Silence [Hunger Games Fanfiction]

Traumatized by her brother’s death, Raven Verona desperately wants to escape her past. But when she is chosen for the 31st Hunger Games, that becomes impossible.


An unwanted admirer.


A true soul mate.


23 enemies.


Let the Games begin


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1. One

I couldn’t sleep. The howling wind reminded me of a Capitol mutation from a previous Hunger Games, and though it was a bitterly cold night, I was hot and sweaty. I slipped out of bed to open a window, and I let the rush of air bite my face and the wind claw at my hair.

 It wasn’t my first reaping, but this year was guaranteed to be the worst yet. The previous year, my brother, Jonah, was sent to the arena like a lamb to the slaughter. He didn’t make it out of the bloodbath at the Cornocopia. He was just thirteen, having celebrated his birthday several weeks before the reaping. The odds were certainly not in his favour. They never are for tributes of District 10.

 I realised as I snapped out of the memory of my brother’s death, that I had dug my fingernails deep into the palm of my hand and blood was staining my fingertips. I rushed to the bathroom and drenched my hands in water, washing away the blood and memories. With a sigh, I decided to face the fact that sleep had evaded me and would not return. Judging by the inky blue blanket of sky, it was nearing morning anyway, and so I ran myself a bath.

 It still wasn’t completely light outside as I dressed. My reaping clothes were a little ill-fitted, with me being so small, but I hoped I looked presentable. After all, if you are chosen to participate in the Games, you are being scrutinized from the moment your name is read out. I wore a navy blue dress that was once my mother’s. She has no need for it anymore, as she barely moves from her armchair. I had flat shoes made of velvet, a gift from the mayor, in the same colour, and they had beautiful peacock’s feathers on them to cover my toes. They hurt my cracked and blistered feet, but I didn’t care. I had borrowed some of my mother’s rouge and a few drops of her perfume. It was her favourite once, but she hasn’t worn perfume in over a year. Not since Jonah died. Normally, on reaping day, she does my hair, but of course, this was out of the question, and so my hair sat neatly on my shoulders like a dull curtain, straight and predictable as always. At least my green eyes made me look powerful, their green orbs staring back at me in the mirror. They used to sparkle once, my eyes. Back when I had my brother, and we fought life together, hand in hand. Back when my mother seemed wise and was the glue that held our family together. Before she slipped through my fingers and took refuge in a place inside herself that only she knew. Back when my father’s laugh vibrated through the house and he whistled on his way to work. But as I looked in the mirror that morning, I saw a new person. My eyes burned with hatred for the Capitol, and how they turned my life upside down. They dared someone to challenge me. Bring it on, I thought.

 I crept downstairs quietly. I knew where my parents would be before I even saw them. They would be in the front room beside the fire, my mother lifeless in her armchair, and my father smoking a cigarette. My father made more money than most families, as he worked as an assistant to the Mayor, and was able to afford the luxury of a cigarette on reaping day each year. For the occasion, he also bought a loaf of the bakery’s finest bread and a small ration of butter and jam. He never ate it himself, and since my brother’s death in the arena, my mother ate next to nothing. So that year, for the first time, it was all for me. Sure, it was a treat, but it didn’t feel that way. I sat alone at the table to eat my bread, imagining Jonah sat opposite me, chattering and eating with his mouth open. Something that had always annoyed me about him, but that I missed then. I took a few moments to observe my parents. My mother was once a beautiful woman, but she seemed to have aged centuries over the past year. Her brown curls which I had once envied hung limp like rats tails, and her face was creased in the concentration of holding herself together. How must it feel I wondered to be alive, but not living? To me, my mother was dead, as I watched her stare ahead with empty eyes, deprived of the little happiness she once had.

 And still my father gazed at her. I think he may have been wondering what had become of his life. He used to tell me that the Gods were keeping us safe, that somewhere along the line, we had done something good to deserve our pleasant lives in the days of darkness. This belief died along with my brother and my mother’s soul.

 I suddenly couldn’t stand the silence anymore. I slammed my fist onto the table in anger.

 “Somebody speak! You’re both driving me insane! I miss him as much as you do, but you wouldn’t know that, because you haven’t spoken to me in over a year!” I screamed. Still neither of them muttered a word. I thrust a piece of bread under my mother’s nose, hoping for a reaction.

 “Don’t you remember? It’s reaping day! If I went into the Games today, would you give a damn?” The silence continued. I threw the bread on the floor and stormed out the house without saying goodbye.

 I didn’t know where to run, but my feet seemed to. I ran along the fence that keeps the District 10 citizens trapped and under control. Over the sound of my heart, I could hear the sounds of the animals reared for meat by most other families in the District. I was glad of the noise, after the mournful silence of the house. I realised where I was going just before I arrived. To the weak point in the fence…

 

 I was thirteen years old. I stood at the edge of the other teenagers that huddled together by the fence. Right in the centre of the group stood the most popular boy in the year, Eddie Grey. He was a tall, muscular boy with handsome features and a sharp tongue. We didn’t get along well, probably because we were too alike, so I had been surprised when he invited me to meet him and his friends by the fence that night. He grinned around the sea of faces.

 “So. I thought it would be fun if we crawled under the fence. See what is on the other side,” he said with a gleam in his eye. The others chatted excitedly amongst themselves. I said nothing. Then Eddie caught my eye.

 “Trouble is…I don’t know whether it is safe. We need someone to test it out.” He winked at me, and I realised the reason he has asked me along. I gave him my best scowl.

 “It was your idea. Why don’t you test it?” I growled. He smiled in an irritating way, and ran a hand through his perfect hair.

 “You wouldn’t want me getting stuck there, would you, Raven?” He walked over to me and gave me a shove in the right direction. I stumbled a few feet, and then planted my feet firmly on the ground, refusing to move. The others sniggered.

 “Scared?” Eddie breathed in my ear. I smiled slightly. I wasn’t going to let the little creep win. I could do this.

 “You wish, Grey. You wish. Get out of my way.”

 The sea of kids parted and I crouched to examine what I was dealing with. The barbed wire was torn apart at the weak point. I suspected an animal did it and the Peacekeepers never bothered to fix it. I knew the fence wasn’t live, as there was no buzz of electricity filling the air. The hole wasn’t very big, but I figured someone as small as me could slip through it if they were careful. Cautiously, I knelt and crawled forwards, before carefully sliding my head under the fence. A gasp of approval came from the crowd when they realised I was actually going under. But the thrill of my small victory didn’t last.

 “Peacekeepers!” a girl cried. Before I could take in what she had said, everyone was scattering. Panic ate at my brain, and I struggled to reverse out of the hole in the fence, but my hair snagged some wire.  I was trapped. I felt strong hands grip my shoulders and yank me backwards. I yelped as the hair caught on the fence was ripped from my scalp. I looked up to see a menacing smile of a Peacekeeper greeting me.

 I was taken to the Mayor so that he could decide what to do with me, and I kicked and screamed as the Peacekeepers dragged me to his office. Mayor Golding was known for being a fair man, but I certainly didn’t want to be punished.

 I entered his office and stood before his desk. My father was there, working, and was, as you can imagine, not happy. Mayor Golding’s son, Logan, was also there, and he smirked at me. I despised him. When we were young, we were good friends, but I hated the changes in him. His social status created a wedge in the friendship we once had, and I had grown to loathe his patronizing ways and superior attitude. I made sure he knew it, too, glaring steadily at him until he looked away in unease.

 The Peacekeepers released me and I made a show of rubbing my arms. They were sore from the Peacekeeper’s tight grip. I scowled at the Goldings, and I expected this to anger the Mayor, but he just chuckled.

  “She is very like you, Rowan,” he commented “Full of spirit.” Logan snorted and my father’s lips tightened.

 “That’s one way to describe her,” he spat, glaring at me.

 “Look, Raven,” Mayor Golding said “We know there were others with you, and that they challenged you to go under the fence. If you give us the names of the others, we will withdraw your punishment. If not…a public whipping is in store.”

 I closed my eyes “How many lashes?” I asked, hoping that my voice didn’t tremble.

 “I think five is satisfactory. I’m assuming, then, that you are taking the punishment?”

 I thought for a moment. Wouldn’t it be better to see Eddie and his cronies have the skin whipped from their backs? It was their fault. But eventually, I nodded. I was going to be the better person…

 

 Making sure the fence wasn’t live, I gingerly touched the broken wiring. It was sharp to the touch, and I remembered the pain as my hair was tangled to it. What was odd, though, was the events of the whipping day…

 

 The next morning, I sat alone in the Justice Building, waiting for my whipping. I had promised myself I wouldn’t scream, but I was fighting hard to stop my tears, and it hadn’t even started yet. There were a few sharp raps on the door and someone entered. I expected it to be a Peacekeeper, but it was Logan. I wasn’t sure which was worse. He wore his usual smirk on his face and I wished that I could slap it off. Other than that, though, I have to admit he was a good looking young man. His blonde hair was combed neatly, and his eyes were the colour of the sky. He was dressed in a smart black suit for the occasion, but his collar was open and his tie slung over his broad shoulder. I stood up and bowed mockingly to him.

 “What do I owe this pleasure, Logan?”

 “Actually,” he said, raising an eyebrow “I was coming to see if you were alright.”

 I glared steadily at him “I’m fantastic! I’m just sat here, waiting for a lovely Peacekeeper to collect me, and then he is going to shred my back to pieces with a whip!” I snarled, my voice dripping with sarcasm. Logan shrugged.

 “Sucks to be you. Of course, you could have told my father about Eddie and his friends…”

 My head snapped up “What?”

 “You heard me.”

 I shook my head “You don’t understand.”

 “No, of course not. The stupid little rich boy doesn’t understand that snitching is the worst thing you can possibly do.”

 I said nothing. Logan sighed, and his face softened.

  “So. Tell me. What is your favourite sweet?”

 “What?”

 “You heard me. Just answer and then I’ll leave.”

 I didn’t have much to think about. The only time I had ever had sweets was when my father bought me a bag of sour citrus sweets for my tenth birthday. They were, however, without a doubt the best thing I had ever eaten.

 “Sherbet lemons,” I said without hesitation. Then Logan, turned and left with a smile on his face. I didn’t have time to question his odd behaviour, as several moments later, the Peacekeepers arrived and took me out into the square. I was made to kneel on a platform, and my hands were tied to a wooden pole. A small crowd of people had gathered to witness my whipping, and I scanned them for a familiar face. Right near the front stood Eddie, looking so guilty it was funny. I threw him a quick wink, because in a way, he was suffering more than I was. He managed to dredge up a smile, before his eyes returned to the ground. Near to him, Logan stood also. He caught my eye as the Head Peacekeeper began to announce my crime and my punishment. Logan looked younger somehow, possibly because for once, his face carried no trace of a smirk. He mouthed something to me, and I watched closely to see what he was saying. His words were “Cheer up, sherbet lemons.” He tapped his chin and I raised my head high like he told me to. And then the whip smashed into my back and I couldn’t contain my cries.

 After the third stroke on my back, I passed out. When I awoke, it was over, yet I felt as though I was on fire. My back was screaming in pain, and my mother was frantically dabbing damp cloths on it to quench the inferno.

 “You foolish girl,” she muttered, “The Mayor’s son dropped by several minutes ago. You just missed him. He left you a gift.”

 Mother thrust something into my hand. It was a small pink and white striped paper bag, and I knew what was in it straight away.

 Sherbet Lemons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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