DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Hunger Games. So, here's an idea I've been dwelling on. It'll be three or four or five chapters, depending on what I can dish out. Yeah. I hope you like it!
~ Gale Hawthorne's point of view ~
The television's flickering, but the picture stays bright. My mother and Rory and Vick are watching with big eyes. I stand against the wall toward the side of our small TV. I watched much of last year's Hunger Games in the Hob, away from the worried eyes of my mother. With the Hob burnt down, I've been watching it at home. I'd rather not. Mandatory viewing, though.
I'm working on a new net, hoping to see if I could sneak to the woods tomorrow, when the screen lights up with sparks. Lightening and bright white light with a terrible crash. I look closer. The camera hurries away from Katniss, who falls with her bow. Her arrow falls back at her, landing limply beside her.
Dropping my net, I hurry to the screen, and I can hear celebratory explosions from the Capitol, trying to cover up the victors' work.
"What's that noise?" asks Vick.
Watching the screen, I say grimly, "That's the finale."
And the screen in front of me turns black.
It's not too surprising, with our electricity in this damn district and the fact that we've just witnessed one of the single most rebellious things that you will ever see on television. However, so does the one light that we have, and suddenly everything grows quiet. Deathly quiet. I straighten and look around.
"What is it, Gale?" Mom asks, watching me as I hurry to the door.
"I don't know," but I do. Slinging my net over my shoulder, I hurry out of the house into the dark and dusty Seam. It's looking even more dilapidated than usual. All I see is a few dogs walking around, panting as they nose around for food scraps. I shake my head. They're not going to find any.
Looking around, the sky is dark. Even darker than usual. I squint when I think I can hear something. A low rumble, like something that's about to explode into something. Because I used to go hunting (not so much anymore, thanks to Thread), I'm used to my ears being alert. Even now, I can tell that the rumbling's getting louder.
There's only one thing that could be. The Capitol.
We've got to get out of here. Fast. I dart into the house, where Vick and Rory are standing, looking confused. Mom stands up, Posy asleep against her shoulder, and asks worriedly, "What is it?"
"Hovercrafts. We need to get out of here. Now," I say, and hurrying to Vick and Rory, I shove them to the door. "MOVE! GET GOING!"
My mom hurries to the door, Vick and Rory looking frightened. Posy wakes up but the rumbling is louder. Hovercrafts are quiet. These can't be hovercrafts. I can hear it even above Posy's crying, and as Mom shushes her, so does everyone else.
We're out the door, and I command, "Get to the meadow. Under the gate."
"But the power-" Rory says.
I quickly cut him off. "Is off. Get out of here. Get to the woods."
I turn and Mom says, "Gale! Where are you going?"
Turning enough just to catch a glance of her tired, dusty face, I say, "People need to know, Mom," and I bolt through the Seam. The evening grows darker and my heart pounds with unknown fear as I go to doors, pounding and yelling for people to get.
At Thom's house, which houses ten people, he opens the door. He's one of my friends and crewmates at the mines. He nods and shouts for me to hurry before he turns and starts to take command of his house.
To Reeba's. To Greasy Sae's, where she immediately starts moving her creaky bones to find her granddaughter, who's not right in the head. I hurry to Bristel's shack, which has her grandmother and her brother. I can hardly think, let alone move now. Running through the Seam. Haven't done that in a while. Haven't had much time outside since my whipping. Pretty sure that my hours would have been doubled if they could because of that. Unfortunately, they already were.
Thinking back to the arena, I wonder what's going to happen to everyone there. Nothing better than us. Those hovercrafts are coming closer. They're going to come with weapons and maybe Peacekeepers, with guns. Maybe I should have invested with taking my knife from under the floorboards of my house.
"Bristel!" I yell, and she emerges, her raggedy hair all around her shoulders.
"What?" she asks.
"The Capitol is coming. You need to get your grandmother and your brother out. To the Meadow. NOW, or I swear you'll be killed." She nods, and I can already feel the breeze that hovercrafts create sweep across the Seam.
"Are you going to warn town?" she asks, looking toward the town part of District 12.
I look to it, and I nod before turning to her. "Tell anyone you can to move, but you need to get to the Meadow. Under the gate, to the woods, now MOVE."
She nods and hurries back into the grey building and I hurry toward the town. Though the town sucks, considering how they live in luxury rather than pure poverty, the humane part of me kicks in. There's the bakery, which I guess to be freaking out because of Peeta Mellark. I frown, though I know he's back in that chaotic arena, and pound to town. That pregnancy bit he pulled makes me want to shoot something.
There's the apothecary, and I wonder if they're going to spare the Justice Building when I realize there's someone else in town. Madge Undersee, the mayor's daughter. We have a rough relationship, mostly consisting of strawberries and hunting. I wonder how she's taking this.
And there's two people that I've sworn to save. For Katniss. For myself. I'm almost at the border, near Victor's Village, which looks eerily calm. There's one light on at the house where Mrs. Everdeen and Prim live. Hope they're ready to leave. Katniss will never forgive me, and I'll never forgive myself if Mrs. Everdeen and Prim dies, especially by my hand.
The door opens before I can even knock, and Prim says, "Gale, what's happening?"
I can see Mrs. Everdeen in the background, and Prim moves to let me into the nicely furbished house. Mrs. Everdeen is drained of color and I say, "There's hovercrafts. They're coming with weapons and probably tons of Peacekeepers. They're coming now, AND WE NEED to get to the woods."
"Of course," she says faintly, and I nod and grab Prim's hand. She looks up at me, wide-eyed, as I hurry past the door, Mrs. Everdeen coming out a moment later. Our footsteps pound against the walk and out onto the road.
"Wait, wait, Buttercup!" Prim says, pulling hard and planting her feet into the walk.
I stop long enough to look to her. She has tears streaming down her face, and she says, "Buttercup's in the house, Gale! We need to save him!"
"Prim," I say urgently. She doesn't understand that you can't just go in after a cat when there's hovercrafts over our districts and our lives and homes are in danger THIS VERY SECOND. "We have to go."
"Gale, Gale, please!" she says, and Mrs. Everdeen hurries and whispers something into her ear before she grabs her hand and hurries down to where there's people from the Seam going to the woods, looking confused as they walk.
"Hurry," I say, and then there's the town. There's going to be hundreds of people at the big screen by the square, looking around blankly. I start running toward it, hoping some of them have the sense to move when the sound of the hovercrafts or whatever the hell the Capitol's flying over us grows louder and there's a bright light followed by an explosion. Fire and sparks and flames cover a building. I stop, and feel frozen once I skid down the pebble road. The first building gone is the Mellark Bakery.
There's no time to go in there now. Another bomb falls, and I watch it hit the apothecary. Those aren't hovercrafts. Those are planes, and before I can move my feet, a house near me explodes, and I instantly crouch with a yell as hot sparks leap at me. I immediately turn and hurry to the woods. There's no chance in going back there without being blown up. This is what the Capitol does. A sign of rebellion means discipline. Though, I hardly call bombing one of its own districts discipline. It's war.
This is the start of a rebellion. This is spark, literally, that fires it all up. And I'm all for it. I've been wanting a rebellion ever since I can remember. Better late than never.
I let out another loud gasp as I instantly take my hand away from my cheek in order not to burn it. I might get a blister. My cheek no doubt is blistered, and the pain surrounding and accumulating on that one piece of flesh hurts like hell. Explosions ring through the air. The Capitol is not holding back. They're angry. Katniss has ruined their Games twice. I highly doubt when (if) she gets out of there she'll get out of this one easily. Oh, Catnip.
At the fence, I see Thom. He's helping his old grandfather, who's covered with dust. He looks to me, same hair but blue eyes, and says, "How's town?"
"There's bombs. It's getting blown up as we speak," I say, and another large explosion makes the ground rumble, and people shudder. I recognize several people from the Seam. Living in such a small area, we get to know each other, and I swear I've traded a few squirrels with some of these people. There's people from the Hob, and they're looking to me.
I hurry to the hole in the fence, and I somehow know that the planes are not far behind. "Come on! We need to get under the fence!" I aggressively push away the fence and dirt, and turning, I demand, "Help me move it! We need to get out of the district!"
A few of my crewmates come to help me. Thom ends up next to me, the sounds of explosions echoing behind us.
"We don't have a lot of time," I say quickly as we start to pull up the fence from the bottom. There's no chance of getting who knows how many crying babies and worried mothers and trying-to-stay-calm fathers out by them going through the hole one by one. We have to dig up the fence.
The fence gets pulled up, and straightening, I wave my hand, shouting, "Come on! Get under! Go to the woods!" Not many people move forward, and I realize something. These people are afraid of the woods. They've been living in the Seam their entire lives, the district, where there's few trees and no deadly dogs or wolves. There's a few in the woods, albeit yes, but it's mostly just hyped up talk to keep people from venturing into the woods.
Maybe it's the fact that it's forbidden. Maybe it's the idea that there's wild animals that will rip you to shreds like in the Hunger Games that's holding people back. It's not an arena out there. How to tell that to people, though.
"Look, you need to get out. There's a few wild wolves, but it's either them or the Capitol's bombs," I shout as Rory, Mom, Vick and Posy go under the fence. Thom starts his family and Bristel hers, and Mrs. Everdeen comes forward, an arm around Prim, whose tears are dampening her mother's dress.
Greasy Sae comes forward, ushering her granddaughter forward, and giving me a waning smile. People from the Hob start to go under too, and people from the mines, and finally people are moving under the fence, gaining speed and running to the woods.
I look around for a minute once there's nobody that I can see in the Meadow. I look to the town, though I can't see it from the Meadow, and I realize that they're not going to spare anyone there. Not the people, the Peacekeepers. Not the mayor. Not the mayor's daughter.
Repositioning my net so that it stays on my shoulder, I pull up the wire and head under it. Thumping against the dirty grass, I can still hear the bombs fill District 12 with explosions and flames. They're taking out the houses. I race to the leaf-covered trees. They're taking out the entire district.
People mill about in the woods. The dark trees are scaring the kids, with owls hooting and the occasional lonely howl of a wolf. Many stay at the edge as they watch the Capitol destroy everything we've ever worked for. There's a large explosion, bigger than the rest. I have a bitter feeling there goes the coal mines.
In a wide, dead log, beaten into the dark forest floor, I kneel and my hands search inside of it. I grasp the two bows, Katniss's and mine, and then two deerskin quivers. Tough and leathery. Her father made them, and we've been using them to carry our arrows. My hand doesn't sting too much. Guess it didn't get as burned as I thought.
Straightening, I distract myself by putting the bows and quivers on my back. I let out a hiss as I feel my shirt scratch against a cut that never fully healed. I hear rustling above the noises and screams and cries of the babies and my mom's beside me.
"Gale?" she says. I look to her, and she adds, "What are we going to do?"
I look away from her and look to the woods. Somewhere. It's there. I know paths and directions pretty well. I'm sure I can get us there.
"We're going to the lake," I say.
"The lake?" she asks. "What lake?"
I gulp. "Katniss's lake."
MADGE. WHY YOU DIE. Anyway, I hope you like the first chapter, and thanks for reading!