Chapter 10: The Games, Day 2
Only after a couple minutes of running did Haymitch hear yet another cannon blast.
He continued on, ignoring the sound.
However after mintues of silence, he heard his name. He faltered and tripped, rolling on the ground. He pushed himself up, catching his breath as he sat on the forest ground, checking out his surroundings; he was alone.
Was he already going crazy?
It wasn't a rare occurence - tributes losing their minds in the arena. From what he remembered, in prevous Games tributes had gone slightly insane, either from dehydration or malnutrition, or even from spending so much time alone. Each had found a creative way to off themselves, only after they hunted a few other tributes. Others didn't become mentally unstable until after the Games they had won.
He hadn't killed anybody yet; he was hydrated and full from his green apple that tasted legendary. Absentmindedly he grabbed a few sips of water, refilling the water he drank with the larger container. But then he heard his name again.
He thought he recognized the voice, but couldn't place it.
He looked around but didn't see anything but trees and brush.
That was definitely not in his head. He stood up, putting his bottle away as he looked around.
He followed the voice, a female. Did many tributes remember his name? He stopped.
Was this a trap?
"Please, Haymitch…" the voice faded to a whisper, and then he finally recognized the voice.
The mouse, Maggie. Quiet yet observant, listening but not saying anything; but her laughter along with Maysilee's at night was also unforgettable. He was still surprised they had found something so amusing during a time of such distress.
He picked up his pace, almost speed walking, following her voice. She was quiet, but caring. She mentioned flaws that Dylan and he had at the fire starting station and even went out of her way to help them.
"Haymitch!" she called out again.
And then he found her.
She was lying against a tree, her face and arms covered in a green camouflage amongst the brush. There were two knives lodged in her chest and stomach, the wounds bleeding freely, staining her shirt red. There was a sheen of sweat on her face, and her skin was pale.
"Hey," she said, trying to smile but wincing instead.
"Maggie…" he whispered as he ran and sat down next to her. She reached out and grabbed his arm.
Her skin was so cold he almost flinched, but held himself together.
"Maggie... Maggie, what happened?"
"Hey, I lasted this far though, right? That's something to talk about, especially for our district," she whispered, her voice waning in and out, her eyes drooping and then blinking awake.
She was fading quickly.
"Who was it?" he croaked, barely able to look at her.
"It was a blur, but I think I saw the Career, the blonde… she was with three guys… but I think I got one of them."
So Remy had an alliance. Haymitch frowned.
"Thanks for staying with me…" she said, and he focused back on her. He grasped her arm and wanted to pull back at the coldness, but held on anyways.
"I'm sorry, Maggie," he whispered.
She only shook her head. She opened her mouth to say something, but it was lost as her eyes rolled back and her head dropped to the side.
He looked away from the sight of her lifeless body and found she had a bow and arrow in her other hand… That was all she had.
He left them alone as he crossed her arms over her lap and then stood up and walked away. He wasn't used to bows and arrows anyways, didn't see a use in taking them.
He ran for as long as he could, not wanting to be there when the hovercraft arrived.
He didn't even falter when he heard the cannon.
When the sun started setting, Haymitch climbed onto a branch and rested, taking a small bite or two of a snack and a few gulps of his water.
He was catching his breath when he heard a snap of a twig. He stopped still, and looked down, wondering who it was this time.
His heart twitched when he saw her walking slowly, her blonde hair in a loose bun, her head looking back and forth as she held a bamboo stick in one hand, a knife in the other, and a small pack resting on her back.
He wanted to call out her name, just to see her face, but he resisted. He wasn't able to figure out if she wanted an alliance or not. And he could tell right now she was perfectly fine being alone.
He almost sighed, but held his breath. She kept walking, and when she was out of sight, he jumped down. He looked in the direction she went for a while, almost willing her to come back.
When she didn't, he turned a little to the right and ran at a slant, away from trouble.