Katniss grabs her sleeping bag, which contains her backpack and water bottle, and runs. However, Katniss is unable to run fast enough, and the smoke starts to overpower her. She has to stop for a moment to vomit and recover, noting that the flames around her are man-made. Too uniform to be natural, the flames are likely created by the Gamemakers to bring the tributes together so that the viewers in the Capitol will have more action to watch. Suddenly, fireballs begin to shoot at Katniss, and she tries to move away from the area where the launchers must be located. When it finally seems like they’ve stopped, she pauses to take a break—but then another fireball shoots, and she’s not fast enough to dodge. It hits her calf, and she grabs at her leg, causing her to burn her hands as well. Afterwards, the fireballs really do stop.
Like the Cornucopia, the wall of fire is meant to draw the tributes together for a confrontation. While the rules of the Games divide the tributes, the organization of the arena draws them together. This is because the Capitol audience hypocritically demands real pain and suffering from the tributes for entertainment while lacking authentic suffering in their own lives.
Katniss finds herself near a pond, where she allows the water to cool her burns. Exhausted by the day and unwilling to move from the soothing water, Katniss reorganizes her belongings and falls asleep. She awakens when she hears the Career pack approaching and runs to a nearby tree, which she begins to climb. By the time the Careers arrive, Katniss is twenty feet above them in the tree. She taunts them, realizing that she’s lighter than all of them and a much better climber. A couple of the Careers attempt to go up after her, but none of them can make it.
Although Katniss is frightened that the Careers have her cornered, she acts nonchalant because she’s aware that the audience is watching the confrontation, and she wants to give off the impression that she has a plan.
Katniss settles in for the night, aware that the Careers are still waiting below the tree for her. Her burns are also hurting her severely, and she doesn’t know what to do. As she looks around her, she spots a pair of eyes in the trees and realizes that they belong to Rue. Rue quietly points at something above Katniss’s head.
Rue reveals her hiding spot to Katniss in order to point something out, showing that she trusts Katniss, despite the fact that they’re in the arena together. Katniss has inspired trust and friendship in Rue.