Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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25. Nothingness

    Just one left just one left just one left just one left . . .

    Emily hid herself in another building away from the fallen building where she left Pearl and finished the rest of her water bottle. She felt parched from breathing in all that awful cloud and was delighted to hydrate herself. She fished the apple out of her pack and took a crunchy bite when she thought about the odds of her against the last tribute. He was a Career. Trained all his life, obviously. She just got lucky with killing his companions. With the Four girl, she had a messy fighting style and overestimated her. With the Twos, she had a projection to trick them into thinking they had her cornered and burned them in a box. And with the One girl, the building collapsed and rubble fell on top of her.

    What were the Gamemakers going to do with Emily and One? It was just the two of them left and they always did something to herd them toward each other for the final match. The one problem was that they probably had no idea where she was with the tracker out of her arm. She was invisible. And the dust cloud hid her for a while.

    Wonder if they found her yet . . .

    She finished off, what could possibly be, her last apple and tossed it out the window, remembering she was on the third floor and looked out the window for any sign of the One boy. Her eyes shifted left and right, no sign of the boy. Thank god . . .

    Emily went through her bag again, finding gauze, rubbing alcohol, snare wire, and the healing cream left in her pack. Her wounds had healed since applying the cream on her, so the gauze was useless. So was the rubbing alcohol, so no need for that. And now . . . how to kill. She had one knife left and the snare wire . . . what could she—

    She felt the earth shake beneath her and immediately stood up. She looked out the window and the buildings across the street began to crumble to the ground. Oh god, did the Gamemakers set off an earthquake!? Emily ran from the window when the glass shattered and ran toward the stairs. Get out of the building. Being inside was dangerous and it was even more so when you were higher up—

    CRASH! CLANK!

    She reached the stairs and the steps to the lower floors were gone. It was all the way on the first floor in a dangerous pile. The sound of rock crashing against each other grew louder and louder outside. And then the ground down the hall began to fall apart. Emily bolted up the stairs, level four, level five, level six, and then she entered the roof. She whipped her head around, the buildings within sight around the arena disappearing within a cloud of dust all at once. Her eyes found the handles to a fire escape and she ran toward it, but once she looked down there was no street below her.

    WHAT THE HELL!?

    Her eyes followed the emptiness, finding absolute nothingness around the corner. Whatever remaining bit of ground she saw, it broke into pieces and fell into the pit of god knows what. Okay . . . she was safe for the time being . . . maybe she’d get lucky and the boy ended up falling into despair without her having to raise a finger. She put her pack down and dug the snare out then shoved it into her pocket as she took out her knife and readied herself IF the boy were so surprisingly survive that apocalyptic hellhole arena.

    Then the buildings to her right and left began to fall apart when she heard something land to the side of the building. She turned herself to find Alto getting back up, filthy with dirt and stained with blood when his fell on Emily.

    His eyes widened and his grip on his sword tightened around the hilt. “How . . . the FUCK . . . are you still alive!?” he exclaimed, bewildered by her actually standing before him.

    Okay . . . don’t panic . . . you killed the other Careers . . . and he’s all alone so it’ll be easier to take him down, Emily told herself. Her green eyes fell onto his sword. Disadvantage for her . . .

    Then all fell silent around them . . .

    Emily took in deep breaths, hearing nothing but the pounding of her chest and her shallow breathing as Alto stared her down. Couldn’t think of a plan. Too soon and nothing to work with. No way of tricking the boy. He probably figured she was somewhat clever enough to get everyone before him. He wouldn’t underestimate her like the rest of them did . . .

    Alto took a step forward and Emily immediately took a step back, looking behind her to see how much roof she had left to back into; Alto took a larger step then sprinted to her. Emily lost her footing from the scare and fell back with a hard thud. The Career switched the blade so the blade faced the ground as he raised it; Emily rolled backward, straightened her arms when her hands planted into the ground, and her legs followed behind her and kicked his chin with the heel of her boot. She was crouched down, knife in hand, lunged forward and slashed his leg. But she was caught by her neck and rose her up until she was eye-to-eye with Alto.

    His hand was placed at the top of her head and he slipped his thumb and index finger around her jawline when Emily knew exactly what he was planning and wouldn’t give him the chance. Emily lifted her legs and kicked his ribcage, throwing herself out of his grasp and swung her arms around to stick a softer landing at her upper back and her legs just over her head. Only her back stung for a moment before she swung her legs forward, arched her back, and pushed herself up and landed on her feet.

    Alto took long steps forward in hard kicks, which Emily blocked. The feel of his boot hurting her body wherever he kicked as she backed away closer and closer to the edge. Her eyes darted to the end of the building, seeing nothing but black below, shoved her hand in her pocket and took the snare wire out. She stepped aside and Alto slammed the back of his fist against her cheek, practically pushing her down to the ground and softened her landing with a side role while she undid the wire.

    The Career boy didn’t even give her the chance to get back up, but once he was close enough Emily launched herself back up onto her feet and slammed her elbow into his Adam’s apple, strung the wire between her hands and wrapped it around the man’s neck then pulled all her weight down to the ground, pulling him down with her to the ground. She quickly knotted the wire while the boy wheezed. As he tried to get back up, Emily slammed her fist down onto his nuts and continued with her work as Alto groaned. At least his weakness was easier to find than the others . . .

    She tightened it around his neck, so tight he wouldn’t be able to claw it loose and ran off to a post close by and made a noose around that too. Quickly quickly quickly! Emily’s hands fumbled around the noose making a tight knot when she put it around the post when she was hit from the side. Black spots sprinkled her sight and her head throbbed terribly. Her shoulder was kicked to the side and was pinned down, a knife dove toward her eye and Emily caught his wrist just before the tip got to her. Her lashes brushed against the blade, their arms shaking and fought against each other.

    He had the advantage. He was above her and she was too tired from fighting death as long as she had. For a moment, she thought about just giving up and letting the knife go into her eye and let him do what he wanted to end her. Emily didn’t want to fight anymore. Life wasn’t pleasant to her before Liam . . . returning to that life without him was just as meaningless as she said in her interviews . . .

    Liam wanted to die for her . . .

    Why couldn’t she do the same . . .?

    “Please . . . live . . .”

    I don’t want to . . .

    “You have to win . . .”

    I don’t want to . . .

    “Promise me you’ll get out of here . . .”

    Emily pursed her lips into a hard line, her eyes angry and sad as tears ran down the side of her face. She squeezed her eyes shut when the fear and the heartbreak punched a hole in her chest, the pain was too much to handle.

    “Promise me you’ll get out of here . . .”

    The redhead growled and pushed the boy off of her, launching him toward the edge but stopped midway. Emily got back on her feet, slipping for a moment and kicked the boy in the face before he could get up, his head just hanging from the edge and blood running down from his nose. Then into his stomach, forcing him to curl into a ball, closer to the edge. She then pressed her boot to his side and pushed him off the side.

    The wire straightened and vibrated with a boing. Followed by that beautiful, yet horrid sound she thought she wouldn’t last to hear . . .

    BOOM

    “Ladies and Gentlemen!” the voice announced when Emily fell to the ground and sunk onto her back, staring at the sky. “The victor of the 68th Hunger Games! Emily Aldair of District 8!”

    “I promise . . .” she whispered tiredly and closed her eyes.

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