Chapter 25 Summary
Kat quickly discovers that Cato is running from muttations. Unlike the previous muttations that have been introduced—the mockingjay and the tracker jackers—these new muttations are especially heinous. When Kat looks into their eyes, she discovers that the muttations are the eliminated tributes. Even Rue’s eyes have been twisted with hate. Still, as always, the surviving tributes battle for their lives.
Cato reaches the Cornucopia first and climbs to the top of the giant horn. Kat arrives shortly after and begins to climb until she remembers Peeta’s injured leg. She turns around and fires arrows at the muttations to give Peeta time to reach the horn. He arrives, and they start to climb. Cato is at the very top of the horn, but he is nearly vomiting from running so hard. Up close, Kat can see that Cato is wearing a sort of body armor that covers his body but not his head. Before she can shoot an arrow at him, she is attacked by the muttations, which are not climbing the horn but are able to jump at the final three tributes.
One of the muttations manages to bite Peeta’s leg. Before he is dragged to the ground, Cato grabs him and holds him as a human shield. It is a standoff: if Kat kills Cato, both the Career and Peeta will fall to the ground and be consumed by the muttations. Peeta uses blood from his leg to draw an X on Cato’s hand. Kat fires an arrow straight into the Career’s hand. Peeta frees himself and pushes Cato to the ground. Protected by his armor, Cato begins fighting the muttations, but they slowly overwhelm him and drag him into the horn. Kat and Peeta are forced to listen to his death cries.
When Cato finally dies, the muttations are summoned out of the arena. Kat and Peeta wait for victory music, but none comes. They decide that perhaps a hovercraft must be waiting for them to leave so it can remove Cato’s corpse from the arena. Kat and Peeta go to the nearby lake and Cato’s corpse is removed. However, no victory music is played. Suddenly, Claudius Templesmith announces that the previous revision of the rules—that two survivors from one district can win together—has been retracted. But Kat and Peeta do not kill each other. Kat recalls the nightlock berries, and she and Peeta stand back to back, swearing to commit suicide on the count of three. It is a bluff—there must be a victor. Templesmith’s voice returns, hastily announcing that Peeta and Kat have won the seventy-fourth annual Hunger Games.