5 - HIDDENWhen I wake up for the third time, I know that my condition has worsened. I feel muddy-headed. The sharp, searing pain of yesterday has now dulled to a deep, intense, throbbing ache that I think might be worse. My face is covered in a cold sweat. My tongue feels like a wad of cotton in my mouth. Water . . . I still have to find water. And Katniss. Finding her is more important.5 - HIDDEN in General Fiction More Like This
I pry my eyes open, which takes a surprising amount of effort. The brilliance of the sunlight sends piercing pain through my temples. Gotta move . . .
I push myself up. Then I fall back down. I don't have the strength for this. I can't do it. I can't. I'm going to die here in these woods. I'm sorry, Katniss, I say to her in my mind. I failed you. I'm sorry.
And then, suddenly, I hear Haymitch's voice growling in my head. Don't be a wimp, boy. You really like her that much? Then stop being such a wuss and stay alive.
I grit my teeth. He's right, of course. I close my eyes and try to work up t
2 - CAUGHTIt feels like a lifetime before the hallucinations finally stop. But eventually the horrific, nightmarish images of my mother's fists and the Capitol's wicked, freaky, painted-on smiles and Katniss's tortured body fade away into a sweet, black nothingness. For a while I am blissfully unaware of my surroundings and I can finally rest.2 - CAUGHT in General Fiction More Like This
I must've fallen into a deep sleep. When I open my eyes, the world is blurry but at least it's no longer spinning. I'm still lying on my stomach in the underbrush. From what I can tell, it's mid-afternoon. How long have I been out? A surge of panic jolts through me. The Careers. They must be nearly recovered by now, which means they'll be hunting me. I've got to move. Cato made it very clear he's got it out for me, since he saw that I protected Katniss.
Katniss. My breath catches in my throat. The thought of her lying all alone in the woods, helpless and lost in the delirium of jacker venom, fills me with worry. What if another tribute finds her? I
Deadbolts Ch. 3Deadbolts Ch. 3 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Light. That was the first thing he noticed. A warm, soft yellow light, muted behind his eyelids. He wanted to open them, but he was too weak and they felt swollen shut. He didn't know where he was, or what was happening. His mind floated in a cloud of haze and fog, and he couldn't make it work.
There were soundsfaraway, muffled sounds. The sensation of being shaken gently. After a few seconds, he realized the sounds were voices. He could hardly make them out.
"Do you think he's a Deadbolt?" somebody said. It sounded so muted, the person must've been talking into a wad of fabric or something. He could only just make out the words.
Casey realized his senses were slowly beginning to work. The world was starting to creep its way back into his consciousness. He noticed his thirst. His tongue felt like a dry wad of cotton inside a mouth made of sandpaper. The second thing he noticed was an ungodly pain in his head. It thumped inside his brain like a hammera throbbin
Deadbolts Ch. 2Deadbolts Ch. 2 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Lance was out of his sleeping bag in an instant. They scooped up their things and fled toward the cliff.
The older boy cursed. "I knew we shouldn't be out in the open like this!"
"Then why didn't you say anything?" Casey puffed behind him.
"I just I didn't think they'd actually " He abandoned his sentence and focused on running. Suddenly he skidded to a halt. "Change of plans. We're crossing the river tonight."
"What?" Surely Casey hadn't heard him right.
"We've got to. They won't come after us down there."
Casey broke out in a nervous sweat. "Are you sure we can?"
"Doesn't matter if we can," Lance answered, his sharp eyes searching the cliffside. "We don't have a choice."
Casey watched as he stripped off his backpack and jacket and tossed them over the side of the gorge. They landed on a pile of rocks far below. Then, without hesitating, he lowered himself onto the ledge and disappeared beneath it. Casey came to stand on the very edge, the river surging and churn
6 - FOUNDI get to work. There's more than enough mud and foliage to do the job. I tell myself I'm not allowed to rest until I'm completely hidden from view. It takes me a while, but gradually I begin to disappear. I smear dirt and mud all over my clothes and smudge it on my skin. I entwine reeds and grass in my hair. I bury myself in everything I can find until I feel I've melted right into the bank and become part of it. No one should be able to see me now.6 - FOUND in General Fiction More Like This
I'm so tired . . . My eyelids are slowly sinking shut and before I know it, I've fallen asleep.
I feel worse when I wake up a few hours later. Something else is very wrong with me. My head feels thick. And . . . feverish. I'm sick. My leg is throbbing badly. I will not be able to search for Katniss anymore. There is absolutely no way. Even if I could get out of this prison of weeds I've put myself into, I just don't have the strength. My only hope of seeing her again is if she finds me before I die.
Honestly, she is the only thi
3 - CRIPPLEDCato has the back of my shirt before I can even turn around. "Where d'ya thing you're going?" he hisses in my ear. He's so close to my face that I can smell his breath. It smells very, very foul.3 - CRIPPLED in General Fiction More Like This
"Let go of me," I mutter under my breath, struggling to keep my voice under control. My heart is pounding so hard inside my chest it's almost painful. I hope he can't hear it.
"Not until you tell me what you thought you were doing back there."
"I don't know what you're talking about." I'm stalling, I know, but I cannot put Katniss in any more danger.
"You know exactly what he's talking about," Clove says, coming around to stand by Cato. She stumbles a bit as she walks. Cato's movements seem wobbly too. They must also still be getting over the effects of the venom. "You let her get away on purpose."
The rest of the Careers are here, too. I see can see Marvel from the corner of my eye, and behind him are the boy from District Three, and even the boy from Ten with the bad leg. Great. Now e
Deadbolts Ch. 4Deadbolts Ch. 4 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
For what felt like an eternity, Casey drifted in and out of consciousness. Sometimes there was nothing, just black, and he was blissfully unaware of his pain. Then sometimes he was awake in a confusing, muddled blur of shifting images and colors and he could hear people talking, but their voices were warbling roars echoing inside his head. Sometimes he could see forms bending over him, could feel gentle hands on his face and wrapping bandages around him. He could feel his body shaking uncontrollably. Then there were those in-between stages where a mix of fragmented dreams and nightmares swirled around through his fevered brain, causing him to toss and turn and cry out. He saw his parents in his dreams. He saw Lance in his nightmares. He saw the Caps and the locker beam in all of them. How many times did he see Lance being locked? Too many. Images of his brother wearing one of those helmets, his eyes blank and unseeing, fighting alongside the Ucretians and enslaving the pop
1 - VENOMI have to get away from here.1 - VENOM in General Fiction More Like This
As soon as I see Katniss stumble off into the trees, I turn in the other direction. I can see Cato's back ahead of me, frantically running in the direction of the lake. "You're dead, Mellark!" I hear him scream over his shoulder. Then he disappears into the forest. He must be wanting to get back to camp before he collapses from the venom. Good. That gives me a little time to try and get away.
I bolt to the right. This way should take me further into the woods, to a place I can find shelter and water. I've got to hurry. The sting behind my ear is swelling. I feel a sharp prick of pain on my arm. Two seconds later I feel another on my leg. The tracker jackers must still be pursuing me. I'm running out of time.
I tear through the foliage, pushing aside branches and trampling over the underbrush, acquiring cuts and scratches all over my hands and arms and face. The woods begin to spin, but I keep going. I can't stop. I can't. I get another thirty feet before I
4 - STRUGGLEThere's a booming sound. It's muffled and faint, but I can hear it. It sounds like thunder. I wonder if there's a storm coming. No matter, I can just stay in bed. I'm safe and warm in my house. Then I remember that my mother will be coming for me if I don't get up soon. I've got to put fresh loaves in the oven. If I don't . . . the consequences will be dire.4 - STRUGGLE in General Fiction More Like This
Slowly, I force my eyes open and have to squint at the bright light. Light? That doesn't make any sense. It's storming. I try to blink my eyes into focus and see a blurry tangle of tree boughs above me. But...that can't be right. I'm supposed to be---
Suddenly the breath is sucked right out of my lungs. I'm not at home. I'm in...
Oh, crap. The arena. The thunder must've been a cannon. Suddenly the memories of all that's happened come flooding back into my mind, hitting me with the force of a freight train, and I don't even consider who it was that just died. I can still hear the sound of Cato's sword tearing through my leg and I th
Deadbolts Ch. 1Deadbolts Ch. 1 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Wait up, Lance!"
The tall, dark figure ahead turned around and sighed. "I swear, if you slow me down any more I'll leave you behind."
"It's not my fault you walk so fast," the younger boy grumbled as he trudged up the scruffy hill behind his brother.
The moon was full and bright overhead and cast black shadows behind the short tufts of grass able to grow out of the parched soil. The entire sky stretched out over Casey's head like a dark blanket that went on forever and ever, that he would eventually suffocate under. He lowered his head and pushed his tired muscles up the hillside.
"You need to learn to be faster," Lance scolded. "We'll never make it if you're always lagging behind."
Casey rolled his eyes. Lance was so bossy. He always thought he knew best just because he was three years older. Maybe when Casey turned twenty, Lance would finally listen to him. Although, he didn't know if he wanted to get that old. He'd rather die than reach the age of viability.