Deep in the Meadow

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Chapter 13

Without pausing to think I start to run. Over the snowy ground, pine needles crashing under my feet.

โ€œJazi! Iโ€™m coming, hold on!โ€ I shout, desperate to help her. To save her. If she dies it is my fault. I told her to run instead of killing whatever was coming. I suggested going hunting. I wonโ€™t reach her in time.

I have that feeling in my gut as I find her arrow in a tree. I will be too late. I know that as I charge through a bush to see Jazi, up a tree as Kenji receives a knife in the back of the skull from me. I know as soon as his knife enters her chest. His last act. I am too late. I could not save her. I know as she topeles from the tree and falls into a patch of snow. Laying there as if an angel. Kenjiโ€™s cannon fires.

I run to her and lay her on my lap. I grasp her hand. She is leaving. I know that as she looks down at the knife protruding from her chest. I can tell as her chest is moving slower.

โ€œCome on Jazi,โ€ I say, tears flowing down my cheeks, โ€œSmile for me. Pleaseโ€

โ€œOk,โ€ she gasps. She smiles sadly, her eyes closing.

โ€œNo,โ€ I say, her chest moves slower.

โ€œWillowโ€ฆโ€ She says โ€œLook after Thren. One of you has to winโ€ฆโ€

โ€œJaziโ€ฆโ€ I say. The breath from her mouth stops as a single tear rolls down her cheek and dissolves. Her cannon goes off. She lies there as pitiful as a baby animal. Unable to be harmed. The hovercraft picks up Kenji. I know it will be soon Jaziโ€™s turn. I choose two big diamonds from my hair and place them on her cheeks. I lace snow and Ivy through her hair. I take the knife that ended her life and throw it as far as I can away. The knife I couldnโ€™t stop. I take her pack, bow and arrows off her as someone crashes through the bush.

Shine. She stares at me, her bow positioned and the arrow ready. I point mine at her as well as the Mockingjays sing a warning of the hovercraft. I know it is for Jazi. She will be gone soon. Shine drops her bow. I draw the string back. Tonight there will be three faces in the sky. No. There wonโ€™t. Something stirs inside me as I look at Shine. I look back to Jazi and find that she is gone. Gone forever. Back to District 7. I stare deep into Shineโ€™s eyes. She looks back at me with her brown eyes, they are full of something, an emotion. What is it? A thought climbs itโ€™s way to the front of my brain. She is afraid. She is sad. I walk up to her and pull her upright.

โ€œGo,โ€ I say.

โ€œWhat?โ€ She responds.

โ€œGo!โ€ I shout, โ€œGo! Leave! Run! Get out of here. I wonโ€™t kill you.โ€ She jumps up and grabs her bow. Running away. Sprinting. I collapse and lay on the snowy ground. I stare into space, my grief beyond tears. I canโ€™t go back. I canโ€™t face Thren. I canโ€™t tell him what happened. But I have to. I promised her. I canโ€™t say her name. I will help him win. Or me. But I canโ€™t, so Thren will. I will make sure of that. I will help him. I walk towards the cave, full of an empty feeling that wonโ€™t go away.

As I make my way to the cave I take my time, the Careers will be no big deal, and then there is only Sara, the girl from 11 and Dean left. When I get to the spot of the entrance, the sun has gone down. I hesitate, can I tell him? I decide I have to, he will find out soon anyway. As I slide down the path, I see him huddled in the corner. He looks up and his face breaks into a smile.

โ€œPhew!โ€ He says, โ€œI thought you or Jazi were those cannons-โ€ he breaks off, โ€œWhereโ€™s Jazi?....Noโ€ฆโ€

โ€œThren-โ€

โ€œNo!โ€ He shouts, โ€œNO! No, she canโ€™t be dead. No! Noโ€ฆโ€ He goes and lays in the corner and starts to sob, his golden hair falling across his face in waves. I start as I hear the anthem beginning. I watch as Kenji shines down, then Jazi. She really is gone. I will have to accept that. I also accept Threnโ€™s choice to take watch and settle down to sleep.

I wake to Threnโ€™s loud shouts,

โ€œWILLOW! WE NEED TO MOVE! NOW!โ€ I open my eyes hurriedly and see him, with his pack over by the opening, ready to run. I shove my sleeping bag in my pack and run over to him. I now know what he was talking about, in the darkness, it stands out like a parrot in a white room. Itโ€™s amazing, but terrifying, no wonder there have been no Gamemaker interferences, they have been saving for this.

For the lava sweeping down the mountain.

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