Check This Out

Monday, July 01, 2013

My Alternate Ending

Peeta Mellark

I met up with Haymitch and Katnis at her mansion for our book project. The book is coming along fine with the pictures drawn and stories told. We were writing about Finnick when Katnis let out a big sigh. I know the image of Finnick being torn by the mutt kept playing in her head. Although my mind is still blurry at time and there are still things I’m not so sure are real or not, I tried to cheer her up by retelling the story when she first met him, how he offered her sugar that was meant for horses. “I’m sure he enjoys making you laugh,” I said hoping this could lighten the situation a bit. She avoided eye contact but did manage a smile, although barely. There it is, the thing that got me going and gave me hope ever since the reaping. Her smile, getting bigger and bigger that she genuinely looked happy.

Then I realized she was looking at something. I turned to see what could possibly put that smile back on her face after all the suffering she’s been through, after all the heartache she felt ever since we came back to District 12. That’s when I saw him, walking towards us through the ashes of the bombing. You could barely see his face but judging from his height and the bow in hand, there’s no telling it could be anyone else. Of course, who else can make her smile if not the one person she truly felt happy with even before the game started? Gale. My thought flashed back to the time we were hiding in the cellar at the Capitol, inside Tigris furry underwear store. “How will she decide who to pick in the end is easy, she’ll pick the one she can never survive with”. At that time, I thought he was talking about me. Besides, wasn’t it me who helped her survive the first game? Even with my legs broken and she risked her life for me by going to the feast, but wasn’t I the one who gave her strength to keep going, just as she gave me hope? Although it was all just for the show, in the back of my mind, I knew a part of her did have feelings for me. Why else would she kiss me on the beach during that Quarter Quell? I was pretty sure that was not for the show. Not the way she kissed me and wanted more. No, that kiss was meant for me.

But now, back here in District 12, after the game had taken away not just her home, but her family and freedom, she no longer needed that dim of light, that hope to give her strength to survive. No longer did she needed that dandelion hidden beneath the dirt, barely blooming, reminding her, a sign to show that through all the bad things going on in life, there is still a way to get through it. No. what she needed was him. He was and will always be her confidant. The comfort of knowing, that when things don’t go right, he will always have her back. She needed him to survive. His hands that are strong enough for coal mining but also gentle enough to make a snare.

I turned back and caught Haymitch looking at me. “Sometimes I could be wrong,” he said as he got up and walked back to his mansion. I got up and headed towards mine, knowing I no longer have a place here. She may deny it but I know I will always remind her of the game and everything bad that happened after. I was weak enough that the Capitol was able to hijack me and made me turn my back from her. Gale on the other hand, well Gale reminds her of the normal life they had back then. Back when they went hunting together and putting food on the table. Not just for their family but for others too. Although nothing romantic happened between them then, everybody knew it was bound to happen one day. And now it did.

Gale Howthorne

Working with Beetie has helped be kept myself busy. I learned a lot of things from him, but always kept away from explosive. I never knew whether the bombs that killed Prim was one of my inventions with him, although I have a slight idea that it might be. Those little silver parachutes, giving those children hope and a moment later burning them and killing them. It was the same concept I used for my snares. I kept tab of Katnis by updates I hear through Dr. Aurelius. Although people around are talking about how much progress the Mockingjay is making ever since she assassinated President Coin, Dr Aurelius knows the truth. The loss of Prim took half her life away. And with her mother occupying herself in District 8, she has no family to go back to in District 12. Who she has though, is Peeta. I don’t really know how things are going between the two of them. I try not to think about it too much and blurred out the words whenever his name is brought up.

It was said that the coal mine in District 12 will be reopen. Beetie was asked to help invent something to prevent another cave in. With my little experience in mining, I gave ideas to Beetie on what could be helpful. They were about to test his inventions and asked me to go along. Although I do miss home, District 2 is my home now. I contemplated whether to go or not. I wasn't ready to meet Katnis again. I know she blames me for Prim’s death. And even if she doesn't  I still blame myself. I promised that I will take care of her family and yet I failed. If what I hear from Dr Aurelius is true, I might not even bump into her there. It was a long trip from District 2 to 12 so I made sure I packed everything. I was about to leave when I saw my bow in the corner. I might not have the time but I took it with me just in case.

District 12 looked different from the last time I was here. The place looks cleaner with most of the ashes and debris from the bombing cleared out. It was not back to normal but it looked better. We weren't going to start testing until tomorrow so I thought of taking a walk around town. The Hob that took the worse hit had a lot more cleaning up to do. Half of my house was gone. I walked to the gate that leads to the wood. This is where I first kissed Katnis after her game. Katnis. The thought of her makes me miss her even more. I wanted to clear my head by going hunting but that won’t help as everything about hunting reminds me of her. I decided to take my chances and go see her. She’s still living in her Victor Village mansion where Greasy Sue cooks for her. I don’t have the slightest idea whether she’ll be with Peeta but decided to go anyway.

The wind was picking up blowing away ashes and dust. As I walk I think about what I should say to her. Our last conversation together was about me telling her how I failed her and she didn’t refute it. I saw three figures sitting outside her house. With the lack of visibility from the dust, I could barely make out who it was but yet I knew. Katnis, Peeta and Haymitch, the three victors of District 12. I changed my mind and was about to turn around and walk away, hoping that they didn’t see me but it was too late. I saw her standing up and that’s when I got nervous. What if she was still mad at me? What if she never wanted to see me again? I could understand that. But then she started walking towards me. A few steps after, she began to run. We weren’t that far apart between each other, but it felt like hours until she got to me. She wrapped her arms around me and I felt relieved. I dropped my bow and hugged her tight, never wanting to let go. “You came back.”

Katnis Everdeen

Haymitch and Peeta came over to continue with our book. Although I knew the task doesn't get easier each day, today was no exception. The nightmares keep coming back. Peeta was trying hard to cheer me up as always. I wasn't in the mood, though I did manage a polite smile, but looked away. With the wind blowing dusts and ashes, it was hard to tell whether my eyes are playing tricks on me. But there it is, a figure I knew far too well to be wrong. There in his hand was a bow and I knew it was him. And just like that, all the life that left me came back. I could feel my heart beating again as if it had stopped all this while. I got up and before realizing it, my legs started to take big steps towards him. I ran what seems like forever and finally reached out to him and hug him with all my might. “You came back,” half asking, half stating. “I thought it was about time that I did,” he said and smiled. We stayed like that for a moment, holding on to each other. He walked with me back to my mansion and I saw Peeta and Haymitch no longer there.

Gale told me about his time in District 2 and also the plan of reopening the mine. It did give me flashbacks about my father but then I thought this is what District 12 is all about. We’re coal miners. I told him about the project I was working on with Peeta and Haymitch. How we would like to tell the story about the Hunger Games and honor those who help fight for our freedom. I remembered to include Madge, as she was not only our friend, but also the reason how the Mockingjay came about. Greasy Sue came out the door baring drinks for Gale. “Now that you’re here, we could use something for dinner. I managed to get some prune and thought it would be lovely if I could make some stew. A feast of somewhat to welcome you home.” the thought of going hunting with Gale again got me excited. I got inside, put on my father’s hunting jacket, got my bow and met with Gale up front.

We walked slowly to the fence heading towards the wood in silence. It felt familiar; going hunting again with him. We skimmed the woods, looking for animals to shoot. We only managed to get 2 squirrels and 3 rabbits. The woods looked a bit deserted now with the animals running deeper into the woods since the bombing. We walked towards the lake my father used to take me when I was younger, and went into the abandoned house. There are so many memories here besides those I have with my father. The two people from District 8 who ran away, seeking refuge here, Pollux asking me to sing for him. This is also the place where Gale told me he loves me, and I foolishly answered by saying I know. If we’d have run away together, just as he asked me on the day of the reaping, we could have stayed here. I look at him and saw him looking at me, as if he was having the same thought.

"Things could be different. If only I had paid more attention to what was going on and not just focus on getting revenge." I can't really blame him for what happen. He couldn't possibly know what President Coin's plan was. Gale was quiet for a moment. We knew this conversation will have no happy ending. “I guess I’ll just have to get used to it, not having my family here, and just move on. Peeta’s adjusting too especially in his condition.” I know bringing his name up doesn’t make things easier. “I just don’t want you to blame yourself for what happened. Carrying this kind of burden won’t do anyone any good.” Gale was staring outside and i know how hard this has been for him too. "I just wished that we were brave enough to run away that day. and take our family along. even if the Capitol found out we were missing, we could deal with it. It might have a different outcome, but at least we're together." I said. Gale let out a big sigh. "I hate to say this, but if we had ran away that day, the Hunger Games will still be on. We might live somewhere else but we will always be looking over our shoulders. Who knows when it will end. It seems selfish not to care about it now, but think of what that will do for the next generation. No one else will have to suffer that way. Our lives could get better" "But not without consequences" I said in a whisper. "I don't know how long this healing process that Dr Aurelius keeps talking about will take.. everything about District 12 reminds me of the bad things that have happened and each time it hurts more.. I don't think it'll ever go away." i said in frustration. "It won't. we just need to learn how to move on.. find something we love doing and distract ourselves" he said. "You mean like hunting?", I asked. "something like that.." he paused, before he continued "how did u feel just now, when we went hunting?" "It felt just how it did 2 years ago.. It felt right" and it did. when we went hunting, nothing about what happened crossed my mind. I knew things were different, that we weren't hunting for our families anymore, but it didn't hurt as much.. it was, as Gale had said, a distraction.. Gale walked towards me and I walked into his arms. The warmth of his body felt good against mine. He pulled back a bit and was a bit hesitant. I leaned to him and gently kissed him on the lips. "I love you." the first time I’ve ever admit it. "I know," he said with a smirk. "But I love you more."