You Come Flying

It was bright. Too bright. The air was rusty and acidic.

She was naked, her feet firmly planted on a tessellated slab of asphalt. At times the light would falter and she could see slices of shadows, buildings…people.

"It's only a dream," Pandora heard herself whisper. But it didn't feel like one. This had the horrifying impression of a nightmare turned real.

Anonymous screams stifled the quiet. In desperation she jerked from left to right. All around her was sunlight. The heat wasn't comforting. It scorched.

Cannons boomed. She counted three before she felt the tremors.

"Pandora!"

Pandora spun around, "Adric!?"

It was his voice. She was sure.

"Where are you?!"

"Help us!" Another voice screamed. This one was different.

Her hair flew around her face as she frantically searched through the burning light, "Mom! I can't see you! I can't see any of you!"

"Help!"

"Please!"

"We need you!"

She tried to run but iron vines broke through the crust of asphalt and tied her in place. She scratched at her restraints but they only bit deeper. Blood oozed down her ankles and calves. There was no pain, only terror.

Brief darkness swept over her, a shadow amid the light. A single crow was soaring overhead. Against the white, its black feathers seemed to glow gold.

Caw! It sneered. Caw!

Click-swish-click.

She felt her heart stop. "Whose there!?"

Click-swish-click-click. Click-swish-click.

Her eyes wildly traveled around. It hurt to search when only sunlight surrounded you. Nothing. She couldn't see a thing, all she could do was hear. And then…

"They're carnivores you know."

Pandora whipped around. Her eyes went wide.

President Snow was standing in front of her. He looked real. Too real. With a delicate smile and nod he pointed to the sky.

"The crows. Not many people think of them as meat eaters. They seem harmless, but they aren't."

She breathed deep and peered up. There was more than one now. It felt like they were multiplying, blotting out the light. Their gliding shadows fell over her naked body.

"Pandora! Help us!"

The screams again. Screams she knew.

"Where are you?!" She cried out but the sunlight ate her plea.

"They can't hear you. Not here." Snow slowly whispered.

She looked back at him. His smile was wolfish.

"No one can hear you. Only the crows. They're waiting for you, my little darling."

"No!"

Caw! The crows chanted in unison, Caw!

"There are no stars to guide you here."

Blood was trickling down her legs. She scrambled to free herself but there was no give. Her heart was in her throat. No matter how hard she pulled, scratched, or screamed she was trapped.

The number of shadows grew. Just as she lifted her eyes she felt it. The heat was going out. The sunlight was dying. Carrion crows descended in a flock. They flew around her in a tornado. She thrashed but it only made it worse. Feathers, claws and beaks mauled her naked body. She screamed and screamed.

Caw! Caw!

Her knees smashed into the ground. She felt them ripping her skin away.

Caw! They cried as they flayed her alive. Caw!

"NO!" Pandora Sullivan shrieked in terror, only to hear her voice echo. Her eyes fluttered open with panic. The same black room. The same chains.

They had stretched her body out. Chained her wristed and ankles. Though she couldn't see, she could feel the blood dripping down her forearms and toes. The nightmare had caused her to struggle in her sleep.

It had been three days since they last came with food. One day since the water.

She panted through cracked lips and tried to lift herself up, but the chains had her joined to the ground. Through her clothing she could feel how cold it was. Her face was swollen. Three ribs had been cracked.

"Water!" She gruffly shouted.

Darkness repeated her words before dissolving them into silence. No reply.

She groaned and tried to roll on her side.

"Water!"

Still nothing.

Tears filled her eyes. Her muscles were being pulled. Yesterday medics had come in to clean her up. They never spoke to her, even when she asked them questions. When they tried to sedate Pandora she bit one and tried to strangle the other with her, then, loose chains. As punishment she was being stretched. After the first three hours she had fainted. Now she was awake. Her body still hadn't gotten used to the pain.

It had been five days. How has no one come for me?

She thought of Adric, Finnick, of her family, Seven and the Quarter Quell. Snow had locked her away, but how long could he keep this up before people started to notice? The answer was terrifying and true. Indefinitely. There was always another story he could weave. There would always be another face of the Hunger Games. Another Pandora Sullivan to ruin. To survive she had to get out of these chains, but to get out of these chains Pandora knew she would have to die. Pretending wouldn't help her anymore. Snow had made that clear.

In fury she let out a scream and starting kicked her legs. The chains shook and clanked together. She fought back a cry of pain and rattled them again.

"Alright, alright!" A weasel voice shouted through what could have only been a door.

Pandora froze. She heard footsteps, only a single pair of feet. As they moved closer, her eyes searched for the opening. She didn't know it was there until it unlocked and light blinded her. Her retinas burned. If she had a choice she would have scurried into the shadows like a rat, but the chains didn't let her.

The man was a soldier. She searched for his rank. He had been administering torture, water, and food since she was dragged into this windowless cell. It had been his idea to leave her in total darkness. An officer. He must know Adric.

In his hands was a canteen of water.

"You're going to upset the others if you keep screaming like that."

"Water…." She whispered.

"You're an ugly sight. Yeesh." He placed the canteen near her shoulders. "I was just coming in, to get you into a more comfortable position. How does that sound?"

He reached for her legs restraints first.

"Now, if you kick or claw at me I have strict orders to keep you stretched, even make the links tighter."

Pandora threw back her head and hissed through teeth. She thought the release would have been nicer. It was worse. Her muscles had been pulled in her limbs and when she tried to use them once more, they twitched and tightened in places they shouldn't have. Her ligaments were a mess. She had to drag her body to the wall with the canteen clasped tightly to her chest.

"Drink fast. I'm doing the rounds."

There were other prisoners in here. She knew it. From time to time she could hear them. Sometimes their screams appeared in her nightmares.

In between gulps she spoke, "I want to see Adric Pedersen—" was all she could get out, "Officer Pedersen."

"Always the same with you, isn't it? You know I can't do that."

She felt insane. In fact she was positive that she was going insane. "The Quarter Quell—"

"Still continuing. 16 dead."

"And Finnick Odair?"

The soldier broke a smile and snatched the water away. The way he was grinning made her hands shake. They had been playing this game since her incarceration.

He kept quiet for one purpose. He enjoyed torturing. "Still alive. For now."

She let out a breath and pressed her face against the wall.

"I want to see President Snow. I need to explain—I'm sorry—I just need to explain, I can make this better. I can be better. I want to talk to him!"

"He doesn't have anything to say to you."

"I want to speak to him right now!"

The soldier pointed his finger, "You remember what happened last time you raised your voice like that?" Two days ago she had been strung up, her feet placed over sharp stakes, when they lowered the chains the stakes pierced through her feet slowly. After an hour of they had gone an inch through each foot. "You keep quiet, now."

"I didn't do anything wrong…." She mumbled. "I did everything he asked. I should be dead. I want to be dead."

"Maybe if you're lucky you will be soon enough."

"I want to see my friends." She rambled over and over, shaking as she clung to the wall, "I want to see them."

"You don't have any friends."

Pandora knew this was true. Even in her dazed state. She didn't have any friends. Only Adric. Although Kol was a friend, it wasn't the same. He couldn't help her out of this mess. No one could. She was paying for her own stupidity now. Years of sliding by without punishment had culminated in excruciating horror. Of course there had always been other methods Snow had used, but not like this. Never like this. Pandora imagined him sipping his tea and laughing with Trajan. Laughing at how fast Pandora Sullivan had broken.

When the soldier finally slammed the door shut and left her alone in the darkness she started to cry. The dark was the worst form of torture. It was more painful than the stakes, the beatings, thirst or the stretching. In the dark there was no relief. In the dark her worst thoughts and nightmares always became real.

Pandora tried to think of a happy thought, any thought, but nothing came. She had forgotten how to remember. Five days. Only five days.

She shut her eyes and felt a terrible sense of suspension take hold of her.


Thunder rumbled, loud and baritone.

Pandora clawed at the floor and breathed deep. She could hear a storm happening. The commotion was so loud that it had jolted her into consciousness.

She clamped her mouth shut, waiting for the next growl. Nothing came. Instead there was a screech, then a secondary reverberation that hummed from the floor to her body.

A strange storm, she thought.

Caw! She pressed her hands against her ears and instantly screamed. Caw!

The crows were somewhere in the darkness. She knew it. She could hear them. Their crooning. Their wings fluttering with death.

"No!"

My dream! It wasn't a dream. It had always been real. Or she was dreaming now. Or she was dead. Yes, I may be dead. I'm in hell. I'm in hell and I'm never getting out.

The sound of wings itched her ears. When she tried to stand up she winced and keeled over. The stakes had made it painful to walk at all. All she could do was crawl. Pandora remembered the direction the soldier had entered and started moving towards there. But it was too much navigating for a disoriented person to manage, and it didn't matter. By the time she was well into the middle of the cell another misplaced sound grabbed her attention.

Shouts.

"Something's happening," she clawed at the ground again, trying to ignore the phantom crows in the darkness, "Something—"

A single gunshot rang. Pandora stopped breathing.

Footsteps were marching towards her door. She scrambled back and let out another scream just as the door slid open. In terror she kept her eyes to the ground, her hands cradling either side of her head.

Snow had come to kill her. She was sure. This was it. Or the crows, those maddening crows…they're coming to flay me alive…

"I'm sorry—I'm sorry!" She started to wail.

The shadows were approaching. Just like the crows. They're waiting for you, my little darling.

She shuffled away and gasped for air. Cold hands grabbed her.

"No!"

"Pandora! Stop! It's me!"

She spun around, cupping her hand over her mouth. Adric's electric blonde hair was bright in the darkness.

He took one look at her face and drew back in shock, "Oh my god."

"No…" she shook her head, "You're not real. You're not real. It's just a dream. It's all just a dream."

"What's the matter with her?"

Another shadow came into view. She wiggled but Adric wouldn't let go. As the person knelt to the ground and grabbed her face she squealed. Her vision was hazy. Everything hurt.

"Plutarch, what's wrong?!" Adric urged.

"Sh. No shouting. I told you that in the hall."

Plutarch Heavensbee leaned closer to Pandora.

This was a nightmare. Just another nightmare. She would wake any minute. Just another nightmare.

"They've been dosing her water and food. Her eyes are dilated."

"With what?!"

"With the way she's acting my guess would be a type of dream serum. It confuses the mind. Makes dreams seem real, and reality seem like a dream. The mind doesn't know how to differentiate the two after awhile. The Capitol has been using it as a torturing method since it was developed twenty years ago…she's disoriented. Pandora, can you hear me?"

She closed her eyes and started to cry, "I'm sorry. I didn't do anything!"

"You're scaring her!" Adric yelled.

"We don't have time for this. Pick her up. We need to leave now."

"Just give her a minute. She needs to breathe."

"In under an hour the arena will be ripped open. This plan has been in motion for longer than you can imagine. I risked a lot to get her out of here. We're doing things my way, remember?"

"The arena?" she whispered in confusion. For a minute she thought she heard her mother scream and started crying again, "I need to find my mother. She needs my help!"

"Just the serum," Plutarch whispered. "She can't help her mother. Not anymore."

Pandora cupped her hands over her ears. She could hear them screaming her name.

Adric pushed Plutarch away and grabbed Pandora under the arms, like a child. He held her close to his chest and lifted.

"You're okay, Pan." He whispered into her ear. "I won't let them hurt you."

"I can hear them. They're screaming!"

Plutarch and several other men glanced back in worry. Adric knew she had to be quiet. They couldn't risk being caught. He gently cupped his hand over her mouth and peered down. She was a mess.

"Where's my dad?" Her head lolled back, "I forgot to get him a present."

No, she thought, that's not right. He's dead. I'm not dead. He's dead. Not dead. I'm not dead. This is real. This is real.

They were running through hallway after hallway. To Pandora it felt like everyone was running in circles, but then she felt a breeze and knew that they had made it to the outside.

"Everyone on the hovercraft! If we're lucky we can get into the mix with the others before that tree gets blasted."

There was so much going on around her but all Pandora could do was look up at Adric. His lips were pressed together in concentration. His eyes narrowed. She wanted to reach up and touch his hair but she couldn't find the strength. In her cracked state it looked like it was glowing.

When he set her down she grabbed his shirt.

"Don't let go of me."

"Pandora—"

"I was looking for you, I couldn't find you," she let out a whimper, "How do you find me? How—"

People rushed around. Plutarch was trailing off orders. All this time he had been a rebel. All this time, and Snow had no clue.

Adric gently rubbed Pandora's earlobe and gave her a sad smile, "I'll always find you."

"Adric—there's no more time."

He looked up to Plutarch and nodded in understanding. Pandora could feel him pulling away. She started to shake.

"I understand. Just, give me a minute."

Plutarch nodded.

Pandora furrowed her brow, "What are you doing? No…no…"

"I have to stay."

"NO!"

"It's okay." He was trying not to cry. "Shh, I have unfinished business. There are things that need to be fixed. I need to be the one who does that. It was part of the agreement."

"Don't leave me!" she wailed, "You said you wouldn't leave me!"

The hovercraft growled to a start.

"I'll never leave you, Pan." He gave her a kiss on the cheek, "We will see each other again."

Plutarch appeared once more. "I'm sorry. Times up."

"No…"

"You remember when we first met?"

Pandora struggled to think. She rubbed her lips together and sorted through the mess. There had been so much in between all that, but of course she remembered. It was just before opening ceremonies. Adric had been the one to collect her, to bring her to President Snow for the first time. She remembered how terrified and confused she was at how young he had been, how cold. "Yes, I remember."

"I'm sorry for everything. I should have never let him manipulate you like that. I should have done something. I know that. I should have disobeyed then, but I was a coward."

"Adric, I don't care about any of that—"

"I'm not going to lose you."

She saw the silhouette of a crow flutter around the ceiling and shuffled back, "The crows!"

Adric grabbed her face, "It's not real. They aren't real."

She cried as they flew overhead. They looked real. They were cawing and sneering.

"Adric."

"Just look at me, alright?"

Her eyes focused on his face.

"That's it." He placed his hand on her chest, "You're okay."

"Please—"

"I'm not losing you. Not like I did when you fell into that coma. Never again. You understand?"

"Yes."

"Even if you never see me again, you'll know…" he couldn't say the words, all he could do was nod.

"You don't have to do this. "

"I gave my word, Pan. I gave it to save you. A long time ago I told you that I would prove myself. This is how. There are things—I need to fixed something—I need to do this."

Suddenly she understood. He had never given up on her. He always knew that one way or another she was getting out of the Capitol. He was carrying the burden for both of them. Pandora wanted to tell him that he never needed to prove himself, but her rationality was splintering.

"You'll die!" She suddenly shouted. "Please, don't go…"

He didn't take his eyes off her. "I'm not easy to kill. Trust me."

"No!" She growled. Though her wounds hurt she forced herself to stand. "Don't you walk away from me!"

He inched back. Pandora tried to lunge for him but someone was holding her. It was Plutarch.

"Adric!" She reached her arms out, "I don't want this! You don't get to leave me!"

"You take care of her while I'm gone."

Plutarch nodded, "I will. Good luck, Adric."

For a heartbeat Adric stared at Pandora. His mouth opened and shut several times before he finally spoke. He tried to sound casual but his voice was shaking. This wasn't how he planned on saying goodbye. "See you later, kid."

Then he turned around, and she felt her heart drop. Pandora started to twist and scream.

"Let go of me!" She roared.

He was moving farther and farther away. The door started to shut just as Plutarch let go. Her balance was off but with some unknown driving force she bolted forward. Before she could get out, it locked in place. Her fists hammered against the metal. Tears of fury streamed down her face.

"He's gone, Pandora!" Plutarch tried to reason, "Buckle up!"

Plutarch's words barely left a dent. She growled furiously and started running towards the front of the hovercraft.

"Open the door!"

"Seal the cockpit!" Plutarch quickly commanded.

Her jaw clenched. She was moving but she didn't know how or where. When she finally reached the nearest window she felt them lift off.

"No!" Her hands pressed against the glass. He was still on the rooftop, staring up. Pandora wondered if he could see her just as she was seeing him.

"Miss Sullivan, I suggest you fasten your seatbelt!" Plutarch shouted, "It's going to be a bumpy ride!"

She refused. It took three men to pull her into a seat and strap her down. She clawed and bit at them like a wild animal. When one of the men tried to sedate her, Plutarch stopped him.

"I want her awake," he had explained.

Pandora whole body was trembling. Adric had a chance to get out and he hadn't taken it, all because of her. She didn't want to think about what would happen to him if President Snow found out about the help he had given. Her face was as white as a sheet. Her eyes blankly stared at the metal grating.

"What's happening?" She finally managed.

"Not now," Plutarch whispered. They were making her drink water. Flushing her system of toxins the Capitol had been pumping into her veins in that cell. From time to time she saw the beating of black wings still and started to shake.

"Tell me."

"You're not ready. Not yet."

"I deserve to know!"

"Trust me, Miss Sullivan. When we get to District 13, you'll know."

Her tears fell into her mouth as she lifted her eyes in disbelief, "What?"

"One thing at a time. First we have to get everyone out of here in one piece."

She glared at him, "You should have let them sedate me, Head Gamemaker. You should have left me in that cell…I'm no good. I'm all rotten inside."

"Without you President Snow doesn't have the support that he'll need when the revolution begins. Believe me, Pandora, you don't want to be in the Capitol for what comes next. Adric just did you a favor."

The hovercraft shook.

"Where are we going?"

Plutarch templed his fingers. He let the quiet sink in before looking her right in the eyes. "I thought that was clear. We're going to peel off the top of that arena and save the Mockingjay."

"What?"

"Katniss Everdeen. The symbol of the Mockingjay"

"I don't care about any damn symbol."

"And what about Finnick Odair?"

Pandora expression hardened. "You don't actually think you're going to get them all out of there, do you?!"

"No more time for thinking. It's do or die. Why do you think I refused to let him sedate you, Pandora? I thought you'd want to see the arena crumble. In less than an hour we're going to show President Snow that he can't collect you victors like trophies."

"The revolution…" she whispered. The drugs in her system were starting to wear off.

"Yes. This is the beginning, Miss Sullivan. It starts now. Are you with us?"

She grabbed her seat belt and tried to catch her breath. Her wounds hurt, everything hurt. In the Capitol she had lost her way. They had scrambled her memories, her emotions. She had left it all behind. If that was all true then why did Pandora have this terrible pit in her stomach? Adric's words repeated over and over. His promises, his ardent eyes. Without him she would have been dead. All he asked of her now was to listen and survive. Deep down Pandora knew she couldn't let Adric down, not after all that happened, but gnawing at her was the doubt and pain.

She fixed her eyes on Plutarch, "This isn't my war."

"You never looked for the numbers, did you?"

"What are you talking about?"

Plutarch eased away from her, dropping his eyes. "23. 49. 07."

"What about them?"

His face had turned from anxious to solemn in a matter of seconds. " 23. 49. 07. They are case numbers." He grabbed for a folder nearby. It looked wrinkled, damaged, and out of place. Pandora noticed how carefully he lifted it. Whatever was inside that folder was important. "I risked a great deal getting this—but I just thought—I'm sorry." His broken words whispered as he slid it into her lap.

Her eyes stayed on him in confusion. Her body felt scarily weightless. Her head was swimming. She traced the numbers with her fingertip. 23. 49. 07. She stopped on the 07.

"I didn't want to show you like this, I thought we'd have more time. But when the President locked you up…"

Her lips parted, "District 7. 07." She knew she was right. A terrible sensation was gathering. Her hands hastened to rip open the folder. The first set of pages was a bunch of legal ranting. It didn't make sense to her. She kept leafing and leafing. Papers fell onto the ground. The closer she got to the end the more sick she felt. Words started to shout to her from the pages.

"Exterminated"

"Grounds of treason"

And then, suddenly, the words stopped and there were only pictures.

Her eyes went wide. A broken gasp of shock quaked.

First was her mother. She had been shot in the head. Blood had soiled her apron.

Second, August and Dash. Hanged by the neck. The ground and tree limbs were covered in snow.

Third, little Ophelia. Shot in the chest. Her face had been marred, it was hard to tell if that was her, but she was holding one of her dolls.

Pandora let the pictures dropped from her hands. She didn't scream, she didn't even cry. Her gaze followed the pictures to the ground as they glided down. Piece by piece, falling one by one. Her eyes turned glassy and vacant.

"I checked the records, Pandora. President Snow had them killed three years after your reaping. He never intended for them to live."

August and Dash hanged. Her mother and Ophelia shot. They had been dead and she hadn't been there to defend them, to comfort them. 23. 49. 07.

"Mr. Heavensbee! I think it's almost time."

Pandora was feeling her emptiness dissolve into rage. She remained motionless, quiet. The cuts, bruises, and gashes felt like nothing compared to that growing rage. Slowly, the tears came from her battered and swollen eyes. She heard the phantom crows rustling their wings and dug her fingernails into her legs.

"He changed the rules." She finally whispered.

"He doesn't play by rules, Pandora. You were just too young to realize that. Adric had only seen the pictures an hour before we rescued you. He kept saying something I couldn't understand. Something about your little sister's hair."

All the people she had killed, all the experiments on her body, it had all been for nothing. That awareness sunk in like a knife, sharp and sure.

"What did Snow do to the bodies?"

"Cremated."

Her mouth opened as she sadly tilted her head back, "In District 7 we bury our dead."

23. 49. 07.

"I know. I'm sorry, Pandora."

She looked down at the pictures and felt her eyes burn.

"Sir, we're coming up on the arena! It's about to hit twelve o'clock!"

Plutarch rose to his feet, "Are we ready?"

"As ready as we'll ever be, sir."

Pandora knelt to the ground and slowly started to gather the papers. She took special care to stack each piece the way she had found it. As she work, Plutarch watched her with puzzlement. She was so calm, so quiet.

Everything Pandora thought she knew was crumbling to reveal an unsure future. Her priorities were shifting around in confusion. Her family. He had killed them. They had died years ago. They were dead. All of them. Somehow she had known, maybe that was why she was so quiet, but deep down Pandora knew that wasn't it. Her heart had broken long ago. Now only silence remained, but a growing tension was biting.

Her hands gripped the papers.

"We're here!" someone shouted.

When Pandora had finished gathering the documents, she forced herself to her feet and limped to the front of the hovercraft. She let the tears freely fall down her cheeks. She would cry for them, she would cry without shame. They deserved that.

"You should sit, Pandora. You've been through a lot."

"I won't sit," her voice was raw, "I can't."

"I'm sorry."

Her chest rose and fell, "It's my own fault."

"No—Pandora—"

"I left them."

"You were just a girl."

"I was never just a girl. None of us are. Not in this world. I should have been better than I was to them."

Plutarch didn't reply.

"No more lies." She set her gaze on the windows, "No more."

It was strange to see this side of the games. The arena from the outside. Pandora had always imagined something grand, or awe-inspiring. But it was just a dome of metal panels, all edged in glowing blue lights.

"Not until you see the signal!" Plutarch shouted. He glanced to Pandora, "Not what you expected?"

"Finnick's in there?"

"Yes."

She kept her eyes on the dome.

"Pandora, I can have the file burned. Once we land in District 13 I can have those pictures destroyed, so you'll never have to see them again. I just—you deserved to see what had happened."

"I don't want them destroyed. Not until I'm ready."

"Why?" He sounded shocked, even horrified.

"To remember. Burning them won't change what's happened. They'll still be dead. I want to remember. I need to."

A soft explosion sounded from beneath the dome. Tremors shook. Slowly, the bottom of the hovercraft opened up. A hot breeze blew into the compartment, sending strands of her hair into a dance. This was it.

Pandora clenched her jaw and shut her eyes. Through all the havoc and agony, through all the sorrow, she crawled into herself. In that moment she decided to no longer bury the memories. She would force herself to face her fears. Scorch's bleeding eyes, Marius's death, Snow's evil, and pain, so much pain…she would remember it all.

Just below her ribs was a small sliver of a scar, where a rebel named Nyx Starson had once stabbed her. She pressed her hand against it, remembering that it was Adric who had saved her life. She thought of a boy that stood by the seashore with her, remembering it was him that made her realize it's okay to laugh. August's blue eyes, he was the only one in the family with blue eyes, only now was Pandora able to recall that. Dash's uplifting laugh. Ophelia's soft curls. Her mother's warm embrace. Adric. Finnick. Viktor. With each memory she breathed. And with each breath she felt lighter.

Someday soon she would rest. But not yet, she thought. Not just yet. There were still people she loved, still people to fight for. And she would fight. Fight with every fiber in her being.

So she took her memories in both her hands and held on tight, forcing herself to open her eyes. Too long had she been in the dark. It was time, now, to wake up.

"Look at those fireworks," someone quietly whispered.

Pandora Sullivan watched, in a state of resurrection, as the blue lights ruptured into wild flames, as panel after panel began to break apart. Piece by piece the monument of the Hunger Games was tumbling into oblivion.

"What is it, Pandora?" Plutarch asked, noticing her changed expression.

She gazed down and started to smile through the tears. It hit her in a great wave. Tears of sorrow were mixing with tears of understanding. Death had taken her family, but in their deaths everything was becoming clearer. Loss and love everywhere, and also, a terrible mess.

"I feel." She suddenly whispered in wonder as she clasped her hand to her chest. Memories surged. Emotions overwhelmed. Pandora felt love, hate, sorrow and joy. Her body was breaking down and joining back together. She felt the retention fill her up, sensed it growing outward from her chest. "I remember. I can feel it all."

Adric in the rain, he looked so beautiful in the rain. Dash picking berries. Ophelia with cookie crumbs on her lips. Finnick smiling like the sun, warming her bones. August whittling. She had been there. She had always been there.

The memories kept coming. They cracked through the darkness like lightning, they blew apart her soul. And through it all there was one thing. One thing that tied it all together and it was beautiful. She fell to her knees and breathlessly cried.

"I remember…"

The world filled with color.

She could remember the smell of pines.

|END OF EPOCH THREE|


Pandora Sullivan will return in the final installment of the series, The Star Splitters.