I'm swinging, still eternally swinging on the pendulum of time. Back and forth, back and forth just like time. Repeating and never-changing. Time has a way of doing that to you, making you feel like you'll never stop swinging. Like time; you feel like you'll never stop swinging but your pendulum will slow down.
They say your life simply flashes before your eyes when you die. You see everything you've ever seen in your life time before passing on. They say there's a light, but I never saw any light, nor did I see my life.
I was laying in the dark, I couldn't move, my body bound to the nothingness. It was like I was taped to the swinging eternity. I felt looking around would not help me. Like I was simply waiting for something that would appear above me.
I could hear voices all around me, and strangely I felt loose. Like a rope had been eased off of my invisible bindings. When this happened the voices grew frantic, some even screamed. I was strapped down again after that. This happened a few times, my invisible bindings loosen, screams fill the nothingness, and then altogether I'm immobilized again.
When all was silent, I closed my eyes. At least I think I did because the darkness was suddenly whole. Maybe I was moved somewhere in space or time. I'm not sure.
I waited in silence only a concerned sigh every now and then. Hushed voices I could not create words from.
But the sound barrier broke fairly suddenly, and though I tried my eyes would not open for me.
"Hey Katniss," He said, he was here? Why? Why would his voice be in this nothingness, "I know we're supposed to be fighting right now, and I realize now just how much I screwed up... I was pretty stupid, but now I need you. I need you to come back to me okay?"
Come back? But where was I? I felt wetness on my cheeks and a tugging at my hair, but still my eyes refused to open. His thumb traced what felt like my forehead, "I need you." He whispered, then lips were suddenly on my cheek.
All was still for a good while, my eyes glued shut so they too were immobilized like the rest of me. Until I heard this,
"I'm so sorry Kat. This is all my fault. I shouldn't have brought mom home. I'm sorry." Her voice constrained, and I wanted nothing more than to hold her close to me. My baby sister should never cry like that. And what was that about mom?
"Please, don't give up. Show them. Show them you're fine. Please Katniss." He was confident, but what did I have to give up on? Why did I need his confidence?
There was a few moments of stillness before a voice broke the barrier of darkness, "Katniss, I don't know if you ever knew this. But I always did like you. I'll miss you." Glimmer? Why was Glimmer talking to me?
"Katniss, I just want you to know how strong I think you are to have lasted this long. And I'll miss you coming into work early too." Rue was there too?
"I'm sorry this happened Katniss. But I'm glad I got to know you." Boggs? Was that Boggs?
"I'm not good at speaking, but I'll miss you more than you'll ever know." Cato? Why in hell would Cato of all people say that?
"We love you Katniss," Clove can say the word love? And to me? Clove and I were good friends but why would she say she loved me?
"Bye Katniss... I don't know what else to say... But thanks for being part of the team." Ginger? Why?
"Katniss, the floor will feel empty without you. I can't believe you won't get to see the baby... I don't think I can ever have a partner like you." Was Finnick crying over me?
"I don't think we'll ever have another employee like you, sweetheart. Save a seat for me in heaven okay?" In heaven what the hell Haymitch?
"I'll miss you kid, even though I dressed you up like a slut... You were one of the few friends I actually liked." Would Johanna say that to just anyone?
"I'll miss you Katniss, you truly are my best friend, and now I can't have a maid of honor at the wedding. I hope you know that I'll never forget you." Madge why wouldn't I be at your wedding? What was that about never forgetting me?
"Katniss, you mean so much to all of us. I can't imagine just letting you leave like this. I'm sorry this life didn't treat you well." Annie what do you mean by this life?
"Hey Catnip... I know that I've really screwed you over... Like a lot, but I want you to know I'll take good care of Prim. And that even through all of this, you're still that kid I used hunt with." Shouldn't you already be taking good care of Prim, Gale? And what is with this used to shit?
"Kat, I can't tell you how sorry I am for this. I was supposed to be hurt not you. This is entirely my fault. I'm so sorry." What was Prim's fault?
"I'll stay right here with you. I won't leave you alone. I promise." Peeta what is this?
But no voice returned to answer any of my questions for a long while. My hand was always held by someone, but my eyes remained shut. The bitter silence ate away at me. The swinging pendulum of time seemed to be attempting to rock me to sleep.
"Are you afraid?" A voice I did not recognize asked.
"What is there to fear?" I asked without using my voice, as I had asked those other questions. Was there someone with me? Was there something to fear?
"A choice. There is always fear in choice."
"Why should I be afraid of a choice?"
"You have been misdiagnosed. You have a chance." It said.
"A chance at what?"
"Do you know where you are?" It asked.
"You are some place not many people have the opportunity to come to. You're in more of a state than a place."
"What kind of state?"
"Between life and death." I still could not move, my eyes still closed, but I was afraid. I was confused and suddenly the swinging of time seemed to slow down.
"Life and death? But how is that possible?"
"Your friends have said goodbye your lover is holding your hand. It is perfectly alright to let go."
"Let go of my life?"
"Yes, you can start over, be reborn. Or you can wake up, return to your family and friends. The choice is a daunting one, I know. If you are to return the pain will be excruciating and recovery will take a long while, set backs may be thrown your way, and life may never be the same. If you choose to be reborn I cannot guarantee a better life for you, nor can I guarantee the love you have felt in this life. So what shall you choose?"
I had no clue, I sat in the darkness for a while, my bindings loosened as I contemplated. The pendulum slowed and sped up frightening me greatly.
If I am to start new, than I won't be related to that awful woman I called my mother. But I'd leave Prim, Peeta, Madge, Gale, Annie, and Finnick. But how many times do you get a reset button on your life?
I had one consistent thought as I contemplated my choice, I never was one to give up and walk away from a challenge. Why start now?
"You don't have much more time." The voice said to me as lips glided to my cheek. "The boy will either sleep through your death, or be jolted awake by the sight of your eyes."
I couldn't think straight for a few moments, but the voice knew what my decision was. I'm sure t knew my choice before it was even asked of me, "Open your eyes." It said.
So I did, my body did not feel constrained and there was no more darkness.
My vision, at first, was fuzzy, and my eyes could only open slightly. Then, as I took in my surroundings, I noticed the dim light right above me.
I felt very heavy and weighed down as I realized I was no longer swinging but laying in a bed. I almost felt like a rock plummeting to the dark depths of the ocean. One deep breath hurt, I felt a cut spread as I breathed, my lungs felt bruised, and my ribs even felt sore. What in hell had I done to myself?
I tried to raise my left arm to my hair, but the muscle ached so much, and another cut burned with pain. I knew that I just couldn't do it. Though it angered me I couldn't move, I released my sore arm muscles, and moaned slightly.
I looked around before my eyes landed on a mess of blonde curls sleeping next me, our hands entwined and dark circles under his eyes. He looked so tired, and at the same time, so concerned, like what ever he feared in his conscious state followed him to his dreams.
I was caught between waking him up and leaving him be. He looked so exhausted, and so afraid.
I finally decided it'd be best to wake him, I soon realized I could only move my head. So I leaned down and kissed his forehead. His eyes creased together as he stirred from sleep. His head snuggled deeper into my shoulder, not wanting to wake up.
I sighed and leaned my head lightly on his. I guessed I could ask my many questions later, and he could get just a bit more sleep. I thought it might do him good to sleep a bit. But then he groaned with tiredness. His free hand wiped both of his eyes clear.
"Morning." I whispered in a cracked tone. His head shot up as if frightened, I couldn't move my own head that fast, but I looked up just to lock eye contact. I watched as his blue eyes grew. He rubbed his eyes again and clutched my fingers tightly. He was trying to grasp reality.
"Katniss?" He asked timidly.
"Yeah?" I asked. He smiled, all his teeth visible, his tiredness suddenly gone.
He laughed, "You're awake." He took my head in his hands and kissed my lips. "I knew you'd come back. I knew you would."
He tried to hug me but the moment his body touched mine, my body cavity seared in pain. I gasped at the suddenly inflamed area of my body.
He pulled back quickly, "Sorry." I held out my hand as to say okay. "I knew you'd come back." He said again.
"Where'd I go?" I asked.
"You've been under the knife a lot recently." I suddenly remembered what had happened to me. My mother having done those things. I must have been in surgery.
"Where's everyone, I heard them not too long ago." I said.
He gave me a questioning look, "You heard them?"
I nodded, "They said their goodbyes."
"They... We... Alright, the doctors said that you were brain dead and that you wouldn't wake up. So they all said goodbye and they went to your farm because they didn't want to watch you die."
"But I'm not dead." I said.
"No," He smiled, "You're not dead." He kissed me again, "How do you feel?"
"Heavy." I said.
He laughed again, "That's the anesthesia I think... Are you in pain, I can go get a doctor if you-" His phone rang as he spoke, "Sorry... Hello?... Gale she's awake!... No I'm serious!... Here," He put the phone by my ear.
"Hello?" I asked tiredly. "Who is this?"
"Gale," He said.
"Well why in hell do you sound so damn upset? Get your ass over here."
"Yeah," I said.
"Oh my god." He said quickly, "We'll be over as soon as we can!" He said.
"Don't speed." I warned before Peeta took the phone and hung up.
He stood over me smiling for a good ten minutes before a nurse walked in, "I here to-..." She looked at me with wide observant eyes. "Oh my god." She walked over looked at my IV, checked my heart monitor, took my pulse, took my temperature, and just looked at me in awe, "I'll go get the doctor." She said walking out swiftly.
I looked up at Peeta, "It's so good to see your eyes." He said leaning his head on mine before kissing me again.
"By the way, saying that we're supposed to be fighting is not a good way to encourage someone." I said.
"You heard that?"
"I heard everything." I said before the doctor walked in. Though he was clearly shocked he did the standard procedures.
"Well... It seems that we may have misdiagnosed you, miss. Everdeen."
"I figured." I responded.
"Your vitals are good, your heartbeat is stronger. You seem fairly alert. I think that we can move her down to the recover ward." He said to the nurse who nodded as she left.
"Now, what's the last thing you remember?" He asked.
I told him about the cop telling me they'd help me and how he yelled for an airlift. Then he started asking me a lot of strange questions.
After he'd finished questioning me the nurse from before walked in with a bed on wheels behind her.
"Your mental state seems fully intact." He seemed utterly perplexed by that, "I'll see you downstairs."
"Alright," The nurse said, "Take my hands okay?" I raised my arms, though it hurt extremely. Slowly she helped me to sit up, never had I thought sitting up would be so difficult. She stopped and let me hunch over, I felt like something in my stomach was tearing. I assumed my stitches were pulling.
"Are you alright? Are you going to throw up?" Honestly I wanted to, but I didn't. I shook my head no, "Take a minute to breathe okay?" I nodded. Peeta's hand trailed up and down my spine sending chills across my skin.
"Are you ready?"
I wasn't, "Yeah." I breathed. One leg at a time I was off the bed. Only two steps, and I sat down again.
"You're okay." the nurse assured me I was out of breath and my cuts burned in pain. I wondered how okay I really was, or if she was just saying that because she had to. I guessed that maybe she just didn't know how terrible it felt to get stabbed.
I got myself into the bed, and laying down on the propped up bed felt like a ton of bricks falling on me. I felt my entire weight twofold, simply because I had just woken up from a coma.
They began to slowly wheel me out of the ICU. The nurse told me, that they'd get me pain medication has soon as they could. I didn't want any until I realized that not all of the pain meds had worn off. I was afraid for the pain I'd feel when it all went away.
They set me up in a privet room and administered the pain killers. The doctor from before showed up and began to talk, "It seems that we may have misdiagnosed you. As it appears, you were simply in a coma not brain dead."
The doctor laughed at my comment, "We're going to bring in the physical therapist at a reasonable hour, to evaluate you. After his evaluation we can see about releasing you alright?"
I nodded lazily as the doctor left. Peeta sat beside me stroking the back of my hand with his thumb.
"So what do I have to explain?" I asked.
He looked up at me, "Nothing."
He nodded, "Just rest alright? We can talk later."
"Okay." He kissed my forehead and smiled again. Though I was in a whole world of pain, I returned his smile.
Not long after that, a man came in looking at a clip board, "Alright, we're going to do a few mobility tests just to make sure there's no nerve damage." He proceeded to have me perform simply tasks like curling my toes, and some not so simple tasks like walking.
I think my entire body pulsed with pain when it was all over. My body was screaming at me for the hell I'd just put myself through. But I never was one to give up.
"You seem to be recovering quite nicely." He said checking a few boxes, "I'll be back with your doctor to see where we stand." Peeta was allowed back by my side then.
"Is everything okay?" He asked.
"We'll see." I responded tiredly. I wanted to sleep for a few more days at that point, just because I wasn't sure how much longer I could stand not being able to breath without pain.
The doctor walked in with my physical therapist, "We've evaluated you thoroughly and we'd just like to see a few things before we release you. First we're going to ask you to remain awake for twenty-four hours, and we'll need to see you keeping food down alright?" I nodded, "We'll have your nurse bring you up something small soon." They both left and Peeta smiled at me.
"You'll be able to go home soon." He said excitedly pushing stray hair off my forehead. I hope I wasn't sweating too much.
"Yeah" I said trying not to move at all.
Peeta's phone rang again as he continued to brush my hair off my face, "Hello?... Yeah, I'll come get you... Alright... Bye." He closed his phone and looked at me, "I won't be gone long, I'll just be bringing everyone up. Okay?"
"Okay." He left quickly. I was finally alone, but for only a brief moment. Some kind of buzzer went off on a machine near by. A nurse sprinted into my room just to check up on me. He turned off the beeping and looked down on me.
"Someone forgot to breathe." He smiled.
"That alarm goes off when you don't have enough oxygen." He went out into the hallway and came back with a large oxygen tank. "If that goes off again just put this mask on." He placed it over my mouth and nose, "Take deep a breath," He instructed. Using my diaphragm hurt amazingly, but I did as he asked, "Again."
My chest seared in pain but I did it, "One more." I wanted to faint just from breathing, "Good." He said handing me the mask, "Don't freak out if you hear that go off again alright?"
"Alright," He walked away leaving me for only a second before Peeta showed up again. This time with a lot of people. Breathing still hurt and now I had about ten people in my room. How fantastic.
Prim was crying when she entered, she immediately wrapped her arms around me, I bit down trying not to seem in pain. She let tears leak onto my cheeks, and I honestly wondered if her hugging me would kill me.
Peeta got her to let go quickly.
"Sorry." She said frantically once she saw my pale face. I swear whole damned hospital room was multicolored now, as pain affected my vision.
"It's fine." I assured her weakly. Even though I didn't believe this to be true.
"We were so scared." She said, and I tried to hush her. I tried to tell her everything would be okay. But I really didn't have that much breath in me and the machine went off again.
I put the oxygen mask on and took three painful breaths before talking to my friends, "You all didn't have to fly out." I said. "Not with Christmas so close."
Gale stood up, "Catnip, you've been out for five days." He said.
"Damn." I said.
"We wanted to come see you anyway." Annie said taking my hand, "We were so worried when we saw that news report."
"That's how we found out." Ginger stepped forward.
"It was all over the news." Rue said.
"It wasn't that bad." I said.
"Really?" Cato laughed.
"It kind of was." Clove added.
"Not too bad though." I said.
"We thought you were going to die." Finnick said, "It was pretty damn bad."
"Fine," I said giving in. After a few hours of light conversation the nurse from before came in and asked them all to leave, but I didn't let go of Peeta's hand, while everyone else exited my room.
"You promised me." I said seriously.
"You promised me you wouldn't leave me alone." I wasn't going to sleep for another couple of hours, and I was afraid to be alone during that time.
"You heard that too." He laughed. I nodded.
"Please don't leave me." I said. He looked down at his feet. He was exhausted, I could tell he was, but I needed someone with me.
I picked myself up which hurt a lot more than I anticipated but I managed to make enough room for him.
"Stay with me," I said. He smiled and gave a sigh before crawling up next to me. I rested my cheek on his chest as he settled down with me.
He fit his head on top of mine, his arms loosely draped around my waist trying not to make contact with my wounds.
I don't think it took him longer than a few seconds to sleep. But I remained awake for my full twenty-four hours. And a week later I was allowed to go home.