Reaped

(FINNICK)

I lean forward in my chair, elbows on knees and head on hands.

I hate this. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.

The annual reaping is always a drag. I get a first look at the kids I set up to die. Oh, and I get whored out. Fun. I'm only 19 and I've already murdered people, basically been raped, and had my life ripped away.

Mags is sitting beside me, tapping her cane against the ground.

I like Mags. She was my mentor when I was a tribute. And although she mutters terribly, she's the only family I have left. Besides her, there's no one left I love. She's the one Snow uses against me.

He used to use my mother and brothers, too, but they drowned in a "boating accident" a few months after I was crowned.

Our representative from the Capitol, Brae Briggar, dances over to the name-pools.

"Shall we start with the ladies?" She asks. I hate her voice. It's all squeaky and high-pitched. She sounds like my dog's chew toy. She looks like it, too.

She ruffles her bright blue hair before basically diving into the name-pool. She resurfaces with a slip of crisp white paper pinched between her bony fingers.

She clears her throat. "Annie Cresta!"

Everyone turns. Exactly in the middle of the crowd of females is a dark-haired girl, about 15 years old. Her green eyes are wide as she moves forward.

I've never formally met the girl, but I've seen her around town. Almost every guy is head-over-heels for this olive-skinned girl. And I can't say I blame them.

She reaches the stage and I lock eyes with her, only for a moment. Brae positions her in front of the girls' name-pool and prances to the other side of the stage.

This time, she just grabs a name from the very top of the pile.

"Asper Brewre!" She says.

At the front of the crowd, a young gray-haired boy stumbles forward, eyes wide. As he walks, I few people ruffle his spiky silver hair reassuringly. I've never seen the boy before, but he looks young. Much too young to be a tribute.

In my District, it's an honor to be chosen for the Games. But nobody likes it when a young child is picked. Actually, it's very depressing.

Brae smiles widely. "Ladies and gentlemen, your tributes for the 70th Hunger Games!"