**hello! Sorry about my absence again. Ive been suffering from writer's block. I know this one is short but the next one is a biggy and it will be up tomorrow, I swear on my honour. So merry christmas from me, here is your present**
it is well past noon by the time the warm fingers of the sun appear in even the outermost caverns of the mountain. I stir but make no move to stand. Wallowing, that's what I'm doing. My father would be ashamed, if he were alive I mean. But he isn't, nor is my brother. From my vantage point there on the dusty floor, the futile rays of sun creeping across the left side of my face and warming my mud caked hair, it seems as though everyone I love ends up dead; or worse. I wish that i could love Snow, but i can't, no human being could love such a creature. He may be popular amoung the citizens of the Capitol but I know that he would see them killed as quickly as he would I, or Kesella, or anyone else for the matter. So it makes sense that I should just lie here until someone finds me and runs me through. But I know that I can't. If I die in here, there will be no hope for those out there.
It's been two days since I left Revere, tangled in his black tribute uniform, incapacitated and in plain sight. I think of him now and then when I am wondering the empty caves, alone and afraid. I haven't caught sight of Kesella since the Cornucopia but I have an idea that he was responsible for Precious's death. I miss him dearly. I am not brave, nor am I tough and I have always relied on those bigger and stronger than i. Victor or not, I can't survive this alone. But then comes that voice in my mind again, unctuous and soothing; maybe I shouldn't survive, maybe I should let them win and let the pain stop. But it is foolish, whether I die or not Kesella won't be allowed to survive. But I have a plan, a plan which might see me obliterated, but a plan which I intend on following through.
Eventually, I find the courage to stand up. I blink rapidly in the light for am I still fairly on the cornucopia side of the arena. I suppose thats why I haven't met many other tributes. They have more sense than me, they try to stay out of sight. I don't. Almost convulsively I stuff my hand into the neck of my boot. Both cannisters are there, cool and rough to the touch. The sensation fills my mind with images of Revere once more and I quickly drop them back into the darkness by my ankle. That's when I hear it again.
Something has distracted my greatly from my task these last few days. Footsteps. Soft but distinctive. Constant footsteps, pattering a metre or so behind me. They stop only in the night, but then I hear scuffles and occasionally breath, heavy breath. For a time I tried to tell myself it was in my head, tried to laugh and say 'the games are getting to me at last'. But by now ive had to face the truth. I am being followed, and very intently at that. I can always feel their presence, whoever they are, as though they were breathing down my neck and it scares me. What plagues me most however is the thought that everyone in the capitol (including Snow) knows exactly who is haunting me, and I don't.
I've only been walking for an hour when it happens. I haven't been paying much attention to where I am going because I am trying so desperately to listen to my pursuer. Consequently I find myself in an area of the arena that I have never strayed upon before. I am standing on a ledge, about a 3ft wide with a clean drop in to a pitch black abyss to my right. There is a wind blowing, swirling and sucking and drowning any other noise. Its voice beckons me closer to the pit. I swallow a scream and make my way slowly along, trying desperately not the look down. The going is painfully slow and the cavern is bitterly cold and full of a strange feeling of foreboding, but I push on, with the idea of escaping the follower. If they were to follow me on to this narrow ledge I would see them clearly and I have a feeling that that is not what they want.
I have to rest in the gathering darkness when i reach the halfway-point. I slide down the wall and wrap my arms around my knees panting with exhaustion and with fear. It is all can do just to keep my head. Without conscious thought my hand slips in to my boot and I hold the little cannisters in my fist, squeezing them until the metal edge bites into my palm. I can ignore it at first, amoung the sounds of the roaring wind it is not that noticeable, but it buzzes in my ears, filling my mind. I look up sharply. Something is coming, rising out of the pit. The sound gets louder, a sort of chirping, the beating of a thousand leathery wings...
"Bats!" I hiss sharply, crawling to the lip of the ledge and squinting down in to the depths.
Sure enough, there they are, a storm of black terrors, claws outstretched, flying towards their quarry: me. For a moment I am mesmerized in sheer terror. Then I come to my senses, pushing myself to my feet and running much faster than I should have on such a small strip of rock, towards the other door. My mind is reeling, I can't distinguish my own breath past the series of hissing, clicking, shrieking and flapping which fills my ears. I let out a scream but it is lost in the wind. I can't breathe. My lungs burn and pure adrenaline fills my veins but I don't stop to rest or risk a glance of my shoulder until at last, much winded I reach the door. There I turn on the threshold to see them, lining the walk way and watching me closely. Bats, but not bats as I ever known them. They are hunched and wretched, standing not on two legs but four, like a dog. Black hair stands straight up across their curved backs and long undulating tails extend behind then curving around the platform's edge like talons for grip. They have no heads to speak of, but 6 beady, intelligent black eyes wink at me from a sort of flat stump where their necks should be. From their scabbed feet protrude cruel steely talons, 2ft in length. Mutts.
We stare at each other for a moment, my two eyes on at least 100 of theirs. I flinch at every little movement but they seem in no hurry to follow me. I can only guess that they are unable to leave their cavern. Or that, Snow has dictated that I shouldn't die just get, he isn't finished. The only joy I can find in this situation is that noone could have followed me across here and now that they know what lies in wait, who would try? Kesella would, for me. I shake that thought out of my mind and reluctantly turn my back on the strange creatures. Then, with a deep breath, i start once more in to the darkness of another unknown passage.