Книга Mockingjay. Содержание - 16

Peeta. On the rooftop the night before our first Hunger Games. He understood it all before we’d even set foot in the arena. I hope he’s watching now, that he remembers that night as it happened, and maybe forgives me when I die.

„Keep talking. Tell them about watching the mountain go down,“ Haymitch insists.

„When I saw that mountain fall tonight, I thought…they’ve done it again. Got me to kill you—the people in the districts. But why did I do it? District Twelve and District Two have no fight except the one the Capitol gave us.“ The young man blinks at me uncomprehendingly. I sink on my knees before him, my voice low and urgent. „And why are you fighting with the rebels on the rooftops? With Lyme, who was your victor? With people who were your neighbors, maybe even your family?“

„I don’t know,“ says the man. But he doesn’t take his gun off me.

I rise and turn slowly in a circle, addressing the machine guns. „And you up there? I come from a mining town. Since when do miners condemn other miners to that kind of death, and then stand by to kill whoever manages to crawl from the rubble?“

„Who is the enemy?“ whispers Haymitch.

„These people“—I indicate the wounded bodies on the square—“ are not your enemy!» I whip back around to the train station. «The rebels are not your enemy! We all have one enemy, and it’s the Capitol! This is our chance to put an end to their power, but we need every district person to do it!»

The cameras are tight on me as I reach out my hands to the man, to the wounded, to the reluctant rebels across Panem. «Please! Join us!»

My words hang in the air. I look to the screen, hoping to see them recording some wave of reconciliation going through the crowd.

Instead I watch myself get shot on television.



In the twilight of morphling, Peeta whispers the word and I go searching for him. It’s a gauzy, violet-tinted world, with no hard edges, and many places to hide. I push through cloud banks, follow faint tracks, catch the scent of cinnamon, of dill. Once I feel his hand on my cheek and try to trap it, but it dissolves like mist through my fingers.

When I finally begin to surface into the sterile hospital room in 13, I remember. I was under the influence of sleep syrup. My heel had been injured after I’d climbed out on a branch over the electric fence and dropped back into 12. Peeta had put me to bed and I had asked him to stay with me as I was drifting off. He had whispered something I couldn’t quite catch. But some part of my brain had trapped his single word of reply and let it swim up through my dreams to taunt me now. «Always.»

Morphling dulls the extremes of all emotions, so instead of a stab of sorrow, I merely feel emptiness. A hollow of dead brush where flowers used to bloom. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of the drug left in my veins for me to ignore the pain in the left side of my body. That’s where the bullet hit. My hands fumble over the thick bandages encasing my ribs and I wonder what I’m still doing here.

It wasn’t him, the man kneeling before me on the square, the burned one from the Nut. He didn’t pull the trigger. It was someone farther back in the crowd. There was less a sense of penetration than the feeling that I’d been struck with a sledgehammer. Everything after the moment of impact is confusion riddled with gunfire. I try to sit up, but the only thing I manage is a moan.

The white curtain that divides my bed from the next patient’s whips back, and Johanna Mason stares down at me. At first I feel threatened, because she attacked me in the arena. I have to remind myself that she did it to save my life. It was part of the rebel plot. But still, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t despise me. Maybe her treatment of me was all an act for the Capitol?

«I’m alive,» I say rustily.

«No kidding, brainless.» Johanna walks over and plunks down on my bed, sending spikes of pain shooting across my chest. When she grins at my discomfort, I know we’re not in for some warm reunion scene. «Still a little sore?» With an expert hand, she quickly detaches the morphling drip from my arm and plugs it into a socket taped into the crook of her own. «They started cutting back my supply a few days ago. Afraid I’m going to turn into one of those freaks from Six. I’ve had to borrow from you when the coast was clear. Didn’t think you’d mind.»

Mind? How can I mind when she was almost tortured to death by Snow after the Quarter Quell? I have no right to mind, and she knows it.

Johanna sighs as the morphling enters her bloodstream. «Maybe they were onto something in Six. Drug yourself out and paint flowers on your body. Not such a bad life. Seemed happier than the rest of us, anyway.»

In the weeks since I left 13, she’s gained some weight back. A soft down of hair has sprouted on her shaved head, helping to hide some of the scars. But if she’s siphoning off my morphling, she’s struggling.

«They’ve got this head doctor who comes around every day. Supposed to be helping me recover. Like some guy who’s spent his life in this rabbit warren’s going to fix me up. Complete idiot. At least twenty times a session he reminds me that I’m totally safe.» I manage a smile. It’s a truly stupid thing to say, especially to a victor. As if such a state of being ever existed, anywhere, for anyone. «How about you, Mockingjay? You feel totally safe?»

«Oh, yeah. Right up until I got shot,» I say.

«Please. That bullet never even touched you. Cinna saw to that,» she says.

I think of the layers of protective armor in my Mockingjay outfit. But the pain came from somewhere. «Broken ribs?»

«Not even. Bruised pretty good. The impact ruptured your spleen. They couldn’t repair it.» She gives a dismissive wave of her hand. «Don’t worry, you don’t need one. And if you did, they’d find you one, wouldn’t they? It’s everybody’s job to keep you alive.»

«Is that why you hate me?» I ask.

«Partly,» she admits. «Jealousy is certainly involved. I also think you’re a little hard to swallow. With your tacky romantic drama and your defender-of-the-helpless act. Only it isn’t an act, which makes you more unbearable. Please feel free to take this personally.»

«You should have been the Mockingjay. No one would’ve had to feed you lines,» I say.

«True. But no one likes me,» she tells me.

«They trusted you, though. To get me out,» I remind her. «And they’re afraid of you.»

«Here, maybe. In the Capitol, you’re the one they’re scared of now.» Gale appears in the doorway, and Johanna neatly unhooks herself and reattaches me to the morphling drip. «Your cousin’s not afraid of me,» she says confidentially. She scoots off my bed and crosses to the door, nudging Gale’s leg with her hip as she passes him. «Are you, gorgeous?» We can hear her laughter as she disappears down the hall.

I raise my eyebrows at him as he takes my hand. «Terrified,» he mouths. I laugh, but it turns into a wince.

«Easy.» He strokes my face as the pain ebbs. «You’ve got to stop running straight into trouble.»

«I know. But someone blew up a mountain,» I answer.

Instead of pulling back, he leans in closer, searching my face. «You think I’m heartless.»

«I know you’re not. But I won’t tell you it’s okay,» I say.

Now he draws back, almost impatiently. «Katniss, what difference is there, really, between crushing our enemy in a mine or blowing them out of the sky with one of Beetee’s arrows? The result is the same.»

«I don’t know. We were under attack in Eight, for one thing. The hospital was under attack,» I say.

«Yes, and those hoverplanes came from District Two,» he says. «So, by taking them out, we prevented further attacks.»

«But that kind of thinking…you could turn it into an argument for killing anyone at any time. You could justify sending kids into the Hunger Games to prevent the districts from getting out of line,» I say.

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