The cannon fires, the single boom rings out across the arena for the twenty-third and final time.

I don't watch as the hovercraft lifts her body out of sight, out of mind, the flowers, tinted red with her blood, rippling in the wash.

I stare with a mixture of fascination and horror at her blood on my palms.

Dripping.

I scream. And I don't stop screaming until a Capitol worker jabs my arm and the world spins and all...is...dark...

...

I wake in a room with no windows or doors. My arms, one of which has a drip taped to it, are tied down. A tone sounds and I relax. The white walls are calm...peaceful...

When I wake again I'm no longer attached to the drip. In fact, there's no sign of it at all. Or of any of the injuries I received in the Games.

I have been wiped clean. My body betrays no sign of what has happened.

But it's still in my head.

...

My stylist comforts me, soothing, speaking quietly. She slips me into a dress which looks ridiculous when you consider that days ago I was covered in blood and dirt.

I wear it anyway.

...

I sit through the recap of the Games, all but alone on the stage. I watch the chariot rides, the tributes in their ridiculous costumes. The interviews, garish and ironic, most tributes vowing to win, twenty-three of them now dead.

I watch as the Games begin, as twenty-three children go to their deaths.

I see myself running, and hiding, but then finally forcing myself to kill. To win.

I watch as the girl from seven struggles and goes still. As the boy from four drops like a stone, my knife in his back.

And as the girl from District One bleeds out in front of me, her spear centimetres from her hand.

And I stand alone, the fourteen-year-old victor, tiny and fragile and deadly and terrified…

...

I return home and I find not hatred but indifference. My own district does not hate me for winning, but they take the food and goods that they receive as the victorious district without a word or a thought in my favour.

Life continues, and I am excluded.

...

The victory tour arrives, and once again I feel alone in a fancy dress. I feel the angry stares, especially in 1, 4 and 7. And each night I see their faces and I wake, screaming.

They are dead but not gone.

...

Home again.

I sit alone in my house, where my parents scorn to go, preferring to pretend it does not exist.

I fear sleep, because if my eyes close I know I will once again see the meadow of bloodstained flowers.

But eventually, I succumb to tiredness.

And their faces and their blood fill my dreams…

...

I see my own face in the mirror, white and thin, dark eyes bright with fear.

And I can see the girl's blood on my hands again, but it is not hers, it's mine.

And I collapse, and as my life drains from me I wonder if they realise.

Twenty-four go to the Games. One comes home.

But twenty-four lives are ended.