I hardly remember walking back to the orchards. My vision was blurring due to my never ending tears. There were no children harvesting apples on our way back nor was there fear in my body. The only sounds I heard was the whimpering of Helena and our feet cracking dead leaves and twigs on the dirt path. I was no longer concerned about myself, only Amelia. By the time we got back to the shack, we all crashed to the floor, choking on our sorrow. On my hands and knees I cried for her, for all. Harris and Helena had it worse; they lost the only family they ever had. Richard and I tried to comfort them, but it wasn't good enough, for they cried more, until not a tear was left. There was silence until Harris spoke words I thought I would never hear from anyone. "It's your entire fault Ayla!" He screeched at me. "Why couldn't you just take it? I saw you up there, beginning to tear up. If you were just brave enough, maybe Amelia wouldn't have volunteered for you, and maybe she wouldn't be on her way to death!" Harris erupted into a fit of tears, his sister going to comfort him. "W-we lost our only family because of you." I heard Harris whimper. "You don't deserve us." The boy silenced.
Richard heard the entire thing. Richard didn't defend me. Richard didn't speak up for me. I knew why. My brother believed every word Harris said to me. I knew his secret affection for Amelia. He was ready to admit it to her, but he never got the chance to. Now, Amelia's waiting in a dark room, getting ready to say her goodbyes. I felt guilty. My family, the only family I had left officially hated me, because I couldn't take the pressure. Richard pushed me out the door of the shed. All the comfort that he provided me this morning was gone, replaced by hatred. "Harris is right Ayla." He hissed. "You don't deserve us." The door slammed in my face. I was broken on the inside now, heart split in two. Dark clouds were forming over the fields up ahead. The wind chilled me, but gave me an idea. I knew what I had to do to take my regret away
I arrived at the square just before the rain began pouring down. I took shelter under the Justice building nearby, the canopy, sagging from neglect. The palm of my hand pushed lightly on the dull bronze door. A hallway was up ahead. Pictures in black frames were hanging on the walls, mainly portraying various fruits and vegetables. There was also a red carpet, with small golden designs of corn and apples, along with a single gold line that curled when a piece of grown food hung from it. It, like the canopy, was filled with stains of mud and grass, showing signs of needed replacement. Two peacekeepers were at the other end of the hallway, wearing the usual white and black uniforms. One of the peacekeepers, a male, eyed me suspiciously. "What'd you here for girl?" He sneered. The other male peacekeeper beside him tapped the butt of his gun lightly on the carpet. "If you want your Tesserae, we aren't giving it until the games are over. " The other echoed. I stepped back. "Are the tributes still waiting for their families to arrive?" I asked the arrogant peacekeepers. The men shuffled slightly, before grasping the worn handle of the door ahead. "Which one you here to see?" One asked in a much kinder voice. I gave a smile, before speaking again. "Amelia Rosen."
The doors closed as soon as I entered the room. Instead of finding Amelia, there was another hallway, with two doors at the end. Peacekeepers lined the entrances, as if guarding the tributes from escaping. An older woman and man were weeping by the door on the right side. I quickly recognized the couple as Sam's parents.