Aspiring chemist. High school dropout. Hope(less). Snarky. Impulsive. Stubborn. Mourning. Second stage of grief: Anger. The Great Hope of the Bloom family. Anti-Capitol. Book smart, but can't shake her inner hood rat. Headstrong. Passionate. Indignant. Fading.
Codeword: LET'S ALL BLAME NAPOLEON THE CAPITOL... AND ALSO NAPOLEON. Comments/Other:
Regrets collect like old friends Here to relive your darkest moments I can see no way I can see no way And all of the ghouls come out to play
( N A M E ) Calliope Lorne Bloom ( A G E ) Fifteen Sixteen ( G E N D E R ) Female ( D I S T R I C T / A R E A ) District Six
Every demon Wants his pound of flesh But I like to keep some things to myself I like to keep my issues drawn It's always darkest before the dawn
( H I S T O R Y )
"Aesop —" His good name should have nothing to do with your filthy, Capitolite mouth.
The reporter's lips are shiny red plastic in the light, nothing like the pale, quiet pink of my own, even as I snap at her with a ferocity she clearly didn't see coming from such a soft looking girl. "Was my brother, yes." I've never hated the word was so much in my life. Television crews have been here before, rabid with judgment as they observe the Bloom residence, a less-than-extravagant apartment in the shady end of town, regarding me with feverish curiosity. They stole my brother, sent him to his death in their hellish Game, and the thing they can't wrap their minds around isn't how unfair or cruel his death was, but rather something about me. The Capitol wants a glimpse of the perfection Aesop saw in his sister, virtues he preached to the snow, but our definitions of that idea are irreconcilably different. They can't understand.
"He went a little crazy in the end, didn't he?" The world stutters still and I have to clench my jaw and busy my fingers by pushing strands of dark, unkempt hair behind my ear so I don't lose myself in the impulse to teach her what crazy really looks like.
"No. He didn't." Everyone else did. That's why he died. Silence dances awkwardly in the moments following my words as I stare her down until she looks away uncomfortably, memories of severed limbs warring between us as her prying eyes shift to drift over the thin film of dust my nearby chemistry textbooks have collected. I feel her follow-up inquiry before it sullies the air, wondering how I could fall short of my aspirations to become a chemist — to grow up to be just like our dead mother — after Aesop traded his life to help me stay in school.
However, these are the kinds of questions I was never taught the answers to.
And I've been a fool and I've been blind I can never leave the past behind I can see no way I can see no way I'm always dragging that horse around
( P E R S O N A L I T Y )
The kitchen chair screeches against the linoleum as I pull myself to my feet, half-frantic to stop her train of thought before her tongue can give a voice to my guilt, scooping up the textbooks and dropping them into an empty kitchen drawer. Slamming it shut, the sharp sound says enough that I don't have to. No, you awful woman, I don't want to talk about dropping out of school. I don't want you to see me cry and that's what happens when I think about how it would kill Aesop all over again if he knew... Didn't the Capitol get enough of my tears when I watched my brother bleed out on an iceberg, murdered by someone he trusted, because clearly Napoleon's betrayal wasn't enough to teach him. It was a lesson he failed to learn — again and again and again. I'm a part of that now. I hate that, can't you see how much I hate that? Do you really need me to say it?
Lips pursed as I whip around to glare at her, the sensation of defeat ticks through me as I witness just how unfazed she is. There's no shock, no unease playing across her features, only a slight smile quirking the corners of her lips. I can almost read her mind: Yes, darling, this is what we want from you. Show us passion! Show us that Bloom fight — we didn't expect it from Aesop either, but aren't you the cutest little District ruffians we've ever seen. You're just precious when you're all riled up. Exhaling with a huff, I lean back against the counter top, knuckles wrapped around the edges until they fade to white, and wait. If there's one thing I've come to understand about Capitolites, it's that they're easily bored — I will always win a waiting Game. Our stand-off doesn't last long and maybe I'm the only one playing this Game, because she wastes no time: "Your brother —"
"My brother —" I want to say: My brother deserved better! Who are you to talk about him to me? I should be the one giving the interrogations. Wasn't his life supposed to be enough to satisfy you? Must you attempt to pry the fickle remains of his afterlife from me too? But, despite all my pent-up anger, I still know better. "— Aesop, h-he loved the idea that I might make something of myself, yes, but he wouldn't have loved me any less for not being able to." Again, I'm setting my jaw in that old familiar stance of stubbornness, determined to build (imaginary? Oh, wouldn't Aesop be proud) walls between the two of us, to keep the Capitol away from my last fragments of sanity, even if I can't keep them away from my house or my family.
I am done with my graceless heart So tonight I'm gonna cut it out And then restart Cause I like to keep my issues drawn It's always darkest before the dawn
( A P P E A R A N C E )
"I was going to ask about Napoleon," the smile that had been tugging at the corners of her lips transforms into a smirk and I swear the devil herself is sitting at the table where I eat my meals (or try, pathetically pushing food around on my plate like Aesop used to do, avoiding eating until the flesh starts to fade from my bones and my body finds a way to remember what angels angles look like), "your other brother, dear." My eyes widen, despite the way I'd like to nonchalantly brush her jab off, darkening until brown must be black. She knows, she knows... how does she know?
Napoleon not only kept his silence at Aesop's Reaping, biting his tongue as our brother was hauled away and refusing to volunteer to save him, but has maintained that silence ever since. It's as if Aesop never existed to him and so — for every action there is an opposite, yet equal, reaction — Poe has ceased to exist to me. Unlike when speaking to a Capitolite, throwing words at him carries no threat of having my tongue chopped off, and that meant there was nothing to stop me from telling him exactly what I thought: "Sometimes I wish it had been you, wish that the name they had called out had been Napoleon Bloom... until I realize that, even then, it would have still been him. He'd have stepped up for you, despite you not being able to do the same. I hate that the most — that even if I could change history, it would always be Aesop. Never you." Even then, he didn't dare to break his silence, but his eyes still asked what his mouth wouldn't: You loved him that much more than you love me, Calliope? Likewise, there was no hesitation in my unspoken reply: Yes.
In my distraction, I don't notice that the reporter has left her seat and brought herself face-to-face with me (with some help from her high heels — in height, as with everything else, I've got more of Aesop in me than Napoleon). At least not until she reaches out and cups the side of my face in one of her hands, fingers trailing over my jawline as if trying to memorize the roundness, like it's an impressively interesting story she wants to retell to all her friends later on. And isn't that what I am to her, what my brother was to all of them? "You're such a pretty girl, Calliope. Maybe someday you'll have the opportunity to come to the Capitol and have a stylist of your own that can make that beauty really shine." Brushing a stray lock of hair behind my ear, her pale fingers tangle with the dark strands and I almost begin to worry that she's gotten stuck in the knots. The subtext of her comments isn't lost on me: If you can't have your brother, you'll just starve and neglect yourself until become him instead? Oh, you have no idea how much we'd love for you to follow in his footsteps. Go right ahead. You'd make a lovely tribute. Her grin widens just enough to make sure I don't miss it. Wouldn't Aesop be proud?
It's hard to dance with a devil on your back Given half the chance Would I take any of it back It's a final mess, but it's left me so undone It's always darkest before the dawn
( C O D E W O R D ) Odair ( F A C E C L A I M ) Jung So Min
I'm damned if I do And I'm damned if I don't So here's to drinks in the dark At the end of my road I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
The sister of Aesop Bloom and Napoleon Bloom. (Their bios contain more information on the Bloom family history — I didn't want to re-write the same thing a third time, so I focused on the part of their history that hadn't been covered in a bio yet: recent history.)
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat Cause I'm looking for heaven for the devil in me Looking for heaven for the devil in me Well, what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me
( T E X T ) 567C83 ( T H I N K I N G ) 759486 ( O T H E R S P E A K I N G ) BBAC92 ( O T H E R ) C59276 ( S P E A K I N G ) A4665A
Shake it out Shake it out And it's hard to dance With a devil on your back So shake him off