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 Post subject: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: January 13th, 2013, 4:18 pm 
Tolkien Scholar
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The Night Goes Dark
A PD and Ara Hunger Games RP

The tricky thing
Is yesterday we were just children
Playing soldiers, just pretending
Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we've stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score


Characters:
District 1 ~ Quincy Beauchamp, Lucette Beauchamp
District 4 ~ Henry Summers, Reece Larke
District 5 ~ Gideon Kingsley, Keyara Pierce
District 8 ~ Edward Blackhaven, Carmon Applegate
District 11 ~ Malachi Jenko, Ferren Docherty
District 12 ~ Joseph Kerringston, Varianna Pierce

_________________
Chase a couple hearts, we could leave 'em in shreds
Meet me in the gutter, make the devil your friend
Just remember what I said, cause it isn't over yet

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 Post subject: Re: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: January 13th, 2013, 4:27 pm 
Tolkien Scholar
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Joe had slipped out of the school early, there was nothing he could learn there anyway except probably more Capital propaganda BS and more talk about mines, mine work and so on. Over years of practice, he had become an ace at escaping school without being seen… well, either that or the teachers had just given up on trying to keep him in school and educate him. He had once overheard one of the older ladies telling another one that maybe he was mentally unstable and unsuitable for school or anything due to all of the tragedy in his life. She had reasoned that he should just be left alone and, secretly, he had agreed with her. He liked being left alone.

He could go to the Hob and learn everything he would ever need to know about the black market and then, someday, he would just work here himself. It seemed like an agreeable life to him. At least it didn’t pose the risk of working underground in a suffocating mine. This, right here, was his classroom and these dirty toothless (in some cases) people were his teachers.
As he lounged back with a bottle of alcohol in hand, he overheard a few of the older geezers talking about the upcoming Hunger Games. That was right! Tomorrow was the Reaping. He rolled his eyes. Thank God he only had a year left of having to listen to all of this crap and be involved in it. Closing his eyes, he tried to tune them out before he heard someone right beside him yell into his ear.

“What are you going to do if you’re chosen?”

With his eyes still closed, he tried to reach out and push the smelly old man away from his face. He didn’t give an answer, only slowly opened his eyes to see all of them were staring at him now. He shrugged, “I’ll survive.”

----

In District 1, the anticipation was running high and both Quincy and Lucette could feel it. They looked across at each other over the kitchen table. Their younger siblings were fighting over a toy while their mother hurried around making her own self look pretty and presentable. Somewhere Louis had started crying but his cries went ignored.

“This is my last year. No matter what, I’m going to get in the Games,” Quincy whispered over the table to Lucie who merely inspected her nails and listened. “I’ll volunteer if I have to.”

Lucette’s eyes lifted up and rested on Quincy’s face. Their mother was singing to herself and they could hear their father’s heavy treads upstairs. Louis continued to cry. Adelaide and Gregoire continued to bicker.

“And what if I volunteer for the girls? Then we’d have to fight til the death.” Something about her tone wasn’t joking. It was that fine line between joking and being dead series and she held his gaze.

Finally Louis’ ignored, pitiful cries broke their look as Quincy could no longer ignore his baby brother and he got up and headed upstairs.

Their house was a large, two storied one right in the center of the downtown area. Already the streets below them were bustling with life and, if they didn’t hurry, they would probably be late for school again. Not that that was anything new. When they had been younger and more dependent on their mother they had always been late for school.

Quincy slunk by his parents’ bedroom door. He didn’t want to attract any attention from his father.

His relationship with his father had always been rocky so now he just tried to ignore the older man as much as possible. No attention was better than negative attention. His father had taken to drinking probably more than he should and his mother had taken to doing… well, he didn’t know what. But he had always had a sneaking suspicion that Louis was only his half brother. The boy’s hair was too blonde and his eyes too blue to fit in with the rest of the family’s dark hair and fawn brown eyes.

He lifted the baby up and patted the little boy on the back and rocked him until he settled down. It was then that he sensed a presence at the door watching him and he turned around quickly to see Lucette staring at him with a mocking smile quirking her lips upward. “It’s nice to know that if it comes down to me and you, I know who will win.”

That was all she said before she disappeared down the hallway. And maybe she was right. Maybe he was too soft. Yet somehow these thoughts didn’t keep him from putting Louis down. He just clung onto the baby and stared at the place where his sister had been.

----

Reece’s family was by no means poor. Actually, all things considered, they were well to do – one of the wealthiest families in District 4. Her mother even went so far as to adopt several of the Capitol fashions and keep a stash of fashion magazines hidden in her underwear drawer. To Reece, some of them seemed a little extreme or ridiculous, especially when contrasted with some of the simpler District 4 clothes, but her mother adored them.

She sat in her bedroom staring at herself in the mirror as she brushed out her long, blonde hair. She paused for a second and looked down at her stomach. For now it was almost flat, there was just a slight rise that was instantly hidden under clothing. She rested a hand on top of it and sighed. How was she going to approach her family and tell them about this? How would it be taken by anyone?

She heard the television downstairs blaring out the local news and then she heard Caesar Flickerman’s voice in a very brief commercial talking about the up and coming Hunger Games. He sounded excited (maybe too excited) and babbled on for the entire twenty second TV spot before the ad ended and it was back to more commercials and Capitol news.

She had nearly forgotten about The Hunger Games.

Maybe she would just wait and tell her family about her little… condition afterward.

-----

Down by the docks of District 4, another early work morning had started for Henry. He was working on loading up a ship full of supplies (mostly seafood) to be sailed right to the Capitol’s harbors. He wouldn’t be going on this voyage, though, as he had to stay back for the Games. He was still of age to be Reaped so technically it would be illegal for him to be outside of his district and miss it.

Another year of seeing more people die. Great. He hated it. But there was nothing he could do about it but grin and bear it. Considering all of the rumors that surrounded not only his father but his mother too, he wondered sometimes if his father had been in the Games. Of course, he really wasn’t close enough to anyone to ask about this. The best he could hope for would be to overhear something someone said before they noticed he was eavesdropping.

“That’s the last one,” He plopped the last container of shrimp down and looked up at the ship’s captain. The man was a hard worker, a bit rough around the edges but he was fair. He nodded down at Henry and checked something off in his register.

“Better get onshore,” his voice was deep and left no room for arguments.

When Henry had been just a small, orphaned twelve-year-old and terrified of the Games, he had tried to stowaway on one of the ships sailing west. He had been found and this captain standing right in front of him had given him a sound lecture and then left him on District 4. But there had been no more repercussions or punishments for trying to escape the Reaping. Maybe this man understood. Maybe he had once been in the same position.

“Good luck,” was the older man’s last, gruff farewell.

----

Carmon sat at her sewing machine in school. This was her own little nitch and she was actually good at it. Even her teacher praised her and told her that she might have a very fine career in sewing someday. Maybe she could even become a Stylist one day. Something about that had always pleased yet bothered Carmon. As she worked on a simple outfit for herself, it dawned on her how it might feel to work on a fancy outfit for someone who might be going off to their death. It would be like creating a funeral shroud.

She swallowed hard and stared at the light blue fabric in front of her. There were little red dots speckled throughout the pattern. They almost looked like blood.

What would she do if she lost Cole this year? There was no thought to herself or her personal safety. But she couldn’t stand losing her older brother.

“Carmon?” Her teacher was standing by her side and looking down at the idle sewing machine and fabric before her.

“I’m sorry,” she shook herself and tried to concentrate back on her sewing and her teacher moved on to praise another girl’s work.

Carmon herself tried to think of other things. Like maybe someday she would be able to design Capitol fashions. That would be fun. Or maybe she could even move there. She tried to picture her future with limitless possibilities. She tried thinking of anything except a dull existence in a factory where they made Peacekeeper uniforms day after day after day like her mother did. She tried to think of anything except losing her brother in the Hunger Games.

_________________
Chase a couple hearts, we could leave 'em in shreds
Meet me in the gutter, make the devil your friend
Just remember what I said, cause it isn't over yet

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Get.Lost.In.The.Dark.To.Find.Yourself
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 Post subject: Re: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: January 17th, 2013, 12:48 am 
Swashbuckler
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“Whelp, tomorrow’s the day,” one of the electricians said, breaking the silence in the unfinished room.

Gage looked up from his work on an electrical outlet and over at the guy who had spoken to him, who was clearly more interested in making conversation than doing the job they had been appointed to.

“Whatever,” he scoffed. “Hand me that screwdriver.” The guy handed it to him but continued staring at the 18-year-old, even as Gage ignored him and screwed on the outlet cover.

“Ain’t ya worried?”

“About what?” A final twist and the screws were securely in place.

“Getting picked.”

“No,” he answered tersely. Gage was hardly concerned with the Hunger Games – he hadn’t been chosen the first seven years so why should this time be any different? Next year he wouldn’t have his name placed in the Reaping ball anymore and could continue on to adulthood and raise his own family. He’d gotten quite good at electrical work and could make a living off of it instead of doing these stupid training sessions with idiots – like the guy next to him that couldn’t shut up.

“I’d be worried if I was you,” the guy replied, clearly not getting the hint.

Gage spun around with the screwdriver in hand, holding it to the man’s throat. His dark glare made the man gulp and back off a bit. “I’d be worried if I were you too,” Gage replied, nostrils flaring. “Talking on the job can get you fired you know.” He dropped the screwdriver and walked away.

++++++++++

Keyara sat in school, mind trailing off as the teacher rambled on about electric currents or some boring crap. She didn’t need to pay attention. Her foster parents were both held in high regard at the power plant they supervised, so she had heard this many times before at home, in conversations over dinner and parties with higher ups. She wasn’t fond of repetition.

Her eyes trailed to the window where the town center could be seen in the distance. Peacekeepers were marching by towards the area and setting up giant screens and banners. Tomorrow, Panem would select its twenty-four unlucky souls to battle to the death. Keyara wasn’t out of the woods, but her family was well off compared to most and didn’t need to resort to tesserae to survive. Therefore, the thought that she would get picked was extremely laughable.

She glanced around the room and wondered if one of her classmates would be chosen. Maybe the redhead sitting two rows over, or the tall, acne-riddled guy. The Capitol prep teams would have a heart attack if they saw him. She smirked and continued doodling on the lined notebook page.

Either way, it was going to be another year of televised bloodshed that Keyara was looking forward to watching, either in school or at home, curled up on the couch in her pajamas.

++++++++++

Edward carefully ran the scissors through the fabric, letting them glide through with ease. The measurements had to be exact or the fabric might end up being either too wide or too thin. He had gotten in trouble before for not being precise, and it was a lesson learned. He had to do the job right the first time or do it all over again.

This year, the Capitol trend was solid colors splattered with drops of red or orange, combined with the usual crazy hairdos and nails with feathers glued on them. Last year it had been sequins, lots and lots of sequins everywhere – so much so that Edward never wanted to see another sequin ever again in his life.

District 8, though far from the Capitol, was its biggest supplier of clothing and had to know what trends were in and out before they happened. Every wild scarf, button-down shirt, and poofy pair of pants was created here, in the factories. Even most of Caesar Flickerman’s outfits were produced here, but by higher ups – the people who had been here longest and were considered experts with an eye for fashion. They should have been from the Capitol themselves, considering the way they dressed and acted, but had unfortunately been born right here in 8. They were the sort of people to smile at until their backs were turned – then you could roll your eyes and not worry about getting caught.

++++++++++

In the fields of District 11, Ferren was kneeling in the dirt, carefully plucking strawberries from their vines. Already she had filled four woven baskets, but the rows of plants seemed to go on forever, at least as the eye could see. It was hot and the sun was unforgiving in the southern blue sky even despite the wide-brimmed sunhat she wore.

The Peacekeepers here were the strictest of all and she kept to herself, knowing that talking in the fields was forbidden and punishable with a brutal, public whipping. It wasn’t like there was anyone to converse with anyway – she hadn’t made too many friends because of her shyness.

Ferren finished picking the ripe berries and wiped away beads of sweat rolling down her face. Green eyes glanced down at the fifth basket she was working on filling. The berries inside looked juicy and tempting, almost begging her to dig in. Her stomach growled at the thought but she had to cast her eyes away and fight the urge. Stealing anything from the harvest held worse consequences than being publically whipped and Ferren did not want to find out what they were.

She crawled on her knees to the next bush as a Peacekeeper walked by to inspect her work. When he was gone, she mentally cursed the Capitol for getting to indulge in these succulent fruits whenever they pleased, but the people of District 11 were denied even a taste.

++++++++++

Malachi was none too excited for the Reaping tomorrow. He had no other choice but to put his name in twenty-six times in exchange for tesserae. The oil and grain was a necessary evil that he and his nine siblings could not go on without.

He had shirked today’s duties in the fields to spend the day with Darian, his closest friend.

“I’m going to be chosen,” he said, matter-of-factly as the two stood in his kitchen. “There’s no way my name won’t be picked.” Malachi looked down at the table and scratched lines in it with a sharp knife. He had to do something with his hands to keep them from trembling.

Darian stopped pacing across the dirty linoleum to face Malachi. “It could be you or me. My name’s in seventeen times. But lots of people have had to resort to tesserae this year. You never know.” He shrugged his shoulders and tried to dismiss it, but Malachi couldn’t let it go.

“Exactly my point. And if it is one of us…” Malachi trailed off, bile building up in the back of his throat. He stuck the knife into the table and stood up, walking over to the blonde.

“…we will try our hardest to win,” Darian finished, taking Malachi’s hand in his own. It wasn’t what the dark-haired boy had in mind, but Darian was trying to stay positive – something that seemed impossible for Malachi himself. “It will be fine. I promise.”

Darian clasped their hands together and kissed Malachi. No one knew about their relationship save for the two of them. It would be greatly discouraged and perhaps even physically prevented by the Peacekeepers or the boys’ parents if they knew.

After a long while, the two parted breathlessly. Darian stepped away from Malachi and turned his back to him. “I should go. Before someone comes looking.” He disappeared through the doorframe and Malachi heard the front door open and close. He was left alone with only the buzzing florescent ceiling light to keep him company now.

++++++++++

Vari looked at herself in the broken standing mirror. It threw her reflection back at her, cracked but clear. It wasn’t perfect but it would do.

One of the traders at the Hob had been selling used clothing. Nothing overly fancy, but amongst the garments had been a patterned dress that caught her eye. It was a bit big for her thin frame but nothing some rope couldn’t fix. Braided rope, in particular, stolen from a vendor this morning. Over the years she had gotten really good at picking up items unnoticed, but once or twice she had nearly been caught by the peacekeepers.

When she’d gotten the dress, it was coated in a fine layer of coal dust and had a few small tears. She was able to wash the dust off but the rips were beyond her knowledge to repair and so she hoped no one would take notice. The pale blue material was dotted with small dark red flowers, some in clusters and some by themselves. And even though it was far from anything in the Capitol, this dress had to be one of the nicest she had ever worn.

In fact, the patterned red flowers matched the earrings her foster mother had given her a few years back for her thirteenth birthday. They were gold studs inlaid with ruby gems and had cost her quite a pretty penny, seeing as they came directly from District 1. Luxury items were rarely found in District 12, if at all. So Vari kept these earrings safe in her bedside drawer and only wore them on Reaping Day or for weddings.

“You look nice,” a small voice peeped from the doorway. It was one of the other orphans that lived here, a six-year-old girl with dark skin – Euina, her name was.

“Thank you,” Vari said quietly, turning to look at the little girl standing in the doorway. “I’m not wearing it until tomorrow though.”

“Why?” Euina came over to sit on the bed, almost unable to climb up herself, but just managing to.

“Tomorrow’s the Reaping,” Vari replied, looking back into the mirror. “You’ll be in it when you’re older.”

“Why?” the little girl asked again.

“It’s just something we do,” Vari sighed. She slipped out of her shoes and sat on the bed beside Euina, but at that moment the little girl jumped off and snatched up Vari’s shoes, putting her hands inside of them and pretending to be some sort of monster. She ran out of the room and Vari chuckled halfheartedly, but it wasn’t enough to rid herself of the thoughts about tomorrow. She had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. “Maybe I’m just hungry,” she murmured, laying down on the creaky bed and staring up at the ceiling. As of late it was difficult to tell the difference between fear and hunger.

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 Post subject: Re: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: January 24th, 2013, 7:02 pm 
Maia
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“I’m dreading tomorrow.”

Tristan frowned, watching Eve as she ran one fingernail over the dirt covering the window, forming intricate shapes and patterns with painstaking precision. Her expression was strained, and her skin as pale as a ghost’s. There could be no doubting the truth in her words. The sight of her bitten, blood stained lips was proof enough, as were the vivid half-moon fingernails marks in the palms of her hands. Due to her family environment, Eve had grown up prone to quite severe anxiety. And she had every reason to be anxious today.

“My name has been entered into the reaping countless times,” she continued now, finally turning to look her friend in the eye. Her eyes were wide and showed signs of many sleepless nights. “I’ve been lucky so far. There’s no way I’ll be lucky again. And then…”

“And then,” Tristan interrupted her, “and then, you’ll be fine. Of course you will. You’re far stronger than you think. And you’re fast – I’d say the fastest runner in the whole of the district. Natural athleticism helps a lot, you know.” He watched as Eve looked away again, taking in his words. She worked away at the dirt on the window, giving up making patterns now; the Summers’ home looked right out over the town square. Perhaps she wanted to see what was going on outside, or to pretend to anyway. Any distraction was worthwhile.

“Anyway, you might not even get picked.” There was a hopeful tone in Tristan’s voice. “I might be chosen.” He paused, reaching out to gently tug a strand of Eve’s blonde hair. “Would you miss me if I was?” To his disappointment, Eve’s expression didn’t change; obviously lost in her thoughts, it took her a few moments to realize he had spoken again.

“Sorry, what did you say?” she said. “I wasn’t listening properly.”

“I said, would you miss me if I was chosen?” Tristan repeated himself. Eve was getting up now, abandoning her work at the window. Her slim frame shivered slightly with cold, and she rubbed her arms, almost wishing she hadn’t lent her cardigan to her youngest sister Angel today.

“Well, of course I would,” she replied, “we’ve always known each other. Don’t be silly, of course I’d miss you.”

Tristan watched as she pulled a thin patchwork quilt off of her bed and draped it around her shoulders for warmth. There was a pause as a burst of sound suddenly came from downstairs: angry shouting accompanied by furniture being pushed over. Eve didn’t so much as flinch; her mother’s bad temper was nothing new to her. “There she goes again,” she said quietly. “Let’s hope neither of us gets chosen. But I know I will. I just know it.”

~~~

“You will both be ready tomorrow, or all of your training will have been for nothing. Remember, if you are not chosen – and I highly doubt it – you are both to volunteer yourselves. If you do not then I trust you shall be aware of the consequences.”

These were the words Cathair Eagle had left ringing in his children’s ears. There was no choice for them; they had been training for the Games since early childhood. Like it or not, this was simply the way it was and always had been. So now here they sat together side by side on their living room couch, both filled with an overwhelming urge to say something important, before it was too late. But all they could hear was the loud music floating down from their father’s study upstairs: swirling violin music that he liked to play when he wanted to relax. More often than not, he played the same song over and over again. It drove both Cairbre and Rosalind mad.

“One day I will march up there and kick his stereo into tiny pieces,” Rosalind muttered. She wrapped a strand of her perfectly curled hair around one finger, before letting go and watching the ringlet spring back into shiny perfection. For some reason this annoyed her. Everything had to be in order in the Eagle family home, including the people who lived in it. “Show him how much I care and him and his precious Games…”

“No you won’t,” Cairbre said, stating a fact. “Because we both know that he would kill you.”

Rosalind shrugged. “So? I’ll probably be dead soon anyway…” she said it in a matter-of-fact tone, as if she didn’t care. This was far from the truth. She did care. Despite all their training, both mental and physical, Rosalind was afraid. It would only be a fool who wasn’t afraid. Abruptly, she seized hold of her brother’s hand, hanging on tight. “Whatever happens…” she said in half a whisper. Those words were as familiar as daylight to both of them, a mantra they’d always repeated. Nothing more needed to be said after that. Without looking at him, Rosalind knew that Cairbre had nodded, sure and steady. They were blood kin, and each other’s only friend. They had always protected each other, looked out for each other. The Games wouldn’t change anything.

“Whatever happens,” Cairbre said, giving his sister a tiny, mirthless smile. “Whatever happens, Rosa.”

~~~

“How many times do I have to tell you? Leave me alone, or so help me I won’t be held responsible for my actions! If you think that this is me angry, then just try holding my hand again and you’ll see what I’m like when I’m angry.”

“Okay…” Brenton held up his hands, feeling a genuine sense of fear towards the angry redhead threatening him, wanting to prove to her that he meant no harm. On the contrary, he had only ever wanted to be her friend. But she saw him in just the same way as she saw his brother, something which continually frustrated him. “I’m staying right here. Not coming any closer.”

“Good.” With that, Guinevere turned around and set off in a long stride, walking along down the small gravel pathway. It led towards the entrance to the nearby pine forest. All the children of District 7 knew the forests like the back of their hands, but today work was going on in there, and Brenton was haunted by the thought of something happening to Guin. Screwing up his face with worry, he rushed after her.

“You can’t go in there,” he said as he caught up with her, facing the full force of her ice cold glare. “I’m serious. There’ll be falling trees… and… and I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to you.” He was surprised when she laughed, as if amused by the possibility.

“Really! Well, whatever your sentiments, we’re all going to die one day, Brenton. Some sooner than others.” Her unfeeling tone altered somewhat, and Brenton could tell that she didn’t really find it funny. No one did. Her pace slackened a little, and he took the opportunity to try and make her listen properly to him.

“You know how I feel about you. I would do anything, anything to stop you from being chosen. We could… we could run away together, just leave here…”

“Be quiet, Brenton, please just be quiet. As if I’d go anywhere with you. And where is there to go anyway? Just leave me alone. How many times do I have to say it?” Guin lifted a hand to her forehead, tired by having to listen to someone she really didn’t want to be around. When would he ever stop pestering her, when would he stop telling her how much he cared about her when he was no where near close to really knowing her?

Guin started walking again, ignoring the fact that the laces of her shoes were close to coming undone. She tucked her hair behind her ears, inhaling the scent of pine needles which was as familiar as air itself. “Go home, Brenton,” she muttered. “Don’t forget what I said.”

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 Post subject: Re: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: March 5th, 2013, 11:20 am 
Tolkien Scholar
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(sorry for the poor quality of some of it. :confuzzled:)

When Joe’s eyes snapped opened again, a feeling of intense disorientation overcame him. You would think that he would be used to waking up in a different place nearly every morning but it still threw him off… particularly after having another vivid dream about his mother. Even four years after her untimely death, images of her bloodied, pale but peaceful face still haunted through his mind. He couldn’t seem to rid himself of her.

Joe pulled himself up into a sitting position and let his shoulders slouch forward – a sign of exhaustion and defeat.

At least he had managed to sleep through the whole night and nobody had bothered to disturb him. That was a blessing. Maybe they still pitied him. His nose wrinkled at that thought and he sniffed and ran his dirty shirt cuff under it. His arms flopped back to his sides.

Today was the Reaping. Maybe four hours to go. Maybe less. He wasn’t really sure. Blue eyes roving over the Hob, he stretched his short limbs out in front of him. Almost all of the boys his age were at least half a foot taller than him. Lucky for him, he sarcastically thought, he had inherited his mother’s small form. He looked down at his legs before relaxing them back and hopping up. He brushed his hands against his worn pants before tucking them into the pockets and wandering outside.

Hardly anyone had started to stir yet. Down the street someone had just turned on an oil lamp and he could see shadows moving around inside and the sound of hushed, muffled talk. A pig squealed from a pen and a dog whined a few doors down. His own stomach gurgled in complaint. Time to find food. What would be for breakfast today? His eyes moved down the street at all of the closed shops. There was the butcher’s, the tailor’s… or the baker’s. There was an idea! He had stolen from there once or twice. It had never been too difficult before. And they wouldn’t miss a roll or two. And maybe a sticky bun.

.........................................

The day of the Reaping had finally arrived. Lucette stood in her plush and beautiful bedroom staring at herself in her closet mirror. Since childhood, she had been spoiled with pretty things that now hung around her room and made it comfortable to her. She reached up and pulled a deep green gown off of its hanger. If… no, when… she was chosen, she wanted to look her best for the cameras. She carefully pulled her hair up into an intricately braided bun and wove a piece of golden ribbon through it. She slipped her toes into gold peeptoe heels which complimented her dress well. The green fabric reached just to her knees and the heels gave her some height. Overall, the entire outfit gave her a deceivingly girlish appearance but the smile that she flashed at herself in the mirror was cunning and devious.

She clicked out of her room, not entertaining the thought that this might be the last time she would see it, and down the hallway past Quincy’s door.

“Don’t be late!” she sang toward the door while making sure that her heels snapped hard and loud against the wooden floorboards.

Deep down, she couldn’t drown out all of the worry. What if she wasn’t good enough? What if she died? Even though she tried her best to scoff at these two ideas, they still crept through her mind and settled into the back of it to niggle at her. There wasn’t much she had to live for so she was okay with dying right? Right? She tried to convince herself that she was as she slowly chewed a piece of pancake Gregoire had made her.

She put her fork down, unable to finish the rest of the golden cakes on her plate.

.........................................

Reece had an hour before she had to be at the center of town in front of the court house for the Reaping. She could do this in an hour, right? She tried to quickly work her way down the seaside streets. Unfortunately, the roads were all starting to fill up with people. Everyone had the day off to view the Reaping and everyone was required to be there. So now there was just the suspenseful, stressful and emotional pre-Reaping jitters and gossip and bets. Who was going to be taken? What were their odds? What would the arena be like this year? All of these questions made her stomach twist into knots of worry as she overheard people talking.

Hardly anybody paid attention to her unless she accidentally bumped into them. She was wearing a very pale pink dress that reached down to her ankles. It had no embellishment at all but it was comfortable. Her shoes were lightweight pink silk and allowed her to be light on her feet in this crowd.

Her heart pounded against her ribs. She kept her eyes trained on the building up ahead. That’s where he worked, his family owned it. He had to be there. She had to tell him. What if he was Reaped? What would she do then? She swallowed between heavy breaths of air as her pulse raced.

“Reece!” someone was calling out to her in a bright, clear voice. It was her mother.

Just ignore her, you have to do this. You have to tell him. She kept running that lecture through her mind.

“Ouch,” Reece hadn’t been paying attention to where she was going and had run right into a thin woman who ruthlessly glared down at her. “I’m so sorry,” she backed away and held her hands out with her apology and looked for a way around the woman. There wasn’t one. She was forced to stop as the mass of people grew and weaving through them became almost impossible.

“Reece!” her mother’s voice was further away and more desperate sounding.

Why couldn’t she just tell him? Why wouldn’t people move out of her way? Reece's heart sank down to her pale pink slippers.

“I’m pregnant” she whispered and the words kept thudding in time to her pulse.

.........................................

Punctual as usual, Henry was at the place where the Reaping was being held at least thirty minutes before most everyone else had arrived. He had nowhere else to go. There was no work to be done and no family to spend his mornings with otherwise. He was twisting some rope around between his fingers to fashion different sorts of knots. Beside him on his seawood bench, there sat a little figurine he had whittled out of boredom thirty minutes earlier.

People were just starting to trickle in and he watched them. Many were parents with their children. Some parents looked scared, some looked ill, and some looked even proud. The only thing that mattered to him was that those kids actually had parents who cared one way or the other about what happened to their children. All he had was a stinkin’ wooden man. He glared toward the figurine before standing up and leaving it all alone to watch him go off into the crowd.

.........................................

Carmon’s lips had run dry. She tried to lick them to bring some comfort and moisture back but her efforts failed. She squeezed Cole’s hand as tightly as she could. She knew that soon they would be parted and he would have to stand with the boys and she with the girls. For now, though, she clung to this moment.

“We will be okay,” She said and tried to keep her voice even. Her mother was wringing her hands over and over and looking back and forth between them as if trying to figure out how she would handle losing either one or the other. Cole wasn’t saying much of anything until Carmon spoke. Then he nodded and looked down at her with those kind (although somewhat innocent and naive) eyes and said, “of course we will.”

He usually wasn’t an optimist but she could tell that for her sake he was trying right now and she smiled.

She clenched and unclenched her free hand. It felt damp with sweat and worry. All too soon, it was time to split up. She gave her mother one last hug and a hopeful smile. Her mother bit her own lip and nodded her off. Carmon released Cole’s hand and swallowed phlegm. Her eyes were watering up and her vision was blurring. Cole didn’t say anything. Why wouldn’t he speak? She knew if she did she would start crying like she did last year. And last year they were both totally okay. She didn’t want to be a baby but would he make this just a little easier by saying something? Not bye. Anything but that. But maybe a “see you in a few minutes?” Something like what he said last year. She forced a smile at him before shuffling away to join the other girls. She found herself wondering if he had that same foreboding feeling that was haunting her right now.

_________________
Chase a couple hearts, we could leave 'em in shreds
Meet me in the gutter, make the devil your friend
Just remember what I said, cause it isn't over yet

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 Post subject: Re: The Night Goes Dark [private]
PostPosted: May 20th, 2013, 11:41 pm 
Swashbuckler
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Keyara groaned as she rolled over in bed. It was far too early to be awake. Clearly the Capitol didn’t understand that she needed her beauty sleep – every single second she could get. Reaping or no, any interruption was grounds for a very grumpy 15-year-old.

When at last she did manage to clamber out of bed, it was not without a great deal of complaining and cursing. Waking up this early just to stand around in a crowd while some unfortunate soul was whisked off met the very definition of “unimportant” in her eyes. At least when it was over and done with, she could come home and crawl back under her favorite quilt: the one with tiny lights sewn in that cast patterns of starry skies on her ceiling. She had never seen real stars before because of 5’s power supply. It drowned out the darkness of space and made the entire district glow with buzzing white light.

Hanging on her doorknob was the green dress she had worn in years past – very Capitol-esque in style even if she was starting to grow out of the garment. Her body had changed so much in the past two years but fortunately Keyara was still able to squeeze into it and get the zipper pulled with a little bit of effort. Even on her thin frame, it hugged tightly in spots and made her gasp like the corsets that had been in style three or four years back. A quick inspection in the mirror and she was on her way downstairs to put on her heels that made any incline difficult to tread.

++++++++++

Gage, unlike the others eligible for Reaping, didn’t put too much effort into his appearance. Chances were that he wasn’t going to be chosen anyway, so why go through all the trouble of an elaborate outfit? An old button-down shirt and slacks were fine. He simply combed through his brown curls with his fingers and deemed his appearance passable. Except for shots of the crowd, it would be unlikely that anyone was going to pay much attention to him anyway.

There wasn’t too much to choose from in the downstairs pantry – a few containers of rice and grains, some dry cereals and soups, and packets of dried spices for seasoning meat – so he decided to go without breakfast. The rest of the household was still asleep so Gage left without a word, taking his time as he walked towards the town center where the cold stone façade of the Justice Building was decorated with banners and screens proclaiming a “Happy Hunger Games” to all. Already a good crowd was gathering to have their blood drawn by head peacekeepers, the best way to insure that everyone was present or else they would have to face the consequences.

++++++++++

In District 8, most of the factories had been shut down for the day – a respite that many of the citizens were grateful for. But this day of rest came with a heavy price. One boy and one girl were going to be chosen, that was inevitable. Edward had a sinking feeling in his stomach from the moment he had woken this morning until now, standing in line for his finger to be pricked and bloodied fingerprint to be pressed on the parchment and scanned. After this it felt like his fate was sealed, despite the massive number of teenagers present today. It was his last year in the Reaping but that fact did not erase the feeling of dread twisting in his gut. His mouth was dry as he scanned the area for any familiar faces, but it was hard to focus on any one person as boys filed into one area and girls into the other.

He thought he caught a glimpse of Carmon, a girl he knew from working in the textile mills. Actually, he was better acquainted with her brother, Cole, but hadn’t had the chance to wish either of them good luck today. Not that many words would actually be able to come out, seeing as his throat was drier than the rivers in summertime. He didn’t know why he was so nervous anyway – just one more day to survive and then he could move on with his life and not have to worry about this anymore. Maybe it was for that reason exactly; the last time had to go smoothly and then he could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Until then, however, he felt like he was going to implode as seconds ticked by. Obviously the Capitol was in no hurry to get this over with and perhaps even was trying to draw out the anticipation for both spectators and participants alike. There was a chatter amongst the crowd but it was just background noise for Edward as they all filed into position and awaited their doom.

++++++++++

Unlike 8, District 11’s participants were dead silent this year. The Peacekeepers had become increasingly stricter with each year and threatened to whip anyone who did not follow orders. It wasn’t much different from being in the fields, except today there was a slight breeze to relieve the blazing southern sun.

Ferren felt the top of her head starting to burn as everyone stood packed together in an almost claustrophobic crowd. Her flaxen hair was pulled back in a bun, but a few strands had escaped and were now framing her thin face. It’s okay, she told herself, [I]whatever happens, you will be fine[I]. Her nerves were starting to rise up, but then again, probably were everyone else’s too. At least she hadn’t needed to put her name in for tesserae too many times, only maybe six or so. There were others that were far worse off than she was, at least. But looking at the girls’ Reaping Ball filled with neatly folded scraps of paper, she could only envision her name on every single one of them, in plain black ink. She tried desperately to push that thought out of her mind but it wouldn’t leave.

The District escort was now speaking, saying that they had received a vast number of names this year, and that it could be anyone’s time to be reaped.

It certainly wasn’t comforting to Malachi, after having placed his name more than thirty-five times for grain and oil and other necessary supplies. He gave a stern look to Darian, the boy standing near his side, and he knew it in that instant that he was going to be picked. There was nothing in the world he was more certain of. It seemed obvious to the blonde too, for he quickly squeezed Mala’s hand and then stepped aside before anyone saw the gentle touch.

++++++++++

“Come, Vari, we are going to be late,” her foster mother chided, starting down the dirt path with haste. The streets here were not paved like in some other districts; they were lucky to even have dirt paths, mostly resulting from the number of people that travelled back and forth on foot.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she huffed, fastening the backings of her earrings as she followed the woman down the front steps of their porch. Most of the other houses were empty by now, everyone having converged in the District’s center. The usual foot traffic coming to and from the mines was also absent. The men had gone to farewell their children – well, at least the ones that would be chosen.

When they arrived in the main part of town, there was a bit of a clamor going on and as Vari craned her neck it was obvious why; the ever-vivacious Effie Trinket, who could make anyone want to drive an icepick through their head with just one flutter of her ridiculously long eyelashes, was proceeding towards the District 12 Justice Building where the Reaping was going to take place.

The peacekeepers surrounding Effie were pushing people back, acting as her personal bodyguards. Vari had gotten too close and received a hard shove and a glare from one of the men, a warning that she had best watch where she was going. The push resulted in her knocking against someone and she turned to apologize to the boy. “Sorry…” it was half-hearted, lacking any genuine sincerity. Her hazel eyes met the boy’s and she knew she had seen him before. Probably around town or at the Hob, where she sometimes went to check out the black market items for sale. She held his gaze for a minute – he was kinda cute, she had to admit. But now was no time to flirt. Vari smirked and turned on her heel, running to catch up with her foster mother.

[[Naturally that would be Joe ;) ]]

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