I'm wide awake.
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I'm wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong?
My eyes slowly open and a smile ghosts my lips as I awake from a great night sleep. It's been exactly a year since Peeta and I have gotten married, and everything's been going right. Today, I've willed myself to tell him something that I would've never thought of saying—that I want children. That I'm ready to live on with my life—with him.
I've finally let myself fall for him, like he did for me so long ago. I can't see it any other way.
I rub my eyes before turning in our bed, and see a white railing. In confusion, I touch it.
"Wha—" I start to ask myself, but don't know what to say. What's going on? Where am I?
The room is completely silent except for a soft humming noise. I hear a small gasp from someone behind me and I jump. My hand recoils from the pain that shoots into it as I yelp. A small tube connects to my hand, but why? I saw this… tube… thing in patient's arms at 13. But, I'm not a patient…
I jump up in bed as I turn to look beside me, my eyes wide.
"Prim?" I exclaim, grabbing a handful of hair in my other hand. What is going on? Am I going crazy? After all these years, this happens to me when my life is right? "What's going on?" I desperately ask her, and her eyes seem to bug out of her head.
"Katniss!" She yells, jumping from her seat to hug me. I'm too confused to hug her back. Isn't she dead?
"You can't be Prim." I say, pulling back from her. The pained look she gives me is the same look she would give to mom when she was yelled at. The look hurts me to no limit. I don't want to cause her any more pain.
"But, Katniss—" she murmurs. She seems speechless, too.
The door to the room opens and there stands my mom, freezing when she sees that I'm awake. Her dark eyes suddenly brighten up to the extreme as she runs over and tries hugging me as well.
"Get off of me!" I exclaim, pushing her off as well. "Where am I?"
My mom tries explaining to me something about me falling, but it doesn't add up. "Then why's Prim here?" I ask her, looking at my sister. "She died in the Capitol, remember?"
"Katniss," My mom whispers after a moment. "What are you saying? Prim never died, honey. I can assure you of that."
"What?" I yell, louder than before. "But, but—" I stutter, and tears come to my eyes. "Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?"
"Language!" My mother growls. I roll my eyes.
"Since when do you care what I do? I mean, you left me in Twelve all by myself! You moved to another district and just… left me there! How can you deal with yourself?"
Mom's eyebrow rises as she starts to look scared. She clicks a button at the bottom of my bed before I can assault her anymore.
A man in a white, long coat walks in, and once he sees me awake, he smiles. "Katniss!" He exclaims, but doesn't try to hug me. "I'm glad to see you awake."
"What is going on?" I scream, pulling at my hair with more force. The doctor offers soothing words as I try to compose myself.
"Let me explain. You've been in a coma for quite a while, Katniss. About two years. You were hunting and something got you. We could never find out what, though. Do you remember anything from before?"
My head throbs as I try to think harder. "I—I don't understand," I weakly respond, tears falling down my cheeks. "Where's Peeta?"
Mom and Prim exchange looks. Prim answers, "The baker's son? Why would he be here?"
I look at her in awe. "Because we're married! It's our one year anniversary! I really need to see him and if you don't mind—"
"Katniss!" My mom cuts me off, looking more concerned than before. "Katniss, you aren't married. You never hung out with Peeta before—well, before this. Do you remember Gale? Madge?"
I nod quickly. "Gale left to another district for a job when twelve was destroyed."
"What are you talking about? We're in twelve." Prim explains. "It was never destroyed."
"But you're dead!" I say, and then the doctor tries to calm me down again.
"Tell me everything you know." The doctor says, and I tell him about the Hunger Games. The Quarter Quell. But as I keep going, from the day Prim was chosen for the Hunger Games to the rebellion, the doctor looks more and more concerned.
"Why—what's wrong?" I ask. I'm starting to feel crazy. This all happened—why don't they remember it?
"None of that happened, Katniss. You're brain must've created that story while you were in a coma. What we can—"
"No!" I whisper to myself, looking down at my arms. I don't have the scar from Joanna taking the tracker out of me, and I don't have any scars that didn't heal from the rebellion. "How is that possible?"
"Many things can happen while someone is in a coma," the doctor gently reassures me, but I can't focus. "You seemed to have created this… this 'game' in your head, using the people you knew beforehand. What we'll need to do are some tests, but they won't take long. You'll be able to go home soon."
"So, I'm not married?" I murmur, my heart breaking in my chest. I feel like someone's just brainwashed me of everything that I had known. Is this some kind of sick joke that Snow is doing to me because I'm the Mockingjay?
Mom gives me a sympathetic expression as she tries to comfort me. I jerk away from the contact before I understand that she never left me. She was always there, and so was Prim.
The doctor turns to mom with a sad smile. "She'll definitely take some time readjusting to everything, but it'll get better. Just try doing 'real or not real'; it's where she says something she remembers, and you say whether or not it actually happened. It's worked wonders for our patients."
The testing is a very painful process, but I eventually start to understand that they aren't going to hurt me. But every time Prim tries to come near me, I can't help myself. I flinch. She's supposed to be dead…
They take me out of the hospital and it's all so… different. District twelve doesn't look anything like a town in poverty. The newly painted buildings give it a more modern feel and remind me of District Two. Something big rolls toward us, and I run for cover in an alleyway. It takes twenty minutes for Mom and Prim to help me stand up and reassure me that it's not going to hurt me. "It's called a 'car'." Prim explains, allowing me to grip onto her arm as we walk closer to it. "We use it for transportation; it's a lot easier than walking."
I don't trust these 'car' things at all; I survive on my instincts, not these… 'things'.
"So… Gale—he still lives here?" I ask, grabbing onto the fabric that we sit on in the car. Mom nods urgently.
"Yes. He would come in regularly to check on you. He said that he would try talking to you at times, just in case you could hear him. He really missed you."
I flinch. If he missed me so much, he wouldn't have left me. But wait, that was my 'mind' playing games on me. "Gale and I go hunting together—real or not real?"
"Real." She assures, hovering her hand over mine. I don't flinch this time; I've learned that it really hurts them when I do. Instead, I act as though I can't feel it. "You guys have hunted in the past, but to stop overpopulation. There are too many animals in the forest, so you two would help regulate the population with other kids. Anything you would bring back would be eaten by somebody in the district."
"Greasy Sae isn't poor, then?"
Mom looks at me with a wild expression. "She's the book keeper here, so no. She lives in one of the bigger houses here with her granddaughter."
"Is anyone poor here?" I ask hesitantly. Mom shakes her head. We reach a STOP sign, which I don't understand at all. The car halts as the driver coughs into his shoulder.
I swear our home is something I've never seen before. It reminds me of my house in the Victor's Village, except slightly bigger. In fact, every house that we passed was the same size. When the car door opens I jump out, trying to take everything in. This must be some kind of hell. This can't be where I had grown up, and even if they were telling the truth, how could I make up seventeen years of my life in only two?
"Katniss?" A hearty murmur comes from the front door. No. Oh no. This can't be possible.
A small cry comes from the back of my throat. "Dad?" I barely whisper, and he barrels towards me to hug me. I grab his back and tighten my hold on him as I sob frantically in his chest. "Dad, dad…" is all I can spit out. He smells the same way he did so long ago.
Dad doesn't let go of me for a while, but I hold on longer than he does. "You're supposed to be dead…" I sob. "You're supposed to be dead…"
"What?" He asks, and I can feel his body freeze around my arms. He gives a concerning look to mom.
"She can't remember anything from before," She says to him. "The doctor says she created this whole different life in her head and… she thinks that we all left her." She sounds so pained to say this aloud, and it hurts me to hear it, too.
A low "Hum" comes from my Dad as I let go of him, wiping my eyes. We're quiet for a while before my dad says, "Well then, we'll have to show you around the house."
Our house is far homier than the one I lived in by myself. Every room has a different feel to it. My room is a light purple and Prim's is a baby pink. We live right next to the woods, and my bow and arrow are placed at the front door.
"It's a lot to take in for you, I would guess." Dad says, giving me a one-armed hug. "Do you want to go downtown? Maybe something will look familiar to you."
My heart aches a little more. "What am I supposed to believe?" I whisper. "It couldn't have been all unreal. I was raised in District twelve; a poor, coal mining district."
He lets out a long sigh as he thinks of what to say. "Day by day it'll get better, hun. You were raised in twelve, but we were never poor. No one was."
"You sang to me the Hanging Tree when I was little—real or not real?"
Dad looks at me in surprise before giving me a small smile. "Real," he murmurs. "See? You remember some things. You won't be alone for this, Katniss. You're not alone anymore. We're all going to help you readjust."
I go downtown by myself—on foot, of course. I assure my family that I'll be better by myself so that I can soak everything in without explanations. More likely, I just don't want to believe that they're still here. I'm still going through the shock of everything, but I might as well look around…
Mellark's Bakery flashes before my eyes as I stop in my tracks. The last name makes my heart flutter, my knees weak. How could that all have been my mind? It couldn't have. Maybe if I talk to Peeta everything will go back to the way it was.
I open the door, and a bell on the top of the door jingles. Mr. Mellark, one whom I remember, looks at me with a confused look. "Hello, Katniss." He friendly welcomes, but is still surprised by my appearance. I guess I never came into the bakery. "What are you doing here?"
"I need to see Peeta." I announce. I don't know how to feel; excited or scared. Maybe when Peeta sees me, we'll embrace like we've been doing for so long. But what if he runs away? My heart won't be able to take it. That's when I'll know that in this life, we never fell in love.
Mr. Mellark's eyebrows scrunch together as he calls towards the back of the bakery. "Peeta!" He yells before giving me a small smile and returns to his work.
Peeta walks into the room, dusting off the flour on his hands. He's wearing an apron that I remember from before, and I can't help but run over to him and hug him.
"Peeta!" I murmur, taking in his musky scent. But he doesn't embrace me back. Oh. I pull away from him, looking down at the ground. "S—sorry," I stutter, embarrassed. "I just—I… I—"
"Yes?" He asks me cautiously. His eyes are wide and he doesn't look like he even remembers me. I've scared him already—not the way I expected it to go down.
"Can we talk somewhere… private?" I ask, looking into his blue eyes. My heart shatters a little; they aren't the ones that I've longed to see since I've woken up in this hell. He doesn't look at me in that loving way that he's done for so long. He swallows deeply before answering me.
"S—sure," he says, and leads me to the back door of the bakery. My hands suddenly feel clammy as I feel like a vulnerable teenage girl. What am I doing?
We both stand there for a while before I can muster up what I'm trying to say. I've been in a coma apparently for the last two years. During that time, we fell in love and got married. I was hoping it was the same way here.
"I—" I start out, but nothing seems to happen. My esteem deflates a little more. "I don't know how to say this."
"Say what?" He asks, but he looks scared. "Hey, weren't you in the hospital before?"
I gulp. "Yes," I choke out, and shut my eyes tightly. "Apparently I was in a coma."
"Ouch," he replies, his throat bobbing up and down. "I hope you've been doing okay."
"That's the problem," I say, and I can't stop myself. I have to tell him. This is too much for me to be going through alone. "I don't remember anything from before."
Peeta is about to say something but stops himself. No one knows how to respond to this kind of stuff. This just doesn't happen to people. But for me, anything happens. I already know that.
"But you remember me?" He asks, pointing a finger to himself. I nod hesitantly.
"I created this world where District Twelve was poor, and how the Capitol would make two people from each district go into this thing called the 'Hunger Games'. Only one person would survive. But you and me, we both went in, and we both survived." He looks at me like I'm crazy, but I keep going. I want him to understand, to remember everything that had happened before. I don't want to feel crazy. I tell him everything about the Quarter Quell and then the rebellion. "And then afterwards, we returned to twelve, and well, we—we got—" the word sticks in my throat. "Married." I quietly murmur, and Peeta's eyes go wide. I quickly try to explain to him about it, but I can see him looking for a way to leave where we are. "No, no, no! I just—it—I just know it happened! Please, just—Peeta, please hear me out, I—"
"I really have to go," he quickly says before disappearing. Another sob leaves my chest as I break down again. This is all so wrong. He's supposed to be in love with me like I am with him! Why am I going through this? I don't want to be crazy!
I slowly walk myself back home, where I retreat to my room and curl into a ball. The last thing I wanted to ever lose was Peeta, and now I'd lost him.
"Tomorrow," I assure myself. "Tomorrow, it'll be all back to normal."