Cuisine Challenge Week #3

Hello all! Hope you had an awesome week. So this week’s word was favorites and Tay and I decided to go easy on ourselves(which isn’t technically cheating… it isn’t!) So we pulled a meal/soup from the freezer. But I did make a bread(I can’t live now without a fresh loaf of bread on my counter) a dessert and a breakfast dish. Yes I am totally justifying the freezer meal. Anyway let’s get to it!

Leftover(frozen) pot roast, mashed potatoes and leftover lemon, sugar snap peas. Yummy! So here is the recipe to the roast, because it froze amazingly well, which is like awesome.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
All my raisins fell to the outside but still it was delicious!
Hot Milk Cake(recipe here) One of my all time fav cakes- So good! With some fresh fruit and powdered sugar. Don’t just take my word for it people.
Throw back photo but I remade my beet, cucumber, feta salad and just forgot to take a photo.
Fruit+Cream Cheese Crepes- Delicious!

So a really quick and easy week, but still fantastically delicious.

But guys I am super excited about next week’s menu as Tay and I journey south for some soul food. That’s right- all the comfort food fried, battered and soaking in butter. I can’t wait!

Lots of love,


Christmas Top Ten: Forever Young

For all those 18 and above; this one is for you! Let’s wrap up this series with a bang.(Or at least wrap it up)

  • Paper Pumpkin Subscription- Give the gift of crafting made easy, because everything comes nice and orderly in one box per month. The best part is you can subscribe for a year or just two or three months, totally up to you.
  • Cheese Basket- Who doesn’t love cheese? (I love living in Wisconsin… A land famous for cheese) If however you’re a crazy person and don’t like cheese make up a cookie basket or a meat basket. I don’t know get jazzy with it.
  • Audible Subscription/Gift card– Following the gift that keeps on giving trend an Audible subscription is perfect for the book lover in your life.
  • Twelve Exordinary Women- Our book stocking stuffer for the woman in your life.
  • Twelve Ordinary Men– For the dude.
  • A Night Out- Again quality time is irreplaceable. So make time count and just have fun.
  • Clothes- Socks, sweaters, house shoes… You get it.
  • A Night In- A spa night, a movie night. Ah the bliss! You let them pick the flick and you bring the snacks. Easy-peasy.

And we did it! Merry Christmas everyone! Until next time…

Lots of love,


Working With Other Nannies

In writing this- Well let’s just say I hesitate. Not because I’m afraid of offending someone as I have worked with some fabulous ladies. I just don’t want it to be taken the wrong way. Hence my first point…

  • Everyone Does it Differently- Everyone has their own strengthens and weaknesses. That’s true anything in life. If my fellow nanny has different things she thinks is important for the kids to take part in(like crafts) or to learn more about(like proper table manners) that’s awesome! And she might have a different way to handle bedtimes(like she might have everyone go upstairs together, which I don’t do all the time. I like to do one at a time) or dinner times or anything like that. Which is not the end of the world. It’s important for the kids to see each adult figure in their life as having some authority. So the ability and freedom to make certain decisions is key.
  • A Common Game Plan- That being said a common game plan is also super important. There are some things which need to be the standard no matter who is currently watching the littles. Disciplinary standards and enforcement for instance. It does no one any good if the kids are constantly having different standards of conduct depending on who is in charge. If Johnny isn’t allowed to go outside before his homework is done and yet my fellow nanny is constantly letting him do so and now he doesn’t have any of his homework done- Do you see my point? As I mentioned before in the post about finding a good work family it’s vital to get these disciplinary standards from the parents. So you’re not just pulling them out of thin air.
  • Passing on Strategies/Information- Going hand-in-hand with the above point if there’s no communication between me and my fellow nanny who is coming on after me… Well let’s just say it can quickly become a disaster. As an example let’s say Johnny didn’t do his homework and is now grounded from the TV. If I however do not pass that one to nanny #2 and she let’s him watch a show that night, who’s fault is it? Mine and to an extent Johnny’s cause he knew he was grounded. But still communication is sooo important for this job.

Does any of this make sense? If you have any questions, or need any advice on nannying please just shoot me a comment or a DM on any of my social accounts and I will get back to you. I am doing a follow up post to this blog about how to handle a fellow nanny, who is not doing her job. Until then…

Lots of love,


Banana Nanas

We’ve had a surplus of bananas lately and the kids (though they love bananas) were, I think, getting tired of the same old fare. Below are two recipes for your banana nana book.
#1- A Very Banana Pudding
I loved this and thought it tasted delicious! That being said the twins did not care for it and it only kept for like two or three days. So unless you absolutely love, LOVE bananas this recipe is not for you.
1/2 c. Sugar
2 tbsp. Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. Milk
4 eggs
1 tbsp. Vanilla Flavor
5 Overly Ripe Bananas
1 box Vanilla Wafers
Mix flour, salt, and sugar; add milk slowly. Stir constantly over low heat until thickened. (It doesn’t take long) Stir and cook for 15 minutes. Beat eggs in a bowl and stir into mixture slowly. Cook about 5 more minutes, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and add vanilla flavor. Squash bananas and add to mixture. Spread in casserole dish, top with wafers and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Finally, set in fridge until chilled. Enjoy!
#2- Nana-pops
Now this one was a complete success! Got a perfect 100 rating from the kiddos and it was ridiculously easy to make.
3-4 Bananas (this will make 6-8 popsicles)
Cut bananas in half and either stick a popsicle stick (or I used a straw) into them. Roll in honey, cover in sprinkles and freeze for two-three hours. It’s super healthy and the kids love the sweetness! 
Let me now if you guys like these recipes, or if you’ve tried any of them. 
Starting in December I’m thinking of doing a different cookie recipe once a week, plus an old Christmas story/tradition of my family’s. Is that something you’d be interested in? Let me know!
Lots of loves,
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People of the Trees Prt. One

People of the Trees
Written by Tally Marie Ragsdale
I humbly lay my roses down before my Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
Chapter One 
A light drizzle fell from an overcast sky as hundreds of Cruz soldiers moved from tree top to tree top with the ease and stealth that only their people could achieve. It gave them an advantage in the upcoming battle against the Foul, but only a slight one.
The Foul were ginger giants from the plains, who had out grown their valleys and were now looking for new lands to settle. Land they thought they could find in the forests, where the brown-skinned Cruz had lived unchallenged for centuries. 
Tarek, only one of the countless Cruz who had responded to his tribe’s call to war, sat motionless in a tall spruce. He was young for a Cruz solider as were the other boys who sat with him, which meant they were volunteers. 
“Tarek,” a whisper came from below. 
Tarek’s keen, brown eyes, instantly dropped to those of Garb. Garb and Tarek had been best friends since they were old enough to talk. At the very young age of thirteen the two had sworn a blood pact. Swearing to guard and protect each others’ family and honor from all harm. It was a promise not taken likely by their people and punishable by death if broken. But for Garb and Tarek it was just a formality of what had always been between them. 
Garb, who was only two months older than Tarek, was a Finder. Which meant his family had been blessed with incredibly black skin and could therefore blend into the forest completely. They were revered as wise and especially gifted warriors amongst their people. But with this blessing of honor came a curse, for Fouls dearly love to slay Finders. 
“Tarek,”Garb looked up at him, “do you remember the time we cornered that boar by the west dip and you speared it from twenty feet away?” his white smile spread devilishly a crossed his dark face, “Then you made me log it all the way home.” 
“You gambled I couldn’t kill it in one throw,” Tarek’s soft skin wrinkled into a grin, “You lost.” 
“I don’t recall setting any stakes on that gamble even if you say I did.” 
Tarek shoved Garb’s shoulder in good nature with his foot, which brought soft laughter from his friend. But that laughter quickly sobered, “I don’t wish to bring dishonor on my family.” 
Tarek looked to him in shock. 
Garb saw his astonishment and quickly smiled, “Fear not brother, I have no plans to die today,” his face grew sad again, “But should the unthinkable happen; will you tell my family that I died with honor? And tell,” Garb stopped. 
He had no problem talking about anything, except when it came to Tarek’s younger sister, Banta. She had been promised to him as a child. It was an honored custom among the Cruz to arrange the marriages of their daughters only days after their birth. And because of the such strong bond between Tarek and Garb, it was only natural for Tarek’s father to arrange such a match between them. In the years since, Banta had grown into a vision of loveliness and Garb into an honored warrior. Their marriage would take place at Garb’s Coming of Age Ceremony and it seemed neither of them could wait for it. 
Tarek couldn’t be happier for his sister or his friend. Not that he would know. His betrothed, who he had barely known, had died a year ago when an epidemic had swept through his people. And by law his father was required to find him a new bride, before his Coming of Age. But since most of the girls around his age were already married or promised there weren’t very many left to choose from. 
“Well tell your sister all that I cannot,” Garb locked eyes with his blood brother, “You will tell her, won’t you?” 
“You speak as if you know the future! Live and tell her yourself.” 
Suddenly far in the distance a deep trumpet sounded vibrating through the trees and awakening the senses of every Cruz soldier. 
“To battle my friend,” Garb stuck out his forearm. 
Tarek clasped it in a firm grip, “To battle.” 
A war cry arose from the tree tops and without warning, battle crazed Cruz dropped from the sky. The war had begun.

Chapter Two


Dram stood motionless by his father, High Chieftain Durn of the Free People of the Cruz and watched as the first wave of Cruz soldiers fell from the trees crushing the Foul scum beneath them. It was amazing to witness what expert warriors could do with surprise on their side. It would be a good ten minutes before the Foul could reform their lines, but by then many hundreds would be dead.

“Pull those soldiers back,” Durn commanded Krain, his general. A unified Foul was dangerous, but hopefully by retreating they could scatter their enemy’s forces in their blind pursuit for revenge.

“Are Parek’s men in position?” 

“They are, my lord,” Krain replied in his famously gruff voice, “Shall I send these Foul to the abyss?”

“By all means.”

Krain bowed and with one last smile to Dram, walked away to do his chieftain’s will.

Dram turned back to the battle where the Cruz soldiers were just now retreating, drawing the dumb Foul deeper into the woods with them. The Foul might not be able to know a trap when they saw it, but they made up for their lack of brains with sheer brute strength. They killed their enemies with their bare hands. The trick is to kill them before they get too close, or to try and out run them if they do. But that is easier said than done. Given an open plane, a Foul solider could easily out run a pack of wild dogs.

Dram grinned; the pack of dogs they were chasing now had brains and intended to use them. His father’s plan was simple: draw the enemy in, cut them off and rain death from above. Their enemy would be no more by night fall.

“Bullock!!” a scream welled over the sound of battle. Bullock, captain of the advancing Foul troop, turned to the young scout calling his name, “Another Cruz force is swinging behind us to the north. They’re caging us in!”

Bullock looked up, his enemy’s plan becoming clear to him. Cursing himself for not seeing it sooner, the captain held his right hand high and broke for the nearest tree. Several pre-selected soldiers followed their commander’s lead. They were the Fire Bringers. 

“So the Cruz plan to corner me and then drop from the skies upon my frightened men?” Bullock growled as he struck one black stone against another, creating a small spark on the dried forest floor, “Well let’s see how they like their forest when it’s aflame with death. Scout report back to the chief; tell him that we require no assistance-“

“But captain the flames will kill you also!”

“It’s too late for us!” Bullock shoved the young boy away, “Do as you’re told and tell my lord he must attack the Cruz village now, before it is too late. Be gone, boy!”

The scout bowed his head and ran away with unbelievable speed. At fifteen this young soldier should feel honored being charged with such an important duty, but instead he felt only grief to be leaving his father, brothers, and uncles to die behind him.


Blood, death and screams; this was all Tarek had known since he’d jumped from his perch in the tree. Ducking a Foul swing, Tarek reared up and cut his opponent wide open. Yet as soon as that Foul fell another bigger Foul took his place and he wielded a Cruz iron mace. 

The Foul swung and Tarek barely missed getting hit. Carefully dodging the next two swings, Tarek lunged and was rewarded with a fist to the jaw. His sword went one way and he went the other. Rolling over, Tarek looked up as the Foul readied to flatten him. Suddenly Garb was there cutting the arms off the Foul and quickly ending his life.

“Be careful my friend,” Garb pulled Tarek up and thrust the heavy mace into his hands, “the battle isn’t over yet.”

Tarek watched as Garb ran to rejoin the others. His mind slowly cleared of the fog that near death had brought on, but with clarity came the reality of what was going one around him. Looking down at the dead Foul crumpled at his feet, Tarek gritted his teeth and pressed on. He rushed past the dead and the dying determined not to be counted among them.


From their vantage point atop the bluff, Durn and Dram were the first to spot the smoke and to see the flames.

“What is that?” Durn asked his son.

Dram cursed as he drew his sword, “That father is the Foul’s answer to you trap. FIRE!!! FIRE!! Cut them down now, before they set more,” Dram’s powerful voice bellowed down to the force just below them, “Father send word to Parek to attack now, then get out of here. This battle has taken a turn for the worse and the village must be protected.”

“Aye,” Durn started off with his personal guards, “Be safe my son.”

Gripping his sword, Dram leapt from the bluff into a neighboring tree and slipped down to the forest floor. Sprinting to catch up with his men, he soon overtook them and with the ferocity of a lion the chief’s son propelled himself into the frays of battle. Defeating every foe he met.


Tarek gagged on the smoke as he swung his mace, killing yet another Foul. His muscles ached and his lungs burned. But somehow he managed to kill two more opponents, before collapsing to the ground in exhaustion. Looking up through the canopy of the leaves above, Tarek watched as lazy, white clouds floated through an endless sky. How many times had he sat up there in the open air? What a peaceful place it was!

Tarek frowned as flames ate up the trees. A rage unlike anything he had known before filled him. Pushing to his feet, Tarek swung his mace and charged three Foul. They fell back before him in fear.


Bullock stopped. His gaze passing between the richly clothed boy to the lad with the mace. He’d been told that the son of the Cruz chief had joined the battle. But which warrior was he? Was the rich boy a ruse to conceal the tall and deadly Cruz? Or was it the other way around? Bullock gripped his iron spear and charged for the tall boy, praying he was right.


Tarek heard him before he saw him and by that time it was too late. A massive Foul commander slammed into his body, causing both of them to fall back. Careening down a hill, the two landed hard in a small creek bed.

Tarek quickly kneed the Foul atop him and rolled away. However he had lost his mace is the fall and now stood before his enemy defenseless.

Bullock stood, his face red and his stomach sore. The boy had technically already lost the battle. All Bullock had to do was throw his spear and yet the Cruz stood his ground. Slowly Bullock switched the spear to his right hand and threw it without provocation. The boy rolled just in time and ignoring the spear he charged. True the Cruz was taller than most, but if he thought he could beat a Foul commander at hand-to-hand combat he was gravely mistaken.

Perhaps it was this over confidence that made the Cruz’s initial attack so effective. And why Bullock ended up on his butt with a bleeding lower lip. As the boy charged again, Bullock flawlessly kicked his feet out from under him. He straddled the boy and brought down blow after blow. But still the boy fought, so pulling out a hidden dagger Bullock lodged it deep in the his chest.

“Die now with honor,” Bullock said, holding the boy down as he struggled.

The boy only roared and fought harder. Bullock pulled out the knife again and readied it for another blow. Suddenly however, another Cruz appeared and tackled him into the creek. Bullock tossed the smaller, darker Cruz away from him and leveled his knife. He threw it without much thought and down went his attacker.

“NO!!!” a wail rose from the bleeding boy, who had somehow managed to crawl for the spear.

Bullock froze, their eyes locking. The boy pushed to his feet and threw the spear with such skill that Bullock knew his life was over before he ever felt the impact. Falling back, the great Foul commander landed his face level with that of the dark boy he had killed. Who was he? He looked to be the same age as his youngest son. He wondered if that boy had done as he was told and made it back to the chieftain. Or had he been cut down by a Cruz officer? Had he died in the defense of a brother? Bullock watched as the boy he had tried so desperately to kill leaned over the boy he had. Tears streamed down the Cruz’s face. Resting his forehead against that of his savior’s the boy roared in rage and sorrow, and then collapsed. Bullock felt the heat of the flames around them. They would all die here together. Strangers bound by that which all men must face. As his vision darkened, the commander thought of his home and of endless waves of grain. He was a farmer again at the end.

Lots of loves,
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Exploring Milwaukee: Art Musuem

The weather is once again getting nice enough for me to go exploring! (Yippee!) Coming from East Central Illinois there wasn’t many adventures going on. (I loved growing up in a small town but I’m pretty sure I was always meant to end up in the city scene. I think we’ve talked about this before)

Anyway I finally got to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum . My initial thoughts? It’s huge, the staff is super friendly and it’s overall collection is pretty impressive. I could have spent all day wandering the halls, however I have a cold… again (yay!) and just the 2 1/2 hours I spent walking around was enough to drain me of all energy and enthusiasm.
But I wanted to go before May 12th, 2019 to see the Bouguereau&America  exhibit. Guys if you get a chance to go you have to check it out. Bouguereau was heavily influenced by the Renaissance artists, his own religion and what was in demand by the mostly American purchasers. Not only seeing these influences spill out of his art, but to see the rise and fall of his fame with the changing mood of the populace, was super fascinating. If you do get a chance to check out this limited time exhibit; my favorite pieces were The Broken Pitcher, all of his portraits especially the Two Sisters( a new dream of mine is to have my portrait painted. How cool would that be?), and The Prayer. (You can almost feel that one) 

And if you guys do go ask the security guards on duty what their favorites are. Maybe because my Dad has worked in security most of his life, but I make it a point to smile and talk to the security guards. Show ‘em some love people! 
Also remember that the 1st Thursday of the every month is free entry. In case you need added incentive to plan a visit. 
One last thought and then I’ll shut up; but sometimes (most times) the people are more interesting than the art work. Watching different people react to different kinds of art is simply fascinating. It would make an interesting social study. (if anyone studied me while looking at the Modern Art they’d see confusion… I still don’t get it)

Oh, bonus thought! But on the 3rd floor  in the back, is a room that’s got two huge windows that open out onto the lake. It has several sculptures in it, but everyone makes a beeline for the windows. It just struck me that, yes certain people have been blessed with the amazing ability to create these awesome works of art, but nothing can compare with God’s art work.

Okay I’ll stop talking know. Do you guys have any suggestion of where I should go exploring next? I am always up for another adventure! (At least I will be when I get over this cold)
Lots of loves,
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Mellow in Yellow

Ah, spring. You gorgeous, colorful and yet still at times freezing season. I don’t know about you guys but spring can sometimes be a difficult time to style. As one day it can be like winter and the next you’re tempted to throw all caution to the wind and run around in short sleeves. (not yet guys, not yet) The key is layers darling, even if half of your layers stay in the backseat of your car. (Guilty) Below is outfit #1 in a mini series 7 Layered Outfits of Spring that we’ll run through in April to give you guys some outfit inspo.

By the way guys (as you can probably tell from the frozen lake behind me) I needed all my layers that day. It was chilly! 

Okay Sling-backs are my new favorite shoes! I’m seriously tempted to buy them in every freakin’ color! They’re like flats in that they’re cute and classy, but because the back is open- Guys no rubbing! I wore them all day while I ran errands and they were so comfortable. 

I love, love, LOVE this Sweater. It is so soft (both color and fabric wise- by the way yellow is super in this spring) You could wear it over a dress or a tee, or on it’s own like I am here with just a lacy bralette. (It also comes in several colors if yellow just ain’t your thing) 

One thing to always remember during these layering months is scarves are still an option. Yes put away your chunky, knitted corded infinity scarves, but a colorful scarf can be the perfect extra layer over a sweater if a jacket is just too much or not enough.  (This particular scarf was a gift! And I love it!!)

Outfit details above. 
Until next time guys!
Lots of loves,
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Aerie Lace Bralette

Reflections and a Holy God

Taking a more personal turn, I was just laying here sitting how completely clueless I can be. How clueless we can all be. 

Let me explain. It’s been extremely cold here the past week (which most of you know)  and we have gotten a crap ton of a snow. But it’s been too cold to actually enjoy and play in the snow. And because of the cold I’m probably gonna have to replace my car’s battery and the pipes in my kitchen froze (but thankfully they’ve thawed and nothing burst) and I’ve had a headache every night this week because of the weather- Basically I have been counting every little inconvenience, every little thing as a personal attack. And I was wondering why I felt so miserable.
Well after the pipes unfroze I realized how ungrateful my attitude has been. How selfish I’ve been… And God didn’t waver or move. He was and is faithful. God hasn’t left us simply because life has become inconvenient. Maybe He’s trying to get our attention. For me it was getting my attention off of me and back on Him. He never said life would be perfect as Christian (in fact He said the opposite. We should expect worse) But He did say He’d never leave us nor forsake us.
Instead of listing things that are troublesome list God’s attributes and what He has done. God is faithful; He’s provided me the money to get a new battery. God is gracious and merciful; He saved me, a wretched sinner, from my own sin by sending His Son to die. His goodness is overflowing; my work commute consists of a flight of stairs and I work with some amazing women. God is all powerful; not only does He hold my very atoms together but those of the entire universe as well.
And the list could go on and on and on and on and on. When You look at your life through God all you see is Him.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do- He reveals to you who He is… Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is!” Oswald Chambers
Lots of loves,
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Top Six Movies of All Time

Awhile back I shared with you guys my favorite reads, this time we’re gonna talk movies!
Below are my Top Six favorite movies of all time. (Movies I could watch again and again and again)
  1. Philadelphia Story
Nothing gets better than Cary Grant, Kathrine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, one-lining each other into oblivion. This film (which was based off a play by the same title) is a classic. It’s straight up drama and the dialogue is flawless. This is my #1 favorite film! (And Dad I liked it first!) 
If you haven’t seen it buy it. If you’re not into black and white movies-Buy it! Best. Movie. EVER. (Added note: I can totally do Hepburn’s condescending laugh)
2. Sahara
Ignore what the critics say on this one folks. If you want a funny, action packed buddy movie than look no further. I literally watch this movie just for the moments between Dirk and Al.

3. Lost in Space (1998)
Here I go again ignoring the critics with my third pick. I grew up watching this movie with my family and still love it till this day. True there are some bad lines and a few (very few) poor acting moments, but over all this movie is great. 
I love “Lost in Space” as a rule, so when Netflix released it’s reboot I was looking to be disappointed… Yeah I wasn’t disappointed. It’s also really good and deserves a watch.
4. To Have and Have Not
If I’m being totally honest all of Boogie’s movies could have made this list, as he’s my favorite actor of all time. But if I had to choose just one it would be this classic. The acting is flawless, the story is intelligent and Boogie and Becall are prefect. Considering that this was her first film and that they fell in love on set, eventually marrying each other is just icing on the cake. 
5. A Quiet Place
I love, love, LOVE scary movies. Not horror movies- Scary movies. Thrillers like Signs, Village, I Am Legend, Sixth Sense, World War Z… (okay so the last one is more of a horror flick but I liked it) So when I saw the trailers for A Quiet Place I was soooo excited! And it is probably one of the best movies ever. Again I love it when the couple in the movie is actually married in real life, but on top of that (and my love for Emily Blunt) the story is flawless. It doesn’t overload you with a lot of info (a lot like Signs) and just gives you the perspective of one family. If you dig good scares and great plots this one’s for you.
6. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Now you who love the 8 hour, Colin Firth version don’t shoot me! I just don’t. Never have. I would much rather watch Joe Wright’s interpretation even if it’s not exactly like the book. The chemistry between Keira Knightly and Matthew McFadden is undeniable no matter what you think of them as actors. (And to be honest I like both of them)  Of course if I watch this movie I have to watch Sense and Sensibility (1995), Emma (1996), Northanger Abbey (2007), Miss Potter (2006), North&South (2004) and so and so.
Okay I know I promised only six picks but I feel like I’ve left out a whole genre of film that I love.
7. Gladiator 
I love Ridley Scott movies and Russel Crowe. Gladiator is undoubtedly my favorite but I could watch Master and Commander or Robin Hood too. (I blame my Dad for this) Other films that fall into this category are Patriot, War Horse, Last of the Mohicans.
So there you have it! My favorite movies though this really doesn’t even touch the surface of I movies I enjoy and could easily rewatch.
Let me know what your favs are and if we have any in common! (Seriously I’d love to know)

Lots of loves,
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The Undersea Luck

The Undersea Luck
Written by Tally Ragsdale 12.10.15
The peek of the sun clipped my eyes as I laid awake on the bed beside my sister. I can hear her soft murmurs of heavy breath against my ear. She has always been a deep sleeper, ever since she was born. I would often watch her until my own lids grew too heavy. But tonight it hadn’t done any good. Nothing, not even Minny’s gently dimpled cheeks, could comfort me. I had turned twelve this past winter and with that milestone came the Reaping. The past two summers have been torture, watching Maun and Moreen stand among the boys. I can remember how tense we’d all be until someone else’s name was called. If they could just hold out for three and four more years they’d be safe. But not me. I had this feeling deep inside of me that I wouldn’t escape the Games. One way or another my life would be defined by them.

“Mags what are you doing up?” I hear Maun’s voice whisper from the bed a crossed from me.

“I couldn’t sleep,” I say as I bring my knees to my chest and realize for the first time I’m shaking.

A look of pain crosses my brother’s face. The same look he gets when dad’s memory lapses back to the war or when Minny cries for more food. It’s a look of helplessness.

“Nothing’s going to happen to you,” his warm voice comforts me even as he sits beside me and pulls me into his lap, “It’s the Undersea luck, we never get picked”.

I buried my head in my hands. My family needs me to be strong, Maun needs me to be, but I’m scared. More than I ever was when it was just my brothers in danger. I’ve watched the Games, seen the horror. It was worse than the Rebellion had ever been. Worse than the bombs and starvation. Worse than my father losing his mind after the defeat, worse than anything I could think of. I didn’t want to die. 

“What if I am picked?” I turn my angry words to my brother, “I can’t win Maun. I’d be dead the first day.”

“You’re not going to be picked,” Maun grabs my face to stop my hysteria, “Nothing’s going to happen to you. I promise.”
Three years later…

Luke Billion winks at me as he passes. It’s his last year in the Reaping and he knows it. That had been Maun’s luck last year and Moreen’s this year. They were both too old to participate in the Hunger Games.
I wish I could say the same. Stretching my red dress’s collar away from my neck, I look back at my mother, who’s grey eyes smile despite the tears. She still remembers last year when a girl my age was reaped from District Six and then ripped apart by a mutt in the arena. It had sent her into a nervous break-down, which only Maun’s quick words could calm. I feared she might die if I was really picked.
Turning to Maun I give a small smile and tug at my collar. He mouths ‘you okay?’ No not really. That old feeling of doom is creeping inside my joints. I can’t get over the fact that my life is over.

“Happy Hunger Games,” Simos Gilden yells into the microphone, his pink hair deflating under the hot sun.

And so it has begun.

“Now to the Reaping,” his annoying, little voice echos a cross the courtyard, “Ladies first.”

I watch unfazed as his heels clicked
across the cold concrete, but when his gloved hand reaches into the glass bowl, my heart stops.

“Our female tribute representing District Four,” he drags out the pain, smiling into the faces of terrified girls, “is… Magnus Undersea.” 

Everyone turns to me like they knew it was coming. I can see relief mingled with sympathy on their faces. They’re sorry for me, but they’re glad it is me.
I must be taking too long, because Peacekeepers, one on each arm drag me to the stage where I am placed next to Simos and his blundering foolishness.

“Congratulations my dear,” he almost touches my shoulder, but draws it back in distatse, “Now the boys.”

He clips off as I find my families’ faces. My father’s eyes are distant and vacant, which means he’s oblivious to what’s going on. My mother isn’t so lucky. She’s buried in Maun’s chest. Moreen is as white as a ghost and Maun- He’s got that look of defeat.

“Janus Fig,” I barely hear Simos call out as a boy two-years younger than me trips up onto the stage, “And here are the tributes for our district. Shake hands.”

I reach over remotely. The boy is shaking and his pants are wet. I know then he’s not coming home.

An eternity passes before I am given a chance to say good-bye to my family and even when I do it passes too quickly. By the time I’m aware of what’s going on I’m on a train with my district far behind me.

“Now since District Four has never won a Game you two have no Mentor,” Simos explained, powdering his nose, “So one of the Victors from District One will be assisting you if he can. But frankly there’s barely anytime for the Mentors to spare.”
“That’s not exactly fair,” Janus’ voice quivers.

“Shut your mouth!” the Capitol’s mouth piece losses his charm and becomes the monster he truly is, “If you kids would put more effort into winning we might have Mentors. I declare the last two didn’t even last an hour, before they were burned to a crisp.”

My blood ran cold, I’d known both of last year’s tributes. To even think about dying like they had was almost too much.

“So this is the fifth Hunger Games- I can’t believe five years have past already. It seems like only yesterday Hira from District One impaled her last victim, becoming the first Victor. Her tributes have won two of the past four years; the other two victories going to Dictrict Two and Eight of all places. This year Hira has two of the best tributes yet. Of course we won’t know for sure until after the trials. A District One tribute has never gotten a score under eight- In fact, Hira got a twelve. The first and last time that will ever happen I’m sure.”

And that’s what the rest of my ride to my death consisted of; a blow by blow account of the life and loves of Hira. It was becoming apparent that I was on my own. No Mentor and no escort. Just me and my fear and my wit, which one would win out in the end I couldn’t tell.

The Capitol looked nothing like the destruction and pain they blasted on the television 24-7. I couldn’t find the mounds of dead bodies or burning rubble they constantly talked about. To me it looked like the Capitol hadn’t even gone through the dark days, but skimmed around it. In my district you still couldn’t go into some places for fear you’d trip over a bomb or booby trap. But that was in Four and the Capitol is as far from there as I am from the moon.
Simos was overjoyed when he passed Janus and I over to our designers. I was plucked, waxed and pulled until I couldn’t even recognize myself. My crinkly, black hair was cut short about my tan face. And now that my eyebrows were all but gone, all you could see were my doe like eyes. I thought I looked like a Capitol clown, but my designer assures me that I am the prettiest girl they have ever brought him. I suppose that’s a good thing, since someone is far more likely to sponsor a pretty tribute.

The night of the parade I chafe under the meshy, golden net they informed me was a dress, and wave stiffly to the crowd. I realize too late that I should be trying to make these people like me.

Training with the other tributes wasn’t fun either, but none of this is designed for enjoyment. Tributes from District One and Two are your classic careers; big and predictable. They tried to intimidate me on the first day, but gave up when I remained silent and even a little slow. I don’t want anyone to know me. No allies. I know that if I’m going to win I will have to kill every signal one of them and the sooner I start seeing them as the enemy the better. That includes Janus. He’s completely lost in this world of the Games. At first he tried unsuccessfully to make friends and then he made the stupid mistake to show the whole world he couldn’t hit a target. I could have given him a few pointers or advised him on what skills to learn, but I held back. He wasn’t going to make it anyway.

Finally our trials came and I, for lack of a better option, made my dad’s favorite fishing laurel. He had taught me how to construct the delicate hook when I was just a baby. It was the one of the only things my father could remember to do. Tears fell unheeded from my eyes as I finished and walked away. I got a five.

The night of my interview, I’m squeezed into a pale, blue gown and covered in thick make-up, before I’m shoved before Antonio Morzova and all of Paneam. Antonio, a dark man, who at the most is five years older than me, is loud and charming. But I keep getting the uneasy feeling that he’s laughing at me. I roll with the punches and even crack a joke or two. Antonio must like me, because he keeps me on stage longer than anybody else and even asks some vaguely interesting questions. By the time I step-off of the stage I am exhausted but hopeful. That is until I get back to the silence of my room and lay awake, wishing for the warmth of my sister. 
What does she think of all of this? Does she think I can win? Or does she look at me and see a Janus? I don’t know whether I want them to root for me or not. Maybe if they just accepted the fact that I’m not coming home, as I have, they’ll be happier. Still I don’t like thinking of them without me in they’re arms.

Before I’m ready for it, it’s dawn and I’m flown to some base, where I am locked in a room with my designer. He shoves me into a grey jumpsuit and thick, black boots, before yanking my unruly locks into an uncomfortable bun.

“There you’re ready for the cameras,” he grins.

“Thanks,” I say gruffly.

I head for the glass tube in the center of the room. My feet are sluggish in the heavy shoes. Slowly the tube encases me and I know there’s no going back. My designer blows an unfeeling kiss, before he leaves without a backwards glance.
I begin to panic. Sharp, uncontrollable gasps escape my lungs as my knees quake. The platform begins to rise and at that moment I know if I can’t think my way out of this I’m not going to win. When I reach the top my hysteria has stopped and I am scared enough to kill.

The arena was nothing like I had imagined it. Last year the tributes fought on the side of a mountain with most of them falling to their deaths. The Capitol had loved that landscape, especially since a seventeen year-old boy from District Eight had won. He hurled rocks down on the competition, eventually causing a landslide. But there would be no epic landslide this year.

Stretching like an unending nightmare before me was a thick bog. It’s horrid, decaying stench curled up from the ground in visible wisps and everything; from the moss covered trees to the enormous rocks, were coated in flesh-eating gnats.
This place suited no bodies’ skills. It was going to be a blood bath.

Looking to the podiums around me, I see tributes from Districts Seven, Five, Eleven and Twelve. Good no threats. I train my eyes to the Cornucopia, planning what I’ll grab and how I’ll get away once I have it. There’s no way I’m getting caught in the massacre that is the Horn of Plenty.

Eight… Seven… Six…

My palms are starting to sweat, but I’m not shaking or gasping. I’m ready.

Three… Two…

Suddenly the boy from Twelve jumps down. He gets maybe a step or two, before the ground beneath him explodes and sends him flying in every direction. The start gun and his death cannon go off at the same time. For a moment no one knows what to do, but only for a moment.
I fly from my podium, my boots sinking eight inches deep in mud and water. I understand my need for such cumbersome shoes now. My shoes sink deep as I try to pull them up and I have to invent a form of high-stepping to get anywhere. The tributes with smaller frames are having an easier time at it, but others, like the careers, can barely keep up right. 

Finally I reach steadier ground and am able to bolt for the nearest weapon, a heavy metal spear. It feels like dead weight in my hands, but it’s sharp and it can kill. In the end that’s all I care about.

Since I’m the first to reach the Cornucopia I have time to scavenge. I am able to collect a canteen and satchel , before Janus appears behind me. He doesn’t attack though, he smiles and sorts for his own gear. I hesitate, should I kill him? I could do it. It would be so easy. Besides if I killed him it might save him from the cruelty of the careers. I could make sure he doesn’t suffer.

Quickly I make-up my mind and take-off. I won’t be the first to kill today. One by one the cannons start to go off, until fifteen have sounded. Never in the history of the Games have so many died so fast. But somehow the fact that only nine of us remain doesn’t fill me with any comfort. The added bonus that Janus survived the first day doesn’t help me.

It’s day six in the arena and there’s only six of us left. A girl from Three died the second day, when she ran into an alligator. Her screams could be heard for miles. Yesterday a boy from Seven met one from Nine by accident. They killed each other within minutes. That leaves me, Janus and the careers. But we’ll probably all starve to death soon. On day three it started to rain and has only just stopped. The Cornucopia was flooded and is now several feet underwater. So we’re out of food and water. Funny how I never pictured starvation or dehydration as the cause of my death. Blunt force trauma, blood loss, decapitation, yes, but never hunger. On top of that I’m tired. I haven’t slept since I got here and my body can’t keep up under the strain. I just want this to end one way or another.

I must be half dead when I hear it the unmistakeable beeping of a parachute. My eyes scan the trees and see the silver chute falling behind a thick clump of thistles. It’s not for me, but maybe I can steal it. It’s hard work to get my feet moving and I stumble twice before I can manage to get around the thistles. Janus has just reached the parachute , his sword clanking on the ground as he hungrily opens it.
This is the moment when it’s time to decide who goes home first. If I walk away I will be dead before nightfall, but if I kill him I might have a chance of winning. My stomach growls at the thought of eating again. Janus looks up in surprise, his hand lowering for his sword. But there’s no hate in his eyes, no murder. 
He won’t kill me, so I kill him. I throw the spear with a strength I didn’t know I had. Janus’ cannon goes off before he hits the ground.

I dive for the life-giving parachute, ripping it open. Inside is a small roll, a fried fish, a bottle of water and a note. My hands shake as I read it, ‘Hold on Janus. District Four is behind you.’ I look to the boy I just murdered, shame coloring my pale face. My district, my friends, chose this boy, who got a three in the trials and who’s interview was awful, over me. What must they be thinking? They couldn’t have imagined their gift would result in his death. But could they blame me? I don’t want to die. I want to go home! Who gave them the right to decide that Janus should live over me?

I scarf down half the fish, but hesitate to eat the roll. I drink more of the water than I intended to, but it’s still not enough to quench my thirst. These provisions will have to last for as long as they can-
Who am I kidding? This food will be gone before the day is through. I’m dead with or without it. 
Setting back on my hunches my eyes rest on the strange leaves of the thicket. I pluck one and rub it between my finger, an acid smell assaults my nose. All at once I know how I am going to win. 
Pulling back out the roll, I stuff it into the parachute along with twelve of the leaves. I have just restarted the beeping when I hear them. They brake through the trees behind me; all four careers. I take-off as if startled. They cheer and let me go. Just like I hoped their eyes are focused on the beeping booby trap. Managing to scurry up a tree, I eat the rest of the fish and slurp the water as I watch them eat the roll, leaves and all. By evening the last cannon has gone off and I am declared the winner of the fifth annual Hunger Games. I won by killing five people, five kids, in one day. No one, not even the great Hira can boast of that many kills.

Going home is not as easy as the Capitol makes you believe. My Victory Tour is over and I am giving my last speech to my district. To the family of Janus Frig I want to apologize. I hate what I did and I wish that I had died instead of him. I realize now that if I had asked Janus for a bit of the bread he would have given me the entire roll. He was descent and kind. Not a murderer, not a part of the Games. But I can’t tell them that. The day I got home from the arena a letter was waiting for me at the Victor’s Village. It was from President Snow. It was very simple and straight forward, “You’ll pay for the parachute.” I realize now how using a device of the Capitol to win their Games isn’t exactly wise. They don’t like being insulted. They proved that when Moreen contracted some rare disease and died within days. He suffered terribly for my victory.

So now I only give the speeches Simos gives me and they are as unfeeling as he is. I know my whole district hates me and would love to see me dead. I am the first tribute in the history of the Games to kill her follow tribute. Even the careers aren’t that stupid or cold blooded. I’m setting a lot of firsts.

What can be said of the years following? Of my time spent watching my family die? Or my years mentoring in the arenas? 

My mother and father died in an unexplained fire my second year back. That year the boy I mentored won. The next year Minny fell accidentally from a tree. She lived for a couple of months just enough time for another one of my tributes to win. Back-to-back wins for District Four. My people slowly start to forgive me, because I am bringing at least some of their children back to them. I’m training them to do whatever it takes to win, to be careers. By the tenth Hunger Games I’m exhausted. I’m only twenty but already I have wrinkles and grey strains of hair. Maun is my last hope, but he’s not going to make it. The Capitol said they would make me pay, so they draw out his death to the last breath. There I’ve paid.

Fifteen years go by and I’ve brought home six tributes. I seem to have this gift, I can tell who’s going to win. It’s kind of like picking a winning race horse, I know which one is coming out alive. And it’s not always my tributes, though I wish it was. I wish I could bring home both boy and girl, instead of having to pick. I choose who I think can win and leave the extra tribute for the other mentors. Just like in the arena I work alone. Most tributes complain that it’s unfair for some middle-aged, grey haired woman to be their mentor. They complain that is until they realize they got the better end of the deal.

I was thirty-five and almost dead. I had played the Games, but I was done. No more Reaping, train rides or arenas. No more death, except maybe my own. On my empty, hollow days in Four I’d sit in the surf and watch the fishing boats go by. The waves beating against my silky legs and soaking my shorts. It was a small comfort to my raw nerves.

“Are you going to sit there all day?”

I spin around to a dark colored man, mending a net and watching me.

“Why do you care? I’m not obstructing your view,” I turn back to the ocean.

“Hay I don’t care if you want to waste valuable time,” the man plopped down in the water beside me and tossed half his net in my lap, “But if you’re gonna just sit here you might as well do something useful.”

Silence settles between us as I pick-up the work. I haven’t worked on a net in years, but there are somethings you never forget.

“I suppose you’ll be leaving soon,” the man’s voice carefully breaks the silence, “First Quarter Quell. Any ideas what they’ve got cooked up?”

“I don’t want to know,” I refuse to look up.

“How do you do it? Go there year after year and try your hardest to bring a kid home, only to have him die in the end?”

My eyes flash-up to his pale, brown ones, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I know. I’ve watched you go from your house to this beach to the train station. You never talk to anyone and you don’t let anyone talk to you. Mags, you’re not an island even if you want to be,” tears prick my eyes and he smiles, “So why not burden me with some of it. I’ve got nothing but time with my bum hand,” he holds up his left hand that’s been ripped open by shark teeth and sown back together. A common injury in Four.

It happens slowly at first and yet in time I’m not alone. I have a friend in Martin, but not just a friend, a husband and soulmate too. We weather the storms of our lives together and the old Magnus begins to reappear. No longer do I just pick the tribute who I think can win. I start to picking the tribute who needs me.
The next twenty-five years are a blur to me. They say we won five of those years and yet it’s the years we didn’t win that stand out to me. It’s time for the second Quarter Quell, the first one; where they removed the Cornucopia, leaving the tributes to kill each other with their bare hands, being just a distant nightmare.

This year they’ve reaped twice as many tributes. I’ve picked a witty boy from Twelve to win. True no one from District Twelve has ever won, but this year is different. This year there’s Haymitch Abernathy. Martin asked me how I knew he was going to win. Simple I asked him, I say. Haymitch and his follow tributes from Twelve didn’t have a mentor, so I couldn’t help but to try and give him some friendly advice.

“Are you going to win?” I asked him one day, when we had run into each other at the elevator.

Haymitch eyed me, “There’s no one who says I can’t.”

“I say you can’t,” I look into his face, “Not unless you think,” I tap his chest twice. They call it the Undersea Tap, that’s how they know who I pick to win. Haymitch must know this because his face floods with color, “Remember in the arena only your wits can help you.”

And he won. He won and out thought the Capitol too. He played their Game too well and I knew he was going to pay. His Victor lIfe became filled with drink, especially when his tributes died. They didn’t get that it was up to them, not him, to win.

Time slowly ticks by and with it the life of my beloved friend grows dimmer. Martin’s never had a strong heart and of late it’s irregular heart beat has given him constant pain. The doctors in Four can’t give him anything more than pills to sooth it. And I am not taking him to the Capitol surgeons, even if he wanted to go.
Like everything in my life major events come in pairs. Martin dies one afternoon sitting in his rocking chair, an ice tea beside him and a sly smile on his face (the clown must have thought it was funny to die first, when I had specifically told him that was my job. But he never listened to me.) and Finnick Odiar was reaped. At fourteen he was handsome, strong, charming and arrogant. But too young. Maybe if he had been reaped when he was older he might have a better chance of winning. To be sure no one was writing him off, it’s just the odds are not in his favor. I undertook his mentorship with the same vigor I’m famous for and to Finnick’s great credit he listened to everything I said. But even I wasn’t prepared for when he proved himself unstoppable with a trident. In three weeks it was over and Finnick was free, or at least so we thought.

I’ve known for years that awful things happen to the Victors in the Capitol, when no one is watching. How awful I didn’t want to know. If they can kill off my whole family, they’re capable of anything. I can remember in one of my earlier Games meeting the infamous Hira. I expected to be introduced to a bloodthirsty killer, instead I met a broken, albeit beautiful woman. You could see in her eyes she was being abused. Her hands shook with slight tremors and she never smiled or laughed. I pitied her, realizing that my fate could be so much worse. Her torture went on for years, because she was naturally beautiful and even wrinkles or dark circles couldn’t diminish it.
Kind of like Finnick… Naturally beautiful. I had been uneasy when he was ‘invited’ to the Capitol, I was devastated when he got back.

“Is this why I won?” he raged, throwing a vase against the wall, “Is this my reward? Is this my Victor’s life?”

His eyes streamed tears and his hands shook. I knew what had happened.
“I’m so sorry,” I took a step toward him, but he backed away.

Since he’d won the Games we had grown closer together. Neither of us had anyone left. He took care of me and I took care of him. He was like the son my body had been unable to give Martin. I loved him. He was my son.

Finnick stopped raging, his eyes filled with wide horror as he looked at me, “Mags?”

I couldn’t clear my thoughts. I think I was talking, but my words slurred together. Something wasn’t right. I collapsed, Finnick rushing to catch me. 

I suppose it was inevitable, I had had a stroke. Almost died they said… Almost. I was laid up for months and Finnick worked tirelessly to make me grow stronger. He didn’t want to let me go and I didn’t want to leave him yet. His life would be filled with misery from here on out, he needed someone to talk to. To love. 

Eventually I regained use of my left side and my face didn’t sag, but never again was I able to talk. Not that it mattered. Finnick did enough talking for the both of us. He was my partner in the Games. We mentored together and for the most part agreed on everything. Except when it came to Annie Cresta. I don’t think we’ll every agree on her. 
When Annie was reaped everyone saw a girl, who was dumb enough to cry on live television. A girl who wouldn’t last the first day. I saw Janus all over again and I wanted her.

“Mags no,” Finnick shook his head, when I asked him, “She won’t make it. You’re still too weak to be investing yourself in a girl, who’s only going to die.”

‘I want Annie,’ I mouthed.

Finnick sighed, “I won’t be able to talk you out of this will I? Fine pick the girl,” he leaned over and kissed my forehead.

I patted his cheek and got to work. Between the two of us we were able to coach Annie to a six with the Game Makers and her interview with Caesar wasn’t devoid of merit. Especially when the dear girl stuttered and blushed upon being asked how she liked Finnick as a Mentor.

“I like him,” she blurted, “I mean I like him as a Mentor.”

“I think we all understood what you meant,” Caesar winked and laughed, the audience joining in.

“You gotta admit she’s a doll,” Finnick gave me his classic half smile, “I hope she makes it.”

The Games were awful. They seemed bloodier then normal. Annie followed our plan and hid, running from the Cornucopia and the careers. She made it to the top ten, when the Game Makers decided to have fun and flood the arena. It rained for days and nights, while us Mentors watched helplessly as the cannons went off. Finnick and I could barely stand it, but still Annie hung on. Her strong legs keeping her head above the water. Finally the last cannon went off. Finnick and I jumped up; him screaming, me crying. She had won, she’d actually won! The Game Makers emptied the arena, until Annie’s knees snuck in the mud, the dead strewn about her. As they declared her the winner, Annie fainted dead away.

Her family didn’t know how to handle her, when she got home. They didn’t understand her hysteria and her nightmares. They sympathized, but didn’t understand. I did, that’s why I invited her to live with me. She would often crawl into my bed and sob into my chest. I had become the mother to another survivor.

“I know you’re the reason Finnick chose me,” she whispered, “You saved my life.”

‘No,’ I shook my head and tapped her chest.

“I’m in love with him you know,” she looked into my eyes.

I knew.

“But he doesn’t see me,” she smiled in a sad, wistful way.

If only that were true, but Finnick did see her. He’d always seen her. It had become obvious to me that he was falling in love with her. I didn’t want to impend his happiness or hers, but it was so dangerous for Victor’s to marry. Especially for Finnick. The Capitol would never let such a dramatic opportunity pass by untested. They couldn’t leave us alone. They had to have ultimate control over our lives. That’s what the Games are all about. And I was so tired of it.

That’s when perhaps the most important Games took place, the seventy-fourth. I watched the reapings and the parade and I picked my winner. A sixteen year-old girl from District Twelve named Katiness Everdeen. Just looking into her eyes you could tell she was going to out think everyone. I didn’t realize that included out thinking the Capitol. That brave, stupid girl went far beyond anything Haymitch or I ever did- Or ever dreamed of doing. In a blatant act of rebellion she brandished those berries. 
Maybe she didn’t know what she was doing, maybe she did it out of love. To me it didn’t matter, she’d beaten their Games and I was ecstatic!

After that the mood in Panaem changed. Hope became the norm. Katiness and Peeta’s Victory Tour proved it. That’s why the Capitol reaped from the remaining Victors for the third Quarter Quell. They needed to kill Katiness and regain control.
All my tributes agreed if they were reaped they’d stand with Katiness, they’d rebel. They’re my legacy.

The day of the Reaping I stood among the few remaining woman. That old feeling rose up; I didn’t think I was going to survive. Funny how it didn’t scare me this time.
The men were reaped first. It wasn’t surprising when Finnick was chosen. He knew things, too many secrets. President Snow was cruel though, when he selected Annie to go in with him. I felt sick and knew she couldn’t go. It would destroy them both. I raised my hand and tapped fiercely on my chest. I was going. I’d die, not Annie.

Finnick rapped me in his arms, whispering ‘thank you’s in my ear. I shook my head, unwilling to cry as I tapped his chest choosing my winner. He’s always protected me and Annie by cooperating with the Capitol, well now it was my turn. I’d seen the beginning of the Games, I was ready to see the end. Let the Rebellion begin.

The End

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