It really doesn't make sense. If life itself is but a brief candle, how much shorter my Hunger Games should be. How is that not the case? Only a week or so ago was I reaped, yet the time passed since then seems like another brief candle of its own. And only yesterday did I leave her to die, only last night did I see my second ally's face light up the sky, yet it too seems so much longer. I've dwelt on it enough for a lifetime, I suppose, so it seems that drawn-out.

I shouldn't be dwelling on it. I did everything I could, tried to figure out what could possibly be an antidote, stayed a bit in hopes the sponsors would send something, but there was no help. I left, dragging along my first ally with me, before she quite died. Was that horribly cruel of me? My ally certainly thinks so. He almost abandoned me to go check on her, as if there were any hope. There wasn't. I can't be in the wrong for leaving her to suffer that alone, I can't. She very well hated me in any event, so I wouldn't be much comfort. And the Hunger Games is about moving on, moving ahead.

...And I couldn't bear to watch her candle go out...

Though I know I'll have to do that to someone eventually; I'm no fool. If I plan on winning the Games, which I do, I'll have to snuff out a few myself. I've no idea how I'm going to bring myself to that. I can't even watch someone die of causes aside from me; how am I ever...?

I'm just going to stop this right now. I've spent enough time quibbling about her. She's dead, there's no way to change it, and there never was. I'll push it aside and move on. For if it's so simple for life itself to end, why would one little string of thought last so much longer? I have too little time already; I don't need to waste my bit of wick worrying about this.

So I make myself move on. The days stretch, but I bar her from my thoughts. I progress, gaining another ally, subsisting on less and less fuel, hearing the cannons, seeing the faces before they flicker out.

My first ally is snuffed.

I didn't quite see the moment he died. I watched his wick burn lower and lower as the infection embroiled him, but I couldn't bring myself to think of how close it had to be. He and my third ally were asleep; I was thinking of other things. When the cannon fired, I had no idea it was for him. But there is no other conclusion to be had as the hovercraft claw descends and ascends, hurrying the cold, empty shell of wax away.

That lifeless piece of white was the first friend I ever had. But he's gone. Dead...

No. I can't be consumed by this. I mayn't care about him, nor may I care about any others. I have to push my humanness aside, simple as that. It's the only way I can even think about winning. And my friend is dead...

I will not think about this. I will move on. No tears, no mourning.

...Maybe tears.

My candle flickers onwards. Somehow, someway, I come to the final two with my third ally. My second friend. My only friend.

No. Just... J-just another chunk of wax. I've been lucky as a devil thus far, not having snuffed a life yet. It has to end now. It's painfully simple. I'm this boy's friend as much as he is mine, and he has no desire to kill me. Nor do I desire to kill him, but I must. I must, I must.

I can't. The blade is in my hand, but I cannot bring it towards him. I cannot bring myself to put out what little light either of us has left. Nor can he. Too many snuffed at his fingertips already.

I tell him to leave it to chance. He's happy to agree. I plan our game, make our chances even to be doused. We play. I lose.

The water of poison has gone to my core, but I've a flicker left. My friend refuses to believe I'm done for, thinks he can do something to save me, but it's no use. What's done is very well done. I'm going to die now.

Looking back as I cannot look forward, it's simple to see how brief it really is. With every memory, every pain, every joy its own life; yet all combined, hardly a glister. Wonderful oddity it is, our little candle...

Out, out.