Mercy (A Hunger Games fanfic)

Avea Thatcher isn't like most careers from District 4, she has no interest in the games or the fame and glory that come with being Victor. But after her twin sister, Lyra, is executed, her older sister, Xanthe, decides to volunteer for the 56th Hunger Games as a form of suicide. Avea knows she has to be the one to fight in the games if she is to save her sister and keep her family together. Seen as a traitor by the careers, Avea struggles to stay alive in the arena while keeping a vow she made to Lyra and herself to not let anyone suffer before they die.

"Before I black out I make a vow to myself: 'I will never let anyone suffer like she did. I will never let anyone suffer like my sister did.' And then I'm pulled into the blackness."

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14. Chapter 13

My heart is racing so fast that I think it might beat out of my chest. Seeing that rabid mutt rip the boy apart has shaken me more than I care to admit; I silently thank God that it didn't decide to attack us while we were on the cliff. I know that by leaving that poor boy to the rat I've already failed to uphold the vow I made to Lyra, but I know I won't let that happen again.

"Uh, guys but we are kind of are running out of water," Harrison points out while holding up his half empty water bottle.

I silently curse myself, water should have been our first priorty after we got out of the canyon, but instead we got distracted. "Alright, we can split up but we should all stay relatively close incase something happens," I say.

The others nod and we all split up in the forest no further than a 20 yards from the next person. I carry a tomahawk in each hand and begin to scour the forest. The sun is high in the sky, but the temperature is still relatively cool and the humidity continues to press in around me.

I've been looking for over an hour with no luck; I begin to think that the only water source is the river in the canyon, but based on how green the trees are and the amount of animals in the forest I know there has to be another source beyond the canyon. After another two hours in the woods I hear Harrison call out. 'Thank God,' I think 'he's found water.'

I run in the direction of Harrison's voice and find him and Eris by a small river filling up their water bottles. I fill mine up and Ronan ducks out of the woods and fills his bottle up. After everyone drinks their fill of water and refills their bottles, we decide to have a small meal since we haven't eaten since this morning. There is a little bit of raccoon left, but not enough to feed all of us so Eris and Ronan hed into the woods to hunt. Harrison and I wait by the river and watch the supplies.

"You said you have two sisters, right?" Harrison says trying to start a conversation.

"Had two sisters," I correct, "My sister Lyra died 3 months ago, so now it's just me and Xanthe." I purposely leave out the part about Lyra being executed.

Harrison thankfully doesn't apologize to me for Lyra's death, but instead says, "Tell me about them."

I smile at this and reply, "Lyra was my best friend, we did absolutely everything together. A lot of people didn't know we were related because despite the fact that we were twins we looked absolutely nothing alike. She had long chocolate brown and the prettiest blue eyes, they were like the sky. Lyra was just one of those people that just being around them brightened your day. And then Xanthe is my role model, when my dad would ask me what I wanted to be I would say, 'I want to be Xanthe!'," Harrison laughs at this and I smile even more, "Xanthe has been the most constant thing in my life and I don't know what I'd do without her."

I remember Harrison talking about the little brother and sister he raised, "Tell me about your brother and sister."

He brightens at this, "Their names are Flinn and Lila; Flinn's 5 and Lila's 8. Flinn is the brightest little kid I've ever met, I mean it, he's incredibly smart. And Lila she's so strong, when I got reaped she was the one supporting me and she promised to take care of Flinn despite how young she is. They mean the world to me; as long as their safe it doesn't matter what happens to me."

I didn't feel very close to Harrison before, but now I feel like I understand him for the first time. Ronan and Eris come back with a plump wild turkey and a squirrel. I'm not sure how they caught the squirrel, but I'm glad they weren't shown up like me. After the turkey and squirrel are gutted and skinned we cook them over a small fire. We eat the turkey and the remainder of the raccoon but wrap the squirrel in my jacket. By the time we're done the sun is touching the horizon so we set up camp in a small clearing 100 yards from the river and wait for the faces to appear in the sky. The anthem blares across the arena and the faces appear, first the girl from 3 and then the boy from 10. That's half of the arena gone in two days. Seeing the tributes faces makes me think of the horrible creature that killed them and the tributes violent deaths. I know exactly how their families are feeling right now because its how I felt when I lost Lyra and its not a good feeling.

I pull on my leather bracelet and think about the name on the other side, Lyra, and suddenly I remember that I never put Mave's name on it. I pull out a knife and carefully carve Mave next to Lyra. Once the bracelet is secure around my wrist I crawl into the sleeping bag with Ronan and drift off still thinking about mutts, while Eris takes her turn on watch. My dreams are filled with giant rats with blood dripping from their mouths and screaming tributes, so when the scream pierces the night I think it's part of my dream. When the scream comes again I sit up abruptly and immediately reach for a tomahawk. The others are also gathering their weapons. A cannon fires. The scream came from the river so we slowly make our way towards it. I f I were by myself I would have run but with three allies I know we can take care of what ever the threat is.

When I get to the river I see the boy from 12 standing in the middle of the river, he's trying to pull a snake out of his thigh. The snake lets go of his thigh and slithers back into the water. The tribute turns towards us with a psychotic look in his eyes and blood on his hands. He doesn't have any weapons but he runs at us screaming anyways. The attack was so unexpected that he's tackled Eris before any of us can process what's happening.

His hands are around her neck. She tries to reach for her sword, but the boy's knees have her pinned in place. I run at him with a tomahawk, but to my surprise Harrison beats me there and yanks the feral boy off of her. The boy howls and brings elbow into Harrison's jaw; Harrison recovers quickly and slashes the boy across the chest; the boy falls back on his hands and knees with a whimper. Harrison only hesitates a moment before plunging the blade into the boy's heart. Blood splatters Harrison's face and the boy slips to the ground, the cannon fires.

Eris sits up gasping for breath with a surprised look on her face, "What the hell was that?"

I shake my head, "It was like he'd gone mad. Was he always like that."

"Not that I remember. He seemed normal enough during training," Eris says regaining her breath.

"The snake," Harrison simply says.

Ronan's brow crinkles, "What about it?"

"When the snake finally let go he went mad," Harrisonn says like this should be obvious, "must have something to do with the venom."

"So that snake was some kind of mutt," I clarify.

"Exactly," Harrison nods.

Now that the whole crazed tribute thing is cleared up I think back to when we first woke up, "There was a cannon shot earlier. Think he killed the tribute?"

"Based on the amount of blood on his hands, I'd say yes," Ronan says.

"That thing went back into the river, we'll have to be careful when we get water from now on," Eris adds.

"One of our few sources of life now holds something deadly, that's the kind of irony the Gamemakers love," I laugh.

The others smile but everyone's tired, so we head back to camp. I once again dream of mutts, this time my dream includes slithering snakes and psychotic tributes.

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