After reading Mockingjay, I decided that this needed another epilogue. So here it is. The games have now come full circle.

-x

Obviously, it can't be too simple. Or too complicated, either, because I would prefer my death not to be seen as a deliberate act of rebellion. I can't let anyone else die because of me.

Anything too painful, I also rule out. As a general rule, no pointy objects. Bleeding would give me too long to think about things, and the goal is to stop the incessant memories, beating against the inside of my skull. Cutting myself would hurt, and I've been in pain long enough.

With this in mind, poison seems the way to go, but my consumption is strictly moderated since my last attempt. Like more than half the victors out there, I have been on suicide watch nearly since my victory. What a laughable concept! I had thought that nothing could be worse than being trapped in that arena. The last two years have at least given me something to feel grateful for. As terribly as Carden suffered, I saved him, in the end. I didn't let him win, whether by accident or by design.

Innocent, naïve little Carden. I didn't let them hurt him as much as they have hurt me, hurt my family. Death is a better place for all of them, for all of us, I suppose.

That is why I am going to kill myself.

More than anything in my old like, I miss little Rigel. I don't know how he died, only that, as much as I want to make myself pity whatever sycophant dispatched of him, all I feel is hatred. So much hatred. Like a new ocean, inside of me, in the pit of my stomach, trying to fight it's way out of my body. Like the memories. They all want to leave, all beat relentlessly at my frame, and I'm tired of resisting.

Two years. More like two millennia. That's how long it's been. Thankfully, they'll have Kyler to take over for me when I'm dead. Poor, deluded Kyler, who is too old to remember what winning was like, at least outwardly. He still helps his tributes, or would. I tried to send them poison. Everyone does, their first year.

There was Anitra, who died third, a happy fourteen who was completely unaware of her situation. She had two options: die then, or die later, as I have always had. Instead of picking one, she prayed for a third choice, and unconsciously chose the former, killed during the bloodbath.

I cried for Anitra, but it was worse to watch Sparrow, so confident that he would return to his ailing parents, gutted in his sleep on the third night. He was eighteen, the same age as me, then, and he made jokes of everything, of anything. He could almost, almost make me laugh.

He swore that he would do it in the arena, at least make me crack a smile, jokingly one night. And he certainly put on a show, darting through the slash-pine forest with a hunter's skill, setting the fire that killed two careers, dramatically impersonating other competitors for my, and, assumingly, the Capitol's, amusement. Then he died.

For Sparrow, I didn't cry. I was already drowning, and even an hour of tears couldn't make a difference.

Afterwards, I tried to kill myself for the first time, overdosing deliberately on my pain medication. I don't know who exactly saved me, but I doubt they knew what a disservice they did me.

I only made one more attempt, in the same way, but I was thwarted again, typically, by a Capitol medic making an unplanned visit to my house.

That is why I know that poisoning won't work, automatically ruling out the least painful option for death. And anything else that can be reversed. It severely limits my options, seeing as I have no plans to hurt myself any more.

No shooting, no stabbing, no drowning. What does that leave me with?

I heave a sigh, pushing myself to the edge of the velour recliner, and standing up.

"I'm going hunting," I announce to the security bugs I know are there, and I grab my bow for authenticity's sake.

I imagine that their tiny red lights flicker in recognition, and I walk out the door, taking care not to walk differently than usual, which is difficult because of how excited I am.

Finally, release. I will have my release. And the almost-empty house that I have not called anything resembling a home for the two years I have occupied it will be put to rest, as well.

The streets are coated in a fine, but well-tread dust of snow, and I gleefully stamp it down even further with my boots. I pull my hood up to cover my hair, which is really my only distinguishing feature.

Even the tiny amount of snow has the effect of a muffler. The crunching footsteps around me are dulled, and my own breathing does not echo on the hard shop surfaces, now fuzzy and white.

It's a fitting last day for me. Perfect for a tragedy.

The woods are even quieter, because few people would come out to hunt with snow still falling, covering the quarry's tracks and freezing the prey into their burrows. I look for the spot, the place where I have been planning to die. It's what used to be my favorite spot, because a gnarled tree-stump serves as a bench, overlooking hundreds of burrows.

I never took Rigel, or my family, or anyone from school, here. Though I'm sure they came. With only about five square miles of woods, there are no secrets.

Shielding my nose against the cold, I look for the signs. The two bent twigs that I twined together, marking that which I would surely need to find again. I think briefly about what I am about to do, but I find no objections. It's an idea that came to me, in one of my ruminations on the games. Something that I have seen work before.

I can't find it in my heart to go home, so I walk slowly forwards. Suddenly, I have the insane urge to do something spectacular, something camera worthy, before I die. But I realize quickly that killing myself will be enough to raise a few eyebrows on it's own, and I keep walking towards those bent twigs. Each step seems to take hours.

Painfully, I am aware of how beautiful everything looks, covered as it is with snow. It is a shame that Panem finds itself at the mercy of an entirely different Snow, and no more beautiful for it. You would think our suicide rate would be higher.

In the bark, I see faces I missed before. In a young cedar, Rigel tilts his head quizzically, and in an oak, Hetcher intertwines with Carden. Actassi's lidded stare is captured in a spruce, but at the tree, my tree, I see only rough bark.

I drink in the faces, looking for something familiar and comforting. Time slows down for a few seconds, then speeds up, a rabbit's pace, and I am walking much too fast for my liking. But I can't let myself stop any more.

Before I can let myself die, I close my eyes, and take a steadying breath. Try not to think about everything that has happened to me, pushing me towards this. I hear a song, in Carden's voice, catching only the repeated refrain.

Chop, chop, chop.

I blink, and it disappears. I realize that I am standing, stock still, five feet from my destination. Then, snatches of music, from my father's gruff voice to my mother's tremulous soprano.

None of it will help me. I need to focus. So I hum my own song, the song I taught Rigel the first time he and his class were going into the woods, so he wouldn't be scared. I can't stop myself, and I find the humming evolves into my familiar, reedy voice.

Turn up your head, look at the clouds
A velveteen shroud to the sky
Step lightly, walk softly, your feet brush the ground
The same one we share, you and I

When the sky falls away, when the ground meets the sun
Close your eyes, and forget how you've come

Turn up your head, face to the sun
A mockingjay slowly wings by
No matter, don't worry, just let the day come
The same one we share, you and I

When the sky falls away, when the ground meets that sun
Close your eyes, and just know, we are one

Turn up your head, the light hits your face
A beauty that lets your heart fly
Just smile, just laugh, in this magical place
The same one we share, you and I

When the sky falls away, when the ground meets that sun
Close your eyes, and the wait will be done

No magic happens. My voice is not a beautiful instrument, but knowing that the song is done gives me courage I didn't know I still had.

I open my eyes, and look, for the last time, at the sky. It's a breathtakingly lovely, uniform blue, with swirls of icy clouds floating higher than even a hovercraft could ever reach. Then, I blink, close my eyes, and purposefully trip.

I wait, pausing for a second, not opening my eyes. Why am I not dead? Has my noose trap been sprung, or removed?

Before I can finish thinking, my breathing tips the tiny trigger, and my neck snaps instantly. My trap works perfectly.

For the few milliseconds that I stay alive, I wonder where the cannon is, and why I have not yet heard it. Then, painlessly but quickly, my vision fades to black.

Close your eyes, and the wait will be done.

-x

All's well that ends in a tragedy. :(