|This article, Beautiful (Crippled Series), was written by Necterine411. Please do not edit this fan fiction without the author's permission.|
Beautiful is the third chapter in the Crippled Series. It covers Evi's chariot ride experience.
Nathan’s hand is wrenched from mine and I’m led into a separate room. Three people are already standing in it, waiting for me. All of them are staring in horror at my leg. I’ve never been so self-conscious of it before. Sure, in District Eight people look at my leg, but they’re always polite enough to not stare. Finally a purple-skinned woman speaks.
“WHAT WILL WE DO WITH YOUR LEG?” She wails.
Two men, I think they’re twins, with long straight blue hair try to console her; muttering something about prosthetics. I shift my weight from my good foot to my crutch until she calms down. Then they guide me to a screen and tell me to undress. Thank goodness I’m only wearing a dress; I’m easily able to slide it off. I’m hesitant to step out in the open though. My prep team hasn’t proved themselves to be polite. The second I step out they’ll probably critique my every flaw. But I can’t get on a chariot ride looking like this and expect to get sponsors. I inch my way, first my crutch then my leg follows. To my surprise, my prep team isn’t focused on me; but a sleek silver phone one of the blue-haired twins is saying something into. His twin sees me and whispers something in his ear and they all turn to face me. They guide me to a small table and begin their work.
I clench my teeth to trap the whimpers of pain begging to escape. I didn’t know what they were doing at first when they put wax on my leg; I thought it was something warm to sooth my scrubbed raw legs. Then the purple-skinned woman yanked it off. Pain, so much pain; little tiny pinpricks of pain where my leg hair once was. I can’t imagine what the other tributes are feeling right now; at least I can’t feel anything on my bad leg. If I could; I’d have probably run out of the room already. At last the waxing is finished and my torture is done; or so I think. The second I move to get up the lady, I’ll call her Lavender, for her skin, pushed me back down.
“No, no, you’re not done yet.”
They looked at a photograph for a few minutes before looking back at me. A projector I hadn’t noticed before at the top of the ceiling turns on and casts a holographic dress on me. My prep team begins to paint where the dress doesn’t cover me. I watch as my lower leg is painted with a purple and gold paisley pattern. They paint everything but my bad leg, and when they’re done I look like I have cloth for skin. It’s beautiful; in a Capitol sort of way. I look up to say thank you, but my prep team is hard at work painting something else. Propping myself up, I snatch a peek of what they’re painting. It’s a fake leg. The inside is hollow, probably to hide my real leg inside. I close my eyes to keep the tears from streaming down and destroying my prep team’s work. I should have remembered- they’re Capitol citizens. And Capitol citizens can’t stand anything ugly. I stare at my injured leg. It’s a little smaller than my good leg, and is just slightly twisted; it has nothing that would make you run away screaming. Apparently my prep team thinks otherwise. They bring the fake leg to me, all of them smiling.
“Look, no one will know that you have that awful leg of yours! You’ll look normal, no, beautiful. I’m sure plenty of people will sponsor you if they don’t see that leg.”
I don’t know who speaks, and I don’t care. They expect me to be pleased that I have to cover up part of me for Games I’ll probably die in? I understand why Lucy punched her prep team in the face. I glance down at my leg. Sure, maybe it’s not “beautiful”, but it’s been part of me since I was born. How can I change it just to get gifts? How can I not? I take a deep breath before forcing a smile on my face.
“Thank you.” I say.
They fit on the leg. It fits perfectly, with supports inside to keep my bad leg from falling or banging against the sides. If I didn’t know why I was wearing it; I would be thankful for this prosthetic leg. Because that’s what it is, a fake leg that works as well as the normal leg I never had. I can’t even enjoy it. I’ll only wear it for the Chariot ride, where I’ll just be standing the whole time. At least the prep team left as soon as they put my fake leg on.
It doesn’t take long for my stylist to show up. At first I can’t see her because she is blocked by the cart she pushes, which has a garment bag, shoebox, and most of all; a gigantic crate of makeup. I don’t know how much more makeup my body can hold. She unzips the garment bag to reveal a dress that matches my skin pattern; but it’s way too small for me. Seeing my expression, the stylist hurries to sooth my worries in what I’m beginning to think of as a distinct Capitol style.
“With this dress showing off your curves, no one will notice you have a fake leg on! Isn’t it genius?”
What is with the Capitol and their legs? I’m almost past the point of caring when my stylist has to practically crush my ribs when she zips up the dress. I have to breath in short puffs, but at least I’m “beautiful”.
I have to be rolled on a table to District 8’s chariot; because my dress is so tight my legs can’t move. Nathan’s already arrived; in a comfortable-looking plaid suit that his skin has been painted to match. I’m jealous. My prep team appears briefly to prop me up in the Chariot, but they disappear soon after. I can’t see Lucy or Lexi; but I can hear them fighting about responsibility. Nathan gives me a brief smile; but we’re both too nervous to talk. Our chariot is beautiful, covered in swatches and swatches of varying patterns and colors. One swatch, close to where my hand rests, I recognize as a pattern I designed. It’s covered completely in delicate little golden flowers, their stems entwined with each other’s against the orange background. I can’t help but smile when I see it. The chariot jerks forward has the wall in front of us is raised.
Thousands of Capitol citizens line the streets, all hoping for a chance to get a glimpse of the future Victor. Each one of them is screaming, be it a tribute’s name or District. A few citizens are riled up enough to wave money around, as if they’re going to sponsor them on the spot. I dearly hope some of the money will find its way to me. When the crowd gets boring I turn my attention to the other tributes. The Careers are smiling. They probably bribed their district to be able to compete in the Games. The rest of the tributes vary. One has an evil glint in his eye; and I make note to never trust him with a weapon. The other tributes seem have some sort of impairment. One boy rocks back and forth on the floor of the chariot, holding his ears and screaming. Another waves to the crowd, though both of his arms have been cut off at the elbow. A girl stares straight ahead with unblinking, clouded eyes, and I know she’s blind. I can tell most of the tribute’s problems; but the District Nine girl stumps me. She looks and acts like any “normal” person. Her District partner tries to talk to her, but she doesn’t hear it at all. He raises his voice until even I can faintly hear him; but to no avail. She must be deaf.
The screen cuts off to show President Snow. He looks fairly young; but that’s probably because he was made President in a hurry after the previous one was poisoned. No one knows who did it, or how they did it. Panem’s anthem plays and I listen to an extremely boring speech before the chariot brings me to my temporary home. Lexi comes over to give me a much looser dress that I slip over the skin tight one. When I start to walk I the tight dress immediately rips, and I realize just how easily it could have done that on the chariot. It’s a good thing I have my second dress on. Nathan walks beside me, but I don’t feel like talking. He tries to start a conversation, but I strike him down.
“I don’t feel like talking, okay? Leave me alone.”
We ride the elevator, me fuming and Nathan hurt. As soon as the doors open I stomp into my room. I look down at the fake leg. I had forgotten about it; but in that time I was walking, without needing anything for support. But what cost did it come at? I wore it to look pretty, wore a trashy dress to distract attention from it, and worst of all, I yelled at Nathan. I kick the leg off to reveal my real one. Compared to the rest of my paint-covered skin, it’s boring and pale. If that’s who I am, so be it. I’m struck with a desire to go back to who I was before the Chariot rides, before I was betrayed by my district. Hopping on one foot to the shower, I press buttons until I find hot water and let it wash away all the paint. I’m not some Capitol idiot. I’m Evi Thread, District 8 girl. My leg is part of whom I am; whom I have always been. I swear to myself that I will never use the fake leg again. Even with the streaks of paint running off me and the dark circles under my eyes, for the first time since I was betrayed, I feel beautiful.