I crouch under the foliage, watching the deer. It can sense me, but it can't see me. It's a big one. I pray silently that I hit it; it's been a little over a week since Peeta came back from the Capitol. I've been out every day trying to hunt. This is the third time I've made it all the way out to the middle of the woods (the best place to hunt), but I haven't gotten this close to shooting anything yet.
I take a deep breath and draw my bow. The slight movement alerts it, but he still can't see me. I wait to see his muscles relax, then aim and fire. The deer collapses with a small thump.
I stand to examine my work and groan when I see it. I must be out of practice; I hit the deer above the eye and cracked the skull. A killing blow, but I should be able to do better.
The sun is rising and I want to get out of the woods before the mosquitos wake. I try to lift the deer and throw it over my shoulders, but it's a big one and I'm definitely not in top condition. Besides, Gale was the one that normally carried the large game, just out of routine. I stumble a few steps with the deer and set it down. There's no way I'll make it over two miles with the buck. It's got to be over 250 pounds.
I can only think of one solution. I don't like it, but I can't very well leave the buck here to rot. I really don't like the idea though….
I knock on Peeta's door and pray he's up. I realize that it's not even 7 in the morning yet. I knock again, just in case. This time he opens up and stands bleary-eyed in the doorway. Well, he's up now.
"Katniss? What is it? Is something wrong?" He sounds worried, and I'm confused at first. Is something wrong?
"Well, it's 6:30 in the morning and you look like you just came out of a tornado." He reaches forward and pulls a twig out of my hair. I can't help it, I tense at his touch. In response, Peeta jerks his hand back and his eyes glaze over. He leans against the wall in the entry way and gasps like he can't get enough air. I haven't seen him like this since that time in the tunnel trying to get through the Capitol.
"Peeta? Peeta, look at me!" I grab his face in my hands. "Breathe. You're OK. Peeta, stay with me!"
As quick as it started, the hijack episode ended. He smiles at me like it was mildly funny. I could be mistaken, but he might have chuckled. "Always. Now, what do you need?"
I roll my eyes at him. Here in 12, it's okay to laugh it off. In a tunnel with deranged mutts after us, it was different. "Can you… Um… Oh gosh. I can't believe I'm saying this… Ugh! Can you carry a deer back for me? It's probably 300 pounds and I can hardly lift it." I feel stupid saying it, but Peeta just smiles again.
"Can I go get changed first?" I realize that he's wearing a worn pair of pants and a plain t-shirt. His hair is all messy. It's almost cute… Where did that thought come from?