- THIS CITY NEEDS ME

Peeta gently lifts up the morphling and carries her the last few yards to the beach while Finnick and I keep our weapons at the ready. But except for the orange carcasses on the ground, the monkeys are gone. Peeta lays the morphling on the sand. I cut away the material over her chest, revealing the four deep puncture wounds. Blood slowly trickles from them, making them look far less deadly than they are. The real damage is inside. By the position of the openings, I feel certain the beast ruptured something vital, a lung, maybe even her heart.

She lies on the sand, gasping like a fish out of water. Sagging skin, sickly green, her ribs as prominent as a child’s dead of starvation. Surely she could afford food, but turned to the morphling just as Haymitch turned to drink, I guess. Everything about her speaks of waste—her body, her life, the vacant look in her eyes. I hold one of her twitching hands, unclear whether it moves from the poison that affected our nerves, the shock of the attack, or withdrawal from the drug that was her sustenance. There is nothing we can do. Nothing but stay with her while she dies.

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THEME