Joined: 8:27 PM - Dec 28, 2012

4:36 AM - Feb 27, 2013 #16

Blossom had closed her eyes with Cherokee’s voice in her ear and she had died, while in pain and a haze of poison, peacefully enough. She was free of the games, free from the horror and the fear that had stalked her like a hungry wolf day and night. Free to be herself again. She drifted back to district eleven, the ghost of herself, where she felt at home again. She wasn’t supposed to be reaped. There were thousands of people in district eleven, thousands of children. And it wasn’t supposed to be her.

She had never truly come to grips with the fact that she had been reaped, but now that she was finally home again, where she could see her family, the way they held hands as they cried for her, she knew that it had been true. That every moment she’d spent on that journey hadn’t just been a bad dream. The friends she’d made were real, and they had all died. At least as much as she could remember - Colt, and Huck, and Brighton. Maybe Cherokee and Stocky, the pair she’d met the last day of her journey, maybe one of them had made it alive. She didn’t know. She’d died before them.

She’d find out soon enough. The day the train came rolling in for the victory tour, she realized that they had not won, but the boy from ten had. She’d never met him. She didn’t care about him. And his words were as empty as she felt. She wanted to see Brighton again. She wanted to see Colt. She wanted to know that her friends would always be with her now that she could no longer be alive with her family.

They had come with the train and she heard them calling to her. Heard the voice of Colt call her name and she drifted that way, leaving the boy on stage to speak his empty words.

They would have fun together, wherever they were going next, without the pain and fear of the Hungergames.....

Joined: 3:53 AM - Nov 20, 2012

12:05 AM - Feb 28, 2013 #17

Death hadn't been that bad for Trudy. Better than life, anyways. That being said, her life had been a real shitshow, and being dead young was probably the best possible resolution. And here she was, a ghost headed to the great beyond after one last stop in District Twelve. A stop to say her final goodbyes to everyone who she knew and cared about her. It was going to be a short trip.

After she'd died at the lighthouse, she'd let herself drift for a while. She'd looked for Stocky for a bit, but had given up after wandering the catacombs for what seemed like an eternity. Now that she was back in District Twelve, she wound her way though the crowd, unseen as a ghost. After a lifetime of trying to be invisible, now that she was, she almost wanted people to notice her. But then she remembered that these people were the ones she'd hidden from her whole life, and the ones that she wanted to see--Stocky and Cherokee--were in the afterlife with her. She didn't have to hide from them.

Nobody was sitting on the stage in front of the Justice Building for her. Nobody could be bothered to care. She saw Stocky's family, and a pang of jealousy knotted itself in her stomach that there was nobody there crying for her, but she quickly shrugged it off. If people had cared about her, she didn't want to make them face that pain. Besides, it was time to go.

"Good luck, kid," she said to the boy from Ten who had won before she began to ascend. Trudy's life was over. She'd been dealt a hard lot, and now she was heading somewhere better. No regrets. Well, one regret...

She hadn't kept the marble in her mouth long enough to beat her record.
Fuck your mahogany!

Joined: 9:09 PM - Nov 30, 2012

12:45 AM - Feb 28, 2013 #18

It wasn't so bad being dead. In fact, it had been much better than anything the young boy expected. After his life escaped his poor body that had been beaten and bloodied, he had been able to roam wherever he liked (WITHOUT risk of a mutt looming around the corner.) He walked through the halls and saw the different areas that he and Trudy never gone. Speaking of Trudy... Where was she?

Stockholm decided to leave the Arena and go back home. It was a long journey, but he eventually made it there. He found his relatives that had passed onto to the next life, and he was happy. All his friends who had died from starvation and disease had been there, and they played until the sky grew dim and they couldn't see anymore.

The Victory Tour came and went, Stockholm was able to get a good view at the Victor. The boy was a bit relieved that it had not been the girl who killed him, for that would make him the slightest shade of jealous, but was also disappointed that Cherokee was not seen anywhere. Instead, some boy he had never seen before stood before the crowd of District Twelve.

Stockholm decided not to care anymore, he was with friends and family now, even Trudy was there with him. For once in his life, the cold brush of everything cruel in the world had finally made him warm.

Joined: 1:30 AM - Oct 23, 2012

3:06 AM - Feb 28, 2013 #19

Being dead was a goddamned relief.

Nelly had never expected to think that, but then, she had also never expected to get stabbed through with a trident in a Colosseum full of roaring Capitolites. In death, there was no more uncertainty, there was no more pain, and there was no more limitation. Time was malleable. Space was malleable. The world wasn't real, nothing was real, Nelly herself wasn't real. That meant, in her estimation, that it was time to pull some pranks. If the Gamemakers noticed their coffee mugs going missing only to later find them stacked precariously in the bathroom, it was probably that pesky intern. If President Snow found himself quite without toilet paper the next time he visited the loo, it was probably shoddy work on the part of the staff and not the machinations of a mischievous little ghost. Affecting the physical world was hard, but Nelly had time -- until, that was, she found quite abruptly that she didn't anymore. It was time to follow Benji home.

He'd actually done it; he'd put his cud brains to good use and had come out victorious. The ghost elbows that Nelly poked into his side had no measurable effect, but she'd have liked to believe that he felt her there anyway. She was proud of her idiot partner. After all they'd been through together, it had been a win he deserved.

Nelly rode on top of the train all the way back to District Ten, feeling the rushing wind rip right through her and loving the sensation. She saw the sparkling waters of District Four, the smoking factories of District Eight, the green fields of Districts Nine and Eleven, and the coal-dust depression of District Twelve. When finally their home came back into view, it seemed almost a fantasy. Those pastures she had dreamed of, the horses, the sheep, the cows. The ranches and the ramshackle farms, her own little home, nestled like a dollhouse on its hill. How Nelly had longed for these things. She no longer felt that burning desire -- only a sort of warm contentment.

She sought out her family first. Her father had lost all pretense of stoicism and had broken down in tears, ever the gentle giant. Her mother was the one consoling him, holding one of his huge hands between two of hers. Amber, perfect Amber, was looking worse for the wear. Her hair, so much more tame than Nelly's, was mussed, her dress wrinkled.

"Aw, Amber, what the hell. I leave for a few days and you fall to bits," the girl sighed, reaching out to smooth her sister's frizzy locks. There was no tangible movement, but perhaps the girl felt something, for her shoulders gave a little jump even as her eyes stayed glued to the stage. "I don't wanna ever see you like this again, you hear? Ya'll need to go find a hairbrush, and quick." Nelly embraced Amber, all enmity between them gone. No longer would they work in the slaughterhouse together. No longer would they share a room. No longer would they stay up all night bickering. Those were things neither thought they would ever miss until it was too late.

Next, Nelly embraced both of her parents. She kissed her father's stubbly cheek, his height no longer a problem.

"Don't cry no more, daddy, ma. You ain't ever gotta wrangle me into a dress ever again. Cheer up. You still got one daughter, and she's finer than I'd ever have been." Nelly gave her family one last fond smile and drifted off to locate Ranger. She found her with the parents, each of whom had a hand planted on her shoulder as if to anchor her to the ground. As if they still couldn't believe they had her in their possession.

"You livin' that beautiful life yet?" Nelly asked her friend, planting a kiss on her wet cheek. "Better get to it. I'm gonna be watchin'. I got all damn eternity to do nothin' but watch you be wonderful." Ranger's eyes were red, and her breaths came in little hiccups, but Nelly could see the potential behind the grief. She could see the future, really and truly, and it was amazing. She hugged her best friend one last time, making sure some subconscious part of the girl felt Nelly's presence, and then let her go.

Then she joined Benji on the stage. He was shit at speeches, just like she thought he'd be, but he was trying. God help the poor cow pat head, he was trying.

"Good luck, ugly," she murmured. "Don't forget to tell everyone about me and how goddamn amazin' I was. You promised. Have fun, ya knucklehead. Sure hope no more little girls beat you up. That would be damn embarrassing now that you've won a Hunger Games." As the speech concluded and Benji raised his fists, the people of the District cheered wildly for their new victor. Even Nelly's family, even Ranger's. The little ghost cheered with them, whooping with all the power of her nonexistent lungs.

There was such a thing as victory. It wasn't measured by the Hunger Games, or financial success, or even the number of times one managed to cheat death. Victory was something altogether apart, and Nelly thought she knew what it felt like in the last second before she winked out forever.


Joined: 2:55 AM - Oct 23, 2012

4:02 AM - Feb 28, 2013 #20

Benji already knew what was waiting for him in the career districts.

As soon as the train slowly pulled into one, he could tell that this was going to be a long trip. Their faces illuminated when he arrived, and frowns etched into all of their faces. Most grimaced, others even glared and gave him a look of true detestment. However, Benji didn't like them any more than they liked him. Their tribute had tried to kill him twice, he wasn't going to try and sound sad for them. It was their own childrens' fault, not his. Sure, he'd killed the girl, but their girl tribute had killed their male. It was similar to Nelly and him. Benji started his speech with a completely coated tone of voice, making it obvious that if it could have been done his way, he would have gone on stage, spit right there in front of them, then leave. He didn't like District One, and District One didn't like him either.

District Two was almost a mirror of District One. They were already bitter because of their loss of the female tribute so early, but now they had a grudge against him for killing their male tribute. Benji was a firm believer in cockiness leading to demise, and that had happened to Two. He'd been cocky in that lighthouse fight, and Benji had caught him off guard. He honestly had nothing else to say to District Two, except for what he'd said to District One. Just boring old speeches that they all knew meant nothing to him.

District Three seemed almost as dismal as what he imagined District Twelve to be. He felt kind of bad, considering their male tribute had blown up on the pedestal before the gong had sounded, but he hadn't known any of their tributes. Whenever he spoke to the crowd of pale-faced, acne-coated people of three, his voice was a bit less strained, unlike the career districts he'd been to so far, and was a bit more sympathetic. That didn't mean he was speaking the truth, though.

District Four was an interesting District. He wasn't exactly sure what happened in that district, where the ocean billowed onto the sandy shore with the sounds of crashing waves. Benji thought that the scenery there was astounding, and he would have been able to re-visit any day, if one thing changed. It would be better if they all weren't so insane. Their Girl had been killed by him, but none of them seemed interested in her death, in fact, they seemed a bit happy that she was gone. However, the male seemed to be mourned over more than the girl. Nelly had been the one to kill that ferocious monster, and he was glad he hadn't been the one to do so. As Nelly began to re-flood his brain, Benji loaded the train again, fearing the old memories soon to come back to him.

District Five was a little bit like District Three. He hadn't ever known the girl, he figured she'd been Bloodbath bait, but the boy...He'd known Brighton for only a few short minutes. That had been back in the mausoleum, the exact same ten minuet time span that he'd killed the girl from four, and escaped the fight of District One's powerful female tribute. He felt bad for the poor boy from five. He probably could have made an ally of him, but he'd left. He was sure that wasn't what caused the death of the boy, but he kind of wished he'd gotten to say more than five words to him.

District Six was completely explainable to Benji. He hadn't known either tributes at all, let alone remembered their names, but he remembered seeing their boy once or twice, perhaps in training during the weeks before the games. His speech to them was not bitter, nor was it gushing with emotion. It was simply empty.

District Seven was what began to strike a nerve in Benji. This was where the Victory tour was going to get serious, and he was going to have to suck in his breath here. Pomona had been from District Seven, and though he'd acted angry towards her and Denny all of the time, he admired her knowledge, and he wished he could have apologized to the poor girl for ever acting rudely to her. The boy had been a long-shot from Benji's acquaintance. He never remembered seeing him either. It was strange, knowing someone had died to let him live, and then never knowing who they were or what their name was.

District Eight was a bit uncomfortable. Denny had been from this district, the gloomy, depressing, freezing cold, factory-enriched place, and the stringy boy wondered how the kid had ever been able to breathe. He often found himself coughing during his speech, the smog caking his lungs as he spoke. Benji was used to the open plains and cow-laden fields of District Ten, not this concrete jungle. He mentioned Denny with a strange tone in his voice. He wasn't sure whether it was regret or if it was forgiveness, but Benji felt like they needed to know that any prior disliking of each other had been diminished. At least, it was for Benji. He couldn't say the same for poor Denny.

District Nine was a barrel of mixed feelings. Cherokee had died second to him, and he felt like he felt greatly for the District. It wasn't their fault their last hope had lost it in the arena, and as he set his eyes on the people of the district, he spoke words that couldn't ever have been disguised as fake. He couldn't afford to lie in such a place. Cherokee had been an important key to his survival, and he would be eternally grateful to them for the girl.

Sadly, they'd had to skip District Ten, and now Benji was in District Eleven. Benji had only vaguely seen the edges of District Eleven the cotton and vegetable fields only seeable so far with the naked eye. Benji had gone to the District Fence many-a-time with his gutter buddies, and he recognized the dark-skinned individuals immediately. He'd actually been able to interact with someone from Eleven once, outside of the games...Even though it had been for him to get away from the fence. He didn't remember their female tribute very well, and he was sure he'd never met their male one either. Their speech had been similar to Six's, completely empty.

District Twelve was a desolate wasteland. Not only was it soaked in extreme poverty, the people their didn't seem very accepting or healthy either. Most of their cheeks were hollow, and there was the daunting sight of a man off to the side, leaning against a post, dying of what was either hunger or thirst. It sent chills down Benji's spine, and he suddenly realized how thankful he was to have won the money he had. He remembered the little girl and boy both. The only thing he could piece together of the girl was the image of her head lolling off her shoulders, a memory Benji never wanted to relive. The boy he'd seen in the finale. It was a shame, the kid had gotten pretty far for his age.

Finally, District Ten came into view. It had been early morning, only hardly sunrise, when he was able to see the fields begin to stretch out In the distance, he could see some people pulling their barn doors open, walking inside to milk the cows and gather the eggs for breakfast. Some sheepdogs barked in the distance, feeling excited by the train's loud horn, and as Benji peeled his tired eyes open, he smiled. He was finally home, and he never wanted to leave this dusty old place again. The speech Benji had given to them was gushing with emotion. All of it was true, and he'd even teared up a few times, just out of sheer amazement and joy. Of course, his mentioning of Nelly had definitely toned down the excitement for a while but Benji made sure to finish on a light note. As he concluded his speech, he raised a fist into the air, grinning proudly, and the people of District Ten whooped and shouted, cheering for their brand new victor. The gutter boys hollered and screeched, banging their beer bottles on the sides of the buildings in the distance, and Benji let his smile reappear one last time.

Benjamin Bronco was now back where he belonged, after weeks and weeks of being torn away from what he treasured so much. He was a damned man, but not when he was within the fences of his home land.

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