I know I haven't updated in ages, but I've been reading your reviews and pleads to upload again. In my absence two people I knew have passed away and I've had a writer's block. Can't say when the next chapter will be uploaded, could be tomorrow, could be next year. But for now, here's a fresh, new part of my story. Thanks for reading & I can't be more excited to see Catching Fire tomorrow!
There we sat. Side by side, not speaking any words. It had been, I don't know, hours since midnight. It was still night, but it couldn't be long before it would become morning.
The moon lit up the beach and the sea. I couldn't believe that somewhere out there was land. Somewhere, across the sea, was a place where there were no force fields surrounding you. There, where they weren't trying to kill you for the entertainment of the rich.
Kara would never see District 1 again. I was the last person from 1 standing. I would never be able to tell her about everything I'd experienced so far during the Games. It was silly of me to think I even had a chance to. I should've told her everything I had to when we were on the hovercraft.
It seemed so long ago. I'd already forgotten what her voice was like, although we had been friends for so long. It gave me extremely cold chills that I was on my own. I didn't want to accept her death, but for the first time I knew this was something I had to do to move on.
I had to do what the Head City desired- break down.
'I said everything I had to say' Mika said. 'and still it's not good enough'
I looked up, surprised he'd spoken.
'I've said nothing to Kara' I said 'Nothing I had to say'
Mika didn't say anything. He looked at the spot where Timothy had died. They had taken him with a hovercraft. He was probably at the Head City now, being dressed and cleaned.
'Well' he said 'You can tell me, I can tell you'
'I know' I mumbled, and put my hand in his 'I guess you're my best friend now'
'Yeah. I guess.' he answered. Before they took Timothy, we'd taken off his glasses and now they were lying between us, as if he was still here. Mika was staring at them.
'I want Kara to be proud of me' I said 'Back in District 1 we had no future, but she wanted to create one for herself. I didn't. Maybe I'll have to start caring for myself.'
'When we were travelling to the Head City, I'd promised Timothy and our four other friends I'd protect them, you know, me being 16 and they 14. I was clearly not capable of protecting them. I don't think I'll ever be able to justify all this if I survive.' Mika said.
'A girl who we always bullied came with us and until he very last minute I've continued to bully her' speaking those words made me actually realize my behavior to Jess. I felt my eyes tear again 'oh my God, what have I done to her!'
I buried my face in my hands and sobbed. Now I finally realized everything I was too late. She died in a horrible way.
Mika said nothing for a while. Eventually he asked if Jess was the girl with the injuries. I nodded.
Suddenly words kept flowing. I didn't care that everyone around the world was watching. It was night, so maybe they weren't. I just had to speak my mind. I couldn't say it to Kara anymore, but I could to Mika.
'My escort was the only person I trusted. But then he harassed me on the last night before going into the arena. I can still feel his touch. I am a bitch most of the times, I'm cruel and superficial, but I'm a coward too, I'm a drug addict and my favorite thing used to be shoplifting' I shivered.
'Jesus, Abbey, your life really sucked.' Mika remarked, and suddenly we were both laughing. We were grieving, crying, in serious pain, but there were laughs, giving us the strength to close this chapter and move on to what was waiting for us in the next round.
'We'll just have to…live through it until we die ourselves, no matter if it's today or in seventy years' he said.
I stood up after sitting for another half an hour. It was slowly becoming day, but the stars hadn't disappeared yet. When I turned around, I saw something remarkable.
'Mika' I whispered 'Look'.
I pointed at the mountain, high above the trees and relatively far away from us. It was a black mass, but on top of it was a little, bright orange spot.
'What is that?' I asked. It couldn't be a lantern, it was bigger 'Is it a fire? Is Alexandria there?'
'She's dead' Mika said, staring at the mountain.
My heart dropped when I remembered and something seemed to fell off me. I was incredibly relieved – such a huge competitor, gone, dead. I would never see her again.
'Are you all right?' he asked.
'Yes. I'm just glad. Something good after all'
'I think I know what it is' he said 'and if it is what I think it is, the Gamemakers are planning something really disastrous.'
'What?' I said, clenching his arm, gazing at the orange.
'That mountain isn't a mountain. It's a volcano. And it's active too. That smoke we saw the other day- it was a signal of approaching eruption. What we see is lava, meant to kill two tributes. Today we'll be leaving the arena, either dead or part of the final twelve.'
'What do we do?' I said. My shivers had gotten worse. I had heard of volcanos, but I'd never seen an eruption. However, the sound if it was frightening.
'We're on the beach, we must be relatively safe. We are as far from the mountain as possible. I think the lava will only reach us if the Gamemakers want it to.' Mika noticed.
'I think the Gamemakers are dying to finish me, only the crowd will finish them then. No, we're safe, but we mustn't take risks.' I said.
'What do you suggest?' he asked, still fixated on the pulsating light.
'Hoping for the best' I said darkly.
When the sun rose the orange magma was less noticeable, but a large black pillar of smoke had formed. I was nervously chewing on a root while the sun's first warmth hit my face. I needed something to distract myself from terrible thoughts of guilt, so the volcano was a good distraction.
'There's fourteen of us' said Mika, while sorting out our stuff. 'They want two'
'Who are left?' I asked. I bring myself to thinking.
'You, me, Fabio, the two remaining girls from 18, Justin from 27, Melissa from 14…I don't know any more names. Some dude from 5. There have to be more.'
'You still know more names than me.' I murmured.
'Justin and Melissa were the ones who managed the climb that rock in the training center.'
'Ah' I said. I didn't really know who he was talking about.
'What will they have in store for us once we leave this arena?' Mika thought out loud.
'Probably something that sucks' I stressed the last word, hoping the Gamemakers would hear it. However, deep in my heart I knew my words were true. These Games weren't fun.
'Well,' he shrugged his shoulders 'with Timothy and Kara gone, there won't be any big losses left.'
I wanted to answer, but suddenly the earth started moving. The beach was moving! It was going up and down! I fell on my knees, paralyzed with amazement and fear. Everything around me was shaking.
'What's going on?' I screamed at Mika, who had fallen too.
'Earthquake' he yelled back, covering his head with his hands. I had heard of earthquakes, but I never knew exactly what it meant. This was terrifying.
Waves were crashing on the beach with such great force I crawled away from the breakers.
'What do we have to do?' I asked Mika, while trying not to break a limb.
'I don't know, we don't have earthquakes in 35!' he screamed. Our stuff was spreading all over the beach, but it was impossible to gather it. I was too astonished by the power of nature – In my wildest dreams I wouldn't be able to imagine something like an earthquake, and here it was.
And as soon as it had come, it died.
It was quiet when the ground stopped shaking. The only noises came from the sea. The animals in the jungle were silent too.
'This doesn't feel right' Mika said. He was trembling and as white as a sheet 'they must be in a hurry to finish this'
'Let's get our things, before something else happens' I answered, and I carefully moved towards the closest of our stuff.
'I don't want to move. I really don't think it's a good idea' he said 'just listen. It's quiet, no cannons, nothing. That earthquake wasn't for nothing'
'Come on' I murmured, and put our first aid kit in a bag.
Nothing happened for a few minutes, but the birds didn't continue their singing. The black pillar of smoke on top of the mountain had gotten thicker and was spreading in the sky. As soon as I had gathered all my stuff, I turned around and looked at the ocean.
'See? There's nothing we had to…' I didn't finish my sentence when I felt the sand move again. Not as much as a few moment ago, but it was a subtle and threatening tremble. I looked up. And what I saw made my knees weak.
A wave. There was a wave. It was approaching us in great speed, towering above the steel gray mass of water. Of course! Tsunami's. Earthquakes.
All I could do was stand there and see it. It was still a few hundred meters away, but it was getting closer and closer. I was vaguely aware of Mika screaming at me.
'My God' I murmured. I turned around when I felt his hand on my shoulder. He looked panicked and pointed at the mountain. It was vomiting huge, ink black clouds and spitting bright red and orange lava.
'It's erupting. We're dead.' He said. His voice was no more than a whisper.
'Drown or burn?' I said breathlessly.
'Neither. Run.' He ordered. I looked at the giant wave one last time, felt my heart beating in my throat, didn't hesitate and ran for my life. The sand wouldn't let us run at full speed, but as soon as we reached the edge of the jungle we took off faster than ever before. We could hear the roaring of the water become louder and it was getting darker every minute because the huge clouds from the volcano were spreading in the sky, covering the sunlight.
'Climb a tree!' I yelled. My instinct told me that was the best way of surviving. At least, a chance of survival.
'Are you crazy? We don't have time! I'm running!' Mika said.
'No, don't! You'll die! Please, climb a tree, the water won't be that high and the lava won't come this far!'
'NO! Please, Abbey, come with me! I don't want to lose you too!' He said. It was raining small pieces of ash from the volcano and it made the green jungle black and suffocating.
'I want to live!' I screamed, and I stopped running.
'What are you doing?' Mika managed to say, but then he began coughing. He didn't stop running and within a few seconds he had disappeared. I couldn't hold back my tears and quickly picked a solid tree to climb in. It was hard because it was hot, windy and raining toxic ash, but I managed to climb as high as six meters. I clutched myself to the wood and waited, paralyzed with fear. Burning or drowning? All I could do was hope for two persons to die soon. The wave must have reached the beach already. Mika was gone and I knew he wouldn't stand a chance on the ground. The ash was burning my clothes and my skin and I felt like passing out, but I reluctantly held on to my consciousness.
Then something fell on my head. It hurt, but when I saw what it was I didn't feel it anymore.
A sponsor capsule. It was a real one. I was amazed and scared at the same time. Why now?
Without any more thoughts I tried opening it, but my hands were hurting because of the burns. When I managed to unlock it, I sighed, swallowing some ash and coughing it up.
There was morphling in the capsule. A huge dose, enough to pass out for hours. My arm was shaking when I took it out. There was literally nothing more I could have wished for than this.
Nothing, nothing more. My heart was fighting for my life, but I knew this would help ease the pain.
'Thank you, Charlotte. You really are the best mentor ever' I murmured. Then I heard a loud roar on my right and saw violently swirling water destroying everything in its way.
In those seconds I used the whole dose. I inserted it quickly and felt an indescribable relief.
Ha, what did it matter. The water could come. The volcano could wipe me away. No big deal.
All I knew for sure was, that if I would ever open my eyes again, I would be part of the final twelve.