It feels like a flat sun trapped between us - pressed like a flower between the pages of a thick book, burning the paper.
Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.”
I am not a dalek! I am human!
“You know what my mother said to me when she came to say goodbye, as if to cheer me? She said maybe District Twelve will finally have a winner. Then I realised, she didn’t mean me, she meant you!” bursts out Peeta.
“Oh, she meant you,” I say with a wave of dismissal.
“She said, ‘She’s a survivor, this one.’ She is,” says Peeta.
That pulls me up short. Did his mother really say that about me? Did she rate me over her son? I see the pain in Peeta’s eyes and know he isn’t lying.
Suddenly I’m behind the bakery and I can feel the chill of the rain running down my back, the hollowness in my belly. I sound eleven years old when I speak.
“But only because someone helped me.”
Peeta’s eyes flicker down to the roll in my hands, and I know he remembers that day, too.