I wake up to the light of dawn. I immediately survey the area, trying to find a clue or sign to the whereabouts of any of the other tributes. There are none.
Getting to my feet, I walk over to the stream that is fed by the lake, splashing the water onto my face. It's freezing and my throat tightens from thirst but I stop myself from drinking any of it. We were able to get enough supplies from the Cornucopia on the first day, including empty containers for water, plenty for each one of us.
Using the iodine was a little difficult since none of us were that adept at foraging skills or being resourceful; Glimmer, though, managed to remember the correct amount of droplets to put. We guessed on the time, unfortunately, if Clove retching into the bushes not a minute after she drank from her bottle was an indication.
Listening to the sounds around me, I look in the direction of the sun, wondering if we should head toward it or west. We could go in any direction, really, but I like having it methodically planned out, to further diminish the chances of the tributes getting away. It helps me focus.
The fire we made is still making the slightest trickle of smoke. The coals are white and ash gathers on them from the wood. Thinking of grey reminds me of home. I miss it in a way, even though this is where I was always meant to be.
"You're up early," Clove remarks, voice hushed.
I nod in her direction.
She gets as close to me as we can allow. Being the smallest of us, she gets the coldest quickest, even though she doesn't say anything on the matter. She glances up at me and I return the stare.
Both of us think the same thing—it'd be easy to slit their throats and make our way into the forest; separated.
It'd make things a hell of a lot easier if we only focused on ourselves. Something keeps stopping us from doing it though. Glimmer proved to be a little valuable—she's not as airy as we all believed—and Marvel, well, he is the smarter of the two and knows how to handle a weapon better. Clove and I still don't like the idea of being held back from getting rid of two more tributes—it continues to haunt me, that previous choice—but we've already agreed to it. The only upside is that, when all the others are dead, we'll all be right near each other, no chasing or searching—the end will be right there and I'll be the one to cause it.
"So," Clove says, stretching on her toes, reaching for the sky. It's both a statement and silent question—what are we going to do in general and what are we going to do about them?
"Not much," I answer.
Nodding curtly, she turns on her heels, all swift surety, and grabs her weapons, comfortable with them. It's similar with me—I've yet to really let go of my sword.
Clove then proceeds to stomp out the very faint ashes, for wont of nothing to do, before going over to the other two, sleeping noiselessly—apart from the occasional soft snore—and nudging them rudely with the tip of her boot.
Glimmer squints, glaring, "Do you have to be so egregious in the morning?"
"Yes, and I'm surprised you can use such big words so easily at all."
I snort quietly, which doesn't go unnoticed by either of them. Marvel is as oblivious as ever, or he simply doesn't care for their bickering like I do. It adds entertainment to the day—it can be taxing finding our targets sometimes.
Marvel unceremoniously announces, "Well, I'm gonna take a piss. You two keep arguing about how cute Cato's ass is or something."
"Marvel, we were not—"
"The hell did you say—"
Both the girls burst out simultaneously while I laugh at his tactlessness. So he did hear them arguing—he just didn't know what, and if he did, he wanted to tease them while he was at it. He can be a bit of fun, too; admittedly. His sense of humor is no different from the guys back home.
Glimmer's a bright shade of red, dusting off her clothing, muttering unintelligibly. For someone considered a sex symbol in the Capitol—it was plenty obvious—she gets pretty embarrassed quickly when the tables are turned.
Clove glares at his general direction and huffs. She's not abashed by it, I can tell; she's done her share of teasing like that—it was the casualness of the joke that she didn't appreciate. Even back home it took a while before someone could tease her so easily; she had to know you well first.
"Making a joke like that, really,"
I further the distance a little, going to a nearby tree to mark the wood with my sword, crossing an area off; I turn to face them when Glimmer opens her mouth.
"It's just Marvel being Marvel," Then she quirks a brow, staring at Clove, "Are you and Cato a touchy subject?"
Clove snorts—her mother would love that crass—while crossing her arms, "Please, I can stare at his ass whenever I want. That's not what I had an issue with."
I blink at the abruptness, wondering if it's a confession. I doubt it is, even though the brief moment where I had her pinned beneath me comes unbidden. Shrugging internally, I grin and chide, "I knew that's why you always liked being behind me,"
She walks past me, shoving her hand into my chest, "Get real, you egomaniac."
I stare at her for a minute, just grinning from ear to ear, even though, inside, there is a part of me that wants to be confused about what she says, flattered by her reaction, and everything typical boys might feel about girls.
Glimmer begins to pack up her items and she stops beside me, staring at me questioningly, "You're awfully quiet,"
Her gaze is unwelcome and sets me straight, "Just wondering about where to head to next."
"What about we go north this time around?" suggests Marvel, coming between the trees.
"You took a long time," I state.
"Scouting the area I was in," he replies nonchalantly, giving a yawn, "I thought I saw some food we could bring along, but I wasn't sure if it was poisonous so I left it."
I shrug, "Better safe than sorry. Come on, let's go."
Clove is up ahead, observing quietly. "So, which way are we heading?"
"We've decided to go north,"
She doesn't add anything and just follows. She promptly takes up the front, sticking to the plan we arranged quietly for the two of us alone. Glimmer and Marvel are in the middle, his hand tightly wound on the spear. Glimmer is oddly protective of the arrows and bow that she procured. If it makes her feel better, she can have them, I guess—it's not like they will do her any good in the long run.
I stare at the slight glint the bow gives. I haven't seen any sign of the Girl on Fire since the first day. It's been a while since for me and the fact I haven't seen her makes me uneasy in the strangest of ways—has she been caught by someone else already?
No, if that was the case, her face would've shown by now in the fake sky—
There's the crack of fragile wood.
"You hear that?" is the hushed murmur from one of us.
The footsteps are heavy, unused to the territory. One of the weaker tributes…
I dart forward as quietly as I can, shifting my weight, not waiting for the others.
Whoever it is isn't even moving fast enough. There's the sound of breath attempting to be nonexistent and I'm through the brush, staring at the boy from 12.