This year was the start of a new kind of fear. And it was not the fear he was used to feeling.
Ever so often, Coriolanus would come face to face with his mortal enemy, the fear of losing. But every time the elections came around, he tramples on the very account of fear with his power statements accompanied by the cheers and applause from the people of Panem.
But this year, this was the least of his problems. He was the vice president of Panem, and he had nothing else to fear but the reaping.
The reaping, for those who lived in The Capitol, was a celebration, as the Hunger Games was commonly addressed to as an extreme sport of glory. Coriolanus grew up with that idea in mind. And when he was a boy, he always longed to be chosen for the games. Unfortunately for him, he was never chosen.
And though this year’s reaping may seem no different to many people, but it was different for him. Because this year, his princess comes of age. His princess was now old enough to have her name placed in the reaping.
Oh, to think he would be a proud father to have his daughter be chosen, you are wrong.
You see, Coriolanus’ daughter was special. She was a small, frail, petite girl, who had to live most of her life in her bedroom, inhaling from an oxygen tank. The moment she came into his world was the moment her lungs started failing. And as much as he wanted a strong beautiful baby, he was presented with a dying child, who had miraculously managed to live up to the age of 12.
Over all these years, Coriolanus became the protective father. Constantly paying for a chance of a real life for his daughter. But no matter what he did, there was barely any hope of her leaving her room.
This year, she might be forced to.
How on earth was his daughter going to survive the games when she could barely breath?
Coriolanus pleaded for the President’s exception on his daughter, but the no exception rule was hammered into his head, nearly jeopardizing his status.
“No exceptions! Do you see me pulling my son’s name out of the reaping?” the President said.
“But sir, my daughter can’t even leave her room.”
“Then she would be better off dead, wouldn’t she?”
With that, Coriolanus had to bear the streaming tears and demands of his wife in which he could never meet.
“You’re just going to let her die?”
“No exceptions! We do not have a choice!”
The both of them had to accept the rules sooner or later.
Still, the dilemma remains. If his princess is called to be a tribute, what would he do?
With his head throbbing, there he stood on the platform, next to the President. It was a late afternoon and the crowd that had filled the stadium were already cheering.
Coriolanus watched closely as the President dug his hand into a bowl of glass balls. The deafening sound of the crowd made it harder for him to concentrate as the President pulled out a ball and handed it to him.
As he stared blankly into the ball and the digital name hovering inside, Coriolanus slowly read, “Jasmine…”
The crowd went silent as they waited for him to continue.
It was a long and painful moment of silence. There were murmurs from the crowd, as nobody knew how to react.
“Ah, brilliant! That would be interesting!” the President so cold-heartedly spoke.
“Wouldn’t it be now Coriolanus?” The President turned to him, signalling him to respond.
“Yes, indeed. I am a proud father,” Coriolanus lied.
With distinct pain in his voice, the crowd’s oblivion led to an eruption of cheers.
Yes, the people loved him for his bravery at sacrificing his child. But he didn’t love himself.
When he came home that night, Coriolanus sat by his sleeping daughter’s bed side, weeping and begging for forgiveness.
What kind of a father was he?
As he held on to her small hand, Coriolanus’ only wish was for a chance to take her place, but that was impossible. It was then that her eyelids fluttered, and her lips began to softly mutter.
“What is it princess?”
“Yes princess?” Coriolanus fought back the tears as he leaned closer.
“I’ll make you proud.”
Her words penetrated his heart like a stake to his soul.
“I know princess. Rest now,” Coriolanus choked on his drying throat.
His worst fear had won. He now knew what he had to do.
Once his daughter had fallen back to sleep, Coriolanus headed to his office to retrieve from his safe a metal box, in which he kept a collection of untraceable poisons.
Picking up a green bottle, Coriolanus filled a syringe and hurried back to his daughter’s side.
As he watched the heart rate monitor beep, careful not to have his eyes fall on his innocent, precious daughter, he slowly injected the poison into her system.The beeping monitor finally met its end after a few seconds. It was that easy. But bearing the crushing pain in his chest wasn’t.
She was gone. Her pain was gone. So were her worries and troubles. He was her father. And as much as it was killing him inside, he had to do what he had to do. He had to save her. And he did.