Any man who tries hard enough can think himself insane. Any other man already is.


I rest my head against the wall. It's nice and cushy. I'm glad. There's not much else to like about this place. It's really boring here. Wake up, sit around, eat, sit around, go to sleep. There aren't any games to play. There aren't many people around, at least not that I can see. All I can see out of is that one little criss-crossy-fenced window. Everything else is just white. The floor's a little dirtier, but not much.

Even if I can't see them, I know other people are here. I hear them sometimes. And I can't be alone here. I don't really know where I am or why I'm here, but I feel like there are a bunch of rooms like this. And they wouldn't have a bunch of people in uniforms walking around if it was just me, right?

I walk in circles for a little while and start humming a tune. Somewhere along the line, I forget what I'm trying to hum and just start making up random notes. I think this version sounds prettier.

A little bit before I'm hungry enough for a meal, the ground starts rumbling. It's over in a second. Some people yell, but it all dies down quickly.

I wonder what that was. Oh, well. I don't know anything about this place. I just know it has me in it.

I go ahead and peer out the window, anyway, but I don't see anything. Just a grey wall a little ways away. That's all I ever see, even when they open the door to give me food. Just wall. Nobody else. No fun.

I wonder where my family is. Any of my friends. They've never come to visit. I don't know how long I've been in here, but it seems like a really long time. Just me. No family, no friends, just food and sleep and humming.

Someone I haven't seen before walks by just outside the window.

"Hey!" I call. She freezes, her curls of black hair bouncing.

"Hello? Miss?" She turns to face me, a stern look on her chubby face.

Encouraged by her attention, I continue, "What's going on?"

"Nothing. You're staying in there," she answers simply. She starts to turn away.

"Wait!" These people don't usually talk with me!

"I told you, nothing's happening, and you are not going to be let out," she repeats.

"But..." I put my face up to the window. "Miss, do you know why I'm in here?"

I never found out. I was perfectly fine, seeing my first batch of tributes since my win on the train. We were just having some harmless fun, and all of a sudden I was out. I showed up here, and no one's ever told me anything. Did I do something wrong? Does no one like me anymore? This is an asylum or something, right? And that's why the walls are so cushy? Do they think I'm insane? I'm not insane! Are they... Are they trying to make me think I'm insane?

"Because we're not gon' let you around people," the guard lady says.

My face falls. "But... It's so lonely in here..."

"Sorry," she replies unapologetically. "It's just too dangerous to let you out there."

"Dangerous?" I exclaim. "I'm not dangerous!"

She snorts. "No Victor can say that."

"But... But... I'm not going to hurt anybody! Please let me out!"

"I'm not allowed." She turns to walk away when the rumbling starts again. It's stronger this time. I almost fall over. The lady outside stumbles. The shouting starts up again, but the shaking hasn't stopped.

Suddenly, my door swings open.

Alarm bells clang loudly as I wander disbelievingly to the doorway.

It's open. It's really open! I can get out! I can go find my family, and my friends, and...!

With a joyful laugh, I hurry outside of my room.

From here, I can see more than a wall. There are a couple more doors, but the building isn't very big. A few other people not in uniforms are around, but a lot of them are on the ground, from all the shaking, I guess.

The lady that talked to me is still standing, and she's only just now noticing I'm outside of my room.

"Go back in! Go back in!" she gasps, backing away from me.

"Nuh-uh. I'm going home," I breathe, taking a few more steps onto the concrete. The shaking finally stopped, but there are still a bunch of people yelling.

I look back at the lady, who's starting to run somewhere.

Is the exit that way? I want to go to the exit!

I hurry after the lady, noticing her uniform. I've never seen them up close. They're nice and trim and a pretty shade of blue. She has a belt with a gun and something I don't recognise on the other side. Her shoes are nice, too. They make a pretty clip-clop on the floor. My shoes don't.

So... I'm really getting out of here? I'm really going to go back to my family and my home, after all this time? It's so unbelievable! I get to be back! I get to be myself again! I get to have fun!

As we round a corner, I see daylight. Real daylight!

I glance back at the lady.

"Thanks for helping me out of here!" I call, out of breath. She doesn't seem to hear me, she's so scared of something.

I'm getting out! I'm really getting out! I'm right by the door. I don't have to worry about anything! I just have to get out, and then I get to have fun again!

...But do I really need to wait to have fun? I haven't done anything but sit and pace and hum for so long. I'm already free. Let's do something fun right now!

I pick up the pace a little until I'm even with the lady. I lunge and take her gun, and before she knows what's happening, I fire a bullet through her neck.

And—just like with those other tributes, just like with the district escort—I trot away laughing with glee as she falls to the ground and bleeds out.