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Cato & Glimmer: The Other Star-Crossed Lovers
I am standing in the training room when I first see her. Her aqua-green eyes are sharp and threatening, filled with excitement and pride. Her golden-blonde hair is pulled into two fishtail braids, lying atop her shoulders. She smiles a devious grin. This girl is the essence of beauty, the essence of danger. This girl belongs with me.
A trainer begins an introduction about how half of us will die of “natural causes”, but no one is listening until she dismisses us to go to the stations. Of course, my choice is the spears, swords, and knives. I throw them until I become bored, all perfectly on target. Just like I have been training to do for my whole life. As a Career from District Two, there is a high probability that I will win, as I have been preparing since before I was twelve. According to the patch on the shoulder of her training uniform, the girl is from District One. There is a high probability that she will live, too.
For a moment, I pause my throwing and watch this incredibly stunning girl. She was shooting a bow. I stare as several arrows land painstakingly close to the targets, but just slightly off. Seeing me watch her, she turns and winks before walking off to find more arrows. Who is this girl? The moment of distraction is just long enough for me to realize that my knife is missing. One of these tributes must have stolen it. Someone must pay. District Six. He must have taken my knife. I lunge at him, comeuppance has come. No one steals from Cato Harris.
“You! You took my knife! I know you did! Hand it over!” I shout at the boy, shoving him to the side. His eyes widen with fear, and then he begins to fight back. I scream at him more, but find myself being dragged away by several Peacekeepers. The trainer lectures me about “fighting before the Games” and how “there’ll be plenty of time for that”. It just may be the most wasted five minutes of my life. Finally, it ends, and I am allowed back.
The interviews are one of the best parts so far. I gaze at the girl, whose name, I discovered, is Glimmer, up on the television screen as she gives her interview. Wow. Her dress is short and fluffy, much like a tutu, and the pale gold-tinted pink makes her look even more the goddess of beauty she is. When she smiles, I can’t breathe. Glimmer is the picture of perfection. I will talk to her, I must. After Glimmer’s interview, it is my turn.
“Cato! The boy of District Two! And just how are you?” Caesar Flickerman grins in that funny TV-host way of his.
“I’m great, Caesar, just great. It’s so incredible to be here. I’ve always known that I would be here one day, and now that I am… it’s just great.” I flash a smile. This is the way to get sponsors. Likeability.
“Hmm… yes I would assume so.” Caesar returns my grin. “So, tell us, Cato, do you think you’ll be back here?” By, “back here”, he means “will you win?”.
“Well of course I will. I’m going to go in there and fight hard. I’ll be sitting here with a crown on my head, watching it all over again.” What I don’t say is that I hope I won’t be the one to kill Glimmer. The whole interview is a blur. I know that I’ve charmed the audience from the way that the crowd cheers as I leave. This is good; it means I’ve won some sponsors tonight.
For the rest of the night, I lay cooped up in my room watching the interviews replay on the television until it is time for the training scores to be announced. Marvel, from District One, is a ten. Glimmer receives a nine. Not too bad, but I wonder why she didn’t receive a ten like Clove and I do. Everyone after us scores a seven or lower, except for Thresh, the boy from District Eleven. Well, everyone except that girl from District Twelve. Katniss. How did Twelve score an eleven? In this instant, I know that she must be my first target.
Sixty seconds. Sixty seconds before I can get supplies from the Cornucopia. Sixty seconds before I can team up with Marvel and Clove… and Glimmer. I carefully survey the area around the Cornucopia. There are several swords in the mouth. I need those swords.
Fifty seconds. I see a sack of apples and a little other food in front of Clove. She nods, knowing that I want her to take it. I also see that she has her eye on what looks to be a set of knives on the far side. Though it’s not nearby, I trust that Clove will get to it easily. She knows what she’s doing.
Forty seconds. Marvel and I lock eyes. He is looking for alliance. I’m game. I raise my eyebrows, and he can tell that he’s found a partner. We Careers must stick together, after all. Well, until we’re all that’s left. Then it’s every man for himself.
Thirty seconds. Marvel looks over at Glimmer and nods, indicating that the Careers are indeed teaming up. She snaps her attention in my direction and gives a flirtatious smirk. She’s definitely interested.
Twenty seconds. Katniss is several tributes to my left. She’s shaking her head at someone. Then I see. It’s Peeta, the boy from her district. He wants her to run from the Cornucopia, but it’s obvious that she wants that bow. That must be how she got an eleven. Glimmer sees the bow, too.
Ten seconds. I ready myself to run for the swords, knowing that I can just kill anyone in my way. This should be simple. I survey the other tributes one last time. Most of them look like easy kills, anyways, especially Peeta. But I’ll save him for now. I need him to get to Katniss.
The timer goes off. I rush to the swords with no effort at all. The world becomes a blur, like I am watching myself from the outside, as I go into Games Mode. Blood splashes and splatters around me. Tributes collapse dead at my feet. I no longer know what’s going on, just that I’m winning. Everyone is gone now. Everyone except for Marvel, Clove, Glimmer, Peeta, and myself. We sift through the remainder of the supplies in the Cornucopia. I find a small boy hiding behind a large bag. His eyes are pleading, begging. I show no mercy, but I guess that in itself is merciful, as his death was swift and simple.
A hand rests on my shoulder. I turn to see Glimmer. She smiles. I shrug her hand off, and it falls to her side. The look on her face is one of slight confusion and heartbreak. I was right; she was definitely interested. The expression changes, though, when I take her hand in mine. Her hands are trained as weapons, but they are small and soft and smooth against my hands. We haven’t even spoken, but she is mine already.
After Glimmer and I take care of the tribute girl from District Eight, the whole Career pack heads back to our camp for the night. Glimmer immediately lies down at my side. She rests her head on my chest. Everything feels perfect. She’s so beautiful, even as she sleeps. A pang as sharp as one of Clove’s throwing knives strikes my stomach when I realize only one of us can go home. Instinctively, my arm tightens around her, protecting her from the unknown murderer that may be out there to kill her, the unknown murderer that might be me. Me. She stirs, and opens her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Those eyes. Alert, watchful, beautiful. I sigh. “It bothers you, too, doesn’t it?”
“It took me sixteen years to meet the most beautiful, incredible, strong, powerful, fearsome girl alive. Sixteen years. And I may only have her for a day. Only one of us is going home, Glimmer.”
“Maybe neither of us will go home.”
“Maybe.” I would much rather myself get killed than not see her go home.
“You have such a killer smile, you know.”
“Well you, my darling, have such a killer personality, you know.”
“I guess we’re quite the murderous pair, then, aren’t we?”
“I guess we are. Go back to sleep, Sparkles,” I smile. She gives me a playful elbow in the ribs at the sound of her new affectionately given nickname. This guy Shakespeare who wrote plays a long time ago once wrote “Love is a smoke rais’d with the fumes of sighs.” Sighs is right.
“Get her, Cato!” Glimmer is my encouragement as I climb a gargantuan oak tree. Katniss is hiding from us. Like she has a chance. District Twelve, ha! As if. My hands slip, and I fall. My heart stops beating until I hit the ground, my large knife from Clove landing right next to me. That was probably the scariest moment I will experience in the Games.
“Why don’t we just wait her out? She’ll have to come down… or starve.” Peeta speaks for the first time all day. It sounds more reasonable than more failed climbing…
“Alright. Set up temporary camp tonight, guys.”
Once everything is set, we relax. I lean against the base of a nearby tree, Glimmer tucked into my side. I look at her beautiful, incredible face. She was very appropriately named; her beauty and personality glimmer with perfection. Who wouldn’t fall for this girl? Soon, she is asleep in my arms. This is the last time I see her face in its full flawlessness, that smile in its full dazzling splendor, her hair, so soft to the touch. I begin to doze off, and find myself dreaming.
This dream is a nightmare, full of sharp, knife-like pains. I awake. This is no dream. Tracker Jackers. A whole nest. Somehow it must have fallen. Before I can fully react, they’re swarming us. Marvel and Clove are already at the end of the clearing, running for the lake. Glimmer screams. Another scream comes, but this time it is from my mouth. I can barely see Glimmer through the jackers anymore; all I hear is shrieks of pain and agony. My own body is on fire as each stinger makes contact with my skin. Death must surely be near for at least one of us.
“Cato! Cato! Please! Make it stop! Help me! Cato!” I rush through the swarm and hold her in my arms one last time, one last delirious, scarcely memorable time. She is swelling badly, almost to the point of unrecognizing. She whispers in my ear once more, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” She goes limp. I am numb, mentally and physically. The stings are so bad I no longer even feel the pain. After sprinting to the lake, I finally reach its cooling water and escape the Tracker Jackers.
I realize what has just happened. Two days. That was it. My girl, my light, my Glimmer, gone. Now I feel pain. My heart caterwauls; I caterwaul. Glimmer is dead. How? I scream out for a few minutes, until I can no longer even speak. Then, I fall. I collapse and cry. It all comes out. I loved her. I lost her. I can’t go on. But I must. A new feeling arises in my chest. Determination. I will win the Games. I will win them for her. Where to start? Katniss. She can’t escape me again.