The Mayor stood at the front on a slightly raised platform at the front with the whole of New Prentisstown in front of him. The whole of New World was here. The Mayor had made me stay with him until the Peacemakers had finished setting up the Reaping for today, and I hadn't heard from Viola since last night.
Now, I was at the front with her beside me while we watched the Mayor give an introduction, and behind me I could hear the Noise from the men raising in fear as he announces he is about to pick the first name. Viola still looks weak from the band around her arm, but she is leaning against me for now. So she doesn't fall. I give her hand a small squeeze because what if it's one of us? What if we get separated? I wish I could tell her not to worry, that I'll always be here. But you can't say everything so you don't say nothing. And the thing is I can read her noise even though she hasn't got any. I know who she is. I know Viola Eade.
I can see the Mayor's face from slightly underneath, and he's grinning like the bastard he is. Two of us will be taken and he doesn't care one bit.
(but what if)
(if it's her)
"Silence." He says suddenly, and I can feel the buzz again, snaking it's way around my noise, muffling it, making my thoughts-
I prepare to hit him with all I've got but Viola can tell and she elbows me real hard and quick in the arm. "You idiot," she whispers, not unkindly though, "You want to be shot?" I begin to reply but she's right, aint she? As always.
The Mayor begins again now that the most of 'em are quiet. "The first tribute is..." He unfolds a piece of paper that'll send one of us to our death, and I can see his eyes go all wide, and I know it's not good. You see, although the Mayor isn't on 'our side' he still treats me like his son
But not like Davy.
And it's not me
And it's not Davy
The Mayor looks at me, then Viola, then back to me.
"Viola Eade." He says, and it's like a bullet straight to my brain. I can feel Todd move rather than see him as he lunges forward to the Mayor, though I catch him before he can do anything, after all, what good will it do? "Todd," I say, "Todd listen." He stops struggling and turns to face me, and in his noise I can see red anger and sadness and something building. But I have to stop him, because I know what he's going to do. "If you volenteer, I'll do it too with the next name." I say very calmly, and he stops because he knows I mean it.
"Viola." The Mayor says again, louder this time, so I walk to the stairs even as I feel a wave of sickness threaten to tip me over. The stairs seem way taller than they actually are, so I'm a little disorientated when I get to him. He doesn't look concerned at me, but he can tell what's going to do as well. "I'm sorry." He says, but I say nothing back. Because what is there to say? Out of the corner of my eye I can see Todd, still upset, still trying to make his way nearner. The Mayor doesn't even say anything, just walks over and reads out another name -no one I know-. My vision is too bright, and I don't know if it's due to the sickness or dread. It could be both, though I'm confident now. Todd shouts something and jumps up, not even taking the stairs, and it is announced that we are the two tributes for New Prentisstown, or 'District Two' as it is now called. Todd runs over to me and I grab his hand. In a week or so, we'll be in the arena together.
Todd's noise is full of protectiveness and anger and a little sadness at what's to come, so I give him a quick smile, which I hope looks encouraging. I don't even notice the Mayor anymore, not the huge crowd in front of me or the cameras broadcasting this to all the other districts and worlds. All I notice is Todd.
Because what they're forgetting
What they're all forgetting is that me and Todd, we ran halfway across this planet by ourselves. We beat they Mayor's craziest preacher. We outran an entire army and survived being shot and beaten and chased and we bloody well stayed alive this whole time without being blown up or tortured to death or dying in battle or anything.
I look once at Todd, then straight to the cameras.
Me and Todd? Together against the other tributes?
They don't stand a chance.
Thanks again for reading, trying to write in Patrick Ness' style is really difficult, so I hope I've done it well. c:
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Thanks, until next time!