Chapter 26 Summary
The trap is nearly set. Beetee has wound his wire around the lightning tree in an intricate pattern. Now he asks Johanna and Katniss to run the wire down to the shore. If they hurry, they will make it safely. Katniss is reluctant to leave Peeta, but he is too slow to come along. Johanna and Katniss start moving, but suddenly the wire is cut and the release of tension causes it to come flying at them. Johanna knocks Katniss down, pins down her arms, and stabs her in the arm. It seems that their alliance is over. Katniss is dazed and can do nothing about it.
However, Johanna does not kill Katniss. Instead, she tells Katniss to be quiet. Enobaria and Brutus are nearby; they think the two young women are probably dead anyway. Johanna leaves and Katniss starts making her way back to Peeta. She sees Finnick, who is running through the woods calling for her and Johanna. Katniss remains hidden until she returns to the lightning tree.
She finds Beetee, who is unconscious. He has taken the end of the severed wire and attached it to Peeta’s knife. It looks like he knocked himself out by throwing the knife at the force field. In the distance, Katniss can hear Peeta calling for her. She screams that she is at the tree. However, her goal is not to get Peeta to return; she is hoping to ambush anyone who comes to attack her so Peeta will have fewer enemies to face. She readies her bow and sees Finnick and Enobaria approaching. If she is careful, she will be able to time her shot so that when she takes out Enobaria with an arrow, Finnick will move toward the lightning tree for cover, and she hopes he will be there when the lightning bolt strikes.
Before she can fire, she remembers Haymitch’s advice. Before she entered the arena, he told her to remember who the enemy is. Suddenly, Katniss realizes what she must do. She takes an arrow, wraps Beetee’s wire around it, and shoots it into the chink in the force field’s armor. Lightning simultaneously strikes the tree. The world seems to erupt in sparks, knocking Katniss to the ground. Before she loses consciousness, Katniss looks for a final image of beauty to take with her and sees a star.