Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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22. Dancing

    Emily was spending the night at the Aldairs’ home to give Cece and Harmony some time for themselves so they wouldn’t stress having to feed her either. Just for a few days. She scribbled into her notebook paper doing her homework when she heard the door downstairs open followed by giggling. Must have been Liam and his girlfriend coming back on their small date while they had the weekend off from work.

    But curfew was curfew.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow,” the girl cooed.

    “Missing you already.”

    Gross . . .   

    “I love you.”

    “You too.” A quiet sound of a kiss. “Night. Get home fast.” Then the door closed. Emily blinked a couple of times and went back to doing her homework. She heard his heavy feet walk up the stairs and into the hallway. Once he rounded into his room he jumped and pressed his hand over his chest. “Geez . . .” he hissed.

    “How come you don’t tell her you love her?” Emily asked without looking up to him.

    “I do.”

    “You say ‘you too’, not the actual three to four words,” she rolled her eyes. “It’d make a big difference.”

    Liam let out a sigh and ran his hand through his hair before he walked over to his bed beside hers and sat at the edge. “I don’t know . . . I—” he paused and rest his chin on his hand with his elbow propped on his leg, “You’ve had a crush here and there, right?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Well . . . you know how the mystery of that person is appealing and once you get to know them they’re not as . . . I don’t know, appealing?”

    “Yeeeaaaaaaaaah?”

    “It’s like that.”

    “So you don’t love her?”

    “I’m not sure . . .” he shrugged and stared at her. “I think I do. Maybe she developed faster than I did and I’m not in that same level as her. There’s just no . . . um—”

    “Spark?”

    “Yeah,” he nodded.

    “Maybe you guys should try something romantic? And see if that sparks anything?” Emily suggested and put her notebook down beside her.

    “There’s nothing romantic to do around here,” he rolled his eyes.

    “Sure there is!” she lightly chuckled. “Like . . . watching the stars, cook for each other, dancing.”

    “Well . . . I can’t cook, so that’s off the list. And besides, those are things you and I do.”

    “Yeah, but we’re friends,” she rolled her eyes. “No romantic emotions whatsoever.”

    Liam pursed his lips and let out a quiet sigh. “Alright then, I’ll try dancing. Mind helping me? It’s been a while.”

    She rolled her eyes at him and stood up. “Don’t stomp on my feet again.”

    “I’ll try,” he rolled his eyes. Emily approached him and comfortably put her hand on his shoulder while he put his hand on her waist and gently took her free hand. “The style hasn’t changed at all, right?” he asked.

    “Your mother is the one that taught us, how hasn’t she nagged you?” she chuckled.

    “You’re nagging me now,” he chuckled at her. “That’s already bad enough.”

    Emily narrowed her eyes up at him and kept her glare at him, he merely smiled at her. She then realized his flow was flawless and he led her rather than her leading him. It was like it was as easy as breathing for him. “You—”

    “Surprise,” he stuck his tongue out at her.

    She smirked up at him and pressed her cheek against his chest as they danced around his room. His heart thumped rapidly against his chest and she could hear it so clearly. She thought he was thinking of his girlfriend and them dancing and she couldn’t help but smile at how cute that would be.

    “Well, this will definitely surprise her,” she commented.

    “Lets hope she doesn’t step on my feet, that wouldn’t be romantic at all.”

    “No it wouldn’t,” Emily chuckled.


    Emily woke up before the sun rose and sleepily peeked over the small wall to see if the Careers were there. They were nowhere in sight the day before and she didn’t see them or hear them anywhere nearby. And that worried her. Where were they? There was no doubt they would ignore a feast for whatever they needed.

    And not only that, it was only her that was left. It would be easy to take her down. Unless they thought that was too boring. She was the only other tribute besides themselves left and she wasn’t that big of a threat compared to Liam. She was easy picking. Although, she managed to last that long. Perhaps she was something worth playing with. But, again, she managed to live as long as she did because her husband had made sure she lasted long. The debate in her head was useless, her answer would come once she went down there.

    There was a table right in front of the mouth of the Cornucopia with four packs. God, if any of the Careers came at that moment she could have shot them down if she brought the bow and arrows with her, let alone knew how to shoot. She let out a sigh, if only he were still alive. It would have been easy with his aim.

    She had finished eating most of the food and had one water bottle left with the snare wire she had stolen from the Cornucopia some days ago with Liam so the food pack was empty and useless. She tossed the food pack away and shouldered her pack with the water bottle, one apple, gauze, rubbing alcohol, and snare wire and began to climb down as quietly as possible. She made sure to check if the knives were strapped to her belt with a piece of cloth she managed to find in her hiding spot. With only those in her possession now, it would be the only thing to defend herself. When she made it to the bottom, she stayed in a corner for a little while as she looked around for any human shape amongst the buildings or corners. It was hard to see from the other side of the Cornucopia. 

    The Capitol knew what they were doing when they designed the stupid arena . . .

    No sign of the Careers. No mutts. But it was too quiet. It felt too dangerous to go. But she HAD to go. She was a mess and was in dire need of medicine.

    Emily took in a deep breath and planted her feet to the ground for a good start. Ready . . . three . . . two . . . one . . .

    GO!

    Emily booked into a swift run and toward the golden horn. She kept whipping her head around to look for the Careers. Nowhere behind her and nowhere to her sides. Not even a speck ahead of her. Was it too early for them to try and retrieve their packs? Or were the biding their time?

    Emily skidded snatched her pack without stopping when an axe swung toward her head when she reached the other side of the mouth of the Cornucopia. The redhead slipped and twisted as she fell and landed on her chest with a loud thump and scurried to her feet when she was grabbed by her hair. She was roughly pulled up to her feet, Emily held onto the Career’s wrists to ease the pain her scalp and roots experienced. Once she was back on her feet, she let go and swiftly pulled a knife from her cloth strap and cut her hair from their grasp. 

    The redhead pulled away and turned back to her opponent, the last remaining Four tribute. And no one else. The Four girl tossed Emily’s hair to the ground and rose her knife at the ready. Emily merely stared at the girl with wide eyes, her own knife grasped tightly in her hand and shifted her weight from one leg to the other as she watched her only threat.

    She was terrified . . .

    Of course she would be . . .

    The Four girl was huge. Twice her size practically. She had broad shoulders and a strong build. God, that girl could break her neck no problem. She could probably squish her head in between her thighs. Don’t slip up . . . don’t be afraid . . .

    Then she remembered . . . it was HER fear of the Careers that killed Liam. If she wasn’t so afraid of the pack of psychopaths he’d still be alive . . . Emily wouldn’t have accidentally killed him if she weren’t so damn afraid . . . 

    It was their fault . . .

    It was the Careers . . .

    Emily took in a deep breath and exhaled a slow breath as her eyes went from wide and frightened to hard and bloodthirsty.

    The Four girl took that as a cue for her to move and sprinted to Emily then swiped her knife by the backhand across toward her chest when the redheaded girl took a sliding step to the side and practically led the blade to follow her, her other foot stepping behind the first and spun, and rose her knife to jab it into the back of the girl’s chest. The girl cried out in pain for just a moment then Emily pulled the knife back just a second before the Career turned back at her with an angry look in her eyes. 

    The redheaded tribute took a couple steps back and cricked her neck and rolled her shoulders back when she twisted her knife so the blade faced away from the Career. But the Four girl didn’t allow a long moment to wait and threw a punch at Emily, but she caught the punch by the girl’s wrist and twisted it until the girl couldn’t help but follow the muscle spasm. Within a second Emily leaned to her side toward the ground and pulled her legs up, trapping the girl’s head between her knees and pulled the girl forward and flipped her onto her back. 

    Emily, that time, didn’t allow a second to wait and released her grasp on the Four girl’s arm and stabbed her throat. She pulled the knife away, unhooked her legs, and moved over the girl so Emily straddled on the girl’s chest as she pushed her hands over the Career’s mouth and her legs pinning her arms to the ground. No way of escape. The girl choked to breathe and struggled to push Emily off of her, but she was losing air and she knew she couldn’t escape.

    The Eight tribute’s eyes were dull and emotionless as she watched the Four tribute fight to stay alive. She didn’t even blink while the girl slowly died underneath her.

    BOOM

    She lifted her hands from the girl’s mouth, stained with her blood and watched to see if the girl was 100% dead. Not a single movement. Not one blink and no gasp for breath. Emily let out a sigh and stood up; Emily ran her hand through her hair, adding more red in her hair with the blood of the Career girl. She couldn’t believe how easy that was. She didn’t feel the need to breakdown. Emily wasn’t even sure if the fact that the girl was dead sunk into her head. But the fact that it was so easy was all the redhead could think about. Sure, fear was what consumed her in the beginning but then instinct took over and murder became as simple as blinking.

    A light chiming sound then broke the silence. She turned around and looked up toward the parachute as it floated close and landed in the inside of the Cornucopia. 

    Emily walked over and read the small note: “Nice kill—G.” Who the hell was G? She looked back at her sponsor gift and unwrapped the pretty wrapping to discover she was given champagne. Why alcohol? Yes, alcohol was used for cleaning wounds but she was positive that sort of drink wasn’t used for that sort of thing. Emily looked outside the mouth and peeked around to see if any Careers were about to join their fallen companion. But none were in sight.

    She ran her hand through her short hair and looked down at her, supposed, celebration drink for taking her first intended kill. Emily shrugged and uncorked the bottle then drank straight from the bottle. She leaned against the wall of the golden horn and slid down to the ground as she drank. It wasn’t like the Capitol was going to throw something else at her, she killed someone so that must entertain their viewers for a while.

    Emily swallowed down on the bitter yet somehow sweet alcohol and looked at the bottle curiously. There was no way she could finish it herself and she couldn’t run around the arena drunk. The Capitol would get a good laugh watching that though. Although—

    She got back up on her feet and poured the last half of her drink to the ground with a rather uninterested look in her eyes. Once the bottle was good an empty, she took a peek inside to see how much was really left before she turned on the balls of her feet and swung it down on a large silver box in the Cornucopia, the bottle shattered in a thousand pieces, all except the neck and the remaining top half of the bottle.

    Emily studied how jagged the edges were and lightly poked her fingers against the sharp edges before she turned away, took her pack, and stole the Career’s packs too.

    Dancing was easy. Murder without even a touch of guilt . . . was easy.

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