Peeta's Story: Chasing Fire

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Prologue

Green. Brown. Blue. The grey flash of Katniss's eyes as she stalks down her prey. The icy cobalt of the rushing water. The glimmering gold of the Cornucopia. Colours swirl around my mind and I grab a fistful of my sheets. My breathing is ragged now, and I close my eyes, trying to escape, but it's no use. Faster and faster, the memories dance across my eyelids. My fingers itch to move, to free my mind of this burden, and before I know it, I'm staggering out of bed, bursting into another room full of the musky smell of wood.

Only a few glowing embers are left in the fireplace now, and the whole room is as dark as the night. Outside, snow drifts down lazily before settling into a cozy white blanket on the ground. I watch it, enraptured, for a few moments, until I drag some more wood into the fire and settle back into my normal habits.

This is the one place I can be myself: the place where I can sit down and think or cry or simply curl up with a mug of warm tea, or even broth, because I can afford that now. It is my safe haven.

The walls are decorated with an assortment of artwork, but there seem to be three repeating motifs- Katniss, the Games, and landscapes. Some of the drawings are in bleak black and white charcoal, yet others are vivid oil paintings so realistic they make me shiver. You'd think that surrounding myself with these memories of the past few months would be some masochistic form of torturing myself, but it actually helps to relieve the pain. During nights like these, when the nightmares just won't stop haunting me, I come in here and paint.

So I pick up my brush and stare blankly at the canvas, but the pictures that dogged me so relentlessly earlier just won't come. Instead, my mind forms a ghastly gray scene with sharp, angular features. Something about it chills me to the bone, and my hand trembles as I pick up my graphite pencils, though I don't know why.

And then I'm off, my hand darting across the paper like a stream of smoke flying across the sky, leaving behind its imprint. My mind wanders as my hands deftly sketch out an image, pausing only to smudge the graphite or to erase a misplaced line. It's awhile before the image takes shape, turning from a few scrawls to the clearly defined figure of a girl with eyes so haunting and deep they send shivers down my back. And then my eyes never really leave hers as I add the details- the loose braid, the delicate fingers, and of course, the feathers. When I'm done, my shaking hand lifts up the drawing and my eyes open wide, for I've drawn Katniss, the girl on fire, the mockingjay.

She looks so regal, her chin held high, and a defiant look in her blazing eyes. Her dress swoops to the floor, covered by miniscule feathers, and her long sleeves rising high into the air make her look like she's about to take flight. And the smoke billowing up all around her, dense and gray, surrounds her so that if I close my eyes, I can almost see her shooting off into the air, light as the wafts of smoke trailing from a blazing fire.

Somehow, I feel more peaceful now, more at rest. I lay the drawing down on top of a pile of portraits and carefully place my supplies away. Graphite stains my hands, so I wipe them on a rag before slipping out of the room and climbing into my bed. It is still dark, though the slivers of sunrise can already be seen through my window. The white ceiling looms down at me, and as I stare up at it, my mind is curiously blank.

--

here's the prologue... the next chapter is gonna be BORING, i can already tell. good thing it won't be up for awhile! sorry, but i'm SWAMPED with stuff! gotta study for my PSAT and ACT ;)

the song on the side is the one we're listening to in Spanish. i had it stuck in my head while i was writing

vote, comment? xx amanda

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