In his alcohol induced delusions, he saw red.
Bright, sickeningly red. The sight made his head whirl.
It wasn't his, the blood that painted his hands. It was his, it was hers, it was theirs.
Then he would return to himself and realize he was out of the arena, he was home in Twelve, and it was nothing but a hallucination.
Those Games had changed him, changed him forever. They had damaged him irreparably, leaving him dependent on the drink. He had killed. Lives had been ended, and it was his fault.
Even those who he hadn't killed, he felt guilty about.
Because he had survived.
Parents had mourned their children, children who never had and never would return home.
Because of him.
Some of those children had spent their lives training, preparing for the arena. And yet, they had been killed while he lived on, alone.
Was it better to die? Better to die than live the way he did? Alive and wealthy, but alone, his only company liquor and nightmares?
Maybe. He thought so.
Perhaps it would have been better if his family had survived. His mother and his little brother, his girlfriend. Perhaps they would have been able to help him cope with the pain, keep him from the abyss of despair that he knew so well.
But no, they hadn't. They were gone. And that too was his fault.
Worse than the deaths he had caused himself were the deaths of the people he had let down.
The tributes sent into the arena to die. The tributes that had been entrusted to him to care for. The tributes whose survival had been his responsibility.
Every year, the deaths of two more were on his conscience. Every year, he drifted further away and further into his personal nightmare.
He had never left the arena.
Few victors had. They would be home, but they would dream of the place where they had been forced to murder, slaughter people they didn't know and had no quarrel with.
They had learned to cope with it. The wounds never healed, but they had learned to cope.
He drank. Some turned to morphling. Seeder had thrown herself into the Games, trying her hardest to see another come home.
The loss of her tributes cut her deeper than the loss of his cut him. She got attached. She wanted them to come back.
Chaff was like him. He drank, not knowing what else he could do. He put in the effort when he found a tribute he was sure could survive.
Johanna...she lied. She put on a sardonic mask and lied to herself and the world, pretending she was still strong. Pretending she was still whole.
Finnick hadn't known as much pain as he had. He was from District Four, and most of their tributes survived. But he had still killed and seen children be killed and kill. He never wanted Annie to feel that pain. She had felt enough.
Annie. It had been terrible for her. Finnick had told him that she had once been friendly, witty. Not any more. She had gone mad because of the Games. Now she was shy, quiet, scared.
The bottle he had in his hand shattered suddenly, his grip too tight. He let out a stream of muted curses as shards of glass pierced his skin. Beads of blood welled up, rolling down his wrist as he pulled out the glass.
Now his hands really were stained with blood. But it was different. He didn't mind seeing his own blood staining his skin. Just a small wound. Nothing. Insignificant.
In fact, most physical wounds were insignificant. The only marks left were on his soul, not his body.
And now, Haymitch Abernathy's soul was damaged beyond repair.