Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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29. Monsters

    “Mrs. Aldair, it has been THREE months,” her therapist started in a frustrated tone. “And you made no progress whatsoever.”

    Emily pursed her lips in a thin line, her eyes showing how little she cared, and her toes pointed then flexed with her feet propped on the coffee table. “I don’t know if you figured this out . . . but I’m not a very sharing person when it comes to my life,” she sighed.

    “You have said NOTHING important since we started. You have said NOTHING about why you have attacked some of your trainers,” she growled.

    “I’m doing better . . .” Emily blinked at the woman.

    “That doesn’t excuse you.”

    “Ma’am . . . besides me not wanting to do this, maybe I don’t want to do this because I haven’t been home since the Games ended. And I only set foot in Eight for ONE MINUTE,” she growled at the woman, putting in emphasis in her last words. “You know I don’t like being here. YOU’RE obviously sick of seeing me every day for the past three months. Can we just call it quits for like . . . two years? Since that’s pretty much the number of sessions we’ve gone through on average.”

    “You know I can’t do that,” she said.

    Dammit.

    “Although you’ve shown signs of calming down lately, President Snow would still want you to see me to fix what is bothering you.”

    Going home would solve the whole thing.

    “Do I have to come in every week after I come home or are you going to come to me?” she asked.

    “You come to me.” Dammit. “And we’ll make it a one week a month plan.” Okay, that was better. Not the most perfect idea, but it was better than having to see her every week. God, she was going to dread coming back to the Capitol . . .

    “Alright . . .”

    “You have twenty minutes left with me and won’t see me for another month. Have anything to add?” she asked.

    Emily took in a deep breath and looked to her cloth around her wrist. She had one thought in her head, and it wouldn’t share too much of her own life. Just the one thing the Capitol was overly familiar with. “I’ve had this . . . reoccurring thought . . .” the redhead began. The therapist leaned forward, showing her excitement for Emily actually talking about something, and hoping it wasn’t her hate for having to stay in the Capitol. “I can’t get over the . . . thought . . . that Liam hated me the moment he died . . .” she started, trying to keep herself calm and even. She watched her Games over and over again, and no matter how many times she listened to him loving her and being grateful he got to be with her in the end, she couldn’t help but feel like he said it for the cameras. Were all his actions for the cameras?

    Everyone’s true selves come out when they’re in the arena. In her mind, she couldn’t believe for a moment that Liam stayed protective, loving, and strong for her. It had to be an act . . . wasn’t it . . .?

    “Why do you think that?” she asked.

    Emily dropped her eyes to her hands in her lap, picking at dirt under her nails and keeping herself from scratching herself. “Well . . . I don’t know . . . I just . . . feel like . . . he was putting on a show at the end . . . I mean, who honestly would be okay dying right then and there . . ?” Emily awkwardly began.

    The woman stared at Emily with her fingers intertwined together and pursed her lips in a thin line. “So . . . you think he faked the emotional line in the end?”

    Emily shrugged.

    She adjusted in her seat. “Do you . . . feel more comfortable thinking he hated you in the end?”

    The redhead pulled her feet off the coffee table and took the pillow beside her to hug tightly to her chest. “No . . .” she mumbled.

    “What about him still loving you? Does that hurt . . .?”

    Her heart panged in her chest. It stung, but not as terribly as before when the wound was fresh. Emily took in a deep breath then exhaled a shaky breathe, “Yes . . .”

    “From your reaction . . . it sounds like it hurts more to accept that he loved you. So, you try to convince yourself that he disliked you moments before he died. You feel guilty and you’re trying to avoid it by lying to yourself.”

    Well, of course. Any sane person would feel guilty over killing someone they knew loved them and trusted then unconditionally.

    Emily’s green eyes were blank as her therapist kept babbling on and on. That he loved her, even though he stabbed a hole through his chest. Her legs curled closer and closer to her body until she was a ball, hoping her body shrunk the more she rounded her body. She should have just kept quiet . . .

*****

    She left the Capitol right after her physical therapy. She showed no signs of anger or aggressive behavior, though her body felt numb and appeared weak to the trainers. Like, she was only half there. Although, as long as she wasn’t violent, it didn’t matter to them. Her not trying to slit someone’s neck open or stab them was an improvement.

    Emily would have to return next month for therapy again. If only she could only be there for a day and get it over with. But it wasn’t what she agreed with. Talking about her feelings was a pain and going through the training must be what the Careers had to go through most of their life. Nothing but: running, working with weapons, and to improve her hand-to-hand combat skills. Her body was always sore and they constantly pushed her.

    She wondered how strong she would become if she had to continue going there for the rest of her life . . .

    Her arms hugged around her legs, her body curled into a ball while she stared out the window from the window sill of her new home in Victor Village. She tried and she tried and she tried to think of something else, but her mind always went back to running into Conner or Scottie. She had hardly left the house since she got there and she was too afraid to set foot and run into anyone. And every time they came to mind her heart ached.

    Was she still a sister to them?

    Even though the loss of their brother was an accident, was she still family to them? Would they forgive her . . .?

    The house was too quiet . . .

    She had gotten so used to the Aldairs talking over each other and life within their home. The silence in her own house was frightening . . . uncomfortable . . . and lifeless . . .

    Emily hadn’t felt a roof over her head like that since—

    Ding Dong!

    The Eight victor didn’t respond at first, only the sound of the doorbell echoed throughout the house. Emily turned her head to where the door was just around the corner, waiting for any sign of the visitor’s presence. Damn blind spot keeping her from seeing who came to invade her uncomfortably unwelcoming house.

    Ding Dong!

    Okay, they weren’t going to go away . . . people don’t just ring the bell again unless they truly needed to see them . . .

    Once her feet touched the ground, the visitor aggressively knocked on the door that sounded almost urgent . . . or violent . . . Emily’s gut told her not to open the door, but the person wasn’t going to go away if she simply ignored it.

    Knock knock knock knock knock!

    “I’m coming!” she called out in an annoyed tone and walked around the corner toward the front door. Emily sighed, grabbed the knob, opened the door, and there stood her worst nightmare and her living terror. Standing taller than her small frame; a balding blonde man, large green eyes, and an untidy scruff covering his face. Emily’s body immediately went cold and fear reflected in her green eyes. She felt nauseous, she felt light headed, and fear made her body tremble. But, she forced her body to fight the fear and slammed the door shut, but the man shoved back to keep the door open and forced the door open that nearly pushed her to the ground. “GO AWAY!” Emily screeched at him.

    “That’s no way to talk to your father—”

    “You are NOT my dad!” she snarled at him as she backed away into the kitchen. No father would do what he did! No human being would do such a thing TO A CHILD! “I never HAD a father!” Emily continued and went to her knife block. “I just had the misfortune to be related to you . . .” Emily growled.

    “And I can never forgive myself . . .” Mr. Horwitz said. Emily merely stared at him, her eyes burning with fear and hate. “I’ve come here to make amends—”

    “To WHAT!?” she tried with her eyes wide and laughed like a lunatic, a knife held in a death grip in her hands as she laugh manically. “You did what you did . . . and you expect me to forgive you?” she chuckled. “You THINK . . . you can rape your only child and expect her to completely forget it ever happened? And—”

    “Come on, Emily. I was stressed from work and—”

    “I’M NOT DONE TALKING, YOU FAT FUCK!” she screamed and threw her knife at his head, which he barely managed to dodge. At that point, her whole body was boiling with rage she didn’t even notice the tears streaming from her eyes. “You . . . haven’t seen me in YEARS. And all of a sudden you give two shits about me AFTER I NEARLY DIED IN A FUCKED UP TELEVISED BATTLE TO THE DEATH!?” she continued screaming as she took another knife from her block and threw it at him. “You just want the money and all the food you can get—but guess WHAT, pops? I’m not sharing! Not because I’m greedy, but because you don’t deserve it! You can starve and rot in your shitty apartment for all I care,” Emily snarled as she took long strides toward the man with knives in her hands. He backed away from her; seeing the bloodlust in her eyes. “I’m going to ask you REALLY nicely,” she continued, “Get. The. FUCK. Off my property!” she cursed and quickened her pace toward him, forcing him to stumble out of the house and trip backwards from a step he missed and crashed into the ground.

    “But—”

    Emily threw a knife at him. “GO!” Emily screamed and turned away back to her house. She slammed the door shut, locked the door, and closed the curtains of every window of her first floor. Once she hid the outside world from her view, she backed away from the window; her body trembled violently, her fingers tingled around one knife left in her hand, and she finally took notice of the tears trickling down to her chin. Emily let out a loud sob, covered her mouth with her free hand, and sunk to the ground crying out of fear and relief.

    He was gone . . . she finally stood up to him . . . but she was still SO afraid of him . . .

    She hated what he had caused her . . . she hated how much she still feared him . . .

    Emily would never rest easy with the nightmares of the Games haunting her and knowing that there were still monsters lurking around nearby . . .

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