It's easier to travel now. Trains and buses run between Districts and their borders have been expanded to be actual borders. There are no more wilds separating the Districts into little islands. There are no more laws against travel or poaching. I can climb where we used to go without fear of Peacekeepers. Part of me wonders if my brother and the girl I came to view as my little sister would have loved that, or whether they enjoyed being out here alone, secretly, illegally. Things under Paylor are much better than they were under Snow. I don't know why the Mockingjay shot the President of District 13.
I hike paths we took together. My brother, our friend, and I. It took a long time for me to want to be up here without them and when I finally did, all I could see was them together. I didn't stay long. I would hike up, stand looking over land we looked at together, sit down with my arms around my knees, missing them, replaying their horrible ends in my head. I never meant to, but it happened sometimes.
Then I'd walk back down, remembering the ease with which she scrambled around these paths. The loose rocks and pebbles did nothing to slow her down. I don't remember her ever falling, except perhaps when my brother played with her. They'd run like children, - well, we were children, weren't we? - and chase and push each other. No. I don't think she fell unless pushed. Her ankles had been incredible strong. Ironic then, that that injury was ultimately what lead to her death.
And my brother, he had predicted he wouldn't make it out without her. He'd known long before he even entered the arena. He'd said it to me in our last conversation. "I'll bring us home. Both of us. It wouldn't be the same without her here." Some other, probably better, brother would have told him to watch out for himself, make sure he got home safely, who cares what happens to the girl? Not me. I had just nodded, knowing he was right. I knew then how he felt about her. We were twins. It's the kind of thing you know, especially when you watch it grow in someone for years. He wouldn't have wanted to be here without her. Home wouldn't be home without the pair of them. It's not home now, twenty years later.
The training center was destroyed. When the rebels bombed the mountain, causing that massive avalanche and rockslide, they trapped more than a thousand people in the mountain,. Something broke and gas from the hovercrafts leaked below. It took them years to clean up the charred remains of where we spent so much of our adolescent years. Part of the mountain collapsed too because the ceiling of the center caved. No wonder we didn't support the rebels. Look at the damage they caused! I stopped training and working on the stronghold when my brother died so I wasn't there, but if I had been, my fate would have been the same as all our friends.
Statues have been erected of the 1,800 tributes, a fraction of the victims of the Capitol, all over Panem. They didn't discriminate against our district, even though we were the least willing to help the rebellion. I told the people who came to build their statues where they should go and that they really should be on the same pedestal. So they stand up here on the mountain where we hiked. fourteen thousand feet up, nearly three miles above sea level. They are as they would have wanted to be: home again, sleeping under stars, together forever, my brother and the girl he loved.
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