The Caged Bird Sings



I'm hauled into a bedchamber that's too massive for one individual. I don't bother trying to make an escape—the door is shut too quickly and the sound of the lock taking place is louder than breathing.

Instead, I walk to the window that's still open. Relief wells inside me as I run towards it. It's only a slit, but the fresh warm air is wonderful, and I inhale deep long breaths. I hear a commotion down below, and I vaguely make it out but, even after only seeing him in the deadly black of nights, I know it's him, pacing back and forth. Even from this huge distance, he reminds me of an animal, moving in agitated strides.

There are people down below that he's speaking with. They look to be his parents. My captor's parents…

Do they know about me? They must. The entirety of District 2 and perhaps even the whole of Panem witnessed my pushing him right off the train, down onto gravel and the shock that had spread across his face brought the most sublime joy, and he saw it on my face, that I wasn't going to give up.

The death that flashed in his eyes quickly suffocated it, for that one stare put me back in a position of prey.

I can hear him angrily shouting, right at the top of his lungs. A part of me is glad to have humiliated him but another part of me is recalling the brutality and strength that he can unleash on me in less than a blink. His hands are deadly, and they make me fear him.

I recline in one of the chairs, watching the sunset, a beautiful painting that cannot ever be truly replicated twice—each sunset has its variety of bright oranges, brilliant yellows, and splendid violets. I wonder if Prim is watching this sunset too, if Gale is.

The door opens and my body tenses, but I don't say anything, don't move. The whole ordeal goes by faster if I don't struggle too much; sometimes.

He comes forward; I hear every footfall, quiet on the hard tile. I wonder for how long he had been training to be a contender in the Games. I don't wonder long, because I could care less about his past, about him in general.

He stands beside my chair. I continue to stare out at the landscape.

He's so still I wonder if he's become frozen. Not that it would surprise me—he's completely impenetrable to human emotions, he's a statue all the time. Incapable of compassion and sympathy.

So that's why he surprises me when he kneels down, placing a hand on my knee, giving it a gentle, firm squeeze. His mouth is on mine and his tongue slowly darts past my teeth, sliding around inside; a moan that softly erupts from his throat escapes into my mouth, swallowing me as I swallow it. I don't notice his hands sliding underneath my shirt until one of them is cupping my left breast, and the feeling, the very sight of it is so surreal that I can only stay immovable, afraid of what will happen if I do move but I'm also horribly frightened of what he's doing to me now. I'm frightfully aware of every miniscule touch, a hand roving down to my right thigh, a finger kneading the skin, and there's a different heat pooling inside me, another flame that burns hotter than melting stars and I don't want this—!


I'm far from him now, gripping the bedpost for support, looking at him, my palm stinging from the slap I gave. I'm horrified of everything about him, how he can be the most vile, cruel human being I've known and how he can come into my prison cell and cause such stirrings of my body. I may be human, but my body is responsive because it's a body, with no conscious thought without my mind and thoughts guiding it. I hate my body for how it reacts, for not having willpower to reject things that are and feel soft and right. After this lifetime of hurt and pain, it cannot, obviously, tell apart what's good pain and bad pain, from good or bad people.

I'd rather die than let him do anything of whatever sort of action; good or bad.

I watch as he brushes his cheek, hot red even in the dim light of moon and star dust. There's literal astonishment there but agitation and ire. He looks up at me, and his voice is a hiss, reminding me that he will always be something deadly, a viper in biting into my skin, poison in my life, "Do you have any idea what you did today?"

I stay quiet. I know what I did and I'm glad. Maybe if I make him mad enough, he'll kill me. I say then, "Aside from destroy your image, no I don't see what else I could've done to make you angry with me."

This sets him off and he flips over the chair, clashing onto the ground with a loud clatter, a thunderclap in the darkness without the light and scent of smoldering fire. Good. He'll kill me and this can all end. I'm sick of it all, I don't want to be here, I want to be resting, I'm tired and I want to go home, where my father is and he can sing all the shadows away…

He's near me in an instant, his face barely a hairsbreadth from mine, all shallow, violent gasps. It's scary.

Hands are clasping the sides of my face, nails digging into my scalp. "You think you're high and mighty, don't you?"

"You seem to think so," I return, having the audacity to roll my eyes and even cross my arms.

The blow to the side of my head is so strong that I'm seeing lights and darkness and dreams and nightmares—it's bloody, it's watery. His face is filled with teeth and he bites into me, tearing into my skin, and the next he's lapping up my life, tongue darting, fingers between my thighs, pleasurable knives that make me squirm and my body is another betrayer.

His fingers are digging into the sides of my face, bruising the skin, and his mouth is on me again, rougher than just a moment ago, and his hand is sliding down, trespassing my body, all tongue and pressure and rawness. But when he enters into me, painfully hard and fast, it's not as bad because of how my body responded earlier.

He knows this because I didn't scream as loud.

He remedies that immediately.

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