Some said she was a weird child, others said she was disturbed. To be frankly honest, she was both. Often times, you would see her sitting by the pond, throwing knives at the frogs. And every time she hits one, she would smile. She was already like that even before she started her training, and the family that adopted her when she was 8, accepted her the way she was.
You see, she was born in a poor family, with a mother who would take beatings from her father. Sometimes, her father would even take it out on her.
He would take scorching hot rods and jab them at the young innocent girl. But even with that little mind of hers, she realized that if she stopped crying, and pretended that it didn’t hurt, her father would start wearing an expression of utmost confusion, one of which she enjoyed watching.
But the more she became expressionless, the more pain her father would inflict on her. Even her mother dared not stop him when he started hammering nails into her thighs. It would have been a very disturbing experience for most children, but oddly enough, she didn’t feel a thing, and the blood that came oozing out from her wounds felt good.
Finally, when the neighbors saw the burnt marks, the bruises and scars on her little body, they reported her father to the peacekeepers and he was sent away. Her mother, who was not in a proper state to look after her, was forced to watch as the peacekeepers took the little girl of the age of 7 to an orphanage.
There, she spent a year playing by herself, collecting sharp objects and staring at the other children till they were all so scared of her. Every family that came to see the children always asked about that little girl, who sat by the corner by herself. But every time they asked, they leave with no intentions of adopting her. It was at the mention of her horrific background that people were turned off.
One year later, a rich family, with no children of their own, decided to adopt a child. Their intentions were clear as they told the people who worked in the orphanage.
“We don’t want an ordinary kid. We want to raise a career tribute kid.”
And it was then that they were directed straight to the weird little girl, who did not stir any problems when she was told to follow the elderly man and woman.
When she was brought to her new home, she was lavished with new clothes, new toys and a huge bedroom. The elderly couple gave her everything, even though she he did not ask for anything. And when they saw that she was finally ready, they sent her to a special school to be trained.
One evening, on her 12th birthday, she asked her adopted parents one question, “Why did you adopt me?”
“Well, because we need someone to accompany us, and to make us proud,” her foster mother replied.
“O.K. Can I have a new set of knives for my birthday?” she replied.
“I’ll bring you to town tomorrow, you can pick them out,” her foster father replied from behind the daily newspaper.
And that was how she spent all her birthdays. She would ask the same question, followed by something she wanted, and her requests would be met.
But on her 15th birthday, she made a different request.
“Why did you adopt me?” she asked as usual.
“You know why my dear, to make us proud,” her foster mother replied pleasantly, not at all annoyed at the same question she was asked every year.
“Then, can I join this year’s hunger games?”
“You can volunteer if you like?” her foster father suggested, smiling broadly.
“No. I don’t want to volunteer. I don’t want people to think I’m ready,” she replied quickly.
“Then what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to pay them money to lie during the reaping,” she ordered.
“I don’t know about that my child, it’s a tricky thing to mess with the reaping process,” her foster father said.
“Maybe you can wait till you are eighteen, and then you can volunteer. It would make us both very proud of you?” her foster mother quickly added.
“I’m ready now. And you two are getting older, you might die before I turn eighteen,” she answered coldly.
It was no surprise to her foster parents that she spoke to them in such a way. As she grew older, she felt as though she was entitled to everything, and when she was given what she asked for, she became the spoiled, and rather sadistic brat.
“Alright, I’ll see what I can do,” her foster father finally gave in.
“Good. I would also need a dress for the reaping,” she added.
“We will go look for one tomorrow. Is there anything else you need Clove?” her mother asked.
“No. That’s all for now,” Clove said, as she gathered the knives she was polishing on the table and headed to the garden to throw them at more frogs.