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Книга Mockingjay. Содержание - 13

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A pang of jealousy hits me. Not for either Finnick or Annie but for their certainty. No one seeing them could doubt their love.

Boggs, looking a little worse for wear but uninjured, finds Haymitch and me. „We got them all out. Except Enobaria. But since she’s from Two, we doubt she’s being held anyway. Peeta’s at the end of the hall. The effects of the gas are just wearing off. You should be there when he wakes.“


Alive and well—maybe not well but alive and here. Away from Snow. Safe. Here. With me. In a minute I can touch him. See his smile. Hear his laugh.

Haymitch’s grinning at me. „Come on, then,“ he says.

I’m light-headed with giddiness. What will I say? Oh, who cares what I say? Peeta will be ecstatic no matter what I do. He’ll probably be kissing me anyway. I wonder if it will feel like those last kisses on the beach in the arena, the ones I haven’t dared let myself consider until this moment.

Peeta’s awake already, sitting on the side of the bed, looking bewildered as a trio of doctors reassure him, flash lights in his eyes, check his pulse. I’m disappointed that mine was not the first face he saw when he woke, but he sees it now. His features register disbelief and something more intense that I can’t quite place. Desire? Desperation? Surely both, for he sweeps the doctors aside, leaps to his feet, and moves toward me. I run to meet him, my arms extended to embrace him. His hands are reaching for me, too, to caress my face, I think.

My lips are just forming his name when his fingers lock around my throat.


The cold collar chafes my neck and makes the shivering even harder to control. At least I am no longer in the claustrophobic tube, while the machines click and whir around me, listening to a disembodied voice telling me to hold still while I try to convince myself I can still breathe. Even now, when I’ve been assured there will be no permanent damage, I hunger for air.

The medical team’s main concerns—damage to my spinal cord, airway, veins, and arteries—have been allayed. Bruising, hoarseness, the sore larynx, this strange little cough—not to be worried about. It will all be fine. The Mockingjay will not lose her voice. Where, I want to ask, is the doctor who determines if I am losing my mind? Only I’m not supposed to talk right now. I can’t even thank Boggs when he comes to check on me. To look me over and tell me he’s seen a lot worse injuries among the soldiers when they teach choke holds in training.

It was Boggs who knocked out Peeta with one blow before any permanent damage could be done. I know Haymitch would have come to my defense if he hadn’t been utterly unprepared. To catch both Haymitch and myself off guard is a rare thing. But we have been so consumed with saving Peeta, so tortured by having him in the Capitol’s hands, that the elation at having him back blinded us. If I’d had a private reunion with Peeta, he would have killed me. Now that he’s deranged.

No, not deranged, I remind myself.Hijacked. That’s the word I heard pass between Plutarch and Haymitch as I was wheeled past them in the hallway.Hijacked. I don’t know what it means.

Prim, who appeared moments after the attack and has stayed as close to me as possible ever since, spreads another blanket over me. „I think they’ll take the collar off soon, Katniss. You won’t be so cold then.“ My mother, who’s been assisting in a complicated surgery, has still not been informed of Peeta’s assault. Prim takes one of my hands, which is clutched in a fist, and massages it until it opens and blood begins to flow through my fingers again. She’s starting on the second fist when the doctors show up, remove the collar, and give me a shot of something for pain and swelling. I lie, as instructed, with my head still, not aggravating the injuries to my neck.

Plutarch, Haymitch, and Beetee have been waiting in the hall for the doctors to give them clearance to the doctors out and tries to order Prim to go as well, but she says, „No. If you force me to leave, I’ll go directly to surgery and tell my mother everything that’s happened. And I warn you, she doesn’t think much of a Gamemaker calling the shots on Katniss’s life. Especially when you’ve taken such poor care of her.“

Plutarch looks offended, but Haymitch chuckles. „I’d let it go, Plutarch,“ he says. Prim stays.

„So, Katniss, Peeta’s condition has come as a shock to all of us,“ says Plutarch. „We couldn’t help but notice his deterioration in the last two interviews. Obviously, he’d been abused, and we put his psychological state down to that. Now we believe something more was going on. That the Capitol has been subjecting him to a rather uncommon technique known as hijacking. Beetee?“

„I’m sorry,“ Beetee says, „but I can’t tell you all the specifics of it, Katniss. The Capitol’s very secretive about this form of torture, and I believe the results are inconsistent. This we do know. It’s a type of fear conditioning. The termhijack comes from an old English word that means ‘to capture,’ or even better, ‘seize.’ We believe it was chosen because the technique involves the use of tracker jacker venom, and thejack suggestedhijack . You were stung in your first Hunger Games, so unlike most of us, you have firsthand knowledge of the effects of the venom.“

Terror. Hallucinations. Nightmarish visions of losing those I love. Because the venom targets the part of the brain that houses fear.

„I’m sure you remember how frightening it was. Did you also suffer mental confusion in the aftermath?“ asks Beetee. „A sense of being unable to judge what was true and what was false? Most people who have been stung and lived to tell about it report something of the kind.“

Yes. That encounter with Peeta. Even after I was clearheaded, I wasn’t sure if he had saved my life by taking on Cato or if I’d imagined it.

„Recall is made more difficult because memories can be changed.“ Beetee taps his forehead. „Brought to the forefront of your mind, altered, and saved again in the revised form. Now imagine that I ask you to remember something—either with a verbal suggestion or by making you watch a tape of the event—and while that experience is refreshed, I give you a dose of tracker jacker venom. Not enough to induce a three-day blackout. Just enough to infuse the memory with fear and doubt. And that’s what your brain puts in long-term storage.“

I start to feel sick. Prim asks the question that’s in my mind. „Is that what they’ve done to Peeta? Taken his memories of Katniss and distorted them so they’re scary?“

Beetee nods. „So scary that he’d see her as life-threatening. That he might try to kill her. Yes, that’s our current theory.“

I cover my face with my arms because this isn’t happening. It isn’t possible. For someone to make Peeta forget he loves me…no one could do that.

„But you can reverse it, right?“ asks Prim.

„Um…very little data on that,“ says Plutarch. „None, really. If hijacking rehabilitation has been attempted before, we have no access to those records.“

„Well, you’re going to try, aren’t you?“ Prim persists. „You’re not just going to lock him up in some padded room and leave him to suffer?“

„Of course, we’ll try, Prim,“ says Beetee. „It’s just, we don’t know to what degree we’ll succeed. If any. My guess is that fearful events are the hardest to root out. They’re the ones we naturally remember the best, after all.“

„And apart from his memories of Katniss, we don’t yet know what else has been tampered with,“ says Plutarch. „We’re putting together a team of mental health and military professionals to come up with a counterattack. I, personally, feel optimistic that he’ll make a full recovery.“

„Do you?“ asks Prim caustically. „And what doyou think, Haymitch?“

I shift my arms slightly so I can see his expression through the crack. He’s exhausted and discouraged as he admits, „I think Peeta might get somewhat better. But…I don’t think he’ll ever be the same.“ I snap my arms back together, closing the crack, shutting them all out.

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