Chapter nineteen: The End
It's a two and a half day journey to the Capitol- much longer than when we were shipped out- because they only use the faster hovercrafts for emergencies.
Or, of course, the Games.
As we fly, I occasionally look out the window, staring at the ground whizzing by below us.
I found out that this year's Games took place North of Panem, in some place formerly known as, I believe, "Montana". I watch as the snowy ground forms into trees, and then fields, and the occasional lake.
I drift away from the window, glide down the long hallway, and walk through the door to Antoinette's room.
She's lying on her bed, her knees curled up to her chin, tears streaming down her face. I want to cry, to sit down on the bed and hold her, tell her it's okay, that I'm okay, but I can't.
Damn the Capitol. Damn them to Hell.
We make it to the Capitol, Antoinette's state not changed since I last saw her in her room. She hadn't left her room the entire ride back, and she had barely eaten a thing.
Cameras flash from all different angles, Antoinette and Kris not showing much emotion as they made their way through the crowd.
"Antoinette! Can you tell us how you feel about winning the 84th! Are you happy you lived!" One news reporter pushes his way through the others, and holds his microphone up to Antoinette, and the crowd falls silent, cameras watching her from all angles, waiting for her answer.
"Well," She says, looking the reporter in the eye with an icy stare, "I'm personally upset that I won. Twenty two other tributes died in that Arena. Good people, who could have done something with their lives. And we'll never get to know them. I'm glad that Kristian and I can spend our lives together, but I wish it didn't have to be in this way. Criistal was an amazing friend, and I know she's here today, with us now. She didn't have to do what she did, but I thank God every day I wake up by Kris that she did. I love her for that, and I wish she could have lived through the Games. That's what I think. Now excuse me, I want to go. So move your asses or I'll move them for you." She shoves the reporter, and the others follow suit, making a pathway for them to get through. I merely float through them all, following Antoinette.
We reach the place Antoinette and Kris will be staying, a hotel close to the colleseum, and they go their seperate ways, getting ready for tomorrow.
While they sleep, I travel to my district, soaring over the trees and the roads, traveling faster than any hovercraft or fighter jet.
I land in the square, and walk down through the streets until I reach the outside my house, and walk silently though the door.
Mother and Father are watching the television screen, seeing Antoinette and Kris' arrival to the Capitol.
"Those poor people." Mother says, and she stands, heading to the kitchen.
"How so?" Father asks.
"They have to deal with the tributes' deaths, including Criistal's. They didn't kill her, but it's still hard. She died right in front of them, the brave little thing." She chokes out a sob, and Father wraps his arms around her.
"She did what she had to do." He says, and they stand there for a while.
I walk to the garden, unable to watch anymore.
I find the crate in the backyard containing my body. From what I'd heard in the square, my burial was to be tomorrow.
I open the box, and stare at my lifeless body.
There's not a scratch on me, as I didn't die in a fight. The small scratches I had received have been covered, and my skin looks clean and smooth, much prettier than I have ever seen it. My eyes are closed, and have black eye-liner and eye shadow along the rims and the lids. My arms are folded across my chest, my hair falling around my shoulders and face. I'm wearing a long, black and maroon laced dress that falls past my knees. My red lips are curved slightly, in a never-ending smile.
I look asleep, not dead, in an appearance that would seem normal to anyone who didn't watch me commit suicide.
I close the lid, and walk away.
I don't know where I'm going, and quite personally, I don't care. I walk through the square, seeing people both alive and dead, the dead sometimes following the living, sometimes drinking alcohol on the curb, sometimes just wandering around, a far off look in their eyes.
I see Amy, the small girl that had died a couple Games ago. She was only twelve; no girl had bothered to volunteer to take her place.
I also see Danni, a seventeen year old boy that had died just this year, due to an illness that we didn't know how to cure. He was smiling, walking with Rain, a fifteen year old who had also died in the Games.
I suddenly realize, most of the dead people walking on our streets are young- most being younger than twenty. There are those that have died of sickness when they were older, but a majority of them are small children.
I'm still walking through the square when I see him. He looks the same as it did in the Arena, his green eyes shining with happiness as he stops by the fountain, smiling as he sees me.
"Tres!" I call out, and I sprint towards him, his arms held out for an embrace. I jump on him, and we fall back, into the fountain. We don't get wet, instead a swift coldness surrounds me, and in fact, the part that startles me the most, I can still breathe. We sit up in the water, laughing and smiling and receiving odd looks from the few people that can see us.
"Hey, Criistal. How are you doing?" He asks, and I laugh.
"Oh, just excellent. I'm learning a lot now that I'm dead." I smile, and he laughs.
"I saw that. I was here watching you from behind my parents. That was brave, and incredibly amazing. They deserved it." He put his arm around my waist, and pulled me closer.
"How did it feel, for you?" I ask, "Did it hurt? It didn't for me, but I didn't get hit by a weapon." I look up at him, and he smiles.
"Hey, don't worry about it. It only hurt for a couple of seconds, and then I just….. slipped away." He shrugged, and I sighed in relief.
"Oh, good. I'm glad you didn't suffer." I put my head on his shoulder, watching as Fen and Ty, two victors of the Hunger Games, walk happily by, hand in hand.
"The only time I suffered was when I thought that you were going to die, painfully, or knowing I would never see you again. You made a big impact on me, you know, the month we knew each other." He looks down at me, no longer smiling, but honest, and sad.
"Well I'm here now, aren't I?" I ask, and I kiss him.
Years have passed, Tres and I moving from place to place, visiting Antoinette and Kris, the Capitol, and home.
Each year, more and more tributes come home, ghostly and scared, and we welcome them back.
Each year, we're slowly re-united with our friends, in the worst way possible.
The Capitol slowly grows weaker, and the districts slowly grow stronger, as more and more Capitol members begin to realize the cruelty the Hunger Games have brought to Panem.
Soon, the districts will rise.
And we'll be right there, when Panem will once again be free.