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 Cold Heartbreak [Cal's 124th reaping reaction], Hayden // Manda
Calhoun Chaney
 Posted on: Aug 4 2018, 09:39 PM
Quote
They Can Say It All Sounds Crazy
13
Lumberjack
Posts: 17
Shaney
District Seven
Rep: 0 pts



Calhoun was always nervous the morning of a reaping. This was his second year being elgible for reaping and while Hayden made sure he never needed to take out tesserae and have his name in there more than once...Cal couldn’t help feeling nervous. On top of the usual nerves, Cal had it harder this year. Last year he could at least vaguely HEAR what was going on, he’d been able to hear that his name was NOT called and that Ada’s name was NOT called. This year he would not be able to hear and would have to rely on lip reading and the reaction of those around him and image projected on the screen. That caused a whole separate wave of anxiety for the boy.

Still, Cal was a trooper and he always did his best to be brave. He put on his best clothing, as was common, and had breakfast with Hayden. They always ate better on reaping day, everyone did. Cal knew it was because family’s never knew if it might be the “last” meal. He hoped it wouldn’t be but he knew if somehow his name was called, once he knew, he’d put on a brave face for his brother and he wouldn’t make a fuss. He was stronger than last year, as he was apprenticed to his brother now. He knew how to wield an axe. It wasn’t an automatic death sentence, even if chance of death was high in any district outside the careers. Still, Theo had come home and they had a victor last year. It wasn’t impossible. Cal still hoped he wouldn’t be picked.

When he got to the reaping he parted ways with Hayden, asking his brother to try to stay where he could see him, where he could translate for him. He was really nervous about being unable to hear and being surrounded by the very kids who’d made school miserable for him when he’d gone and who he knew tormented Ada. Still, he put a grin on his face and let them prick his finger. Then he moved to the end of the line of 13 year old boys, looking for Hayden in the crowd of people not of reaping age.

Calhoun looked up at the stage, at the escort who was there waiting and then where the mentors were. He saw Theo and when he caught his eye, he saw Theo’s smile. He offered his best brave smile back, because while he was nervous, he knew if he got picked Theo would at least be there and maybe he’d manage to come home. Still, he didn’t linger there long before he went back to looking for Hayden, trying to find his brother in the crowd, hoping he’d translate the words. He couldn’t find him though, so he was stuck staring at the escort, hoping he’d be able to read their lips.

When the escort actually began speaking, Cal found himself unable to follow. The escort spoke too fast and lost Cal completely. Still, he watched the images on the video and then watched as the escort stuck their hand into the bowl and pulled out the female name. Cal scanned the crowd of girls looking for Ada, hoping he’d be able to find her and know by her reaction that she was safe. That was his first mistake, assuming she’d be safe.

Cal didn’t find Ada in the crowd, but he saw the peacekeepers heading toward the 13 year old girls. Then, he saw then sling one of their shoulder. It took a moment, but he knew that dress and Cal’s face turned from surprise to horror and he began to scream, without realizing it. He didn’t speak anymore, but seeing his best friend, his girlfriend, slung over the peacekeeper’s shoulder, seeing her carried onto the stage horrified him and his mouth was frozen in a scream for a moment. Only a hand on his shoulder, forced him to close his mouth. One of the boys near him looked at him with a warning glance, warning him to shut up. He did so, staring at Ada on the stage in a stunned silence. He saw the puddle between her legs and he wanted to rush up there and clean it up and to promise her he’d protect her….but he knew he couldn’t. Unless he volunteered to go with her, there’d be no protecting her.

That’s when Cal began to move, attempting to rush to the stage or to Hayden, he didn’t know which. However, arms stopped him, arms shrouded in white and he was shoved back to his spot in line. The peacekeepers lips moved harshly but Cal couldn’t hear them. He was screaming again. “No! Ada! No! No! No!” The arms were back now, but this time one of them was raised toward him and he lifted his own to protect his face from a slap, a slap that didn’t come as his own fear seemed to satisfy the peacekeeper, who was walking away now.

That’s when Cal’s hands moved on their own. “I volunteer!” he signed, a knee jerk reaction, but one that came natural as he stared at Ada. One that came too late and without the vocal words to ensure they were understood by others aside from Theo and Hayden, if they were even looking. Still the signed gesture was too late. The boy whose name had been called was already joining Ada on the stage and Cal was left standing there, his hands dropping to his sides in defeat. Had Theo or his brother seen his words, the signed words, his last attempt to protect the best friend he now knew he’d be saying goodbye to forever? He didn’t know. He just knew that tears were stinging his eyes and he had to find Hayden. He needed his brother to calm him before he went to say goodbye to Ada.
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Hayden Chaney
 Posted on: Aug 10 2018, 02:15 PM
Quote
when you're weak i'll be strong
25
woodworker
Posts: 9
Manda
District Seven
Rep: 0 pts



Hayden had thought that the reapings had been bad when he had stood there wondering if his names would be drawn. And when Theo had been called all those years ago, he had thought that was one of the worst days of his life. At that time he hadn’t been thinking into the future, because with the reapings every year he wondered if he even had a future. Every year passed and his name wasn’t picked. When he was too old for the reapings, and Theor had returned from his own games, he had for the briefest of moments thought that things would be fine. Until he remembered that someday he would stand in the crowd and listen to see if Calhoun would be picked…

This morning was much like last year at this time. He had made sure to provide enough food and enough for Calhoun that he didn’t need to take out more to benefit them. And he had gotten up early to make sure that there was a good breakfast on the table. Something of subsistence. Because if Cal’s name was called out… No, even as he made this breakfast he couldn’t think of what would happen if Cal’s name was called.

He had tried to smile and make jokes with his brother as they sat there eating, urging him to eat just a little more. Just in case. Hayden himself ate some but was rather sick to his stomach. Surely his name wouldn’t be called...he would be just as lucky as Hayden had been. But maybe, just maybe he shouldn’t have had that thought either…

He led Cal up to the line and squeezed his shoulder, giving him a reassuring smile before he made his way into the crowd. He tried to position himself to where Cal would be able to see him, but he wasn’t sure he had quite managed it. He glanced up at the stage, spotting Theo and sighing before he searched once more for Cal. He just had to hope, that would work. And so it began. He wasn’t even sure if he was actually listening to what was going on. He only had eyes on Cal, hoping that he wouldn’t hear that name.

He then heard another name and it made him blink and look from his brother. He watched as the peacekeepers walked up and threw the girl over their shoulder. The cries she let out weren’t nearly as bad as the scream he heard next. He hadn’t heard the voice in almost a year. But he would recognize it anywhere. And of course Cal would be screaming for Ada. His heart broke for the girl as he watched her be carried up to the stage. And broke even more when he tore his eyes away from her to stare at his brother, seeing that another boy had put his hand on his shoulder to stop him. His eyes widened. Surely he wasn’t about to volunteer.

He looked back to Ada and then once more to his brother. They were already calling another name. But he saw it, he saw the sign from his brother, but nothing else came out of his mouth. Hayden closed his eyes, shaking his head. He couldn’t do it. He knew his brother wanted to go to be there for Ada, Cal did not need to tell him that. And even though he had seen him sign that he volunteered...he couldn’t go through that. He had wathced Theo go through the games and win. But he couldn’t watch Cal do that...not knowing if Cal would ever come back home. He couldn’t stand here and say it for him. He was his brother’s voice, but today he had failed his brother. In a rather desperate and selfish way…

When the boy’s name was called and the other boy made his way to the stage, sealing the deal, Hayden broke from where he had been standing. He refused to look up at the stage, to see Ada and the boy who would be going to the capitol. To see Theo sitting up there with the other two victors. He was ashamed of himself, but he couldn’t help but go to Cal and wrap his arms around his brother in a tight hug before he pulled away so he could sign to him.. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry, Cal…” He knew what it was like to see his best friend make his way up to that stage, of course it hadn’t been in the way that Cal just had. But he knew how hard it was. “Ada will be okay…” He couldn’t promise that either though...
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Calhoun Chaney
 Posted on: Aug 10 2018, 09:52 PM
Quote
They Can Say It All Sounds Crazy
13
Lumberjack
Posts: 17
Shaney
District Seven
Rep: 0 pts



Cal wasn't upset with his brother. He didn't even know if Hayden had seen what he signed. He didn't know if anyone did. Hell, he didn't even know if he'd actually done it or if he'd imagined it. He was in a total haze right now, trying to figure out what was really happening. Part of the boy hoped that this was all one big nightmare and he'd wake up in his bed still awaiting the reaping. However, another part of him knew that was not the case and that he had to pull himself together. Regardless, Cal stood there when the reaping was over, hands at his side stunned as he watched the peacekeepers taking Ada and the boy tribute, the one who went because he hadn't spoken allowed, off the stage. He knew they'd be taken to the inside of the building to say goodbye. He knew he'd have to go there too. However, he couldn't bring himself to move.

When he felt arms around him, he lifted his own to cling to the person, the one person he needed more than anything right now. That is when the tears started. He watched his brother pull away to sign, he read his signs through tear filled eyes and he shook his head. They both knew Hayden's words weren't true. Cal, especially. This wasn't like when Theo went. Theo was able-bodied. He understood what was going on. He wasn't like Ada. Maybe it was luck and maybe he'd come back different....but he'd been strong enough and intelligent enough to win, to come home. Ada was different. She was childish and innocent. Cal knew she'd never be able to do what she needed to come home. She'd be lucky to survive one day. It hurt him to think it, but he knew in his heart it was true. She'd need protection to make it and he wasn't going to be there to protect her.

"No she won't, Hayden! Don't lie to me." Cal's words were signed quickly and his face showed that he was very clearly upset. He didn't like being lied to and he knew that while his brother was trying to comfort him, it was cold comfort. Ada was not going to be okay. She wasn't going to come home. "She's not gonna come home like Theo did, Hay. She isn't." He added, frowning as the tears came harder. He couldn't protect her. He hadn't acted fast enough and now she'd be going alone. He knew it was probably better, as they wouldn't both die and he wouldn't leave his brother. However, he still felt bad because he'd promised he'd always protect her.

Calhoun wrapped his arms around his brother's waist now, needing him to hold him, to calm him before he went to say goodbye, a true goodbye. He needed to be brave when he went in to see Ada. He could not be crying like this. He could not be this emotional. Ada was scared and he had to be brave for her, as he always was.
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