The Sky People have sent us a message… that they can take whatever they want. That no one can stop them. Well, we will send them a message. You ride out as fast as the wind can carry you. You tell the other clans to come. Tell them Toruk Macto calls to them! You fly now, with me! My brothers! Sisters! And we will show the Sky People… that they cannot take whatever they want! And that this… this is our land!
My head snaps around at the hiss, but it takes awhile to believe he’s real. How could he have gotten here? I take in the claw marks from some wild animal, the back paw he holds slightly above the ground, the prominent bones in his face. He’s come on foot, then, all the way from 13. Maybe they kicked him out or maybe he just bones in his face. He’s come on foot, then, all the way from 13. Maybe they kicked him out or maybe he just couldn’t stand it there without her, so he came looking.
“It was the waste of a trip. She’s not here,” I tell him. Buttercup hisses again. “She’s not here. You can hiss all you like. You won’t find Prim.” At her name, he perks up. Raises his flattened ears. Begins to meow hopefully.
“Get out!” He dodges the pillow I throw at him. “Go away! There’s nothing left for you here!” I start to shake, furious with him. “She’s not coming back! She’s never ever coming back here again!” I grab another pillow and get to my feet to improve my aim. Out of nowhere, the tears begin to pour down my cheeks.
“She’s dead.” I clutch my middle to dull the pain. Sink down on my heels, rocking the pillow, crying. “She’s dead, you stupid cat. She’s dead.”
It’s Caesar Flickerman. And I can guess who his guest will be. Peeta’s physical transformation shocks me. The healthy clear-eyed boy I saw a few days ago has lost at least fifteen pounds and has developed a nervous tremor in his hands. They’ve got him groomed. But underneath the paint that cannot cover the bags under his eyes, and the fine clothes that cannot conceal the pain he feels when he moves, is a person badly damaged.