Deep in the Meadow

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Chapter 18

I fall to my knees in agony to look down and see Shine laying crumpled on the ground at my feet. She yanks the trident out of her body, leaving three holes where it struck her.

โ€œNo!โ€ Dean shouts and runs towards Izack, whoโ€™s about to throw his second trident at me. Izack yells at Coral to run and they disappear off into the trees with Dean behind them as a hovercraft gets Venia from her pool of blood. I lay beside Shine and look at her chest. The wounds are too deep. It will have hit her heart or some major place in her body. I know sheโ€™s going.

โ€œYou saved meโ€ฆโ€ I whisper, โ€œWhy?โ€

โ€œYouโ€™re the Phoenix.โ€ She says โ€œYou can make an uprising rise from the ashes.โ€ Can I? Maybe I could. Win these games. Start a rebellion. Or if I canโ€™t, I could at least spice some heat into the districts. Then they could do it alone. They could. They win by making you think youโ€™re alone. Good people will fight if someone leads them.

โ€œLook,โ€ Shine says quietly. โ€œA Mockingjay,โ€ She points up to the branch where she was sitting and whistles a four note tune. The bird sings back almost immediately. โ€œListen,โ€ She says, then starts to sing, in a soft voice that sends shivers up my spine. I know this song. I sit in silence as she sings.

โ€œAre you, are you

Coming to the tree

They strung up a man

They say who murdered three

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met at midnight

In the hanging tree

Are you, are you

Coming to the tree

Where dead man called out

For his love to flee

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met at midnight

In the hanging tree

Are you, are you

Coming to the tree

Where I told you to run

So weโ€™d both be free

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be-โ€

โ€œIf we met at midnight, in the Hanging Tree.โ€ I finish. Shineโ€™s breathing slows.

โ€œWhy did you save me?โ€ she asks quietly. What? Save her? Then I remember. After Jaziโ€™s death when she crashed into the clearing.

โ€œBecauseโ€ฆ Because,โ€ I stammer. I look down and see her eyes have closed. I donโ€™t have much time left. โ€œBecause I looked into your eyes and you looked as scared as I was.โ€ I say. โ€œI couldnโ€™t kill you.โ€ Seeming reassured by this, she gives one huff of air that freezes in the cool wind.

I walk away and hear the Mockingjays start to sing as her cannon fires. I stand there with my eyes shut as they get to the chorus. The music overlaps each other and sings up in beauty. One sings a warning to the hovercraft and thereโ€™s silence then,after a few seconds, they start up again. As they finish, I turn. And Shineโ€™s gone. Forever.

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