Hey guys! This is my first story! I co-wrote this with my friend, SignoraBelikova. Have fun reading! But first…. Disclaimer: I am NOT Suzanne Collins, so I don't own the Hunger Games.

CHAPTER 1:

"Scum! Come back here!" My footsteps pound the cobblestone loudly as I carry the fine silk dress in my arms.

"Someone, help! She's stealing my dress!" Ash Rilings whines behind me. Serves her right for putting me down in front of the whole school. Her boyfriend tries to chase me down with no luck at all. I get farther and farther away with each step. Finally, I round the corner to an alley that leads to my home. I slow down, my lungs aching for air.

"C'mon Aura," my father yells out the bedroom window. "I've taught you better! Now run faster, you wimp!"

I sigh. Thanks for the encouragement, Dad.

I sped up at his request, silently cursing him under my breath. Finally, I burst through the front door and into the shack I'm supposed to call a house.

My father appears from upstairs, his arms crossed, giving me a disapproving look. "That was too slow." I hold up the beautiful blue dress in my hands. "At least I got this," I counter.

He scowls.

"Anything else besides an old rag?" he says. I glare at him.

"Yeah. Revenge for that airhead Ash calling our family washed up in front of the whole school."

He rolls his eyes and ignores my answer. "Any grub?" This time it's my turn to roll my eyes. " Here," I say tossing him some stale bread. He smiles a half smile and tussles my hair. "Sometimes, you're not so bad, kid," he acknowledges. "Now go get ready for the Reaping."

I give him a small smile and head upstairs with the dress.

I go to my drab grey room and realize that I didn't steal any shoes. I curse under my breath. Looks like I'll be wearing rain boots to the Reaping. But then I remember something. The gorgeous seashell shoes my mother gave me on my thirteenth birthday.

I snatch it from under my bed and hurriedly put them on. I honestly don't care about my hair at this point. We were pretty late and the square is a half mile away in the nice part of town. I spin once in front of a great shard of cracked glass that's supposed to be a mirror. I look decent enough for a girl whose father has lost everything gambling.

I sigh. Me and my father are now at the bottom of District Four's society. Even though my father won the 49th Hunger Games when he was 18, he soon lost respect when he was arrested numerous times for illegal gambling. Now he wants me to win the Games so we can stop being shunned. This means I'm volunteering. I look around the drab grey room. I miss my old house back in Victor's Village, the luxurious rooms with velvet couches. Dad lost that in a card game. I rush downstairs, my father by the door.

"We're gonna be late! C'mon Aura!" he barks. We're out the door in a second sprinting back down the alley and take the fastest way to the square. I just hope Ash doesn't see and report me while we're there. We enter the square just in time, as the ever-growing crowd of District 4 huddles closer to the stage set up in the center of the square. I catch sight of my brother, Lark, who fishes most of the year.

I sprint full speed to him. "Lark!" I yell excitedly. He catches me and spins me around.

"How's it going, jailbird?" he asks teasingly. I earned that nickname from all the time I spent in jail for stealing.

"I'm nervous," I admit. This is my fourth year signing up in the Reaping.

>This is my first year volunteering.

"Welshe!" I hear my last name being called. I turn and see Ash approaching me. I curse. "Damn, she's spotted me. I'll catch up with you later, 'kay?" I say to Lark. I sprint off through the crowd hoping to lose Ash in the mess of people.

I go to the Sixteen's section and pretend to converse with a bunch of girls, who turn out to be complete morons.

>Seriously, who thinks salt water is perfectly harmless to drink?

She gains on me.

The announcer, Sander Teldany speaks into the microphone set up on stage.

Before Ash reaches me, the crowd goes quiet and Sander begins to talk. Ash takes a seat and sends a glare my way that says, "You will pay for this later." Too bad, there won't be a later.

Sander, coming from the Capitol, is dressed in a very ridiculous outfit, which consists of a barf green jumpsuit, neon blue rain boots, and spiky purple hair with a tinge of pink in it. Even worse, he's wearing silver lipstick. Blech.

>"Hello, District Four!" he says with a hilarious Capitol accent. I hold back a laugh. You'd think it would grow old after 16 years, but it's still hysterically funny. Mayor Akerlin, a plump but kind man, walks onto the stage and is about to tell the story of Panem, the Dark Days, and the creation of the Hunger Games. I yawn. I hear this every single year, and everyday in school. I wanted to know more about "North America," but no. All they teach is Panem, Panem, Panem.

"Before we begin the announcement of the names for this year's Hunger Games, I shall tell you of this country's history," he says.

I've heard this speech so many times I practically have it memorized.

"The history of our country, the great Panem, had risen up out of the ashes of a place once called North America," he continues. "We had many disasters before the land became our Panem. But when it did, a splendid Capitol along with thirteen districts arose."

He pauses for effect.

"Then the Dark Days came, a time when the districts rebelled against the Capitol. Twelve districts were defeated and the thirteenth destroyed. The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws and reminded us of how the Dark Days must never be repeated, giving us the Hunger Games."

Once Mayor Akerlin finishes, Sander springs up and skips to the girls' reaping ball. "Lady's are always first!" he chimes in a high voice. Dad looks at me, expecting me to raise my voice. I sigh. Before Sander reads the name off the slip of paper he picked, I raise my hand.

"I volunteer," I yell, jogging up to the stage. Appalled looks are sent my way, including Lark's. His eyes are huge, looking at my father. He was never told of the plan.

"What's your name?" Sander asks.

"Aura Welshe."

"Ooh, a Welshe! I hope your father's strength is genetic!" I smile politely.

Ash is scowling at me even more, which makes me laugh out loud. Everyone in District Four looks at me like I'm a maniac. I let out a quick apology, and the reapings continue. Sander skips his way to the boys' reaping ball. "Last but not least, the gentlemen!" Sander chirps. He fishes his hand in the ball for a few seconds, longer than the girls' before I volunteered. Finally he takes his hand out holding a clean white slip of paper. He clears his throat and reads, "Lachlan Foltrey."

A boy with black hair pulled back into a short ponytail begins to walk his way to the stage, his head raised confidently, until a woman with long black hair scrambles through the crowd.

"You can't go!" she screams locking onto his arm. "You'll die and then I'll have nothing left!"

"Mother! I'm not backing out! Besides no one will miss me when I'm gone."

He rips his arm from her grip and proceeds onto the stage. His mother looks defeated. He claims his spot on the stage next to me. Now that he's closer I can see that he has emerald green eyes. I've seen him from somewhere.

"Any volunteers?" Sander asks.

Oddly, no one steps forward. Usually, the boys would be tackling each other to reach the stage and become a Tribute. I look at the boys section and observe that only half the boys last year turned up this year. The same for the girls. Ah, it must be the illness that has broken out recently. The Careers must have it, so only the weaker kids are out today. The law states that the sick and elderly may skip the Reapings.

The mayor steps forward again and begins to read the Treaty of Treason, while everyone is silently contemplating what our chances will be. A girl whose father was a former winner, but lost everything and a nobody boy who just argued against his mother in front of all of Panem.

The mayor finishes. The crowd is waiting for something to happen so I reach my right hand out. He accepts it and we shake as the crowd goes wild.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of District Four, I present you your tributes!"