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The First Night

The First Night

A Chapter by Mary Greenwell


Chapter Two

Eli was waiting at the dinner table when the guard led me out of the visiting area and to dinner. “Are you okay?” He asked worriedly. I didn’t say anything and he just nodded leaving it alone.

“What about you?” I whispered.

“My family all died in the fire.” He explained and I suddenly remembered that. He didn’t have anybody and he’d stood beside me on the day that I’d received the life insurance that my parents had had.

“I’m sorry.” I promised.

“Don’t be it made this easier.” He shrugged, “Now there will be nobody to miss me when I’m gone.” I looked away trying to figure out which I would feel better about having Austin and Elizabeth to remember me when I died or if I was like Eli and had nobody. We stayed quiet the rest of dinner and then the train took off.

“Hello…” A cheerful woman smiled coming in, “I will be in charge of your comfort here on the train.” She promised but looked at my plate, “Please eat more.” She requested but I shook my head and she just continued, “So tomorrow we will be in Keithton and you will receive your interviews.” She told us and we nodded. Keithton was the country capital where only the government sat and our interviews would be broadcast to every t.v. in the country.

“Let’s talk.” Eli suggested after dinner and I looked out the train window and nodded realizing that it would be too early to say I was going to bed. “You will have to eat everything until you are full.” He told me. “You will be hungry wherever they take us and it’s more important than ever that you have enough stored to survive.”

“Why?” I questioned.

“Because you have people waiting on you back home.” He told me simply and then he turned and left before I even could realize that he’d just told me that he was going to help me win.

“Are you allowed?” I followed him quickly, “I mean no other Candidates have paired with the other gender.”

“Because together both genders will target us.” He explained, “It is allowed though. I won’t force it if you decide you would rather try on your own. I know how you are.” I nodded and just walked into my room and then straight to the shower so that I could cry.

“Brenin?” Another guard woke me up the next morning and left just long enough for me to get dressed. Then he led me to the dining room again.

“Did you sleep well?” I asked Eli.

“Well enough.” He shrugged, “You?”

“Fine.” I whispered suddenly remembering how I’d ended up in bed when I didn’t remember ever pulling myself together enough to leave the shower. “Did you…?” I trailed off but he looked at me and I knew that it wasn’t a dream. Eli had come into my room the night before and wrapped me in a robe, making sure not to look at me in the shower, and then held me while I cried until I’d been strong enough to stop and he’d taken me out of the bathroom and into my bed where he’d stayed at least until I’d gone to sleep.

“Interviews.” The peppy person told us again and I stood up following her off the train with Eli beside me. The interviewer had been the same the last four Choosings and so I wasn’t surprised to see the same guy there. His name was August and he always seemed to make the interviewee look better.

“I thought I’d change things up this year.” August smiled looking at the twenty-eight of us. “I usually start with the females but let’s start with the males.” He smiled again and added, “Starting with our last state.” He pointed to Eli, “Eli Hampton. Let’s begin.” I watched Eli walk up and wondered what questions they could possibly ask.

“We have some interesting film from last night.” August started and I turned to the screen with everybody else.

“You have somebody to go back to.” The words flowed through my memory along with the screen. “Austin will take care of her… You will go home…” His comforts came over the sound of my tears and I flinched.

“My question…” August started when the film was done, “Is how long you have loved Brenin?”

“Since I met her the day we were sent to the mayor’s house to receive payment for the death of her parents and for the death of my family.” He said it confidently and I looked down quickly.

“Did she not know?” August asked looking at my reaction right along with the audience.

“No.” He shook his head and sighed, “She does know that my best friend is also in love with her though.”

“Well it sounds like you have the edge now.”

“She stopped him from volunteering. He is watching after her baby sister for her.” He shook his head, “It’s the one thing that she would never trust anybody else with.” The crowd let out a disappointing sigh and I flinched but started to prepare myself because I would go next and there would be questions I would have to answer. I only half-listened to the rest of Eli’s interview and then he sat beside me and I stood up to go over to August.

“Is it true that you don’t love the man you left your sister with?” August asked.

“He’s like my brother.” I whispered and an excited murmur started in the crowd.

“What do you have to say about the footage?” August asked.

“That I’m glad that Eli was there for me.” I managed and then I stood up, “Can I be done?” I asked and a shock covered everybody a candidate never asked to have less time. He nodded though and I moved to sit beside Eli.

“I’m sorry if that embarrassed you.” Eli promised in my ear. I shook my head.

“It’s fine. After all what’s even possible to happen.” I sighed but felt him slip an arm around my waist.

“If we’re careful we could get out of the country.” He suggested and I just leaned into him for the first time feeling comfortable enough to have somebody hold me.

© 2013 Mary Greenwell

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Added on March 10, 2013
Last Updated on March 10, 2013


Mary Greenwell
Mary Greenwell

Bloomfield, KY

I love to write and read. I am in college right now and so I don't get to write as often as I like but I still enjoy it. more..

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A Chapter by Mary Greenwell