The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins

“When I was little, they used to bathe me in buttermilk and rose petals,” she said in a manner that, despite the unlikeliness of her claim, seemed totally believable. She ran her thumb over the glossy, white surface and slipped the petal into her mouth, closing her eyes to savor the flavor. “Tastes like bedtime.”


Coriolanus took the moment to examine her. She looked different than she had at the reaping. Except for flecks here and there, the make up has been wiped away, and without it she appeared younger. Her lips were chapped, her hair loose, her rainbow dress dusty and rumpled. The mark from the mayor’s blow had turned to a deep purple bruise. But there was something else, too. He again had the impression that he was witnessing a performance, but a private one this time.


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