After spending yet another day in the Training Center, Ash and I both fell into our seats at dinner, starved like we never been before.
Ash reached for the ladle to the Bean and Cherry soup when Wisher slapped his hand down, letting out a high pitched squeal.
“Not until everyone is at the table!” Ash fell back into his seat in disappointment.
“Well when is Struve coming, I am starving.” He whined
“Starving isn’t a joke.” a soft, innocent voice which belonged to none of us spoke. We all turned to see Velvet, the District 12 tribute standing next to Vamos. She
“I’m sorry.” he sat up quickly, looking to everyone in confusion
Struve walked in from the hallway and clapped his hands.
“Ahh you made it!” He gave Velvet and Vamos a hug before turning to all of us. Our mouths practically touched the floor is shock. When did tributes eat with other tributes?
“I invited them because Haymitch and Effie had some important… matters to take care of.” He pulled two chairs back and gestured them to sit down.
“Now we can eat.” he sat in the middle of Velvet and I, making things a whole less awkward.
Ash didn’t have to be told twice as he leaped to the ladle and poured the soup into his bowl. He added more food to his plate than any citizen of District Four had ever eaten in a year.
I placed four small rolls on my plate, and a little bit of spinach stuffed potatoes.
I ate it in small bites while everyone made small talk.
“How was training Velvet?”
“How do you live in District 12?”
Almost all their attention was directed to the unsolicited buddies from District 12.
I didn’t want their attention, yet I didn't want it on them either. But before I could stop myself the words came rolling out of my mouth.
“So how many of your people die of starvation each day?” I bite into my roll, letting the savory butter tease my taste buds.
“Crimson!” Struve glared at me.
“No, it is an understandable question. The answer is hundreds.” Velvet kept her smile and continued to eat her dinner, as if it was normal for someone to bite her head off.
“By the way Crimson, I liked your outfit for the Opening Ceremony.” she smiled, and for a second I thought she was mocking me, but her eyes showed otherwise.
“Thanks, I liked yours too.” I felt bad for what I had said, after all she does seem a little nice.
“We were nothing compared to you guys. Our diamond incrusted outfits could never outshine your amazing skin.” she went on about how we surely looked as if we were made of water. We all laughed and smiled as she spoke. She was not trying to steal attention, she was trying to make friends, and maybe I should be more open to that idea.
After we finished eating, we waved goodbye to Velvet and Vamos.
“Aren’t they wonderful?” Struve asked as the elevator doors closed.
“They are ok.” I shrug.
Friends would be great, but I don’t know if I can trust them.
I fall onto the soft cushions of the couch.
Struve walks over to Mags, who was still sipping away at her hot chocolate at the empty table.
I pulled a small chunk of my hair in front of my face and I slowly braid it, watching my hair weave into a beautiful design.
“So anyways, have you met anyone in the training center?” Struve and Ash sat down in the chairs that sat opposite from me.
“I met Nur and Spens.” I pick my knees up and I hug them.
“Well Nur is totally open to friends, even at this point but with Spens, you would need a little more than a smile and red hair.
Prove yourself in the interviews, he is handy and a perfect ally.”
I held my finger up as he spoke.
“Woah! Who said I wanted allies? You asked who I met and I answered. I said nothing about allies.” I looked Struve in the eyes, anger slowly slipping into my tongue.
“You can’t do this alone, not with Asher on the line.” Struve also had poison on his tongue as he spoke with a hard voice.
But two can play this game.
I stood up angrily, sticking my face in his.
“You know nothing about Asher and I!” my voice was sharp and rude. Ash picked up his feet and hugged his legs like I had done only 20 seconds ago. He was scared of me and I was too.
I put my head down, and fell back into the couch.
“I’m sorry.” my face fell into my hands.
“It’s fine.” Struve sounded sorry also, so I guess we are even then.
“She didn’t mean it.” Ash spoke softly as I kept my face down into my hands, trying to hide the small tears that fell from my eyes.
“I know. Being here isn’t easy. Your sister is under a lot of stress, ok Ash. She is going to need all the support and love she can get.” I lifted my head up slightly,just enough of me to get a glimpse of Struve giving Ash a hug and then slowly walking down the hall.
My head fell back down and it was pitch dark.
We sat in silence, Ash and I.
After about an hour, the creaking of the floors made it obvious that Ash went to bed and I sat alone with my head buried in my hands.
“Crimson.” a soft whisper cried out, it spoke in my ear and I felt the gust of hot air from their mouth. I lifted my head up.
The room was dark, and the only thing I could see was the city through the giant window. The flickering lights from the homes of the many safe families that sat in their houses.
I turned my head and a black silhouette was curled up in a little ball in the chair. Ash.
I thought he had went to bed, but there he sat.
“Crimson!” The whisper spoke louder and the hot air breathed on my neck.
I shot my head behind me and Nur was squatted down, looking into my eyes.
I shifted myself so we were face to face.
“How did you get in here.” Nur didn’t have her smile anymore, it was a empty expression.
She pointed behind her and the silhouette of what I assumed was Spens was messing with the elevator.
“Ok, so why are you here?” Nur and Spens were not supposed to be here. Neither were Velvet and Vamos but that was a formal invitation by Sturve.
“We need to talk.” she looked to Ash, whose eyes had flickered open.
“Crimson?” his voice was unsteady, scared.
“Ash it’s alright.” I patted the empty space next to me and he uncurled himself and wobbled his sleepy legs next to me.
He curled up at my side, resting his head on my hips with his eyes staring right at me.
“What do you want to talk about?” I rubbed Ash’s back, knowing he must think of me as something he has never thought of before.
“The Hunger Games.” her voice was hard, almost important.
Spens walked up behind her, his hands covered in dark, black dust.
“We have 10 minutes before the power kicks on.” Spens gave me the same sullen look he had given me in the training center.
Nur pressed her lips to my ear, tickling my ear as she spoke.
“I have a way to escape.”
Ash raised his head, just as surprised as me.
"What do you mean?" Never has anyone found an escape, or even talked about it.
"Exactly what I said, but I need you to come with me." She held out her hand, her eyes didn't break from me.
This could save Ash and I, this could be the thing that brings us home. Wait, no it won't. I will be wanted everywhere, I will be wanted and I would never be able to show my face anywhere.
"No." Her hand falls down.
"What do you mean? I thought you would be happy that I found a way for both your brother and yourself to live." She shakes her head.
"No, this will get us killed. I am not ris--"
"Get you killed?" Spens laughed coldly, clapping his hand together. "Sitting here right now, breathing the same air as the animals that are going to kill you, THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO GET YOU KILLED." He grasps onto Nur's arm, yanking her arm.
"Don't waste your breathe, we can do this alone." Nur opened her mouth to speak but stopped.
She stood up, disappointment in her eyes as they both turn to the elevators.
"I thought at least you would help." She turns back to me, but looks away quickly.
Three loud clicks echo through the room.
"No!" Spens yells, forgetting the quiet voice he had before. He grasps onto Nur's hand and goes into a full run toward the open elevator door.
Another three loud clicks echo and the lights begin to flicker on.
"Spens!" Nur trips on her foot, falling down.
"Nur, we have to go NOW!" he picks her up, still running quickly.
Three more louder clicks echo louder.
"No no no no!" They just make it through before the elevator doors slams shut.
Ash and I sit in silence.
I bury my head in the arm of the couch. What if I made the wrong mistake, but if I did everything wrong, what if I-
BANG BANG BANG
I raise my head, and my heart stops.
"Why did you say no?" Ash breaks the silence.
"Not now." I choke, staring eye to eye with Nur
"Because, we have bigger problems." I shake him off my hips, beginning to slide off the couch.
"Like what Crimson?" He raised his head and his eyes gaze upon the same horror.
"Like the fact that the elevator is stuck." The sight of Nur and Spens banging on the crystal clear elevator door.
The peacekeepers are going to come soon, they are not supposed to be in the elevators, on a whole different level from theirs.
I stood up quickly tripping over the legs of the chair. But I didn't get to the elevator in time before the shot rang out.