entirely about being stupid, selfish, spoiled and bloodthirsty, I could at least consider her interesting, but as it is, these four traits are all there is to here and as such, she deserves nothing but absolute hatred. The only good she can ever do in her remaining live is killing herself. I mean, hell, I ended up rooting for that bastard Boz in her parts, because a complete asshole he might have been, but at least he hasn't been Penn. It has gotten to the point where I am so annoyed by her mere presence that any part of hers in which she does not die, no matter what she does in it, makes me hate her more.

    Since I am genuinely surprised how anyone can not end up hating her after what she did (or, well, is about to do), I am legitimately curious what it is that makes you not dislike her all that much and I would really like to hear your reasons for this. Is there anything interesting or positive about her I just fail to see? Anything at all that can be said in her favour? Because after these utterly terrible stuff she did, I just cannot see any good in her and I am really interested in hearing other people's arguments for why she is not the worst ever.

    Also, just to be clear, since we've got so many new readers around, I suppose it would be better to put anything spoilery into a spoiler as I did here. To do that, you put these two symobls here >! at the very beginning of any paragraph that includes a spoiler.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    Liquid, you’re alive! And damn, I think I’m still the only person that doesn’t dislike Penn as much. I mean, she has done some questionable shit... but...

  • I appreciate the enthusiasm Liquid haha, but maybe we should limit the Penn rants a bit at least until she shows up in the story so the new readers know what you're talking about a bit.

    I... am alive? Oh my god, I am alive! Jokes aside, I haven't realized I was considered dead, I've been around all along And questionable

  • edited February 2018

    Haha, I know, I know. I just tend to get a little carried away when it comes to her, because I am still so incredibly annoyed by what she did/will do. That's why I put it below a spoiler though. It's just, it'll take a while until she gets from merely a bit annoying to the only character capable of making me hate her more than freaking President Snow. Maybe it won't even happen at all this time, because as much as I hate her, I'd actually be happy to be in the wrong about her this time, so I'll genuinely try to pick the choices that could prevent the events that caused my hatred in full force. So, I find it kinda hard to hold back on the Penn hatred until this actually happens :D

    I appreciate the enthusiasm Liquid haha, but maybe we should limit the Penn rants a bit at least until she shows up in the story so the new readers know what you're talking about a bit.

  • edited February 2018

    Penn lost her memories, remember? Whilst this might not be an excuse for her killing a an innocent girl and many others, this is a major factor as to why she acts the way she does. I mean, imagine forgetting 18 years of your life... all experiences that shaped you into the person you are, gone. You're basically being spoon-fed the past by other people. Penn lives in a society that conditions its children into admiring the games and its victors. A society that brings up children into practising skills with the intent to kill and harm others, therefore, it makes sense as to why she has such a desire to participate in the games like many other kids in her district as you're only validated based on how lethal you can be. The games gave her a sense of purpose when she had none. She doesn't remember anything about her family, whereas she remembers the games. Penn's literally a lost soul who needs guidance, although we both know it's too late for that. I also noticed that she's also the type of person who's scared to open up to people and doesn't know how to properly communicate her frustrations, so she comes off as a bitch. Don't get me wrong, Penn's a horrible person for not thinking about her actions carefully, but I don't fully blame her. I blame the society she was brought up in.

    I... am alive? Oh my god, I am alive! Jokes aside, I haven't realized I was considered dead, I've been around all along And questionable

  • I've filled out the thread with the rest of the tributes, but in italics. They are placeholder characters. If anyone would like to, they can submit a character over a placeholder.

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    67% of readers chose to [A. Fight back.]

    Marten Lewis knew he was a monster, and his father's son. At that moment he could no longer deny it. He grabbed the boy by the scruff of his neck and shoved him underneath the current in a swift motion. He held him there until he began to gasp for breath. "YOU'RE NOTHING! YOU'RE NOTHING! YOU'RE NOTHING!"

    The more the boy struggled and fought against Marten's bull's strength, the more he squeezed. It didn't take long until the river flowed with the boy's blood. Of the two near the shore, one fled back into town and the smaller one came out to try to free his friend. It didn't take much of Marten's rage to throw his arm off.

    "What are you doing?" he shouted through panicked cries. "You're drowning him! Get off! GET OFF!" Before he finished the last sentence, Marten let his hands go to find them soaking in muddy water and blood. Ronn didn't rise to breathe, and he knew without a doubt, that the boy lay dead in the stream.

    As his body began to gently float to the surface, the second boy, now sitting in the water, was equal parts hatred and fear. "He's dead… You killed him…" he stuttered. He got up to flee. "Oh Lord, you killed him!" He pointed his short stubby finger at Marten. "You're dead for this, Lewis! You hear me?"

    Long after the short man disappeared past the tree line, Marten still knelt in that stream, feeling his heart beat. The creek's waters were a muddy pink now, and only he was to blame. Yet, somehow, it was not this that upset him the most. It was something the boy said. "You're going into that arena…" The way he said that, so confidently… He didn't mean the Hunger Games, did he? How could he have known that I would be the one Reaped? He turned the words over and over in his head like a smooth stone, and after the blood had drained from Ronn's body, a bloodcurdling shriek sounded behind him. Willy was sprinting toward him.

    "Marten! What the hell happened?" She didn't bother to take off her sandles and simply rushed into the water to her brother. "You're covered in blood… what…?" Her eyes saw the carpenter's son's body floating in the creek and welled up with tears. "Tell me you didn't… Tell me it wasn't you!"

    "I killed him," Marten said. He'd never been one to shy away from the truth, but not in this. He knew he was a monster, but no one else could see it. They all thought him a gentle giant. Only a monster would do something like this… "I killed him with my bare hands."

    "Get up, man!" she said, pulling him from the water, but she only managed to knock him in the mud. Tears fell like rain down her cheeks. "We have to get you out of here, now!"

    "I ain't leaving."

    "The Peacekeepers will find you if you stay here!" Willy wrapped her tree trunk arms around him and pried at him. He wouldn't budge. "They'll kill you! Or worse! And it'll be my fault! I left you here!"

    "It's my fault," Marten stated plainly. He looked up into his sister's wet eyes in terror. He fought to overcome it though, because to Marten, nothing was worse than betraying your own word. "Leave me here. I deserve whatever comes for me."

    "C'mon! I'm not going to leave you here!" She fell backwards into the water. "I lost Dad, and then Grandad! I'm not going to lose you too!"

    Marten knelt in acceptance. There wasn't a thing he could do now that the damage was done. He wouldn't lie to the force and tell him he didn't know, or that he didn't mean to, because he did. Every single strike he threw against the carpenter's boy was deliberate. But he didn't deserve to die… I should have let him beat me. I could have taken it.

    "Marten… Get up…"

    "I love you, sis," he told her, and for the first time since he was a child, his eyes were wet with tears. "Tell Mom not to worry for me, and tell Jill… She can have my spear."

    "No." There was a loud rushing sound coming from the left and a giant white-plated truck with the eagle crest of the Capitol emblazoned on the side barreled through the forest road. It halted in the gravel and four of the men inside got out and rushed to the scene, rifles in hand. Beside them was the tall boy with the glasses who had run for help. Willy shook him one last time. "They're coming, Marten! Come on!"

    "Leave," he whimpered, as threatening as he could. She closed her eyes and hugged him tight, and planted a kiss on her hand and touched it to his forehead. Marten watched his sister flee through the tree line. Goodbye, he thought…

    "Trois and Fender, go after her!" the Peacekeeper in front—the only one without a black visor—shouted at two in the back. They followed his order and ran into the woods and the darkness. Marten knew they wouldn't catch her. She was too quick, too cat-like. The Peacekeeper stepped up in front of Marten, red sunlight bouncing off his white plate, and turned Ronn's body on its side. He then pressed two fingers to his eyelids and closed them. "You…" he scowled, his mouth quivering. "You…"

    The last Peacekeeper stood behind him and locked a pair of binders on Marten's wrists. If he wanted to, he could have snapped them, but he had decided even before the white truck arrived that he would go willingly. But they wouldn't hear his apology. Not here.

    "Look at me!" The Peacekeeper grabbed Marten's jaw and yanked his head up. He could only barely see through the wet strands of hair hanging on his brow. "It's nonames like you that make this District hell. I want you to take a long look at my face, because it's the last you'll ever see."

    The man had short gray hair, and wrinkles about his cheekbones. His facial structure was neither wide nor thin, but his massive jawline made up for it. His hazel eyes stared him down in contempt for a second before he raised his rifle above his head and brought its butt down onto Marten's forehead.

    In a way, Marten reminded himself of his grandfather. He was the kind of person who took his spear in one hand and life in the other. Marten had done that too—only the life he took was not his own. He accepted Ronn's words from half an hour ago, some of his last, and fell into their embrace. Marten was nothing.

    Consciousness slipped away as easily as Ronn's life had.

    End of Chapter 4

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 5: Forgotten

    Penn Cassidy

    It was dark. It was dark, and that was all Penn could remember. She knew her own name. She knew she was eighteen. Yet, no matter how long she racked her consciousness, she could not remember where she had come from, and her eyes were closed. She wasn't sure what kind of world she would open them to, or whether she would enjoy a life in it. Penn's overwhelming question was why?

    When Penn awoke, she found herself in a hospital ward, with a white ceiling above her and blinking lights in every direction. Above her loomed a tall man with thick brown hair and a surgical mask over his lower face. His eyes bored deep into hers and he seemed to know her.

    "Thank God…" the doctor whispered before he turned off the bright light shining in Penn's eyes and they fluttered open. He sat up, and so did she. She pressed her lower back against the velvety pillow and knocked a strand of dark blonde hair from her face. "We weren't entirely sure you'd wake up."

    The room was very small, no larger than an average bedroom, and as a result, it felt terrifically claustrophobic. Penn felt the need to bring her knees in close to her chest and hug them. The tightness of the room scared her. It was scarcely lit and scarcely occupied. There was the bed she laid on, a wooden table with a set of steel instruments, and a dusty mirror with an auburn frame on the side of the wall.

    "What happened?" she spoke, still struggling to comprehend the situation. "Where am I? Who are you?"

    The doctor took his hand to his mask and hung it about his neck. A name tag on his breast pocket displayed the name Dr. Terriet Prince and a picture of himself. With his rugged cheekbones and impressive jawline, the man was easily attractive, but far too old for her. That was one more reason she wished to grown up. Did she want to grow up? Now that she thought about it, she wasn't quite sure. Then why had the desire jumped to mind so easily?

    "All of your questions will be answered in due time, miss," Dr. Prince responded coldly, flipping through a check board he held in his hand. "I understand you must be scared, but I'm going to ask you to be calm… collected. So we can provide an accurate treatment, alright?"

    "Alright?" Penn felt a twinge of anger. "How can it be alright? I don't know who I am!"

    Dr. Prince ignored her. He clicked a pen on clipboard and hovered over the paper as he began to write down observations. "What is your name?"

    "Penn… Penn Cassidy," she replied, calming.

    "Do you remember anything about yourself? Age? Family members, perhaps?"

    "Eighteen." She dug back to remember any sign of her parents. There was simply nothing there when she went to grasp for it. But the harder she thought, the more she recollected. There's someone there, hiding behind the blackness… "I remember my father… Nothing about him. Only that he was my father."

    "Was?" He raised a brown-colored eyebrow, his pen scratching over paper. "Is he no longer with us?"

    She shook her head. She could not remember anything about her father, but her heart swelled in her chest when she thought of him. These questions made her angry, and the thought of his death made her worry. "I… I don't know."

    "I see..." He scribbled on his page, and Penn had the unsettling feeling that she wouldn't want to read what he had to say. He reached over to his right and flipped a switch. The bulb above her showered blinding white light onto the surrounding room. Penn felt as though she was being interrogated. "Is there… anyone else? A boyfriend? Maybe a family dog?"

    She cringed away when he said dog. She wasn't sure why, because thinking of dogs made her happy, yet she still involuntarily thought otherwise. "I don't know of anyone else. Listen, why are you asking me all these questions? Can you just go get my father?"

    "Not until we are sure he is your father, miss Cassidy. We must be careful about these things."

    "Why am I here?" she asked.

    "You are here because you were recovered at the bottom of a ravine." His lack of emotion was unsettling. "We've restored your bone capacity mostly, yet you seem to be lacking your memory."

    "No way!" she shouted sarcastically, tears springing to her eyes. Her constant annoyance only worsened her feeling of emptiness. "Tell me something about me—something I can go off of."

    "I can tell you that you have a boyfriend," he replied, setting the clipboard down on the table. "Himself and your father have been sitting outside the compound for the last few days, waiting to see you. I can tell you we haven't been able to let them in the door. At least until we can confirm they are, in fact, related to you."

    Something inside told Penn the man was right. She did remember something of her boyfriend. The only thing she remembered firmly was his kiss… It must have fought its way through the void that her mind was becoming. "Can you send them in to see me?" she asked. She was very eager to meet the two of them. It was like meeting them for the first time, but that was foolish.

    "I can't. I'm sorry."

    "And why the hell not?"

    "They found you at the bottom of a ravine on the outside of the fence. You were caught trying to escape District One, miss Cassidy." His face was still oddly blank. "This compound we've holed you in is not a hospital, but a prison. I suggest you get used to it."

    The words hit Penn like a car. She didn't even know what she was attempting to escape from, but hearing the words from the doctor gave her something new. It felt like a personal challenge, the way he'd said it. There was no way she could sit here willingly. "I don't remember trying to escape… What was I even trying to escape?"

    "You have amnesia," he replied, fairly. "And you were trying to escape the District, our home."

    "I'm not going to sit here and rot for something I don't even recall doing in the first place!" she yelled at him. She tried to leap from the bed, but was held down by a set of leather shackles on her ankles. The only thing the struggle managed to do was knock the clipboard from her bed.

    He breathed through his nose and rubbed his temple. "Look, girl, I just want to know if you recognize the names Jomal Cassidy or Dray Kerrigan."

    "Yes. I remember both those names," she replied. They didn't help make the picture clearer, but it helped to know they were correct.

    "Listen," he told her, clearly unhappy uttering the words. "You've been allowed one family member audience, but we could bend the rules to let in a boyfriend if that's what you'd like."

    "Why can't I see them both?" she cried. "It's my dad, and my boyfriend. How can I pick one over the other?"

    "It would help if you'd make this a bit easier on yourself." Prince shook his head, and the coldness was back. "And you're going to have to choose. You're lucky you even get that. Or you get no one. Your call."

    Should Penn ask for her boyfriend or her father?

  • edited February 2018

    Ugh, fucking Penn! Seeming so nice and innocent here, but she won't fool me ever again. I've seen how she truly is and it's disgusting. Listen to me, people, I might sound like a crazy doomsday prophet right here, but this woman is evil incarnate once she actually starts slipping back into her former behaviour and personality. I hope, I truly hope, that this time some of the worst things she is going to do can be prevented, but just knowing what she is capable of makes me kinda sick. Last time I read this part, I said "I already like Penn, she's an interesting character." and I still feel truly disgusted at myself for ever saying such nonsense. This time, I'm honestly sad they decided to heal her instead of giving her the same fate people who try to escape from their districts usually get. Or that she didn't break her stupid bitch neck when falling down that ravine. Nothing of value would have been lost. But yeah, I must say it is baffling how innocent she seems right here. Only later, when she shows her rotten, delusional mindset, will my hatred make sense. But you can be assured that I don't hate her arbitrarily, you should all know me well enough to know that there are reasons for me feeling so strongly against her. In fact, my reasons are very solid ones and they are so strong that I am borderline unwilling to even give her a chance in this rebooted version of the story. Borderline, aye, but not entirely, because as much as she doesn't deserve saving, the people around her kinda do and since she has the aggravating talent to always let other people suffer for her fuck-ups instead of paying for them, saving her might mean saving the actually decent people she'll interact with.

    With that all being said, I stand by my word, I'll try to see how picking different choices might lead to a different Penn this time around and how this might end up influencing my opinion on her, potentially even for the better. I don't know if she ends up better (or at least not gone beyond redemption) or if she, by a strange twist of fate, ends up more insufferable. I mean, I doubt I'll win every single vote, but I would be very happy to manage to cause the other option win in some key moments, to see how this'll affect things, Penn and the people around her. This one is not really such a key vote, but given how terrible Penn has been by the end of the first book in the original, I will, this time and in every future choice for her, check which choice I picked last time and then pick the opposite. With the choices made in the original, we truly created the worst Penn possible, a literal monster, but the fact that there were choices makes me believe she could have ended up different, maybe even with the possibility for redemption still open if we would have picked different choices in certain key moments. Last time, I chose to ask for Jomal, her father. Jomal, well, he's a character I have a couple thoughts about as well, but that is not relevant right now. So, as I just announced, the other choice will be mine this time, even if I don't think it will be among the most crucial Penn choices in Book 1. This time, I pick Dray, her boyfriend. We'll see what this course will lead to. I doubt always picking the opposite will result in a completely different Penn, I'm half certain I'll never stop hating her, but maybe there can at least be a ground for redemption this time.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 5: Forgotten Penn Cassidy It was dark. It was dark, and that was all Penn could remember. She

  • This is the dreaded and terrible Penn? She seems so nice. She surely can't be to terrible. I think it would make more sense to see her dad after being in a coma and losing her memory due to amnesia. If anything, he could give her more info about her life than her boyfriend. And anyways, I think it would be super rude to ask for her boyfriend over her own family (father).

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 5: Forgotten Penn Cassidy It was dark. It was dark, and that was all Penn could remember. She

  • I'm going to do my best to ignore Liquid's comments when it comes to Penn. :p
    I honestly like her so far, I really like her aggressive and sarcastic attitude to. I'm concerned about her situation.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 5: Forgotten Penn Cassidy It was dark. It was dark, and that was all Penn could remember. She

  • Liquid, I really hope I don't come across as too harsh, but would it be possible to tone down the rants a bit? I know you're trying to avoid spoiling anything but now people like myself who didn't read the original story now have this thought that Penn will do something terrible when we really shouldn't have such expectations. I don't mean any offense but I think new readers should be able to form their own opinions without being influenced.

    Ugh, fucking Penn! Seeming so nice and innocent here, but she won't fool me ever again. I've seen how she truly is and it's disgusting. List

  • Eh, long story short, I'll give it a try if only because I respect your opinion on this. Short story long, I just sent you a PM, because I think that should be better discussed in private, instead of me derailing the thread with one huge Penn rant after the other. So, check your inbox, I'll explain stuff a bit better there and well, you ask a lot and I bring up a potential solution that can leave both of us satisfied there :)

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Liquid, I really hope I don't come across as too harsh, but would it be possible to tone down the rants a bit? I know you're trying to avoid

  • edited February 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    63% of readers chose to [B. Ask for Jomal Cassidy.]

    How could he be giving her this terrible choice? She was upset, but clearly, he didn't care. "Just bring my dad in here then," she pouted. "I'm telling you I didn't do anything."

    Dr. Prince stood in the center of the room and turned away from his patient, the lone lightbulb forming a corona around his head. "Do you expect me to believe you? You don't even believe yourself. I know you better than that."

    Once he was gone behind a locked door, Penn found herself unable to comprehend what he meant. If the man knew Penn personally like he seemed to, why would he have asked her all those questions? One more question for the pile… At least her father might be able to provide some answers.

    After five minutes of staring blankly at the wall in ponderance, there was a knock on the door. Yet before she could answer, a smiling man wearing a brown leather jacket entered the room. He looked overjoyed and saddened in the same instant. She was sure she looked no different herself. The man's thick gray hair came down around his jaw into a scraggly beard. He looked rather poor, and she found herself hoping it wasn't true. "Penn…" he said, his eyes welling up. "I can't believe it. What they told me, this can't be true… right? They found you outside the gate?"

    "You have five minutes," said Dr. Prince through the open door. "Use them wisely.

    Penn didn't understand. She couldn't tear her eyes away from her father's if she wanted to. They were the only thing in the room that held any meaning. Slowly, memories began to rush back to her, but only from her younger years. She remembered leaping into his arms. His hair was black back then. "…Daddy?" she whimpered.

    He began to laugh through the tears, his fingers quaking. "Yeah, it's me honey. I can't believe it…"

    "I can't remember anything." She was tearing up too. "Where am I?'

    "District One, honey," he replied, taking her hand. "It's where we live: District One. Dray is really excited to see you. We all are, kiddo."

    One of her tears slipped, and then another, and soon she was crying. He wrapped her in a tight bear hug. It was easy to hug him back. It was ten seconds before he let go. "Have they treated you well in here?" he asked.

    "I only woke up a couple minutes ago…" she muttered. "And no. They treated me damn awful."

    He laughed through the tears. "You still have your mother's mouth on you."

    "Where is my mother?" she asked him. The fact that she was not here, nor outside the gate with her boyfriend was unsettling. "What happened to her? Is she…"

    "Dead?" He sat back into the chair in the dark of the room. "No. But she might as well be."

    "What happened?" He didn't respond. "Daddy? What happened to her?"

    "She's an avox." He bit his lip, struggling to say more. "They took her voice away from her. That darling voice… You would have loved to hear her sing."

    Penn didn't know what an avox was, but she shouldn't ask. "Where is she? Is she not in District One?"

    "She's with some snot-nosed freak with bushy eyelashes in the Capitol," he grunted angrily.

    "Are they gonna let me out?" Penn asked him, trying to divert the subject. "I hate this tiny room."

    "They'll let you out," he responded quietly. "They have to eventually. The Hunger Games is quickly approaching, and they'll need every hand."

    Even though she had no idea what they were, the thought of the Hunger Games brought her a rush of excitement. There was another flash in her mind, like déjà vu, but it was real. She pictured herself throwing a shiny steel knife at a building, and then… Her very first meal cooked over a fire… It was almost happy. She didn't know what the Hunger Games were, or if they were even a game, yet her urge to win them was strong. She knew, at the very least, she had wanted it before the amnesia.

    "What is the Hunger Games?" Penn asked him.

    "You really don't remember anything, do you?" He answered her question with his own. As he opened his mouth to speak again, the metal door slid open and Dr. Prince walked in. "I don't know the extent of your amnesia, but it's got to be quite a bit if it erased that part of you. It's a—"

    "You've had enough time in here, Mr. Cassidy," Prince said definitively. "You're done."

    Dad stood up slowly, and before turning around, pulled a small wooden case from his pocket. "I'm going to post bail for my daughter," he said.

    "We don't accept bail here. I suggest you leave, or I will be forced to have the Peacekeepers remove you."

    Dad opened the lid of the wooden box so the doctor could see. Penn tried and tried to find a way to peek in, but it was futile. "I'm going to post bail for my daughter," he repeated.

    Prince took one look at the box, and accepted it, quickly hiding it away in his briefcase. As he hurriedly stashed it away, he said, "Your bail is accepted. You may leave."

    Penn slowly hopped out of bed, finding it strangely difficult to move on her legs. It was as if this was her very first time standing up, yet how could it have been? She fell clumsily into her father's arms and Dr. Prince swiftly left the room. After giving her a moment to get acquainted with mobility, her legs carried her strangely smoothly, almost better than she would have expected.

    "It's time to go, Penn," her dad told her as they went to the door. He didn't bother to shut it behind them, as he sped through the cement hallway.

    "What was that?" she asked as she ran to catch up with him.

    "Your bail," he answered. "Quick. We need to hurry. We don't have long before we get another chance."

    "A chance for what?" Penn's head was spinning.

    "Another chance to escape." Dad turned the corner in the hall and spun around to whisper into his daughter's ear. "Another ticket to a better life."

    End of Chapter 5

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 6: The Twenty-Fifth

    Aura Cantarella

    Move! Get in formation!"

    Aura was rushed into the line by a man in white plate. The color was blinding next to the field of gray and black and brown worn by the crowd. There was not a cloud in the sky. The sun was shining for once, yet it felt like its rays missed this part of the earth entirely. Today was the Reaping.

    She had been dreading this day from the moment she was told her destiny. Until only a week ago, she believed she had one more year until she was forced into these Games. She had told her father she would volunteer, though, for the sake of her little brothers. Rowan Cantarella may have had more bark than bite, but that had not been an idle threat.

    She wiped a bit of dust off of her skirt. It was the fanciest piece of clothing she owned, yet that wasn't saying much. At least she had a steady supply of makeup to apply that morning. It was sick, how the Reaping was treated like a wedding, but it was necessary to dress for the occasion.

    "I'm sacred, Aura…" the slender girl to her right spoke, nudging her on the arm. She would not let her head turn, she already knew who she was. It was Cass Cannadine, her best friend of six years. They had met when the two of them were only twelve: young pups in a hunter's trap. Since their names were so close to each other in the alphabet, they stood beside each other year after year. And even now, five years later, Cass had simply never learned to keep her mouth shut. "I put my name in too many times… What if it's me? What will Garth say…?"

    "Shut up," Aura whispered, remaining focused on the stage in front of her, as it had been taught year after year. The Capitol and their minions in white had told the kids to line up in two street-wide columns, boys to the west and girls to the east. This year, the seventeen-year-olds were placed just in front of the eighteens, who took the rear. She had been one year from them… It had almost been her turn.

    Cass nudged her arm again with her pinky. "Come on, Aura. The guards never catch us chatting here. Why do you insist on pushing me away when I only need a friend to be here with me?"

    Aura reached down and took Cass's hand in her own, gripping it tight. Cass seemed to notice a fear in her, even though she was on the wrong side to notice the tear. She was scared, more so than she had been any other year. With that, she reached over and used both hands to comfort her friend.

    Aura began to turn those four threatening words over and over in her head. I volunteer as tribute… I volunteer as tribute… I volunteer as tribute… What if someone else beat her to the punch? Would her father send Corvin into the training then? What if she stumbled with her words, pronounced it wrong and they didn't accept her? So many questions were floating in her head, and the only thing she could do was squeeze them all into Cass's hand.

    "How many times did you put your name in the Reaping?" Cass asked, with relative calm.

    "…Thirty," Aura replied, her voice shaking. She had given up this year, just as every other, on staying quiet next to Cass.

    "Dear God," Cass replied. "How can you live taking risks like that?"

    "I’m going to volunteer," Aura replied. At hearing the words, all the girls in the general vicinity turned their gaze to her in shock. She saw the relief there, in some of their eyes. It only made her more fearful. District Seven seldom had a volunteer.

    "Aura, you can't…" Cass squeezed her hand harder. "Tell me you didn't…"

    "I did." It saddened Aura that she would never have a good time to tell Cass the reason why she was doing this. "You have to promise me something."


    "Promise me you'll look out for—"

    Aura's comment went unheard. The huge brass gates of the Justice Building opened suddenly, filling the yard with the creak. Spilling out of them was a large, jolly man with curly yellow mustachios, hair to match and a belly full of whiskey. He was Ludwig Orretter, the Capitol escort for District Seven. It was his job to bring the tributes to the Games.

    The man was vile, but he put on a good show for the audience. That's all that really mattered to them. "Hellow, my young woodpeckers!" he announced with childlike glee. He enjoyed referring to this District as woodpeckers because of their export. "Can I get a show of hands? Who's ready for today?"

    There was a handful of children in the front who raised their hands, but no one past thirteen. They all knew better. The twelve-year-olds hadn't spent enough time listening to this man speak. He appeared fun-loving and friendly to the naked eye, but Aura knew who he really was. After many visits to the Victor's Village, and his many back-handed comments about her family, she could only cringe at the sight of him. He had made these comments of Ava too, but after she left and never came back, at least the man had enough common decency to do the same.

    "As I have been told only moments ago, today's a very special day for you youngsters. Today, you get to be written into the very book of history!" Ludwig was more chipper than usual.

    "What does he mean?" Cass asked.

    "I'm sure some of you have noticed—" the man hiccupped, then continued. "Some of you have noticed the glass bowls are not present as in previous years. I'll ask you not to worry! They will be back soon."

    "I have no idea," Aura answered. "Maybe it's some kind of—"

    "Hey!" There was a loud shout from the back of the crowd and she turned to see a Peacekeeper with a blonde ponytail angrily rushing towards her, gun in hand. She broke through the ranks of children, grabbed Aura by the scruff of her neck and yanked her out into the center lane. Before she knew it, Aura was on her knees with a gun against the back of her head. Her golden hair she had worked so hard on this morning was in disarray.

    "No!" There was only one audible voice in the entire court. All the others fell silent. It was her father, her father… behind the fence… His drunken shouts were full of rage and fear. "You take your damn hands off her!"

    "If you can't shut your mouth, girl, then spill it!" the Peacekeeper's voice boomed through the yard. "Say those words all the others want to hear."

    "Madam!" Ludwig Orretter was distraught over the scene. "This is a formal occasion. I'm sure you have been made aware of the rules. No one talks unless a tribute or on stage. Now, if you would kindly return to your post, and stop talking."

    The Peacekeeper was visibly shaken as she released Aura's collar. She stalked off to join the other guards. They hadn't called the Reaping yet, but this was her only chance, her best chance. "I volunteer…" she said loudly, but not enough to wake the audience.

    "What was that?" Ludwig spoke into the microphone in the center of the stage. "Speak up if you wish to say something."

    Aura slowly stood amidst the dust. Her collar was slightly torn down the back and her blouse had become unrecognizable. The boys were on her left and the girls on her right. She spoke for them all. She cleared her lungs and bellowed, "I volunteer as tribute!"

    There was a moment of strict silence, and even Ludwig held his tongue. He hiccupped and cleared his throat. "While I do admire your enthusiasm, miss Cantarella, I'm afraid I have to decline your offer."

    The gates behind Ludwig flew closed and a projection appeared on them. It was a short man with long brown hair, a thick beard and friendly smile. It was the Head Gamemaker, Roman Walsh. This was all so unorthodox… Aura didn't even have time to scuffle back to her spot.

    The man on the projection spoke with such a forceful splitting tone, Aura's head could have burst. It was as if he was trying to hammer the words into the crowds' skulls with volume alone. They need not hear these words again. Twenty-four get shipped off to die every year, and the Capitol regarded it as a joke. Aura already knew the announcement by heart.

    "And without further ado, I announce the Twenty-Fifth Annual Hunger Games! It is truly a special occasion. For this year's Games marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of your salvation. And yesterday, President Coriolanus Snow decreed that, in celebration of this magnificent event that unites our nation, a special rule will be placed upon the Games, to quell the ambitions of those who might disagree with our methods.

    "This year, we will demonstrate that you are still free to choose for yourselves, and that all citizens, regardless of District, are still children of Panem. For this year, there will be no Reaping. You shall choose amongst yourselves which tributes shall represent you. YOU decide for your District. And so, this year, we speak to not only tributes, but to every child of Panem. Heed our words."

    "May the odds be ever in your favor."

    Devastation. The entire District was devastated. Even the younger ones near the front of the pack were visibly shocked. Aura was sure she looked no different. Yet, regardless of the crowd's shock, no one made a peep. None moved, let alone made conversation.

    In the midst of the confusion, Ludwig Orretter stepped back to the mic and spoke in a sort of threatening tone. "You may return to your formation, miss Cantarella."

    After the gates closed and the ceremony was over, the children filed out of the court in the usual, orderly fashion. They weren't chatty as in previous years, but instead, every boy and girl shared the silence. They were all turning it over: the pain and impending choice the District would have to make. No person would want to willingly send someone to die, and now they were forced to choose.

    Aura was alone, making her way back home, careful to avoid her father's path as she did. She didn't want to deal with whatever he had to say. Instead, she took a scenic forest route. She hadn't been here in a long time. It led to an old abandoned wood processing plant, she'd explored it long ago.

    Halfway along the trail, she felt a small poke on the shoulder and jumped around in alarm. She had been alone! But it was only Cass, with a face somewhere between humor and sadness. "Bloody hell, Cass! You can't startle me like that! How did you even find me?"

    "I followed you home. I'd meant to ask you before you so bravely volunteered if you'd like to come with me and Garth to the Haven. It's been so long since we all hung out there and after today, everyone just needs a break. Especially you."

    "You can't sneak up on people. You'll give someone a heart attack." Aura frowned.

    "If this is the girl we're ending into the arena, we're going to be in trouble. Don't get scared so easily. What if I had been an attacker? You just gave away your position and advantage." Cass shot a frown back. Aura was surprised at the amount of tact in what she'd said. If only she used that same logic in school, she might not be flunking. "Now do you want to come with us or not?"

    "I have to get home, Cass," Aura sighed. She had made dinner before they left so Corvin and Barker would have some way to eat once she was gone. Now that she realized she would be home in time to eat some of it, she realized how hungry she truly was. "Dinner's getting cold, and I have to put the boys to bed."

    "You eat like a king every day, Aura," she replied. "The rest of us are lucky to get one full meal before the sun goes down. Take a break and see how it'll be in the arena for once. Don't you want to give Garth one last goodbye if you're leaving? You know he'll miss you."

    "I'm not leaving. You were there. There was no Reaping." Even though Garth was Cass's boyfriend, Aura knew he had a secret crush on her from the start. Cass got past it though, and the three of them grew to become best friends.

    Cass sighed. "I know there's not a Reaping, but if you think the town won't take into account your little scene in the aisle, you'll be wrong. Chance are, you're still our volunteer." Cass extended her hand and turned into their dirt path beneath the pine into the Haven. Aura wasn't sure whether to take it or not.

    "One last goodbye?"

    Should Aura follow Cass?

  • edited February 2018

    The feelsssss. Knowing that the next chapter is probably the last time they’ll ever talk to each other is just heartbreaking man.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 6: The Twenty-Fifth Aura Cantarella Move! Get in formation!" Aura was rushed into the line

  • Well, only if the vote says it is, but that's the way it's looking.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    The feelsssss. Knowing that the next chapter is probably the last time they’ll ever talk to each other is just heartbreaking man.

  • I think some time with friends could do Aura some good. She's obviously quite stressed a lot, so it'd be nice for her to be happy, even if only for a short time.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 6: The Twenty-Fifth Aura Cantarella Move! Get in formation!" Aura was rushed into the line

  • edited February 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan does no one else want their name tagged here?

    67% of readers chose to [A. Follow Cass.]

    "One last goodbye." Aura held out her hand and Cass took it. The two began to walk down the old stony path to the Haven. They had spent most every day together since they were twelve. Why stop now?

    "I don't want to go to the Capitol…" Aura found herself confessing softly. "I realized that this morning. I want more than most things not to go to the Capitol."

    "I know. None of us do," Cass replied. "Yet the minute any of us let out a sigh or roll our eyes, 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's eyes found hers. "My father… He told me if I didn't, he would put Barker and Corvin through the same program he put me and Ava through."

    "Man… 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 said. "They deserve better than this filthy town."

    Aura and Cass passed tree after tree. To any other, they would all look the same, but they knew where they were going. They had scavenged these woods clean when they were younger. "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 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 pulled Aura to a halt. "No matter how much the Games drag you down… whatever they force you into doing… Promise me when you come back you'll still be the same."

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

    "Oh, you'll come back," Cass smiled. "You're different than the other tributes. You have more of a 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 6

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 7: What If It Were Me

    Aura Cantarella

    The Haven was only a small grotto in the deep of the woods, yet, it always felt like it was meant for them. Something about the way the sunlight reached through the trees and glimmered prettily off the tiny waterfall beside the spring made it feel like 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 Capitol hadn't touched yet.

    Aura gazed around as she set foot in the grass after all these years. The area they had nicknamed "The Haven" was rich in plant life. Every type of plant she'd ever known could be found within fifty 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. She slipped off her shoes and socks. The grass felt like carpeting 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 you liked to sing, and I got upset at you because you were way better than me?"

    "…No," Aura replied, finding another short boulder to sit upon. Most places in these woods were rough and dirty and gray, but their Haven had many good places to sit and think. "Sorry, but that doesn't ring any bells."

    "See? This place makes you forget," she joked, and shook her head. "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 Capitol and meet President Snow."

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

    "Yeah, my point exactly." Cass's mood dropped lower and she stuck her fingers in the spring water, making ripples. "I used to tell myself I would get there one day, and my mom and dad would agree with me because they're cute. And then you came along, and everything I knew about singing was shattered."

    Aura had never heard this story. "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 ever heard. I'm jealous your brothers get to hear you every night."

    Aura really didn't know how to respond. She could coddle her friend, but then she would seem arrogant. "Cass, I…"

    "You were so good… And then you told me about your father." Cass's face was impassive. "You said that he told you it was your destiny to die in the Hunger Games. And trust me, I thought some pretty nasty things that a thirteen-year-old should not be thinking, but I kept them to myself. I did that because, you seemed to agree with the man… He told you to kill yourself and you just said 'okay.'"

    "I was younger," Aura said. "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 to die in the arena. How unfair is that?"


    "Is that weird? Selfish?"

    "A bit," Aura said, truthfully, "but understandable. I would've thought the same."

    "But my point is, 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, and who was taking who to the dance. 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 living here rotten," Aura agreed.

    "The Games and Snow." It felt so freeing to loose their tongues at the president without keeping a watchful eye over the shoulder for passing Peacekeepers.

    "The Games and Snow," Aura repeated.

    "Your voice is just another tally on the long list of things the Capitol has ripped away from us." Cass dipped her toes into the water. It was morbid, but most likely, it was true.

    They sat in silence for what felt like an hour, unable to speak. In a week, Aura would be off to what would likely be her death. Dad liked to tell her that the Cantarellas had combat skill in their blood. 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 Uncle Crispin, but her father survived simply by being in the right place at the right time.

    Aura heard a loud splash, and then a squeal as Cass scrunched up into a ball. When Aura turned to see what was going on, her friend was soaking wet. Beside her in the water was another face, wet red bangs hanging over his eyes. Garth grinned huge.

    "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, babe!" he laughed, waving water in Cass's direction. "A little water's not gonna hurt you."

    Cass 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, doggy paddling away. Garth was a tall man, but very skinny, and his face matched. He wore nothing but his shorts, and Aura could see his flannel lying on the rock on the other side of the spring. She didn't even notice him sneak up, nor jump in.

    Aura laughed and spun around toward the pool, dipping her toes in the cool spring water. As Cass's head peeked back above the water, she wiped her ebony 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."

    "After today, we could use it," Garth replied. "That was really something—what you pulled at the Reaping. You don't… You don't really mean it, do you?"


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

    "I am," she told him. "I have to."

    "Wow…" he sighed, his voice sinking lower. "You don't have to now, though. You saw the Head Gamemaker. The District is going to choose. It doesn't have to be you."

    "The mayor isn't going to ignore a bold statement like that," Cass reminded him. "She actually might have a better chance now that she did that though. 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 fired back. The two of them chuckled back into their earlier light-hearted mood.

    "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," Garth said. "Come on, it's like your second home." Aura shrugged and he frowned.

    The longer she looked at the two of them, dripping in the pool, the more she wanted to jump in, until she stood up and pulled her skirt to her ankles. "Screw 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, dousing them all. When she rose again, Cass and Garth were standing under the waterfall, letting the water crash down over their heads. 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 again. I'll be doing that almost nonstop until I have to board that monorail," she sighed. "And then, God knows what fresh hell comes after. But today, I'm just going to swim… and relax."

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

    "How do you want to go?" Garth asked abruptly. The question came from nowhere, and the man had stepped out of 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'd never noticed 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 stepped out from under the waterfall. The question had caught her off guard. "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 me… like a final act of revenge."

    Cass looked worried. "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 were 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 that arena. This should be one of them."

    Ava had chosen for herself.

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

    Cass waded to the side and sat up on the rocks. "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 whose ideals she agreed with. The way she heard it, Cass thought it was better to die your way, even if that meant giving yourself up. Garth felt as though he would try to stick it out as long as he had the strength. They kept asking "what if it were me?" but they were speaking of her. She peered into the glimmering water of the falls and sat on the rocks beside Cass, and came to her conclusion. She knew there wasn't any other way to look at it.

    Should Aura side with Cass or Garth?

  • Garth's way seems more optimistic. I just hope they just take this as sharing his thought process and not as Aura favoring him over Cass. The reason I'm a little concerned is because of Garth's crush that was mentioned, plus Cass just admitted to being jealous of Aura.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 7: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a small grotto in the deep of the wo

  • True, Cass was jealous of Aura, but never over Garth. They kind of got over that whole thing.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Garth's way seems more optimistic. I just hope they just take this as sharing his thought process and not as Aura favoring him over Cass. Th

  • Well that's good to know.

    True, Cass was jealous of Aura, but never over Garth. They kind of got over that whole thing.

  • I would post the next couple parts today, but I'll give it one more day for people to catch up.

  • Ah, this is a part I was looking forward for. Definitely one of my favourites in the entirety of Book 1, simply for how peaceful and calm it feels when compared to what is guaranteed to follow in the games, or when compared to the darker feel Aura's parts in general have. Cass is also pretty high on my list of favourites. However, while the consequences are entirely unknown to me yet, I actually have to side with Garth, just as I did last time. I stand by this choice and believe that it will give Aura a better mindest for the games. She is needed for her family, her brothers, she cannot just give up and go out on her own terms, as peaceful as that might sound. No, I want and expect of her to fight to victory, or her very last breath. There is simply too much at stake for her.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 7: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a small grotto in the deep of the wo

  • Have to agree with Garth here. No matter what, you have to keep fighting.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 7: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a small grotto in the deep of the wo

  • Out of curiosity, did you make it to the part of the actual games when you last wrote this story?

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan Chapter 7: What If It Were Me Aura Cantarella The Haven was only a small grotto in the deep of the wo

  • edited February 2018

    I did not. When the original story ended, they were all at the Capitol. The first book is the Districts, the second book is the Capitol, the third book is the Games, and there's a fourth and fifth book too, but I won't tell you what those are :tongue:

    Out of curiosity, did you make it to the part of the actual games when you last wrote this story?

  • O interesting, I did t realize there was going to be so many books.

    I did not. When the original story ended, they were all at the Capitol. The first book is the Districts, the second book is the Capitol, the third book is the Games, and there's a fourth and fifth book too, but I won't tell you what those are

  • Yeah haha this is going to be a full on series.

    O interesting, I did t realize there was going to be so many books.

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    75% 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."

    She frowned and pulled her legs close to her chest. "I guess you have a bit of your father in you after all."

    Aura glared hard at her. That was uncalled for. Garth waved his hand through the water, and splashed water up onto their laps. Aura and Cass both shot him an angry look. "What?" he asked. "We're in the pool."

    "Regardless, I'd still prefer you remain in one piece," she said.

    "Seconded," Garth added.

    Aura chuckled. "Motion carried."

    They sat there in the pool until the sun finally started to wane behind the horizon. When it was so dark she couldn't even see the edges of the forest without squinting, 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 tomorrow."

    "Stay a little longer," Garth pleaded. He swam to the other side of the spring, to where Aura was drying off and getting dressed. He stepped into the waterfall and exclaimed, as gallons of water poured onto his head, "Pretend this is your last day on earth! Let's go crazy! Cass, where's the beer?"

    Aura slipped her skirt back over her hips, trying to ignore the mud stain on it. "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 walked around the spring to where her own clothes were bundled. When she bent down to pick them up, she came back with tears in her eyes. "Hey, Aura, you know we love you, right?"

    She 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 the entrance path they had cleared out years ago and leaned against a tree. She looked over her shoulder and absorbed one last look at the place she had called home for so long, took in the last breath. Tomorrow it will all be gone. She teared up as she spoke. "Goodbye…"

    The two of them could only watch her go. There was a huge chance this was the last time she would ever see the two of them, and they knew it too. In a month, Aura would either be dead or a murderer. There wasn't any winning in this.

    "Goodbye, Aura," Cass spoke softly, and then she burst into tears. Garth wrapped her in his big, wet arms. He found Aura at the entrance to the Haven and nodded slowly. She knew he meant it as much as Cass.

    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… She was 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 for a long time, and letting them out felt like flood gates bursting open.

    "Why?!" she shouted at the top of her lungs to no one. She knew someone might hear in town, in the market they called the Lumberyard, 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 hell does it have to be me?"

    Silence. What did I expect?

    As she let her head fall to eye level, she rubbed the buildup from her eyes and found something unusual on a tree next to a 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 by the moon 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, identical to the one on the sign. It had a yellow beak, horn-like feathers, and a regal appearance. She placed it in the breast pocket of her blouse and found 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 7

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan

    Chapter 8: The Tributes

    Penn Cassidy

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

    She knew very little what these Games were, but the more and more she learned, the more Penn wished she was part of them. She looked around at the Hall of Careers and knew that a few days ago, this had been her home. They had called her a Career.

    Penn stood beside her father, Jomal, in a crowd of screaming and 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. Had Penn 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 One. Hundreds of kids had been trained since birth to take up the position in the Hall of Careers, and this year, they would pick the very best of them.

    "This is something crazy, huh?!" a guy in front of her said, while wading through the masses carrying a platter of drinks. His eyes were yellowed and half-closed as he floated by.

    "C'mon, Penn. We have to get you to the front." Her father told her in a relatively quiet voice. He seemed sort of emotionless as he said it, like all the excitement in the room wasn't touching him. "You're going to be chosen."

    "Greetings, District One candidates!" shouted the large tatted man on the center stage. The crowd let out a cheer 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 Grimshott, and he won the Fifth Annual Hunger Games. Twenty years later, he led the aspiring Careers in this facility. "Welcom to the First Quarter Quell. Or as I like to call it, the chance to show Panem what the Careers are all about!"

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

    She brushed past one drunk Career after another. They had made tonight a huge party. She wondered, if her father wasn't here with her, if she wouldn't be drunk alongside the lot of them. She was wading through idiots, yet she knew not to tell them that to their faces. All were trained killers with shaky trigger fingers. Even though it was complete idiocy, Penn found the whole thing massively 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." Dad 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 was 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 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 wrapped his arms around her, pecking her on the cheek. His breath smelled like beer. "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, whooping.

    Penn looked back to Dad, expecting a disapproving look, but she only found a smile. Penn sighed. This was all so surreal. She had woken up committed to two people she hardly knew.

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

    "District One!" everyone chimed together.

    "What is our trade?!"

    "THE GAMES!"

    Dad looked disappointed and a tad angry. Penn laughed at him. "What's wrong, Daddy?" she asked.

    "Our trade is luxury," he said. "It's definitely not the Games…"

    "Shh!" Dray brought his finger to his lips slowly, finding them uneasily. 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 boom of the speakers, swirling 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! Two 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 out a name gruffly, causing the others to spill to the floor. He held it up in a fist.

    "Stygian Pluto!" he shouted, and everyone began to cheer. From the other side of the stage, a tall, muscular boy with close-cropped blond hair. He climbed confidently up to Plexus and shook his hand with a swagger. "Congratulations to our new male tribute!"

    The applause and the cheer mingled into one, excited drone. Stygian turned to the rest of them and held his arms high above his head. "District One for life!"

    There were quiet grumbles as soon as the room quieted down. "He's so big," Dray whispered in her ear. "No wonder people voted 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.

    But he laughed it off. "I guess you're right."

    Plexus found the other bowl on the stage. This is it, she thought. I'm going to be the female tribute. I have 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 could feel her heart stop, and Dray held her tighter. Dad patted her on the shoulder.

    When the girl made her way through the applause and onto the stage, everyone could see her piercing blue eyes. She was trying to look brave, but those eyes didn't lie. The girl was terrified. She practically reeked of fear. It was disgusting.

    "And our female tribute!" Plexus bellowed. "Shake hands to seal the pact!" the moment Stygian 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 cut through the crowd.

    "Hey, honey…" her father reached out for her.

    "Penn, it's not the end of the world," Dray called back, as their voices drowned out in the sea of tributes.

    The music swelled louder and the cheering enveloped the room; everything smelled rank like alcohol. 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 a secret Career facility. Anyone who enjoyed ping pong would see the entrance on a daily basis.

    She slammed the doors and walked out into the night cold, leaving the vibrating building behind her. Her father's voice echoed. "Penn, 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 do!"

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

    Penn bit her lip in frustration. The nerve of him… "Go away," she whispered. "I just lost all my memory! Poof! Goodbye! The Games were going to be the one thing that could bring them back!" She collapsed onto the ground, angry with the world, but as she did, she came to a realization.

    Dray wrapped his arms across her shoulders there on the ground, and attempted to help her up. It was futile. "Why don't we find you someplace warmer to spend the night than Town Square?"

    "Is everything all right here, citizens?" asked a man in white plate, a Peacekeeper holding his helmet in his hand. "There were reports of some teenagers disturbing the peace."

    "I think we're fine, sir," Daddy told him calmly. He jerked his head towards her. "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?"

    Dad 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 only two people who actually meant anything to her. When they arrived at her home, she knew it by the number: 881. The paint was green and 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.

    "What was I doing the other day?" she asked. "Why did they find me outside the fence?"

    The seat across from Dray 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 Capitol," 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?" 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 in. 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," Dad told him. "It may be your home, but it has never been 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 are not their trade?"

    "The only one I can think of would be District Nine. Why do you ask?" 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 me out of here and to the Capitol so badly, we're going to have to have a pit stop in Nine first."

    "This is because of the Games, isn't it?" he cried. "The other Districts have nothing for us, Penn. The Capitol is where we 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? Who's to say I'll ever get this chance again? I'm eighteen. Next year, I'm not eligible anymore."

    "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," Dad said in a punctual tone. It didn't matter. Penn was going to win this.

    "Oh, I know," she 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 why you're fretting over this." She 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 Capitol. Now are you coming with me?"

    Dad's eyes were fire, and his beard itched. "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 was hard for them to admit she was right, but she was. How else would she finally be able to find purpose than these Games? "Fine," he barked. "We'll go to District Nine. I want you to know how much this hurts me."

    Penn was angry now. "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 against hope that she would find 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, it would seem, but she needed this. She told herself again that she needed this.

    "Hey Penn, if you're going to District Nine, 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, babe. 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 Nine. 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…

    Should Penn take Dray with her?

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