The Mercy Games

My name is Ever Mellark and I'm a District 12 Tribute for The Mercy Games, along with Chance Hawthorne. I refuse to let Snow's granddaughter win. Things have changed and are corrupt once more. All of the eyes in tainted Panem are on what the star-crossed lovers' daughter will do in the face of a new Games created by Kerra Snow. I have one promise I will keep: Save Chance or die trying.


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6. Sorry

Scara marches us to the compartment where my parents and Uncle Haymitch are waiting for us. I keep looking at Chance as we walk behind her. We’re both trying not to laugh at this woman who is almost distraught over nearly seeing us kiss.

Chance keeps blowing kisses at me whilst I catch them, acting overwhelmed that I am the receiver.

She shoots us an indignant look then stops in the centre of a corridor and turns to us.

“You, young man, are eighteen! An adult! I am not prepared to spend the next few days watching you two poke fun at me!”

“What do you mean, Scara?” I ask innocently, batting my eyelashes at her.

She huffs and stomps away like a toddler in a heated tantrum. We follow her, grinning at our success. I can almost guarantee she will be reeling off to my family about how rude, inconsiderate and wild we are.

Finally we arrive and it’s exactly as I expect.

“They are unruly and uncouth! They are left alone in bedrooms alone! How can I escort such a pair of tributes!” she cries.

“But what did they do exactly, Scara?” Mom is sat, frowning at Scara like she has grown another head, not that I’d put it past any Capitol resident because they would mostly get another head surgically attached.

She takes a deep breath then whispers something I can’t even hear from standing by her side.

“What?” Uncle Haymitch is already bored of her. “Louder, woman!”

Scara says it slightly louder but, again, nobody hears her.

“Louder!” Uncle Haymitch grumbles.

“I SAW THEM KISSING!” she shouts, then her cheeks blush furiously as if she’d just announced she’d seen one of us running naked down the corridor. Scara composes herself before speaking again. “I saw them kissing on Chance’s bed with the door closed!”

My parents exchange a look between one another. Uncle Haymitch mutters ‘Give me strength’ under his breath.

“We were about to make up actually and a kiss was going to seal the deal,” Chance corrects. “Oh and the door was shut out of consideration, I wasn’t raised in a barn.”

My father laughs. “I’m glad you two have pulled yourselves together for the sake of the Games.”

“What?” Scara says with wide, angry eyes. “Your daughter and her fellow tribute just admitted to it and you’re congratulating them?!”

“Scara, do you get out much?” Mom loses her patience completely. “Or have you purposely avoided every newspaper and magazine for the past few months? These two are engaged and were getting married in a few days’ time until this all came along.”

“That does not excuse it! We behave properly here! Civilised!” Scara argues back. “Besides, Ever looks nothing like what she does in her appearances. She looks much younger without the makeup and the dresses.”

“Thanks?” I say, unsure of whether that’s a good or bad thing.

“It was nice of you to join us for dinner, Scara.” Uncle Haymitch raises his glass towards her. “We really enjoyed your company.”

Scara stiffens up. “I ate my meal in my compartment; I had important business to attend to.”

“Take a seat.” Dad smiles and gestures for her to sit down at the end of the plush sofa.

She does as she’s told but she does it like my parents have weapons stashed behind their backs.

“Where is EffieTrinket? I always thought they’d have to force her away from 12 after our win,” Mom says.

Scara’s eyes dart around for the quickest escape route. “She was asked to oversee the activities at the Training Centre.”

“Why?” Uncle Haymitch demands.

“She was asked last minute to do it so she was replaced by me.” Scara keeps shifting her gaze around like any of us could attack her at any given minute.

I’ve met Effie Trinket a few times in my life. She has powder pink hair which reminds me of candyfloss and chalk white skin. Cal took to calling her ‘Floss’ as a child because of her hair. She would visit with her husband, a Capitol official who was appointed after the rebellion. Eventually she brought her daughter along with her until she was old enough to have a job. But recently, we hadn’t seen Effie. Mom had had a few phone calls which mostly lasted a few minutes before Effie was called away.

“Effie would have told me,” my mother says, glaring at Scara.

“Well, she was hoping I’d tell you.” Scara smiles weakly. “It’s been a long time since you’ve seen me, Katniss.”

Mom looks at her. “What?”

“Cascara? Effie’s daughter? I’m known as Scara in the Capitol now.”

Dad is the first to smile at her, realising. “Cascara! What a nice surprise!”

“What just happened?” Chance whispers to me.

“I think an interrogation just became a reunion,” I reply, unable to stop looking at how the mood has shifted.

Everybody is talking and even Uncle Haymitch is getting involved. They’re catching up on what they’ve missed of Scara’s childhood. She’s twenty-six now, working for the Capitol but now she’s been forced into helping form The Mercy Games.

“I love how convenient this is.” I sigh, noticing the train slowing down.

An attendant appears. “We’re stopping for refuelling.”

None of the adults even acknowledge it except my father who thanks the attendant.

“Go stretch your legs for a while; it’ll be a good hour before we’re moving again. An attendant will find you,” Dad tells us. “Continue your rekindling and your weighing up of the other tributes then once we’re moving again, we’ll discuss it.”

I nod, taking Chance by the hand. We walk to the doors, the ones we walked through earlier this evening and enter into the open air. The cool breeze is a pleasant surprise for my clammy skin.

"Finally, I can breathe without them watching," I say, loosening the collar on the white blouse I had chosen for dinner.

Chance looks at me then sighs. "Come on then. I know that was all an act in there. You still have something left to say."

I'm glad my unfinished annoyance with him has registered. "You noticed?"

"Give me some credit, Ever. I've known you too long for us to pretend to be happy."

"I just cannot believe I'm stuck with such an idiot."

He nods, taking in every word I say. "I know. I'm sorry."

"But you aren't. I can tell you're not. You were exploring your options with Delly Cartwright's daughter. Maybe getting married isn't such a bright idea. We should put on a show for the Capitol and then have our own lives outside of the marriage."

"She has a name, you know. It's Cora," Chance says calmly.

I laugh. "That's all you're going to comment on? It doesn't make any difference. Cora will be heartbroken when you're still acting all lovey-dovey during the Games. We need sponsors and for that to happen, we need a united front."

Chance catches my face in both hands then he traces the outline of my face with his fingers. "You really want to know why I was so close to Cora? I was asking if she'd help me write some decent wedding vows. She's the best writer in the school and in return, I was helping her make the boy she likes jealous. I was stupid enough to take it that far and even stupider to think you would understand it meant nothing."

I takes a moment for the words to sink into my head. "Why didn't you just say something or ask Dad?"

"And admit to my future father-in-law that I'm incapable of writing down my feelings for his daughter? I have my pride to keep, Ever."

Taking a step back from him, I stumble and land onto the grass bank. He joins me like it was an indication for us to sit.

"I'm sorry for leaping to conclusions."

He takes my hand again. "We fight but we love and hate in the right doses, right?"

I smile, the second time he's said that tonight and I’m only just realising it’s true.

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