Книга Mockingjay. Содержание - 14

„I guess so. Poor Peeta. Pooryou . I’ll never understand the Capitol,“ she says.

„Better not to, maybe,“ I tell her.

„Delly’s known Peeta for a long time,“ says Plutarch.

„Oh, yes!“ Delly’s face brightens. „We played together from when we were little. I used to tell people he was my brother.“

„What do you think?“ Haymitch asks me. „Anything that might trigger memories of you?“

„We were all in the same class. But we never overlapped much,“ I say.

„Katniss was always so amazing, I never dreamed she would notice me,“ says Delly. „The way she could hunt and go in the Hob and everything. Everyone admired her so.“

Haymitch and I both have to take a hard look at her face to double-check if she’s joking. To hear Delly describe it, I had next to no friends because I intimidated people by being so exceptional. Not true. I had next to no friends because I wasn’t friendly. Leave it to Delly to spin me into something wonderful.

„Delly always thinks the best of everyone,“ I explain. „I don’t think Peeta could have bad memories associated with her.“ Then I remember. „Wait. In the Capitol. When I lied about recognizing the Avox girl. Peeta covered for me and said she looked like Delly.“

„I remember,“ says Haymitch. „But I don’t know. It wasn’t true. Delly wasn’t actually there. I don’t think it can compete with years of childhood memories.“

„Especially with such a pleasant companion as Delly,“ says Plutarch. „Let’s give it a shot.“

Plutarch, Haymitch, and I go to the observation room next to where Peeta’s confined. It’s crowded with ten members of his recovery team armed with pens and clipboards. The one-way glass and audio setup allow us to watch Peeta secretly. He lies on the bed, his arms strapped down. He doesn’t fight the restraints, but his hands fidget continuously. His expression seems more lucid than when he tried to strangle me, but it’s still not one that belongs to him.

When the door quietly opens, his eyes widen in alarm, then become confused. Delly crosses the room tentatively, but as she nears him she naturally breaks into a smile. „Peeta? It’s Delly. From home.“

„Delly?“ Some of the clouds seem to clear. „Delly. It’s you.“

„Yes!“ she says with obvious relief. „How do you feel?“

„Awful. Where are we? What’s happened?“ asks Peeta.

„Here we go,“ says Haymitch.

„I told her to steer clear of any mention of Katniss or the Capitol,“ says Plutarch. „Just see how much of home she could conjure up.“

„Well…we’re in District Thirteen. We live here now,“ says Delly.

„That’s what those people have been saying. But it makes no sense. Why aren’t we home?“ asks Peeta.

Delly bites her lip. „There was…an accident. I miss home badly, too. I was only just thinking about those chalk drawings we used to do on the paving stones. Yours were so wonderful. Remember when you made each one a different animal?“

„Yeah. Pigs and cats and things,“ says Peeta. „You said…about an accident?“

I can see the sheen of sweat on Delly’s forehead as she tries to work around the question. „It was bad. No one…could stay,“ she says haltingly.

„Hang in there, girl,“ says Haymitch.

„But I know you’re going to like it here, Peeta. The people have been really nice to us. There’s always food and clean clothes, and school’s much more interesting,“ says Delly.

„Why hasn’t my family come to see me?“ Peeta asks.

„They can’t.“ Delly’s tearing up again. „A lot of people didn’t get out of Twelve. So we’ll need to make a new life here. I’m sure they could use a good baker. Do you remember when your father used to let us make dough girls and boys?“

„There was a fire,“ Peeta says suddenly.

„Yes,“ she whispers.

„Twelve burned down, didn’t it? Because of her,“ says Peeta angrily. „Because of Katniss!“ He begins to pull on the restraints.

„Oh, no, Peeta. It wasn’t her fault,“ says Delly.

„Did she tell you that?“ he hisses at her.

„Get her out of there,“ says Plutarch. The door opens immediately and Delly begins to back toward it slowly.

„She didn’t have to. I was—“ Delly begins.

„Because she’s lying! She’s a liar! You can’t believe anything she says! She’s some kind of mutt the Capitol created to use against the rest of us!“ Peeta shouts.

„No, Peeta. She’s not a—“ Delly tries again.

„Don’t trust her, Delly,“ says Peeta in a frantic voice. „I did, and she tried to kill me. She killed my friends. My family. Don’t even go near her! She’s a mutt!“

A hand reaches through the doorway, pulls Delly out, and the door swings shut. But Peeta keeps yelling. „A mutt! She’s a stinking mutt!“

Not only does he hate me and want to kill me, he no longer believes I’m human. It was less painful being strangled.

Around me the recovery team members scribble like crazy, taking down every word. Haymitch and Plutarch grab my arms and propel me out of the room. They lean me up against a wall in the silent hallway. But I know Peeta continues to scream behind the door and the glass.

Prim was wrong. Peeta is irretrievable. „I can’t stay here anymore,“ I say numbly. „If you want me to be the Mockingjay, you’ll have to send me away.“

„Where do you want to go?“ asks Haymitch.

„The Capitol.“ It’s the only place I can think of where I have a job to do.

„Can’t do it,“ Plutarch says. „Not until all the districts are secure. Good news is, the fighting’s almost over in all of them but Two. It’s a tough nut to crack, though.“

That’s right. First the districts. Next the Capitol. And then I hunt down Snow.

„Fine,“ I say. „Send me to Two.“


District 2 is a large district, as one might expect, composed of a series of villages spread across the mountains. Each was originally associated with a mine or quarry, although now, many are devoted to the housing and training of Peacekeepers. None of this would present much of a challenge, since the rebels have 13’s airpower on their side, except for one thing: At the center of the district is a virtually impenetrable mountain that houses the heart of the Capitol’s military.

We’ve nicknamed the mountain the Nut since I relayed Plutarch’s „tough nut to crack“ comment to the weary and discouraged rebel leaders here. The Nut was established directly after the Dark Days, when the Capitol had lost 13 and was desperate for a new underground stronghold. They had some of their military resources situated on the outskirts of the Capitol itself—nuclear missiles, aircraft, troops—but a significant chunk of their power was now under an enemy’s control. Of course, there was no way they could hope to replicate 13, which was the work of centuries. However, in the old mines of nearby District 2, they saw opportunity. From the air, the Nut appeared to be just another mountain with a few entrances on its faces. But inside were vast cavernous spaces where slabs of stones had been cut, hauled to the surface, and transported down slippery narrow roads to make distant buildings. There was even a train system to facilitate transporting the miners from the Nut to the very center of the main town in District 2. It ran right to the square that Peeta and I visited during the Victory Tour, standing on the wide marble steps of the Justice Building, trying not to look too closely at Cato’s and Clove’s grieving families assembled below us.

It was not the most ideal terrain, plagued as it was by mudslides, floods, and avalanches. But the advantages outweighed the concerns. As they’d cut deep into the mountain, the miners had left large pillars and walls of stone to support the infrastructure. The Capitol reinforced these and set about making the mountain their new military base. Filling it with computer banks and meeting rooms, barracks and arsenals. Widening entrances to allow the exit of hovercraft from the hangar, installing missile launchers. But on the whole, leaving the exterior of the mountain largely unchanged. A rough, rocky tangle of trees and wildlife. A natural fortress to protect them from their enemies.

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