AN: I do NOT own the 'Hanging Tree'.

Chapter 16- If We Met At Midnight.

Two days pass and the park begins to seem never ending. The peace of not hearing the canon end- although it is inevitable, it still reminds us of where we are- and tells us that three people have died (the girl from 11 and the boy from 6). It hasn't rained for just under forty eight hours so hunting has been easier.

"You have to win this, Griff," Rosemary says out of the blue, "Promise me you'll win this."

I know that I can't because I can't keep her safe AND win, it's impossible but her eyes are full of innocent joy as she gazes up at the sky and I don't want to upset her.

"I promise I'll try." I say.

We walk for another ten or so minutes when we both suddenly hit something and are left lying in the grass on our backs. A shock runs through me and I can hardly breath, it feels like I've run into a wall at high speed. Rosemary is also on the grass, her eyes widened and the joy drained.

"What was that?" She manages ask.

"I think that was the force field." I say, remembering the one that shocked me on the roof that night with Marina. Maria. Tears threaten to escape my eyes.

"Now we know the park does have an end." Rosemary grins at me.

We camp near the force field, hoping an animal will run into it so we don't have to kill to eat. There's enough killing going on out there without us contributing. I fall asleep on the grass, Rosemary lies next to me, in the sleeping bag I've let her borrow since Marlon's death. #


A sudden chill runs down my spine, waking me from my dreamless sleep. I know something's not right but I can't think what. My backpack is still tucked under my head and my knife is in my belt. I scan the area but relax a little when I am satisfied that no other Tributes are lurking nearby.

"Rose? You okay?" I reach out to shake Rosemary's ankle but the sleeping bag sags under my touch, empty. "Rose? Rose!" I become more panicked.

It seems like hours that I'm stumbling around looking for Rosemary, millions of possibilities swimming around in my head. Maybe she's gone hunting? Her bow and arrows are with her sleeping bag. Maybe another Tribute got her? BOOM! The canon.

"Rose!" I'm frantic now as I stumble through the pitch black, praying I'll find her.

After another few hours (minutes) of searching, I find her but not as I'd hoped. A District 12 song circles my head, one that few people in District 8 know but I do:

If we met up at midnight at the Hanging Tree.

I slump backwards into a tree and sink to the ground, taking in the sight. Rosemary's feet hang above the ground, her legs dangle and I can hardly tell that they ran with such speed through the grass just yesterday.

If we met up at midnight at the Hanging Tree.

Her eyes are wide open and empty. The blue is still there but that fiery spark of life has died and now her eyes just stare but don't see anything. The joy they had reflected has gone.

Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.

Her face is now tinged with blue and the rope is tight around her neck. I wonder where she got it. It is clear that no Tribute did this to her, that Rosemary did this to herself. Why? It comes slowly, so that I can win. She told me that I have to win and I promised. However, there may be another reason.

If we met up at midnight at the Hanging Tree.

Rosemary has done this for Marlon, to be with him. She has to be with him, if not in life then in death. Did Rosemary plan this all along? Did she intend to try to win? I stare at her for a few more minutes, trying to figure things out before taking her bow and arrows and carrying on.

It's a lonely walk without Rosemary and Marlon and for the first time since the Reaping, I am truly alone.