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Ashes, Ashes

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Ring around the rosy,
Pockets full of posy.
Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.

Children are always naïve, whether they realize this or not. I watch from inside of the barricade, already knowing how this story was going to end for the little Capitol children. Why, one might ask, was I staying here when there are other soldiers waiting anxiously for me to take them away? Well, I've never been one to miss a show.

I glance around at the adults, tightly kept around the President's Mansion, almost as if they would crash down the door if they had to wait another second. They wouldn't though because my time was coming. The outfits of these Capitol people are very ridiculous, even more so than it was before the first Rebellion. They were almost like dolls, easily played with and broken.

I search the crowd for a familiar face, and I fins her almost instantly. The girl they call the Mockingjay. The Girl on Fire. The Rebel Leader. Katniss Everdeen. I have seen her more times than I expected over the years, my favorite being when she was in those god-awful Hunger Games. She sang to the little Rue until I picked her up. It was such a sweet song, and her voice is beautiful. I hear it sometimes, whenever I see the mockingjays fluttering around. Yes, the rebel and icon. But a child still. Just not in ways so obvious to others.

Her innocence, however is running out.

The hovercraft jumps out of the sky and I prepare myself for the little bits of me to rain from them. The silver parachutes fly from the craft, littering the area the children are in. Harmless, everyone thinks. Oh, but they are in a war. Nothing is ever harmless.


It happens so quickly I almost miss my queue. But I manage to catch most of them in time to make sure they don't suffer. Others, cling to their bodies, willing me to disappear. It is futile though. I am here to take them to the meadow Katniss sings of. A place much better than this.

I glance at the others, making sure I don't miss anyone. Most of the adults are in shock, some of which are crying for the children in my arms. Silly people. They are gone now, and although I may regret taking them, I cannot give them back. Still, many parents try to reach through the Peacekeepers who are desperately trying to control the group and get the surviving children.

A people in white uniforms rush through the opening that the Peacekeepers have made. Doctors, trying to save the children, but not from the Capitol, that much I can tell by their more natural and thinned appearances. If I could speak, I would warn them. Tell them that the bombing is not done, otherwise I would have left. I would have told them to run away.

There is a girl with a familiar blonde braid, no older than some of the victims. She hastily takes off her coat to give to a poor child that was lucky enough to survive the first round with only a couple of scratches. She seems familiar, but why can't... Of course. District Twelve.

She was there to help there too. So many people died, but she and her mother managed to save the few they could help. Prim is what they called her. The dying called for her and her mother at night, hoping to get some kind of help before they died. Her mother said something to her. Something about her sister. About Katniss. Oh dear Lord. This girl was her sister.

She turns from my view and sees another in the crowd, her name playing on her lips, and I see her, rushing to her sister, most likely knowing, too, what was going to happen.

When the others go off, I make sure to grab Prim first. She shouldn't suffer. She doesn't deserve that. I cling to her small body as I pick up the other doctors and remaining children from the floor. They are all in a similar state, broken and beat. Not one soul in the barricade survived the second round, most likely the initial idea of the bombers. It saddens me how they can kill each other without the slightest remorse. How they can kill their own side, innocent and goodhearted people just to win a war that will never stop. Because it never does end. I would know.

Fires spring from the parachutes clinging to the Capitol people and eating away the false accessories that they prided themselves in. None are in a bad enough state for death, but I catch one that seems to be calling me from her own will. Still clinging to her sister, I find Katniss on the floor, wanting to be dead, but still very much alive. The fire seems to have latched to her, badly burning her skin. The girl on fire. If there was ever a greater amount of irony.

I stare at her as the other medics come to take the injured. I reach down for her, curious to see if she will be weak enough for me to take. As I figured, she is not. Whatever her mind set is, it's not enough for me to put her out of her misery. I almost force it on her and take her anyway. The poor girl has lost so much, it would be nice to her to truly see the peace she has longed for. But I don't because that is the easy way out, and if there is one thing I know about life is that there is never an easy way out.

So I leave her on the floor, holding onto Prim as if she would somehow fly away and haunt the Capitol for eternity. Turning away, I see another familiar face.

Peeta. His face is also attacked from the fire. Another soul who has called for me in the darkness these past few months. Still alive, just the way it should be. Poor boy, always so close to death. If Katniss sees it and Peeta experiences it, there is no going around me is there. This isn't the first time I begin to mourn the lives on my shoulders, and I doubt it will be the last.

He seems to look straight at me, as if seeing someone he thought had disappeared for the rest of his life. Like his family. I remember how I tried to get to them early, but there were so many bodies, too many lives to take. They were one of the lasts, suffering in silence and hope that never came. His eyes stay on me, but he does not cry for me like the others do, he just stares, dumbstruck and frozen. He must see the lives on me. He must see all of the innocents covering me. He knows me almost as well as I know him. But by tomorrow he will not remember my face, even though I can never forget his.

He leaves my sight as he gets taken away by the medics, his eyes never leaving me. I glance back to see the spot Katniss once occupied empty. They were gone. Off to be taken cared of. To heal away the traumas.

And me? I am still needed, for when there is war, there is Death.