This idea came from Stephen Kings Misery, that being said it's going to be nothing like that. This isn't a horror story, Katniss isn't going to be psycho. Pretty much the only thing this story will have in common with Misery is the beginning. But I did get this idea from the horror master that is Stephen King, no copywrite infringement is intended, the idea was his and the characters belong to the lovely Suzanne Collins. Enjoy! Oh and don't be put off by Katniss calling cars 'automobiles', it'll be explained.
Sitting on the bank of the large lake, fishing pole in hand, I can feel the warning in the air that signals the beginning of winter is fast approaching. This will most likely be the last time I'll be able to fish before the lake freezes. The lake is a good 3 hour hike from home and once winter sets in the hike won't be worth it, we have plenty of food preserved back at the house, fresh is always better but living on a mountain you learn to live with what you have. The lake has always been my favorite place, I came here with my father when I was younger almost every week. I used to be so enthralled by the gravel road that lies on the opposite side from my spot, the idea that I could follow it to something new enraptured me like one of Daddy's songs. He once told me it used to be the only path through the mountains until they built an interstate that allows for a speedier journey, I can count on one hand how many times I've seen an automobile on that road, all but one belonged to old man Ripper, the other promptly turned around and head back down the mountain, presumably lost.
So when I see a small shiny automobile making its way up entirely too fast it grabs my full attention, I see it all happen as though in slow motion the automobile speeds around the curve, the tires fail to catch on the loose gravel and sends it straight for a pine. The corner clips the large pine just right sending it spiraling straight into the lake. At first I'm shocked frozen, not really sure what to do, it seems like hours but is most likely just a few seconds before I spring into action. The automobile is not yet fully submerged as I drop my pole and run as fast as my legs can carry me to the other side of the lake, it may not be winter yet but I know the water is already colder than any human can withstand for long without certain death claiming them. As I round the lake I shed my coat, boots and sweater, snatch up a large rock and dive in at the closest point to the rapidly disappearing automobile, the tail end went in first so I can still see the person inside. I swim to the window closest to the person, trying not to let the coldness of the water send me into a panic. It's a man and I can see blood covering his face as he makes no move to free himself from his metal coffin. I swing the rock with all my force at the window and a shower of glass falls upon the man, that was probably a bad idea, but it's the best I have. The automobile is sinking quicker or maybe it just feels as though it is, I pull on the strangers arm only to find he's strapped in by some woven contraption. I pull my hunting knife from the sheath of my boot at begin to sever the straps that are locking him into a cold deadly fate just as the automobile fully emerges. I take a deep breath before following it and cutting the second strap I find at his waist, my lungs burn screaming for unavailable oxygen as I pull him through the window I've broken. Just as I think I've freed him his pant leg snags on one of the shards of glass remaining in the window, I'm out of time to try and untangle the clothing from the glass, I need air and he needs helps, so I press my feet against the side of the automobile and push off with my remaining strength propel us to the surface. I awkwardly swim us to the bank and it takes every bit of strength I possess to get him onto the shore where I collapse backward and catch my breath trying to think of what to do next. It's clear I cannot carry him to my home, I could hardly free him from the water, I'll have to fetch help, leaving him here in his soaking clothes isn't an option though as he'll catch his death from the cold by the time I return. The only thing I can think to do is build a fire, strip him of his wet clothes and cover him in my coat and sweater, the Hawthorne's are only about an hour away if I walk, possibly 45 minutes if I can keep a steady run the whole way. I'd really rather not ask Gale for assistance after our falling out but I can't very well have this strangers death on my hands over my stubbornness so I set to work building a fire before stripping him down to (thankfully) a pair of shorts under his pants, his body is riddled with injuries but I have no way of treating him now, I need to get him to Prim. I wrap Daddy's leather coat around his torso before slipping my sweater around his bottom half upside down so he legs are enclosed inside as a torso would be then set off to the Hawthorne's in a steady run that will allow me to get there faster without tiring me to quickly to finish the journey.
I'm only about 15 minute into my journey when I see Gales form ahead of me, he turns toward me having obviously heard my steps (which are normally silent) and looks at me curiously as I run toward him.
"What's wrong Catnip?"
"I need your help, there's a man, he's hurt." I tell him panting as I try to catch my breath.
"A man? I know your Daddy taught you about strangers, why you tryin' to help strange folk?"
"His automobile sunk in the lake, I fished him out but he's hurt and I can't carry him back to Prim on my own." He looks at me as though I've grown 2 heads.
"C'mon Gale! Strange folk or not, we can't just let him die! Even you ain't that heartless!"
"Fine! Let me grab Rory."
"No, there's no time Gale, we gotta get him to Prim."
"I'm gonna need more than a girls help Katniss, a full grown man ain't light." I want to argue but I know he's right.
"Fine, but I gotta go back and see if I can't stop some of the bleedin'. Grab Rory and come to the lake, you'll see the smoke from the fire, that's where he is."
He nods and jogs off in the direction of his house.
"Please hurry Gale!" I holler after him, he waves me off but picks up the pace and I turn and head back toward the strange man grabbing a few of the remaining herbs I know will help stop the bleeding along the way.
Nothing has changed since I left him by the fire, he's still in the same position, still has a pulse although it seems to have grown weaker. I'm not a healer by any means, that title falls solely to my sister Prim, but I know a good deal about herbs so I'm able to make a simple paste to stop the bleeding on his head, the deep gash on his leg though is another story, no matter how much paste I apply it just won't stop, he needs stitches, but I'm at a loss as to how to do that especially without a needle or thread, so I just wrap the shirt I removed from him earlier around his leg and hold it in place with some long thorns. Then I wait. It takes about an hour before I see Gale and Rory break through the tree line and head towards me.
They've brought along a sheet they've attached to some tree limbs that they place the strange on before hoisting it between themselves and we start the long journey to Prim. I've got to hand it to them really, for the carrier they've developed and the speed at which the get him back to my house, I know Gale didn't want to help, but it seems as though he is trying to help me save this man if his speed is any judge of that. The journey is quiet after they have me explain what happened other than a few comments between the two of him about the man being heavier than a Redwood itself.
Prim jumps straight into healer mode when we arrive, asking only necessary questions, that will change later after she stabilizes the man I'm sure. Our mother used to go into healer mode like that, it makes me wistful and it takes all the effort I've got left not to tear up at the thought of my parents. My Daddy had been out hunting one day when I was 16 and was surrounded by a pack of wolves, I had been stuck in bed with a fever that day or I'd have been there with him, he managed to take out a few, but it wasn't enough, the feral beasts killed him. Gale's Dad had been the one to find him, hardly recognizable and brought him to Mama, it was too late.
She followed 3 days later, Hazelle Hawthorne told us it was a broken heart that killed her, but I saw the purple tint to her lips, she'd eaten the nightlock while Prim and I slept. I tried to hate her for leaving us, and for awhile I think I did, in the hard times I did anyway, but I couldn't begrudge the woman when thoughts of the way her eyes shined when Daddy walked into the room or sang us all a tune from their city days. I would have considered eating the nightlock too if it hadn't been for Prim, Daddy was just one of those people that once you had him in your life being without him was just unthinkable.
Gale and Rory leave after I make them each a glass of mint tea, but not before Gale tells me I ought to kick the man out the moment he wakes up, "ain't no place for a city boy like him here with two girls." I just roll my eyes and thank them for the help. Prim spends a good 2 hours assessing and treating the man, she stitches his leg before slathering his wounds with a mix of what I believe is Echinacea, honey and myrrh. We cover him in blankets where he lies atop our kitchen table and Prim asks for the story now that she's got a moment, I relay the events to her and she looks at me with wide blue eyes full of pain and sympathy.
"The poor man, I wonder where he was going, or where he's from for that matter. He sorta looks like an angel, don't you think Katniss?" For the first time I allow myself to really look at the man and not his predicament. Prim's right, if he weren't so banged up the only thing he'd be missing was a halo.
"I suppose he does, ain't no such thing as angels though Prim, you know that, all that nonsense Sae filled your head with is just that, nonsense. You remember what Daddy told us about all that religious stuff startin' wars and such."
"I know Katniss, but still, it's a nice feeling to think that maybe Mama and Daddy's lookin' down at us don't you think?"
"A nice thought, yes, but ain't nothin' else to it little duck. When's he gonna wake up?"
"I'm not sure, he's hit his head pretty hard, he may not wake up at all, all we can do is wait and see."
So that's what we do, we wait.
A/N: So what do you think? Keep going or scrap it? For those of you reading A Thousand Years, I have the next chapter planned out it my head it's just a matter of getting the events down how it is in my head.