"Rise and shine!" A great splash of water drenched the unconscious girl. Water filled the small spaced room as another bucket of iced water was flung her direction. A loud gasp slipped from her lips as she immediately sat up. The men at the door roared with laughter, muttering words between themselves as they shut the metal door. The girl scarcely glanced around her cramped room. There was no sunlight; windowless. But, just enough space for her to curl on the ground. There goes my escape plan, she thought. She leaned her head back on the wall, taking small but even breaths.
"Breathe, Katniss." Nine year old, Katniss Everdeen gripped onto the nearest branch while she hyperventilated. Her father stood close by and begun a routine of inhaling and exhaling deeply until Katniss caught on.
"I… can-. " The child began but her father was quick. His hand was placed on her small back and applied pressure onto her until she knelt forward.
"Focus on the ground. Notice the stillness of the dirt, the color, the roughness that it carries. Focus on that, Katniss." The voice of her father always remained the same; steady. Katniss concentrated on her father's instructions until the rhythm of her heart thumped regularly. A minute passed until Katniss carried enough strength to ask her next question.
"How… how do you do it?"
"Do what, Kat?" Not one could pull off that nickname but there was smoothness in her father's voice when he said it.
"That. Be so… calm." Her fingertips curled onto the ground and felt the warm sand slip into her nails. Usually Katniss attempted to keep her game face on whenever her father brought her to the woods. But that hope was cut short when a wolf pranced over her smallish figure. So much for showing her father that she was brave.
"The trick, Kat, is to believe that anything that frightens you is more terrified of you than you could ever imagine." Katniss finally glanced up and gave her father a puzzled face.
"I don't understand"
"Why do you think the wolf attacked you?" Her father smiled and slowly sat next to his daughter.
"Because animals are territorial, you told me so." It was one of her first lessons that she was given when she first stepped into the woods.
"That's true. Very good," Her father nodded at her response. "But, this was a lone wolf. Usually these particular animals travel in packs and this one was far from home. Maybe he was looking for food, shelter, a mate. Whatever the matter was is this, he was alone. But he saw you, an unknown creature that roamed into his forest. He didn't know what you were or if you were a threat. So how did he respond?" He stayed silent for a while and waited for Katniss' answer.
"He attacked?" She could never predict if her answer was the right one when it came to her father.
"Yes, out of panic. And that's how Panem will always look at someone who's different. The key is not to let fear win. You'll have to overcome the emotion and know that you're in control of the situation. Agreed?" Now she didn't always believe that her father was right but his words always gave her a certain comfort that she wanted to believe in his words. Nine year old Katniss nodded happily to her father.
Katniss brought her knees up towards her chest and she looked forward to the metal door. These peacekeepers weren't afraid of her. They were afraid of her weapon that she had no chance in getting. Bet you didn't think about this one, Dad. She thought as she shut her eyes. She had to try to remember the last thing that happened. How did she get here? Where was she? How long has she been here?
A flash of District 12 appeared along with short images of Prim, Gale, her mother, and Peeta. Peeta. The Games. No. No. All the actions she made in the arena were to save Peeta. This was a mistake. She shouldn't be here. She should be dead along with the other tributes. If she was kept as a prisoner did that mean that so was Peeta?
"Peeta," she whispered. "Peeta" Her eyes quickly opened as she stood up. Where was Peeta? Did they capture him too? Did he get away from the other tributes? Did he win the Games? Was he slaughtered in the way to save her? The questions multiplied through each giving second. She began to pound on the metal door while she shouted Peeta's name in unison.
"Where's Peeta?! Peeta! Please!" The longer she yelled the weaker her voice got. Minutes turned into hours until a voice interrupted her own.
"Open" One of the peacekeepers mumbled through the other side of the door. Here was her moment. A chance to escape. After all, how hard was it to get through a couple of peacekeepers? She won the first Games. The door slowly began to open and Katniss almost flung against the gap before to peacekeepers leaped forward and grabbed her from each arm.
"Where's Peeta?! Tell m-" The wind was knocked out of her lungs when a peacekeeper punched her stomach. She inhaled deeply before another strike hit her gut. Her body hunched as two peacekeepers gripped her from each arm and dragged her down the hallway. Katniss kept her eyes glued onto the floor and allowed the men take her anywhere. A few minutes passed and they finally arrived to their destination.
Katniss was strapped onto a machine in the middle of the room, unable to move but a single inch. Not a single noise was heard but the fiddle of the peacekeeper checking for any mistakes on the machine. Finally he stepped back and gave the other one a nod. Katniss frowned but the confusion disappeared when a zap of electricity wiggled through her body.
"OW!" Young Katniss rubbed her fingers immediately after touching the electric fence. The day was long and unfortunately the Everdeen's were stuck in the forest until the power turned off.
"I told you that it would still be on, Kat." Her father waited patiently on a rock as he skinned the deceased squirrel.
"I know. I just want to go home." The ten year old sighed.
"I've already showed you how the fence works. You should remember." He eyes never left the work on his hands as he talked.
"But it's hard. I can't hear anything." She looked at the fence and back at her father, "Dad?" She figured that he would have stood up to fix the problem but he continued to skin their meal.
"You know how." He said calmly.
Katniss slowly pressed her ear closer to the fence and shut her eyes. She tried to ignore the noises from the forest and focus on the quiet hum that scurried through the fence but heard nothing. 'Finally', she thought. She smiled and placed her entire hand against the fence when a sudden shock ran through her. The pain slowly rose within seconds until a scream finally escaped her lips.
The screaming only got louder. How long has she been screaming for? Two minutes? Ten? An hour? Katniss' head hung once the power stopped. Each muscle in her body tensed and her fingers shook uncontrollably. The peacekeepers finally moved away but only to open a door. Footsteps slowly approached the fallen mockingjay.
"Miss Everdeen, we meet again." The smell of blood filled her nose when her eyes met the President.