One dummy down.
Another one follows.
And then another.
But my hands didn't stop throwing at the dummy after dummy. It didn't do anything for my feelings. I was still beyond angry and frustrated. I didn't get this frustrated before and everybody thinks that anger is the only emotion I could ever feel. But of course, that's not the case. I am capable of feelings, of emotions.
Everybody was staring and I knew it. I love attention but this one, I didn't intentionally want it right now. I just wanted to be alone in my own little world right now where these dummies were my siblings. But of course, they just couldn't take their eyes off of me. Sure they have seen me throw knives perfectly since day one and they, too, had their own tricks up their sleeves but neither one of them really expects seeing me this angry.
"Whoa, leave me some dummies, Clove."
I turned around and sneered at my best friend, "Go take someone else's dummies."
He shook his head, "No. We always train together."
Yes, we always did train together. Cato and I. We were always close since day one and I still remember our little meeting. Unlike the rest, we actually met at the woods. Yea, it was dangerous and risky and my father would disapprove. I was eleven then and Cato was thirteen. I was so bored training at the house, yea, my father trains me there because he really wants all his kids to be victors like him and Mom. But throwing knife after knife at a dummy bore me and I wanted my knife to stick at something hard. So I went to the woods and the electric fence that separated it from us, it wasn't always turned on, the electric current, so we could always slip in. And I was ecstatic to throw knives at more targets. But I didn't really know that it would stick so hard on the tree and I had a hard time taking it out.
"Crap, crap, crap!" I cursed as I tried to pull the knife off but I was so little and the effort I use was futile.
And suddenly, I heard footsteps. My eyes widened and I left my knife and scrambled to a nearby rock, hoping that the person wouldn't spot my knife and hoping that it wouldn't be a Peacekeeper. I watched as a tall blonde boy, I presumed he was older than me, with a sword in hand lash at the trees. But unlike me, he didn't have trouble taking out his sword off the tree like I did with my knives.
And then the worst thing happened. He spotted my knife. And when he spotted the first one, he saw the three more. A smirk graced his lips, "This will come in handy."
His slimy hands wrapped around the glossy black handle of the first knife and he effortlessly took it out. My eyes narrowed, he was taking my knives! Without thinking, I grip the last two knives in my hands and threw the one in my left perfectly at him. I think he heard it though because he ducked and the knife stuck just two inches above his head on the second tree that had my other knife.
He turned around, his eyes showing fear. I smirk, no one should really show fear because fear will lead you to death as my father said. I walked out of the rock and made my presence known. He smirked when he saw me, the fear in his eyes instantly gone and I knew he was underestimating me.
"You know, stealing is punishable by death," I said.
He snorted, "What are you gonna do? Tell on me? You're in much trouble as I am, being here in the woods."
I knew he was right and I narrowed my eyes, "Give me back my knives."
"Or what?" he taunted.
I smirked, "I'll kill you."
He laughed and I knew he just made the wrong decision. Without warning, I threw the last knife I had at him and he quickly but clumsily dodged it off with his sword. His eyes widened at me, "You throw them?"
"No," I said sarcastically, "I don't."
I walked up to him, grab my knife in his hands and tried to make another effort to take out the one on the second tree. The first one was easy to get but the second one, the one that was supposedly on his head right now, was much more difficult to take out.
"Need some help?"
He laughed but moved over towards me and took the knife out and handed it to me. He took out the rest and handed them all to me. I placed them all in my belt and draped my jacket over them so the Peacekeeper's wouldn't see them and I wouldn't get punish by them or by my father.
"Are you training at the center?" he asked while we both silently made our way back, "I've never seen you before."
"No," I replied curtly, "My father trains me at home but I'll be training there by June."
He nodded, "I'll see you there then and here."
"Trust me, it's better to train here at the woods than back there. At least you can unleash your full power here without nobody knowing exactly what you are capable of."
I looked at him, "But you'll be here too."
"I won't tell," he said quietly.
I didn't say anything after but it was like there was an unspoken agreement between the two of us. From then on, we'd go to the woods after we train at the center. And even at the center, we trained together too and kept to ourselves. And from then on, we had an unspoken to be each other's best friend.
"I want to be alone right now, Cato," I said throwing another knife at the dummy, "Go bother someone else."
He knitted his eyebrows together, "I don't want to train with anybody but you."
I felt my heart melt at his words. Damn Clove, stop being such a girl. He's your best friend! Friend! I gritted my teeth, "Leave me alone."
Cato knew me full well already to as I say. And so throughout the day, we trained alone. I took a peak at him and I knew he was mad. The trainers had to pull him off from a dummy that was already just a heap of feathers now by all his lashing at it. I closed my eyes for a second, I made him mad.
By lunch, I sat alone and Cato did too. I wasn't too angry this time but I was glad he left me alone. Because I knew that once he sees me a bit calm, he'll ask me what was wrong and I'm not in the mood to relieve what had happened before I went to training. And I'm not ready to tell him that he played a tremendous part in it too.
And when training was done, I headed to the woods once I stepped out of the building. I checked the fence if there was electricity and as always, there was none. I put down my bag and took out my set of knives and placed my jacket on knowing that in a little while, it'll be cold. I started doing my training, but I guess the momentum of my frustration came back because I found myself lashing at one three, throwing knife after knife.
"You'll break it if you keep going, Clove."
I stopped at his voice, "Nobody would notice nor care."
"I would," he replied, "Because we would have one tree less to practice on."
"There are millions of trees out here Cato," I replied, throwing another knife.
"So?" he asked, "We should start caring about these trees Clove."
I let out a snort, "When did you become so sentimental Cato?"
"Clove, we need these trees so that our game could live. We need food Clove. For them."
Even when neither Cato nor I were poor, sometimes, we ended up hunting here after our little training session. It was mostly because we were hungry but a year ago, we found this little family with the oldest brother who was just eight, trying to hunt for game but was almost mauled by a bear since he stepped too deep in the woods and he had no ways to defend himself. We helped him which was not really in either of our personalities. And we found out that he had a younger sister in Community Home and since Peacekeepers ran it, their food was actually limited and they'd get hungry. I don't know what happened then but something inside me and Cato clicked and we surprised ourselves by helping the little boy. And from then on, we both made it sure to hunt after our training session and I'd cook it and we'd give it to him without being caught.
I bit my lip, he was right, "Did you see them this morning?"
Cato nodded, "Yea. And Zander reminded me that it'll be Saab's birthday in a few weeks."
"But the Games," I said, hating myself for even mentioning it.
Cato sighed, "I think we'll just give her an early party."
In a weird way, Cato and I somehow became Zander and Saab's parents. Their real parents were killed for trying to get out of here, "When I become a victor, I'll let Zander and Saab live with me."
Cato was really attached to both of them and so was I but, Cato's attachment was much more. He had a little sister who died in an accident. I knew he misses her that was why Zander and Saab were so important to him. We trained wordlessly together and we silently and mutually agreed that it was time to hunt, for the kids, for our kids.
"So why were you so angry earlier?"
I sighed. I knew he was gonna ask, "Nothing."
"You were tearing dummy after dummy apart with your knife, Clove," Cato said shaking his head, "How is that nothing?"
"Just, don't worry about it, Cato."
"How can I not?"
"I said don't worry about it!" I snapped.
Okay, now I was seriously not getting out of this. Cato gripped his sword tighter, "Tell me what happened, Clove."
His tone was serious and I knew I was not getting out of this conversation until I tell him. I sighed, "Trey just bugged me to volunteer at this year's games."
"Then what's so bloody frustrating about it?"
Cato, like my brother Trey, was obsessed with the Games. I glared at him, "Because you're volunteering this year, Cato! Because it's your year this year."
And as if it finally registered to him, he looked down, "Oh."
"And if you're volunteering this year, I have to stay here to feed the kids! Because if you're gone who will they have? Certainly not you."
His jaw tightened, "Is that the only thing bothering you, Clove?"
Where was he getting at with that question, "What are you talking about, Cato?"
He walked towards me, moving closer and our heads were just mere inches away from each other, "There's another reason, Clove. You would've told me that earlier if that's the case."
"T-that's just it, Ca-Cato," I stammered.
"You're stammering," he whispered, "Tell me."
Why did he have to know me so well? Suddenly, I felt anger rise up within me. Who was he anyway? Who was he to have to know everything that goes on in my life. He's just a boy. The boy that I love. I pushed him away, "Why do you even want to know, Cato?"
"Because I'm your best friend!"
"So?" I said, gripping my knife tighter, "That's just it, Cato. You're just my best friend."
I saw a flash of hurt in his eyes but he quickly masked it away. He pushed me on the tree but not harshly though, "Just tell me, Clove!"
I moved my hand, the one with my knife and I skillfully placed it in between us, it's shard edge glinting in the soft sunlight and pointing on Cato's hard chest, "Get off of me."
"Or what?" he said tauntingly, reminding me of the thirteen year old boy I first met, "You're going to kill me? Do it then. I dare you."
I pressed the edge tighter in his chest, pushing it. It quickly went through his shirt and a bit of blood started to come out. I took a deep breath. I couldn't do this. Cato saw my hesitation and smirked, pulling away from me and giving us distance. He stared at me, his blue eyes no longer showing anger but still showing another emotion that I couldn't quite finger what.
"That's it isn't it," he said, his voice cool, "It's because you can't kill me."
My jaw tightened, "I'm not afraid to kill you with my knife, Cato."
"Then why can't you kill me now? With your precious little knife."
I pushed him and shook my head, before seeing a rabbit that was staring at us. Stupid rabbit, now your death has come nearer. I then, without any warning, threw my knife at it and before it could even hop away; my knife was stuck in its head. I then went to it, grabbed it and went to the nearby lake to clean it, leaving Cato.
How could I tell him I love him? And really a girl like me who had nothing better to do with her life than just train to kill people with remorse is capable of actually loving a person. And that person is just bloody and brutal like me.
"You're just a girl, Clove."
I turned and sneered at him, "Start a fire."
He did but still repeated his words, "You are a just a girl."
I glared at him, "I'm a girl who's capable of killing you."
"Then why didn't you?" I didn't respond and minutes later, I could hear the cackle of the fire, "That's it Clove. You're just a girl behind those knives."
"I'm a killing machine behind my knives, Cato."
"Then why didn't you kill me!"
I stuck the rabbit on the make shift grill he made and placed it above the fire. I then threw my knife at him but he dodged it with his sword, "There. I tried. Happy?"
"Why can't you just admit that you like me?"
Because I'm scared I'll lose you, "Don't flatter yourself."
"I'm actually making myself hopeful."
"What the hell?"
"I love you too, Clove," he murmured quietly, "And if we do get in the Games together and it comes to the two of us. I'll kill myself so you'll win. Just promise me you'll let Zander and Saab live with you."
I blinked, "What?"
A smile graced his face and before I knew it, he cupped my face and I felt his lips on mine. I lost grip on my other knife and it fell just a shy away from my foot. I kissed him back, with just as much power and passion he also had. And when he pulled away, his lips left a tingling sensation on mine.
"I love you, Clove. Since day one."
I stared at him and I knew he was sincere, a rare quality for him, "I-I love you too, Cato."
He smiled and kissed my lips lightly, "Look, I promise that if we're thrown in the arena together, I'd do anything to protect you."
"But I can't allow you to kill yourself."
He smiled, "They can't have to victors, Clove."
"We'll change it then."
"Rebel?" he asked and laughed, shaking away the thought, "Look. The Games are far away from us right now. Let's just, let's forget about it."
I nodded but then told him something else, "I was also frustrated because I was scared, Cato."
"Scared of what?"
"Of the possibility of my imminent death. We're trained not to just kill, Cato, we're trained to die," I said softly, "And I'm scared of it. And I'm scared of not being with you."
He cupped my face, "You're not gonna lose me, baby."
And he hugged me and he kissed my forehead and whispered, "Just forget about it right now, okay?"
And I did, I did forget about it. But I was still scared. Of my possible death. Of losing the only boy that I had ever and will ever love. Of the idea that Cato is right. That behind my knives, I was just a girl who was in love.
That behind my knives, I'm just a piece of their Games.
Ehh. I don't like it. It's sappy. Well, the ending and it's not my best works. But at least I tried. And I love, love, Clato. I dunno why because they died and such but I love them and sometimes I think I like them more than I like Peeniss. Shh. :D Review!