Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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21. Living

    The girl from Five, the boy from Seven . . . And Liam perished in a day . . .

    Emily had taken refuge in the basement of a building she discovered and locked herself in a room with no windows and remained in the dark for two days. The first night she woke up alone and had forgotten what had happened the day before, but it came back as a violent punch in the chest. The trauma and the heartbreak drained all her energy and she had no motivation to walk around, let alone breathe.

    She hugged her knees to her chest and placed the whistle upon her lips and quietly blew a quiet tweet. It was a sick trick . . . if she blew her whistle he would come back . . . Maybe she still had that hallucinogenic gas in her system and her mind played tricks on her. Maybe she and Liam had gotten separated and he was out looking for her.

    Tweeeeeeeeeet . . .

    Tweeeeeeeeeet . . .

    Her heart ached painfully, making the pit of her stomach churn, and the sorrow triggered her tear ducts again. Her eyes welled with tears as she took in a deep breath.

    Tweeeee—twet—tweeeet—

    The sound broke with her quiet sobs and she lost control of her composer. She pressed her palm to the point she saw stars and rest her forehead to her knee, her tears soaked her palms and her hands trembled against her face. She then smelled blood. Emily parted her hands from her face and looked down at her palm and dry blood from her creases stuck to her palm. Liam’s blood . . .

    Emily aggressively rubbed her palm to get the rest of the blood off. Even if she had gotten most of it off before, she could still feel his blood . . . The warmth that escaped from his body that always protected her from the cold . . . blood from his heart that she had accidentally hurt . . . Even the taste . . .

    She could remember the taste of his blood . . .

    Salty and metallic against his soft sweet lips . . .

    She wrapped her arms around herself and leaned her head back against the wall and didn’t even bother wiping the tears away as it ran down her neck. The cloth around her wrist tickled against her arm and Emily glanced down at it. Stained with blood, dirt, and sewer water. Whose blood that stained it she wasn’t sure and didn’t want to know. Emily looked down at the cloth again and immediately regretted her decision.

    They shouldn’t have done that . . . it was stupid . . . it only hurt more. It might have hurt less if he died as her boyfriend rather than her husband. Or maybe it would have hurt just as much . . . she loved him in every way possible, there was no denying that, and losing him would have hurt just the same no matter what title he held.

    She heard the sound of a microphone being moved echo throughout the arena. “Attention, tributes. Attention. Commencing at sunrise, there will be a feast tomorrow at the Cornucopia. At this feast, a pack with your district number carries something that you need. We hope for your gratitude.” Then all went silent again.

    Emily blinked and looked down at her old bandage on her chest stained with old blood. She tenderly lifted the bandage off and put some pressure on the healing hole. It was red and puffy, infected probably. Considering that she had a pipe through her for days and the thing was dirty with concrete and rust. It hurt to touch it and it hurt to move. But not compared to her back that still sung. She had her back to the wall for a while that it stopped hurting until she adjusted her seating. She needed medicine . . .

    There were only six of them left . . .

    The remaining five were Careers . . .

    How she could possibly manage to fight off five trained killers on her own without the help of a crocodile mutt to scare them off was beyond her. Maybe she could try to snatch her pack before they could appear. That was . . . if they weren’t still there . . .

    Emily let out a pained sigh, tightly closed her eyes, and pushed herself from the wall and quietly cried out when her back screamed in pain for moving. She pulled the food pack with her and tugged at the other needs pack as she got back on her feet and started walking. The redheaded tribute carefully opened the door to peek her head out; when she saw no one around she moved out and quickly walked across the street to a small alleyway. The Careers were too big to slip into the crack, unless they threw their weapons at her before she could get into a wider way.

    She turned into a corner where it was much wider to walk to and stopped at a dead end. A fire escape latter was about four feet over her head and a large trash bin stood in a corner of the boxed dead end. It was too heavy for her just by the look of it and even if she COULD move it it would cause too much noise and draw attention.

    “Hey, Liam could you—?” she turned around and he wasn’t there. His lack of presence only reminded her she was alone . . .

    Emily stood there staring at the wall, as if expecting him to walk around the corner with a gentle smile on his face and apologize for keeping her waiting. Her once large eyes felt as if it shrunk in sorrow and turned away back to look up at the latter over her head. She was on her own. She had to do things by herself without his help now. She jumped as high as she could and just barely brushed her fingers against the first bar of the latter. Too tall. But she was able to touch it if only a little. That meant she could manage.

    The redhead bent a little more deeply and once she jumped with more leverage from her ankles, she reached with more effort with one hand and grabbed hold of the bar. Her weight dragged her a little and felt as if her arm was about to ripe from her socket if she didn’t power through the pain her body suffered. Emily took in deep breaths and swung her free hand to grab the bar and dangled there for a couple of seconds. She adjusted her hands a couple more seconds and slowly pulled herself up until the third bar was within a closer reach and switched to the third bar. She repeated this until she was able to pull her legs to the first bar and climb up to the railing.

    Once she reached the platform of the fire escape, she laid down and tenderly massaged her arms. Dang it, she had the strength to do what she did, it just had been so long since she had to pull her own weight, let alone anything heavier than her to and from work. Emily stared up at the sky with little to no interest, feeling as if all color in the world had completely dimmed and everything seemed all black and grey. Lifeless and uninteresting . . .

    She let out a sigh and pulled herself up before she began climbing up the fire escape again and went all the way up to the roof and hoped from one rooftop to the other that she could jump until the Cornucopia was in sight again. There was still daylight out and she had food to keep her energy. She laid back down at the edge and took out an orange and peeled it until it was bare and ate a slice at a time without tasting the fruit. Even taste had become a lost sense since she had become numb. She felt pain, that was for sure. But the colors of the world and her sense of taste felt as if it had decreased and it frightened her that losing someone so important to her made the world seem so much darker than it was before.

    But she kept on living. She kept eating. She made an empty promise to stay alive. But it was for him . . . not for her . . .

    “And one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . pick up your feet, Liam,” his mother nagged him. Emily took an interest in ballroom dancing when she saw Liam’s parents dancing in the kitchen, so Mrs. Aldair pulled Emily aside one day to teach her the basic steps and pulled her second son to partner up with the little redheaded girl.

    Liam kept looking down at his feet to check if he was doing the steps right and picked up his feet a little more so it didn’t drag. “I’m supposed to be leading, right?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then Emily shouldn’t be doing my job.”

    “You keep messing up,” Emily rolled her eyes at him.

    “I’m still learning the steps,” he whined.

    “You’re slow then,” she chuckled.

    “They bicker like a couple too,” Scott commented.

    “Wait, they’re NOT together?” Constantine joked.

    “Ew! Gross, guys! She’s eleven!”

    “Be nice, boys,” Mrs. Aldair lightly chuckled while Emily blushed as red as her hair. “Relax. Emily. Lower your elbows and relax your hands. Liam won’t bite.”

    “I don’t think you know your son as well as you think you do,” she joked.

    “Calling me clumsy AND violent,” he rolled his eyes, “Some friend you are,” Liam said as his hand that held hers rose over her head and she spun underneath with ease.

    “Beautiful! If you two practice everyday, you’ll look like professionals by the time you two marry each other—”

    “AND we’re done!” Liam called the same time he and Emily broke away. Even his mother wanted them together. Liam’s face blushed dark red and uncomfortably ran his hand through his hair while Emily twirled a curl between her fingers.

    Stupid family . . .


    Emily blinked and held herself tightly, as if hugging herself would somehow feel like him holding her. Like her hands that felt like fire would trick her senses into believing Liam’s warmth protected her like it used. But the warmth of her own body made her feel as if she stole his . . .

    Tears ran down the side of her face and she wanted nothing more but for something to rain from the sky and kill her there . . .

    Dancing was easier. Living was much harder.

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