The anthem played, and as it drew to a close, the president stepped out onto the stage. A fair-haired boy in a white suit, carrying a small wooden box, quickly joined him. As the last strains of the anthem faded, the president made his speech, reminding the districts (and the Capitol) of the Dark Days, the beginning of the Hunger games, and their rebirth, twenty-five years before.

Everyone had heard the same spiel before, from the mouths of the respective districts' mayors at the reapings.

"On the first Quarter Quell, seventy-five years ago, as a reminder that the Hunger Games were a product of the rebels' own choice to turn to violence, every district held an election to determine their tributes."

It was customary for the previous Quarter Quells to be described, leading up to the drawing of the new Quell.

"On their fiftieth anniversary, the second Quarter Quell," the president continued, "as a reminder that for each Capitol citizen, two rebels died, every district sent in twice the number of tributes."

Though the crowd observing was clearly restless, the president went entirely uninterrupted.

"On the third Quarter Quell, only twenty-five years ago, as a reminder that even the strongest among the rebels are dwarfed by the power of the Capitol, all tributes were reaped from the existing pool of victors."

Every face, every camera in the room turned towards the President's face, as he drew a crisp, yellowish envelope marked '100'. Slowly, almost reverently, he slid his finger through the crease, and drew out a square of paper, even smaller than the envelope.

"Now, we honor our fourth Quarter Quell," he said, looking down and reading, without hesitation, "On the one hundredth anniversary of the Hunger Games, as a reminder to the rebels that the Capitol does not discriminate between the district citizens in punishment meted out, the tributes will be reaped from one collective bowl, regardless of district and gender."

It took a moment for understanding to ripple through the crowd, but quickly, the television audience was on it's feet, applauding, and the anthem was playing.

Even throughout the districts, there was hope replacing the apprehension that had hung heavily only half an hour before. If the reaping was not individual to any single district, couldn't, just maybe, one or two of them be spared?


I just had to get this out there. I'm writing a sequal to A Capitol Experience, so you all know the drill. Every tribute gets a chapter, every reader can be a sponsor.

Let me know what you think of the characters as I go along. You have a lot of influence!

This update's question: What do you think of this year's Quarter Quell?