"And the male tribute for district twelve is Haymitch Abernathy" says Daliah Oppy in her high pitched, squeaky voice. I hear a scream from the crowd that could only be from one possible person, Jasmine. The thought of her long black hair and deep brown eyes makes me forget what's happening for a second. That is until I am given a little shove in the back from Stamin, my mate from school.
As I walk up to the stage the group of 16 year old boys parts instantly for me to make my way through. I recognise some of the faces in the way towards the stage, the expressions on their faces are pitying but underneath that all I can see is relief. Relief that they have been spared, relief that it is just a boy from the seam that is going to die this year.
As I finally reach the stage I look up at Daliah Oppy. She has odd bright yellow hair and has yellow tattoos covering the majority of her visible body. She has a very freakish appearance, but the scariest thing about her is her silver eyes. It is her eyes that are watching me now, sizing me up. Deciding if I will help her further her career in the capitol. She averts her eyes almost instantly. She obviously has no faith in me what so ever. But I honestly couldn't care less, she doesn't know me, she doesn't know anything about me. How can she write me off that quickly?
But I know the answer. I am just taller than average, with a stocky physique that I have earned from having to help me dad haul wood all around district 12. It's also because I am not Panem's top dog in the looks department. I am not unattractive, I'm just not stunningly handsome. I have medium length auburn hair, bright blue eyes and pale skin. I am one of the few in the seam with pale skin, because even though none in my family work in the coal mines, we are no were near rich enough to live in town. We hardly scrape by anyway.
I hear Daliah ask if there are any volunteers. Silence, I already knew that was all there would be but still, I had hoped maybe someone would be stupid enough to want to have a go in the Capitols games. Then, once again I hear Jasmine's screams. Up until this moment I had been focused on my thoughts not my surroundings, her pleas force my mind back into reality. Once again she screams "please somebody volunteer, please". She knows her pleas are helpless and breaks down into hysterics and falls to the ground sobbing. I can feel tears welling up in my eyes but I blink a few times. I have to remain composed and collected or I will be dead in a second in the arena. I catch my father's eye in the crowd. He gives me a reassuring smile, to say "everything will be ok Mitch"
But how can it be ok. I am to die and he knows it. I can't return his smile so I quickly turn away. I find myself looking at the female tribute for this year. Her name is Faucet Dallet. I would feel sorry for her if I hadn't known her. She was a kid from the seam like me, but she was 18. As it was her last year of eligibility for the games this year, she took the tessera for the first time ever. I don't have a problem with someone taking out tessera, for I myself have had to take it 3 times. But she didn't need tessera, she sold it. Every month she would take two tessera out and sell it off to two poor seam families. And believe me she got a good damn price, I mean who wouldn't want the tessera without the consequences of getting another slip.
Faucet thought she was being smart, you see. She only took out 12 tessera. So she only had 20 slips, and she had made a good fortune. I bet she never thought that twenty slips would matter, considering some of us seam kids had over 40 slips each. I honestly don't know much of a chance she has of winning these games. She is a very odd looking person, short and stocky with odd black straw like hair and patchy olive skin. She did have one redeeming quality though, her eyes. They were the colour of molten gold. I turned away once again. No point in staring.
Mayor Everlark droned on for a while about the treaty of treason, about why we were here and all. But all I could think of was that in less than a week I was to be sent into an arena to fight to the death. At that moment Hertz Famish stepped onto the stage. He was districts 12 only surviving tribute. He was about 45 now he was in the 6th hunger games. He was a tall, wiry man how had a haunted look about him. I had never spoken to him but I had seen him around the district, he liked to help out around the seam, I think he thought if he helped out there then less people would have to take out the tessera.
I closed my eyes and began to listen, he was giving a speech about fundraising for this year's tributes. I wondered for a second what it would be like to mentor two kids singlehandedly and then watch them get murdered. He must have either be one of the strongest people, In this world or he is very good at putting on a brave face. He comes over and shakes Faucet and my hands and says good luck. He is smile emanates warmth but when you look closely into his eyes you can see the shadows lurking behind the misty blue of his eyes. He notices my staring and hastily averts his gaze.
The peacekeepers then take us down to the Justice building and take us to our visiting room. We each get one hour for people to visit us. First of course is Jasmine. She runs in, with her hair flailing madly behind her, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. She then hugs me with an extraordinary amount of strength for such a petite girl.
"Mitchy, promise you'll come home" she splutters out. "I can't do that". "Stop" she shouts, her voice filled with a ferocity that I have never heard from her. "Just promise" she chokes out in between sobs. I look at her beautiful olive skin, and green eyes and whisper softly "I promise". She looks up at me and smiles and says "now was that so hard?". I think about making a snappy comment about how it was the hardest thing I have ever done but I look into her eyes and say instead "Jas, what happens if I don't make it home?" She looks stunned at my question, obviously her tears have run out, even though her bottom is still quivering.
"Then I go to, if you die in the arena, I will perish as well" she says with a tone that tells me isn't joking one bit. My brain whirls in a circle for a second until I comprehend what she is saying. "Don't, please, it would just hurt me more if I couldn't watch you from above" even as the words come out I think to myself, what is above?. There's a good chance in the next few weeks I'll find out. Her voice is barely audible as she whispers "I'll stay if you try, Mitch. If you go down without a fight I'm going down to. But if you fight, I'll fight through the pain as well.
The peacemakers are at the door now, she leans in and gives me a swift kiss. "Now you're fighting for both of us". I sit there for a few seconds as the peacekeepers go to get my next visitor. Would Jasmine really do what she said? Yes, she is too stubborn for her own good. I remember when I first met her when we were 6, she had said that I had red hair, while I stood there insisting that it was morn brown than red. Even to this day she still says it is red. I know I love Jasmine like a sister, but I'm not sure I'm in love with her. I know now that if she had been chosen to be a tribute alongside me I would give my life for her, but I wouldn't be prepared to give my life to her.
As my Mum and Dad walk in I notice that that Mum is having trouble breathing from the amount that she has been crying. No wonder they let Jasmine in first, they obviously couldn't get Mum to calm down enough. "Haymitch, you listen to me. Hide, survive, you are a smart fit boy and I know you will make it" says my father in his gruff voice. We sit there for half an hour, with my Mum crying into Dad's shoulder, and Dad saying things like "Don't even worry Haymitch, it will be easy, at least easier than dropping off all that wood for a month". I agree with simply because I know I need to comfort them at the moment. Do all tributes have to comfort their loved ones, because it seems odd? It should be the other way round.
There are no other visitors, so when the peacekeepers come to collect my parents, they simply escort me down and out to the train station. I keep my face as calm and impassive as possible and walk through the crowd of cameras and lights until I reach the train. I take one last look at my district before I board. And all I can think is, will I ever see it again?