District Three Reapings
“Ouch!” I squeaked as the dressmaker stuck another needle in my dress… She needs to realize that I am not a human pincushion, the humor thought made me smile a little… Something I didn't do often these days.
“My apologizes, Mrs. Short.” Linda said to me curtly, barely hearing me, utterly absorbed in her work.
“Gates.” I correct her. “Miss Gates.” Linda just goes back to measuring the length of the skirt as I stare out straight ahead. I bit my lip, I wasn't ready for this. I felt tears brim in my eyes from the stress of all of this and had to blink them away. I promised myself I could cry later when I was alone in the safety of my room.
“If I can just sew a couple more inches on the skirt of your gown, it will be perfect.” Linda gushes, clearly proud of her work.
My aunt comes out of the kitchen her heels clicking on the hardwood floor. I hear the clicking stop, I reluctantly turn my head, willing myself not to cry. Tears come into her eyes… I swear they’re fake though. “Oh, Runa…” She says, “You look gorgeous. You’re going to make a beautiful bride.”
Yes, you heard her right: Beautiful.Bride.
If I survive through reaping, I’m getting married in a week. My fiancée is a dreadful man who is more than three times my age.
The room is so silent you could hear a pin drop as my aunt waited for a response that wasn't coming. I had nothing to say to her, inside I blamed her for all of this.
My aunt shifts her feet awkwardly then runs upstairs, coming back holding her old wedding veil. She approaches me, placing it on my head, stepping back, and looking at me. She lets out a gasp. “Maxwell! Arthur! Come see!” I heard heavy footsteps pound toward us as my fiancée and my uncle come out to see me, my younger cousin follows them to come see what I look like.
“Doesn’t she look beautiful?” Aunt Trillian says, her voice gushing with so much enthusiasm that I wanna throw up. Beauty was nothing, beauty was a shallow and meaningless tool woman use for satisfying men. I didnt want to be beautiful, I wanted to be free.
“She’s hot.” My fiancée says as he eyes me in the dress, I want to glare at him, but I can't quite bring myself to attempt staring down the dreadful beast.
I do dare to let out a snort though for two reasons. One… a man his age shouldn’t be using that word. It’s one that should be exclusive to the 12-18-year-old mindset. Two, I don’t think he’s picturing me IN the dress… that’s all I’ll say about it. In addition, he seemed to be speaking more to my aunt than me, as if I was only an object of desire, with no brains of my own.
“May I go get ready?” I ask with a slight amount of boredom in my voice, boredom to disguise the utter hatred, fear, and disgust that swirled within me.
“Oh, Runa, before I forget.” Aunt Trillian says, raising a finger as I jumped from the stool I had been standing on. “I got you something. It’s on your bed.”
“Thank you, Aunt Trillian….” I say a bit perplexed, but with genuine gratefulness. Even though we have a lot of money, it’s rare that I get anything new. I wondered what had driven my aunt to do something so kind. I run upstairs to go get dressed, with a growing curiosity to what my aunt could of gotten me.
As soon as I open the door I stop dead in my tracks. On my bed is a new dress that is a violent shade of cobalt. My second-hand sneakers are underneath it.
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