Soli Deo gloria
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Hunger Games or Disney. I got this idea a couple of days ago and it's just been buzzing around in my head. I have it all planned. Each chapter shall be from the PoV of one of the tributes, meaning 24 chapters. This first chapter is Penny from Bolt.
I wake up in a cold sweat with a loud cry. I pant and toss off the covers. Beside me I hear my pets, I turn to see my dog, Bolt, and my very scrawny cat, Mittens, looking at me with worried expressions. Rhino is watching as well, looking scared in his plastic ball.
Still panting, I swing my legs over the side of my bed. Bolt puts a paw on my lap and whimpers, worried. I whisper, "Bad dream, Bolt," and I run into my mom's room.
I don't find her near her small bed and dresser. I panic. I run into the kitchen, yelling, "Mom?"
I sigh in relief when I see her making bread from the hard grain we get. She takes one look at me and immediately puts down the bread. "Penny, dear, what happened?" she asks as I run into her arms.
I try not to cry, but tears start to stream down my face. "I had a nightmare," I whisper.
"Oh," she says comfortingly. "About the Reaping?"
"Yes," I rasp. The Reaping. Today will be my first Reaping. I turned twelve just a few weeks ago; I've been plagued by nightmares ever since. The fear of getting chosen is crippling; I cannot think of killing people, being killed myself. I don't want to die; I don't want to leave my mom, or my pets, or District 10.
Well, I do want to leave District 10, to a certain degree. It isn't exactly paradise. It never has been. Helping with the livestock to help supplement the household hasn't been exactly nice. I like animals, I like animals a lot, but I don't like District 10.
I don't like the Capitol, either; nobody does. Ever since the Rebellion some odd years ago, the Disney Games came about. The rulers of Disney, our disintegrating country, is ruled by a pantheon of evil looking people. Madam Cruella de Vil, Governor Ratcliffe, the Royal Disney Parliament, all scary and evil. Very evil.
I sigh sadly and my mom pats my back. "It won't be so bad," she says as calmly as she can, even though she can barely contain herself. "You have one slip in thousands. You barely have a chance." Mom wouldn't let me take a tessera, and I'm glad. The thought of my name swimming around there more than once would make this day even worse.
"But there's still a chance I can get chosen," I whisper. I sigh harder, stifling a sob. I can't even bear thinking that I'll have to go through this day five more times in the future. That is, if I don't get picked this time.
"You'll be fine. There are plenty of other kids," Mom says.
I swallow and digging my head deeper into her shoulder, I whisper, "I don't want to die."
"I know, I know. I'm—I'm sure that Bagheera and Mufasa won't let you," she says, tears evident in her voice. (Bagheera and Mufasa are District 10's mentors at the moment. I don't see much of them; they stay pretty hidden in their houses in Victor's Village.) She pulls back after a moment and tucks my hair behind my ears. "In the meantime, let's make the best of it. Have some breakfast and then you can play with your pets."
"Don't you want me to herd the cows for Ms. Gesner?" I ask. That's what I usually do each morning.
"No, you'll be all right." She sighs and adds, "Not too many people are working today."
I nod and we eat. Bolt snuggles against my legs. He looks up with a begging sort of look (I'm certain that Mittens is making a sort of smug face), and I give him a bit of carrot that we have. We don't have much; we have a tiny garden that grows very small vegetables. The carrots are Bolt's favorite. I like to spoil him sometimes.
I pat his head and Mittens leaps onto my lap. I laugh and get off my chair. We walk out onto our bleak porch, which has nothing more than a couple of crumbling rocking chairs. I settle in one and Bolt jumps into the other. Mitten jumps onto my lap and Rhino hurries after us. I grab his ball and balance him on Mittens's head. Smiling softly, I look out over the street.
It's dank and dirty. No one's outside; everyone's hiding in their houses, watching their kids for what may be the last time. All who's outside are Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliffe's dalmatians. They literally have over a hundred of them. I haven't a clue how they feed them. Most everyone around here is poor. The mayor, Turkey Lurkey, isn't that poor. He stays up in that big white house a couple of hundred yards from the square. The square that will change many people's lives today.
I sigh and lean back against the chair. Bolt whimpers again and my hand finds his head to pet him. District 10 isn't good to small animals running around, even if we are known for livestock. I remember finding Bolt at the edge of our garden, chewing on a carrot. Mom let me have him once I pleaded and begged.
I got Mittens when Bolt brought her home. He won Mom and I over with his begging look. Rhino just appeared one day, watching Bolt's every move and imitating him. I knew I had to keep him. They're my company around here, playing with me when I'm not working.
I sit here all morning. Occasionally someone comes walking down the street, wishing me luck. Widow Tweed, Mr. Cluck, Winston, walking along with little Jenny Foxworth, who is only eight-years-old. I wave at her and she waves back at me, a sad smile on her face as she passes. I envy her for not having to feel this fear and anxiety just yet.
It's twelve o'clock when Mom comes to get me for lunch. We have a hard grain porridge and then I take a bath. I don't normally take baths: they take too long and they require lots of hot water, which takes a lot of time to fetch. I have to go out by the stream that runs by the fence a hundred feet away and get the water myself. My arms are tired already and my arms and legs soaking. I don't really see the point of taking a bath, but Mom makes one up anyway.
I scrub myself down the best that I can (I'll forever smell like animals, I decide), and then rub myself down with a towel. I head to my bed (I washed in a tiny little room off the side that holds supplies and stuff, though it's quite empty at the moment), and discover my Reaping dress. I gasp happily, surprised, and hold it up. It's a red dress that runs straight down to my knees. It's my favorite color red. Along with it are white tights and my old boots, softened with oil and shiny. I'm definitely going to stand out in the Reaping. Not much around here has this much color.
I hear my mom in the doorway and turn to see her smiling. Her smile is sad, but brightens at the sight of my face. "Do you like it?" she asks.
For an answer, I run to her and hug her as hard as I can. "I love it," I say.
"I'm glad you do," she says and she brushes my red wet hair out of my face. "Everyone needs to look nice on Reaping Day. I'll leave so you can dress then."
I slip on the new clothes. The cloth is not as soft as Mom makes it look, but it feels like silk against my skin. Mittens watches as I tug on my new tights and shoes. I stand up and grab a brush before turning to Mittens and I ask, "How do I look?" I can actually tell that her eyes are sad as she gives me a thumb's up. I smile and rub her head before going into the small kitchen.
Mom brushes my short straight hair, and she takes ten minutes to do so. I know it takes a little less than a minute for me to brush my hair, but I know that she likes doing it, and it makes her feel better.
She finally sighs and puts the brush down. "I guess it's time to go to the square," she says quietly.
I gulp and nod. I turn to her and ask, "Can I take Bolt to watch?"
Mom smiles sadly and says gently, "No. Sweetie, there will be thousands of people there. He could get lost."
I look down at the ground and nod. She pats my back sympathetically and calls for my animals to come see me, maybe for the last time.
I hug Mittens as tightly as I can, squeezing her skinny body against mine. I finally pat her head and turn to Rhino. I open his ball and he crawls all around me onto my shoulder, rubbing his head against my neck. I smile and turn to Bolt, who looks terribly sad. He crawls into my lap, whimpering, and I just spend five minutes holding him before Mom sighs and says, "It's time to go, Penny."
I nod silently and let my animals slip off me. Mom and I head to the front door, my pets following us.
Mom goes first, but I stand in the doorway, watching my three pets; Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino, my friends. They all watch me sadly and I say quietly, "Goodbye," before I close the door and head outside with my mom.
She's watching me and she puts her arm on my shoulder as I let out a heavy sigh, covering a sob. She whispers comforting words as we walk down the dirty street toward the square.
Toward the Reaping. Toward the end of my life.
And there's the first chapter! I hope you liked it and please, review!