Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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14. Warmth

    Nothing had happened for two days and Liam and Emily could feel something coming. Eleven had died in the first two days, thirteen tributes remained . . .

     Liam and Emily had moved locations three times in the two days nothing happened. Both times so they could remain invisible, and once when they heard the Career pack in the same building as them and slinked away before they noticed anyone was there. They always went somewhere where there was a freezer or a refrigerator to keep their meat to last longer; feeling as if they lived the good life like the richer part of Eight.

     By the fifth day since the Games began, they ran out of the wolf meat and needed to go hunt again. And to add to the stress, Emily grew more and more ill. Liam had been fighting whatever she had caught, but it affected her faster due to her small build and weaker immune system. He suspected the meat was the cause. Or the water they had been drinking from their selected hiding places.

     Emily breathed in slowly in small doses as she laid on her side. Liam pressed the back of his hand on her sweating forehead before it was replaced with his forehead to check her temperature.  There were times her temperature was fine and had to double check to really know how ill she was, just in case. That time, she was practically on fire . . .

     “Worst time to get sick, Em . . .” he muttered.

     “Not my fault . . .” she groaned weakly.

      That was it for her, she wouldn’t be able to move often or as quickly for a few days unless miracle medicine from the sponsors were to parachute close by. For the time being, she was stuck. Liam could just leave her there to die. But Emily already knew he would never do that; it would absolutely kill him.

     Taking large deep breaths only made her want to vomit and moving even a little made her want to empty her stomach. Eating sounded repulsive, but she knew she’d be forced to consume something to speed the healing process. But there had been no sign of sponsors since the Games began and their romance should have rewarded them with something unless Phox were holding back. He should have at least taken advantage of their intimate marital status for something. Then again, only anyone from Eight would understand what they did and revealing it to the sponsors would risk them learning the hardship of districts. Because how poor do you have to be to not afford rings and how long had the district suffered to make that change?

     “You have to eat something . . . You’ll feel better . . .”

     “I’ll throw up . . .” she mumbled with a hoarse tone.

     “You’ll have to sooner or later . . .”

     “I’ll be fine . . .” she then closed her eyes and balled her hands weakly. Emily felt so numb, like her body felt foreign to her and it made her feel uncomfortable.

     Liam ran his hand through her sweat-drenched hair as he dabbed her sweat from her face. He lightly planted a kiss on her forehead when they heard a dinging outside. Liam glanced down at her for a moment before he stood up and readied an arrow as he peeked out the door searching for the source of dinging noise. Emily watched him as his body disappeared outside and closed her eyes while she evened her breathing.

     The dinging stopped.

     The shuffling of feet followed afterward and Liam’s warmth that radiated from his body welcomed her of his return. “What did you get?” she asked without opening her eyes.

     “It’s for you, actually,” Liam informed. “He sent soup.”

     Emily groaned.

     “He knew you’d respond like that,” he chuckled. “He said: ‘Stop groaning and take the damn thing. Don’t die’.” The redhead huffed and slowly sat up. While she tried not to puke, Liam went into the other room and she heard the water running. Emily leaned against the wall and took in shallow breaths and took the tiny cup of soup that laid beside her. Liam came back and dropped a blue pill into a canteen she did not recall they possessed. “He also gave us a canteen and some pills to kill anything bad in the water we drink,” Liam added and shook the canteen as he approached Emily.

     “Oh good . . .” she sighed and blew on the surface of her soup and took a light sip of the silver cup of chicken broth. “So no animal meat for a while?” she asked and winced at the heat.

     “Maybe . . .” he sighed. “We still have to have something besides a loaf of bread to survive on. And the Careers probably have all the food back at the horn if they hadn’t eaten it all yet,” the man shrugged.

     “Yeah . . .” she nodded and blew into the cup again.

     “How’s the soup?” he asked.

     “Bland,” Emily answered honestly. “Never thought I’d miss the Capitol’s incredibly rich foods,” she wrinkled her nose.

     “Your stomach is going to be the death of you,” Liam lightly smiled and shook his head.

     “Too much food makes me sick, too rich foods make me sick, too little makes me ill . . .” she listed off. “There’s no balance is there?”

     “Not with you,” he chuckled.

     Emily pried her eyes away from Liam and sipped the broth. Even in the arena they managed to make each other laugh. The Careers laughed, sure, but that was because they were sick in the mind. With the two, it was their only way to cope at the fact they were there and they’d either die together or one of them survive. She felt his eyes on her as she drank her soup and sipped the clean canteen water from time to time and kissed her temple when she finished.

     “Feel better?”

     “Give me time,” she rolled her eyes at him.

     He rolled his blue eyes back at her and stood up. “I’m going to go hunt for something again. I’ll see if I can get a rabbit,” he promised.

     “Be careful.”

     “I’ll be back,” he gently smiled and brushed his lips to hers with a feather like kiss and picked up his bow and quiver. “Don’t move.”

     “Really can’t anyway.”

     Liam quietly laughed as he disappeared and Emily slowly scooted into a corner away from the door’s view and stayed in a dark corner. She pulled her hood over her head and curled into a ball as she listened carefully. With her knife in her bag and her whistle around her neck, she was prepared for whatever would come through the door and if she couldn’t handle it she could always blow the whistle. Emily let out a quiet sigh and hugged her knees as she tapped her fingers against her shin. Her fingers still felt numb, but not as terribly as earlier. She began to adjust to her skin again as the prickliness in her muscles began to wash away.

     She took in a deep breath and smelled something odd. Emily wrinkled her nose and furrowed her brows as she turned her head to figure where the smell came from. As she slowly got up and her muscles began to wake, the smell grew stronger. She turned in the direction to the kitchen when she saw a flash of light come from there followed by heat.

     BOOM

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