Recommended Listening: Oh Sherrie by Steve Perry
Anglynn Redulite, District 2
I cannot move. Well, I'm still shivering hard, but that's not going to get me out of this crevasse. Trying to move my trapped limbs hasn't been that fruitful, either.
But I have to get out of here somehow. I'm soaked in freezing water and surrounded by ice, and that's really not a good thing. I can't take anything off to keep my clothes from holding the water on my skin, and my allies all seem to have run off where they can't hear me, anyway. Some help they are.
And honestly all of this is stupid Cisca's fault. If she knew how to run in a straight line, I wouldn't have tripped over her. And then I wouldn't have been drenched or carried away and jammed into this crack in the ice.
I curse the girl as I try again to at least get my right foot out of the trench. It's still not working well, even though my shivering is starting to die down. With an exasperated sigh, I relax, trying to figure out what I should attempt next. It's not very easy since I'm too tired to focus much.
I lie here confused for a second, ice pressing hard on my shoulder, before I think to look up. Half a metre or so up, at the top of the crevasse, is Flying Mint Bunny, swooping down. Not sure exactly how to respond for a second, I just watch until he lands on the one shoulder free of the ice. He's not quite as warm as I thought he'd be.
"Are you okay?" he says, hopping up to my neck and nudging his muzzle into my jawline.
"Uh-huh," I say absentmindedly before shaking my head. "Well—no? I mean—" it's a struggle to put the words together—"I'm alive, but this isn't the best situation?"
Flying Mint Bunny nods. "I'll help however I can. What do you want me to do?"
"Get me out?"
My friend pauses but eventually tries to unwedge me from the ice. I don't think it's working.
"Here," I say before losing my train of thought. Um...
I just feel Flying Mint Bunny nudge my free shoulder. "Do you want me to try to get the others?"
"Oh!" I yawn, trying to stretch before I remember I can't move for the most part. "Yes—yes, please."
Flying Mint Bunny nods, flapping his wings and starting to shrink from my view. It'll be fine now. He'll go get... the others... who are the others?
"Hurry," I say weakly, feeling far too faint to get out anything else before he flies away.
Nada Ott, District 11
I drift awake, the heat at my side proof White Bear is still there. I'm not sure when I dozed off. I should watch that. It's life-threatening and all out here...
Shuffling out of my sleeping bag—probably why I fell asleep—I take a look round. No one seems to be coming for me at the moment. That's good.
I sit up with a sigh. Nothing to do, and barely a handful to eat. I hope White Bear doesn't mind. He has to be terribly hungry, but he seems more interested in sleeping than eating me. And... actually, I could eat him—I do have a knife—but that doesn't seem right. Especially when he's all I have left for comfort.
So nobody's eating anyone right now. I can handle that. Not happily, but I'll survive. The hunger, at least. I can't say what else is going to happen to me.
Leaning forward, I put my elbows on my knees and look at my surroundings. So much snow it makes my eyes hurt, as well as some icy trees in the distance. They're quite pretty. I doubt they have anything useful, though, so it's not worth the risk.
Some motion by my feet makes me jump before I realise it's just White Bear waking up.
"Good morning," I murmur as he stretches and turns to look at me. "Or whatever time it is. Let's say morning."
I stroke him behind the ears for a bit. He just stares at me, looking curious. For I second I think he doesn't recognise me, but he must. Surely he wouldn't be so comfortable with me petting him if that were the case.
White Bear lets me scrub at the fur behind his ears for a moment more before shaking his head and walking a few steps away. He noses through the snow for a minute before sneezing and backing up towards me.
"What are you doing, silly?" I mumble as he takes a step onto the sleeping bag, his rump hitting the side of my leg. He turns to stare at me for a second then settles down again.
A big lump of snow is stuck on his nose. It makes me want to laugh, although I don't. Instead I just reach forwards to brush it off him. It could only be making him chillier, after all.
Without even touching his nose, I manage to knock some of the clump into the rest of the snow. To get the rest, I lower my arm a bit more and sort of scrape it off him.
As soon as I start to drag my gloved fingers across his nose, he makes a sound—of pain?—and scoots away. He dips his nose in the snow again and, noticing the stuff sticking to him this time, shakes it off. He turns to look at me but doesn't draw nearer just yet.
"I'm sorry," I stammer. "Did that hurt?"
I reach out a hand to pet him, but he keeps staring at me. I suddenly think he's about to bite and take my hand away, but he just watches me warily for a second before deciding my body heat is worth the trouble. He snuggles up next to my leg again, facing away from me.
I guess his nose is really sensitive. I'll make sure I don't try to touch it again, then.
Hm. I'm this worried about hurting a mutt. What on earth am I going to do when I have to hurt a person…?
Amantius Redulite, District 2
We come plodding back to camp all but victorious. The arena's just crap this year. It's too big. And too hard to keep trudging through. I wonder if the sponsors would send us a bulldozer or something.
For some reason I end up looking at the sky, though I'm not honestly expecting heavy machinery to come drifting down. But there's nothing. A bird flying over there—or not? Thought I saw something. Oh, well.
Now to go tell Rica someone got away. Fun stuff.
Italo Veneziano, District 10
Today is a good day. We got enough food Ermine let me eat enough to be full, and we're not doing any moving today, so I just get to lie here and doze.
Well, we actually did some more walking earlier to get the rest of the supplies. I think Ermine was going to have us go right after we set these down, but she had to sort a bunch of stuff first. So we left for it today, but there was just a big hole in the ground. I tried to look inside to see how deep it was, but I almost fell and Ermine had to save me. It was really deep, though. I couldn't see any of the stuff we left in there.
But Ermine wouldn't let me keep looking because she probably thought I'd fall in again, so we came back, and here we are. There's a nice fire going, and Ermine and Riben are talking to each other about something, but I'm not really paying attention.
I wonder if it's suppertime yet. I don't think so. Is it snack time yet? That should be closer. I wonder if Ermine will actually let me have a snack today.
I wake up a little bit to ask her about it, but I've only just interrupted her conversation when a cannon blows. She looks up at the sky until the hovercraft, which is pretty far away, goes to pick up somebody. Then she turns back towards me.
"Now what was so important?" she asks.
"Can I have a snack for snack time?"
"No," she says without thinking about it first. Then she turns back to Riben. "So, what do you mean that was your first reaping? Aren't you thirteen?"
Riben nods. "I was ill the year before. And even before that. I fell ill quite often after China died." He looks down at his knees.
Ermine frowns. "That's terrible, for a kid your age. I wasn't very sickly, but I still didn't spend much time outside the house because we were so poor. It must be even worse to be alone when you feel awful. All the time, too…" She shakes her head, tracing a pattern in the snow. It's a bunch of squares and angles, but it's pretty.
Riben either does nothing or nods really, really lightly. I'm not sure what they do after that because I fall asleep again.