Katniss runs from the fire. It is so large that she knows it was the Gamemakers, not the tributes, who started it. They probably thought the audience was getting bored. She is choking on the smoke and begins to vomit uncontrollably, and just as she’s recovering, a fireball explodes nearby. She runs, dodging the fireballs, but comes to a stop when she begins retching again. A fireball brushes her calf, scalding her. She manages to put the fire out, but her hands and calf are seriously injured. Eventually the attack ends and Katniss walks until she finds a small pool. The water soothes the burns. She knows she should keep going, but the pain is too great when she takes her leg out of the pool, so she spends the day there recovering. In the afternoon, however, she hears footsteps, and without any alternative she finds a tree and climbs as quickly as possible.
It’s the five Careers and Peeta. Katniss calls down to them, knowing they’re too heavy to climb to where she is. Katniss notices that a girl named Glimmer has the bow and arrows from the Cornucopia. A large and dangerous looking boy named Cato begins climbing up after Katniss, but he falls out of the tree. Glimmer goes up next, but she doesn’t get far before she must stop. She fires an arrow at Katniss, but she’s incompetent with the bow and her shot misses. The group decides to wait Katniss out. Unable to go anywhere, Katniss prepares her bed in the tree. As night falls, she recognizes Rue, the girl tribute from District 11, in a nearby tree, and she realizes Rue has been there the whole time. Rue points at something above Katniss’s head.
Katniss looks up and sees that Rue is pointing to a wasp’s nest higher up. Katniss thinks it is probably a tracker jacker nest. Trackers jackers are another mutation created by the Capitol during the war with the districts. They will follow anything that disturbs them and try to kill it. Katniss thinks her only chance of escaping may be to drop the nest onto the tributes below. To avoid drawing the wasps to herself, she decides to saw the branch off during the anthem, which always plays before the dead tributes of the day are projected in the sky. When the anthem starts, Katniss climbs up and saws at the branch holding the nest, but the anthem ends before she finishes so she decides to wait until morning. When she gets back to her sleeping bag, she sees a gift that Haymitch must have gotten from her sponsors and sent during the anthem. It’s a burn ointment, and it instantly soothes Katniss’s hands and leg. Grateful, she falls asleep.
When she wakes, her burns have improved dramatically. She alerts Rue that she’s going to drop the nest, and she hears Rue moving away by jumping from tree to tree. Katniss is stung a few times as she finishes cutting the branch, but the nest crashes to the ground and the group of tributes is immediately swarmed. Most of them run to the lake, but Glimmer is stung too many times and dies there, while another girl staggers off weakly, unlikely to make it very far. Katniss climbs down and runs back to the pool. The areas where she was stung have swelled and she submerges them in the water. Suddenly she remembers the bow Glimmer had, and she runs back to get it. She has to struggle to get the quiver of arrows free, and she hears someone crashing through the trees. Just as she raises the bow to defend herself she sees that it’s Peeta. She thinks he’s going to kill her, but he yells at her to run and shoves her. As she goes, she sees Cato arriving. Charging through the trees, Katniss begins to hallucinate badly from the venom, until finally she collapses in a hole and blacks out.
Katniss eventually awakes and realizes that a day or two has passed. Then she remembers that Peeta saved her life and wonders why he did it. She also remembers that she got the bow and arrows, and finally she feels like she has a chance in the Games. She goes in search of water, and within an hour, locates a stream. She is able to clean up and rest a little and hunt. As she sets her kill to cook, she hears a twig snap. It’s Rue. Katniss asks if she wants to be her ally and invites her to eat. In return, Rue removes the venom from Katniss’s stings with a remedy she knows involving the leaves of a plant. Rue tells Katniss about District 11. It’s the agricultural district, but the workers aren’t allowed to keep what they harvest. They’re whipped if they’re caught.
Katniss and Rue lay out all their equipment to take inventory, and Rue tells Katniss that what Katniss thought were sunglasses are really night-vision glasses. She tells Katniss how a mentally disabled boy in her district was killed for taking a pair. They climb a tree to sleep, and since Rue has nothing to keep her warm, they share a sleeping bag. Katniss tells her about Peeta saving her, and Rue points out that he’s no longer with the Careers. She’s been spying on their camp by the lake. The Careers have everything they need at their camp, so even though Katniss and Rue can feed themselves in the forest, it doesn’t give them an advantage. Katniss says if the Careers’ supplies were gone they wouldn’t last long, and she starts devising a plan.