Swathed in silk, I feel like a caterpillar in a cocoon awaiting metamorphosis. I always supposed that to be a peaceful condition. At first it is. But as I journey into the night, I feel more and more trapped, suffocated by the slippery bindings, unable to emerge until I have transformed into something of beauty. I squirm, trying to shed my ruined body and unlock the secret to growing flawless wings. Despite enormous effort, I remain a hideous creature, fired into my current form by the blast from the bombs.
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I noticed the plants growing around me. Tall with leaves like arrowheads. Blossoms with three white petals. I knelt down in the water, my fingers digging into the soft mud, and I pulled up handfuls of the roots. Small, bluish tubers that don't look like much but boiled or baked are as good as any potato. "Katniss," I said aloud. It's the plant I was named for. And I heard my father's voice joking, "As long as you can find yourself, you'll never starve.
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The realization that I'd have nothing to take home had finally sunk in. My knees buckled and I slid down the tree trunk to its roots. It was too much. I was too sick and weak and tired, oh, so tired. Let them call the Peacekeepers and take us to the community home, I thought. Or better yet, let me die right here in the rain.
I'm relieved Peeta's alive. I tell myself again that if I get killed, his winnings will benefit my mother and Prim the most. This is what I tell myself to explain the conflicting emotions that arise when I think of Peeta. The gratitude that he game an edge by professing his love for me in the interview. The anger at his superiority on the roof. The dread that we may come face-to-face at any moment in this arena.
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What do I mean when I say I love Gale? I don't know. I did kiss him last night, in a moment when my emotions were running so high. But I'm sure he doesn't remember it. Does he? I hope not. If he does, everything will just get more complicated and I really can't think about kissing when I've got a rebellion to incite.
I'm not their slave," the man mutters. "I am," I say. "That's why I killed Cato... and he killed Thresh... and he killed Clove... and she tried to kill me. It just goes around and around, and who wins? Not us. Not the districts. Always the capitol. But I'm tired of being a piece in their games.
So, here's what you do. You win, you go home. She can't turn you down then, eh?" says Caesar encouragingly. "I don't think it's going to work out. Winning... won't help in my case," says Peeta. "Why ever not?" says Caesar, mystified. Peeta blushes beet red and stammers out. "Because... because... she came here with me.
The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.
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I carefully lay out the provisions. One thin black sleeping bag that reflects body heat. A pack of crackers. A pack of dried beef strips. A bottle of iodine. A box of wooden matches. A small coil of wire. A pair of sunglasses. And a half-gallon plastic bottle with a cap for carrying water that's bone dry. No water. How hard would it have been for them to fill up the bottle?
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So at least half the victors have instructed their mentors to request you as an ally. I know it can't be your sunny personality." "They saw her shoot," says Peeta with a smile. "Actually, I saw her shoot, for real, for the first time. I'm about to put in a formal request myself." "You're that good?" Haymitch asks me.
Johanna glances over at Finnick, to be sure, then turns to me. "How'd you lose Mags?" "In the fog. Finnick had Peeta. I had Mags for a while. Then I couldn't lift her. Finnick said he couldn't take them both. She kissed him and walked right into the poison," I say. "She was Finnick's mentor, you know," Johanna says accusingly. "No, I didn't," I say. "She was half his family," she says a few moments later, but there's less venom behind it.
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Caesar Flickerman asks if the president has a date in mind. "Oh, before we set a date, we better clear it with Katniss's mother," says the president. The audience gives a big laugh and the president puts his arm around me. "Maybe if the whole country puts its mind to it, we can get you married before you're thirty." "You'll probably have to pass a new law," I say with a giggle. "If that's what it takes," says the president with conspiratorial good humor. Oh, the fun we two have together.
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Yes, everyone in the districts will be watching me to see how I handle this death sentence, this final act of President Snow's dominance. They will be looking for some sign that their battles have not been in vain. If I can make it clear that I'm still defying the Capitol right up to the end, the Capitol will have killed me... but not my spirit. What better way to give hope to the rebels?
I search his eyes for the slightest sign of anything, fear, remorse, anger. But there's only the same look of amusement that ended our last conversation. It's as if he's speaking the words again. "Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other." He's right. We did. The point of my arrow shifts upward. I release the string. And President Coin collapses over the side of the balcony and plunges to the ground. Dead.
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In one horrible moment the last piece of the prophecy became clear. So bid him take care, bid him look where he leaps, As life may be death and death life again reaps. He had to leap, and by his death, the others would live. That was it. That was what Sandwich had been trying to say all along, and by now he believed in Sandwich. He put on a final burst of speed, just like the coach taught him in track. He gave everything he had. In the last few steps before the canyon he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg, and then the ground gave way under his feet. Gregor the Overlander leaped.
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It's impossible to be the Mockingjay. Impossible to complete even this one sentence. Because now I know that everything I say will be directly taken out on Peeta. Result in his torture. But not his death, no nothing so merciful as that. Snow will ensure that his life is much worse than death.
Vikus looked at Luxa and opened his arms. She stood, still frozen, staring at him as if he were a complete stranger. "Luxa, it's your grandpa," said Gregor. It seemed like the best and most important thing to say at the moment. "It's your grandpa." Luxa blinked. A tiny tear formed at the corner of her eye. A battle took place on her face as she tried to stop the feelings rising up inside her. The feelings won, and to Gregor's great relief, she ran into Vikus's arms.
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If Under fell, if Over leaped, If death was life and Death life reaped, Something rises from the gloom, To make the Underland a tomb Hear it scratching down below, Rat of long forgotten snow, Evil cloaked in coat of White, Will the Warrior drain your light? What could turn the Warrior week? What do burning Gnawers seek? Just a barely speaking pup That holds the Land of Under up Die the baby, die his heart Die his most essential part Die the peace that rules the hour, Gnawers have their key to power
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