Important Author's Note! Please, read before you continue on!
The beginning of this story was written for THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ 'The Hunger Games' book! There is a lot of backdrop so everyone can get the feel for the world Suzanne Collins has created in her books. This story will be very similar to Suzanne Collins book for the first few chapters with little changes and small bits added or removed by me. The PLOT WILL BECOME MY OWN IN A COUPLE OF CHAPTERS! If you have read 'The Hunger Games' feel free to skip the first 3-4 chapters but, Do not write me about how my story is guilty of copy write infringement or plagiarism. Fan Fiction is based off of ideas given to us by others. I will state in the beginning of all my chapters that, I Own Nothing! This means the plot, the characters, and many ideas that brought forth this story were thought up by someone else before me, they own the rights. I am simply borrowing some things from their books and adding my own twist. With all of this in mind, I ask that you give my story a chance before passing judgment. Thank You and Happy Reading!
Prologue: The World As We Know It.
Panem, is a nation built from the ruins once known as North America. Divided into 13 districts:
District 1-Makes Specialty Good and Luxury Items.
District 2-Makes Weapons and Trains Peacekeepers.
District 3-Works with Electronics.
District 5-Work the Labs with Breeding and Creating Mutations(mutts).
District 6-Medical Workers.
District 7-Lumberjacks, Timber Workers, and Paper Makers.
District 8-Textiles, make peacekeepers uniforms.
District 9-Food Processing.
District 10-Work the Livestock, Ranchers.
District 11-Agriculture, Farmers.
District 12-Coal Miners.
District 13-Nuclear Power and Weapons.
The Capitol-Where the Kings and Elite Live in Extravagance.
Panem, is ruled by the harsh and cruel Capital. Seventy five years ago the citizens had, had enough and rebelled . The war was short but, the damage done was great. By the end of the uprising, District 13 was obliterated, and the rebels were conquered.
The ruler at that time thought the citizens needed a reminder to keep them in line. As a form of punishment, each district is forced to put forth two of their own to compete in a horrendous tournament called "The Hunger Games".
The Hunger Games is an annual competition. Each district must produces one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18, who must participate in a fight to the death, in a vast outdoor arena, and to top it all off it's televised live to the whole nation. The Capitol requires the Games to be treated as a holiday. To Capital's citizens the games are for their entertainment, they even going so far as to place bets on the outcome. To the rest of Panem the games are there to prove that the Capitol shows no mercy. They can and will do, what they want, when they want, for whatever purpose they see fit, the citizens of Panem are there to serve them and they best not forget it.
The people of each district hold an annual lottery called the reaping. The winners will be sent to the games that year and they are called, Tributes. These tributes must compete in the games, unless another qualified candidate volunteers. However, the reaping is prejudiced in many ways. To the poor the reaping is a risky game they must play.
This is how it should play out, the day you turn 12 your name is entered for the first time, at 13 your name is added again, and so on, until your final entry at 18, therefore your name should have only been entered seven times.
Here is why it is so biased to the underprivileged, if your poor and need help getting by, you can add your name more times in exchange for a small amount of extra food and fuel the Capitol offers everyone each year. You can only do this for yourself and your immediate family members but, the cost is high.
Here is how the poor pay in the long run, an 18 year old who had five family members that he or she had to help support for the past seven years, would be entered forty two times verse the mere seven they originally started with.
Today Isabella Marie Swan, Bella to her friends and Family, is 17 years old and her name is entered twenty four times in this year's reaping. She accepts this but, what she can not accept is that her sister turned 12 this year. Her sister's name now is amongst the many others names waiting to be picked for this year's Hunger Games. This is Bella's story.
Chapter 1: Life On The Seam.
Ness, my Nessie, Vanessa Carlie Swan is now entered in the reaping and her name will be added every year after this one. For the next 6 years I have to worry about hearing her name being called. How can I protect her from something I have no control over?
The Capitol spouts on about 'May the odds be ever in your favor' but, the odds here on the Seam are never in anyone's favor. Here in District 12, the Seam is where hunched backed men and women covered with coal dust litter the streets. We are considered the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor.
The thing is I've been taking care of my family for the past 6 years. I have risked harsh punishments and possible death in order to take care of them.
My father's death forced my hand in many ways, as did my mother's sub sequential lapse into herself. She may be here in body but, her mind was lost forever the day she was told the mine my dad was in exploded and he didn't survive. She became catatonic.
She just stared into space, she only ate if I fed her, she only changed clothes if I changed her, she didn't even get up to use the bathroom. It was like taking care of an infant, between her and Nessie I had my hands full. I was only 11 years old when my dad died but, I became the adult of the house from that day forward.
I loved my sister and didn't mind taking care of her but, sometimes I resented tending to my mother. I know she didn't mean to abandon us but, she did and what is worse I still had to feed her and cloth her. We might have been better off if she had truly left us instead of forcing me to take care of her.
I sit here thinking all these thoughts as my sister braids my hair into an elegant design in preparation for the reaping today, trying to clear my mind on that topic I turn my thought to something else.
The tiny house we live in is next to a small meadow on the edge of the Seam. It was in a direct path to the chain link fence with barbed-wire tops that surrounds our district. It is supposed electrified but we rarely get any power at all and on those rare occasions it's on it only lasts for an hour or two during the evening time. The fence was there supposedly to keep the wild life out but, we all knew it was really there to keep us in.
Venturing into the wilderness is illegal and hunting carries a harsh punishments. There is also the fact that many dangerous creatures lurk on the other of the fence. Some man and others are beasts. Either way not many wanted to take the risk, and chance death or punishment.
I am fortunate to have been taught by my father, before his death. He taught me how to hunt, fish, and gather. For a couple years anyway.
It was only a few months after my dad died, when we ran out of food and we were in desperate need of sustenance. I considered my options carefully. I hadn't venturing outside the gate alone before. I went plenty of times with my father. The question was, was I willing to take my chances by going by myself. The answer was simple. Yes, yes it was worth the risks.
I left before sunrise the next morning. I head straight for the bow and arrows my father and I had hidden during our last hunt. It hurt to think about that but, I was a girl on a mission and pushed back the grief that wanted to overtake me. The bow and arrows were right where we had left them, in an old hollowed out tree stump, still wrapped in a water proof tarp, and bound together with some rope.
I wanted to stayed close to the fence, so I didn't venture to far. I also didn't want to be gone for to long, I figure after an about an hour or so I had been out long enough. I only brought home a squirrel and a couple of pockets full of wild berries, that day but, I didn't want to push my luck the first time out.
I went out again the next day. I started staying out longer and wandered further into the woods. I was soon able to hunt and gather enough to not only feed my family but, to also have some leftovers. I was able to sell and/or trade the leftovers at The Hob and or in town with the others merchants.
The Hob is our own little black market here in District 12. It's located in an abandoned warehouse on the opposite end of the Seam from my house. Luckily, the Peacekeepers usually turn a blind eye. Of coarse they are bribed to look the other way but, well worth the fresh meat we pay them.
The Peacekeepers are the Capitol's way of keeping us in line. They are the law enforcement here in the districts. They make sure we follow Capitol rules.
It was at the end of winter when things were looking pretty grim, when I ran into Jacob Black in the woods where I was hunting. Times get rough again during the winter months, many plants and berries aren't available. And, animals were harder to come by. We nearly starve but, luck was on my side that wintry afternoon.
Jacob's dad was badly injured in the same accident that killed my father. Billy Black was now confined to a wheel chair. He could not work the mines anymore. Jakes mother died in child birth with his little brother and sister several years before. I remember Jacob from school he was in my year and I knew that Seth and Leah were a year younger than my sister. With his father's injuries, Jake was left to take care of a family of 4 with little help from his dad.
We got to talking and soon realized we had many things in common. We were the same age. We both took care of our families. We both had learned to fishing and hunt from our father's. Billy was good with traps and snares, he was also quite handy with a knife. Whereas, my dad Charlie taught me to shoot a bow & arrow and how to identify edible and useful plant. We ended up sharing our know-how with each other, we started working as a team, and dividing our spoils. And so, our friendship was born. We hunt and gather enough to take care of both our families, as well ourselves. We still do to this very day.
I'm brought back to the present when Nessie taps my shoulder.
"Thanks, Little Sis." I say with a forced smile.
"My pleasure, Big Sis." she replies in a soft melodic voice.
"Your turn." I said and guild her into the seat I just exited.
I knew I would be able to do her hair even half as nice as she did mine, but it was our routine now. First me, then I did her and mom's hair before we get dressed. After doing my sister's hair in curls and then pulling it into a high ponytail I moved on to my mother's hair. I did a simple messy bun. Now it was time to get dressed.
I pass the mirror catch a glimpse of what I looked like. What I see causes me to pause and taking a better look at myself. I do not recognizing the person starring back. The person looking back at me, has a pale heart shaped face, which makes her plump rosy lips appear all the more prominent. Her mahogany colored hair is styled in a intricate design atop her head. Her big brown eyes are a like looking glasses, which reflect into her very soul. This girl no, this young woman is beautiful. You can tell she bears great responsibility and wisdom, beyond her years. She holds herself tall and proud, with an air of confidence about her.
This…this can't be me! I am just plain old boring, nothing special me. I know I rarely look at myself in the mirror, normally I have no reason to but, today we all must look our best for the reaping. So, here I stand gaping at myself.
I turn to Nessie and smile a real smile for the first time today and say,
"My hair looks amazing, thanks again."
She waves my complement off and turns back to look for something suitable to wear. I head over to my dresser and pick out my finest dress and hand it to her. It just so happens to be the dress I wore to my first reaping.
"Are you sure Bella? I know I can find something suitable to wear."
"Nonsense, you must look your best for your first reaping." I try to keep the edge out of my voice as I say this before adding, "Besides, this color will bring color of your eyes."
She hesitates for only a moment before taking the dress to get changed. Unlike me who has the traditional dark hair and eyes associated with those who come from the Seam, Nessie favors our mother in appearance. You see, our grandparents were from town, not your typical coal mines. My grandfather worked in the apothecary shop and my grandmother was a teacher. So, like most of the townsfolk both my mother and sister have light colored hair and grey/blue eyes.
Nessie has a natural beauty about her but, as she walked out of our room in the dress I gave her, my breath gets caught in my throat. With her rich blond hair in tight ringlets crowned her head, and her blue eyes sprinkled with grey flecks, she looked like an angel.
Yet, this angel looks so small, so fragile, and so vulnerable. I just wanted to grab her and run. Run, as fast and as far as I could. Hide her, protect her, bring her to a place were she could live peacefully. Unfortunately this is not possible, it's just a foolish dream. A dream that is impossible for me to fulfill.
"You look beautiful!" I sigh.
"Thank you, for the dress and everything. I'll get mom dressed so you can go change." she replies.
"Alright." I answer as I head into my mother's room.
I picked out a plain yellow dress that would be easy for Nessie to change mom into. While pulling it out of the dresser I spotted mom's wedding dress at the bottom of the drawer. I took only a minute's hesitation before I grabbed it, too.
"Here this should do for her." I said while handing her the dress.
She took it and I went to go change.
The dress I picked was satin with a simply designed. Cap sleeves, scoop necked, empire waist, A-frames long skirt. It was now a cream color from age but, was white at the time she wore it. The color didn't diminish the beauty of the dress in the slightest, in fact it added to depth. It made me feel somehow connected with my parents. I needed their strength today and hopefully the dress will help me in some way.
As I put it on I realized I'm only a year younger then my mother when she got married. The fit was perfect, as if it were made for me. Mom must have been my size back then. Hard to believe since she looks only slightly more life like than a zombie, now a days. I shake my head at that thought and reenter the living area of the house. Nessie look up and I hear her gasp. Tears fill her eyes.
"You look like an angel." she whispers.
"I thought the same thing when you came out earlier." I retort.
"Well let's hope a real angel is looking out for us today." she replies. Letting her nervousness finally be known.
"Oh, Ness. It will be O.K. I won't let anything happen to you." I said as I pulled her into a tight hug.
"Promise?" she asks.
"I promise! Now, come on we need to get going." I release her and headed over to my mom to pull her along as we headed out to the Town Square.
Let's hope there really is someone out there looking out for us.
End Note: So there you have it. Different from my first attempt, yet keeping with my storyline and still very reminiscent of the books. I hope you liked. Please, take the time to leave me a review, to let me know what you think. I have pictures and character switches on my profile as well as a map of Panem. Feel free to check them out.
Again many ideas, characters, and settings belong to the great authors of Hunger Games and Twilight, I Own Nothing!