Disclaimer: I don't own Glee or The Hunger Games.
Note: Okay, so here's my next big project, and I do mean big. I'm not sure if this exact thing has been done before, but I'm officially crossing over Glee with The Hunger Games. The twenty-four contestants will be the twelve ORIGINAL (season one) New Directions members and the twelve ORIGINAL (season one) Glee Project members. It will pretty much follow the Hunger Games setup but from a different district's perspective. I hope you like! Review and let me know!
I stare at the cow. It stares back at me. It knows I have to bring it to the slaughter now. I don't want to. I never really want to bring an animal to its death, but we have to eat, and this cow is getting old anyway. Its hide will be good for clothing and furniture coverings. Its meat I can sell in the market. I'm sure they will give me a good price today, as tomorrow is the Reaping. The cow stares at me some more. I can see nothing in her old, tired eyes. I think she wants death. I think she knows that she is old and useless, that she is no longer producing good milk. I used to take her milk to make cheese and other fresh dairy products to sell. But now, she is sadly too old to carry on, and what must be done has to be done. I take her by her reins and bring her to the slaughterhouse, where my father will kill her.
I don't like to watch the life leave their eyes.
I will wait until they are already dead and their eyes are closed before I will re-enter the slaughterhouse, where I will help my father butcher and clean the meat for selling. My mother is the one who churns the milk into butter and cream. We will need to produce overtime on our farm for the Reaping.
I bring the old cow to my father. "Here she is."
"Thank you, Damian." He leads her away, and I dart back outdoors, breathing in the clean air and trying to exhale the stench of dying animals that surrounded me.
Perhaps I should explain things first.
My name is Damian McGinty. I live in Panem, in the ruins of a country that used to be called America. Since its rebuild, they have divided us into twelve districts that surround a Capitol. I have never seen beyond the boundaries of District Ten. Each district is responsible for one thing that supplies the other districts, as well as the Capitol. District Ten's specialty is livestock, hence why many of the families here have farms. It's not one of the nicer districts, like District One, but it is not nearly as poor as District Twelve.
There used to be a District Thirteen.
The tale goes like this: all of the districts lived in peace, none really interacting with the other. There were talks of uprisings, but no one really took heed to these.
But then District Thirteen rose up against the Capitol.
Needless to say, the Capitol did not like that.
To say they are controlling is an understatement.
They blew District Thirteen to smithereens. Nothing is there anymore, just rubble. But ever since, the Capitol has forced one boy and one girl from each of the remaining twelve districts to compete in their annual Hunger Games.
See, the Capitol folks live nicely. They have beautiful homes and plenty of food to go around.
The rest of us? Not so much. We barely have enough food to live by, especially in the poorer districts, and our homes are less than adequate.
Hence, the need to compete in the Hunger Games.
They send twenty-four kids—well, teenagers, that is to say—into an arena.
Twenty-four go in, one comes out.
There are two bowls, see, one for girls and one for boys. Once a year, every year, one boy and one girl is chosen from Ten to compete in the Hunger Games.
Did I mention that the winner of the Games gets a lifetime of fame and fortune?
They will never go hungry again.
That is why I must do this, to have my name in that bowl.
So far, my family has been lucky. My older sister and brother both managed to escape the Games, and they are married now, starting families of their own.
I want to do this for my parents.
I want to do this for my future nieces and nephews.
I want them all to remember my name.
I turn around; my father is calling me back inside. The old cow is dead, and now I must take her meat to the market to be sold. Seeing as how the Reaping—the event, nay, the ceremony where the contestants are selected at random—is tomorrow, I must sell early to prepare. There will be a banquet, I am sure, as there always is.
The poorer your family, the more pieces of paper that have your name on it are in that bowl. Additionally, one more paper will be added each year until you are eighteen.
There are fifteen pieces of paper that read my name in there this year.
My father pats me on the back, and I run down the path that separates the slaughterhouse and stables from our home. I wave to my mother through the window before heading down the dirt road to the marketplace.
I see all of their faces.
They all look frightened, all of the parents.
I cannot imagine it, sending your child—sometimes, your only child—into the arena, unsure if they would be coming back alive or not. They would have trouble sleeping tonight, unable to rest peacefully until they were sure their children were safe another year.
I also cannot imagine competing against your own brother or sister.
It has happened before.
I could never kill Gemma, my older sister. I couldn't even bear to be in that same arena as her.
I'd kill myself before I could kill her.
I am not a coward, but family means everything to me.
I scan the faces of the children. For some of them, it will be the first year that they are eligible to compete in the Games. It must be terrifying for them. Some of them seem so small, so impossibly small and young. I try to figure out which ones of us will be the chosen ones, the unlucky and unfavored ones.
"May the odds ever be in your favor".
I get a good price on the meat, as I'd expected, and I allow myself to linger in the district square. The faces pass me, all of them more or less the same. I see so many others go by, all with dark, dark hair, pale skin, and blue eyes.
Not everyone in Panem looks the same.
However, everyone in their individual district does.
I've only ever seen them on the televisions when the Games are broadcast annually.
You know what I said before about parents having to send their kids off to the arena?
They also have to watch them die. On television.
It sounds terrible, but it's all I know.
Welcome to my life.
To be continued…