Hunting for Peace
I begin to hunt on a regular basis. It's difficult, and part of me really doesn't want to try, but I do it anyways. Every once in a while I will give into my weakness and not leave my house for a few days. In these cases Greasy Sae will set my bird free and have it squawk and make noises until I get out of my bed and walk around.
I begin to understand my mother a little bit more. I understand how waking up in the morning for her was terrifying. While for me, my dreams would be excruiciating and my waking hours unbearable. There was no escape for me, no hour, no minute, no second was ever a moment of relief. I wonder if my mother's dreams were made up of happy moments with my father.
If so, she would have had it better than me. My dreams are filled with the people I've killed, the people who have tried to kill me, and the people I loved being killed.
Breakfasts with Peeta and Greasy Sae are just distractions of all the pain that I am thankful for. Sometimes, when it takes more strength than I have to swing my legs over the side of my bed, Peeta's voice floats up to my bedroom and that remaining amount of energy needed to dress and walk downstairs courses through me.
Only then can I slip on my hunting boots and trudge to the woods.
I don't go back to the lake, I'm definitely not ready for that. I'm not sure how I was able to go there for Peeta's katniss shoots that he probably didn't even eat. But terror and pain threaten to eat me up just by thinking about it.
Peeta and I sometimes make conversation. He asks a few "real or not real" questions every once in a while. I think Greasy Sae listens into our conversations sometimes. I think she might always be on the lookout to see if Peeta does something that might hurt me.
I'm not sure how she found out about his condition. Maybe Dr. Aurelius found someway to tell her.
One morning, I'm quietly eating freshly picked apples and water fowl eggs when Peeta looks up from his plate from across of me and says, "They told me I used to love you, real or not real?"
What a terrible feeling I felt then. Extreme sadness and anger flowed through my veins.
"I think I loved you alot."
He stares at me. "But you didn't love me."
"You were in love with your cousin."
Now I'm confused. "My cousin?" I stop eating and look back at him. He looks like he's sorting things out in his mind.
"Yes, is that why you two aren't together? Because you're related?"
"What are you ...no. Are you talking about Gale? We're not related."
"Gale..." he says softly with a frown. "Oh, that's right. I thought he was your cousin."
I shake my head. "Do you remember him?"
He goes back to eating his eggs. I have to ask him again, because I don't think he heard me.
"Oh yes, I remember now. He was from the Seam. He was there in District Thirteen with us. The filming. Lots of fur."
I'm still a little unsure of what it is exactly he is talking about, but I think he might be half talking to himself. Quite possibly he's talking about being in Tigris's basement and remembering a few conversations he had with Gale.
Does he always have these memory lapses about things that have happened after his torturing in the Capitol?
He's quiet until I look up at him again, once he catches my gaze he asks, "Where is Gale?" He has a funny look on his face that I can't really read.
"He's in District Two."
He raises his eyebrows. "Oh. I'm sure you miss him."
He actually sounds like he means it. He says it with pity and kindness in his voice.
I don't feel like being pitied.
"Actually I couldn't care less."
He doesn't say anything. I think he thinks I'm lying to him.
"Really, Peeta. All I felt was relief when I heard he had gone."
Now he's the one who is in deep in thought. "Oh, why? You loved him, real or not real?"
I really hate this conversation.
Greasy Sae cocks her head towards us while she is washing the dishes, her hands scrubbing softly as to hear my every word.
I'm gritting my teeth and Peeta urges me on.
"Real, I loved him. But not what in the way you think."
It frustrates me even more that I can't read his face, where did he learn to hide his emotions so well?
Peeta just nods, his eyebrows knit together.
We're both quiet for a while and Greasy Sae goes back to wiping the dishes off with a dry rag.
I find myself eating slowly so I can spend as much time as possible eating beside him.
I wonder if he's doing the same thing.
"Thank you." Peeta says.
"Telling the truth."
I get an idea. I want to put pictures and words about the people I have loved and lost into a book. That way no one could forget.
But the thought of reliving memories makes me so tired, I put the thought behind me.
One day I shoot a deer. It's a large, old doe, one that has probably birthed many fawns. Probably the matriarch and grandmother of more than one herd. She's so heavy that I can't drag her back into town.
I go and ask Haymitch for help, but he slurs a no and slams his door in my face. I think about asking Thom for help but I can't find him. So I take a deep breath and sprint back to Peeta's house, knowing that there's little time before flies land and plant their maggots onto my catch, rotting my deer from the inside out. I've got an hour, tops.
Peeta answers the door with a familiar smile. But when he sees me, his smile disappears.
He laughs nervously. "Hehe. Shooting the sparrows around my house Katniss?" He closes his front door slightly.
I realize that I have made him suspicious. His mutt mind still has not entirely ruled out the fact that I might try to kill him.
And I can see why. I still have my bow in my hands, I'm barefoot and breathing hard. My hair is loose and tangled as I haven't seemed to remember to braid it in the morning. I have blood on my hands and I think some of it has swiped onto my face.
I put my weapon behind my back.
"I need your help." I pant.
"Oh?" He looks concerned and opens his door a little more, but then he seems to check himself and close it an inch again, as if he had forgotten I was dangerous.
"My deer. I can't carry her back to town. I need someone strong." I gesture back to the woods. "She's rotting as we speak."
"Oh, you were hunting. Well why didn't you say so." He says cheerfully and steps out beside me. He looks around towards the woods.
"Ah, why don't you lead the way."
We walk quickly back towards the forest. It's strange having Peeta walk this path that Gale and I have beaten down.
And it's even stranger when he slides under the fence right behind me.