Daring Teenager: Gavin Tryst, District 10 Male Tribute

It was your average day in District Ten, except for the fact that it was the day of the Reaping. There was no way to tell that a dismal event would soon take place-the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and even the square itself, where the event would be held, was decorated to be celebratory. I walked along the streets with my sister, Genevieve, and my mom and dad. It wouldn't be long before the Reaping started, so we were already walking towards the square. Once we reached the sign-in table, I signed my name and walked over to the thirteen-year-old section, where my friends, Dylan and Darryl Rosser, the "twins down the road" were waiting for me.

"Hey," they both greeted, in perfect unison, naturally.

"Nice outfit," Darryl teased. My Reaping outfit, though formal, was slightly degraded by the dirt on it from when we had all been goofing around before we had to leave for the Reaping. The only other part that stuck out was the necklace that I was wearing-it was braided from three different colored fabrics-red from my dad, blue from my mom, and pink from Genevieve.

"Oh, totally," I replied. "Are there any plans for today?" Those twins were always up to something.

"Just for after the Reaping," Dylan said carefully.

"What?" There was no mistaking the... mischievous, looks on both of their faces.

"You know how are families are supposed to have a dinner-type-thing afterwards?"

I nodded.

Darryl finished for him. "Well, we thought it would be cool if there was a little bit of chaos."

"Chaos is good," I said. "Very good. But of what kind?"

"Explosions!" they both blurted out.

"Shh! Don't go telling the whole district about it-whatever it is!" I whisper-shouted.

"Oh; right. Well, let's just say to meet us in our backyard after the Reaping. We'll be setting everything up to go off there."

"Fine." I was still wondering exactly what it was, but I didn't get to think about it for too long, because the mayor began to speak just then. She told the story of Panem, and it was pitifully obvious just how much she hated the Capitol. Then she read the list of past victors, announcing that Tara Gol and Kashton Garrison were going to be the mentors for this year.

Then she introduced our escort, Myra Schnitt. She gave her annual speech, and then said, "There is an announcement for this year!" The escort began to read off of a small card:

"On the four-hundred-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that false preparation was their' downfall in the war, this Quarter Quell will be twenty years early, and, to be released from the arena, the final tribute must be in possession of five special objects that will be hidden throughout the arena. These objects will be made obvious once the Games begin."

So the Capitol's always up to something, too.

She called out the name of the first tribute. "Namitha Gol!"

The last name rang a bell. Wasn't the female mentor's last name Gol?

"No!" There was the scream of a young girl from the section adjacent to the one I was in-the one for thirteen-year-old girls. "No!" She repeated herself. And what she did next shocked everyone. "I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute! I volunteer!" She was already racing towards the stage. Who was she? Why was she volunteering? Was she insane?

"No," Namitha said to the volunteer. "You're not volunteering for me."

There was something to be admired in that, I thought. How she wouldn't let anyone die for her. But why was she so determined? It finally started to dawn on me that this girl had to be related to her. Was she her sister maybe? She had to be. Whoever she was, she didn't look happy. Not at all.

. "I... I do believe that you can not accept volunteers, if you wish to participate... You couldn't, originally, but I think there was a rule change a few years ago..." our escort said.

That's right, I thought. There has to be some sort of system for things like this. There has to be in the Career districts...

"I'm not accepting her as a volunteer," Namitha said. "I'm going in to the arena."

"No!" The parents were leading off the girl who was trying to volunteer.

"I guess it's decided, then," Myra said. "Namitha Gol will be our female tribute."

Before I could even process anything else, I heard, "Gavin Tryst!"

Was that a joke? You had to be kidding me! I started to walk towards the stage, and there were no volunteers, so the mayor read the Treaty of Treason. Then I shook hands with Namitha, the anthem played, and we were taken to the Justice Building.

My first visitors were my family: mom and dad and Genevieve. My little sister, who was usually all smiles and laughs, looked positively miserable. She wasn't crying, or saying anything, or even particularly frowning, but she still looked unnerved. My parents were doing an okay job of holding it all together. I hoped that I was, too, but I doubted that I was on the outside.

"At least you know how to use knives," dad said. "Not a lot of non-Career tributes can say that."

"True." My dad was a butcher, so I liked to play around with some of his knives, and, occasionally, I'd nab one of 'em and try to find a good use for 'em.

"You have to win," Genevieve said right then, hugging me spontaneously. "Have to. Or else you'll die, because I'll kill you."

It actually got me to laugh as I hugged her back. "Yeah, sure. I'd like to see you have a go at that."

Mom frowned. "I've seen a lot of kids go through my after-school program," she commented. "Not a lot of them would even stand as much of a chance as you have in the Games. If the other districts are like that, all you've got to worry about are the Careers."

I nodded, and there was silence for just a few moments, before I finally said, "Well, the Careers are something to worry about." More silence. The Peacekeepers started to signal that our time was short. After a very corny-sounding final goodbye, my family was gone.

My only other visitors were Darryl and Dylan, both at the same time. Their "goodbye" seemed to go similar to my family's, except for something that Dylan brought up:

"I should've volunteered for you! What was I thinking? I could've volunteered! That girl, Nellie, she had the right idea! And at least she can say that she tried and she's a way better person than I am right now!"

"Oh, shush. I can go in to the arena for myself, thanks." But Darryl just made the same argument, and, eventually, I gave up, and they, too, left. I was taken to the train station, where my district partner and I both waved and smiled for the cameras. Hopefully someone with money would see it soon. Once on the train, everything turned in to a blur. I really only remembered a few strategy conversations with my mentor that I didn't really get a lot out of. Finally, we reached the Capitol, and I remembered what I had thought earlier:

The Capitol was always up to something, and now would be no exception.