Prompt: careers, you don't talk, you don't say nothing, okay
Rating: K+ (child abuse, disturbing themes)
She’s thirteen and naked and rough hands are pulling her hair, rough on purpose and over and over until her scalp is numb and tears prick her eyes. Her eyes are closed and raw from the scratchy makeup that she’s never worn before, and in the darkness of her head she hears what they said to her ten minutes ago, acidic and angry, “Strip. Now.”
This time, they put her in a dress that’s two sizes too small with a fabric that itches and digs in to her sides, and they shove her into heels and every time she stumbles she accumulates another twenty seconds with her back against the wall. Her quads are on fire after a full six minutes in the invisible chair against the bricks. Later, she examines the red, raw blister corseting her stomach.
They coo over her this time, tell her she is gorgeous, a treasure, they ask questions but none that they want answers for. She stares at the wall.
You don’t dress yourself, and you don’t undress yourself. You let them. You do not ask questions. You do not talk. Even if it seems like they want you to, they don’t. You do not show emotion and you do not interact. You stand there like a corpse and follow direct orders like look up and mouth open and eyes down. You are their living doll.
These are the rules.
At the Games, the dress her stylist gives her is silver and shiny and stupid. She hates dresses. She hates this part. She hates their hands on her body and their brushes against her skin.
Dolls don’t speak.
Prompt: rue & katniss, here is the place where i love you -- au dream land type where rue and katniss are in the arena but they're having fun and everything is fluffy and no one tries to skewer either of them whilst they frolic through a field of daisies, but then it's not real
Rating: K+ (character death)
Characters: Rue, Katniss
The trees shimmer and blossom with purple and orange and silver flowers that flow up their trunks as they run together. They run like the Careers, joyful and free but there are no Careers here and they are not dark and broken and empty underneath, not like them. They are full and alive and nothing hurts. Katniss lights up the forest with her laughter and Rue joins in and their giggles play a song that every Mockingjay in the forest and beyond sings and sings and sings until it floats all the way back to District Eleven. And then Mama and Papa and all her scared, hungry brothers and sisters and her aunts and uncles and cousins know that she is safe, she is happy and warm because she is with a girl whose soul glows a bright, flinty amber.
They run and run underneath the green canopy dotted with golden skylights between the branches. They slow down once in awhile to pick candy off the leaves of the bushes, candy that bursts sweet and tangy in your mouth and rests heavenly on your tongue and she’s never tasted anything like it and Katniss pokes her belly and says not to eat too much or she’ll get sick. They run until Katniss trips jumping a log that glimmers like District One’s lovely dress, and Rue tries to balance her but goes down on top of her and they land in fluffy white flowers that coat their hair and cover them and they laugh and laugh forever.
No. Not forever.
Rue looks into the snowy red petals and wonders why she’s cold, just then. Someone’s singing. It’s a nice song, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less and why does it hurt? And snow isn’t red, she hasn’t seen much snow in District Eleven but she knows that much, and there’s something warm and wet pooling in her stomach, right where Katniss poked her before and it isn’t candy in her mouth and there aren’t any flowers and Mama, Mama help me helphelpmehelpme I’m dying.
“Shh, baby. Shh,” come the words, and it’s not Mama but there’s Katniss with her dirty red hands on Rue’s cheeks and Rue knows why her hands are red. And Katniss clenches her jaw but then keeps singing. She sings Rue back to the sparkling meadow with the flowers that curl up tree trunks and with the candy that grows on bushes and with the little girls who are allowed to grow up.
Katniss is the girl on fire, but Rue knows that fire can warm just as well as it can burn.
Prompt: seneca crane, oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?
Rating: K+ (child abuse, violence, disturbing themes)
Characters: Seneca Crane, minor tributes
What they don’t know is that he loves them.
Every year they come in their white trains with their little faces pressed up against the windows, with their awed little eyes staring into splendor they could never have dreamed of, with their little fingers twitching over the place where windowpane meets steel. And he knows what the Districts think, oh yes, the little lambs brought to him for slaughter, but that’s not it, not at all. This is his tenth year with the Games. He started small, just a lowly thing in the Control Room with a headset, following orders and bringing coffee, and look what he’s built for himself, just look. This thing has molded his life and so have they, the little blessings delivered to them – this year, to him and only him because at last he will do things exactly as he wants, exactly as they should be done, and if they only knew what he’s done for them. He will make it perfect for them. Beautiful.
And his heart swells with warmth when he watches them rise from their platforms in the first opening notes of his beautiful symphony, his beautiful Game. And oh how he’s brought them together. How lovely they are, clean and free and pure with the wind in the girls’ elegant braids and the innocent shuffle of feet and the glints in brown, blue, green eyes all waiting for him. How he’ll go down in the history books as the author of the most epic pageant in Games history.
The clock reaches zero, and it’s so lovely, their blood, the people they become with spears in their throats and knives in their backs. What they do with themselves when they have nothing left. This is how they become something bigger than themselves; this is the great gift he brings to them. He watches, rapt and awed, at this marvel he’s created.
His voice breaks through the symphony of screams and he asks for the first status reports.
Prompt: glimmer, but inside all i do is scream
Rating: Hard T (sensualization of a minor, sexual harassment of a minor, language)
Characters: Glimmer, Marvel, Caesar
In the streets, she’s fifty feet tall and they shriek her name.
Here in her room, it is quiet. No. It’s not quiet. Their chanting filters through the thick walls like teeth on her skin and the words crawl between the strands of her hair. She breathes them in through her nose at the window, and she looks anyway because there’s no point in turning away. There’s no point in shutting her eyes. There’s no point in not loving this.
[“That’s a lovely dress, Glimmer,” says Caesar to hoots from the crowd.
“Not as lovely as what’s underneath. Would you like to see?”]
The enormous screen in the square changes to evil little Clove with her lean, cut little shoulders and her evil little eyes. Some in the crowd roar approval, but the other voices, harsh and hungry and mostly male, bark out “Bring back Glimmer! Bring back Glimmer!”
[“Slut,” Marvel says to her on the way to the showers after that day’s training. “I’ll get what I want from you before I kill you, you know.”]
She smiles and she’s happy to be here and she loves their attention and their raucous applause and their catcalls just as much as she loves the tinkling laughter of her baby sister and the sniff of fresh blood. Just as much as she loves her shimmering bandage dress that crushes the air from her lungs and her mentor who has a list of a dozen potential sponsors who can’t wait to be her first when she wins. Just as much as she loves the sensual perfection of her full lips, her giggling eyes, her dangerous hips and her full breasts, these things that cost her everything.
She’s happy to be here. She’s happy to be here. She’s happy for her life that’s about to end.
[“Come home,” Pasha cries into her neck at the Justice Building. “Just promise me you’ll please come home.”
She pets her sister’s bouncy, bouncy blond hair.]
The door flies open and her mentor balks at her Capitol sweatpants and barks out, “Just what are you doing wearing that? You’ve got sponsor schmoozing in ten, angelface. Get dressed. Now.”
She winks at him and slides her t-shirt sinuously over her head in full view. She is happy.
Prompt: Cato/Glimmer knives don't have your back
Rating: M (sensualization of minors, implied rape of minors, violence, character death)
Characters: Glimmer, Cato, Rue
The first thing Glimmer notices is which of them are pretty. She watches the Reapings in her compartment curled up in bed with a very expensive glass of wine and looks at their faces, their bodies, the way they walk. She dissects them like a scientist with laser eyes and a stony face. And, like every year, there are several who get her attention. Two Boy has a model’s face and a flawless body no doubt sculpted to be both powerful and beautiful. Nine Girl is gorgeous despite a frumpy black skirt that reaches her calves and a red face free of makeup. As she blushes and trembles on the stage, Glimmer imagines her in a glittering gown with her face painted and polished, imagines her under a sweaty politician with those pretty blue eyes staring up at nothing and empty and dead.
Then there’s Eleven Girl. She’s steadfast and brave on the stage with her little head up high and her button nose and big, big doe eyes on the clouds. She’s twelve and looks about nine, but her coffee skin is creamy and luscious and her lips are full and flushed and her body is wiry and girlish and teaming with young energy and, yes, they would like this.
Such a shame.
After they take her clothes, one of the men in the prep team gropes her breasts, and her handler rounds on him with angry eyes and says, don’t you dare.
Her hands skim Glimmer’s shoulders like an artist reorganizing paintbrushes and her eyes say, not yet, anyway.
They look at everyone and imagine their deaths. This is nothing new. Glimmer recognizes it like her own fingerprint in the Two Girl who sizes up Boy Six, a scrawny thing that has a good seven inches on her, and her eyes say, yes, for you I’ll twist the knife in your stomach and put my fingernails through your eyes and watch the blood rain down. Glimmer looks at them and imagines them victors, and for her that’s also nothing new. Girl Eight playing the little lost girl who needs Daddy to punish her. Two Boy as everyone’s charming party favor. The delicious irony of Boy Eleven, so powerful and stoic, helpless in chains before them.
Glimmer catches Girl Eleven giggling at something her partner said, and then she knows that, if nothing else, she must kill this one.
Alliance with Two Boy, as long as she can until he becomes dangerous, is the way to win. The girl is menacing and flat-chested and Marvel is too lanky and has too harsh a face and, anyway, she remembers his handprint on her hipbone at the Academy as if he’d branded her there. But Two Boy, oh, he’s got the sort of face that makes ladies swoon and men hungry and the world fall in love even while he’s plunging his sword into Nine Girl’s stomach over and over and over and, well, at least she’s safe now. And so Glimmer touches his chiseled chest and laughs in his ear and ghosts her fingers over his crotch while they organize the supplies at the lake. His acting is pitch-perfect, but he’s on autopilot, and they find all the cameras and make sure their glimpses and grins at each other hit the audience in all the right places. Two is not interested in girls but palms her ass anyway because he knows how this game is played and, well, at least he won’t expect them to care when he only wants the men. They fool around a little under the tree, enough to give Two an impressive hickey but no more. She knows to tease but not to deliver. That’s for later. That’s for after.
Two would spear her without a second thought.
And maybe she can do this. Maybe she can knife Two Boy in his sleep and have her mace ready for Two Girl who will inevitably turn hungry, vengeful eyes on her, and maybe she can offer Marvel everything he’s wanted for a year and then give him poison in his belly instead. Maybe she can stay alive, stay dead, come home the loser because Glimmer knows that nobody wins this Game.
She thinks she’d prefer her neck snapped by Two Boy to Two Girl’s delicate knives.
The bees come and she runs and runs but, really, what’s the point? She stumbles once and thinks that all endings are the same and then she couldn’t have run even if she’d wanted to and the venom shows her all those horrible things that would have been hers if she’d come out of here and she knows this is the best way. She screams raw and unpretty and there’s nothing they can do about it now, and it’s her scream and it’s her death and she feels the things eat at her skin and she likes the idea of being hideous.
And then it’s not her, it’s Girl Eleven, and she wishes she could have killed her.
She knows by now that wishes are as useless as the bow gripped like a vice in her corroded fingers.
Prompt: The Careers, Poor Unfortunate Souls
Rating: T (violence, character death, disturbing themes, child abuse)
Characters: D2 OCs, Cato, Clove
It’s their twenty-seventh hour in the lounge with two televisions glued to each of Two’s channels and a third switching back and forth between the others still alive. They’re used to this during Games Month. They’re used to meals being interrupted and weapons dropped onto the floor as if on fire and being hauled out of bed in the middle of the night to watch. And they’re used to when something important is happening and they only leave the room for sixty-second bathroom breaks. (The trainers time them.) This is one of those times, and they commit the scene to memory and the ones who can write scribble notes furiously. And their trainers snarl about carelessness and taking a monologue too far and awareness of your surroundings when Clove takes a rock to the temple, and they shake their heads and tell them all in caustic honesty, She forgot herself. She used acting when she should have fought. Tell me five different ways you would have broken that hold.
But then Cato’s there and it’s not acting. They barely breathe as he lays her head in his lap and cards his fingers through her hair and whispers to her, and both their channels are still active so they get it from two different angles, down into her smashed skull and vacant eyes and up at his horror and pain and something else that makes them shudder deep to their bones.
“You’re beautiful, you know that? You’re the only good thing here, and -- I’ll never let them, you know, I’ll never let them ruin you. They’re broken, I’m broken, but you’re not. They can’t break you. I’ll kill them first. I’ll kill them all. I’ll – ”
The Two screens go black in unison. They shift uncomfortably in chairs and couches and piles of blankets and look around the room at the white walls, at their trainers’ doubting faces, at each other.
Cato’s comes back on a short time later, when the other television following Eleven brings him into view, and the fight is flawless and messy and short and then the kill is everything it should be and there’s a little more ease in the room. A few of them breathe sighs of relief. One of the trainers starts commentary again. Her voice is shaky and small. And maybe they’re safe. Maybe they were wrong. Maybe it’s okay.
And then Cato tears off the bracelet, his token, the thing that means everything. Then he stuffs in Eleven’s mouth all their vows and promises and everything they stand for, everything they are, every word they recite in the morning and evening and at every meal. Then he steps on the thing that means they love the Capitol and the Capitol loves them back. Then he tears up their worlds.
The room is gutted silence for a moment that drags through all of them like a razor into skin. And then there’s the gasps, the whispers. The hands over mouths, the eyes on the floor, the teeth digging into lips. One homesick Thirteen who’s in his first month of Residential starts to cry. The trainers look at each other and their eyes are scared and careless like prey. One of them is tearing up, too. Most of them are just lost in horror, in grief, in a place far away where no one can crawl out. Because it wasn’t okay, was it? It was never okay.
Two’s screen goes black again, and a girl slated to Graduate next summer muffles a sob in the hem of her shirt.
A trainer, the one with the tears in her eyes, rises defiantly to her feet and says, low and calm but everyone knows the truth, “Back to your dorms, everyone.”
This is the first day of the last year of the Center’s life.
Prompt: Careers, no one mourns the wicked
Rating: K+ (implied violence, disturbing themes)
Characters: D2 OCs, Enobaria
Against Enobaria’s advice, they send a small team to the main building in the middle of the District while the kids are eating lunch. The seniors kill all the soldiers who made it inside using nothing but things in the cafeteria.
There are three hundred and seventy-two children in the system. One hundred and twenty are under age nine. Most of the youngest are home with their parents, confused and angry, ducking behind curtains when you pass their houses in the street, tugging at adults’ sleeves and asking what happened to the Center and why do the people with the brown uniforms hate President Snow. Some of the Thirteens and Fourteens leave voluntarily, taken into custody by men and women at the gates three, four, five times their age who slap them into handcuffs and put the barrels of guns at their backs.
There’s a news broadcast that night that reassures the world that the dissolving of the Career Farms is going exactly according to plan. They do not show the footage of the fourteen-year-old girl who decides somewhere between the dorms and the boundary of the fenced-in property that she doesn’t want to go and takes down two of her captors, one of them on the ground with a snapped neck because she has killed before and knows exactly how, before they get her with a stun-gun. They do not show the boy next to her sobbing that he wants to go home, his eyes on the building behind them and everyone knows exactly what ‘home’ is to him. They do not show the senior boy grabbing an indecisive thirteen-year-old by her hair and lecturing that if she goes with these monsters she’ll never come back. They do not show the little faces peeking out of the windows and in the doorways, the beautiful little faces with smiles that dazzle the world, these tiny, well-spoken things shrieking with clarity and passion that the true Capitol will rise again.
There’s talk of bombing the place from the sky. Enobaria says that if they do that, they’ll see her resignation in the form of teeth through their throats.
“What would you have us do?” they tell her in bitter exasperation. “They’re mouthpieces for the old regime.”
“They’re exactly what we made them,” Enobaria says, and her stony eyes make them back away.
“They chose this,” they insist. “They signed up to die. They want it. They like it. They’re sick. You know what you do with a sick dog? You put it down.”
The others shuffle around her. They don’t speak. They agree. They remember every July of their lives watching things bred from that building slaughter their friends and families on television with laughter in their eyes.
“You know what you do with a sick child? You heal it,” Enobaria says. The venom in her voice could poison the whole world. “Two made them. Two will unmake them. Unless you want more of your own to die, you’ll put me in charge of this project and do everything I say without question.”
And at the end of the day, it doesn’t make much difference to them, so they wash their hands of District Two’s Athletic and Personal Growth Center and hand the dead-end job to the only woman who will have it.
Prompt: Cato/Clove - who else is gonna put up with me this way? I need you, I breathe you, I'll never leave you/they would rue the day/I was alone without you
Rating: T (child abuse, violence, language, implied character death, disturbing themes)
Characters: Clove, Cato, Caesar
For her debut at the Capitol, for her interviews a lifetime ago, they did her nails in chromium silver, polished and sharpened like ten tiny knives on the tips of her fingers.
It’s her closing ceremony, and they do them soul-deep black. They scrub Cato’s blood from her nail beds and erase the muddy slime of the bottom of the lake and the dirt from the Cornucopia and she is white and fresh and dead before them. They strip search her for knives first. They find seven.
They put her in red, deep red, dirty, filthy red, and the dress moves like liquid steel that’s been through the bloodbath and she imagines driving her spikey heel through her stylist’s throat and tells herself it’s alright. They paint her face and iron the life from her hair and pin it up with a clip that only looks like a knife except it’s not.
They try to coach her. They bring in Brutus and, when that doesn’t work, they bring in the most experienced trainers from the Center who try everything in their little psychology books but it isn’t going to work. She tells them fuck you in the ear with Cato’s voice, Cato’s words in her mouth, and they shake their heads and tell them that’s as far as you’re going to get with her now.
They tell her this is good enough.
She stalks onto the stage to boos and shrieks of disappointment, or anger, or pain or something, she’s not sure what anymore but she looks at the signs for The Lovers Of District Twelve and knows. This is why she flips them off as she walks, to more boos but this time they hold a hint of entertained amusement at her. Her trainers catch her eye meaningfully from just backstage, and the show must go on.
“Yeah, yeah,” she tells the crowd. “Cry me a fucking river.”
The booing is energetic and contagious and they’re having just as much fun as they always do.
“I have to ask, Clove, what was going through your head at the end there, when – ” Caesar pauses for dramatic effect and the audience holds their breath like children about to receive candy. “When it came down to you and Cato.”
“Oh, we got the idea from the Lovebirds from Twelve. We thought it’d be a good show, you know? Introduce a rival couple. And, hey, it worked.” Clove’s eyes are sharp like her knives.
Caesar nods, but his face is artificially unconvinced. “But, you know, I have to say, when Cato said he loved you at the end – you can’t say that was all a show, now can you?”
“Maybe it wasn’t and maybe it was.” The words drip from her tongue like battery acid. “But I’m the one still standing here, so who’s the smart one now?”
The audience dissolves into jeering shouts. Words like “monster!” and “heartbreaker!” reach her ears through the muddle of noise.
“Oh, give it a rest, all of you,” Clove spits out. “I’m the bad girl. You knew I was the bad girl when you sent me presents, so don’t cry when you get what you want.” She pulls the fake knife from her hair and runs it over her lips and paints an insane smile on her face and drinks their disappointment into her lungs and promises Cato that she’ll keep hurting them for as long as she can.
Caesar askes her if she loved Cato, too, even deep inside, even a little bit, and she laughs and laughs while she imagines pulling out his tongue and stuffing it down his throat.
So, who’s the smart one now?
Prompt: Glimmer, she says, you don't wanna be like me, don't wanna see all the things I've seen, I'm dying, I'm dying (OMG somebody else sees this song for her = Katie had to write it)
Rating: M (language, violence, character deaths, child abuse, rape of minors, drug and alcohol abuse by minors, disturbing themes)
Characters: Glimmer, Rue, Clove, Cato, Finnick
She gets Eleven Girl with a knife to just the right arteries, silently so she doesn’t wake up and never knows she’s dead. She dodges Clove’s angry blow and sneers at her growls of I had dibs on her, you whore, and they grapple with each other in a way that Glimmer knows will dry the audience’s mouths and draw their hungry stares and make them forget about the little girl dead in a thicket of clover. When they finally stop with Glimmer on top of Clove and their hips flush and their deadly eyes focused tight on each other, Clove breaks the spell first with a horrible laugh as she licks Eleven’s blood from Glimmer’s jaw.
Glimmer coaxes an exaggerated moan out of herself while she wishes for a hole to crawl into. Clove’s eyes are full and round and all over Eleven’s blood. Eleven is a silent witness who will never open her eyes again and will never see the things the two of them have seen.
This is, maybe, the first and last good thing Glimmer does in her life.
When Cato spears the girl on fire for his little Clove, Glimmer wishes she’d been the one who had to pay. Because then it’s just them on the Cornucopia with the mutts and Cato’s gone to a place he’ll never come back from, and they look at each other and it’s a fight for who gets to lose. Cato falls first. Glimmer misses him with her mace and so there’s nothing to do but wait while they slowly, slowly, slowly chew him to nothing. His screams carve themselves into her flesh and she envies him for finding such a quick death.
They have her waxed and oiled and polished for hours, and then they dress her in glitter. That’s all.
The first time she sleeps since the Arena is five minutes curled up on the toilet in the apartment of her highest bidder. She wakes up to the buzz of tracker jackers and a fist pounding on the door asking what’s taking so long. She sweeps the door open and murmurs, “Just getting ready, honey.”
The first time isn’t so bad. He’s sweaty and soft and not the Arena. After, she drinks herself to sleep and sees mutts chewing away at Cato’s face.
She’s always drunk, but they never seem to mind. She likes the rough ones, the ones who think they know what rough is. She looks deep into their souls while they fuck her and counts all the ways she knows to kill them.
She doesn’t mind it. She’s not surprised. They’ve prepared her for this. That’s what she says to herself with the needle pressing into her skin and sliding into the vein. That’s what she says with her perfect eyes and luscious lashes laser-focused on the pink liquid that she knows will send her to a place where it doesn’t matter. They don’t mind this, either. Some say she’s better when she’s high.
What she hates is Remaking, when they patch her up after. Once, she has her nipple reattached under white lights. They give her some great drugs.
They kill her middle sister. They kill Pasha in her bed with the barrel of a Peacekeeper gun to her brain over and over and over. Glimmer remembers what it’s like to be dead.
That night, she dreams of Eleven’s slit little throat.
She’s wearing nothing but a sparkly thong when Finnick finds her and presses a glass into her hands and says, “Sit. Drink.”
It’s only water. Her eyes flash betrayal at him.
“I’m fine, you know,” she slurs into the glass. “I’m not like you. I’m not like the others. I expected this.”
“Okay, Glim,” he says, and though he’s only twenty-three, his eyes look like her grandfather’s and his voice sounds almost as old. “That’s okay.”
She doesn’t say anything else after that. She doesn’t look down into the glass and watch the world splinter and she doesn’t choke on something she thought long gone from her life. She doesn’t throw herself at Finnick with big, ugly sobs and a scream like a rabid animal, and he doesn’t half-carry her to her apartment and wrap her in a sheet and hold her hair away from her face while she vomits her guts into the toilet in between shrieks for him to kill her, pleasepleasepleasejustplease. He doesn’t put her in the shower and wash the clown makeup from her face and the glitter from her hair and dab Capitol ointment on the bite marks on her skin. And he doesn’t sit in bed with her, her under the covers and him on the edge like a father reading a bedtime story except Glimmer’s father never read bedtime stories, telling her how to hold on and that it really will get easier and promising that he’ll put her back together for as long as he can.
When Finnick gets double duty at his next trip to the Capitol, she’s not surprised.
Prompt: Career camping trip. (Okay, this was my prompt, but I filled it myself and played it straight instead of making it a legit camping trip AU. Maybe someday I'll write the funny one.)
Rating: T (child-on-child violence, disturbing themes)
Characters: Marvel, Glimmer, Cato, Clove
“Sweet! Look what they sent us!” Marvel holds up the bag of marshmellows attached to the silver parachute with gleeful eyes.
“Look what they sent me, you mean,” Cato says as he grabs violently for the bag. Marvel shoves him and they play-fight for a few moments of manufactured tension for the audience.
“They’re for all of us,” Clove says. “Didn’t you read the note?”
When Marvel and Cato finally stop, all breathlessness and heaving shoulders, Glimmer saunters up between them, plucks a marshmellow from Cato’s fingers and slides it into her mouth. Her eyes close in exaggerated pleasure and she messes up Cato’s hair before turning on her heel toward the log District Eight had called home before Cato had put a sword in her stomach.
“Hey, what about crackers and chocolate?” Clove asks the sky with insane eyes and a voice drunk on the smell of fresh blood.
Cato’s joined Glimmer at the fire now. “You know, I think this is the most fun I’ve had in all my life,” he whispers to her where the microphones will pick it up. His teeth close over her earlobe. Glimmer giggles and puts a marshmellow on the tip of an arrow and dunks it in District Eight’s fire.
And then they all take the cue and Clove warms hers carefully, meticulously with a long, curved knife, roasting perfectly but never burning, slow and torturous and mean. She’s careful to angle her face so the fire casts an otherworldly, wicked glow, and at once this child roasting a marshmellow has sprung straight from the mouth of hell. Cato doesn’t clean his sword that killed Eight before he puts three of the things on the tip of it, and when they’re cooked he yanks them violently from the blade while they’re still on fire and says he can still taste her fear. They mock District Eight for awhile, thanking her for the nice fire, for her idiocy, imitating her face in her last moments while they giggle like children at a sleepover. Marvel uses his spear for the marshmellows and starts a game of storytelling, all their best, favorite kills told against the crackling fire. Glimmer settles in at Cato’s side and sighs with pleasure at his account of what he did to the poor, innocent kids back home in District Two, and it’s graphic and wonderful and not a word is true.
“You know, guys, I’ve never been camping before this,” Marvel says with a mad grin. “I think this one trip makes up for it, though.”