DISTRICT 1 REAPING

Beau Infernetti -

"You're stupid, useless!" He screams, giving me a good swat to the cheek. I fall to my knees, grabbing the aching side of my face. I cough, spitting out some blood and a tooth... Ew... "You're not good enough... You never were... And you never will be!" He yells, taking the empty alcohol bottle and slamming it into my back. I feel the piercing pain as it shatters, sending shards into my back.

I jolt up from bed, sweating, coughing, breathing heavily. I prop myself up on one elbow, glancing at the clock on my nightstand. It reads 5 A.M. 'That early?' I think, tilting my head. I crack my knuckles, stretching my back out, then heaving myself off the side of my bed. A few rays of light peek through the blinds on my window. I stroll to the bathroom, turning on the water. I slip my fingers under the heated spray, smiling. Warm water... So expensive... But, in the end... So worth it.

I chuckle, then wait for the water to heat up more, staring at myself in the mirror. I give myself a run down, glancing over my features. Short, cropped, brown hair. Turquoise blue eyes, olive colored skin, and angled, sleek edges. The lightly speckled freckles that cover the space surrounding my nose and near my eyes. My thick jaw line that flexes whenever I please. As far as I'm concerned, the only minor flaw I see are my lips, which are barely big enough to complete my District 1 appeal.

I snap out of a daze, hearing my mom shout from the hall. "Beau! Stop wasting the warm water and save it for your sisters!"

I can sense her cupping her hands around her mouth, her thin brows knitted together. I shake my head, then strip off my tank top and my sweat pants and take a quick shower. I rough some shampoo through my hair, deciding to keep it rough and just brush it out weakly.

I emerge into a bathroom full of steam and humidity, forcing me to sweat. I wipe my face with the warm towel, drying myself off and then sliding into a pair of gray trousers and a light blue shirt, tucking it into my trousers. I sigh, glaring at myself in the mirror now. I look nothing like I should. Like I usually do.

I shake my head, roughing a comb through my hair and then tousling my hands through it, giving it a shaggy, thick looking nature. I then snatch up my token, clenching it in my hands. 'Today's the day, Silver.' I think fondly of my friend, holding the amulet tight. I roll it over in my hands, examining the carefully chiseled features of the circular gem. It quickly changes colors from a plain white, to the color of blue. It's telling my I'm either excited, or I'm happy. I smile, tucking it safely in my pocket, then walking from my room into the kitchen.

Aura and Glitter, my two little sisters, are sitting at the table, scarfing down toasted bread and filling themselves with orange juice. Glitter is 12, and Aura trails behind her at 11, meaning Glitter attends her first real Reaping this year. Not just to go and watch, but to be there... To try as hard as she can to cross her fingers in hopes of not being reaped.

I walk into the room, a proud, graceful stride holding me steady with tread. I give Glitter's messed up hair a noogie. "Morning, sparkles." I joke, pouring myself some orange juice and gulping it down from its glass.

She giggles. "Good morning, Beau."

Aura looks down at her eggs, stabbing one with a fork. She tilts her head, then looks up at me. I walk over and pat her shoulder.

"How's it going, Aura?" I ask. She looks down, then up, then down at her eggs again.

"Cold..." She says, standing and walking into the bathroom to change.

Glitter and I exchange glances, knowing it's just the normal aura of... Well, Aura. Ever since dad had left and our parents had divorced, our happy-go-lucky Aura had been replaced with a silent, broken, and rarely happy girl. I stare down at her eggs, then snatch them up with my bare hands, forcing them down my throat. I'm not hungry, but considering my size and appetite, I'll be hungry later if I don't eat now.

Glitter stares up at me, brushing her hair out with her little green brush. "Will I get chosen this year?" She asks.

'As if I know, Glitter.' I sneer in my head, rolling my eyes.

"Glitter, if you are chosen, I got your back. I'm going into the Games. I'm going to prove Dad wrong." I say, scooping up a piece of butter and shoving it in my mouth with the toast I've just crammed down my windpipe.

She frowns. "Don't die." She says.

I growl, rage emerging in my chest, starting as a low hum. Did I mention I have a bad temper? Once something gets me started, you can't put out the fire that runs through me. It's worse than you think, too. Simple things set me off like a wildfire through District 11's grain crops during a dry season. I finish chewing, then shake my head.

"I won't die. What, you think I've trained all my life for death?" I'm probably yelling now, I just can't hear myself over the roar of my heartbeat in my ears.

Glitter turns away, resuming to brushing her hair. I frown.

"I'm going to go." I announce, turning and storming from the house.

I slam the door loudly, making sure my mother and my sisters know how angry I am, then set off towards the Square. I cut many boys in the line, letting the Peacekeeper jab my finger, scan the blood, then usher me away. I scoot in the front of the mass of boys, making sure I'm noticed. I hold my muscular, brawny self tall and proud, showing myself off to the woman who walks on stage.

I don't know how, but I never catch her name. She does everything backwards though. She introduces herself, she talks about the Quell, and then, she shows the video. Afterward, she calls the boys first.

"Kliff Celvin." She announces.

Faces in the crowd turn to Kliff, a tall, thin boy with short black hair. It's slicked back, and his face his decorated with an array of dark, dark freckles. He also has part of his left eyebrow shaved off. I've seen him before. A trouble maker around District 1.

I raise my hand, jogging out in the empty space that divides the colony of girls and boys.

"I volunteer!" I say strongly, making sure I'm loud enough. "I volunteer!" I repeat, climbing the stairs and standing next to the woman.

She claps and smiles. "What's your name, sir?" She asks, her bright pink gloves handing me the microphone.

"My name is Beau Infernetti." I announce, letting a broad smile cross my face. 'I'm 17 years old, and I'm going to win the 455th Annual Quarter Quell.' I think, mentally finishing my actual sentence.

Wendi Hocking -

I awake to the sound of my mom clapping and calling my name from down the hallway. "Wendi! Up and at 'em! Let's go! Get up! Reaping day!" She yells, swinging open my door.

I roll out of bed, frowning. I hate when she wakes me like this... Annoying much? I'm already sure she's woken up my older sister Saffron and my younger sister Sandria. I sure do wish Arrian was still around... So I didn't have to live in Saffron's shadow all the time... Or feel left out... Or be woken up so early.

I walk to the kitchen slowly, shuffling my feet. "I hate the morning." I whine to my mother, who impatiently stands in the hall.

"If one of you is going to win this goddamn Quell, you have to get up!" She orders me, pointing to Saffron, Sandria, then me.

Oh yeah. I forgot. It's a Quell. And they messed up the rules, saying anyone of any age could be reaped... I sigh, rolling my eyes.

"Whatever." I snarl, moving her aside as I walk over to the table, sitting next to Sandria.

Sandria is basically the only one in the family that I can be sane around. Other times, I'm screaming back and forth with Saffron, or arguing with my mother, Elena. My mother desperately wants a Victor in the family, considering the fact we watched Arrian die last year at the hands of a District 8 Tribute. My father was no help... Always agreeing with what she said, never standing up for us or even himself.

Speak of the devil. I watch my father slowly walk into the room, feeling the tenseness set in on the room like the weight of an elephant sitting on an ant. I shovel a few pieces of scrambled eggs into my mouth, then wash the taste down with some milk. I then stand up from my chair, wiping my mouth. I can't be in the silence anymore. Especially around all the people left in my life who completely obliterate my need to be nice.

I frown. "I'm done, thanks." I say, walking from the room.

I then take a trip to my bedroom, gathering my Reaping outfit from the dresser. A white shirt and a gray skirt. I tuck the shirt tail under the skirt, surveying myself in the mirror. My dirty blonde hair, decorated ever-so-perfectly with natural streaks of brownish-blonde. My small, pale green eyes, tipped off with delicate lashes. And my smallish, pointed nose. I don't even want to start on my mouth, which is too big for my tiny features. This is only part of the reason I hate my older sister, Saffron. She's gorgeous, inheriting all the good lucks from my mother, who was like a mirror image of Saffron, but with lighter hair.

I turn to the side, looking at my figure. I'm skinny, finished off with a touch of pink to my pale skin. Despite the blessing of living in the luxury of District 1, I barely eat. Explaining why you can easily see almost every bone in my body. My arms, for example, are scraggly and thin. Another downside: This reduces the strength in most of my muscle, defining reason of my slow running abilities. Which wouldn't be so fun if, in fact, I was running from a Tribute...

I shake my head, deciding I can't wither another minute of self-judging. I get enough of that from my family. Especially my mom. I can still sense the tension from the kitchen, seeping under the space between the floor and my door as I fix up my hair with a white ribbon, securing it in a nice, neat ponytail. I smile, trying to picture myself surrounded by riches, food, and luxury. But mostly, friends. I frown. Friends. The one thing I didn't have in this world. Besides happiness. I remove the thought from my mind, shaking it out my ear.

I look down at my shoes, dusting off their white surfaces with my nimble, thin, fingers. I sit down on the edge of my bed, closing my eyes.

"Hey Arrian." I whisper.

"It's me, Wendi. I know I haven't talked to you in a while... But, forgive me. And please, let me volunteer before Saff this year, just this once, do me a favor that will please Mom and Dad." I murmur quietly, praying no one can hear me.

"Just..." I trail off, hearing footsteps in the hallway. I stop, going silent, then untensing myself as the footsteps disappear. I close my eyes again, re-starting my conversation with Arrian. "Just... Give them something to be proud of. Something so imperfect, it's perfect." I whisper, hoping this will actually work.

But I have faith in Arrian, that he will make this happen. Because he was the only person in the family I ever truly loved. Someone who could make me smile, laugh, appreciate things for once. I have never really displayed hope to my family. I've never actually displayed feeling to my family. But they know things...

They know I have no friends. That I wing it by myself most days. That I'm usually alone. I sigh, looking down.

"Give them... Me." I say aloud, not caring how loud I speak, as of this moment.

"Let them be proud of me..." I'm whispering again, now beginning to care.

"Let Mom be proud... Let me avenge your death." I plead, then open my eyes again.

I walk from my room, leading Sandria, my mother, my father, and Saffron from the house after me, as I leave for the Square. I shudder as a Peacekeeper takes my blood, pressing my finger to a thick sheet of paper, then telling me to move on. I take my place in the middle of the girls' side, as far from Saffron as possible. At least I can deal with Sandria.

I watch with caution, the woman, I think she says her name is Emerald, who explains the Quell's rules, and how they've already picked a District to offer up, in Tribute, four Tributes, instead of two. I shake my head. 'Wow. The Capitol is really trying to make these Games... Interesting, nowadays.' I think, blinking hard as the boy named Beau Infernetti volunteers for Kliff. I've seen Beau around school.

He's handsome, for a guy from District 1, that's normal, but he's okay. I've seen him with friends around, guessing he's sociable. But I've seen him train before, at the Academy. He's quite the tempered freak. I shake away the thought, listening carefully as Emerald walks to the girls' bowl, carefully picking out the slip of her choice.

She coughs, clears her throat. "Sandria Hocking." She says as clear as the night sky.

I blink hard, then walk into the isle, beating Saffron to it. "I volunteer." I announce, walking up on stage with a blank look.

I originally wanted to make them fear me in the beginning, but things in the Capitol would hopefully go differently. I smile to myself, then shake hands with Beau, and look up as they lead us both into the Justice Building.

"Thanks, Arrian. For giving me something to live for." I whisper, pressing three fingers to my lips, then reaching them out to the sky.

At least I still have some feel left... But only because of Arrian. Because he gave me something to be worth... Being a Career, was my worth. And I would prove my worth, by killing off every District 8 Tribute in the Quell. Yes, this would be an interesting year. I smirked, then let the doors of the Justice Building swing shut behind me.