Chapter 17 Summary
After the explosion, Kat is disoriented and unable to stand straight. However, she knows she must move on before the Careers return to find out what has happened. Kat also realizes that she has gone deaf in one ear and the other is still ringing.
With great effort, Kat manages to return to the copse of trees Rue showed her. She sees the Careers return, and Cato kills the boy from District 3. The Careers wait until nightfall to see whether the person who destroyed their food died. When they discover that the person still lives, they set off with torches to find her. After, the fox-faced girl returns and scavenges some supplies from the explosion. Kat considers trying to ally herself with the fox-faced girl, but she decides it would be an invitation to be stabbed in the back.
Kat considers who remains in the game. There are the remaining Careers and the fox-faced girl. Peeta is apparently still alive somewhere, though Cato believes he is mortally wounded. Thresh is still at large. Rue and Katniss are also still alive. Kat decides to return to her meeting place with Rue, hunting along the way. However, when Kat arrives, Rue is not there.
Kat climbs a tree and waits for Rue to arrive. There has not been a cannon shot to announce her death. Kat reflects that she is having a “hollow day”—a day when no amount of food seems to be enough to satiate her hunger. Kat eats the fish and “groosling” that she hunted earlier that day, rationalizing her decision because she knows she can always hunt for more food. Eventually Kat tires of waiting, so she leaves some broken leaves around their meeting place as a signal to Rue and decides to see if she can find what is keeping Rue from coming.
Kat seeks out the third campfire and discovers that Rue never lit it. She makes her way toward the second campfire and starts to hear Rue’s song repeated by the mockingjays. Then she hears Rue scream. Kat calls out that she is coming to help. Kat arrives in time to watch one of the Careers, who has caught Rue in a net, impale her with a spear.