Summary: Chapter 16
Katniss considers how to destroy the Careers’ supplies while Rue sleeps beside her and thinks how the Careers’ lifetimes of being well-fed will work against them. In the morning, she wakes to the sound of the cannon. Another tribute has died. While Katniss and Rue hunt, Katniss gets all the information she can out of Rue about the Careers’ camp. The food, she learns, is all left in the open, with only one boy guarding it, which sounds suspicious to Katniss. Katniss also learns about Rue. Rue is the oldest of six children, and more than anything she loves music. She sings at work in the orchards, and when the flag is raised to signal the end of the workday, Rue alerts the other workers through a song that she spreads with the mockingjays. By the afternoon, Katniss and Rue have a plan to eliminate the Careers’ supplies. While Rue builds three separate campfires to divert the Careers, Katniss will attack the camp. Rue teaches Katniss her song for the mockingjays. There are mockingjays all over the arena, and she says if Katniss hears the song she’ll know Rue is okay.
Katniss makes her way to the Careers’ camp and hides where she can observe without being seen. There are four tributes, including Cato and a boy from District 3. Most of the supplies sit in a pyramid set at a distance from the camp, and Katniss thinks it must be booby-trapped. Cato shouts to the others and they begin arming themselves. They have seen one of Rue’s campfires. They argue about leaving the boy from District 3, and Cato says nobody can get to the supplies anyway so they should take him. Peeta isn’t a concern because Cato cut him badly, and even if he’s still alive he’s in no shape to raid their camp. Katniss waits a long time after they leave before acting. She sees a girl tribute she calls Foxface run out from the woods and carefully pick her path to the supplies, and Katniss realizes the ground is full of landmines. The boy from District 3, Panem’s manufacturing hub where even explosives are made, must have planted them. After Foxface leaves, Katniss sees a bag of apples on the pyramid and has an idea. She moves into the open, and with three arrows, she tears the bag open. The apples detonate the mines, and Katniss is blown off her feet in the ensuing explosion.
Summary: Chapter 17
Katniss is too dizzy after the blast to walk. She also can’t hear out of her left ear. Hiding her fear because she knows the cameras are on her, she crawls as quickly as she can back to her hiding place and gets there just as Cato and the others return. All the supplies have been destroyed, and Cato is furious. He snaps the neck of the boy from District 3. Katniss hides there the whole day. When night falls, the Careers go into the woods in search of whoever blew up their supplies, and Katniss, still recovering, decides to sleep where she is. In the morning, she can hear in her right ear again but her left remains deaf. She sees Foxface scavenging in the remains of the pyramid, but a noise from an ominous-looking area beyond the camp frightens her away.
Katniss heads back to the rendezvous point she established with Rue, but Rue isn’t there. Katniss cleans herself up and decides to wait, but after several hours she decides to look for Rue. At the site of the third campfire, she gets the sense that something went wrong. The wood is arranged but was never lit. Katniss hears a mockingjay singing Rue’s song, and she follows the trail of song. Suddenly, she hears a girl scream. She takes off running, and as she emerges into a clearing, she finds Rue tangled in a net just as the boy from District 1 stabs her with a spear.
Summary: Chapter 18
Katniss immediately shoots the boy from District 1 and kills him. She cuts the net around Rue and sees that Rue is too badly wounded to survive. Rue grasps her hand and tells Katniss she has to win for them both, then she asks Katniss to sing. Katniss, thinking how much Rue is like Prim, sings a lullaby from her district. Slowly Rue’s breathing shallows, and finally ceases. While Katniss collects anything useful from Rue and the boy from District 1, feelings of rage toward the Capitol build in her. Thinking of what Peeta once told her, she wants to show the Capitol that Rue was more than just a piece in their game. She covers Rue’s body in flowers, and when she’s done, she puts her fingers to her lips and holds them out in a gesture of respect used in District 12. For hours after, she walks aimlessly, hoping to bump into the Careers. As she’s about to make camp that night, a gift arrives. It’s a loaf of bread, the kind Peeta taught her is from District 11. She thinks of the people from District 11 without enough to eat, pooling their money to give her this, and she thanks them aloud.
In the morning, Katniss hardly wants to get up. Only the thought of Prim watching her at home motivates her. She’s low on food, so she goes hunting. She thinks of Rue and hopes she’ll bump into the other Careers, whom she no longer fears. As the day goes on she replays the events of Rue’s death in her head, and she realizes the boy from District 1 is the first person she’s deliberately killed in the Games. She thinks of his family and friends at home and their grief and anger. Suddenly trumpets sound, signaling an announcement. Katniss expects a feast, which is a tactic the Gamemakers have used in the past to lure the tributes into the same area for a fight. But instead they announce a rule change. Under the new rule, tributes from the same district will both be declared winners if they are the last two left alive. Katniss, realizing that she and Peeta can both survive, immediately calls out Peeta’s name.