Never Say Goodbye

"Well, I guess this is goodbye," she told me and I could see the tears pricking her eyes.
"Never say goodbye, because goodbye means leaving and leaving means forgetting. And I never want to forget you. Ever," I announce and she nods, a tear streaking her dirt stained face.
"I guess since 'friendly' isn't working for me I'll stick to straight facts," she chokes out, her tears causing her to stumble over her words. My own tears stream down my face and I clench the night lock tighter.
"This is the end," she states and I nod trying to hide my tears from her.
"Three," she begins. I open my hand to reveal the black berries staining the palm of my hand. I grab her hand and she doesn't protest. She is the best friend I've ever had and I want her to know that.
"Two," I answer her call, my voice rings out in the emptiness of the arena. Her hand tightens on mine and she raises our arms in the air. A signal, not of surrender or defeat but one of salvation and ending.


3. Chapter 3

A few weeks passed by quickly. Matt made an admirable impression at the interview and I failed. As usual. Matt scored at 10 at training. I scored a 2. But unlike the others I have a gift that'll keep me alive for a while. I can know what the wrong place to be is and avoid being there. It's kept me alive this long. All this runs through my head as my stylist tells me it's time. I nod distractedly while a few tears escape my eyes. I step onto the platform that'll raise up into the arena. The glass closes and I leave behind all chances of survival. As I stand on the platform and look around my eyes drift to the kid to my left. He keeps reaching off the platform to grab something. He stumbles forward and immediately his body is blown everywhere. The cannon fires and I try to get the image out of my head. The arena is a forest with big thick trees but everything is layered thick with fog. I can hardly see the contestants around me. The only people I can see are Matt and the kid who got blown off his platform. Matt turns to me and shakes his head no. I nod at him, the cornucopia is somewhere in the fog. It's not smart to even try to get something from in there. It'll be even more of a bloodbath than usual.
"Let the 68th Hunger Games begin," Claudius Templesmith's voice pierces through and the gong sounds, signaling the beginning of the bloodbath. As soon as it's done ringing I sprint in the direction away from where I assume the cornucopia is. Running through the fog I find myself filled with more fear then ever before. I'm so distracted that don't realize there's something in front of me until I run face first into it. It feels like a woven basket that I'd make in the woods on a warm summer day while I'd wait for Matt to meet me. Except this basket is cold and it's shaped funny. I follow the edge of the basket, running my hands along the uneven ridges. A cannon goes off and just about scares me to death. With my heart pounding in my chest I force myself to continue. When I reach the entrance of the basket my jaw drops and shock fills my veins. The basket is filled with weapons and backpacks of stuff. This is the cornucopia. But, if this is the cornucopia then all the people who ran into the fog bank...
"Ran into a trap," I finish my thought aloud.
"Exactly, that's why you and I were smart enough to run the other way," a girl with bright red hair and green eyes answers me. She's leaning against the edge of the cornucopia with arms crossed in front of her chest. I recognize her as the girl from district 3. Two more cannons fire and I jump once again.
"Well, feel free to take whatever you want from in there, I won't stop you. The others'll figure out the cornucopia's not there soon," she tells me. I frown at her, a. I don't trust her and b. why would she let me have first pick out of the cornucopia when she's a Career. 
"Why are you doing this?" I question cautiously and it's her turn to frown. She uncrosses her arms and takes a step closer.
"Look, from day one I wanted to befriend you but since "friendly" is not working for me I'll stick with straight facts. You're good. You may have scored a 2 in training but you've got a sense that none of these other idiots here've got and I want to partner up with you," she spelled out for me and two more cannons fired. Nothing is telling me to run so I nod sharply and turn my back to her, running deep into the cornucopia to get good stuff. I just hope she wasn't lying. The red head girl comes up behind me and right as I brace myself for the blow I see her beside me packing another backpack. She looks over and smiles at me while shoving medicines into her camp backpack. I decide to trust her for the time being but if she shows even the slightest bit of untrustworthiness I'll ditch her. We pack up quick and five more cannons fire.
"They're going to figure out pretty quickly that there's no cornucopia in there and that's when they'll come after us. We need to leave. Now," I inform her and she nods following me out of the cornucopia. Four cannons fire and I start to add them up. 14 cannons, fourteen dead. This will be the shortest Hunger Games ever. As we sprint into the fog two shadowy figures jump out. I recognize the twins from District 2. Red head wastes no time killing them and I find myself staring at them in pure shock and pain. Red head takes in my expression and a smirk crosses her face.
"This is life buttercup, you gotta grow up sooner or later," she smiles and leaves me staring at the lifeless bodies in front of me. I take a sad breath in and turn leaving the bodies behind and following red head further into the fog. Keeping pace with her easily I calculate where we are in relation to the cornucopia.
"What's your name?" I ask so abruptly she jumps. I guess I'm not the only one who's been jumpy since the Games started.
"Uh, Marie," she responds and I suddenly remember seeing her at training. She scored the highest. And she wanted me?
"You never asked my name," I comment and she rolls her eyes at me. 
"Did you want me to ask?" She retorts and I frown.
"Look we need to get something straight-"
"Duck," she says and I don't know why but I do as she says. Maybe because she says it more as a suggestion rather than a command. Right as I duck the knife she picked up flashes out, stabbing the person who was going to kill me. That's 17 dead. I find myself staring again and Marie pulls my arm with her.
"No, wait," I tell her jerking my arm away from her and stepping closer to the boy. I open his clenched fist and inside I see a peculiar object. Grabbing it I scamper back over to Marie to further examine it.
"What? You can't just take that. He's...dead," she sputtered clearly trying to find a way to be mad at me.
"This is life sweetheart, you gotta grow up sometime," I repeat her own words and take off running in the opposite direction we were going. She follows closely, silently.

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