Nothing Hurts (Lotus) Feb 20, 2014 11:50:06 GMT -5
Post by Brave on Feb 20, 2014 11:50:06 GMT -5
N I C H O L A S G E R A R D
D I S T R I C T T E N
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The farm is the only thing that Nicholas Gerard ever really cared about, and it was the only thing that never left him. Sure, he loved his mother, but she died, and at one point in his life he might have loved his father too, but he was a vile imposter, so that didn’t work out either. And maybe Nick had loved Holly, but the Games had ripped her from him as easily as it had claimed his sanity. Yes, the farm was the only thing Nick cared about, because the farm had no beating, bleeding heart that would one day stop, and Nick loved that. He had encountered far too many of those bleeding hearts in his lifetime, carried one around within himself, even, and had no part left of his soul to give to watch perish. No, he had been wounded once, wronged twice, and now it was just him and his farm, and that was perfectly fine.
It was early morning, the sun still sitting half risen on the hillside, when Nick awoke. In his youth he had claimed to love sleep, but now it was a rarity, coming infrequently, and when it did, always bearing personal demons. This morning was no exception. He came from sleep with a start, his body flinching up and into itself without his consent as he gasped, his right hand coming up to his forehead experimentally, checking to make sure that the blood that had previously trickled in sticky streams no longer existed as he attempted to calm his breathing. It’s all in your head, he thought continuously, as he had long ago been taught to do when confronted with nightmares and post-traumatic stress, It’s all in your head and nothing hurts, he affirmed.
He got up then, partly because the farm was needy and partly because he was too afraid to fall back asleep. It was funny that way. Six years free of the arena and he still spent every night within it. He shuddered violently at the thought of the frigid arena, of the place that had taught him that hell wasn’t a pool of fire as much as it was one of ice and snow and absolute, desolate cold. Having such a fear was a setback now, especially on cold days and nearly always during the winter. Nick was scared stiff of the winter. But it was often manageable on hot days, when the sun beat down with it’s constant warmth and smarted away all the flashes and visions and evilness that was the 21st Hunger Games. Today wasn’t a warm day, though. Today it was cold.
He heard the rain before he saw it, with it’s pitter patter of sound against the slightly worn window that stood to the left of his slightly worn bed, and just that alone was enough to send him back, never mind the shock of cold that jolted through him when the bottoms of his feet hit against the icy hardwood floor. Suddenly their were icicles on the ceiling, and the skin was coming away from his face as he tried to rub away the snow he could feel falling there. This time the flash of pain and his panicked shout was all it took for the images to fade away, for the farm to come back, and for the room to slowly stop spinning. He exhaled slowly then, attempting to breath steadily as he made his way down the stairs, towards the kitchen, where he hastily set to brewing tea, and fetched some fried potatoes from the icebox he had left them in the night before. They were rock hard and greasy, but he forced them down anyways and then proceeded to rather carelessly pour the resulting tea into a chipped and faded mug. He stood then, mug scorching the palm of his hand, and pulled on a pair of black knitted gloves and a matching hat before shoving his feet into his boots and snatching his jacket, not really bothering to sling it on before he marched out the door and up the pathway that led to the faded red barn.
He was greeted rather quickly by his oldest dog, a rag tag mutt that had belonged to the farmer before he had to him. His name was Mathias, though it hadn’t been until the farmer had died, and Nick saw it fit to bequeath the farmer’s favorite dog with his name. It was a means of remembrance for Nick, because there was so much he already forgot. He greeted the aging mutt happily, his clothed hand falling down to rest firmly on the canine’s wagging head as he murmured words of greetings, not bothering to reprimand the dog as it placed licks onto the places of his hand where the gloves had long ago given away. Mallory was quick to join them, the young liver and white herding dog loping up with agility beyond the older dogs years as she extended similar greetings to the young victor. The only member late to the party was Bennett, the newest addition to the farm and the youngest of the dogs, being just a tiny young puppy. It was bizarre to see his absence, as he spent most of his time dotting around Mallory, but Nick was finally set at ease when he walked deeper into the rain and the spotted head of the mutt puppy appeared from the long grass, and soon all three dogs bounded around him as he made his way to the barn.
From there everything became quite routine, with Nick tending first to the pigs penned up in the back, and then to the little lamb that had recently broken it’s leg and had to be removed from the large flock that roamed to the west of the property. He then saw to it that the dogs ate and the horses, and after finally seeing to the chickens within their coop, he settled down within the field to drink from the mug and enjoy the early morning as he always did. It was out there, amidst the field, that he finally decided on what to do with his day.
He saddled his black mare with a practiced ease, pulling her saddle and bridle into place before allowing himself to mount the elegant creature. After that he simple urged her onwards toward the road and up toward the town, not really driven by any purpose but simply rather bored with events on the farm. He rode along silently, the ebony equine sloshing along through the muck the rain had kicked up. They continued on at an amiable pace for about fifteen minutes before it finally happened. The scent of the electricity was all it really took to set him off, and his sudden tensing combined with the flash as the lightning finally struck was all it took for the horse to chuck him from her back and take off up the road, fleeing out of fright and abandoning Nick without much care. Nick let himself fall, to far gone to really care as he hit the ground.
It was suddenly very, very cold, and there was snow falling fast outside the cave that he had taken refuge in. The announcement had just been made, booming throughout the arena with enough force to cause an avalanche if it wanted to. There was to be a feast, and Nicholas Gerard had been extended a personal invitation. Having just spent two days stuck up a rather large pine tree with three hungry mutts circling beneath him, he was in no rush to go back outside, but as his eyes flashed down to the girl that lay curled up at his feet, buried under blankets and barely conscious, he knew he didn’t have a choice in going. She had woken up during the announcement, even in her sickened state it had drawn her from her slumber, and her eyes now flashed to his, a whimper escaping her before she could stop it. He fell to his knees beside her instantly, drawn near by some invisible force as he reached out to her, his hand coming to rest uselessly on her forehead as he pushed the hair from her eyes. “You can’t go,” She had said immediately, emotion causing her voice to falter and choke, “If you go I’ll die,” Her hand untangled itself from the blankets then and reached for his, using all the strength she had to grab at it weakly. He stopped her struggles immediately, his hand finding hers quickly as he shook his head, forcing a smile for her sake. “No you won’t. I won’t let that happen to you. I promised, remember?” He had questioned her, only allowing his smile to falter when she shook her head numbly, her words coming out distorted and mumbled due to her fatigue. “You don’t understand. I’ll die,” She was growing hysterical now, tears forming at the corners of her eyes, and the knowledge caused a deep panic to erupt from within Nick’s core. He squeezed her hand tighter then, his opposite going to rest at her cheek as he attempted to shush her, to calm her fears. “You won’t, you won’t” He had repeated, a mantra that continued over and over again.
Suddenly the cave was gone, and in it’s place was instead the tribute of District 2, a cruel grin on his face as he grabbed the designated District 10 satchel and smashed it over and over again against the ground, similar to the manner he had Nick’s head, ignoring the shouts and cries and pleads that the opposing tribute attempted to force upon him. Nick had cried them, actually cried as he watched him smash the medicine to shards, and then he had simply stood up and killed him, simple as that. He had laughed while it had happened, as the crimson blood had flowed over the length of his fingers and then his hand and his wrist and eventually his whole arm. Laughed and laughed, until there was nothing left inside of him but hatred. Then he had killed the rest of them and gone back for Holly, gone back to find her lifeless and dead, her glassy eyes staring up at the ceiling in the same haunted manner as when he had first found her. And after that, there was nothing and no one that could stop him from killing every other person in that arena that had ever known her name.
He came to screaming as the rain hit him hard, his forehead sticky with blood in such a painstaking manner that he felt a part of him seemingly die, but then it passed and he was still screaming, because that was all he had ever been good for, wasn’t it? Time passed, and the rain kept falling, but no matter how hard he tried, the screaming didn’t stop. And it never really would.
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Notes: Sorry this took so long!
Notes: Sorry this took so long!