A breeze whistles.

I am in a meadow. Green grasses ripple and flowers bend their heads.

I reach down. Touch one. Its petals touch my finger, if only for a moment. Strikingly real.

Suddenly, the breeze has formed words. Reaching up from the fog in the distance.

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I-

"What? Who's there?"

I love you I love-

"Who is saying that?"

No answer. Just unceasing repetition. Words that I thought meant everything. Now, they mean nothing. Tossed in the breeze. Grass tickles my feet as I back away. My fingers reach up to my ears. Make the sound stop. The unending hymn is still sounding.

I love you

"Stop!" A sigh escapes. "Stop, please."

And it is gone.

So I can control this place? Wherever it is? Merely a dream. Edges painted like soft clouds. Whispering meadows and peaceful stillness. But whether it is all good or not, I can't say. If it truly is a "better place," why is there unceasing loneliness?

And then, the scene changes.

A playground. I look around. It is just that. There is no school behind it, no street corner surrounding it. It is an island. Surrounded by soft gray. An old metal slide stands in the center, with climbing bars and a swing set. Suddenly, where there was no one before, it is filled with children.

"Come play with us, Rue!" One shouts.

My feet have a mind of their own. I grab a girl's hand. It is sweaty. She turns up her face to grin at me. An old friend from Primary School. An innocence long gone, but yet here right now. Behind the circle we have formed, the clanking of the swing set and the chorus of children's shouts form the beginning of a song. A song all know.

Why are we still smiling, while the words are so dark? Have we no mind what they mean?

Oh, I know a lad who played a game

With pure eyes as a fa-awn

The fawn was trapped but the little ones

Well, where have they all gone?

Silence. I turn slowly around. The playground is empty. No more shouts, no more girls clapping hands in the little circle. The slide stands desolate. There isn't even a breeze to stir. A dream? A memory? No. Not a memory. I don't like this. I want to run, and yet my feet remain in place.

I almost hear an echo of high pitched laughter. But it cuts off, just as soon as it came.

The swing set is empty. Except for a single swing, going back and forth.

Back and forth. Creaking out a single rythmn.

Well, where have they all gone?

Another shift.

This time, a room. At the table, sits a family. A father with his head buried in his hands. A mother shushing a small girl. An even smaller girl leaning into the chest of her older sister. My family. They are mine. And they are lost. Lost and sad and scared. They need me.

I take a step forward. Home! Steps turn into leaps, leaps into skips and soon I am racing. But as I come so close I can touch my mouther's warm skin…


It is glass. I knock on it. Strong, heavy glass. I am so close. So close! Just inches and yet, and yet miles.

"Noooo!" A howl rips like an animal.

Pounding. Scratching. Letting out eerie cries.

Why can't you see me? I'm right here!

"I'm right here. Look at me! Look at me!"

The glass shatters. Everywhere, they land, A snowfall of shards coats the gray nothing. Nothing.


I freeze and stare at those shards on the ground. That's when I see it. Each of the pieces has part of my family on it. Their faces are still and captured in the moment. My family. I can put them together again! It's like a picture. The pieces can be glued back or even taped. Okay, it won't be quite the same. But it'll be together. All together.

Together. I think that might be the nicest word there is.

I bend down. The ground I'm sitting on isn't really that at all. It's soft, but not really comfortable. Just something not to be noticed. I take a deep breath and lift the first piece.

Instantly, a line of red appears on my palm. Blood. That's my blood. This must be a dream after all. If I were dead, how could I be bleeding? It's a dream. You can't feel pain in dreams. There. That explains why I'm bleeding so hard, but don't feel anything at all.

I try another piece. And then another. But they all just cut into my skin and don't fit together right. The edges are too jagged. The drops of blood obscure the images.

I can't even make out their faces through the veil of red.

"Noooo!" I scream. "I was so close!"

Each piece just adds to the web of deep gashes on my hands. I fling them madly, trying to get them together. Puddles are everywhere. All red.

All red. All red.

Why can't I put them together?

Broken. Shattered. Hear broken. Heart shattered.

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I-

There it is again! Again and again and again. Why can't those useless words just stop? They mean nothing. We all just say them so much. Is that what this means?

I cover my ears. "Go away!"

The scene shifts again.

I'm greeted by the sweetest scent I've ever smelled. But it's not "pleasant sweet." It's kind of sickening. I look around. Roses are everywhere. Even redder than the blood I spilt. They grow along gray, cracked walls, twisting upward. But there's no sun. How do they grow without sun?

I begin to walk. Just seems like the best thing to do. The walls covered in roses are endless, but they have to stop somewhere.

That's when I see him.

He stands at the end of the corridor. He's still wearing his tribute outfit. The upper right of it is smeared in blood. His hands shoved in his pockets, he doesn't look at all surprised to see me here. In this Nowhere place. In fact, he looks like he was expecting me.

My killer.

I'm frozen in a silent scream. Why can't I run? Why won't my feet move? Oh God Oh God Oh God God Oh God

This isn't a dream.

This is a nightmare.

He walks toward me. But his steps are slow though, and slightly gentle. He's in no rush to get to me. And his face is in the most normal expression possible. He's relaxed. Comfortable, even. How could anyone manage to be comfortable in this place? Trust him to be. The monster.

"Don't be scared." He says plainly.

Oh, of course. Don't be scared?! Of all things to say…

"No really." He repeats. "I can't hurt you here."

He gestures vaguely to my shirt, which is covered in blood. "Sorry 'bout that." He says, just as causally as can be.

"You're sorry?!" I finally explode. "You don't even know what that means. You don't know what you did!"

He shrugs, still calm. "That's true. I don't."

That's it? That's all he's going to say? Marvel is just going to stand there, just as easy as can be. Like we're strangers. Like he didn't just murder me. The part of me that was one moment ago filled with fear, now boils over with rage. He is sick.

"Hey, don't look so angry." His face is suddenly a mask of sadness. And for some reason, it makes me feel pretty strange. Well, actually, understandably.

"It's hard enough already." He mumbles.

"What is?" My question floats out. Before I even remember that I. Should, Not. Be. Talking. To. Him.

He moves his hand over a rose, playing absently with the petals. "Oh, you know, death."


But he just keeps staring at that rose. It's like he's been here an infinite amount of time longer than I have, and is just bored with the place. The place. Whatever that might mean. Apparently "The Place" is filled with not-peaceful-at-all meadows, empty playgrounds, broken glass and rose gardens hiding my killer.

"They won." He says flatly.


He nods. "Fire Girl and Lover Boy. The won together."


He shrugs again. "I guess there was a rule change. The audience loved them. Didn't want to part with them. So both were allowed to win. The funny thing is; the rule also applied to Cato and Clove. Not that anyone cared about them."

"Oh." I say. Oh is really all I know what to say. Can't think of anything else.

"They're here too. Glimmer, Cato, Clove, Thresh, Katniss and Peeta. Everyone."

"Wait, what? I thought you said they won."

Yes, he did. They won. So how can they be here?

"Everyone dies, Rue. Everyone."

A breeze picks up, stirring the petals. They surround me in a wave of red.

And then, the scene changes.

Except here, there is nothing. Nothing.


A low, deep voice crawls and twists out of the air. I recognize it vaguely as the Head Gamemaker's voice. Seneca? Yes, that was his name. I try to back away, but there is nowhere to run.

"Forget your somedays, dear."


"What?" My question escapes me in a thin wisp.

A gravelly laugh. Harsh and unfeeling.

"They've been shattered."