We are awoken by Effie, who, for once, is not babbling about how it will be a 'big, big, big day, but for Haymitch and me, it will be. Peeta kisses me goodbye and I will myself not to cry. Cinna appears and after I get dressed, we go up to the roof. I am frozen in place by the electric current as I step onto the ladder. Once inside, a tracker is placed into my arm and I sit between Haymitch and Portia. Cinna has his arm around me as I try and hold myself together.
They both urge me to eat and drink, for the baby's sake, but I doubt I could keep down a bite of food. Instead, I sip water, but my head is spinning with anticipation and feeling ill because of the pregnancy doesn't help either.
We reach the launch room of the arena and as soon as the door closes, my breathing rate increases. Cinna puts his hands on my shoulders.
"Katniss," he says "You're going to be fine. You're the girl on fire."
I nod and try to stay calm. I take a shower and stand in the warm spray far longer than I need to. I have thirty minutes until launch. I dry myself and slip on the outfit laid out for me. It's a thin, flimsy looking fitted blue jumpsuit with a wide belt. Cinna frowns as he braids my hair down my back. He turns around to face me and I feel a soft nudge inside me. I sigh and rub where I felt the baby kick. Cinna looks at me, concerned.
"The baby is kicking," I explain.
He smiles and I guide his hand to my bump. There is another nudge and he grins at me and pulls away. He reaches inside his pocket and pulls out my pin. He secures it to my clothing and kisses the top of my head.
"My dress was amazing last night," I say. Amazing but rash, I think. Cinna must know that.
He gives me a more serious look "Katniss," he starts, "look after yourself and the little one, ok?"
"I will," I say, but all I can think about is how I could be able to live with Haymitch dying, so that I can get out. We sit for the last ten minutes, his hands clasping mine. The timer states that we have two minutes left. I inhale sharply and look around frantically, desperately searching for a way out. Cinna pulls me into a hug aa the timer says there one minute remaining.
Cinna stands and helps me up. We walk towards the circular metal plate and I step onto it.
"Remember, Girl on fire, I'm still betting on you."
He hugs me and steps backwards. I hold back tears as the glass cylinder closes around me. A feeling of claustrophobia threatens to overwhelm me. I wait for the plate to rise, but it still doesn't. A minute goes by, then two. I raise my eyebrows at Cinna, asking for an explanation I know he doesn't have. He shrugs, looking as bemused as I feel. Why are they delaying this? The baby moves inside me and kicks me, sensing my delayed hysteria.
Suddenly, the door bursts over and three peacekeepers storm in. Two pin his arms behind his back and cuff them while the other hits him in the head with his gun. I scream over and over for them to stop but it is as if they can't hear or see me. I am in a glass prison. They drag him away, leaving smears of blood on the floor.
Sickened and terrified beyond belief, the metal plate begins to rise. Black spots appear before my eyes in the dazzlingly bright light. The breeze catches the free strands of my hair and I smell salt. I feel water rush over my toes and I rub my eyes. Looking around, I see that I am surrounded my water, stretching out in every direction. This is no place for a girl on fire.