The New Mockingjay

The revolution is over. Panem has been changed. Now, each year, a young girl is chosen to be the Mockingjay. There are only two requirements- she has to be pretty, and she has to be able to sing like no other.
When Electra becomes the Mockingjay, she thinks she's in for a life of public performances, and putting forward a pretty face. The reality is much, much worse than that.

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13. 12- The Wasteland

Electra bolted after her, almost subconsciously, like her body had been preparing itself her entire life for that one order. She ran like the wind, heart pumping with terror, adrenaline coursing through her veins. Fire flared up ahead of her, to the sides, and behind her, but not close to her. Not yet. She ran straight towards death, because that was all she could do. She just ran, without thinking about it. She figured it she gave herself even a single second to
consider how stupid this was, she’d probably trip or something, and get roasted. She couldn’t let that happen. In her mind, as long as she kept running she would be fine. The fire wouldn’t catch her. No, the fire would not flare up right beneath her feet. She would be safe, and alive, as long as she just... kept... running.

She moved as fast as she could, her mind blank with a kind of animal panic. She couldn’t have slowed or stopped herself if she had wanted to. She just kept running, her legs moving of their own accord, driving her forwards, towards the fire, towards possible death. She ran and ran and ran, and inside she was screaming, terrified. If she slowed, she would die. That was all she could think. Slow and die. Run and live. Follow Gwen, and both of you will make it.
It’s that easy. You just have to keep. On. Moving.

“LEFT!” Gwen screamed abruptly. Electra’s mind had no idea what Gwen was talking about, but her body did, and responded without even thinking. She jerked to the left, as a tremor shook the ground. A shockwave slammed into her, knocking her to the ground. She tried to breathe, but a wave of unbearable heat sucked the air from her lungs. She gasped and coughed, struggling to get some air back into her lungs? What had happened?

She blinked the spots out of her eyes. There was a roaring noise her ears. Everything had been suddenly muffled. Was she dying? No, she wasn’t dying, because she could hear Gwen screaming her name.

“ELECTRA! GET UP!”

What just happened?

Electra stood dazedly. Smoke was curling out of the ground around her, and she finally realized what had happened. Fire had shot out of the grund, right where she’d been about to run. If Gwen hadn’t spoken, Electra would have died. Gwen had just saved her life- again. She’d been wrong. Running wasn’t going to save her. It didn’t matter if she ran or stayed still. If they wanted to, they could burn her to death. They would kill her, and they would kill Gwen. It didn’t
matter what they did, did it? They would just die eventually.

Gwen was still screaming her name. It was nice that Gwen had finally stopped calling her Mockingjay...

Her mind was delirious. Thoughts pinged around in her mind without any semblance of order. She knew she should be running, and yet she just stood there, numb. Why were they running? Were they running away from death? Towards it? Did it really matter? Death was all around them. They were already inside the monster. They would get dissolved eventually, wouldn’t they? Did it matter? No one had any intention of letting them live.

“Electra, come on!”

She turned, too slowly. Gwen was running towards her. The rest of the world moved slowly, like everything was underwater, and yet Gwen moved so quickly. It was like the rules that held the rest of the world together didn’t apply to her. It was strange, and Electra found herself staring numbly at her, wondering why she could move so fast. Why was she so urgent? Death would come soon. Did it matter if the fire caught her here?

Gwen was coming closer and closer. Electra wanted to call out to her and tell her to go back. She might have found death inevitable, but it wasn’t Gwen’s fault that she was here. It wasn’t, was it? She hadn't chosen this assignment. Someone had sent her here. They probably wanted her dead too. It wasn’t her fault she’d been born on the other side. It wasn’t her fault that everything had happened to her. She didn’t need to die. If she died, who would care? It would be just another casualty. If Electra died, the games came back. But they were going to come back
anyways, weren’t they? Nothing Electra did would prevent that, right? It was all the same, messed up ending.

Gwen was still running. She was yelling Electra’s name, like that would make a difference. Electra watched with detached interest as Gwen ran forwards. Part of her knew she should be moving too, running towards Gwen. But the fire had shocked her to the core, and she was numb. It was like all the trauma of the past few days was catching up to her, shocking her to the core, and holding her there, motionless in a hopeless daze. She watched as Gwen ran
forwards.

Come on, you stupid legs. Move. Her thoughts about death were gone. They suddenly seemed ridiculous. When had she gotten so weak that she was just going to lie down and die? She had to move! There was no way she was dying like this!

Move, you stupid legs! Work! Get me out of here!

Still, she couldn’t move. Her mind was free of the fog that had settled over her, but her body was still trapped. Fear started to fill her. She had to get out of here!

The ground began to shake, and her heart leaped into her throat, terror blanking out any rational thought. There was fire coming. And she knew just where it was headed. She was about to be toasted, tossed into the sky, only to plummet back towards the ground, burning and most definitely dead. And she couldn’t even get her stupid legs to move and let her run away. It was such a stupid, awful way to die, just like all the other times she’d almost died. Each time, there was been absolutely nothing she could do. She had been utterly and totally alone, helpless, and about to die without even a single ounce of control. She hated that feeling.

The rumbling grew more intense. Gwen locked eyes with Electra, and panic filled them.

“Electra, run!” she screamed. “Make it to the-” her words were cut off with a sharp scream as fire flared, white heat scorching the ground, and letting off a fiery shock wave that knocked Electra off of her feet for a second time. But the fire hadn’t exploded at her feet. It had lit up at...

She leaped to her feet, refusing to let the numbness set in. “GWEN!” she screamed. She tried to run towards the fire, but it was too hot. The light seared her eyes, but she kept looking, frantic and panicked, searching for Gwen. Where was she?! She looked back and forth, heart racing frantically. This was all wrong! She was the target, not Gwen! Gwen had been totally innocent! She didn’t deserve to die just because Electra had been stupid. She could have sworn the fire would target her. But no, instead it had hit Gwen.

She kept looking, but there was no sign of Gwen- or her body, for that matter. Had she been charred straight to ashes? The thought was almost too horrible to process. Gwen couldn’t be dead. Any second, she would show up, right? It wouldn’t be fair for her to come this far, and survive this much, just to die because of some stupid fire. She would live, and come back, and they would laugh about Electra’s panic. Gwen would say, I’m all right, see? It takes more than a little fire to kill me. But she was nowhere in sight, and the fire was still flaring up.

The fire shocked Electra out of her stupor. She could still die here. And now that there was no Gwen to protect her...

She choked back a sob, and started running again. Why hadn’t she listened? What had Gwen told her? Run, and don’t stop until I tell you to. She’d stopped. She’d stood there, thinking about death, accepting death. And Gwen had come back to get her, putting herself straight into the path of the fire. Gwen had died because Electra hadn’t listened.

Don’t think. Keep running. If you break down now, you die. If you die, then Gwen died for nothing. Don’t think. Don’t imagine it. I know you see it in your head, but try to block it out. There’s no time for crying. Crying will just destroy you. Keep going. Keep running. Survive. Live to fight another day. Keep her dream, and the dream of everybody else, alive.

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