Title: Jessica vs Elizabeth
“Oh, Lizzie, isn’t it romantic?” Jessica squealed.
Elizabeth gaped at her twin. “They’re expecting us to kill each other.”
“Yes, but we get new clothes and we’re paired with a boy!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I am going to post this, unbeta’d as it gets written for NaNoWriMo2017. I will post a clean, edited (hopefully coherent) version when it is finished, but if you want to see the raw, error-laden process of my word-vomit, here it is.
11939 / 50000 words. 24% done!
Elizabeth could barely sit still. All through breakfast, she had wanted to leap across the table and choke her selfish brat of a sister to death. She felt more alert than she had ever felt in her life.
After their photos had been taken, they had eaten, and three burly security guards had stood between her and Jessica at all times. They had then been sent to their suites. She and Todd were sharing on the first floor because they were District 1. Todd had wanted to talk about his feelings, but Elizabeth hadn’t wanted to listen, so she shut herself in her room and ignored the sound of sobbing that filtered through the door.
She had lain in bed remembering every single time she had backed down to appease her sister. Every single moment had given her a jolt of energy. She couldn’t remember sleeping, but she must have. And now she couldn’t wait to go to the training station.
They would be spending the next day and a half training on weapons, and in the afternoon tomorrow they would have their live interviews. Elizabeth couldn’t wait to get started. Todd, on the other hand, looked to be a few seconds away from another crying jag. “Perk up, Todd, you’ve got another day before interviews. You should use this time to learn some weapons. Think of it like homework before a big test.”
That was how Elizabeth was thinking about things. She had called room service and had them deliver books about weapons to her room, so she would not go into the training sessions blind. She had already decided that what she wanted was a nice sharp knife she could keep for close range, and something like a sword, cudgel or axe for more ranged attacks. She wasn’t very worried about anyone else’s skillsets, as (probably) nobody had killed before.
Although now that she was seeing things clearly about Jessica, she remembered that on two occasions, Jessica had asked her to help bury items for a “scavenger hunt” for the Unicorns. The items had both been the approximate size and weight of a teenage girl. One had been just after Jessica had joined the club, the other had been right after Julie Porter’s birthday party. Also, Jessica had insisted the items be buried in the middle of the night.
She felt another empowering surge of rage as she remembered that on each occasion, Jessica had allegedly twisted her ankle, and been unable to help Elizabeth dig.
Elizabeth looked across the room and saw her twin. Jessica glared at her. Elizabeth growled in response.
Todd stepped away from her.
She growled at him too.
“Did Elizabeth just growl at me?” Jessica asked in a faint voice as they walked into the training room – a client suite that had been converted into a gymnasium-like area, with sections related to each information booth. Mostly the booths covered weapons, but a couple related to shelter and safety.
“What was that, Airhead?” Rick Hunter asked. It was just her luck to be paired with Rick. He teased her mercilessly. He always called her Airhead – so she called him Bonehead. They had been bickering ever since they had been paired in the Middle School marriage project. Sometimes she thought he was cute, other times she thought he was – well, a bonehead – but right now she was too busy being terrified of her twin.
Jessica had always lived a life of comfort, knowing that she was the dangerous twin. They both knew one day one of them would snap, and probably destroy the world, but Jessica had always assumed it would be her – and, as an added bonus, Elizabeth would probably take the fall for whatever Jessica did. Now it seemed that roles were reversed.
“I think she really wants to kill me,” Jessica muttered as Rick led her towards a jewellery stall. It was some kind of foreign jewellery, not really her style, too bulky, but rather bold and striking nonetheless – and the designer name was next to their items. Jessica had never heard of “Shuriken” but she assumed that if the Patmans and the Fowlers were footing the bill, he or she would be the next big thing.
“Hrmm?” Rick looked up “Oh, yes, your terrifying sister. Well, I have to say, Airhead, I really thought you were going to be the scariest person in the arena.”
“Elizabeth has snapped,” Jessica mused. “I think we should make a plan to kill her.”
“A plan to kill her?” Rick repeated doubtfully. “We couldn’t even plan dinner without burning down the home ec kitchens.”
Jessica remembered their week of “marriage” very well. Some parts of it – certainly not the part where Rick surprised her with a kiss – were burned into her brain. “But we did kill our babies. Let’s face it, Bonehead, we already have a trail of bodies behind us.”
Rick sniffed dolefully. “I think it was very spiteful of you to bring up Steven Fido. And all of the Steven Fidos that followed him. You have brought back the pain.”
Jessica kicked Rick in the shins. “Rick, we’re going to an arena with a very terrifying Elizabeth in two days. I do not have time for your witty remarks.” She picked up one of the pretty shiny silver stars and waved it at him. “Now, figure out how we use these pendants to kill people!”
Rick nodded sagely, then the corner of his mouth twitched. And again. Then he let out a snort of laughter. “You were doing so well, right up until you thought these deadly weapons were jewellery, Airhead!”
“Bonehead, if you can’t be helpful, I will rip out your soul, tie it in a bow and wear it as a fascinator!” Jessica clenched her fist and slammed it on the table.
There was a brief second of calm, then Rick started screaming.
Across the room, Todd Wilkins fainted, and someone cried, “Jessica has cut off her partner’s finger!”
In an attempt to comfort herself, Lila called a Unicorn meeting. It seemed well-timed, as Jessica was at a loose end after maiming Rick, and Ellen and Kimberley were desperate for a reason to get away from their nerdy partners. Lila hadn’t seen her own district partner at all that morning. Bruce Patman had missed breakfast, and there was no sign of him in the training area. Lila was not worried about Bruce at all, she suspected he had overslept and without a butler there to constantly remind him to get up, he’d gone back to sleep.
Lila had been too tense to sleep. She had lain awake for most of the night, and bounded out of bed at the first hint of dawn. The situation with Elizabeth had alarmed her greatly. She wasn’t sure she could deal with two Wakefield assassins in the field. The best thing to do would be to kill one of the twins – preferably Elizabeth – and then see how things panned out.
Around her, Janet, Grace, Ellen and Kimberley were discussing their district partners, and how goofy or handsome they would look in the interview section. They looked happy enough. On her other side, sat Jessica, her purple t-shirt clashing horribly with the spatters of Rick’s blood on it. Jessica was chewing on a thumbnail and looking thoughtful. It was a rather alien look on Jessica, it made her look like Elizabeth – the old one, not the one currently standing on a table, swinging a sword and yelling, “Come on you wimps! Try and take me down!” while a swarm of security guards tried to get her down without being beheaded.
“I think we need to kill Elizabeth!” Jessica blurted.
Everyone looked to Janet for an answer. The nodded slowly. “And I think you should be the one to do it, Jessica. She’s your sister – your twin – it wouldn’t be right for anyone else to try.”
Lila thought that Jessica would meekly agree, and then manipulate someone else into doing it for her, but instead, Jessica replied, “Are you serious? My sister is trying to kill the security guards right now – and she’s taken out two already. We need to work together.” She stood up and gestured around the group. “After all, we’re Unicorns. We’re friends. We’re supposed to look out for each other. Isn’t that what being a Unicorn is all about?”
Janet gave an awkward half-smile. “Not really, Jessica. It’s about being pretty and popular. I’m friends with all of you because you’re pretty. I don’t want to look at ugly people when I eat lunch or hang out. Also, you’re just pretty enough to make me not gag on my lunch, but not as pretty as me. It’s been hard work finding so many girls that are just the right amount of pretty.”
Ellen preened as if she had received a compliment.
“First of all, what about that emotional lesson we learned when we all thought Lila was poor? Where friendship is more important than–”
Janet held up a silencing hand. “Poor we can handle – Mandy’s quite poor, Mary’s not very well off, even you, Jessica, you’re only middle class – but Lila’s still pretty, you all are. I’m sorry, but it’s just not about friendship.”
Jessica rolled her eyes. “Second of all,” she said, her eyes flashing in anger. “We go into an arena to kill each other the day after tomorrow. So it’s probably not a good time to tell us we don’t mean anything to each other.”
Lila had to hand it to Jessica, that was a smart argument. Then she frowned. Jessica wasn’t known for her smarts, that was Elizabeth. Jessica was known for her attention-seeking drama-queen ways.
“I’M GOING TO WIN!” Elizabeth roared before chopping the arm off a security guard that got too close.
Lila leaned forward. “Seriously, Janet, we need to band together against Elizabeth. Or we’re all going to die. I’ve seen the movie several times–”
“You have?” Janet gushed. “Tell me again what Peeta said about not being able to live without Katniss!”
Not for the first time, Lila thought her cousin was an idiot. Blood loyalty, and presidential loyalty be damned. “And when the games start, there’s a big bloodbath as everyone tries to get a kill. The smart people run – that’s what Katniss did.” Well, actually, it wasn’t, she just managed to avoid the main scrum of the fight. “We can hope that in the bloodbath everyone will swarm on Elizabeth, in a hope of saving themselves, or we can all agree to swarm on her.”
Jessica nodded. “That’s true. If anyone wants to survive this, we’re going to have to all work together to take Elizabeth out.”
Janet shook her head. “I’m not fighting Elizabeth. Let one of the boys do it.”
“Which one, Janet? Todd Wilkins or Ken Matthews?” Jessica snapped and gestured to the corner of the room, where Todd was huddled in a ball, rocking, while Ken tried to comfort him. “How about Bruce Patman? No, he’s not here. Dylan McKay?”
“Maybe he can bore her to death with an essay on why she shouldn’t kill people,” Lila put in and received an approving nod from Jessica.
“Winston Egbert?” Jessica suggested. “Peter DeHaven? What’ve they got? Jokes and school policies, that’ll really take her down.” She tapped a finger against her cheek and accidentally smudged her “DISTRICT 12” moniker. “How about Denny Jacobson? He’s a seventh grader and an athlete, he’s got a chance.”
“Oh yes,” Lila agreed. “He might do.”
“I’m not letting Denny near your monster of a sister!” Janet said. “He might get hurt, and I want him to die for me, not because of her!”
“What are we talking about?” Ellen asked.
Lila let out a deep sigh of frustration. Ellen was by far the stupidest human being she had ever met. “We’re talking about killing Elizabeth, Ellen. Keep up.”
“Killing?” Ellen said. “Why are we killing?”
Everyone turned to stare at her incredulously. After a long period of confusion, Jessica finally spoke. “Ellen, we’re at the Hunger Games. What do you think we’re here for?”
“Well, I kinda fell asleep in the movie, but as far as I could tell, it was a lottery for entrance into a beauty pageant, and then we have to go camping for a few days, and then we get a new dress as a reward.”
Lila dropped her head into her hands. They were doomed.