Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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37. 69th Hunger Games

    “Emily! Goddammit, get out of your room already!” Phox boomed and banged his fisted hand against the door. “You have been nothing but useless the whole week! At least get out and watch the Games and get the kids sponsors!” he demanded.

    The redhead had been mostly absent the mental way since her second encounter with the Eleven victor on the second day of training. The kids had been sent off to the arena and she hadn’t even helped them once.

    Some mentor she was . . .

    Emily let out a sigh and put in the effort to push herself out of bed. Her hair fell over her face as she dragged her weight to the door and cracked it open, “Get your ass down in the lobby and do your damn job. I don’t give a shit if you’re having a bad week or a time of your life, get your shit together and be downstairs in half an hour,” the middle-aged man snarled at a very emotionless expression on Emily’s face.

    She yawned and nodded to the angry man. “Okay, I’ll see you downstairs,” she answered and closed the door before he could snap at the girl.

    No way she wanted to do her ‘job’. She just wanted to go home and never return to the Capitol for the Games. It was an overall overwhelming stay in the Capitol and she wanted out. Emily hopped into the shower, took longer than her usual length of shower time, and went to get dressed after drying herself off.

    It took the effort to get herself out of her room and to the lobby. That feeling of the man possibly downstairs just hanging over her head and creating a knot in her gut, it made her want to lock herself up in her room again and never come out. But, Phox coming in to bother her was stronger than a man knowing her secret. Emily took in a deep breath and entered the lobby; colorful people made up every corner of the room and mentors were all around making conversation and drinking with one another or a Capitolite.

    Some odd looking people immediately noticed her and took interest within seconds. Emily pursed her lips at first and then put on a gentle smile and socialized with the strange citizens. “Mrs. Aldair, how have you been?”

    “Just fine.”

    “Living comfortably in Eight?”

    “It’s cozy.”

    “What have you been doing these past few months?”

    “Enjoying being alive,” she smirked after forcing that answer. Emily excused herself and left to retrieve a drink and seated herself at the bar. There was a timer projected all around the room on the start of the Games, making the redhead dread her job more and more. She let out a quiet sigh and sipped her drink once it was in front of her, wrinkling her nose at the bitter taste when someone sat beside her. Emily glanced up, noticing a flash of red hair on a taller body then dropped her eyes to her drink. “Rose, right?”

    “Forgetting names already?” he responded.

    “Just making sure,” she answered quietly and swirled her bitter drink in her glass.

    Abraham let out a quiet sigh after a long pause. “Sorry for your loss . . .”

    Emily pursed her lips as her eyes stayed on the ice in her drink, his words sinking in more and more with each second. Everyone was still sad over his death and Emily was still trying to get over it. And everyone wasn’t helping with the healing process . . .

    “Still trying to get over it . . .” she replied.

    Then it was silent between them again as everyone around them began to countdown along with the timer while the tributes ascended up to the surface of the tundra arena. Emily’s eyes fell on her tributes, frantically looking around them. Vulture was as white as a sheet and Velcro violently trembled in her spot. Guilt began to fill up from the pit of her belly, hating herself more and more for not being a mentor for all of them. For just being mentally absent the whole time . . .

    They were suppose to trust her . . . and she let them down . . .

    “You going to put up a bet too?” Abraham asked.

    Emily looked toward the Seven victor then toward the Capitolites making bets with some of the victors on who lives and who dies. She pursed her lips and looked back at Abraham, his green eyes still on the projected screen and sipped whatever strong drink he had in his hands. Was it normal for the victors to put their money on the lives of their tributes, whether it was against them or with them?

    How sick was that!?

    The new Eight victor dropped her eyes for a second then looked back up at the screen, the feeling of judgment oozing from the Seven victor.

    7

    6

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1


    The gong went off and the tributes jumped off from their pedestal. Velcro was still frozen from her spot while Vulture kept on running. Emily drained the rest of her drink, hissing at the aftertaste and shook her head as if to shake off the flavor from her tongue. When her eyes fell back in the screen, Velcro was in the snow and running toward the Cornucopia. Emily gasped at the sight and watched with wide eyes as the girl struggled in the snow and took a pack.

    Emily muttered under her breath for her to run away fast and get away NOW over and over again. But she saw the axe fly toward her. She saw the axe cut through her scalp and blood spray over the white snow as the little twelve-year-old landed face first into the cold ground.

    Dead within seconds of the Games . . .

    She let out a quiet sigh and ran a hand through her hair. What advice did Phox and Abir give her? Would Emily’s words have made a difference? Was the girl always meant to die? It was too difficult to think about without feeling like she let the girl down . . .

    Emily looked back at the excited Capitolites watching every move of the bloodbath, her eyes falling back on the Eleven victor, who’s eyes glanced over to her and made Emily quietly gasp then look away. She saw, from the corner of her eye, Abraham raise a brow and look to where Emily looked and scoffed loud enough for her ears only.

    “He’s an ass,” he groaned.

    She nodded in agreement.

    “You met him already, unfortunately,” he added. Emily barely looked up at him, but her eyes fell back on her empty glass in her hands. Suppose it was THAT easy to tell by her expression. “Ignoring him doesn’t do shit.”

    Like their second encounter didn’t tell her that . . .

    “So what do I do?” she asked.

    Abraham shrugged. “If you figure it out, be sure to tell me,” was all he said.

    The Eight victor pursed her lips with an annoyed look in her eyes as her eyes stared at the screen but not actually look at it.

    The Careers, obviously, were killing off the small fries while some managed to run into the forest. Vulture managed to escape with a small bag and constantly looking back behind him to see if anyone was following him. And the boy didn’t stop. He didn’t stop running for so long.

    Emily leaned back in her stool, watching the boy and tried to remember any descent qualities of his that would interest the sponsors. For the time being, it was too soon to shower the tributes with gifts. She didn’t even know what he had in his pack.

    For now, she had to wait.

    The Eight victor looked to the other tributes left on the screen, counting thirteen of them left, most of them Careers. Of course. “Which ones are yours?” she asked Abraham Rose.

    “Uhh . . .” his eyes searched for his tribute again and nodded to one screen at the top left corner. “That one. My other one died,” he sighed. The girl had dark hair, lightly tanned, and small with toned muscles on her. She was undeniably pretty.

    “Sorry . . .” she mumbled and ordered another drink.

    “Yeah,” he shrugged. “She’s a bitch anyway,” Abraham added and sipped his drink.

    Suppose it was normal for the mentors to have a favorite tribute too. Emily didn’t doubt she wasn’t Phox’s last year . . .

    She excused herself from the bar and went looking for Abir. Everyone was so much taller than her it was hard to find her co-worker. And after some searching, she found Abir and Phox together at the other side of the room with brightly colored drinks in their hand. “So what are we suppose to do?” she asked when she got close enough.

    Abir swallowed his beverage and glanced to the screen. “Nothing for now. He’s not injured and he had some training in the survival section to know what to do in this environment,” Abir explained. Emily looked up at the screen and found Vulture unpacking his bag with matches and a sleeping bag.

    That was it . . .

    “So maybe we should get him some food tomorrow?” she asked as she watched the screen.

    “Give the boy some soup and he’ll last longer,” Phox spoke up. “He’ll have to find a better place to sleep if he expects to survive the night without freezing,” the man added.

    Abir nodded in agreement. 

    But Vulture didn’t last the night. He ran into Seven’s remaining tribute and fell for her sweet talk, which got him killed and robbed in his sleep. Wren of District Seven came out as the victor of the 69th Hunger Games.

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