I let out a calmed sigh as I stride into the forest, the place full of reminiscences. Memories of my father, of the Gale I loved, memories of being lost in my own world with only hunting to keep me and my family alive. I'm pleased that these memories remain, even if they do bring back corrupt memories along with them. Yet here I am again, facing the past, the present; the truth, of which I cannot be denied of. After Coin and Snow died, we found ourselves a new democracy, a new way of life. After they died we found peace and forgiveness for the children of the Capitol, it was not at their hands that over 1,500 kids died. Rue died, Prim died, too many died, but at least many pulled through, Anne and Finnick have their own child now, nearly as old as Prim-Rue, almost a scary 5 years old. But my thoughts are interrupted when I hear a feral growl behind me. It appears trouble has found me again.
My pace quickens as I instinctively flee from the danger stalking me, which is viciously snapping at my heels. I turn and launch my first knife; it flies through the air, slicing through the creature's throat. The mutt falls to the floor instantly as the others continue to pursue me; I take my moment of glory and transfer it into pure adrenaline. Sprinting on, I take a sharp turn right and find myself consumed in a mass of all greenery, including trees. Lunging forward, I dig my nails into the bark and concentrate all of my strength on reaching the top of the branches. The largest of the pack scrapes its claws up the tree, leaving deep gashes down the trunk, also breaking a number of its talons. After failing it retreats, the look of loathing in its eyes as it bares its teeth and lets out a guttural scream of primal rage, throwing itself up the trees large body, ripping up the roots firm hold in the ground. A look of triumph crosses the creature's muzzle, as it crawls backwards, hurt from its first attack, yet willing to take another. I jump out of my high branch, and land firmly in the tree next to my former, now damaged tree.
After ten long minutes of launching myself through the forest I find an opening, leaping from my perch I roll and land steadily on the ground, only to run and twist to a stop. As I pull another knife from my pack, my searching hand comes across the sleek body of my bow; I clasp my hand around it and pull it out of my bag, accompanied by a set of arrows. This is no normal bow, this is my mockingjay bow made by an old friend Beetee, "Katniss Everdeen." I whisper, unlocking the powers of my basic looking bow. I carefully select an arrow with an orange coloured tip, an arrow of fire, I could blow the forest up, but I don't dare to waste its deadly beauty. Targeting my arrow directly in the centre of a large oak, I pull my arm back and sharply release the arrow. Fire engulfs the tree and others surrounding it, I dive forward and throw my arms protectively as I feel the flames scorch my back. As I breathe in, my lungs fill with smoke and my eyes stream with water, I stumble forward and land on my ankle. A scream bursting with anguish slowly threatens to fight its way through my lips, but I have to keep moving, if I stay I'll be burned alive. Reluctantly I heave myself forward, away from the lethal flames, every step sending catalysts of agony through my leg. Keep moving. Keep moving.
Don't ask me how I made it, but I did. Someone somewhere has been looking out for me, as of late the odds have proven to be strongly in my favour. Although my eyes are misty and searing from the smoke, in the distance I can just make out the blurred silhouette of my home, the only area of District 12 that remained after our feud with the Capitol and anyone psychotic enough to believe in their view on us mere animals from the Seam. Minutes later I find myself falling towards the door, overwhelmed by fatigue and an excruciating pain within my chest and lungs. I shove hard on the handle, but the door is locked, I howl with all of the energy I can muster and force my hoarse throat can withstand. I launch my body to the door once more and end up rolling through the doorway, taking all of my weight on my shoulder, disorientated I stand up, only to fall into Peeta's sturdy arms.
"Katniss, what on earth happened to you?"
My hands are warming due to the steaming mug of tea locked in my hands, Peeta's wraps his arms around my shoulders, and I instantly relax. Before I can react otherwise, words are pouring out of my mouth like water from a tap, and I'm telling him every little detail of my trip to the woods. Peeta listens earnestly, leaning in closer so as not to miss a single word dripping from my barely audible voice, but my throat is blistered from the flames, my voice is very raspy. There is a silence that appears to stretch out forever, which I break with a long, hard sigh that I immediately regret, as the sting soars through my lungs and throat and I wince, momentarily blinded by pain.
"Katniss, never venture into the woods without me again, is that clear?" Peeta growls to me, while holding my chin, forcing me to look him straight in the eye.
"No Peeta! What if you're not around? What if I take Haymitch or Finnick with me? Is that good enough? This is the first time in years!" My words stumble out, not sounding how I want them too, too rushed and panicked to be taken seriously. I cross my arms like the stubborn child I seem to act like nowadays, my eyebrows crossed in an attempt to look serious, but when Peeta laughs at my expression, I can't help but smirk.
"It's not funny you know, I'm trying to be serious!" I moan, my smile reaching my eyes.
"I know, and you're no good at it love, you never have been with the kids."
Peeta catches my eye, making me laugh, again. After today's long day I really don't think that Peeta has really gotten over his need to protect me. I caress his face, as he gives me his old questioning look, knowing that I'm shaken by today's events. Memories flood through me, of the time we destroyed the capital and lost so much in return, of losing Prim, of the thousands that died during the games over 75 years. Prim, Rue, Thresh, Father, Mags, and so many more loved ones that have died.
Suddenly I am unable to handle this avalanche of nostalgia, I flee from the room, tearing streaming down my face, blurring my sight, and I stumble out the door, letting it slam behind me, not looking back. I close my ears to Peeta's desperate yelling and find myself at Haymitch's door, pounding my fists against the sold oak until the skin on my hands is broken. I hear cursing and heavy footsteps. The door edges open, I sprint straight into the kitchen, one thought overruling all; forget, anything to forget.
"I don't know what you were thinking sweetheart, I really don't." Haymitch's words ring in my ears as he carefully encases my hand in a very expensive bandage.
"I know I was being stupid. Just stop." I say the words, knowing that he won't really listen.
"Sweetheart, you know I can't do that, what about little Cinna and Prim-Rue? Did you think about then when you set off on your little mission to get yourself completely drunk? You're not a little girl anymore; you need to learn to have some self-control!" Haymitch's voice starts to raise, anger breaking through, with a rage that could only be formed over years, Haymitch punches the wall, and the plaster gives way under his fist as it cracks outwards, leaving blood trickling down his knuckles.
"Damn it sweetheart."