It had been three months since the rebellion had failed. Three months since district 13 went into hiding. Three months since President Riddley officially became the new president of Panem, after the last president had been killed for his lack of leadership abilities.
Now he sat in a meeting that was about to change the history of Panem, impatiently tapping his pen against the table surrounded by his trusted assistants and advisors as he waited for a response to his previously asked question.
When no one answered he cleared his throat. "Must I remind you all how important it is that we show the districts our authority? We need to keep them in control, another rebellion is not an option!" he slammed his fist into the table.
"Now then," his voice calming, "I ask again, does anybody have any suggestions."
A man to Riddley's right sighed with impatience. "Why can't we just kill a bunch of them off, an execution in the streets of some sort? The whole district will have to watch. That'll show them our authority."
"Although your idea seems practical and no doubt easy to accomplish, I do not think this is going to instill the fear I want. These people are willing to die before giving in to the Capitol, not to mention we need something that can withstand time, so years from now the districts will still be feeling the punishment."
A woman across the table with shocking red-hair, and a face as pale as death spoke up "So what you're saying is this needs to be a continuous thing?"
"What I am saying is that this needs to be something of such high intensity that the districts will be feeling it centuries from now."
The woman leaned forward in her chair; "Well then we need to take away something of high importance to these citizens. Something that is more significant to them than their lives."
"What would that be?" Somebody asked. "Their possessions mean nothing, they've watched citizens of their district die, their friends, their husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers."
"The children," the woman said, "the younger ones. A parent would give their lives for their children. What if we didn't let them?"
"So we should execute their children in the streets? For some reason I don't think that'll be good enough," Riddley said.
"You want something that lasts for years, so we will make this an annual thing," the woman said, "like a holiday."
"A holiday usually means celebration. Are you saying we celebrate deaths?" somebody asked.
"Precisely! It'll be a holiday where district children are offered up as a sacrifice. However, I don't like the idea of us doing just an execution." The redhead said as she chewed on her pen.
Another man who had been silent for the course of the meeting, sitting thoughtfully with his forehead resting on his folded hands suddenly looked up, his eyes gleaming. "What if this were to be a game?"
"A game?" Riddley was curious now.
"Yes," he continued, "the children should compete in these games. The prize is their life."
"Bingo!" The woman's excitement began rising. "Each district will offer a tribute to participate in this annual game. We will make it into a celebration; everybody must be a part of it. No exceptions."
"We're going to have a winner?" Another person asked.
Riddley answered. "Yes, because with that there is some hope. Hope is a marvelous thing if it's kept contained. The districts must hold on to this hope that their children will come home. The children will keep this hope to fight harder to survive."
"It'll also add to the excitement of these games," the woman continued, "we'll broadcast it live for all of Panem to see. People in the capitol can get involved, bet on their favorites. It'll make it seem like this thing is something of a sport rather than an execution."
"Mrs. Donahall, Mr. MacNamara," Riddley looked at them both, "I want you two to be the head of this since it was your idea. I want these games rolling by the first year anniversary of the failed rebellion."
A smile crept on Donahall's lips, "I'd be honored sir."
Millions of Panem citizens turned on their television to hear the announcement that was about to be given by the president. Nobody knew for certain what was going to be spoken on the TV, but they knew with the end of the rebellion just fading, the news was not going to be good for the districts.
Children curled into the mother's safe arms, and families gathered around as President Riddley's pale face appeared on the screen.
"Greetings citizens of Panem, I am happy to say that the Dark Days have finally ended. District 13 has been destroyed and we are on to a much brighter future!" He paused for the sounds of cheers and applause that could be heard, no doubt from the citizens of the capitol.
"In the wake of this terrible occurrence, the Capitol has decided to enact a new law, called the Treaty of Treason. This treaty states that each year on the anniversary of the end of the Dark Days each district must offer two tributes, one female and one male from the ages of 12-18, to compete in an arena to the death. The last one standing will be crowned victor.
These tributes will be reaped lottery-style, and then will be handed to the custody of the capitol. We have decided to call this event, the Hunger Games. Reapings will begin nine months from now. Good luck," a smile formed on Riddley's blood red lips, "and may the odds be ever in favor."
Riddley stood staring out his window waiting impatiently for the results of the reapings. He had watched them live on television; the young tributes with scared looks in their eyes and their screaming parents. The ones he knew were trying to act brave, but inside were terrified. The ones who never thought they would have been chosen, who were now facing death.
It's exactly what he had wanted.
A long awaited knock finally graced Riddley's door. "Permission to enter?" A young woman's voice was heard on the other side.
"Yes," Riddley answered without turning around.
A redheaded woman, otherwise known as Mrs. Donahall entered with a stack of papers in her hand.
"Sir, I have the information on the tributes."
"Splendid! Set them on my desk would you?"
Her heels clicked on the hardwood floor as she approached his desk. Riddley stayed in the same position, staring at the massive capitol. When he did not answer Mrs. Donahall cleared her throat. "Well I'll just be leaving then, sir."
She turned to leave, when Riddley turned around and called her back.
"What is it, sir?"
"So what's happening next? They're going to be brought here and thrown into the arena?"
"Well, we were considering letting them train a bit beforehand."
"You know Mrs. Donahall I think we should drag this out a bit. You said something months ago about letting the residents in the Capitol bet on their favorites. We need to let them get to know these tributes."
"What did you have in mind?"
"Perhaps we showcase them, put them on television for interviews. Let them be seen as something more than contestants in the game. Think about how much money would could bring in on this as well."
"Of course, so we should have interviews then?"
"Yes, yes, that'll be good, and when they arrive we'll introduce them to the Capitol. We'll need twenty-four stylists willing to get these tributes looking Capitol-worthy."
"Of course, sir! I'll get right on it."
Riddley smiled, "Wonderful, thank Mrs. Donahall, you may leave now."
"Alright, thank you sir."
After she left, Riddley walked over to his desk to look at the packet she had left. On the front cover were the 24 tributes that were about to enter the first Hunger Games. Only one would come out alive.