The Wily One: A Foxface Fan Fiction

Foxface is the only character I truly appreciate in the Hunger Games: her intelligence evokes awe in me, which is why I decided to try and write a story about her. This can't top GraceAnne's Blood, Betrayal and Berries, but I hope it's entertaining enough! Please leave a comment and rate, I really appreciate it.

I named Foxface Finch in this story, because that's what Jacqueline Emerson named her in the movie. If you know a better name, please list it in your comment!

Thank you! Enjoy.

Chapter 1

Chapter One

Finch crouches in the alley, her eyes fixed expectantly on the not-too-well-off man who is unzipping his fly. It isn't something she likes watching, and it certainly isn't the reason she is poised in a mucky lane, her greasy hair sticking to her face.

No, Finch always has at least one good reason for doing things. And right now, that good reason is the piece of bread sticking out of the man's back pocket. It looks soggy, stale and utterly revolting, but she hasn't eaten since last night, and food is food.

She keeps her eyes on the man as she darts forward and snatches the sodden bread out of the pocket. It's heavier than she thought; and not only that, it also smells. But she tries to ignore that and sprints towards another alley, where she sits down and crouches behind a crate. The man is nowhere to be seen, yet her heart thuds loudly. The thrill of stealing never left her.

She rubs her grubby face and closes her eyes just before the sun's rays disappear, making place for dark grey clouds that promise nothing but rain, something which hasn't been uncommon for the last 80 years in District 5. Her eyes flit towards the food she is holding and she brings her nose to it, sniffing it gently. "Yuck," she complains with distaste, creases forming in her forehead. "Bon appetit."

Remains of a language no longer spoken in Panem, to toast on a lump of bread that smells like piss, she thinks, not sure whether to be amused or chagrined. She decides on the first and flashes a grin that stretches her cheeks awfully taut. Then, trying rather too hard not to breathe, she sinks her yellowed teeth into bread and tears a piece out with such force that tears spring into her eyes. It isn't just the force she used--it tastes absolutely horrible. Exactly the way it smells, actually.

The thought of her family crosses her mind; waiting for her to return; starving. It used to make her feel guilty, but she is beyond that now. Survival of the fittest is the key of life in Panem, Finch thinks, holding the bread in her arms and swallowing the lump in her mouth with difficulty. Even the thought of her brother Joe with his watery eyes and snotty nose can no longer evoke pity in her. Hunger does that kind of things to human beings.

Panem does that kind of things to human beings, to be more accurate.

Something moves in the corner of her vision, and Finch shrinks further into her corner as a lanky figure throws shadows on the wall of the alley. It is clearly a boy, and for a brief moment she thinks of the man she stole the bread from; is it him?

He is too tall and undernourished, she notices. Just after staring at the outline for another couple of seconds, the realization of who it is hits her: Otto Vermogen, a boy not much older than her, who is infamous for his thievery and crude treatment of women. Her heart begins to pound all over again, and she scoots further into her nook. If she believes the old wives' tales--which she doesn't, she reassures herself--Otto can smell humans who have food on them. Which, when she thinks it over again, isn't really all that unlikely, actually. Both food and humans in District 5 reek terribly.

Her breath is loud; much too loud. She sucks it in, but is afraid the noises she made while scrambling back have betrayed her position already. Maybe it is just her imagination, but it seems like Otto sniffs the air and takes a step towards her. For an instant, it is completely silent and it looks as if the thief turns away from her.

"I know you're there. I know you have food," he suddenly says, whirling around rapidly. Just then, lightning booms dramatically and illuminates Otto's twisted face, insane with famine.

Finch shoves the loaf of bread under her shirt, pushes the crate aside--ignoring the splinters digging into her hands--and sprints out of the alley as fast as she possibly can.


*

By the time she is home, Finch is soaked thoroughly by the rain. She stares at the door for a moment and hesitates, the embarrassment of fending for herself finally catching up with her. But above that, there is the fear that her family will turn her out now that she has neglected them. They rely on her more than she relies on them.

Don't be ridiculous, she scolds herself, testing the handle of the door. To her own surprise, it swings open with an eerie creak and exposes her home. It smells of home-made soap, sweat and burnt bread, as usual. What is not so normal is that her brother isn't smiling his gap-toothed smile at her from the kitchen table, nor is her father seated on the wooden stool in the corner with his old book full of stories about what was once called the Pacific. Her mother is absent as well.

"Mom?" Finch calls out uncomfortably, wringing her hair. Behind her, the sun breaks through again. She pushes the door open further and steps in. "Dad? Joe?" She touches the walls and slides on, swallowing loudly. "Are any of you home?"

That's a stupid question, she scolds herself. There is no answer. Therefore, they aren't home. Use your wits, Finch--it's all you have in this world. Why wouldn't they be here?

She sits down at the kitchen table and strokes the wood, her brain running through the options. There are many--they could have been taken by Peacekeepers, they could have starved while she was gone, they could have gone off to live somewhere else, they could have made a run for it--but none of them seem likely enough to Finch. It is as if she is missing something obvious, she thinks, pinning her lips together in frustration.

Just then, she realizes what day it is. Though she tries to stop it, a surprised bark of laughter escapes her lips, and at the exact moment she has her epiphany, her hands touch the hem of a cheap dress. She had been in the square that morning; she should have seen the banners.

Today is Reaping Day.

*

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