Finnick crashes into the clearing to find me wiping my arrow clean with some moss. “Katniss?”
“It’s okay. I’m okay,” I say, although I don’t feel okay at all. “I thought I heard my sister but—” The piercing shriek cuts me off. It’s another voice, not Prim’s, maybe a young woman’s. I don’t recognize it. But the effect on Finnick is instantaneous. The color vanishes from his face and I can actually see his pupils dilate in fear. “Finnick, wait!” I say, reaching out to reassure him, but he’s bolted away. Gone off in pursuit of the victim, as mindlessly as I pursued Prim. “Finnick!” I call, but I know he won’t turn back and wait for me to give a rational explanation. So all I can do is follow him.
It’s no effort to track him, even though he’s moving so fast, since he leaves a clear, trampled path in his wake. But the bird is at least a quarter mile away, most of it uphill, and by the time I reach him, I’m winded. He’s circling around a giant tree. The trunk must be four feet in diameter and the limbs don’t even begin until twenty feet up. The woman’s shrieks emanate from somewhere in the foliage, but the jabberjay’s concealed. Finnick’s screaming as well, over and over. “Annie! Annie!” He’s in a state of panic and completely unreachable, so I do what I would do anyway. I scale an adjacent tree, locate the jabberjay, and take it out with an arrow. It falls straight down, landing right at Finnick’s feet. He picks it up, slowly making the connection, but when I slide down to join him, he looks more despairing than ever.
“It’s all right, Finnick. It’s just a jabberjay. They’re playing a trick on us,” I say. “It’s not real. It’s not your… Annie.”