Silver Finch - Foxface Fanfiction

Hey, Hunger Games & Foxface fanatics! This is my first fanfic in a while, so it might start out a little awkwardly, but I promise I've done my best :) I'd love it if you left a rating and a comment, maybe even FR me! My friends are awesome ;) Soo... read on and enjoy!!<33 xxxxx

Chapter 1

Waking Up And Remembering - The Reaping Day

Automatically, my arms reach out to cuddle Damian. My ears strain to hear his steady breathing. But as my eyes flicker open, I remember what I've seven hundred and twenty-one times. Damian isn't here any more. Pain is the only thing I can register in the next few minutes. But I can't stay like this forever. I finger the bracelet wrapped around my wrist, the bracelet that I haven't taken off since the day Damian died... because, somehow, it gives me strength. It was the last thing Damian held before he passed away, the silver finch. On the old, tarnished chain. But the finch stayed bright, maybe because it's made of real silver. I could probably sell it for a fortune, but I wouldn't even if I was on death's door.

I stretch, catlike, and pad to our tiny bathroom. I splash my face with icy cold water and drag my fingers through my tangled hair, pull it into a bun, then go to find my reaping outfit. It's been the same one for the past two years - a pale green cotton dress with fluttery sleeves like wings, brown leather sandals and my bracelet. Then... I stop short. I've got to tell Mum. She won't know it's Reaping Day. She'll be sitting in her old armchair, staring with glassy eyes into nothingness. Or maybe it's not nothingness to her. I wouldn't know, would I? I slip silently into the main room. She isn't there. I feel a wave of shock run through me. She's not left that room for months. Almost a year. I rush into the kitchen.
"Mum! Mum!" I shout, not bothering to conceal the desperation in my voice. And then I stop short.

She is lying on the floor, her empty eyes still open. Staring. But she doesn't look alive. I kneel down, fear shooting through me at every breath. I rest my hand on her chest. To my intense relief, I feel her heart beating. Slowly. But still beating. I shake her gently.
"Mum, please. Wake up. It's reaping day. What happened? Please." Silent tears run down my cheeks, dripping onto her white face. Eventually, a little light comes into her eyes.
"Mar-... Marissa?" She says in a raspy voice.
"What happened?" I shake her more urgently.
"Tried... tried to... make food." I am suddenly angry with her.
"What were you doing?" I shout. "What were you doing, when you know you can't do anything now? Do you want to die?" I'm shaking, sobs catching in my throat. "I don't mind. I don't mind looking after you. But if you try to make things worse... that's another story." She's crying too. "Just... we've got to go to the reaping. I know it will be difficult for you. But they'll come, if you don't go." I gently try to haul her up.
"I'm sorry." Her voice catches, barely audible. She continues. "For everything. I'd feel better if you... if you hated me. But you don't. I love you, Marissa."
"I love you too, Mum. But please. Try and get through today. She nods. "Come on." Eventually she is standing, if shakily. I hold out my arm.
"My... my clothes."
"Oh, never mind", I reply. Anything to get it over and done with. I hate reapings even without having to worry about clothes

In fifteen minutes we are standing in the shabby square of District 5. The once grand justice building is run-down and the grey stone are so dark it makes the whole place look like a abattoir... slaughterhouse. Come to think of it, that's not far off the mark - I've seen whippings enough times. I've heard that in career districts the justice buildings are places of honour, beauty, almost sacred. Not so much here.
"Mum... Mum, I'm going to have to leave you. Just until it's over. You'll be fine." I try to speak in a reassuring voice, but it's extremely difficult, given the circumstances. She clutches at me, desperation in her eyes. "Mum! Let go!" I shake her arm off. She looks at me sadly. Suddenly, I realise that I can't do this any more, and quickly depart to get my blood sampling done.

One quick jab and it's over. I go to stand with the other fifteen-year-old girls. I don't know these girls, apart from seeing them in school. I avoid talking to everyone nowadays. But what I do know is that some of them have taken tessera. Barely a year's supply of grain and oil for one person, in exchange for... what? Having an even bigger chance of fighting twenty three other children your age for the entertainment of a bunch of peacocks? That's why I don't take tessera. I've scraped by haven't I? I admit that I steal, but that's not uncommon in District Five. Apart from that... well, I manage.

The Mayor comes onto the rickety platform and begins the speech. The speech that is repeated every single year. I barely bother to listen, it's so boring - all about the Dark Days and Treaty of Treason... I soon get lost in my wandering thoughts. Behind the mask of indifference, I am terrified. Of being trapped in the arena, of finding Mother dead if I ever came back, of everything. By that, I mean the Hunger Games. The Capitol. President Snow. The Gamemakers. The Peacekeepers. Everything.

I only start to pay proper attention when Fenella Furr, our district reaper, trots onto the platform in shiny purple ten-inch heels. This year, as obvious by the colour of her shoes, her colour scheme is purple. Fluffy lilac wig, puffy purple dress, violet-tinted skin. She looks like a freak. Unsurprisingly, seeing as the vast majority of the Capitol does. She begins the same ritual she does every single year.
"Hello, District Five! It is that time of the year again - oh yes - the seventy-fourth annual Hunger Games!" A huge, enthusiastic smile is plastered on her face. "As you know, we will reap the female and male victor, then any volunteers can... um, well", she trails off. "Volunteer!" She finishes triumphantly. Maybe if I wasn't so scared, I'd find her uncertainty at District Five's unimpressed attitude funny. As it is, it just makes the whole thing worse.

"Ladies first!" She trills. She walks over to the girls' reaping ball. Her perfectly manicured fingernails dive into the mass of slips, eager to find this year's 'lucky tribute'. Eventually, she pulls out one. I stand, rigid. I can barely breathe. It's not so much about going into the arena. It's about what would happen to... to... I try to stop myself. But the hurricane whirling around in my head is intolerable... I can't think, smell, see, breathe...
"Marissa Finch!"

I almost faint. Almost. A small gasp, that I know will soon be followed by a scream, escapes my lips. But I regain my composure just in time, as Fenella is beckoning me up onto the stage. My movements are robotic, but, as I see myself on the screen, I realise thankfully that the tears threatening to spill over the edge of my eyelids are not visible. Whatever I may be feeling right now, I cannot let it show. I am almost at the stage, and risk a quick glance around to Mum. I don't see her. I know where I left her. I almost trip, so impatient I am to yet onto the stage now, because I must, must know where Mum is. Then... there she is. Right at the front. But she's not looking at me. She's lying on the ground as the people around her give uncertain glances at each other... with those huge, glassy eyes staring to the watery blue sky.

"Congratulations, Marissa... Finch!" She says my surname like it's a disease. Anger almost chokes me, and I say nothing. "But, oh, have we any volunteers?" Of course there isn't. Fenella looks around with an all-too-hopeful look on her face. Then she turns back to me in disappointment. Of course, she's thinking 'how is this scrawny little thing going to win me a promotion?' I glare at her. "Well", she continues. "We will move on to our male tribute!" After thirty seconds or so she eventually pulls out a slip of paper.
"Omma Schwesky!" A strange name for a strange boy. I sit next to him in maths, and he's always frowning. With those pitch-black eyes he looks almost menacing. But I know I will have no problem taking him out if need be... he's about as stupid as a fish. He practically stomps onto stage, and I look at him with a mixture of triumph and contempt. You win sponsors by being charming, confident, defiant... forget the bad-tempered bit. I've already worked out my plan for sponsored - look, think and be smart. Shouldn't be too hard, for a person like me.
"Any volunteers?" Fenella's getting tired now. "So, um... ok, let's give a round of applause to the District Five tributes of the 74th annual Hunger Games!" A few seconds of clapping follows. Almost genuine. To know that their children will be spared for another year.

We are led into a small room each to say our goodbyes. The peacekeeper almost shoves me in - I have to resist the urge to kick him. I don't know why they're treating me like this. But the reason becomes clear in a few seconds. Another peacekeeper almost drags my half-dead Mum in. Of course. She disgraced the district, didn't she? That's all that matters to them. Money. Respect. Power.
"Mum! Mum! Wake up!" She's still breathing. "Mum! I shake her harshly. Her eyes snap open. "Mum! I'm going to the Capitol. I'm going into the arena. You'll have to manage, ok! I can't do anything to help you, you can't do anything to help me... just... manage!" The words are slipping past my lips in a torrent, I am barely able to control what I'm saying but I seem to be saying the right things. Because she sits up, takes a deep breath and says. "I'll manage. I love you Marissa, but I can't stay. You know what will happen." She kisses me lightly on the cheek and walks out.

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