When the Birds Stop Singing

Okay, so this is my first fanfiction ever... I'm not really sure how it will go, but I've pretty much got the basics of my story down, so I can start. I tried to use as much real information from the books as I could (there really wasn't much though), and my character pages will be up soon, I just haven't gotten to them yet (I hope that's okay). So, please just check out my story and let me know what you think. It's not much, but it's something, right? Please comment with feedback!

-Riley ILoveRedPoodles 02:40, July 8, 2012 (UTC)

Chapter OneEdit

No. They did not just call her name. No. I can just barely feel little Ivy's hand squeeze mine to the point of numbness, as I am preoccupied with the panic building up inside me. I have to do something. I have to stop them from taking her. I want to run into the crowd and grab my sister, but as a mere family member, I'm not even allowed within the roped off area for the possible tributes. My eyes widen, but I am determined to keep my mouth but a thin, straight line as I watch my brave sister make her way up to the front of the Justice Building. I force my eyes shut for a moment to make sure I direct my scream inward. I could get me and my family into tons of trouble if I were to make so much as a noise. Until the family is the family of a victor, the tribute's families are nothing special to the Capitol.

Yes, my family is now the family of a tribute. A family that the Capitol is heartless towards, and the rest of the districts pity, glad for it not to have been their child. Unless someone is to volunteer. It's not unheard of. I mean, in the wealthier districts, the ones that Careers come out of, like 1, 2, and 4, it's actually common. But here, I'm not sure if it's ever been done. Even so, I look up as the district escort from the Capitol, Averdy Emmons as I believe I've been told by older kids that have been to a reaping before, asks the crowd of children if there is anyone that would like to volunteer in place of my sister. I want to run in and scream, telling the whole of Panem my desire to take my sister's place, but I know I can't. They'd probably shoot me before I had a chance to finish my request. I can feel a tear slip down my face as the group grows so silent that I can hear the Mockingjays in the distance, singing back and forth to each other. Then Averdy clears her throat and picks the male tribute, not seeming disturbed at all at how no one bothered to volunteer for my sister. For someone as young as her, they might as well just call it a death sentence instead of The Hunger Games.

I'm not really thinking straight, and I just barely notice the large boy who can't be younger than 18 mount the stage and join my sister. Well, our district might have some chance of winning... I can't help thinking. But I immediately scold myself for possibly thinking that way. No, my sister is smart. She definitely has that going for her. Yes, she is probably smarter than the average tribute. And her size makes her able to move more quickly as well. Yes, she still has a chance... She just might come home.

I swallow and wipe the tear from my cheek with my free hand. I look back at the stage just as they escort the two new tributes into the justice building where they will be held until the train arrives to take them to the Capitol for slaughter- ehem, I mean the games. Cautiously, I turn my head to see my mother, frozen in shock, eyes wide open and mouth gaping. I can't bring myself to look my father's way. My father, the strong, stubborn man who it would take 5 broken bones to make cry. Or perhaps his daughter being sent into the Hunger Games... My little sister, Freesia, looks up at my mother, wanting to seek comfort, but knowing better than to ask anything of her at the moment. On the other side of my mother, stands Adder, my little brother. He too seems to be going through the same order of thoughts as Freesia.

My other little sister, Ivy, who is but 5 years old, is still holding onto me as though her life is dependent on stopping all circulation in my right hand. Normally she would be hanging onto my older sister, Rue, but it is because of her that all of us are in this state to begin with. Because she is not here. Rue is all the optimism and security in our family. My parents are as loving, kind, and sweet as they come, but with them constantly working in the fields or the orchards, they aren't around much. Rue practically raised Ivy, Adder, and Freesia. Yet she stays so optimistic and innocent seeming. She has first-handedly seen with her own eyes countless times the effects of the cruel Capitol on our district, yet she never questions. She constantly reminds me not to, but honestly, I can't help it.

Now she must understand my way of thinking. She has just been given the largest dose of child-toture that the Capitol probably has to offer. Though I wouldn't count on that... But after a moment of anger towards the Capitol, I realize something even more horrifying than my sister being sent to die in an arena full of older teenagers: that the effect of this wasn't even meant for Rue. It was meant for us. The Hunger Games have a new meaning to me now. They are nothing like how I previously viewed them. They are meant to torture us all. To destroy us slowly from within. So that we have no choice but to realize there's nothing we can do to stop them. The Capitol can do whatever they want. They can kill us all with a snap of their fingers, like they did the children of the districts. That we have no hope for another way of living.

But I shake my head and go back to thoughts on the smaller picture of what's going on, and I'm forced to face the truth: Rue is leaving. Probably forever. No. No, no, no. We couldn't live without her. Literally. She takes care of Ivy and is the only one in the world I know of that can calm Freesia down after her nightmares. You see, Freesia unfortunately wandered into town one day, following my father, and witnessed the bloody execution of some 'criminal'. She hasn't slept the same since then... All of a sudden I feel myself being lead forward, by my father I think. I focus my eyes, and realize that we're walking towards the Justice Building, but the crowd has vanished. Was I really that absorbed in my thoughts? I blink a few times and notice that my whole family is making there way there. We climb the big marble stairs up to the huge building and enter through a large pair of doors.

I've never been inside the building before, but it is apparent as we walk in that the building was once beautiful, but has fallen into such disrepair that it's beauty left along with chunks of stone on the outside. We are quickly guided by Peacekeepers to a small room, off to the side of the large hall we've entered, not really having much time to look around. The Peacekeeper opens the door for us, and then closes it abruptly when we are all inside, just after saying, "You have twenty minutes." I look up to find Rue, standing in the middle of the room. I know that I'm the second oldest and should therefore be handling the situation more maturely, but I run to her, not caring how childish it looks.

"You should have just let me take the Tesserae!" I whisper into her shoulder. "We would've just needed to wait another few months!" I say, tears now flowing easily. "I could've!"

"Shhhh," she whispers, stroking my hair. "It's fine, Zinnia. Everything's okay," she says calmly.

"No it's not!" I say more forcefully, pushing back from her. "Rue, you're going into the Games!"

"Zinnia!" warns my mother from behind me, but I ignore her.

"You should've just let me take the Tesserae. You can't argue with that!"

"Then you would've had as much chance of getting reaped as I did, and look where that got me!" she says, a hurt look gathering on her face.

"But it wouldn't matter if it were me!" I yell, finally. And the next thing I know Rue's embracing me and I'm sobbing into her shoulder, hugging her back.

"Don't you ever say that!" she says, and repeats it as I cry.

"But it's true," I whisper when I've put myself together more.

"No it's not. I could never live with myself if that happened, Zin. You know it!"

"Then how do you expect me to live with this!"

"Because you're a fighter," she whispers, leaning down to even her head level with mine. "Not like a Career kind. But you'll be able to make it. You'll be able to push through whatever District 11 throws at you. I just know it. I love you Zinnia. You'll be alright. I know you will." Then she kisses me on the forehead and I hug her one last time.

"I love you too, Rue," I whisper softly. "Goodbye," I say, barely audible now. I look up at her, and walk to the back of the room. My other four siblings go forward for their goodbyes, and I try to stand and watch, but I can't stand it. I run out of the room and flee the Justice Building. I keep going until I have to stop and double over to catch my breath, eyes filled with tears. And the full impact hits me. I'm not going to see Rue again.

Chapter TwoEdit

The moment I walk through the door my mother runs to me, face wet from crying.

"Zinnia Lockspur! What on earth do you think you were doing? You scared me half to death!" she scolds. But I just walk over to our small wooden table and sit down. I'm too tired to worry about it, honestly.

"Well I'm safe at home now, so what does it matter?" I ask wearily.

"It matters so that you don't do it again! You're the oldest here now, so I expect you to act like it!" her depression at Rue's being reaped is coming off quite strongly, and I can't help but be resentful at Rue. I disappeared for the whole day practically, and when I come home and my mother's upset, it's not about whether or not I'm okay, but how I'm not enough like Rue? And the way she talked about her...

"She's not dead yet!" I yell. "You disgust me! You don't even think she's got a chance, do you?" I say, getting quieter.

"Zinnia, how can you possibly say that?"

"I can say it because I can tell you believe it! Why did I bother coming home anyway? It's not like you really care what happens to me." I say, storming out the door back into the rain. It's evening now and the downpour began about an hour after Rue's departure. At least her last glimpse of District 11 was pretty...

I'm not really sure where to go, I just want to get out of here. I walk down the gravel road with my head down. I can't see anything with the rain anyway, so what's the point? I hear my mother and father call my name a few times from behind me, and then the footsteps of someone running after me, but I'm faster. I don't want anyone right now. I just want to be away. Away from my parents, away from the Capitol, away from District 11 altogether, and most importantly: away from the Hunger Games.

I find myself walking until I slip in the muddy road and fall on my back. When I open my eyes, I'm staring up at the sky, droplets of water hitting my face. I get up slowly and look around. I'm near the fields. Usually my family works in the orchards, but I've been here once or twice, so I know that there's a barn where they store crops and tools near by. I walk a few more yards down the road and then I see it.

by ILoveRedPoodles