I was standing on the platform.
The others looking at me too and I glanced over at London who gulped looking at me from the corner of her eye and she nodded....and I did too.
I was wondering what I was fighting for by then....
The Prince. Xavier. London. My family...Dad.... Or even myself.
There was so much I've gone through the last nine months I honestly couldn't believe it, but I had to think straight. London and I only had one shot at this and one mess up might cost us our life.
But Ignatius helped me and Augustus showed me.... I've already made an impact on the public so I know I can do it again.
The ten of us looked at each other in the wide circle and I already knew who I wanted to get rid of first and who I could worry about later....
But I had to stick to plan.
"Hello ladies...." sounded the announcer, "Let the Elite Games begin!" I know outside this dorm at Central or even at people's home there were many cheers and shouts...
But not for long.
A holographic clock appeared over us and it showed 10 seconds. I swallowed looking at my best friend. She did too as the clock started.
"10......9......8-" I looked at the other girls, the weapons in front of us, the tools, foods, and first aids backpacks to get behind us, and I noticed they were off.....
There were only 7 bags....
"7.....6......5....." I looked at London quickly and I motioned her to get a bag for us, and she widen her eyes and nodded as she must've noticed the count as well and she glanced at the weapons and I nodded too and suddenly before I knew it I heard,
"1....." and a fire went off and I ran off the platform as London was the only one who ran behind me.....and the other eight girls ran to me in the same direction.....but all I could think about was how I got here...and what happened...
Nine months ago.
Nine months ago....it was a normal day.
I was helping my little sister put her little of variety of clothes on and she for some reason, was excited for something.
"Something amazing is going to happen today!" she cheesed as I pulled her favorite shirt over her head. I smiled.
"Now why do you think that?" I asked her playfully. She shrugged.
"I dunno, but it's a gut feeling! And Momma always said-" I joined in on her sentence,
"Always trust your gut feeling!" I laughed.
"Yeah! And Wyoming, I must say it deals with you!" I gave her an awkward face as I pulled her hand-me-down pants to her waist.
"Me?" I said not looking at her. She nodded violently.
"Hmmhuh! I wonder what it is! I have a feeling it deals with a boy too!" I perked up like a stray dog finally getting food as a small smile slid across my face. 'Maybe Xavier is going to say the words....Today might be the day!" I thought excitedly.
Myra was only seven years old....she was my litter sister. She was very intelligent with the homeschooling I give her and she sometimes (and most of the time) listens to my vocabulary and copies me even if she sometimes uses the word incorrectly, but I (and she) didn't really mind. Myra, I believe, also has a God-given-gift of telling the future.
Every time she predicts something it comes true. One time she told everyone at dinner that someone close to me was going to get sick. Thinking it was one of them, it was actually Xavier and he got the flu three days later. I thought it was just a consequence, but I pieced the puzzle together when eight months ago when Myra was only 6, she abruptly said to Mother she was going to have another child. She said it was going to be a girl and sure enough it was. Mother didn't think much of it until I noticed the way she's been acting and I paired my savings with my parents to afford enough to take her to the doctor in Central. A month later it was confirmed a girl and her name was Mia. So finally I believed her.
I stared into Myra's little big blue eyes that looked like fake contacts a Two or Three would wear and she chuckled as I suddenly hugged her and kissed her right on the forehead. "Ah! Thank you Myra! Thank you God! I got to go! I'll be back later, okay?" I told Myra excitedly. She laughed.
"Okay!" she said. I raced upstairs to check to see if I was "presentable" which I was "okay", so raced my way outside to search for Xavier in town to let Myra's revaluation become present, but when I opened the front door I was face to face with a Six delivering mail.
"Oh!" she said as the both of us was startled by each other. "Here's your mail!"
"Um, thanks?" I said almost in a question. Most Six's hated their job, and seeing one as excited as she was, I was kind of curious. "Um, may I ask why you're so-" she cut me off like she read my mind,
"Happy? Well," she began. "Today is the Princes's nomination! Tons of girls your age are super happy today! No matter what the class!"
My. Heart. Just. Stopped.
I slowly looked down at the mail to see a pure white envelope enclosed with my name and address with a stamp approved by the kingdom in the top right corner, that was sealed with the gold circular stamp engraved with the kingdoms symbol upon it and I gulped whispering nervously...
"Oh, God...I'm nominated..." the girl cheered for me.
"Yay! I'm soo happy for you!" she cheesed. I looked at her like she was crazy. 'No, that is NOT good! I might be the prince's new wife! I'm only 17! I'm not ready for marriage!' I paused for a minute looking to the side, biting my bottom lip...
'Well,with what Myra said earlier with Xavier...he might ask me for marriage but of course we will still have to save up and fill out the paperwork and sort everything out and that'll take years.....plus my birthday is in a month which means I'm technically 18.....BUT I CAN'T MARRY THE PRINCE!!'
"Ummm....do I have to....to sign up?" I asked the girl. She had to have been 19 or 20.
"Not necessarily," she said. I let out a breath of relief. "But!" she said getting my attention again. I jumped looking at her. "The more girls who enter, the better chance for our future king to find his wife," she smiled. I chuckled sarcastically to myself.
"Oh, please. The odds of me being the prince's wife is dull. I'm only an Eight- I minus well not draft myself if I already know I'm not going to get chosen," I batted my eyes all innocent like.
"You never know," the girl said walking away with a suspenseful smile. "That's probably what Queen Meredith was thinking, but look at her now..." My heart literally sunk. "She's the Queen of Aphelia." I paused a minute and whispered,
"And that's what exactly scares me the most...Becoming queen..." I sighed as the girl disappeared down the street.
I'm actually in my dim, dark room, laying on the bed with my head buried in the pillow, my arms down beside me, palms facing upward.
If that didn't make sense, I basically looked dead.
To be honest, I didn't wish my room looked this dark. Mother and Father never found enough money to decorate me or Myra's rooms, but I didn't complain because one) we don't have to share a room at least and two) it was better than going to bed hungry. I could just open the blinds but I felt this atmosphere went perfect with how I was feeling.
Sick. Mad. Upset. Doubtful. Empty.
All of those. I felt it all.
'I mean, how was I going to tell Xavier I was nominated? I couldn't, he'd never forgive me if I was drafted, especially if I could help it!....I can't just leave him... What if he falls in love with another...?' I sighed as those thoughts haunted me but I came up with a simple idea...
"That's it!" I said sitting up in my bed. "I'll just throw it away!" I got up and literally flew off the bed to the side of my dresser and RIGHT before I could dump it into the trash (more like a worn out bucket) my sister was standing in the doorway of my room.
She stared at me in shock and I just started at her back with my eyes wide. I glanced at her while she looked at the trash, then I looked at the trash, then she looked at me, then I looked at her, and that went on forever.
"What are yo-" she began to say, but I cut her off mid-sentence.
"Listen....Myra...you can not tell Mom or Dad-"
"But that's from the kingdom. The Prince sent yo-" I cut her off again.
"You never saw this letter....you never saw anything. Tell Mom or Dad or I swear...all your teeth are going to fall out..!" Myra quickly placed her hands over her mouth, looking at me in totally desperation.
I know what I said was really mean and most likely uncalled for but she was only 7 and you know at the age children are gullible and will believe anything.
So I was going to take advantage of this moment.
I nodded to her and acted like this was a big deal....which it technically was...well for me. "So you better not say anything..... Or one by one each little tooth will slowly wiggle against your tongue..." I said getting closer and closer to her.
"Eeeppp!!" she screeched running away down the hallway and down the stairs. I sighed and looked up at the ceiling.
"God...forgive me..." I whispered. I then dumped the pure white envelope with the gold seal stamp into the trash covering it with the previous trash down at bottom of it, to keep it a well kept secret. "I never got that letter," I whispered myself. "I never saw it....I never got it..."
When I say time freezes and time slows down and things like that, that SIMPLY means the 'camera angle' or how Wyoming (the main character) sees things, as if it were a movie. It's like what's going on in her head from a specific 'camera angle' or basically her point of view.
I hope it's not too confusing.... If anything cool and unique. If you don't like it, simply tell me and I'll take it out of the book)
It's dinner time, and I was honestly dreading this moment, as I had to face my mother who doesn't know about the letter (and she never will) and Myra who does know about the letter (and she will be the only one who knows) and I just wanted this day to be over with and forgotten.
I slowly sat at the table, looking down at my empty plate that has been chipped on the side, and I slowly looked up at my family, as we all were now gathered around the table and I looked at each of them individually...starting with my dad.
(Time slows down)
Dad. Also known as James. He sits at the head of the table. Makes the most money in the house. Only man too. He has a dark complexion. More on the heavy side, but made mostly of muscle as we Eights don't necessarily have food to spare for no reason. He has sensitive dark brown eyes and some hair to manage with on his head. Personality: Quiet, sensitive, a man of a few words, generous, puts others before himself especially his daughters. I honsetly don't believe he'd act so quiet if it wasn't for mom, but I'll get to her later.
(Time speeds up)
I switched my view over to Mia as she begins to smile looking up at Mother, her three baby teeth showing.
(Time slows down)
Mia. Otherwise knows as the baby. Nine months. Yellowish skin tone. Ocean blue eyes. The cutest smile. Tiny. She likes music (as what I know of so far). Personality: Undefined other than adorable and rarely cries.
(Time speeds up)
I focus my attention to Myra now as she begins to have a grin on her face as Mother sets the table with her favorite dishes.
(Time slows down)
Myra. Also known as the middle child. Seven years old. Gram-cracker skin tone. Curly light brown hair with hints of a natural dark brown. Big blue eyes. Looks like a mini version of me. (People think I'm her mother, but I have to convince them we're 11 years apart) Very slim. Personality: Energetic, smart, spontaneous. Likes to smile and make people laugh. Extremely girly.
(Time spends up)
I cross my view over to Mother with a blank expression on my face as she glances over at me and back down at the table over Myra's head.
(Time slows down)
Mother. Otherwise known as Athena, a.k.a the witch. Dancer. Dance instructor. Quite talented to be honest. Can play the piano, violin, guitar, flute, and sing beautifully. Sits at the other end of the table beside Mia, across from Dad. Natural curly brown hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Fair white skin tone. Brown mole on right check. Fit. Personality: Cold-hearted. Demanding. Hard to please. Fake. Scary. My mom is a good person don't get me wrong, but I have to say, with being the oldest child, she's not a very good parent...well to me.
(Time is back to normal)
I quietly sit on the side of the table, my hands in my lap and I'm trying to avoid eye contact with my mom. My mom has the tendency to see right through me and my emotions and if I DO look at her, she'll know somethings up, and ask me repeatedly what's wrong.
Even if she already knows the answer...which I also hated.
She finishes setting the table and I feel her eyes are on me still and I bite my bottom lip glancing at Myra as she covered her mouth to where I couldn't see her lips and Mia giggled to herself as she sat beside Mother, and Dad looked kind of upset yet confident in his seat....
Mother sat down still staring at me and she said with her eyes finally on Dad, "I shall say prayer..." We took hands as my father nodded as we began to lower our heads in respect of our God.
When Mother began to say grace, I slowly opened my eyes looking over at everyone again as the atmosphere didn't feel quite right. I looked at Myra as she moved her lips around her teeth checking to see if 'her teeth were still there' and I knew she had to have told Mother about the letter.... I mean, why else would she be messing with her teeth?
I quickly closed my eyes again as I noticed Mother's prayer was coming a close. ".....And I pray that if you have any.....opportunities for us.....any of us....let them be done by Your will. In Your precious and heavenly name....Amen..." she finished.
"Amen," we all said.
We let our hands go gently and Mia began to laugh to herself as Mother gave her sweet baby carrots from yesterday and mash potatoes, but Mia couldn't tell. As long as she got food and ate it, she's happy either way and so were we.
I kept thinking of Mother's last part of the prayer as it didn't make any sense, 'Any opportunities for us, let them be done by Your will?' Why did she have to say that? Was it for me? Did she already find out about the letter? No way! I threw it away at the BOTTOM of the trash. My trash! Why would she dig at the bottom of MY TRASH anyway even if there was a letter or not?? She doesn't know about it. She doesn't. Maybe she's just talking about something else that I don't already know. That's clearly it,' I thought trying to stay optimistic. So I shook the whole thought off as I was distracted by Mother's choice of dinner tonight as... It basically looked like Christmas all over again and religious holiday that even dates back to the Old Country.
Fried chicken wings were on the side by the spaghetti, with abnormally large meatballs. The last of the corn was sitting in the plastic bowl, and dinner rolls were stacked upon each other but only enough for each of us to have two, excluding Mia. The table was surprisingly quiet except for the clinging of our dull forks and Mother pouring warm peach tea into our glasses and Myra and Mia got milk.
Myra was excited as she bounced in her seat and broke the silence and said, "Ohh, Momma this is a lot of food! Is something special gonna happen today?" Right when she said that, I thought about Xavier and what Myra said earlier. 'I don't know! I just feel something amazing is going to happen today!'
'Does Myra even realize she said that earlier today?' I thought to myself. 'Maybe that's a downfall to seeing into the future.' I awkwardly began fixing Myra's plate and Mother replied,
"Maybe not today Myra...but soon hopefully." I glanced at Mother and she looked at me and my face suddenly grew hot as I gave Myra her plate.
It was quiet amongst the table. Usually Myra would bribe about her dream of becoming a future princess of a kingdom, or dad would say a word or two about his day at work, while Mother would make baby sounds to Mia to help her eat her food while asking me dumb questions and I'd laugh along with Myra with our PG inside jokes....but not today. Of all days....we didn't today.
No one. Said. Anything.
I was starting to feel sick to my stomach to where I didn't even want to eat anymore, but being an Eight with all this food is a blessing from God so I was going to stuff my face as neat as possible.
After mother gave Mia her carrots and mash potatoes, she looked down at her plate, moving things around with her fork. She took a bite of something and when she swallowed calmly she said, "So Wyoming..." I swallowed my food slowly.
"Yes Mother...?" she paused.
"How has your day been?" she asked me so casually.
I looked at my mom dead in the eye as I held the dull fork and I squinted my eyes at her. 'Why would Mother ask me this? She knows I didn't home school myself today, it's Tuesday!' (Only a few Eights got to get scholarships to the upper class schools near Central, but it wasn't worth it. My best girlfriend Sam, whose also an Eight, got a scholarship to one of the schools called Bailey-May, outside Central and she said most of the teens there were stuck-up and sadly mostly girls. We thought it'll be full of hot boys, like in the movies we'd save up to see once every two months but she told me it wasn't true. But that was really a downfall for HER because one) I have Xavier and two) she has to deal with that three times a week and not me.
"It was fine Mother," I finally replied. "Nothing much happened." She nodded properly twirling the spaghetti on her fork, not looking at me.
"Oh...? So nothing happened? No news? Nothing to share?" she asked. My mouth felt dry and I didn't look at her.
"No...." I said standing my ground firmly, glancing my eyes to the side. "Nothing...happened." I took a drink of my tea trying to conquer this dry desert on my tongue, but I felt her nod disgustedly and asked,
"Oh....then what is this?" I looked up, my eyes popping and even Myra gasped.
"What.....?" I quivered.
"So nothing happened today?" she asked again seriously. I turned to Myra the second I saw the letter between her middle and index finger.
"I told you not to tell!! I told you!!" I yelled at her. Myra looked at me like I was crazy.
"I didn't tell her! I didn't!" she shot back.
"What?! You knew about this?" Mother said to Myra furiously.
"Noooooo," Myra lied nawing at her teeth.
"Mom, why are digging in my trash anyway??" I asked putting the focus off of Myra.
"Don't question me young lady," she replied looking into my eyes. Mia, the baby, began to breathe heavily. "This is my house-"
"But it's MY room," I cut her off. "Digging in my trash? Invading the ONLY privacy I have around here?!"
"Well it looks like I should be, since you obviously don't tell me everything already!" she said her blue eyes looking straight into my milk chocolate ones.
"Because you don't need to know everything about me!" I snapped back.
"Please stoop," Myra whispered with tears in her eyes. Dad sighed heavily still eating....
"Why do you care that I was nominated anyway?" I asked her, my eyesbrows folding.
"What are you talking about Wyoming?" she said to me. I rolled my eyes crossing my arms laying back in the ancient seat not looking at her. "This is a wonderful thing!" I looked at her like she was actually serious. "This would bring great wealth to family," she said calmly.
"What?? You'd rather me be sent into the kingdom just so that you guys can get the extra food and money??" I asked her distraught.
"Nooo, you could be the next Princess of Aphelia-" I gasped at her disgustedly, cutting her off.
"-The queeeen." I shook my head furiously.
"I don't want to be the queen. I don't want to marry the prince. I'm not ready for marriage."
"Wyoming," my mother said trying to calm me down.
"No!" I said almost to tears. Mia began to sob. "I am not going into that palace!"
"Pleeease stooop..." Myra sobbed also looking down at her plate. Father continued eating...but a lot slower.
"Wyoming stop thinking of just yourself," my mother had the nerve to tell me standing up.
"Why don't YOU stop thinking about MONEY and start thinking about ME," I shot back pointing at myself.
"Wyoming," my mohter said again. I somewhat panicked and talked over her.
"No Mom!" she stared at me. Everyone and everything went quiet. "I don't want to be the queen. I don't want to give myself to the prince-" she cut me off.
"Wyoming...you are not GIVING yourself to the prince," she said to me. I gasped frustrated.
"Then what do you call it?" I asked her with wide eyes.
"Hope," she said simply, sitting back down slowly. "I call it, hope."
"Hope...?" I looked at her. "How is THAT hope??"
"Wyoming, you must understand that if you go into the Selection you'll help this family-"
"You'll bring extra money, food, and medical aids for all of us-"
"Yeah and I won't even be here to enjoy any of it," I said crossing my arms sitting back down. My mother laughed trying to lighten the mood. I gave her the evil eye.
"Wyoming, don't you get it? You'll be in the palace-"
"No-" we kept talking over each other.
"Endlessly surrounded by fame, food, the flowers-"
"Pretty dresses, you could make new friendsss-"
"Mom...No!" I finally yelled. "I don't want to go! I'm not going!" my mother finally couldn't hold it in.
"Wyoming, you are going into the Selection. You WILL support this family."
"Like I haven't already!" I shouted, standing up again. Mia cried hysterically and Myra continued to sob, trying to stuff the noodles in her mouth trying to ignore it all.
My dad sighed tiredly putting his fork down.
"I don't want to go-" my voice cracked.
"We need the money Wyoming; we need the support," my mom said again.
"I don't want to be the queen..." a tear left my eye. "I don't want the prince I don't." 'I want Xavier,' my heart wanted to scream.
"But think of everything you'll get? The jewels....the high class food-"
"And ALL that will SIMPLY go away the minute I'm kicked out of the palace." I said to her, the tears endlessly falling down my face. "I'm only 17...I am not ready for this- I will NEVER...be ready for this."
"Wyoming, you're turning 18 in four weeks and I am your mother," she said keeping her voice steady, her eyes watery. "You. Listen. To me," she said standing up slamming her hand on the table.
"I am your daughter. You're suppose to GUIDE me," I said back. My mother just stared at me and I couldn't take the tears or Myra's quiet sobbing or Mia's now hysterical crying...or even Dad's silence....
I couldn't take it.
I couldn't take any of it.
"Just because you wanted the crown before me doesn't mean I do.... I just... I just want you to listen to me...." I faintly whispered, a tear leaving my chin hitting my plate. Mother gasped at me with watery eyes as well, one tear leaving her cheek and then everything paused except Mia's crying.
Everyone just stared at me.
I shook my head a little covering my mouth, and I turned away as fast as I could, running up the stairs, my mother calling after me with a shake in her voice but I ignored it as I imagine her turning to my dad and before slamming my door, she said to him,
"James..." But I didn't care.
I locked my door, put a chair under it to keep ANYBODY from coming in and I collapsed on my bed, hugging my purple body pillow, wrapping my leg around it, stuffing my face into it, to where I almost couldn't breathe but it wouldn't matter anyway.
My crying would've had the same affect.
I wasn't necessarily crying because of what my mother said to me (yet that was part of it), but most of it was really for Xavier. Leaving him would leave me heartbroken....
Even if I leave the palace or not.
He understood me and he loved me...he loved me in a way no one else could. No one else can. And once you reach that stage with ANYBODY you want to be with them all the time...and if leaving them for someone you didn't want was going to get in the way of that...you can't picture it. You just couldn't....
I woke up.
I must've feel asleep from crying so hard as I don't remember ACTUALLY going to sleep but a few seconds after my eyes adjusted I noticed I didn't wake up by just myself, but from a knock at my two story window.
I looked confused and sat up as a emerald green eyed, black hair boy, with a rich vanilla skin tone that came off as a natural tan was at my window. I smiled as I went over and opened the window as he leaned on the windowsill and he said to me sweetly,
"Not trying to be a creeper Miss..." I leaned on the windowsill as well, my face in front of him, my tears making its way past my check again but a small smile had to creep across my face as he always just made me happy even in the most depressing of situations and he continued, "But I was coming to check on a pretty girl who lives here and when I did see her, I noticed she was asleep!" He said like it was a bad thing. I chuckled as he continued on with his little story looking into my eyes.
"I was going to leave and let her rest BUT when I noticed the position she was in...." He shook his head looking past me like it was crime and I felt more tears leave my eyes as if my heart was still crying for my cranial-man. "I know that you've been crying..." He softly whispered, gently wiping the previous crusty tears off my cheek. I shook my head a little, closing my eyes, and he whispered sympathetically letting my face melt in his hand,
"So.....why has my baby been crying?" He finished. I sucked in my lips to where you couldn't see my mouth and I took his hand, letting the squeeze of it express my emotions and he asked easing a small smile even though I felt anything but,
"Want to talk about it in the tree-house?" I forced a smile looking at him sniffing and I whispered with a sigh implying that he knew I was sad by the position I was in by hugging my pillow, and knowing that I loved the tree-house, I whispered to him holding his hand as he held mine,
"Oh....you know me so well....."