Книга Mockingjay. Содержание - 27

He’s right. We did.

The point of my arrow shifts upward. I release the string. And President Coin collapses over the side of the balcony and plunges to the ground. Dead.


In the stunned reaction that follows, I’m aware of one sound. Snow’s laughter. An awful gurgling cackle accompanied by an eruption of foamy blood when the coughing begins. I see him bend forward, spewing out his life, until the guards block him from my sight.

As the gray uniforms begin to converge on me, I think of what my brief future as the assassin of Panem’s new president holds. The interrogation, probable torture, certain public execution. Having, yet again, to say my final goodbyes to the handful of people who still maintain a hold on my heart. The prospect of facing my mother, who will now be entirely alone in the world, decides it.

«Good night,» I whisper to the bow in my hand and feel it go still. I raise my left arm and twist my neck down to rip off the pill on my sleeve. Instead my teeth sink into flesh. I yank my head back in confusion to find myself looking into Peeta’s eyes, only now they hold my gaze. Blood runs from the teeth marks on the hand he clamped over my nightlock. «Let me go!» I snarl at him, trying to wrest my arm from his grasp.

«I can’t,» he says. As they pull me away from him, I feel the pocket ripped from my sleeve, see the deep violet pill fall to the ground, watch Cinna’s last gift get crunched under a guard’s boot. I transform into a wild animal, kicking, clawing, biting, doing whatever I can to free myself from this web of hands as the crowd pushes in. The guards lift me up above the fray, where I continue to thrash as I’m conveyed over the crush of people. I start screaming for Gale. I can’t find him in the throng, but he will know what I want. A good clean shot to end it all. Only there’s no arrow, no bullet. Is it possible he can’t see me? No. Above us, on the giant screens placed around the City Circle, everyone can watch the whole thing being played out. He sees, he knows, but he doesn’t follow through. Just as I didn’t when he was captured. Sorry excuses for hunters and friends. Both of us.

I’m on my own.

In the mansion, they handcuff and blindfold me. I’m half dragged, half carried down long passages, up and down elevators, and deposited on a carpeted floor. The cuffs are removed and a door slams closed behind me. When I push the blindfold up, I find I’m in my old room at the Training Center. The one where I lived during those last precious days before my first Hunger Games and the Quarter Quell. The bed’s stripped to the mattress, the closet gapes open, showing the emptiness inside, but I’d know this room anywhere.

It’s a struggle to get to my feet and peel off my Mockingjay suit. I’m badly bruised and might have a broken finger or two, but it’s my skin that’s paid most dearly for my struggle with the guards. The new pink stuff has shredded like tissue paper and blood seeps through the laboratory-grown cells. No medics show up, though, and as I’m too far gone to care, I crawl up onto the mattress, expecting to bleed to death.

No such luck. By evening, the blood clots, leaving me stiff and sore and sticky but alive. I limp into the shower and program in the gentlest cycle I can remember, free of any soaps and hair products, and squat under the warm spray, elbows on my knees, head in my hands.

My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead. It would be best for everyone if I were dead….

When I step out on the mat, the hot air bakes my damaged skin dry. There’s nothing clean to put on. Not even a towel to wrap around me. Back in the room, I find the Mockingjay suit has disappeared. In its place is a paper robe. A meal has been sent up from the mysterious kitchen with a container of my medications for dessert. I go ahead and eat the food, take the pills, rub the salve on my skin. I need to focus now on the manner of my suicide.

I curl back up on the bloodstained mattress, not cold but feeling so naked with just the paper to cover my tender flesh. Jumping to my death’s not an option—the window glass must be a foot thick. I can make an excellent noose, but there’s nothing to hang myself from. It’s possible I could hoard my pills and then knock myself off with a lethal dose, except that I’m sure I’m being watched round the clock. For all I know, I’m on live television at this very moment while commentators try to analyze what could possibly have motivated me to kill Coin. The surveillance makes almost any suicide attempt impossible. Taking my life is the Capitol’s privilege. Again.

What I can do is give up. I resolve to lie on the bed without eating, drinking, or taking my medications. I could do it, too. Just die. If it weren’t for the morphling withdrawal. Not bit by bit like in the hospital in 13, but cold turkey. I must have been on a fairly large dose because when the craving for it hits, accompanied by tremors, and shooting pains, and unbearable cold, my resolve’s crushed like an eggshell. I’m on my knees, raking the carpet with my fingernails to find those precious pills I flung away in a stronger moment. I revise my suicide plan to slow death by morphling. I will become a yellow-skinned bag of bones, with enormous eyes. I’m a couple of days into the plan, making good progress, when something unexpected happens.

I begin to sing. At the window, in the shower, in my sleep. Hour after hour of ballads, love songs, mountain airs. All the songs my father taught me before he died, for certainly there has been very little music in my life since. What’s amazing is how clearly I remember them. The tunes, the lyrics. My voice, at first rough and breaking on the high notes, warms up into something splendid. A voice that would make the mockingjays fall silent and then tumble over themselves to join in. Days pass, weeks. I watch the snows fall on the ledge outside my window. And in all that time, mine is the only voice I hear.

What are they doing, anyway? What’s the holdup out there? How difficult can it be to arrange the execution of one murderous girl? I continue with my own annihilation. My body’s thinner than it’s ever been and my battle against hunger is so fierce that sometimes the animal part of me gives in to the temptation of buttered bread or roasted meat. But still, I’m winning. For a few days I feel quite unwell and think I may finally be traveling out of this life, when I realize my morphling tablets are shrinking. They are trying to slowly wean me off the stuff. But why? Surely a drugged Mockingjay will be easier to dispose of in front of a crowd. And then a terrible thought hits me: What if they’re not going to kill me? What if they have more plans for me? A new way to remake, train, and use me?

I won’t do it. If I can’t kill myself in this room, I will take the first opportunity outside of it to finish the job. They can fatten me up. They can give me a full body polish, dress me up, and make me beautiful again. They can design dream weapons that come to life in my hands, but they will never again brainwash me into the necessity of using them. I no longer feel any allegiance to these monsters called human beings, despise being one myself. I think that Peeta was onto something about us destroying one another and letting some decent species take over. Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences. You can spin it any way you like. Snow thought the Hunger Games were an efficient means of control. Coin thought the parachutes would expedite the war. But in the end, who does it benefit? No one. The truth is, it benefits no one to live in a world where these things happen.

After two days of my lying on my mattress with no attempt to eat, drink, or even take a morphling tablet, the door to my room opens. Someone crosses around the bed into my field of vision. Haymitch. «Your trial’s over,» he says. «Come on. We’re going home.»

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