The eyes are large and a dark shade of brown. I jump, startled. Eight, seeing the eyes as well, protectively moves closer to me, the branch creaking slowly. Small features come into view, a small, thin nose, narrow shoulders, and soon, we see Ella, the tribute from 11. "Ella?" I whisper. She quickly disappears at the sound of her name, back into the shadows. "Ella, wait!" I say, reaching out into the darkness. "We aren't going to hurt you!"
Eight gently places a hand on my shoulder, pulling me back, and whispers, "She's already gone, Marina." "How do you know?" I whip my head around to face him. "You can see for yourself," He says. So I do. I am immediately struck with a agonizing pain deep in the pit of my stomach that makes me want to vomit, and for a moment, I think I might. I use my legacy to see in the dark to look out into the trees surrounding us. Doing a quick 360, I see nothing. Ella is gone. I turn off my legacy, however that works, and I fall limply into Eight's lap. And that's how I fall asleep my first night in the arena, my head in Eight's lap, wondering about Ella; and Eight gently stroking my hair, and me also wonder about him.
"Hey, Marina, wake up," I hear the soft voice of Eight shake me from my dream. In my groggy state of mind, I slap his hand away with my telekinesis, then regret it when a wave of nausea washes over me. I roll over, groaning from the pain. Rolling? I open my eyes. I'm now on the ground, below the tree that I assume we were in last night. "Why. . . are we on the ground?" I ask in a slurred voice. "Oh, um, well I thought we should start moving again," Eight replies, hands awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck like he's nervous. "Yeah, okay," I say, feeling suddenly self conscious about having just woken up and probably needing a brush to attempt to control my atrocious bed hair. Or sleep hair, since I'm technically not sleeping in a bed. Instead, I settle for combing my fingers through my mess of black hair, then tying in up into a ponytail. I look up in find Eight's green eyes trained on me. Our gaze meets for a brief moment before his eyes flutter down to the ground.
"Hey, um, is there anything to eat?" I ask after a minute of silence. He looks back up at me before saying, "Yeah, there was a sleeve of crackers in the backpack," Then looking back down, "Sorry I opened in without you; curiosity got the better of me, I guess." "No, it's okay," I say to him. He opens up the pack and pulls out the unopened sleeve of saltines. We eat close to half the pack together, then close up the open end to save for later. "God, I was kind of thirsty before, but now I'm really wanting some water," I say, looking up at the fake sky, leaning against the base of the large oak.
"I did some scouting while you were asleep," Eight says, "And I found few sources of water, but I filled up this bottle from the backpack." He hands me an almost full water bottle, and I gladly take it, drinking a couple large gulps. "Sorry," I say to Eight after a second, "I must've sounded like a total asshole. I didn't even thank you." "I'm okay, Marina, you don't have to apologize every time you slip up on something so small." I nod my head, not saying anything, just enjoying the warmth of the late morning sun. After many more minutes of silence, Eight says, "I'm sorry to seem like a dick, but we should get moving now. This location is compromised"
He stands and lends me a hand getting on my feet too. "Using big words, are we?" I tease, stretching my legs and arms. He flashes me a big grin for the first time today and says, "I've just always wanted to say that." "Well, in any case, you're not wrong; we should get moving." "Yeah," He says, taking my hand in his without even asking. But I no longer care, and lace my fingers with his in response. We start walking, towards one of the water sources I assume. "What do you think about Ella?" I ask Eight. "Well, I doubt she has an alliance with the careers or anyone we wouldn't be able to trust, so I think it's safe to say that she didn't tell anyone of our location and that we aren't being followed or anything." Eight says, matter-of-factly. I shake my head, a small smile forming on my lips. "That isn't what I meant, but okay, if you say so."
"What did you mean then?" He asks. "Garde or Cepan?" I say, looking back up at him. He smiles. "She seems especially smart, cunning, and she didn't appear to have any trouble concealing any legacies like someone her age would be going through. So I would guess Cepan. But I do have to wonder about her looking so young, I mean, it could quite possibly be a legacy-" "Eight! I don't need some big long explaination! Just Cepan or Garde!" I shout to shut him up, but still laughing. "Hey, look," Eight says, putting his hands in the air defensively, a grin plastered on his face, "You asked a question so I answered you what I thought. If you don't like the long explaination, Marina, don't-"
I love Eight's voice, really, I do, but at the moment, I just want him to stop talking. So I kiss him hard on the mouth, which silences him pretty quickly. He tastes sweet, but at the same time sorta salty, and I enjoy it, maybe more than I should. I don't even give him time to kiss back before I pull away, just as quickly, but then find myself placing my lips to his again, but not kissing, just there. "Will you just shut-up already?" I whisper against Eight's lips. "Okay," He whispers back, then taunts me by tilting his head so that only our noses touch. Each time I move to close the gap between our lips, he moves farther away. "Just kiss me already, lover-boy," I say, and he does.
"Better?" He says. "Better," I mumble.
By the time the sun is high in the sky, signaling it to be around noon, Eight and I have traveled a good mile or two up hill. I'm still feeling a bit hungry, so we stop for a half hour to rest and eat a few crackers. Eight spends the majority of the time flirting with me (shocker), and I just end up laughing over it, or flirting back, both things that are totally out of character for me. After sitting in the shade of a large, overgrown tree for longer than we should have, me and Eight continue our journey to nowhere in particular.
When night falls, we climb a tree and go to sleep. Though not until Eight has completely made a fool of himself to try and entertain me, of course. I fall asleep soon after his comedy route (which included Legacies, which meant pain for Eight, which meant more kisses from me. Which was really okay for me, and I'm sure the audience was going absolutely crazy.), but then was jolted back awake by the sound of a piercing shriek. Eight must have heard it too because i hear him loudly whisper my name. "I'm okay," I assure him, then, ignoring the feeling of pain in the pit of my stomach as best as I can, use my nightvision-like legacy to penetrate the darkness of the arena.
I see the limp, bloody body of a girl at the base of a tree about 20 yards away from us. A loud canon makes me jump. I see vague lights and shadows headed our way and tuck closer to the tree as I can. A group of 5 people stop at a tree not far from us, and I wonder if they know we are here or not. "That was awesome! Another kill!" A girl's voice rings through the night. A boy answers, "Yeah, now if only we could find those 12 lovers, I want to rip them apart myself, especially the girl who got a higher score than me. How did she do it?" His voice has turned angry now, and I know he's talking about me, hunting me.
A small smile of pride forms on my lips and I think to myself:
This arena is about to get interesting.