The pleading cries of the boy never left her head. Over and over she saw him die. The boy from her district, Layo, had been decapitated. She hadn’t been his friend, really, but she’d known him. They’d gone to school together. And then, just in an instant, he’d died. She’d truly believed that he would win. And his death, although Annie cared deeply for each of the other tributes, unhinged her. She may not have realized it then, but she would never be the same.
Annie knew each of the tributes names, from the quiet girl from District 6 (Alli) to the monstrous boy from District 1 (Taol). It’s not that she wanted to memorize their strengths and weaknesses, or become allies to then betray them later; she had absolutely no desire to put forth the horrendous act of killing. She wanted to prove to herself that she wasn’t some mindless piece in the Capitol’s games. She would remember each and every innocent life that was ended early because of them.
Annie didn’t tell anyone what she did, of course, because that would be seen as a rebellious act by the Capitol. But inside her head, as each canon went off, Annie quietly said five words to each one. I will never forget you.
Layo had come in 6th place, leaving 5 tributes left. Annie, from the start of the Games, had used the tactic of staying hidden from the other tributes, making no contact with the others. Though she stayed to herself, she watched the others, she watched them die noble deaths, though all, she thought, for naught. As each tribute passed away, she counted the seconds until the canon went off. She knew the Capitol could save some of the tributes in the few seconds it took before their hearts stopped beating. And it was those few seconds that she used to take Layo's token - a drawing of him and his family - from his decapitated body and tuck it into her jacket.
On the day he died, Annie did something more than her usual words of farewell. Her arena was one with a river, and a dam that kept it from overflowing the arena. On either side of the river were palm trees. Annie took multiple pieces of bark from one, and using vines she'd found off the ground, she made a small hand-sized boat, just large enough to put the drawing in, along with some flowers she'd found nearby.
That night, when the anthem played overhead and Layo's face lit up, Annie treaded into the water, far enough so that when she let go of the boat, it wouldn't sink. When she finally did, she watched it float off into the distance, before finally going back to shore and falling into a deep sleep, filled with memories of the innocent boy that would always be remembered by a simple minded girl.