Chapter One

Reaping day was here. Standing in line, I glanced over at Katniss, more worried about her than I was about me. She had twenty little slips with her name on them, I only had one. Among hundreds of names, my one little slip wouldn't be pulled, but Katniss might. Or Gale. I really don't want them to be pulled; I don't want to watch them die. Looking back at the stage, I watched the lady who was announcing the names. What a horrible job, knowing only one of the people would live. As she reached into the ball, I felt a sweat breaking out on my forehead. Please don't be Katniss, pleaseā€¦

"Prim Everdeen," She called out. At first I felt relief, I didn't hear Katniss's name. Then, I realized with a jolt that I had heard my name being called. That I was going to die. I started to clench and unclench my fists. Sweat broke out on my forehead. I needed Mamma. I needed her to tell me this was a joke. I couldn't be the one. I had one slip in there. One in thousands. I looked back at Katniss, half wanting her to step forward and take my place. But she didn't. She just stood there, paralyzed.

"Um, Prim Everdeen?" the lady asked again, looking around. Someone behind me gave me a push. If I didn't go forward, ten people would die. If I still didn't come forward, twenty would die. Killing would just go on until they thought they got me. Involuntarily, I started to move toward the stage.

"Well! Meet Prim!" A mutter of disapproval went up; no one liked having to hear this lady's cheery voice when a twelve-year old was being sent to her death.

"Anyone want to go in place for this little fella'?" She ruffled my hair and looked around to see that no one raised their hands. No one ever would. No one wants to die.

"Okay then! Now for the boy's pick!" Reaching in, she pulled out a name.

"Peeta Mellark" A big, tough-looking boy walked on to the stage. I didn't really know him, but he still scared me. I have seen him in the bakery, once lifting a two hundred pound cake, the big wedding cake that no one could afford. I only weighed seventy pounds. I would have to go against that muscle? I was going to die, for sure. A shiver climbed my spine, as I realized what those words meant. I was going to die.

That night at home, while Mamma wept, and Katniss stared dully out the window, I hugged a silent bear, and stared into the fire. We all thought the same thing, I was going to die. There was no glimmer of hope, nothing to hold on to. I was a terrible fighter, and I couldn't hurt a fly. I don't think I could if I wanted to. How could I live, with the knowledge that I had killed someone's son or daughter? But I didn't want to die. I really, really, wanted to run away. To hide somewhere. I didn't know where, but I would find a place. But I couldn't do that; they would come and kill Katniss and Mamma. I had no choice. I was going to compete in the Games.