Chapter 13

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I wake up in a white room.

I’m back in the Research Center! I think, panicked. I try to sit up, but there’s something holding me down. I lie back down, and look around. There are machines I don’t recognize around, and someone enters through the open door.

She doesn’t speak, but checks a couple of the machines, and then turns to leave.

“Wait,” I call out weakly. She turns back.

 “Yes?” She says.

“Did I pass?” I ask. She nods shortly and departs.

A few minutes later, Edward walks in. He’s smiling. “Congratulations, boy. We weren’t sure you’d make it.” He pats me on my good shoulder, my left one. “You had a punctured lung. It’s remarkable that you went as far as you did before collapsing.”

I don’t know what to say, so I just nod. Edward opens his mouth as if he wants to say something, then shuts it again, shaking his head.

“I’ll see what I can do about getting you out of that bed.” He says. “Do you feel strong enough to walk?” I nod.

Edward loosens the straps holding me down, and I slide my feet off the side of the bed, onto the floor. I’m dressed in clean, white clothing, much like I wore when I was in the Research Center.

“Where exactly am I?” I ask, “And how long have I been out?”

Edward stands by to help me if I lose my balance.

“Right now, you’re in a mobile hospital. We figured you wouldn’t want to go back to the Center for treatment. And you’ve only been out for a day. Really, you probably shouldn’t be able to walk.” He frowns.

I shrug. “I feel fine.” I say. I feel a bandage running across my chest. “Did I have any other injuries besides a punctured lung?” I say.

“Yes, a couple cracked ribs, and assorted bruises and scratches.” He says. “But the machines took care of those quickly enough, I see.”

I peel off my shirt to examine the bandage. I experimentally press it. It doesn’t hurt at all. Hmm.

I slip the shirt back on. “I’m ready to go.” I say.

He nods. “Follow me.”

He leads me through the door, down a couple hallways, and out a door. I step out onto the grass in the Training Field, and notice for the first time that I’m barefoot. I breathe in the clean, non-recycled air.

“What do I do next?” I say, turning to Edward.

“You’ll travel to the Capitol, and you’ll be given your first mission there.” He replies.

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