"Johanna." I squeak, afraid that if I spoke any louder she might crumble to pieces.
"I'm glad to see a familiar face around here." Johanna's voice is very raspy. I would of thought Johanna would have see Annie by now. Annie is a Victor who went a little crazy after she won her Games. She is also the girl Mags volunteered for in the Quarter Quell. After Katniss and Finnick could get out of the wedge that terrorized them; and I calmed Katniss down, Johanna went to get Katniss a drink of water. I had led Katniss down to the tree line and gave her some space. Finnick didn't say a word and went into the ocean and just sat there as the cool, salty waves crashed over his body. Johanna returned and gave Katniss some water in a shell. Being only twenty feet away I could hear their conversation. Katniss asked Johanna who Annie was. Johanna told Katniss that love was weird. From what Johanna told Katniss, I think that Annie is Finnick's love. Not some bizarre Capitol women, but a crazy, helpless, fragile girl.
"Johanna, where is Annie?" I question the winner from District Seven. "I don't know exactly, except for something. Every night I hear a girl scream really loud and I hear uncontrollable sobbing. I don't know who it is, or where it is coming from. I know they have a couple of Avox's that you and Katniss may of known, but they don't make screaming noises."
"What do Avox's sound like?" I ask Johanna. Johanna stifles a small laugh. "I do not want to explain it to you. But trust me, you will know it when you hear it."
I honestly have no idea what they sound like. I can't even fathom it so I push it out of my mind. I decide to change the subject.
"Um.. Uh, Johanna?" Right now I am clearly not as good with my words as I usually am. She lifts her head in acknowledgement.
"What have they done to you?" I ask her: dreading the answer. Johanna sighs and begins to explain in a barely audible voice. Since the moment she came to the Capitol, Johanna has been tortured. Apparently the Capitol think that Johanna was in on the secret to get Katniss out and to District 13. Johanna tells me that she will never tell, even if it means giving her life up. I ask her what kind of torture they inflict on her now fragile body. Everyday men in white suits with masks on come into her cell. She tells me that at first they just tried beating her. After Johanna wouldn't say anything, they resorted to putting her in water. They would dunk her head in a large bucket of water, then hold her there for about a minute and a half. They did this several times a day. Every time they were done dunking her, they let her fall on her head; then they would kick her and beat her for another five minutes. She tells me the only food she gets is bread. Johanna tells me that the only way she could hang onto her sanity is the bread. Apparently the bread reminds her of me. Johanna knows that I would be here sooner or later and was just counting down the hours till I got here.
"Have-" Johanna coughs out blood. My heart aches for her. Not in the way my heart would ache for Katniss when she was in pain, but in guiltiness. Katniss and I are the sole reason why Johanna and Annie and the other Avox's are being tortured.
"Have.. Have they done anything to you yet?" She finally gets out, wiping the blood from her chin.
"No," I hadn't really thought about being tortured till now. My mind races a million miles an hour. All I can think of is what they will do to me. They expect me to reveal some deep secrets about Katniss and the rebels. That is something I nor Katniss has ever had access to. I shudder as I realize that they will still inflict pain on me, trying to get me to tell something that I do not have. "but I haven't had anything to eat. I also just came back from an interview with Caesar Flickerman."
Johanna stifles a small laugh. "So that's why you wore that suit. I though it was just because.. Never mind, I didn't know why you were wearing it." She shakes her head.
I start to say something but Johanna cuts me off.
"Shhh! They are coming." Johanna scoots out of site. I reach my hand through the bars, searching for hers.
"Who is coming? Johanna? Johanna where are you?" I need to see her. I can't stand just looking at white. I get no response. I sigh and scoot away from the bars like Johanna did.
About ten seconds later a door materializes from no where and the men that Johanna described came in. I stared in horror as they walked in. I knew what was coming. My palms start to get clammy, I wipe the beads of sweat beginning to form on my brow with the back of my hand.
The men put their hands underneath my arms and lift me up and drop me into the center of my cell. I try to look up at them but the lights on the ceiling blind me.
"Peeta, we are going to ask you something. And for your sake you better give us the reply we want." One of the men says. I gulp. I have nothing; the information they want, I do not posses. I know my response will bring pain. I just hope it is fast. But right now hope is not my best friend. I know that these men specialize in torturing. It's their job. They want to do this.
A gravely, deep voices asks the question I was dreading. "Do you know any information about the rebels?"
"No." I say in a stern, confident voice. I am determined to not let my fear show. I will not let them know that they have already gotten to me.
"I am sure you do know. Let's see if this persuades you to reveal to us what we want." I can hear the laughter in the voice. I am unable to decipher which voice belongs to who.
Nothing I have ever experienced prepares me for what comes next. I am looking up at the guard when he yanks out a long white stick; about two feet in length. The stick comes at me with so much force I cry out in pain. The stick is scalding hot. Every time it strikes the surface of my skin, it leaves about a inch and a half deep burn. With every hit, the men hold their stick to me for about ten seconds; making sure that I feel the pain and that I receive a burn. After about forty hits, black dots start clouding my vision. The sound of the hot stick hitting my body starts to fade. A darkness engulfs my vision that I am thankful for. About ten seconds later, I fall unconscious.
I wake up to find that I home. Back home in District 12, sitting in my bed in the lonely house. I sigh and get up out of bed. I decide to take a shower. After I get out and change into some clothes, I take myself in while looking in the mirror. I shake the last bits of water out of my soft, blonde hair. I notice that I have no burn marks, and that the bags underneath my eyes have disappeared. I also notice that I look healthy, actually I look better than I ever have. I step away from the mirror and open the wooden door to my bedroom. I walk down the stairs into the kitchen. I mentally decide that I am going to bake some bread.
Right as I set the bread on the counter the door opens, and I am greeted with Katniss. Warmth runs through my veins as I take her appearance in. Katniss looks healthy, even glowing. She wears her father's brown leather hunting jacket, and her hair is in its signature braid. I smile when I realize that Katniss is out of reach from the Capitol and District 13. Most importantly that she is standing before me safe.
"Peeta?" Katniss notices me staring out her. I blush and go back to taking the bread out of the tins. "I'm glad you're here Katniss." My back turned to her.
All of the sudden, I hyperventilating behind me. Confused I turn around to find Katniss hyperventilating. I rush over to her, but am thrown back before I can reach her. Startled, I stand up again. I stick my hand out and realize that a force field is between Katniss and I.
"Peeta, they're coming!" Katniss continues to hyperventilate. I desperately want to be there to comfort her. I look widely around my half of the kitchen and look for something to destroy the barrier between me and the Girl on Fire. I grab a steak knife.
"Katniss, back away from the force field." I tell her as calmly as I can. A confused look washes across her face. "Peeta, what are you talking about? She runs over to me from where she was standing beside the door. When Katniss is inches away from my face, she is thrown back onto the ground. Dazed, she stands up. I tell her to stay put. She does what I ask and I thrust the knife into the invisible barrier. Nothing happens. I try several more times, coming out with the same results. I grab random things from inside the kitchen and chuck it at the force field. I sigh and sit down when I realize there is nothing I can do to get through.
After about two minutes of silence, I hear Katniss trying to open the door.
"They're coming, I have to get out of here. I have to get out of here." Katniss starts to cry as realizes that she is stuck inside my house. "Katniss, what is the matter?" I yearn to be over there comforting her, telling her that no one or nothing can harm her. She turns around and tries to go up the stairs; but is thrown back into the table. Katniss moans in pain. I start hitting and kicking the force field to get to Katniss.
All of the sudden, the men in the suits with masks on appear out of no where. This time there are about eight or nine. Katniss stands up in alarming screaming for me. She paws at the force field trying to reach me.
She starts to cry as she hears the men come closer. "Don't touch her!" I yell to the men. "Ah, but Peeta. You are the one that has brought this upon Ms. Everdeen." Confused, I just stand there.
A blood curdling screams snaps me back into reality. I stare in horror as Katniss is being beaten. "Stop, stop! Please! Let me take her place instead!" I plead with the men. I hear several laugh. "That wouldn't be very fun now would it? I do like seeing her cry and getting beaten more than you." I slump to the floor and just stare as Katniss is struggling to fight back. Out of no where, fireballs appear. They look exactly like the one's that Katniss was trying to run away from in the arena. Katniss desperately tries to scoot out of the way, but every single one hits her. Every time the fire licks her, she lets out a ear piercing scream. They then tie to her a post that I hadn't noticed. Her back is facing towards me and is on her knees. I see one of the suited men in the back pull out a whip. This whip isn't a normal whip. It appears to be leather, but not smooth. Confused I stare at it. Every couple of inches there are shards of glass, and thorns. I know this will be the breaking point for Katniss. I thrash and kick and scream, trying to break the barrier between her and I.
What did I possibly do to inflict this much pain upon Katniss? The man with the whip walks past me and stops right in front of Katniss. Tears threaten to spill as I see the man's arm raise and the whip come in contact with Katniss. She screams in pain and hugs the post. I can't bear it any longer to see Katniss being tortured and not be able to do anything about it.
About ten minutes later, the men untie her from the post and she slumps to the floor. One of the masked men squats down to her level. He laughs then says "Goodnight, Ms. Everdeen." He then pulls out a pouch. Then another man squats down and opens her mouth. I go over to the wall to get a better look. Katniss is wide awake. She is covered in blood; in fact, if I don't get to her soon, she will have lost to much blood. Her back is bloody and her father's hunting jacket is ripped to shreds. Katniss's shirt is still intact and has no holes in it. Her grey shirt is now a deep red from the blood she has spilled.
She moans as the one of the men open the pouch. Her pupils dilate in fear as she sees what contents the pouch holds. Nightlock. I scream and desperately try to break the force field. If I don't get to Katniss, she will die. She squirms as the men shove the poisonous berries down her throat. My heart shatters knowing that within minutes, Katniss Everdeen will be dead. The men force her to swallow and the leave. I don't know how they leave. They just disappear into thin air just like they came.
Right as they left, I kick the force field again, only to find that it has dissolved. I rush over to Katniss who is gasping and spluttering in trying to make those berries resurface. I sit down on the floor and lift her head onto my lap. I start to cry as I take a good look at her. Katniss's entire face is covered in blood. I take my sleeve and wipe the blood off her face. I notice the tears streaming down her face.
I wish it was me instead of Katniss. I wish it was I who was on the doorsteps of the demon death. Katniss does not deserve any of this.
I see Katniss open her mouth, and say. "Peeta? Peeta, wake up? Please, Peeta! Peeta!" Her voice is raspy and horse. I don't know if it is because she is dying or because I can't focus, but Katniss's voice sounds very different.
It takes me a minute to register what I found strange about Katniss's voice. It isn't her voice. It's Johanna's.