I was finally back home now with my family. As I entered 13, hundreds of people were there to congratulate me on my victory yet the thoughts of the games had surprisingly not haunted my mind or my dreams only the sight of the resurrected tributes. I needed more information. The little knowledge I knew did not suffice but for now, I just had to put on a fake smile while everyone celebrated, blind to what was going on somewhere else in Panem.
I was given one privilege from winning the games as there was no Victors Village down here in 13. I was to let President Coin know as soon as possible. I thought long and hard about my decision and what would benefit me the most. I thought of Katniss and how it was said that she and her friend Gale were allowed to go outside and hunt but she refused the offer after hearing about Peeta’s death. I could do that- not to hunt as my accuracy was not great and I don’t think I want to kill any more living souls for the rest of my life. Just one innocent life was enough, in fact, it was too much. But I would love just to go outside. I don’t have anyone to worry about except maybe my parents but they are more than capable to look after themselves so I could be as long as I wanted. It would be perfect.
My parents were there first to greet me personally when I arrived home. My mother and father held me tight in a hug as if they were never going to let go at a relief that I was still alive. I didn’t want to tell them about what I had seen until I had enough information but I did immediately tell them that I decided about my privilege. My mother beamed at me and my father asked me to bring some herbs and plants back if I found any to spice up our food slightly and I promised I would. I had gained a lot of knowledge about these elements as it was crucial to my survival as I chose not to hunt. I lived off plants for the past three weeks with only ever receiving one sponsor- a small amount of meat which lasted only two days. But I got around and made it out there alive.
“Go and tell Coin about what you want now and make sure she is okay with it, sweetie.” My mother pointed to where the old woman stood. She was amongst a large crowd, some still wanting my attention and congratulating me but she saw my mother pointing and smiled at me.
I shoved my way through the crowd eventually reaching her. I had not thought that she would say no but it was quite a big choice. However, to my relief, after a few seconds of thought, she agreed and pulled me out of the room.
“There will be some rules that you will need to follow. If you break them twice, your privilege will be postponed.” I nod throughout but I was only half listening.
“You will have another tracker device around your arm when you leave and you must tell someone that you’re leaving before you do. Your timetable will determine how long you have and you must be back by the time limit. You can go anywhere you want just make sure you know where you are but if you ever did get lost and really couldn’t find your way back, we will send someone out to get you. You will also be able to contact us immediately if you need to but please only do if it is an extreme emergency. If you break any of these rules you will only be given one more chance and then that’s it. You will go back to how you were before; no more privileges.” I nod once again in agreement and she dismisses me.
When I get back to my room, my parents are already there. I repeat what Coin had told me and my mother points out that my arm had changed. At 5 o’clock (two hours from now), it now read ‘your chosen privilege’. Finally I feel as if I am slightly more free.
The two hours drag by but eventually 5 o’clock seems to approach. I head down to where I first arrived back from the games and see four guards standing motionless by the metal doors. I cautiously approach them but they seem to know why I’m here- Coin must’ve told them.
“Excuse me miss, can we see your timetable.?”
I extend my arm to them and he gives a nod of approval. A tracker is then injected into my lower arm and I wince as it strongly reminds me of the games but I soon shake off the thought.
“The tracker will wear off around half an hour or so once your time limit is up so make sure you’re back before it otherwise we won’t be able to find you. If there is an emergency, press into your tracker and it will alert us immediately in 13.” The guard gives one more look at my timetable and then they open the door.
At first I just walk around slowly, taking in the simple scenery but then I burst into a sprint. Even though I was only back in 13 for just under a day, the claustrophobia was already getting to me and now I was free to run wherever I wanted.
I just simply ran in no direction for around 10 minutes, running further and further away from the doors as I possibly could. I made sure to make heavy footsteps in the mud as it had been raining and it would leave tracks so I could easily retrace my steps.
I could feel a painful stitch in my side now so I stopped in a wooded area and look for the herbs and plants I promised to find. There were plenty to choose from; some I easily recognized however there were others which were unfamiliar and suspicious to me.
I had quite a large bunch in my bag I had taken with me when a faint snap of a branch came from several metres away. My first thought was that it was just an animal wandering around it's home coming to see the stranger invading it but as I began to walk nearer, there were obvious sounds of footsteps. Looking through a gap of a bush, I gasped in utter shock. 5 ‘robots’ were there and four of them were from my games. There was a someone there with them- a Gamemaker perhaps and it looked as if they were training and testing them out to make sure they were 'working'. He was giving them orders and they were instantly following it. They had turned out fine. All except one. I recognized her as the girl from District 6 from my games and she faltered in her steps. She became out of time with the others and it looked untidy because of it. The man came up to her, slapped, shook her and told her to continue on. She did as she was told but it still wasn’t right. The man pulled out a gun from his pocket and shot her with what looked like an unnatural bullet without hesitation and fell to the ground, dead, once and for all. If you weren’t perfect then you weren’t good enough and the bad were disposed of. They didn’t want the bad. Only the perfect.
I was still in shock from what I had just seen but once they were gone, I ran up to the girl’s side. Her chest was bleeding as if she was normal human being. Not some hijacked soldier. But I couldn’t bare it. I had to run home. The image of her lying there on the cold ground stayed imprinted in my mind the whole way back.