So hello! I finally got around to writing and here is the next chapter. I'm hoping to keep writing because I don't want to leave the story unfinished. So here it is, grammar mistakes and all. Again thank you for reading and reviews are appreciated but not required as always =D


Chapter 14: Winner

Peeta POV:

I've learned.

To say the least I have learned.

I've learned that time is an unrelenting force, slow when you are in pain and too fast when it comes to pleasure.

In a week the number of tributes dropped from 17 to 5. I was horrible.

The New Capitol propaganda continued to remind us that they were merciful but after so many weeks I began to feel like it was some sort of sadistic torture. They had been there for almost a month, a month in hell. That isn't mercy, its torment. In a week the stragglers started to drop, 12 kids, starvation, dehydration, suicide. One boy was so exhausted he allowed himself to drown. It's a miracle that they survived so long, but there seemed to be less poisonous species, the arena wasn't as deadly, it was modified to make sure that these games last, it was made to be a torturous punishment. It is sick.

The last 5 were among the best survivors, if you could call them that. These kids have never experienced hunger or struggle and now they have to kill each other? Almost none of them have been able to kill, something that surprised me a little, I guess I expected them to be more selfish, or at least have more self preservation instincts. I guess that's the problem though, they don't have any instincts.

Lambs to the slaughter.

Katniss POV:

The past week has been brutal, I go to Peeta every night but I still find it hard to deal with. Of the 5 kids remaining I only remember the girl with the pink eyes from the reaping. I'm not sure why I don't remember the other ones; it's usually a hard thing to forget.

I leave to Peeta's house like I usually do but this time feels different, the night feels strange, the air is turbulent.

"Hey" he whispers from the porch as I approach his house.

"I thought I told you to stop sitting outside…its freezing out here."

"I was waiting for you…I didn't want to be in there when it started." He says meekly.

I place my hands to his cheek and feel his skin react to the touch. I feel compelled to look at his eyes. "Come on…let's go inside."

The games had already started, and the first thing we see is a flash of red. One of the boys killed the other. It was a strange sight because none of the contestants had been so aggressive until now.

I felt Peeta's arms wrap around me and at that moment I felt an intense appreciation for his presence. I felt that strange need to press myself closer and closer to him, to never let him go. I settle for squeezing his hands and settling my head near his neck. He holds me tighter and I take in the scent of his neck. For a split moment I forget about what I just saw…but a moment isn't long enough.

The cameras seem to revel in the events; they close in on the boys face, focus on the splashes of blood. Then the dead boy, his face was horribly bruised but it was the blow to side of his skull that killed him. There was an indentation above the mutilated ear. The impact crushed the ear. Every detail was easy to see. But the worst part was that it reminded me of Thresh, and Clove…

Peeta POV

It was shocking to see. The boy stayed there for a few moments staring at the fresh corpse. His eyes blank, his expression cold, but his hands trembled. He dropped the stone he used to kill the other boy and started running forward. I wonder what changed in him.

"Do you want some tea?" I ask Katniss trying to break her focus on the screen.

"No" she says, "just stay here with me." I nod.

The cameras followed the boy without fail, like a vulture, he seemed to have an air of determination, he was willing to kill, he had changed.

Less than a half hour later he finds a tribute girl, no older than sixteen, at first she doesn't react but seen panic kicks in and she starts to run. It was horrible; the camera perspective gave me a sensation as if I was the one hunting her, making me sick to my stomach. Minutes into the chase she trips on a root and falls, slamming her head on the trunk of a tree. Disoriented and unable to get up the girl pulls out a knife. She was one of the few who actually grabbed weapons; still it gave her little advantage. She swung it wildly for a few moments but without mobility it did little to scare the boy away. She broke into tears and dragged the knife across her throat. Her reaction shocked me, the boy winced, but part of me felt he was thankful he wouldn't have to kill her himself.

Katniss' hands gripped tightly to my shirt no doubt leaving marks on my underlying chest. Out of compulsion I press my lips against her forehead and pass my hands through her hair. But when her grip lessens I realize what I'm doing and pull way. "Sorry." She doesn't answer. But after a few moments I feel her head shake.

I'm surprised by how loud the screams are and when I look at the screen I see the boy sitting on top of another one driving a knife wildly into his chest. Tears rushing from his eyes, mixing with the blood, mixing with the tears of the dying boy. He kept lunging his knife into the boy much after the he stopped screaming, but he never stopped crying. His hands never stopped shaking.

Something about his insanity made me pity him, him and not the boy who was brutally murdered.

He sat there silently crying for a few moments, it's strange but in the games they wouldn't have shown something like this, not the aftermath. But now there were only two of them left and I knew that their hell would end tonight, but I also knew a brand new one would start the next morning.

The camera now started to alternate between the boy and the girl that were left, it was strange but I always kept track of her, she was hard to forget with her strange pink eyes. They were close to one another I think but it was hard to tell one part of jungle from the next. So I watched as the cameras shifted and every time she made a turn I feared for her life. I found myself becoming attached to her no doubt because she would soon become a victim of that poor boy who snapped. Soon enough she was approaching the cornucopia and as she exited the forest so did he. She walked around for a few seconds without realizing he has there, he just stared at her silently, like a true predator.

I'm not sure what revealed him but she turned around and saw the boy, covered in blood, puffy eyes and shaking hands. She didn't run though she just looked at him as he began to walk towards her, knife in hand.

The closer he got though the more her body started to shift and soon she began to step back. They kept this up for quite the distance until she started to run, but he was faster. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her down to the ground and as her head hit the ground he took hold of her neck and sat on her, much like he did to the last boy. I knew this was it, the games were over and that boy is the new victim to join our band of misfits.

My body tensed at the thought of him killing the girl but part of me was relieved it would be over. She cried and squirmed and I couldn't help but look away. I awaited the screams but none came. When I looked I saw him, whispering into her ear. He removed his hand from her neck and stood, extending and arm forward to aid the girl. I watched silently and couldn't help but think they would attempt to defy the Capitol just like Katniss and I did. They walked towards the lake side by side but just as they were about to arrive a thundering voice filled the arena, but it wasn't Claudius it was a woman.

"Coin!" I say aloud.

"I'm sorry to inform you that there will be one winner…or none. Unlike your games this is for justice, this is the retribution of Paneem and we will not be denied." Said the thundering voice.

It was disgusting to hear her words. This is not justice or retribution; she's just another power hungry monster willing to kill children to prove a point.

The boy instead laughed and held his knife steadfast he nodded to the girl with the pink eyes and proceed to cut both his wrists. He nodded again at the girl and painfully lowered himself. She approached him and sat down, stroked his hair and nodded nonstop as the blood slowly drained from his body. The cuts were deep.

I felt Katniss' grip once more but I did not look away. The girl stroked his hair a while longer but soon his pale face stopped moving, his fingers lay still and his chest did not heave. He was dead and this girl was the new winner of the hunger games. The new addition to the Victors…lucky her.

I feel Katniss' body and pull her in tight, tonight I won't be sleeping and I won't be letting her go. I hope she doesn't mind.