3. Chapter Three
I scream loudly. I fall into Father's arms, Emily into Haymitch's, and mom comes over to us with Prim and Rye in less than ten seconds. Nobody here uses a gun. It's not someone from the Seam. The door busts open and Mom starts to cry.
"My eyes are squinted shut so i don't see the person who knocked down our door.
"Hey, who are you?" I hear Gale's voice yell angrily."What do you think you're doing?"
"Katniss?" The voice is female. I open my eyes to see a short woman with light brown skin, smiling. Why is she smiling? Is she happy she ruined my birthday and my wish?
Mom is staring at the woman with wide eyes. "Are you-"
"Rue. Yes. And-I'm sorry about the door-" Mom ignores her and simply hands Prim to me. She runs to the woman and throws her arms around her neck. Everyone is staring at them with surprised looks. They know what's going on, they've watched the 74th Hunger Games. The children, however, are confused. Except me. I take notes in history.
"I thought you were dead," I say. Rue doesn't ask how I know this, or who she is.
"Yeah, so did I. When they took me to the hovercraft, I woke up. I was confused. But with Katniss's heart-breaking funeral for me in the arena, they decided to keep people under the impression that I was dead, for entertainment purposes. I've been living in the lowest dungeons of the Capitol for almost ten years, until Katniss ended the Games and all that stuff. I've been traveling across Panem to get here. Been deprived of news, didn't know you were here. I've learned to attack first then think, been in the wild long. I'd have killed a puppy."
I suddenly lurch for my tabby cat, Biscuit. Rue didn't notice. Haymitch did and smiles. I look crazy, face splattered slightly with icing from blowing too hard, I've just changed but my dark hair is sticking out everywhere from lack of hairbrush and my blue eyes are darting around the room. "Sorry to frighten the youngins."
"Oh Rue that's fine. I wish I could have known..."Mom releases Rue. "You've no idea how angry I was when you 'died'."
"This is weird. Why would the Capitol keep something like that a secret?" Father wonders aloud. "It'd be great publicity for the Games, the first ever fake death. But it also means you'd have a reason to rebel against them. So they should have put you back."
"I think I know why they didn't," says Rue. "They thought I meant to, so I could get out. They punished me by torturing me."
"Wouldn't being thrown into the arena again be considered torture?" grunts Haymitch. "It's a pretty good equivalent."
"I don't know. I just assume." Rue stares at the ground. "I'm sorry for interrupting your, uh..." She looks at the cake. "Party. I'll just go..."
"That's fine," says Mom. "Please, stay. If you don't have anywhere to be you can move into one of the empty houses here in Victor's Village."
"I don't really know any people..." She looks at Mom. "So...that'd be amazing. Thank you." They hug again.
"Here, let's cut the cake." Father leans over the beauty. He cuts me a corner with a rose on it. Everyone cranes over to get a piece of cake. I dig in to the warm, sweet treat. My father is definitely a gifted baker.
I randomly start to think about my parents. My mother, AKA The Girl on Fire. The girl who volunteered for her now-dead sister. The girl who overthrew the Capitol. My father, the boy who can lift things about 250 pounds above his head and toss them back down. The boy who was brainwashed by the Capitol to think my mother was his enemy. The boy who married my mom.
I wish I could know he's about to be the boy with bad luck.