I have a new chapter for you guys :)
Oh and I thought of something fun to do.
I went online and found photo's of people who look like my characters including; Bruce, Ariel, Poseidon, Annie and Finnick.
Obviously Annie and Finnick are just what I imagined them to look like, where as I can say that my original characters look just like the photos.
Anyway, I couldn't find anyway to post pictures on here, so I created a blog just to show you the pictures. :D
Just search: Wendy Hamlet. Blog spot .com (except put it all together, for some reason it wouldn't let me :P)
and it should pop up!
Anyway, let me know what you guys think, and if you wanted to see anymore character photos, and I will try my hardest to oblige.
So! Here's the chapter, and thanks always for reading and reviewing!
Song for this chapter is *Opus 28* by Dustin O'Halloran.
Chapter Eleven: Almost home.
In the morning, I wake up before Johanna does, and I lay still so I don't disturb her.
She still has her hand resting on my chest, and she has my shirt clutched tight in her fingers, keeping hold of reality. Her head is resting on my chest up near my shoulder.
I still have one arm wrapped around her, and my other hand holds her fist. I softly rub my hand against her shoulder, and feel her muscles relax. She shifts slightly.
"What time is it?"
She murmurs as she slowly un-curls her fingers, releasing my shirt but still keeping her hand under mine.
"It's around eight thirty."
She sighs, and rubs her face into my shoulder.
"Too early."I smile, and let her rest for a while longer. After a moment she opens her eyes, and tilts her head back so she can see my face.
"We arrive at district six today."
She says it half as a question, and half as a statement. I nod and she rolls onto her stomach, propping herself up on her elbows.
"I don't want to have to give another speech, I don't want to have to see the families of the tributes I killed."
I stretch my arms above my head, and pull myself up so I'm half sitting up.
"I know, but you have to."
She sighs, and pushes herself up on her knees.
"Yeah, whatever. I'm going to get breakfast."
She crawls over my legs and hops onto the floor, I call after her as she walks to the door.
"What about getting dressed?"
She stops at the door and turns around.
"I'm just going to be prepped and dressed in an hour anyway, why bother getting dressed?"
She turns back around and walks out the door. I smile, and after a moment crawl out of bed.
After eating breakfast, Johanna's prep team whisked her away to get all ready for her presentation and speech. I dress in a nice outfit, and before I know it we're at the mayors house for dinner.
I'm standing near one of the long tables with a glass of wine in my hand. I'm watching Johanna in her plumb colored form-fitting gown and black makeup as she makes fun of a couple of boys that tried to hit on her.
I chuckle when one of the boys gets so flustered at Johanna's quick wit, that he spills his drink. As I watch her laugh and make a comment about him, I feel someone brush past me, and something is pressed into my hand.
After a moment, I glance down at the piece of paper in my hand. It's instructions on my assignment for tonight. I memorize the information, and casually walk over to a candle and burn the page. Then with one last glance at Johanna, I walk out.
That night is a late one, and I don't return to the train station until right before it leaves. Around two o'clock.
The party ended an hour ago, and no doubt everyone on the train has been wondering where I was.
I don't feel like explaining, so I board the train from a side door, and quickly go to my room. The minute I shut the door, I lock it and jump in the shower.
It's not as bad as the first few trips to the capitol, but you can never get used to something like this. I scrub my body until it's raw and red, then I walk out into the steam filled bathroom, and wrap a towel around my waist.
I still have the feeling that something is coating my skin, and I shiver despite the heat. I walk over to the dresser and pull out a pair of boxers and a pair of sweatpants.
I dress quickly, leaving my chest bare. I walk over and fall onto the bed, burying my face in a pillow.
I hear a knock on my door.
"Go away! I'm tired from the party."
There's silence, then I hear someone shout back.
"Where were you? We couldn't find you anywhere."It sounds like Johanna's mentor Dusty. She's not the most outgoing person, and she's very strict, but easy enough to get along with.
"I had to get some air, so I left."
There's another pause.
"Where did you go?"
I growl into the pillow.
"Is it really any of your business?"
She doesn't reply, and after a couple of seconds, I hear her walk away. I probably shouldn't have spoken like that to her, but I don't want to deal with anything else tonight. I've had enough to handle.
I breath in the smell of the clean pillow sheet with a deep breath, and let it out in an exhausted sigh. I'm so tired of this, of everything. This must be what Bruce felt like...I could do what he did, that's my only way out, my only way to be free. But I know I can't, the president would take it out on Annie, and she would probably lose it for good without me. My thoughts are interrupted by another knock on the door.
It's Johanna. I don't want to talk to anyone right now, not even her.
"I need rest!"
I shout muffled from the pillow. I hear her try the doorknob.
"Finnick open the door."
She says sternly.
"Go away Jo!"
After jiggling the doorknob again, I hear her growl in frustration. Then she slams her fist against the door and walks away. Good, now maybe I can get some rest. No such luck, in a minute Johanna's back, and I can hear her messing around with the doorknob.
"Leave me alone!"
She ignores me, and within another minute I hear the knob turn, and the door swings open. I sit up and spin around.
"Jo! How did you get in?"
She holds up a hairpin.
"It's not that hard."
I stare at her shocked.
"You picked my lock?"
She grins, and shrugs.
"I told you to leave me alone, I don't feel like talking."
She walks over and stands in front of me.
"Well that's just to bad. What happened to you? One minute I could see you watching me make fun of those idiots, and then you just disappeared."
I don't say anything, dropping her gaze. She looks at my red skin, and reaches out to trace a cut I got from scratching my skin. I automatically tense, and flinch at her touch, and she drops to her knees in front of me so that she can look me in the eyes.
I slowly raise my eyes to meet hers, and realization dawns on her face. Without any hesitation, she wraps her arms around my neck, and holds me tightly.
My body starts shivering, and my shoulders are so tense they hurt, but she doesn't let go. Slowly, my muscles relax and my breathing slows down. Johanna smells like vanilla, and her breath is warm against my neck. All my senses focus on her, and they slowly forget what they felt like before.
She slowly relaxes her grip, and starts to pull away, but I shake my head and wrap my arms around her shoulders.
"Don't stop. It's making me forget."
She re-tightens her grip, and says quietly.
I close my eyes, and take deep breaths, focusing on her tight hold.
"Me too."She sleeps in my room that night, more for me than for her. It's comforting to have her there, but it also makes me miss Annie even more.
The next week is the same routine, and before I know it, we're at the president's mansion for the final dinner party before district seven.
Outwardly I'm relaxed, comfortable and enjoying myself, while inwardly I am as tense as a coiled spring, and my heart is pounding furiously. The president never attends these kinds of things, not even when they're in his own home, so I don't know why I'm so stressed. I guess it's just being anywhere near somewhere he's been is nerve-wracking.
Johanna has been keeping a close eye on me, never straying far from my side. It's rather amusing actually, she's got it into her head that she can somehow protect me, and I'll be safe if she keeps her eyes on me. I appreciate her trying to help, but nobody can protect me. Besides, it's not me I'm trying to keep safe, it's Annie.
I flinch at the voice, and turn to find a stern looking man in a suit standing behind me.
"Come with me please,"
He pauses and looks at Johanna who is eyeing him with her chin thrust out in her "don't mess with me" face.
"Alone."Johanna raises her eyebrows at him, and is about to say something when I put a hand on her shoulder.
"Yes of course. You'll wait here wont you Jo? I'll be right back."
She turns to me with unbelief on her face.
"What? You're ditching me? But Finnick..."
I cut her off.
"Just for a minute, be patient and I'll be back before you know it."
I pat her shoulder, and then turn to the man. He starts walking towards the door that I think leads into one of the many hallways.
I glance back, and see Johanna staring at me with crossed arms, a mix of anger, hopeless frustration and worry in her eyes. I smile reassuringly at her, but she shakes her head, seeing right through it. I turn back around, and follow the man as he leads me through so many rooms, hallways, doors, up and down staircases that I can't keep track of where we are.
After what seems like an eternity of walking in silence with only the sound of our echoing footsteps, we reach one final door, and the man stops.
Is all he says, than he turns and starts to walk away."How do I find my way back?"I call after him, he shouts a reply as he continues to walk back towards the dinning hall.
"Follow the blue carpet."I look down and notice there is a strip of blue fabric in the center of the hall. Then I turn around and stare at the door for a minute. Then taking a deep breath, I pull down the handle, and pull open the door.
I feel cool air against my face, and realize this must lead to a balcony of some sort. I step out into the cool night air, and freeze as a familiar scent floats around me.
Roses, genetically enhanced roses that have an extra powerful perfume.
I can't help gagging slightly. The smell is so strong. I start developing a headache as I take a slow step forward.
Through the evening haze, I can see there are hedges of roses, maybe arbors covered in vines, it's hard to tell. There are all different colors, red, pink, white, purple, I even catch sight of a few black ones.
I wander through the maze, careful not to catch my clothing on the stray vines. After what seems like forever, the smell seems even more oppressive, and I guess that I am at the center of the hedge maze.
"Good evening Finnick."
I hear the low voice say with a careless air. My whole body tenses at the sound, and I slowly turn around.
President Snow is sitting on a bench inspecting a large light pink rose. The only thing I can think of seeing him in the middle of these blossoms is a snake in its lair. I swallow hard, and force my voice to be even.
"Good evening President."
Racing through my head are all the secrets I've been told about him, all the secrets I've kept stored deep in my memory.
"They're beautiful aren't they?"
He asks casually holding up the pink rose. I shrug.
"I suppose so."He chuckles quietly, the sound hissing slightly.
"Ah Finnick, not learned how to enjoy the beauty in simple things have we?"
I swallow again and reply smoothly.
"I don't fancy capitol made beauty."
He raises his eyebrows, still not looking at me. Turning the rose slowly in his gloved hand, he replies cooly.
"Oh yes, I had almost forgotten you like natural beauty. The ocean for example, or Annie."
I feel even more sick now, and I fight the trembling in my body.
He exclaims quietly, like he had discovered what he was looking for. He points out that the inside petals are crinkled and browning.
"Look here, the rose appears flawless, but with enough time you can discover the ugly truth about it."
I take a deep breath, and say cooly.
"A bit like you perhaps?"
He sets the rose carefully down on the bench beside him, and slowly lifts his eyes to meet my gaze. I resist the urge to look away, and stare firmly into his ice-cold eyes.
He says questioningly. I have regained a bit of my confidence, and I shrug carelessly, turning my head slightly to look at some roses.
"Well you seem like you are as pure as your name implies, but if we dig deep enough, I'm sure we can find the dirt underneath."
He points to a large pure white rose right by my head.
"Can you pick that for me?"
I reach out and touch the stem. I quickly draw my hand back as the long thorns pierce my fingertip. I glance down at the cut left by the sharp point, and then carefully pick the rose out of the vine.
"You sound like you know something."
I hand him the rose.
"Let's just say I know that you're not as clean as some people may think."
As he takes the rose from me, he catches hold of my hand, and looks at the cut slowly leaking blood. He holds my hand over the rose, and tilts it so that the drop of blood forming on my finger, runs down and pauses on the tip of my finger before falling onto one of the pure white petals of the rose. The drop of blood slowly spreads across the rose, tinting the delicate petal red.
His eyes are dangerous as he stares hard at me.
"That may be true, but there's a reason everyone thinks i'm pure. It's because whoever is foolish enough to go up against me simply vanishes, adding to the stain."
He holds up the rose, showing me that the petal has soaked up the blood, turning it from white to red.
"Keep that in mind."
He releases my hand, and traces the blood petal with a long bony finger.
"These things reek!"
I spin around and drop my jaw in surprise.
"Johanna! What are you doing here?"
She pulls a leaf out of her spiked hair, and grins at me.
"Got tired of waiting."
She turns to look at the president, and her eyes grow colder and more dangerous than I've ever seen.
He turns to look at her, looking completely unsurprised.
"Well if it isn't miss Mason. How's Leo doing?"
She grits her teeth together.
"You &*% ** * ! #$%!"
She spits out as she lunges towards him. I jump forward and grab her around the waist, holding her back as her legs kick the air uselessly.
"Let me go!"
The president chuckles.
"I'm glad to see you haven't lost any of your spirit. People like someone who's feisty."I grab hold of both of her arms and pin them to her sides by wrapping my arms over them tightly.
"Jo, settle down!"
I say sternly. She stops struggling, her whole body is shaking with rage. I let her go, and stand close to her side.
"Aren't you ever afraid that someday someone will actually stand up to your slimy face and lock their fingers around your throat?"
Johanna spits out at Snow. He sighs wistfully, and picks up the white rose.
"Fear is a foolish thing. But you are consumed by it aren't you? Your afraid that your father is going to find you and force you and precious Leo to live with him again. You are terrified at the thought of him, you can't sleep at night with nightmares of all the beatings, all the screams, and you relive everyday that night he beat your mother to death."
Johanna's body starts trembling, and the look of fear and shock on her face is painful. Tears slowly start to run down her cheeks as the president stands up and faces her.
"Every day, and all night you are that terrified little girl, listening to your mothers screams trapped in your mind, torturing your already wounded soul. You see Johanna, everyone can be broken, and the truth is the tougher they act, the more damaged they already are. You are barely holding yourself together, and the thought of daddy coming home shakes the foundation of your security. Fear is something that lives in all of us, some choose to ignore it, some give in to it, and others will take it out on other people. I have learned that the only way to overcome fear is to work with it, use it to your advantage, and when there's only one thing keeping someone together, you shatter it to pieces!"Johanna lets out a strangled sob, and turns her head away. The president steps so close their noses are almost touching, and drops his voice to a whisper.
"Miss Mason, I am fear."
Johanna covers her ears with her hands, and closes her eyes tightly.
"Stop."The president smiles maliciously.
"How long did it take for her to die? Giving your fathers drunken state I would say it took several hours at least. What did you tell Leo? How could you block his ears from the screams?"
She shakes her head, tears squeezing out from her tightly shut eyes.
"He came and beat you after she was dead didn't he? And you took Leo's beating as well."
Her voice is a desperate scream."STOP IT!"The presidents voice is still a perfectly calm drawl.
"And you have to live everyday knowing its your fault. She told your father that it was her fault the glass bottle that held the expensive and precious whiskey broke, that she was the one who broke it. That's why he beat her to death isn't it? When all along you were the one who knocked it off the shelf. It's your fault she's dead."
Johanna makes a small cry that sounds like a tortured animal, and collapses. I catch her before she hits the floor, and pick her up. She buries her face into my chest, and clings to my shirt sobbing.
"I think miss Mason needs some rest, she's tired after the party."
The president says carelessly as he turns back and sits on the bench.
"Oh and mister Odair, I'll be expecting you back in the capitol very soon."
I hold Johanna tightly as I find my way out of the maze and run through the halls of the mansion, following the blue carpet all the way back to the dinning hall.
I push my way through the crowd, ignoring the strange looks and questions. I find Dusty and Cyprus, Johanna's other mentor.
"Finnick! What happened?"
Cyprus asks quickly as he looks concerned at Johanna who has her face hidden against my chest.
"She got really overwhelmed with everything, and I don't think she's feeling well."
Dusty looks at the time.
"Let's get back to the train."
Cyprus and Dusty push a path for me through the crowd, and soon we are at the station. I board the train and take Johanna directly to her room. Sitting on her bed, I rub my hand up and down her back, speaking soothingly to her.
"It's okay Jo...I've got you."Her muscles slowly relax, whether she's calming down or she's just fatigued I don't know.
"We're on our way home...you're going to be home soon."
She still has her face pressed tightly against my chest, and I can barely hear what she says.
"How did he know?"
I don't have an answer for this so I just hold her tighter.
"I can't take it anymore...I can still hear her like it just happened."I lay on my side, and hold her tightly.
"I don't have anything to hold onto anymore."She murmurs as she falls asleep. I lay with her the rest of the night, comforting her when she wakes up screaming, and helping her keep a grip on reality.
"Find peace Jo, you're safe."