I woke earlier than probably anyone else in District 5. The air was cold as I slipped silently outside the front door, but I did not care. The stars and moon still glittered up above me in the sky as I left my house and walked out behind all the other ones.
Every year, on this day, I'd come out here and climb up to the tallest tree. Here, hidden amongst all the other ones, I was at peace. It calmed the way my hands kept shaking and my heart was beating so abnormally fast. I was scared, yet not for myself. I had Finch to care for.
A noise from beneath me at the bottom of the tree alerted my senses and I tensed, readying myself incase there was any threat I would have to deal with.
"Ember... Is that you?" A voice I knew all too well called up.
Relaxing instantly I called back down to her and watched as Finch climbed up a little unsteadily towards me.
I reached down my hand and helped pull her up. It wasn't that hard given her weight these days.
My sister settled down next to me on the high branch and sat close to me for warmth and we fell into silence, lost in our thoughts.
"I'm glad it's me and not you..." Finch murmured suddenly, obviously thinking about the same thing I had for the past two weeks.
"Don't be. I'd do anything to be in your place, Fin. It should be me. I wish so bad it was," I rested my hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes seriously, wanting to be calm for her sake.
Inside I still felt like crying knowing that in a few months she would not be with me anymore. I wanted to help her like as kids I'd always done. Even after reading every single book we had on plants and seeking out the ingredients in the little forest we had, I found nothing to cure her sickness. Finch and me needed each other to survive. We were as close as sisters to get, her being my mirror image. Losing her would be losing everything.
I closed my eyes tightly to stop the tears from coming and when I opened them again I saw Finch's own staring with sadness into mine.
"You've always been stronger, smarter and so much more talented than me... I've always looked up to you. You were the one meant to live, Em. You have to stay," she whispered taking my hand as I stared out over district 5, lingering on the fence that separated us from freedom.
"No I'm not... Not without you. I'm nothing without you. This isn't supposed to end like this. You can't leave me," I met her eyes again and hugged her back as she pulled me into a tight embrace.
My tears were absorbed into the fabric of her worn cotton shirt and she stroked my hair and whispered in my ear, "There's nothing you can do."
"I'm so sorry..." I whispered, shaking in her arms, as was she in mine.
"Ember, if anything happens to one of us today, I love you," she broke the silence, her words soft.
"Love you too. Besides, I would never let anything happen to you, you mean to much to me," we smiled weakly at each other and spent a few more minutes under the stars before climbing back down the tree to the ground.
A call of a bird rang out into the forest and was answered by another, signaling the hours of darkness slowly retreating. The stars were disappearing and we treasured what could be our last moments in the district we called home then began to leave.
The green grass was soft under our feet as we walked close to each other back to the house; making the most of the few hours of sleep that remained until the moment I had nightmares about.