Hunger Games: 2nd Quarter Quell – Maysilee Donner's Story

Chapter 1: The Twist

I woke up startled, to see Luka; my beautiful twin sister. She is up again; this is the third night in a row. It's her nightmares, once again. Their getting worse, but I know it's because of the Reaping. She never copes well when it comes around, I don't blame her to be honest, and with the things the Capitol make you see, all the murders they make teenagers commit. And it's all because of the 'Dark Days' and what our ancestors did for some freedom in their lives, which resolved in the now non-existent District 13 being wiped out by the Capitol. I don't blame them either, why would anyone want what we endure. District 12 is one of the poorest districts in Panem, when you watch the poor coal miners loading out from the mines when you're walking home from school, it says it all. That's if you survive the 6 years of torture thinking you're going to get reaped.

I watched my sister take her load of pills; they always calm her down. I guess it's good that my best friend; Colette works in an apothecary with her mother and father. They always come to take care of us when were ill, especially Colette. She's from the merchant side of District 12. You can always tell who's from the merchant side and who's from the Seam. The Seam is the poorer side of District 12. People from the merchant families always have blonde hair and blue eyes, but people from the Seam have grey eyes and brown hair as dark as the coal they mine. I'm from a merchant family, my mother and father own a sweet shop, but that doesn't give us any advantage in the Reaping; or the Games for that matter.

I decided to get up, I can't sleep when there's any light, especially when it's peering through the window. I go to see my sister, now sitting down trying to keep down the truck-load of pills she just swallowed. I ask her how she's feeling about today, the Reaping is today. It's even more horrible as well because this is no normal year, this year is the 50th year of the Games which means it's a Quarter Quell; the second Quarter Quell, so the Capitol always throw in a twist that puts even more pressure on the country. The first Quarter Quell the Capitol decided that every district had to vote for their male and female tributes instead of them getting picked at random. That's what makes me worried about it, there's no way of knowing what they'll do this year. She's a lot worse this year, she always shakes but she looks like she's in the middle of an earthquake. I'm terrified; I could quite easily lose my sanity at any moment.

No, I tell myself. She needs you to be strong for her, pray if you have to. I keep as calm as possible, I sit down beside her at the edge of the bed and don't move a muscle in case I shrivel into a ball and start rocking back and forward.

"I'm fine," She quakes "And you don't have to act strong just because I'm crumbling, I'm not the only person in this Reaping, You know."

"Well, I know. This is still a horrible thing though. I worried about you." I hate that, she can always see right through me.

"If it's so horrible, then why aren't you falling apart like I am?" I also hate her sarcastic tone, and how I can't think of how to respond.

"Okay fine, I'm terrified are you happy now?" I challenged. She looked a bit surprised at first, and then remembered who she was talking to.

"Fair enough, so what kind of new terror do you think they are going to pull on us this year?" She was trying to make it humorous, but even she didn't find it funny.

"I really, don't know." It's something I really don't want to think about right now, we'll find out soon enough. A bit too soon for my liking.

I give Luka a hug and we venture downstairs, mother and father are already at the table. I think I am the only person that has slept some of the night; they are sitting at the table with bags under their eyes, like the bags of flower Mr Mellark and his son carry around their bakery. Luka and I sit down. No one breathes a word. My mother gets up from the table and sorts the breakfast while my father exchanges me and Luka hollow smiles. My mother comes back with the breakfast, but no one reaches for anything. Luka and I stare into each others blank faces from opposite sides of the table. We both know exactly what were thinking, or fearing. I couldn't sit there any longer. I shot up from the table after about 30 seconds; I ran back up the stairs, got changed and was just about to leave when a gold pin that was sitting on the edge of my pillow was glistening gold in the sunlight that was still peering through the window had caught my eye. I paused for a second and walked to the bed to look at it. It was a round pin with a Mockingjay in the middle which looked like it was carrying an arrow. I put it on my shirt and went straight to Colette's. The statues that resembled my parents and my twin sister remained motionless.

I ran to Colette's as soon as I got out the door. When I got there Haymitch Abernathy had bet me to her, with what looks like the first victim of whipping today. Haymitch thinks he went into the woods hunting and got caught on the way to the illegal trade market; the Hob. After the so called 'Peacekeepers' have stopped whipping them half to death Haymitch and a couple of his friends from the Seam will take them to Colette and she will nurse them back to health – that's if they're not already dead. I'll help her with the healing, but I don't know much.

"Look who couldn't keep cool still for 5 minutes!" Haymitch was always the joker, not that I found that very funny. I pretended to erupt in laughter, because I know he hates my sarcasm.

"Haymitch, leave her alone. Not all of us are acting out their okay about today's events." Colette always tells Haymitch off.

"Not that you're fooling anyone." I joked; he didn't appreciate it when Colette and I ran up to each other giggling.

We went inside to see the victim, Haymitch thinks he got whipped 20-30 times. He's out cold. Colette started preparing bandages while I started grinding down herbs, made them into a paste and started spreading it out onto the bandages. Before I knew it was 12:30, the Reaping starts at 2. I said goodbye to Haymitch who was also leaving, and gave Colette a hug before running back home. When I got home my mother had helped Luka get ready. She was wearing one of my mother's old dresses, a cream dress that comes down to her knees, the lace pattern at the end of the sleeves and her hair put up in a bun.

"You look gorgeous." I said as I walked to her to give her a hug. My mother looked at me in disappointment; I knew exactly what this was about.

"I'm sorry, I just couldn't stand it-" I pleaded; I was surprised by how understanding she was.

"It's okay Maysilee, I did the same, and at least you came back." She said. I tried to reply, but my voice had been cut off from it's source. She knew with he look on my face she shouldn't have said that.

"Then I realized how selfish I was being, and I came home. Now you better go up to your room and get ready too. Once you have your outfit on I'll do your hair for you." I never responded and I hurried up the stairs. My dress was similar to Luka's. Came to my knees, although the lace pattern was slightly different, and it was a light red. After I got ready I put my mockingjay pin on my dress and strolled back downstairs to my mother, who stood shocked.

"I didn't think you would wear it." She said with disbelief, then came up to me and squeezed me until I couldn't breathe.

"You put this on my pillow?" I couldn't believe it. Then I remembered, a couple of years ago I went to Colette's to help out with another one of the whipping victims, we couldn't help him. The injuries he sustained were just too much for anyone to heal, just before he died he gave me a pin with a Mockingjay on it holding an arrow, when I got home I showed it to my mother, she was worried that it would look like I was adding fuel another Rebellion, so I gave it to her to keep until I was ready to have it back.

The Mockingjay was an 'accidental' mutation of the Capitol. The Capitol created a bird species called the Jabberjay in the time of Rebellion, they recorded what people were saying and could repeat it to someone else, so the Capitol decided to use it on the Rebels, and eventually the Rebels caught on and started to send out fake information. Then the Capitol stopped creating them, but they mated with mockingbirds. They lost their ability of speech but learned the ability to sing melodies and songs.

I forgot about the thought and I sat down and spoke to Luka while my mother pleated my hair on the front of the right side of my hair and left my fringe down. My mother, father, Luka and I walked to the square where the Reaping takes place each year. Luka was shaking again like she was this morning; I took her hand and reassured her that everything was going to be fine, even though I had no idea. And once again she had seen right through me. Once we got to the square we had to go and register, then take our places in front of the stage, people at the oldest of 18 were to be placed at the back. People as young as 12 were placed right in front of the stage. Where the Capitol could see their terrified faces. Another thing about the Capitol, they don't like to comfort the Districts, they like to engrave the fear in their minds.

After I registered, I turned around to find Luka hugging the Mayors son. It looked like he was trying to keep her strong, to comfort her. After they had let go of each other he kept hold of her hand, raised it up to his lips and kissed her lightly, then walked away. I didn't realize I was walking towards her until we were face-to-face.

"How come I never got told about you two?" I mocked; she turned around with a smile that I hadn't seen in a long time.

"How come I never got told about you two?" She nodded over to Haymitch who was standing a couple of yards away, who was staring at us. Luka would have argued that he was staring at me because of the embarrassment that registered on his face when I turned around. I couldn't help laughing, and she knew. I turned around to her, still smiling like an idiot.

"Because there's nothing for me to tell you about. And plus he had a girlfriend." I blurted out, but it didn't save me. Neither did the giggling.

"It's not going very well with her though so I've heard. Also, you're a liar." She said laughing at me. I walked away knowing I wasn't getting out of this one. She followed me and I knew she would continue this later.

The Reaping starts with a message from President Snow. Great, the last thing I need is President Snow telling us 'May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.'

"Kill me now." I whisper to Luka.

"Don't wish too hard." And this time takes my hand in reassurance, which I needed, but I'll never admit that to her.

"Hello young people of District 12, you must be so excited about the events that are about to take place today." The woman hosting the Reaping introduced. Most of the 12 year olds faces fell, mouths dropped, some started crying. But the rest of us are used to this, and remained emotionless.

"What an honour it must be such an honour for you to participate in such a noble competition. Since this year is the second Quarter Quell there is a little twist that is going to make this year far more fun for you all." She was playing with everyone's minds now, even mine. I still wasn't ready to hear what was in store for us. I managed to keep my composure; Luka on the other hand was shaking again. I squeezed her hand to try and relax her. That was when I promised myself if she got reaped I would volunteer in her place. The hostess walked over to a white envelope sitting on a podium, I grunted at the ridiculous act that caused a few people to turn around to look at me and Luka to pull at my hand to give me a serious look, but I couldn't help it. She walked back to the microphone in the middle of the stage and opened the envelope. She let go of a very evil looking smirk.

"Due to the start of the 50th Hunger Games that marks the second Quarter Quell, this year will bring a new rule for this year only to the Reaping system. This year the Capitol requires twice the amount of tributes from each District to participate in the Games." She read.

This caused a riot. People were trying to run to their parents or just trying to get out of the square. At first backup Peacemakers were arranged to keep everyone in the square, then eventually started shooting at the people who ran. Colette was running too, but she wasn't running away, she was running to Luka and me, and grabbed the both of us into a tight hug.

"Whatever happens, I wish you good luck. I really should go back to my place-" She was about to finish when I stopped her.

"No, don't go back! Stay with us." I rushed out.

She stopped for a second, and then agreed to stay. I reached out my hand for her; she took it and stood with us. Everyone finally gave up, they finally realized there was no where to go. The hostess looked very flustered when she returned to the stage; tying to compose herself. I couldn't help but find this amusing as well, but I managed to keep this one in.

"Now, back to the Reaping. Ladies first." She stammered.

I kept ordering myself; Luka gets reaped, you volunteer. I kept the words spinning in my head. She's not strong enough; she's barely strong enough to handle the Reaping. I wouldn't say I was stronger than her, I'm not. But I would rather it be me than her. She was taking too long searching for the names in the bowl. She eventually picked two.

Luka gets reaped, you volunteer. Luka gets reaped, You volunteer. I had it on repeat now as the hostess walked back up to the microphone. She opened up the first name. Luka get reaped, you volunteer.

"Delia Vonti." She called; I closed my eyes in relief. But we still had one more to go. She slowly walked to the stage; she was already in front of the stage when she walked out. It was her first year. She's only twelve.

"Oh, congratulations sweetheart! Go and sit down dear, you have done very, very well." The hostess exclaimed enthusiastically. She sat down, or staggered.

"Now for female tribute number two!" Still exclaiming, Luka gets reaped, you volunteer. Luka gets reaped, you volunteer. Luka gets reaped, you volunteer. She opened the second name, I closed my eyes again. Hoping it wouldn't be Luka. Praying it wouldn't be Luka. I had to put my hand over my mouth to make sure I didn't scream 'I volunteer!' too soon, but it turns out I didn't have to volunteer.

Because it was me.

Colette let go of my hand and slapped them to her face. Luka on the other hand threw her hands around my neck, determined that I wasn't leaving her. I had to let her go, I had to go up there. I had to keep as calm as possible again, but I wasn't managing this time.

"Luka." my voice is shaking. "Please, I need to go."

"No, no way! What if you get killed?" She's shouting.

"I don't know, but I'll try my best. I promise." I pleaded.

She didn't say anything else after that, but Colette turned me round and hugged me, she gave me an encouraging smile just as the Peacekeepers came and escorted me to the stage. This was like torture. It was worse because I could hear Luka's muffled cries in Colette's shoulder.

"Oh, we have a gorgeous one this year!" The hostess is still excited, she's lucky they don't give us the weapons now.

She doesn't have a hope in hell of me talking to her. I walked away and sat with our other tribute girl, who looked traumatized. I was ready to collapse myself.

"Now to see who the male tributes are!" She's shouting at the top of her lungs now. By this point I had my hands over my ears. She went to the boys bowl now, took two and walked back over to the microphone.

"Haymitch Abernathy!" She announced.