Thank you Demigodwiththebread for rewriting this. Without her awesome writing skills, this would be the worst story ever.
I walk through the woods, silent as always. Not a sound is made when my feet hit the ground. It's been a long day of hunting, and I only have three rabbits to show for it. Hopefully my snares have done better than I have.
I'm only fourteen years old and have been providing for my family for a while now. I spend most of my time in these woods, hunting for food for my family to eat. It's just my mom, me, my two younger brothers, and my little sister. My father died in a mine explosion, leaving me to provide for a hungry family of five. My mom does her best, but you can only make so much money working in the Seam.
I continue to pad silently through the forest, heading towards the spot where I set my snares. As I go, I look around me for any signs of life, any possible game.
Always, always, looking for game.
I've just reached my snares when I see a girl standing there. She's from the Seam, I can tell by her dark braid and olive skin. She turns slightly and I catch a hint of gray eyes. Uh huh. Typical Seam girl. She looks familiar. I think I might have seen her around school before, but I can't remember her name.
I dart behind a tree and watch as her hand slowly stretches up. Is she really planning on stealing one of my rabbits? I wait, but she keeps reaching. I sigh and step out of my hiding place.
She jumps back several feet as I step around the tree. I walk up to the snare she was looking at and disengage the rabbit. "What's your name?" I ask. She's avoiding my eyes and looking nervously at the ground.
"Catnip," she whispers. Catnip. I don't recognize the name. She is younger than me, though. She looks to be about twelve.
"Well, Catnip, stealing's punishable by death, or hadn't you heard?" I tell her.
Hunting is also punishable by death, but I don't mention that.
Besides, they can't punish you if you don't get caught.
"Katniss," she says louder. "And I wasn't stealing it. I just wanted to look at your snare. Mine never catch anything."
I might have believed that too, if she wasn't carrying a squirrel. Did she steal that from me?
I scowl at her, unconvinced. "So where'd you get the squirrel?" I demand suspiciously.
"I shot it." She reaches around to pull a bow off her shoulder. It's small, but I'm fascinated by it.
"Can I see that?" I ask her, my eyes glued to the hand-made bow.
She doesn't even hesitate when she hands it over to me. "Just remember, stealing's punishable by death." My lips lift unconsciously. It feels strange. It's been a long time since I've smiled.
"Where did you get this?" I ask her, wondering if she made it herself.
"My father made it for me when I was younger," she replies, shrugging.
"Your father makes bows?" I question. Nobody makes weapons in District 12. They're illegal because the Peacekeepers think that we might try to start another rebellion if we had them.
"He did. He died a while ago, in a mine explosion," she explains sadly.
It clicks. She was there, the same day I received my medal, she got hers too. Both our fathers must have died in the same explosion.
"Oh. Mine too," I reply, deadpan.
She looks down again before nodding. "Yeah. It's just my mom, my sister, and me now. I go hunting for food everyday."
"Same. My mom tries hard to earn money, but it's difficult. We'd starve without the meat I bring in."
She looks up. "Do you come here everyday too?" I nod.
"Everyday." I cross over to my other snares and detach the rabbits.
She follows me eagerly. "I'll make a deal with you. You teach me how to set snares, and I'll give you one of my bows and teach you how to shoot."
I put the rabbits on my belt and turn around. "You'll give me one of your bows?" I say, surprised. She can't have too many if she has nobody to make them.
"Yes. Is that a deal...?" She trails off, not knowing my name.
"Gale," I tell her. She reaches out her hand.
"Is that a deal, Gale?" I shake her outstretched hand and smile.
"It's a deal."