Disclaimer: I don't own the Hunger Games. For if I did, it wouldn't be nearly as great. Also, I would be sending this to Scholastic.
Pressure. Rather it be from the weight of the atmosphere, or an approaching deadline, it will cause humans to do both incredible and inhuman things. It will send adrenalin rushing through your body making you move and think faster, a final defense against dying. I have always found this rush fascinating. Those able to harness this subconscious power have a huge advantage in life. I myself have yet to learn to do that when I don't have anything to be motivated by. I think death is a powerful motive though.
I sit away from the cold eyes of my stylist. My head is throbbing in my skull as if it were my heart. Thump-thump-thump, the sound I have learned to associate with fear. I was just crouching on the platform that will lift me to my death. I am through with all of this. I just want it to be over. But what do they care for my desire? Was it really only a little more than a week ago that I left my home in District 9? It felt like more than an eternity.
When I woke up I felt a crush of despair settle upon me, like the pressure of the atmosphere had been doubled. And I was the only one to hold its weight. Today was my very first reaping. After eleven years of watching others aged 12-18 hold their breath hoping not to be called. Eleven years of watching two unlucky children being hauled off to meet their painful and untimely end. Now it is my turn to take part in this horror. The only thing I can do is hope.
My chances are said to be slim. Only one slip says Glynn Sail, one slip among thousands. My father has a decent job, and there are only two in my family, which have saved me from taking a tesserae. The tesserae make the chance of your name being picked larger, because for each one you take; your name gets added one more time. I guess in that sense I'm safer than other twelve-year-olds that are in my district.
I look over to my father's bed. I have my own room, but I have nightmares, so my father made another bed so I could move to his room if I got scared in the middle of the night. He's just waking up. I have the closest relationship to my dad. Well, actually my only relationship. "Did you have a nightmare or something, Glynn?" He says in a half subconscious voice, which lets me know that he will probably go back to bed soon.
"No. Why do you ask?" I say, inquiring something that I already knew the answer to.
"Because the sun is just rising and you don't have to go to school or work today and you're in my room." No mention of the reaping. I think he doesn't want me to worry anymore than I already am, or he possibly just forgot. He would forget an event as big as the reaping.
"Um…just a bit nervous I guess." Lie. I tend to do that a lot. Those who know me have trouble picking out truth or lies from what I say. The only reason I was lying to him about my feeling was because I had no idea what to feel. It was like an empty pit formed at the bottom of my stomach, sucking up all emotion. It was easier just to lie and say that I was nervous.
"Oh. Well, if that's it. There is nothing to worry about. You'll be fine." So unaware of me. He doesn't even try to question further. I think he tries to connect, but he doesn't understand me. He turns around and plops back into sleep as if he had never woken. You would think he was in a coma. We didn't have to be in the square until noon, so I didn't bother telling him to stay awake. That would be more trouble than it was worth. Sometimes I think that I'm the adult in this family. My dad just works, cooks, and sleeps. I clean, pick up food, manage finances, and everything in between. It's pretty sad that I'm twelve years old and I already know how to manage money. My dad doesn't even offer to take on some of my chores.
I shrug on my well worn in boots and head out into the brisk morning air, which always smells like timber. I close the door to my house, sorry, a more appropriate word would be shack. It is still better than most of the homes in district nine. Most are made of sticks. The only decent home would be that of the Mayors. Then would be the store owners, like me and my dad, with our ratty homes that will at least stand through a storm. Then there are the lumber jacks. They have the worst, their homes poorly put together; I sometimes wonder how they stand.
It's a quite morning. All I hear is the soft crunch of my boots on the gravel of the path. Everyone gets to sleep in today. Normally, men and women would be headed off to the woods to harvest the lumber of trees. District 9 is the logging district.
I walk by houses; it's odd not to see people rushing by, either heading for work, school, or other business. I'm grateful for the quite though. I need to sort out my emotions, and to do that I often have to analyze why I feel some way. The quiet gives me time to think. Think of what is to come. Think of what was.
I had a brother once. He was older than me. He was five years older than me to be exact. He was one of my best friends. We used to get in all sorts of trouble together. When I first started school, I was known to everyone, even the teachers, as Hayven's little sister. Everyone loved him, he was nice to everyone he met. He was expected to do great in life. When he was alive, my house was actually a happy one to live in. He made every one function together in harmony.
That was before he was chosen to compete in the 8th Hunger Games. He was fourteen when he died. He didn't even last the first hour of the games. He was killed at the Cornucopia. My mother couldn't take it. She was the sweetest person that I have ever met. She cried when she saw that Hayven or I was hurt. She left the house when Hayven died. We thought that she just needed to be alone. We never saw her again. The next morning the Peacekeepers said that they had found her body in the meadow. They said that they had taken care of it. They said it was pneumonia.
Since he was chosen, my father thinks that it is highly unlikely that I myself will be chosen. What is the chance that you have both your children sent off to their death? It isn't very likely at all, but luck has never been with my family. And I was pretty sure that luck had rigged the Games so that it was most miserable for my family. I'm not sure if my father can take another death. He doesn't show it, but I think that he takes it the worst. A warm breeze brushes the hair from my face. It also brushes away a stray tear.
I wonder around, thinking, until 10:30. Then I head back; to get ready. I find not only that my father has finally awoken from his mini coma, but also that he has laid out a black dress that is embroidered with silver. It's not real silver, just dyed to look like it. The silver brings out the blue in my eyes. That is why he bought me the dress. Well, not exactly bought, but traded for.
Apparently he remembered reaping day. I let my eyes close to half-slits, not willing to take in my surroundings. I tie up my long, wavy black hair into a pony tail. Just to jazz it up a bit I add some silver butterfly clips. Once again, we are unable to afford real silver so the clips were plastic with a shiny metallic coating. I think that they are beautiful none the less.
With that, we head to the square. Once we had walked the distant to be located outside the area that holds the children like a pin, my father shakes my hand, and wishes me luck. I sign my name on the clipboard that keeps track of all who show. The Capitol wouldn't want to lose count of a population. I go to gather with the cluster of frightened looking twelve-year-olds, while he heads to stand with those that are ineligible for the reaping.
I look around at the faces that surround me. I know the names that belong to each, and quite a few stories, but none are my friends. I don't have any friends. I've always been different, at least since I lost my brother and mother. I'm unable to connect and trust other people. Or maybe it is just my fear that they will leave me. My father tries to get me to hang out with other people, but I just can't. My train of thought is interrupted as the one and only Mayle bounces forward towards the podium at the center of the stage to begin the ceremony.
Mayle Ronden is District 9's escort. She also has the most outrageous blue hair I have ever seen. Probably the only blue hair I will ever see. It's most likely a wig. She was the kind of person that you would avoid if you ever saw her in the streets. Either that or you would get a group of people together and jump her, because she probably carries around several diamonds. She also is the kind of person that thinks that everyone is below her. She hates us all, and we all hate her back. She only puts a false smile on for the cameras. She sits on a temporary stage, set up for the ceremony, in the middle of the square along with Mayor Mayor. Believe it or not, the mayor's name is Mayor.
He normally would read the victor's names. One problem: we have yet to have a victor. We are one of two Districts that haven't had one yet: 8, 9. Each year previous to this has had a different Victor from different Districts. No District has had two Victors. It makes me feel like it is rigged.
So, we go straight to Mayle. "Happy 11th Hunger Games, District 9! And may luck be with you on this wondrous day!" I hate that lady's annoying capitol accent. It gives me a headache with its high pitch. "Females first!" I don't think she qualifies us as human. That is why she says 'female' and 'male' instead of 'girls' and 'boys'. She walks over to the orb holding all the girls names. Once there, she shuffles her hand around in it, picks a slip, and brings it back to the podium. She unfolds the slip and clears her throat.
I close my eyes and start to repeat what I want most. Please don't be me. Please don't be me. "Glynn Sail!" I look up, and bite my lower lip. For a second, the atmospheres pressure seems to have been taken by another. Then it all comes crashing back on me. Yeah. It would be me. I mean, I only had one slip, so obviously I would be the unlucky one chosen. I walk to the stage. I walk to my death. The other children move aside, looking at me with pitying eyes.
I don't know what to feel. Disappointment that I will once again fulfill that my district will be unable to have a victor? Anger that both my brother and I will be claimed by the game invented by the Capitol? Sorrow that I will die at such a young age? All I know it that I did not feel hope anymore. That had left me once my name was called.
Once I'm there, and facing the crowd, I feel dizzy. Not from stage fright though. From the reality of my situation. I can tell all the girls are silently rejoicing in their heads. Congratulations to them. They have all survived this year, and I have a strange urge to yell out 'just wait until next year'. Even if I could find the courage, Mayle broke the silence "Do we have any volunteers?" There are never volunteers, ever. "No? Well then, let's give a big round of applause to the female tribute, Glynn Sail!"
I hear maybe thirty or forty people applauding. The rest are silent, shaking their heads. They think it is unfair that I was picked. I couldn't agree with them more. Though, they probably think that it is unfair because this means they have to go yet another year without a Victor. I should probably just keep telling myself that it was because they didn't want to see me die. Maybe I will be able to convince myself and give myself back the hope that was stolen. Mayle looks around, and realizes what's going on. "Wow! What an enthusiastic audience! Now for our male tribute's turn to be selected!"
She shuffles around the names and picks out a slip from the bottom of the orb. She brings it to the podium and reads it aloud. "Blake Fron." Yeah. If I had any chance of survival before, now all hope is crushed. I knew the face that belonged to that name. I have been shoved aside in the hallways of school too much to not know.
A monstrous six foot seven, eighteen-year-old boy stalks up to the platform. His greasy, shaggy, black hair is covering his grey humorless eyes. I'm dead. Due to the fact there can only be one winner, I'm going to die. Wonderful, I've lived for little more than twelve years. He takes his place next to me. I'm literally in his shadow. Of course I am; I stand in the shadow of someone who is five feet. The crowd applauds. They at least think he has a chance. The mayor begins to read the long and boring Treaty of Treason.
During this I glance at Blake. Yeah, he was just staring out, expressionless, as always. Oblivious to the fact that I was playing all the different ways that he could kill me in my head. Then again, what do you expect from a class-A idiot? I think he used to be one of my brother's friends; I can't remember though. When the mayor is finished reading he motions for us to shake hands.
I hold out my small fragile hand. My head raises to look Blake in the face. I can't see his eyes. He holds out his hand and grabs mine in his. He has to scrunch down a little to reach my hand.
I can't help but notice how strong he is. His hand is twice my size, and even though he doesn't mean to, he is crushing my hand. I wince; he drops my hand like a hot potato, and looks away from me and towards the audience so they can give him another round of applause. The crowd applauds once again as we leave the stage escorted by Peacekeepers. I wonder how far I will make it if I try to run into the woods. I'm fast, but they can probably catch me in a hovercraft. When the possibility of that idea to escape has been disproved, I feel the crush of despair I felt that morning as the reality of my situation settles in. I silently think in my head, time to say goodbye forever.
Right, so this is my first fanfic. I know it's kind of short. Sorry about that. If you see any misuse of words, or grammar mistakes, please let me know. Or, just let me know what you think in general. Read&Review.