I stop running for the first time and glance over my shoulder. I've left the feast far behind, and Finch seems to have bought me enough time. There were two cannons after I left, so between; Aaralyn, Finch, Storm and Marius, half are dead. I doubt Storm was one of them, as far as the rest go it's anybody's guess. That means either her ally survived or one of the others escaped. I really hope Finch found a way to get out.
There is nothing I can do about that now, I have to make sure Finch's sacrifice wasn't in vain, I have to save Proxy. A terrible thought hits me. Dale's death was in vain, I couldn't save Azeika. She died. No, that's not right, Dale's death inspired me to change, and maybe he inspired others too. And he did save that kid from coming in here. I remember his reaping, how he volunteered for that young boy. Still, the one Dale loved is now dead too. I don't blame Aaralyn; it was the Capitol that sent Azeika here to die.
I set Proxy down gently. I have to save her; she is all I have left. I don't know if I will be able to though, her wound is severe, she is bleeding all over the place. "Proxy?" I try to get her attention, she is drifting in and out of consciousness, I'm afraid if she closes her eyes they might never open again.
"Chace…" she says in cracked voice, "How bad is it?"
"I've seen worse," I answer truthfully.
"Where, on people who died?"
I ignore the comment and grab the knife still in her stomach. "This is going to hurt a lot when I pull it out, are you ready?" She nods. I pull it out and Proxy unleashes a barrage of profanities aimed at no one in particular. I quickly grab the first aid and start to stich her up. At least the knife didn't hit any vital organs…I don't think.
I am not the best at medical stuff, I wish that I still had allies, they would be better than me. No, all my allies are dead. I should have protected them, at least stopped them from going to the feast, I gave in too easily. I can't get swallowed in the past though; I need to focus on saving the only ally I have left, the one who means everything to me.
I've disinfect my hands and the wound, and It's time to stich her up. I open the medical kit and see everything I need. I grab the needle and thread and hesitate for a moment. Proxy is still awake, and the pain must be intense, and will only worsen to sew her up. If I just could find a safe way to put her under…
"Chace, I'm not gonna make it," she mumbles. I can't stand to see her in such pain. This is awful.
"Proxy, I can save you, but it will hurt."
"Oh it hurts alright." I'm scrounging through the medical supplies, please let it be here. "Chace, I have to tell-"
"Eureka!" I shout.
"It means I found it, in Greek or Latin, something like that," I grab the bottle of sleep syrup. "Proxy you need to drink this, trust me you aren't going to want to be awake for what happens next."
"Chace come here," she says with a serious tone.
"What is-" Before I can even finish my sentence she leans in and kisses me. For a minute I loose myself in her embrace. I can taste the blood and tears on her soft lips. It is fitting how bittersweet it all is.
Once it's over neither we are both too nervous to talk for a while. "I'm sorry, I just couldn't die without doing that," she says finally.
"Don't apologize, I've been hoping that would happen," I smile back, "And you aren't going to die. Here," I hold out the sleep syrup.
"Alright," she nervously takes a sip and it isn't long before she is out. As I stich her up my mind is racing. I've kissed plenty of girls back in 2, but nothing ever felt like that, and if I don't act fast I'll lose her forever.
"There," Storm says as she finishes patching up my arm, "Done." I nod letting her know I appreciate it. The two of us have saved each other so many times we have almost become…friends isn't the right word. Partners, I guess. We work well together, her full out attacks with my sneakiness. Us being in the last four did not by accident.
People may have said I had no chance, I was called things like "Wannbe career," but I proved them wrong. I've done everything I needed to do to survive. I've outlasted the strong like Evander and Acely as well as the sneaky and clever like Matt and Allan.
All that training I did back home paid off. I've come so close to fame and fortune. If I can just outlast these last few tributes I will have everything I ever wanted. If Proxy survives Storm will want me to kill her. That shouldn't be a problem. Storm will fight Chace, and they're so evenly matched that whoever wins should be practically dead after the battle. I just have to take finish the last one off. If Proxy dies…well that might be a problem. I don't know if me saving Storm earns me a chance to fight Chace with her.
I was a bit worried that Proxy wouldn't be at her full potential with that cut across her midsection, but it hardly seems to have fazed her. "Just a scratch," I heard her comment earlier. I on the other hand am very injured. My arm is bandaged like that kid from District 12's was before the games. I still have plenty of injuries from the other fights. Oh and of course there is my missing eye. I don't know if the Capitol will be able to give me some kind of synthetic one or not, but that doesn't matter now. Losing my depth perception could have disastrous results.
The doubts begin to creep into my mind once again, just like they did on the day I was reaped. With only one eye can I really hope to win the games? Can I even fight Proxy, the girl from 3 who cares more about causing trouble than winning the game? Of course I can, I've killed many already. I try to think of the number, as I go through them one by one in my head. I killed my district partner at the bloodbath, that's one. That night I killed that kid from 11 in the trees, two. I didn't do too well during the fight with Lex and Ashlyn; in fact I was unconscious for most of it. We didn't see any more action until the feast a few hours ago, where I managed to get Finch in the back. So that's three. I thought it was more than that.
Still I three isn't bad, I wonder how many people in the Capitol are betting on me. Proxy can't be getting many sponsors, not with how outspoken she has been against them. Chace and Proxy on the other hand have been favorites from the start. I have to be getting some of those sponsors.
A tremor more violent than any since the bloodbath shakes the arena.
"You ready to go?" Storm asks.
"Go, what are you talking about?" Marius responds.
"Listen," I begin, "You've had plenty of time to rest alright, we need to get moving."
"Where and why?"
"Down off this plateau, we need to get closer to the others, and I don't know how stable it is up here." I answer.
"Then what, how will we find the others?"
"Hah," I laugh, "How dull are you, it's the same as before, they will bring us together."
"But we just had a feast."
"Obviously," I flip my hair over my shoulder, "But the Gamemakers have plenty of ways to push tributes together, we shouldn't have to wait too long."
"Fine," Marius says grabbing his stuff. One way or another, our partnership will be coming to an end soon. We both know too well there can be only one victor. I wouldn't put it past him to stab me in the back, but I think I know his real plan. He can't hope to defeat either me or Chace and he is hoping we will weaken each other so much he can take one of us out in a weakened state. His plan won't work, even at my weakest I could kill Marius, and the same goes for Chace.
Our glorious battle draws close. Chace and I will finally put it all on the line. One of us will finally triumph over the other. There are no restraints here, no rules. No trainers to step in, there is just; me, Chace, and our weapons. Our lives have been building up to this.
It was odd growing up next to this boy, knowing we were being raised to fight each other to the death. Well, that's not entirely right, we were both raised to win the games, we both could have, but neither would back down. It was our choice to enter together. All of it will culminate soon.
Now that one of us will die, I wonder what exactly Chace has been to me. Many words come to mind. Rival, certainly he is the only one who could ever "Rival" my strength. Friend is another fitting word; in fact Chace might be the best friend I've ever had. I mean sure I was popular at school, but that's just because of my family. Chace and I actually have a real deep connection. He's the closest thing to a brother I've ever had.
It's too bad that he has to die for me to be a victor. All of these pathetic tributes are nothing to me, their lives are meaningless. I have made my district proud taking out these other tribunes. Their lives were worthless, as are Proxy's and Marius'. But Chace life has meaning. I will miss him when he is gone. I wonder will he miss me if it's the other way around.
"We are never safe," Pierce says looking out the window at the arena.
"Are you nervous?" I ask him.
"Yes, I'm not ready to die."
"I don't think I am either," I say back shyly.
"We have to be strong." Our train is slowing down, when I turn to look at pierce he is gone, and instead Leexon is sitting next to me.
"What's out there?" He asks.
"Death," It's Dale who answers. The train stops and the three of us step off directly into the arena.
"What took you so long?" Finch asks. He is leaning against a rock, chewing on the end of a stalk of grass.
"We weren't in a hurry," Dale answers. We set off across the arena, walking at my side is Azeika; I'm not sure when she joined us. I can see the cornucopia from here and tributes are there fighting it out. I see the arena split by the golden horn and the fighting tributes fall in.
The crack in the ground doesn't stop at the cornucopia; it makes its way over to us. "Run!" Azeika yells, and we do. The crack catches up to us quickly and Dale falls in. "NO!" Azeika shouts as Dale falls to his death. Her district partner isn't the only one though, because Lex falls in too. Azeika and Finch don't take very long to disappear either.
The ground has stopped trying to swallow me up, but I'm all alone. Until I see in the distance a figure I can't immediately make out. As he comes closer I realize its Chace. But I'm not myself anymore. I'm Storm. As soon as he gets over to me we start fighting, matching each other blow for blow. Finally I see an opening and I take it. My sword plunges deep into his side.
I'm myself again, and I'm holding Chace, slowly dying in my arms. "I'm sorry," I say crying.
"One of us had to die, its better this way."
"No, no, we can both survive, I know it, I…" my voice trails off.
"Sorry, just not in the cards for me." He slips away from me, gone forever.
"NO! NO!" I shout.
"Proxy!" I hear his voice again; it must be some gamemaker trick. "Proxy, wake up!"
Chace is leaning over me when I open my eyes. "You were having a nightmare," he says calmly.
"I…you died, Storm killed you," I leave out the details.
"It was just a dream, I'm fine, and so are you." He says stroking my hair.
"I know," I say standing up. I can't start to show weakness now. "How long was I asleep," I say stretching. My back never feels quite right after sleeping on the stony ground.
"About a day," Chace answers.
"I slept through the entire night?" I say in shock.
"Yeah, I did give you the sleep syrup." I completely forgot why I was asleep in the first place. My hand runs down to my stomach, and I'm stitched and bandaged up fine, I don't feel any pain at all.
"Did Finch..." I begin, not able to really ask the question.
Chace shakes his head and answers, "Aaralyn didn't make it out either."
I quickly change the subject before I start crying, "Chace, you've been up forever, you have to be exhausted."
"Well I don't mind."
"You should get some sleep, I'll stand guard," I say.
"Fine, I'll-" A tremor interrupts him. "There were a few of those yesterday, nothing to-" An even bigger tremor starts to shake us, and doesn't let up.
"Let's get out of here!" I yell over the shaking. I can see some of the stony formations begin to topple all around us. We start sprinting and behind us I see the ground open up, just like how Chace described the bloodbath. We are sprinting as fast as we possibly can. The crack in the ground is still far off, and we want to keep it that way.
For a while I think that the Gamemakers are trying to take Chace and I out by swallowing us up into the earth, but when I see two silhouettes in the distance I know their real plan. The Gamemakers couldn't just kill Chace, not when his battle with Storm promises to be the best battle in years. The Capitol needs to see it, they need to be entertained. I forget that the Games aren't just to frighten the districts; they are also to appease the Capitol. They love the battles, the deaths.
One way or another they are about to get just what they want.