The Tempest Given
Chapter Seven

The pain began to set in around noon the next day. Up until then, Katniss had stayed in the bed, crying and moaning. But now, her sobs became tortured as the skin on her side started beating and pulsating until she went crazy. It soon became excruciating, feeling like sharp knives were cutting straight into her body. Trembling, she stroked her abdomen until her breathing slowly came back to normal.

The doctors said nothing about her baby.

Used to, when she had kept her up all night from her bumping around, she wished that the baby would be calm in her womb and rarely move at all. Now, Katniss wanted with all her heart for her to punch and prod and kick. Another round of painful yearning for Peeta's presence shot through her heart, and she felt rotten. She wanted Peeta to hold her tight; his strong, firm hands holding her steady. She wanted him to tell her that everything was okay.

Quivering, Katniss bit her lip until she could taste the blood.

She hadn't realized that she was asleep until the hot sun shone forth from the windows above and made her cringe. Doctors and nurses bustled about the cramped room, administering medicine and bandages and other things she didn't want. Her chest felt heavy, bearing the intention of closing in and trapping her, slowly squeezing out the air.

A nurse stopped by her bed, and Katniss complained loudly for morphling.

"Oh, no. We aren't using any of our morphling supplies due to the fact a lot of them washed away in the wave. But you don't need it, do you?" she asked dismissively.

As if she didn't care anymore, Katniss continued groaning.

Peeta was dead, and she couldn't do anything. She couldn't leave the wretched hospital, because even if it was disgusting, it was shelter. The nurse, who had left her bed, was over at the one beside her. This patient, an older man, was listening to her babbling with interest, nodding and giving the occasional, 'Is that so?' Found with nothing else to do, Katniss decided to listen.

"You know," the nurse said, urged on by the man's attentiveness. "The Capitol just got word of the tsunami. They're trying to send in hovercrafts right away to start repairing the damage. But, I think we all know it's going to take years to rebuild this. Don't you? I know. It's quite a shame. All the bodies have been rooted through the rubble-" A wave of nausea shot through Katniss, and it felt like her limbs were drenched in freezing water. "So, if you think you need to sift through them, be my guest."

Now, the man looked disgusted and shooed her away. "Bunch of shit," he muttered, and smothered his face with a pillow to avoid the growing number of flies gathering at the plate of raw fish on his bedside table. Sick fish, Katniss noted. On the days when she and her father journeyed to the pond, she was sometimes able to catch fish like those. Slow, toiled, weary. Exactly the way she felt right then.

The nurse's words of the dead were brought forth painfully in her mind. Peeta's voice bounced back and forth in her mind, and she cringed. Oh, what she wouldn't give for him. A tear pricked at the corner of her eye and she let it fall, too exhausted and depressed to flick it away. Her heart felt like a piece of heavy metal. Now her eyes were laden with tears that felt like tiny lead weights tugging on each eyelash excessively. She didn't want to see those dead bodies. She didn't want to.

Slowly, she got up for the first time from the hospital bed and plucked up a small bag of cheap plastic toiletries dangling from the foot. Obviously emergency supplies. She questioned a doctor nearby about where the restroom was, and he hurriedly she emerged into the hall, she gasped, and almost fainted. She hadn't known- she couldn't have known...

But there they were. Row upon row of bodies. Sheets were drawn up above their faces, but Katniss could see the crowns of their heads. Dead. Dead. Dead. She fought to control her breathing.

"Just the hormones," she whispered. "Just the hormones." Above every body was a photo of the person- obviously in their deceased state. Peeta's name pulsed in the backs of her mind like a large vein, and she felt as if she could scream. The lights above flickered horribly as her legs walked on their own down the forever lengthening corridor. Like a dream, the bodies grew farther and the walls became uncomfortably narrower. Not Peeta. Not Peeta. Not her dandelion in the spring.

At last, the hallway ended, and the flickering lights buzzed to a stop; but the light was still considerably dimmer. A huge window was set over the wall, looking out over the wretched beach and the last rays of the setting sun. An elderly woman had pulled up her wheelchair to look out, as well as several others. A beam of dying light cast its glow onto the very last body, and Katniss' heart plummeted.


She sank to her knees beside the body, dizziness overtaking her body and causing everything in her body to shake uncontrollably. She recognized those golden curls. Those curls she always ran her hands through on cold winter nights by the fire, the cool midsummer nights in the soft grass. She felt incased in a block of ice. This wasn't real. This wasn't real!

"PEETA!" she screeched, ripping off the sheet and throwing her arms over the body. His face- dreadfully disfigured, almost beyond recognition. And… and his eyes, his beautiful eyes. These weren't the eyes she knew. A cold, hard, dull, blue. Oh, how horrible some people were! They didn't even have the dignity to close them. Weeping uncontrollably, Katniss threw herself over the body in grief.

"I can't…" she whispered. "I- just- can't." She didn't even know what she couldn't do. Vaguely, she could feel arms holding her, dragging her away from Peeta- her precious husband and all the happiness that came with him.

If you're questioning, "Is that really Peeta?" then you're thinking right. Thanks for reading. :3. Review for another chapter :)