Hazel Fowl, 15

Victor of the 60th Games

"I don't blame you. You did what you had to do. Remember our conversation? Your life is important."


I don't open my eyes. I refuse to open them because when I do, the world that I live in is suddenly going to be real. When I open my eyes, I'm going to be the girl that won the 60th Hunger Games, and I don't know if I want to be that girl.

"This girl has been through so much," the nurses whisper as they think I'm asleep in the room. "I can't believe she had to kill her best friend in the games! How crazy is that?! Everyone in my household was screaming at the television."

"I wanted the other girl to win."

Well, that was rude.

Just open your eyes, Hazel. You can't hide forever.

I hear them scuffle out of the room, and I open up my eyes and see a blonde lady opening her eyes and rolling them upon the nurses making their speedy exit. "I do not know what goes through the minds of these morons as they come in and out of these rooms," she says, kicking back in her seat. "They genuinely must think we're all deaf. It's the only explanation."

I open up my mouth and attempt to speak, but the dryness in my throat prevents me from doing so. The lady's eyebrows scrunch as I cough and then they widen as she runs to the hallway and comes back seconds later with a cup of water I generously drink.

"Who are you?" I manage to choke out after downing the contents in the cup.

"You don't remember me from the party or private sessions?" she asks me, surprised as she sits down next to me on my bed. I wish she'd move. This is to close for comfort. "I'm Eden Grant. I was in charge of putting together the Hunger Games this year through the company my family owns-"

"So you're the reason that I'm lying in a bed remembering the death of all my friends," I say, turning over to the side and face the wall. "Remind me to send you a thank you card. You can leave my room now."

"Hazel," she says, reaching out and touching my shoulder.

"Don't touch me!" I scream. "You ruined my life. You ruined everything! Want to know what I just woke up to right now? Emerson, bleeding out on the floor. Her blood puddle was growing and growing, and as much as I was relieved in that dream and real life that I was getting out, I had to sit there and realize that for me to have that feeling, I had to kill someone. I had to take her life and watch her die."

"Hazel, what I'm doing is trying to stop everything you just described. We have a chance to change everything, but that requires you to work with me."

She gets up and walks to the door, "But if you don't want to talk about it I can leave. I understand, and I'm not going to force you into listening to me."

She dramatically slows down as she moves her hand toward the doorknob, and I roll my eyes as she twists it. "Stop," I tell her. "I don't want to be alone right now. So let's hear it."

She turns sharply on her high heels shoe and makes her way over to the bed and sits down in the chair next to it. "Listen, I have a plan to destroy the very foundation that the Hunger Games itself is built upon. If I have it my way, you'll never have to watch someone go through this again. It'll be over."

I look at this woman and frown as she continues to blabber on. There's no way anything that she's saying will work. The country is built on the blood of children and the Districts for rebelling. She's trying to take away a fundamental principle and way of life to the Capitol. I don't care who she is. This will never work.

"Stop," I say, holding up my hand. "This won't work. It'll never work. We could go back and forth about the logistics of your plan, and at the end of the day, that still wouldn't matter. We would be right back where we were."

"Clones," she burst out. "What if we took the tributes from past games and cloned them. They would come back, and they would be the ones competing in the Hunger Games."

"So, you're psychotic?" I ask her looking at her. "Seriously, do we need to get a fucking medic in here because I think you've lost all sense."

"Hazel, no one would ever have to go through this again. With thirteen hundred tributes to choose from, we could have hunger games for another fifty years, and by that point, will we need to have them? This isn't a permanent solution, but a bandaid on a bigger-"

"I said I'm not interested."

She frowns as she stands up from the chair and gives me a nasty look. "Hazel, what I'm doing is going to change the world, and one day you're going to look back at this conversation, and you're going to resist not taking the chance to join."

"No, I won't you crazy bitch," I tell her rolling my eyes. "Now get out of my hospital room."

She shakes her head as she turns around and walks out of the hospital room. In the quiet of my thoughts, I'm reminded of Emerson, Spike, and Chrysanthemum. I'm reminded of how Djuvicko died trying to get supplies.

I'm reminded that out of twenty-three tributes, I survived a blood match.

And I hate myself for it.

Just a filler chapter. The real stuff happens right after this, but I didn't want to wrap up my subplot without giving a quick little update on Hazel! You'll see her again in this story...and maybe in others…

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