CHAPTER XI: Waking

When Prim's gaze drifted to President Coin at her side, the red woman's eyes flitted away.

A vision of white light struck Prim, causing the girl to reel back in her chair. Though the sensation only lasted a mere second, a lifetime of memories returned to her, most importantly, recent memories. She focused once again on President Coin. "There was a fire. I died in a fire, I think."

The woman could not bring herself to look at Prim, even as the young girl began glancing about the table.

With a knitted brow, Prim's attention turned to the two Presidents. "Everyone seated at this table is dead, except for you two."

Wiress sat back with a satisfied grin. "Clever girl. But you've gotten one thing wrong: they too are quite dead."

Prim turned to President Snow.

"It's true," said the elderly white haired man. The rebels were going to execute me, but our dear President Coin sitting beside you had the decency to die first. The joy of the moment was more than my heart could bear. I died soon after."

Prim turned to President Coin, who finally met the little girl's angry stare. "It's true. Your sister murdered me in lieu of executing that smug man over there. How embarrassing. Right when I thought I had accomplished my goals, your sister had to go and kill me."

With reddening cheeks, Prim sternly sat up. "You murdered me. Don't try to deny it."

President Coin let out a drawn out sigh. "True. I had actually been hoping that you'd die much sooner, certainly not at the pinnacle moment of the war, in front of everyone no less."

Stunned, Prim fell back in her chair, finding herself wiser by the second. "All of us were children. Thirteen-year-olds cannot be combat medics, dressing wounds, or consoling the dying. We were useless, mentally scared after the first battle."

President Snow glared at his female adversary sitting across from him as he addressed Prim, "Your sister was at risk of being more popular than the rebel president. Eliminating you, dear child, was just another way of destroying your sister. Coin knew from history that children could only be used as soldiers, that is, if brainwashed and drugged. Any idiot can kill if conditioned. Saving lives takes a special person; propaganda and drugs cannot instill this type of fortitude into children."

Prim glared at President Coin.

The red woman began fidgeting with her silverware, aligning the utensils into parallel lines before coolly glancing at President Snow. "You know, I was going to recall the children medics as soon as she was eliminated. I even had a speech ready to praise their enthusiasm and to inform the public that medic duties had to be performed by adults." President Coin began to gaze aimlessly over the shoulders of all those seated at the table, announcing after a long sigh, "Water under the bridge."

Prim grabbed President Coin's arm. "What? How can you say that?"

The red woman smiled reassuringly at Prim. "My dear, the truth can now come out...here. We're all friends now, aren't we?"

"No!" snapped Prim. She listened to her voice echo throughout the large dining hall, focusing on the peculiar reverberation as it faded. She began to study the faces of all those at the table, all patiently watching her in return. The sensations filling her became more noticeable. Not only did her memories rapidly return, a new sense of self-awareness began to infuse inside. Prim could feel her life settling into this new world as she realized that she sat among friends, some who once were enemies. The wiser little girl offered her hand to President Coin in friendship.

The woman smiled as she accepted the girl's hand, patting it lovingly. "Like I said before, I'm terribly sorry. If only we had this wisdom in that world."

"I forgive you," replied Prim. She reached for Wiress's hand and began surveying the table for her sister. "Katniss must still be alive."

President Snow nodded. "Yes. She still has an important role to play, one last thing."

"What?" asked Prim.

"Motherhood." President Snow smiled as he cupped his hands in his lap. "You're now an aunt."

Prim quickly realized the new dynamic of time in Looking-Glass world. "We can play with time here, can't we?"

"Tick tock," said Wiress, causing many of those sitting at the table to chuckle with knowing laughter.

Prim sat very still as her awaking advanced. She held tight onto the hands of the women beside her as boundless knowledge filled her head. And as her understanding of the universe grew, Prim began to question why she found herself in Looking-Glass world.

Sipping from his wine glass, President Snow first broke the long silence, "What's puzzling you, my child?"

"Why…this? Why am I here in this world when there are so many others to choose from? I know there must be a reason, but I cannot put my finger on it."

Wiress tightened her grip on Prim's hand and said with some excitement, "He created this world, for you! He wanted to give you a special welcome."

Prim stared at Wiress for a moment before asking, "Who?"

President Coin stood, gently guiding Prim out of her chair. "Who do you think?" With those words, the woman gestured to a worn door with splintering wood that appeared quite out of place within the grand hall.