Hello everyone! Here is Chapter 1 of Rising Up, the sequel to A Moment Can Change Everything. This chapter doesn't have much dialogue but it's necessary so you know what is going on in Katniss' life. I know it's kind of depressing but don't worry, the story will get happier. Also, you will find out how Gale died, just not yet (expect that after Katniss comes home from the Victory Tour). Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games.
'My best friend is dead and it's all my fault. I let him die.' This is the thought that crossed Katniss Everdeen's mind every morning when she woke up and every night before she closed her eyes. She would run through scenarios in her head about what she could have done to change the past. Sometimes, she would fabricate full conversations between her and Gale to convince him that he should be victor. Other times she thought of the nightlock and how she should have grabbed the berries and shoved them in her mouth, even though he had found her. None of this really helped though. What's done is done. No hypothetical would bring him back from the grave.
It had been a month since she arrived at the train station after the Games. The station in District 12 was packed with people as far as the eye could see to catch a glimpse of her, the first victor from their district in 24 years. It was all too much to take. Katniss couldn't understand how everyone was so happy despite the fact that only one tribute made it home. She quickly made my way to the car that would escort Effie, Haymitch, and her to the Victor's Village. Her mother and sister, Prim, had already settled into their new home by the time she was back. Effie gave her a tour of the house while pointing out all the new technological upgrades they had installed. None of this mattered to Katniss. Her home would always be the small cabin in the Seam. She even tried to convince her family to move back to the house but they had already grown accustomed to the luxuries that the new house provided.
Katniss refused to become like them. This was a house built by the Capitol and she wanted no part in it. She confined herself to her room since the first night that she had spent in the house. There had only been one time she had left that room: to attend Gale's burial. She thought back to that day. It was two days after she returned. A part of her didn't want to go, but she knew she'd regret it one day if she didn't. To say that she wasn't on her best behavior in the cemetery was an understatement. She assaulted two men who were commenting on the beautiful craftsmanship of the coffin the Capitol sent his body in (Why would they talk about something like that?), and she went up to some people and questioned what they were doing there (They didn't even know him). When they lowered the coffin into the ground, she tried to jump in the hole with it, not wanting him to be placed in the cold, dark ground. Haymitch managed to grab her as soon as her feet left the ground and pulled her back. When she looked around, people had the most terrified looks on their faces. She could only imagine what they were thinking.
Since then, she tried to keep human interaction to a minimum. She didn't want to feel better and she knew that she didn't deserve to be happy. The worst part was the heartache. She had always heard about how it felt to be brokenhearted, but she wasn't quite sure she believed it was real. Now, she knew it so well, she could write a book about it. She wondered if this was how her mother felt after her father's death. Maybe she had been too hard on her as she laid in bed disconnected from the world, just as she was now. Then a thought crossed Katniss' mind. She had children—children that need taking care of. She only had herself to take care.
Not that she had actually been taking care of herself. She had shut herself away in her room and had only bathed once since returning from the Capitol. Her mother and sister left her alone for the most part, except when they brought her meals. In the beginning, they would just drop off the tray of food and leave her by herself. Yesterday, that had changed. Since they saw that she was not even touching the food, one of them now has to sit in a chair beside her bed until she finishes it all. At breakfast, Prim sat in a chair for 2 hours waiting for her to finish her meal. She didn't finish it because she was hungry or because she cared about how Prim felt. She did it to be left alone.
The opening of the bedroom door interrupted Katniss' thoughts. It was her mother.
"You might want to get washed up. Madge is coming over to visit." Katniss thought about turning down the visit, but she couldn't do that to Madge. There was camaraderie between them that, even in her weakened state, she didn't want to let go of. Katniss slowly climbed out of her too large bed and made her way to the bathroom connected to her room. She undressed and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked horrible. Her hair was greasy and clumped together in a series of knots. The lack of sunlight had paled her once olive skin. She was so thin she could count her ribs. When she could no longer bear to look at the girl staring at her through the mirror, she got in the shower. It was the same one she used in the Capitol, so she knew what settings to push. Today, she pressed 'super scrub' because she probably needed it. It was painful when the brushes scrubbed away the sweat and dead skin, but at the moment she didn't mind. When she stepped out the shower, jets of warm air dried her body and her hair.
She walked into her room and picked out a nightgown to wear. That's all she ever wore now. She noticed that her mother must have changed her bedding while she was getting clean. Her mother had also opened the curtains to let some light in. Katniss went to her side table drawer and took out the Mockingjay pin. Then she climbed back into bed and rested against the pillows that were propped up against the headboard. She clutched the pin between her palms as she waited for Madge to arrive. She was a little nervous. She hadn't had a conversation with someone in so long. What should she even say?
A few minutes later, she heard the doorknob turn and her mother was escorting Madge to the chair next to Katniss' bed. Madge waited until the door was closed before she spoke.
"Hi, Katniss." she said quietly. Madge was probably just as nervous to talk to Katniss as Katniss was to talk to her. She had seen her outbursts at the burial. She probably though Katniss was mental by now.
"Hi." Katniss replied.
"School is starting soon. Are you coming back?" Madge said. Katniss hadn't thought about it. She supposed that since she had won the Games, it wasn't necessary to have to complete school. Katniss shook her head. She couldn't go back there. She couldn't walk down those halls, watching as people stared and whispered about her.
"Oh." Madge replied, a little sadder than before. She felt horrible for doing this. Katniss knew that she was the only person that Madge had at school. They relied on each other so much when it came to group assignments or something as simple as having someone to sit with at lunch.
"I'm sorry…I can't." was all that Katniss could manage to get out. She remembered the pin. "Here is your pin back. Thanks for letting me borrow it." Katniss said as she stretched her open palm towards Madge.
"No Katniss, I gave it to you. You should keep it." Madge said.
"Thank you." Katniss said to be polite. What followed next was silence. Neither girl knew what to say next. When there was no indication of any further conversation, Madge stood up.
"It was really nice seeing you Katniss. I really hope things get better for you." she said. She didn't even wait for Katniss to say bye before she rushed to the door to leave.
'Great, even Madge is scared of me now.' Katniss thought. She briefly got out of bed to close the curtains and curled up under the covers, wishing for her former life.