We stop for a while to rest. Glimmer settles down on a fallen log, Marvel somewhat nearby, holding his spear. Clove went off by herself somewhere. I just came back from scouting the area and seeing what physical changes in my body have occurred. Despite the water we've been able to collect decently, my urine is still getting a little darker but it could be worse. Like that tribute we found hours ago learned. I don't know what the hell she was thinking—just wading in the creek, trying to take off dirt.
You're going to get filthy here whether you like it or not. Even Glimmer hasn't made too much of a fuss about how unclean she's getting. She'll go into streams, wash her face, sometimes her hair, but we continue on quickly and the mumbling is quiet and to herself.
I glance to my left where the boy from 12 is. He's just been sitting there since we stopped. When we trek, he's silent, not making eye contact. No one has spoken to him either, which is just as well. We haven't given him any weapons either, although, eventually, we may have to. I know that none of us are going to risk our own skin to save his, so he'll have to defend himself; preferably barehanded.
Marvel stands up and walks over to me, shoving Lover Boy aside with his leg, probably on purpose. The kick was too hard to be accidental. He doesn't even respond, just shifts in his position to accommodate Marvel's space.
"Are we just going to sit around here?"
"We're waiting for Clove to come back. She's scouting."
"That's not what she said she'll do,"
"I thought we made it clear I don't want to be questioned,"
He quiets pretty quickly and returns to Glimmer.
The boy next to me looks up, staring at the sky. I shift my gaze upwards too, watching birds rest and fly.
"Do you have any idea where she might be?"
He doesn't look at me when he responds, "Probably closer to where those mountains are."
"How do you figure that?" It doesn't make sense to me—there's nothing up there but rocks, possibly snow, too, if the Gamemakers want it.
He shrugs but his voice is steady, "She is not too comfortable being on the ground…"
"Hmm," I reply.
So she'll probably like trees.
Now that I think about it, she's the only one I can't remember going to the ropes too often. Even the little girl would often go there, even though we're supposed to keep our best tactics secret. She's a very private person and no doubt would avoid going near anything that would give the hint of an advantage.
She won't be going too far either. She's not an idiot, I'm pretty sure of it—especially since she's avoided us the past couple of days—and straying far from water is not a viable or clever option.
"Hey, you're finally back,"
I turn at Marvel's voice to see Clove coming through the thicket. "Anything useful?"
"Not particularly," she replies, "There were berries I could've brought too but I couldn't risk them being poisonous."
"That's fine," I answer, "Let's just keep moving,"
We go on further, deeper in the woods, and there are things making animalistic noises and birds darting so quickly through that it's hard to pinpoint the exact locations. We haven't run into any of the other tributes that could pose possible threats. The male tribute from 11 is still nowhere to be found. Aside from her, he's the only other one I want to see.
The sun looms above us. I hear Glimmer faintly panting from exertion. Despite the remarkably slow pace that is driving me fucking crazy, I would think she'd be a little tougher than that. She hasn't done too much though I can count on her being able to kill, which is all that matters right now. I look at Lover Boy trudging in the middle of the four of us, staring at the ground. I know he won't be able to kill anyone so maybe there would be no point in giving him a weapon.
He just strikes me as that kind of person—that kind of pacifist who believes that violence is unnecessary and all that other philosophical shit I'd sometimes hear being spouted somewhere. Well, it obviously didn't prove too well for those that preached it.
I throw aside some brush that blocks entry, Marvel shoving past. Clove stands close to the boy from 12, making sure he doesn't attempt anything stupidly heroic. Glimmer had gone off somewhere—
"Hey, you guys!"
I turn to look at her, grinning from ear to ear.
"What's up, Glim?" shouts Marvel.
She had gone pretty far from us. I didn't notice she had, honestly. She halts before the rest of us, brushing back long hair from her dirty face. She holds up a canister and there's the faintest sloshing noise in it. Opening the container, we find that there's medicine; from the look of it, one of the stronger ones that I would see being used on television.
"Awesome!" Marvel enthusiastically expresses, patting her shoulder, "Where'd you find that at?"
"I found tucked in the roots of some trees; I'm pretty sure it's meant for us."
"Was there a note attached anywhere?" I ask. Lyme could have something useful.
She blinks, putting a finger to her chin, "I didn't find anything on it,"
"It could have fallen off," Clove retorts.
Glimmer pouts, "You think I wouldn't have bothered to check the ground? I didn't find anything there either."
"Show me which tree," I interject before another dispute could arise between the two. Glimmer almost smugly drags me away, hand laced with mine. I hear Clove make a huffing noise.
I keep my eyes from rolling. Fine, don't like each other, but if it prevents us from advancing in the Games, I may have to have a talk with her. Clove will understand—it just takes her some time.
Glimmer leads me to a tall redwood. Leaves and broken twigs are scattered around the base. I go to it and brush aside some of the dirt and leaves, the soil moist. There's the sight of white beneath burnt orange and I find what I'm looking for.
"Is that it?" Glimmer inquires.
The note is simple: Be alert. Kill fast. Trust few.
A little late on that, Lyme…
I crumple the paper into the pocket of my clothing.
Glimmer asks, "What did it say?"
"Just to be alert and stuff,"
She doesn't ask anymore and doesn't ask to look at it.
We head back to the others and Marvel is the first to speak, "You find a note?"
"Yep," I answer, "It's just the usual—be alert and things of that nature."
"Like we need to be reminded,"
I shrug and hold my hand out for the container. Handing it to me, I unscrew the lid and move in to smell it. There's no scent, which will be useful so as to keep ourselves a little more discreet. Not that the smell of medicine is usually strong but it can be at times.
The boy from 12 isn't looking at us; his eyes are turned in the opposite direction, standing motionless. I hand the container to Clove and bop him upside the head, lighter than I was going to.
He turns around stares up at me, surprised. "What?"
"Did you see something out there?" I indicate where his eyes once were.
"No," he shakes his head, "I was just thinking,"
"How good it is that you have medicine, that's all,"
I blink slowly but don't comment on his statement. Looking back at the trio behind me, I alert them that we're continuing. I fall into step with Lover Boy, and he accommodates to my longer strides, surprisingly. I glance at him. "So what else can you tell me about her?"
There's no need to explain whom I'm referring to. He seems to gulp a bit and it's not surprising. I'll kill him if he lies and there are also his feelings for her.
"Aside from not liking the ground, there's really not much else I can give you, if you're wondering about weapons and advantages. She and I didn't actually talk too much while we were together; we were as secretive as anyone else,"
"But," I point out, "You lived with her."
"Yes, but we didn't even communicate then."
"I find that hard to believe."
"You heard me on the national interview, I know you did. She didn't even know I existed until the Games."
I snort. "Self-pity isn't going to get you anywhere."
"It's not self-pity," he replies, his tone a bit short, "I'm just stating a fact."
"Ah. Well, you should tell me more facts about her, specifically,"
"I don't know much."
A cocky grin forms on my face and I give him a sideways glance, "You don't know much about the girl you're in love with?"
He looks like he's about to sputter but remains composed, "That is not what I meant."
"Alright, Lover Boy," I drawl, stretching out the kinks in my arms, hands in front of me, "If that's not what you mean, what did you mean, then?"
"Like I said, I don't know what her supposed ability for the Games is. I just know other little things, like…"
He pauses here and I quirk an eyebrow, watching him closely. It doesn't look like he's lying; there's nothing really emanating from him that gives off the indication that he's telling me lies. I don't consider him an actor either—pretending to be someone else and hoping people will buy into it. He seems too genuine for that, anyway.
"Like what?" I prod.
"Like…she can sing really well."
I almost stop walking mid-step, "Sing?"
"Yes, she can sing,"
"That's all you can tell me?" That's not what I really want to say but I blurt that out instead. For some reason, the image of her singing, serene and at peace, birdlike—for some reason, flightless—it seems too…off, for my mind to wrap around. She doesn't strike me as the type of girl who would sing willingly, much less possess a voice that, apparently, is 'really well.' With the way that she's been presented thus far, singing just seems too innocent, too open, too…vulnerable, for the Girl on Fire.
There's a gentle smile forming on his face, one I want to smack off but leave alone; I do the latter. "Believe me, if you heard her sing, you'd know what I was talking about."
My lips are dry and I lick them. I look up at the blue sky. "What does she sound like?"
My gaze returns to his face, "You sure you're not just saying that because it's her? Most guys are…mushy with girls they like,"
He takes no offense, "No, because it's how I fell in love with her; if I'd never heard her sing, that interview would've been a lot different, and so would everything else."
I don't ask him anymore, since none of the information is useful and I'm tired of listening of a sudden, but it dawns on me that I'm curious about how she sings. He just had this…look on his face that spoke of her voice in high regard.
I try not to think about her singing and, to my irritation, fail, since I wake up the next morning, thinking of birdsong and wings on fire. I hurl a stone up into the trees, disturbing the nests of said creatures that bothered my sleep.
This girl, apparently, is full of surprises.