SIXTY-SIXTH ANNUAL HUNGER GAMES · 14 YEARS OF AGE
At first Cashmere was surprised that the girl from District Five had stuck it out for this long. She couldn’t have received a remarkable training score, or Cashmere would remember her. She had been careful to keep a mental catalogue of possible obstacles throughout the Games, checking them off as she removed them; the ones who had done almost as well as her – perilously, irritatingly so – were a priority. Getting rid of them was like pulling splinters from her fingers.
In any case, District Five had never been top of Cashmere’s list. Maybe this behemoth’s tactic had been to stay under the radar. Difficult, seeing as she was built like a tank, ham-fisted and slightly cross-eyed, like a dazed animal, but clearly effective. Cashmere was painfully reminded of the danger of underestimating her opponents.
Cashmere didn’t waste any time in slashing open the girl’s belly as if gutting a freshly caught fish. What she had failed to remember, however, was that a wounded beast was liable to take everything in its path out with it. The other girl bellowed, staggered forward, and Cashmere reeled back as she received a rock to the jaw, feeling her feet slip on the silt of the riverbed. Stunned, she spat a mouthful of blood and what looked like a couple of teeth into the water.
District Five was advancing, fist-sized stone still clutched in her grasp. Cashmere could see her intestines under what remained of her shirt, glistening wetly and startlingly red through the split seam of her skin.
Here was her only chance. Cashmere ducked a wild swing at her temple and took the girl’s legs out from under her, sending them both crashing into the river. The desperate soundtrack to their struggle was drowned by the roar of the waterfall; Cashmere fumbled for her knife, concealed somewhere in the cloudy water, as District 5 clawed for purchase on the slippery riverbed. Cashmere felt panic rising like bile in her throat. If the girl got up before Cashmere, if she picked up her rock and put it to use, it was all over.
Relief surged through Cashmere as her fingers finally made contact with the smooth metal handle of her knife. District 5 was attempting to crawl towards the riverbank, leaving a hazy trail of scarlet through the water as she moved. Without pausing to think, Cashmere grabbed her by the ankle, pulling her legs-first back into the river, imagining rather than hearing her muffled, gurgling screams as she plunged her knife into the girl’s back once, twice, three times, stopping only when she heard the announcement booming even over the thunder of the waterfall–
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victor of the Sixty-sixth Hunger Games, Cashmere Mercuritte of District One!"
CASHMERE MERCURITTE · 24 · DISTRICT ONE · MENTOR · OPEN
Cashmere is still considered the most beautiful victor that District One has ever produced, despite how many victors have come from the district. Her beauty and charm was an instant hit with the Capitol, fully embracing her beauty with two arms and supporting her all the way with indispensable gifts, ensuring her win. It was a predictable year with it’s usual doubts about the victory, but with Cashmere’s fierce killings, it wasn’t long until she was crowned victor by President Snow and with a gleaming smile plastered on her face, too. At the age of fourteen, the joy of winning was euphoric and beautiful; bringing pride to her district was the only she had ever wanted and with that on her shoulders, she could do anything anybody asked of her. But her alleviation of winning the sixty-sixth Games was short-lived; two years later, on her sixteenth birthday, she was greeted by a Capitol official and told that her ‘services’ were required to support the natural grand scheme of things, otherwise she would pay severe consequences.
At first, she was sceptical of what they were asking of her, to sell her body? However, it was no secret among District One victors to end up this way. It didn’t take long for them to convince her to do as they say, looking up to her idols; being sixteen at the time, Cashmere was manipulated to think it was fine to sell her body. She never saw it as a problem, only a job to do, besides – it wasn’t like she was insecure about her body, in fact, she was extremely confident. And she enjoyed it sometimes, so what was the big deal? That was the start of it all, and since then she has amassed quite a reputation among the Capitol’s elite. Cashmere is a strong woman, fiercely independent, seductive, playful, and loyal to those that matter to her – namely, her brother, Gloss Mercuritte. She would not hesitate to destroy somebody who stepped in her way, or her brother’s way, especially when it comes to the Games and her competitive spirit that never seems to wear off.
Face claim: Stephanie Leigh Schlund