An idea from the first novel, taken a little further.

Collins's work, taken from page 219 of the hardback version.

Sixty seconds.

She stands over-looking the arena, taking in the ground that spits steam and fire. She can already feel her skin start to break out into a sweat, a bead racing toward her right eye, and her free hand moves to swat it away.

There's a roar. A hiss.

It reminds her too much of the factories where the lumber is processed and shipped off to the Capitol. The air reeks of sulfur and covering her mouth is all she can do to keep from choking down.

District 7's central square in which the reaping took place every year was definitely too big for the population that inhabited it. There probably used to be more people living here, but the mills that shut down led to more families starving to death.

Although the Capitol's demand for lumber never seemed to be steady, and while one year it may be in high demand, the next year, supply piles gather dust in the massive storage facilities.

So in the middle of the ugly sheds and smoke-puffing factories sat a small stage where two tables were mounted for all to see. A man who had skin of a faint blue-green color wearing a ridiculous yellow suit spoke into a microphone that boomed throughout the giant square, despite the fact that only half of it was full.

The first name he pulled out generated no reaction, no gauge of fear from most of the crowd.

"Paisley Madden."

And so she began her long trek up to the stage, a Peacekeeper holding each of her muscular arms.

Forty-five seconds.

Her thumb rubs over something in her pocket, and she suddenly closes her eyes, shutting out the arena and all the hisses and groans the ground was making.

The last thing she remembers seeing:

The other tribute from her district standing on his metal plate, closer to the row of unnaturally tall pine trees that seemed to never end.

She breathes in another lung-full of the sulfur and steam, and somehow it's almost enough to make her lean over and vomit right off the plate.

But she just tries to think of one last happy thing.

She had slipped away from the mill for an hour—an hour, and she still blames this on why her name came out of the reaping. But then again, wouldn't his had been chosen, too?

But she can't bear the thought of both of them going to the Games. Not when only one can live.

Her cherry lips and brown-stained shirt look beautiful only on her, and he reminds her of this over and over again as he kisses her face, her chestnut hair, her sweet-smelling neck.

She files into the Justice Building behind the other tribute, thinking of this memory. Though it was sweet before, now there is not but a bitter taste in her mouth.

She hugs her mother and father, but she can't find anything to say to them? Will she come back? Probably not. Will they miss her? Only the extra money she brings in from the mill. Will they stop fighting even when she's dead? Never.

It's Robert she so desperately wishes to see. And all the sudden she's alone with him, saying good-bye.

She is kissing him for too long, and as the Peacekeepers pull them apart, he opens the palm of her hand a closes it quickly, placing a small object inside. She doesn't look at it. Her eyes bore into his until the door closes.

And she knows she will never see him again.

Twenty seconds.

She thinks now is the time that she should start making up her mind about whether or not she will be making a run for the woods—because behind her is a body of water so large that anything inside of it has to be poisonous—or trying to battle it out at the Cornucopia.

Unable to think of her imminent choices, she thumbs the small token of Robert's.

She knows he made it himself, but she just wonders what he planned on doing with it. Before all of this, it might have been a wedding present, and she would have worn it on a small chain around her neck. Her parents might have been the enemy then, trying to disrupt their union.

But now the enemy is time.

Tigris fixed the last bit of her outfit before her appearance on national television. Her whiskers brushed against her delicate looking face, and it almost made her sneeze.

"I think you ought to wear this," she says, her voice raspy. "Caesar'll have a field day when he finds out you're engaged."

Engaged, she thinks softly. The small, ornately carved sphere she held in her hand was traditionally the way a woman was identified as married or not back in her district. Tigris—although from the Capitol—had obviously studied this district well before she became a stylist here.

It made her almost feel bad for Tigris that President Snow would most likely be firing her after this Hunger Games. Why else would she have been demoted to District 7?

"I don't have a chain, though," she whispers, holding up Robert's gift.

Tigris just smiles and says, "You don't need one."

Ten seconds.

She takes the wooden ball out of her pocket, wishing one last time that she could just disappear into a puff of steam, like the very ones before her eyes.

Claudius's voice is booming over the speakers, and she is listening as the seconds grow smaller and smaller. Taking one last look at the wooden ball, she goes to slide it back into her pocket before she makes a run for the woods. She misjudged the place of her pocket, and it falls from her hand.

She watches as it rolls off the plate, and knows in an instant what will happen.

She was aware of the scent of pine, and then there was nothing.