The Caged Bird Sings



I'm waiting in the dim gloom, listening to my child's breathing. I allowed the sun to come in a little today, for my son.

It's quiet. He's also there, watching us. Protecting Hyacinth, punishing me.

It's cold. He comes closer, as though he knows, his chest pressing against my back, his lips upon my neck. He hates me intensely, because that's all he murmurs—how his hatred for me is growing by the day. I don't doubt it, because I feel the same. But I fear. I fear all of him and all of me for fearing.

It's hot. He's too near, right beside me. I shudder because the proximity is still frightening, and when his fingers touch my neck, I think of the bruises he'd leave when he strangles me, leaving me to cough and sputter for life, dragged under by anxiety and hate.

It's difficult to contemplate anything with him around.

Hyacinth snorts, soft gurgles. It calms me, being next to my baby at least, with my captor behind me—crammed between light and darkness.

Fingers dig into my skin, gripping my shoulder, warm breath skimming my face…

"Stop it!" I whisper.

He does. But what will he do now?

He gets up and his hand reaches for my son—

"No, please…!" I murmur harshly, intense, like my life depends on it. Because it does.

"It won't be hard to take him, you know that."

"I know, I know," I tell him, "But you won't do it."

"Why not?"

"Because… he's your son, too,"

Something flickers in eyes the color of a crystallized sky. Light is there, beaming from heaven.

He leans forward now, my hands clutched protectively over my son, and his cover mine, as well my son's soft, fragile head.

"Katniss…" He's close, lips near to mine, and my heartbeat is so fast that it sounds like drumming songs.

It's insanity…

The next thing I hear and see and feel is the entire earth shattering, the sounds of rapid gunfire, disturbing the dark peace that surrounds my entire space, people screaming and it brings back horrible times of blood and hell.

My child is screaming, my tormentor is ready to kill, his stance threatening, and I simply sit, lost.

He's a hurricane of fury, a tempest in the glow of sunlight and embers.

Gale has broken into my world.

And I shout Cato's name.

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