Chapter 21:Dialogue between opposition
I am sitting in my cage, eating my one meal for the day. A rebel guard walks in and, handing me a multi page packet, tells me I am to fill it out.
"You are to answer the questions on this packet, and then return it to me so I can give it to the corporal."
"Because I said so?"
"I'm not going to betray my comrades."
"You are no longer a soldier. You are a Prisoner Of War in the revolutionary army of the Mockingjay. Do not die for the sake of greedy Capitolites."
While I do not have a clock or a watch with me, I can tell it is time to lie through my teeth. I still will not make it easy for the rebels.
"What will I write with?"
He hands me a pencil.
"What will I write on?"
He walks all the way back to his cabin and back, returning with a clipboard.
First I decide to read through all the questions first. Since there are forty pages worth of questions, this takes a long time. I can see the rebel guard getting agitated, and I struggle to repress a smile. This is working better than I expected.
It takes a whole day to read the packet; I falsely told him I was a slow reader, and the stupidity of these questions make me think they can believe that.
When I do write down a plausible backstory (complete with a fake name, made up origins, and falsely ambiguous personal allegiance, and a lie about being barley literate), I would break my pencil lead after every ninth word. This requires the increasingly antagonistic guard to walk all the way back to the barracks, get a new pencil or sharpen the old one by hand, and walk all the way back.
On the hundredth time, the guard brought me a pen. It took some thinking, but I broke that too and spilled lots of ink on my answered questions. When the openly hostile guard brought me a fresh packet, he instead decided to have me dictate so he can do the writing.
I was able to dictate my lies very slowly, often telling him to go back and change things only to have him change them back.
I am not doing this all day; I am forced to spend the rest of the day listening to rebel propaganda at the 'school'.
The teacher is going off on a tirade as to why the uprising of the Mockingjay is so glorious and how it will lead Panem into a new golden age. I know I should avoid twisting the tail of a rabid lion, but I still decide to pull apart his rehearsed speech with a gentle tug.
"I have one question. If the Mockingjay' uprising is so good and is supposedly welcomed by all the district people, then why are the civilian populations of the three career districts opposed to it? Why are men, woman, children, and babies making great effort to get as far away from the rebels, often leaving behind every single worldly possession they have and risking their lives in a mass-exidos? If the uprising is so great, why don't those people welcome it?"
This left the teacher speechless. He left to ask the corporal, who presumably was also speechless. I have no idea how far up the chain of command they are going to go, but it is good to see that the rebel ideology is not as air-tight as claimed by the rebel guards.
Later, when I am taken back to my cell and allowed to take the rest of the day off, I see that the rebel who is guarding me (a different one than the last one) looks awfully young.
"What is it, peacekeeper?"
Ignoring the venom in his tone, I continue. "How old are you?"
"Thats not your business."
This is not a shocker, as I saw child soldiers on the battlefield many times. It is still not right.
"Arn't you a little young?"
"If I'm old enough to die for the entertainment of greedy Capitolites, I'm old enough to carry a rifle."
"You don't even look old enough to volunteer as tribute."
He does not say anything, so I ask another question. "Do you really believe we bombed District 12?"
"Who else could it be?"
"Take your peacekeeper propaganda and shove it up your ass."
Well, I can see talking is pointless. Take your rebel falsehoods and shove it farther up your own.
I really can not wait for a chance to escape.