Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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24. Pretty Face

    The moment Emily stepped foot to the first floor, the One girl ran by the windows down the street and disappeared around a corner. The redhead retreated in the dark when the other One boy ran back and looked around for his district mate then ran the other way opposite from where the pretty girl hid.

    Okay, they haven’t questioned their dead companions’ deaths. For all they knew, they managed to kill each other at the same time. To them, it was just the two of them left.

    Emily ran down the hall toward the window into the alleyway and jumped out, rolled forward to silence her landing and sprinted toward the One girl peeked her head around the corner for her district partner Adrenaline ran through her body, her muscles felt energized with anger and power, and the wind ran through her hair; Emily stepped up on some wooden boxes as she pressed the button of the bow, the gauntlet clicking and morphed midair when the girl looked toward the redhead’s way when Emily swung the spine of the bow across her face and knocked the girl to the ground.
   
    The second Emily hit the ground the Career girl swiped her foot underneath the redhead and forced her to fall back. The fall knocked the wind out of Emily for the moment when the One girl jumped forward and pinned her shoulders down; her free hand took a handful of Emily’s hair and began to bash the back of her head against the ground. Emily cried out in pain then took the girl by her ears and pulled her closer, forcing the girl to follow after so she didn’t lose her ears and then swung the girl to her shoulder and rolled over her. Her hands gripped around her head and did just the same, bashing the back of her head to the ground until the Career pushed Emily off and launched her forward and back onto her back.

    The One girl rolled backwards with her foot just over Emily’s face and swung down at her, toes first, when Emily rolled away to the side and scurried back onto her feet. She should have come up with a plan first! Why did she just go without thinking things through!? One then took Emily by remaining bits of her hair and pulled her up halfway when Emily looped her legs between the girl’s legs and knocked at the back of her knees, forcing her to fall backwards and hit her head hard against the ground. Out of reaction, she released her hand and Emily spun around and wrapped her hands around her neck when she pushed against the Career’s throat in a choke hold. She allowed herself a quick glance to her belt to know where to grab her knife when she realized it was missing. And her other knife was in her bag, which had fallen off and laid far away from the girls.

    DAMMIT!

    The Career girl grasped around Emily’s wrists and pulled her hands away, shaking as she went against the redhead’s strength while the One girl got up until she sat up facing Emily eye-to-eye. The Eight tribute had been trying to pull away, but the death grip around her wrists held her prisoner. The pretty blonde girl then threw her head forward and hit her forehead against Emily’s.

    She felt as if a brick had hit her head, she began to see stars and the world began to spin around her and her head felt light. Emily slowly blinked to get the stars out of her vision when the girl headbutt Emily again and let go of her wrists. The redhead collapsed onto her side, her head throbbing at a painful beat when—Pearl! That was her name! Pearl took a large piece of a rock bigger than her fist when Emily heard a hissing sound from below them and moved somewhere else toward Pearl. And then the smell of gas reached her nostril.

    Her eyes widened when she kicked the Career girl into her stomach then under her chin before she scurried away as Pearl fell back writhing in pain.

    BOOM!

    The building collapsed and the explosion made Emily’s ears ring. She was thrown forward and felt pebbles and dust brush against her from her safe distance a couple feet away from where Pearl was last seen. Emily couldn’t breathe through all the dust and coughed up a lung whilst no sign of the dust clearing up made itself known. She knew she heard the explosion, but did the rubble kill the girl? Was there even a cannon announcing her death? Dammit, she couldn’t hear . . .

    Emily’s hands searched around her and felt the smooth strap of her pack and pulled that closer to her, no rubble over her pack. Thank god, she wouldn’t know if she could improvise without any weapons. Emily covered her mouth and nostril, hoping to keep the dust away but all she smelled was dirt, blood, and sweat. She slowly stood up, her hands against the wall as it slid up while she got back on her feet and hesitantly dragged her feet forward to avoid tripping on large rocks when she heard aggressive coughing and painful groans through her ringing ears.

    The Eight tribute’s eyes searched for the sound of the voice through the thick cloud when she saw some movement closer to the ground. She couldn’t . . . she couldn’t have survived that, could she? Were the buildings designed to not kill their tributes or something? One of the collapsed pile of rubble failed to kill Emily, it might as well or she and the Career girl were just REALLY lucky.

    She thought about leaving the girl for dead and hope a mutt or another event created by the Gamemakers would kill her, but when it started to clear up, Emily saw that the girl was trapped underneath rubble, pinning her body but her chest upward and one arm free for movement though it looked broken. Pearl tried to suppress her tears, but the pain was too strong and the waterworks escaped from the corners of her eyes as she heaved quickened shallow breaths. Emily could just . . . end her then and there . . . it was pathetic to take a life when the girl was utterly defenseless, but that didn’t stop Pearl and her crew to go after Emily when she was alone in the sewers . . .

    What the hell . . . she and the rest of them had it coming . . .

    Emily walked over to the Pearl, the cloud becoming thinner and thinner the closer she came to the older girl when she pulled out a knife from her pack and stomped her foot at the bend of the Career’s arm. She screamed out in pain then was muffled when the redhead’s hand covered the girl’s mouth. The One boy, Alto, was still looking for Pearl and still thought Emily was dead. Though her face showing up in the sky of the Fallen was mere hours away, they all heard the cannon fire. To him, it was only him against Pearl.

    Boy, would HE be confused when Pearl’s cannon fired and no hovercraft came to take him away . . .

    Pearl could barely move her arm, but Emily only grinded her boot more into her broken bone and her screams muffled behind the Eight girl’s hand. Looking at her face, she could only remember how close it was in her hallucinations. How her pretty face scared her into every corner and throwing Emily into a pit of panic. The fear that consumed her and resulted in a knife in Liam’s chest . . .

    That face . . .

    Emily pressed harder into the girl’s face and began to peel her skin off like an apple. Tears ran down Pearl’s face, her screaming becoming more and more like agonizing pain while Emily continued tormenting the girl little by little. Blood ran down her face and soaked Emily’s hand, its warmth reminding her of Liam’s blood and his life slipping away. She pursed her lips, her jaw tightening, and holding back tears and the flashing reminder of his eyes dulling each second.

    Every time Emily blinked she saw him for a second. Dark hair, lightly tanned skin, blue eyes, his lips always curled into a smile when he looked at her . . . handsome . . . completely handsome . . . and he was gone . . .

    Tears ran down Emily’s cheeks when she woke up from her nightmarish trance and stared down at a half destroyed face of the Career girl, still alive. Skin was still attached around her eyes and bits around her cheeks, but it was like looking at a model of muscle with parts of skin left in a biology class. Only the girl’s blood made it very clear Emily wasn’t holding onto a plastic model . . .

    It looked like Pearl had fainted from the pain though her eyes were dull with sleep. No wonder the cries had stopped . . .

    Emily removed her hand from the girl’s mouth and lifted her chin up, exposing her neck and slashed her neck upon. The girl didn’t wake up, but she choked to breathe with blood filling her mouth and lungs. The redhead stood up and walked away from the girl, slung her backpack over her shoulder, and heard the most beautiful sound:

    BOOM

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