Chapter 1

*Katniss*

My silver eyes gazed out at the beautiful blue sparkling ocean that represented the coast of District Four, the sun hitting off of the waves as the scenery flashed by my window. The white sand was littered with a handful of children, their parents obviously trying to take their kids' young minds off of the reaping that took place merely hours ago. I squinted through the light and could see their laughing faces as they splashed in the water, carefree, innocent, and safe. I wish I could say the same.

The plush velvet chair was certainly a change from what I was used to back home. The train compartment was decorated so perfectly, that it rivalled anything else I'd ever found comfortable in my entire life. The setting sun cast soft rays across the room, giving it a heavenly glow that made me almost feel calm enough to want to go to sleep. Almost.

Emmett had already vanished to his room, gladly welcoming sleep whilst I sat here at the window, wallowing and feeling sorry for myself. I knew that sleep would only bring on unwelcome nightmares.

I wondered what my mother and Prim were doing right now. The neighbours and everyone else in the district would most likely be celebrating right about now, but my family and Emmett's would be holed up at home, already mourning the almost certain death of their child or sibling. I could imagine them sitting around our small kitchen table, silently eating Prim's goat's cheese that she had prepared this morning, or perhaps attempting to eat the fish I had caught.

Could it only have been this morning that I was down by the forbidden pier, that was hidden by the thick willow trees? I knew it was illegal to be down there, it was deemed to be on Capital grounds, as it was beyond the fence, but my family needed food so I can't bring myself to regret doing it.

I decided I needed to trust my mother this once, on her promise to look after Prim incase anything was to happen to me. I needed to trust that she would snap out of her depression at least momentarily each day, long enough to make sure that Prim has had some food and that she is safe. After all, I didn't volunteer to save her from the Hunger Games just so she would die at the hands of my mother's uselessness.

Thinking about my family had distracted and saddened me long enough for the train to be moving away from District 4, and into the mountains and forests that we don't see at home. I knew the Capitol was east from here, but my mentor, Effie Trinket, insisted we wouldn't arrive until midday tomorrow. As it was now dark, I decided I should at least try to get some sleep. Sighing heavily, I untangled my hair from the intricate braids my mother had done for me this morning, and let my hair loose, causing it to blow lightly in the warm summer breeze coming from the open window.

I caught a strand and examined it, figuring this was my last night looking like myself before my prep team got their hands on me tomorrow. Through the light coming from the lamp beside the bed, I could see the red tint in my dark brown hair, something that almost all people back home have. People from Four are known for their red hair, but I got my deep, almost black hair from my deceased father, setting me apart from the flaming red haired merchants you found in town. I was just known as the poor, skinny girl whose family suffered when her father was killed in a fishing boat accident.

I pulled off my mother's blue reaping dress and found a simple white nightgown in one of the drawers. I changed quietly and submerged myself into the soft sheets of the comfortable bed.

I lay there for a few more hours, trying and failing to turn my mind off from the thoughts of what would come tomorrow. Instead I thought about Prim and felt comfort in the knowledge that, even though I am being sent to my death, she will be safe from harm. It is with this thought that I finally feel myself drifting off into what was a, hopefully, dreamless sleep.