A sharp kick to my gut reminds me of the hell I am currently stuck in. No matter how often I dream of happier times the harsh reality always comes back. My father died when I was twelve years old. My sister was just eight. My mother couldn't continue to support our family because after my father passed she became nothing more than a shell of her former self. We had been a respected family, but that all fell apart because he died and my mother lost it. My cousin inherited everything, and the cruel man that he is, tossed us out. He showed us no compassion, instead he allowed us, his own kin to rot away. My mother could not care for us so they took her into a mental facility and sold my dear sweet sister and me as slaves. I have recently passed my twentieth birthday; I have been a slave for six long years. I'd say Prim got lucky, but I know that isn't true. Everyone loves Prim; it was only natural that a wonderful family would take her on as a slave. The Cartwright's are all lovely people; I doubt a mean word could be said about them. Prim was bought to wait directly upon Miss. Delly Cartwright. In all her letters she praises her mistress and the kindness and generosity of the family. I am glad and relieved that my sister has had such good fortune. I on the other hand have not had such luck.
I am currently on the way to the auction for the fifth time. Five different owners in six years. That is not exactly encouraging, the more times I am sold the worse the families get. No decent family wants a slave as troublesome as myself. My temper is always the problem. I refuse to be treated as dirt, I do my duties and yet still I find trouble. The last family who owned me sold me for speaking out of turn. I am apparently an ungrateful and filthy piece of trash. I will not let them break me.
The first family had been kind to me, the Hawthorne's. The eldest son, Gale, had been kind to me indeed, he took me hunting with him, and we even became friends I dare say. At least he is the closest I have ever had to a friend. But one misplaced comment at a dinner party and the housekeeper had insisted I must go before I could have a chance to ruin the family reputation. As much as it pained Gale, or so he said, he had to agree. And so once again I was sold.
I was then sold off to the Snow family. Mr. Snow was horrible and had me beaten more often than I could count. Eventually he grew tired of my insolence and sold me to the Crane's and so on it went. And now here I am. Tied to the back of a wagon marching across the countryside to the next auction. To be bought again.
I was considered a beauty in my hometown; they said I would grow up to break many hearts. I never really saw myself that way. But now I know they would not think that of me. There is never a day I am not covered in scrapes and bruises. My hair has lost all life to it, and I am so thin that my ribs protrude frightfully far. Even my eyes, which I will admit were a striking shade of silver at one point, have now become a lifeless gray. There is no longer any beauty left in me, years of slavery and mistreatment have seen to that. But that does not worry me because as long as I do not appeal to the young men of the horrible families who purchase me then I do not have to worry about their abuse in a sexual manner.
The head of our party was making his rounds that night; I must have looked happy lost in my memories therefore his foot made contact with gut. If we weren't miserable he wasn't happy. Slaves have no right to be happy after all. Dawn is fast approaching and soon we will be on the road again. We are expected at the auction by noon. We go for sale an hour later. I hear the heavy footsteps approaching and my body tenses; I can hear the whip making contact with the flesh of my fellow prisoners coming ever closer.
The whip cracks through the air and against my cheek. Leaving behind a thin cut spilling a small stream of blood. He hates me the most, well almost. Johanna Mason has more of a temper than I, and she never holds back with her biting comments. I am only slightly more polite than Johanna and he despises our impudence. Her wit and retort is the only thing to bring a smile to my lips now a day. We may not get along all the time, but we understand each other.
The sun beats hot upon my head, the dark brown of my hair soaking in all the heat and holding it upon the crown of my head. My brow is already covered in sweat and the auction has only just begun. Add that to my sickly thin body, my lifeless appearance, and the many cuts and bruises and I am a sad sight to behold. Certainly no one will buy such a horrible looking slave, and my chances are lessened when they learn of my attitude. I am no lady, not even close. I have manners, but I abandoned them long ago because I could no longer care to please my master's. They did not deserve my respect or loyalty and I would not give it to them. It is a wonder I have not been killed yet, for my behavior.
Johanna has taken her place beside the auctioneer, her shackles barely concealing the blood that has dried on her wrists from how often we are pushed, pulled and cut by them. My wrists are in similar shape, however they are not my worst wounds. The lashing I received a few days earlier from spitting at my captor earned me a lashes, they had scabbed over but were deeply inflamed. I refuse to allow to pain to show, they cannot be lead to think for a minute that they might have won, that I might have broken. No I will not let them see me cry. I am stronger than they are. Still I cannot help but wince slightly when a rough had pushes against them to shove me forward. Johanna has been sold to the Odair's, a young couple, Finnick and his wife Annie. Their kindness is known, almost as well known as the insufferable flirtatiousness of Mr. Odair before he met a Miss. Annie Cresta. Prim wrote me of it, Miss. Delly always filled her in on all the gossip. So when the most insufferable flirt that was Finnick Odair met Miss. Cresta he was apparently so taken with her that he became a different man. I could almost hear Prim sigh as she wrote of their romance.
Johanna is lead away to the young couple and Mr. and Mrs. Odair have her shackles removed. The concerned look upon Mrs. Odair's face tells me that Johanna will be well taken care of. I see her make a biting remark to Mr. Odair and he simply laughs. They really are kind people. He doesn't seem to mind her attitude too much rather it amuses him. She will do well. I am glad for my friend, she has been far worse off than I. She told me tales of how Mr. Cato Carter had nearly raped her when she was under his possession. When she fought back he was furious and nearly had her killed, but his wife, Clove, said it was better to be rid of her and allow some other soul to suffer her. Johanna was extremely lucky, she escaped death, and instead Mrs. Carter had blamed it on Johanna being a slave whore. Mr. Carter's flawless reputation survived. No matter how false it was.
The fox-faced girl who was ahead of me has been sold and again I wince a sharp thrust on my wounds pushes me forward to be sold. Before I allow my eyes to well with tears I forced my face into a stone cold scowl. The auctioneer begins, "Next for auction is Katniss Everdeen. Everdeen?" He questions, I see the recognition on his face. We were a fairly known family, my father was thought of extremely well, like Prim everyone loved him, but because of our misfortune we had been reduced to slaves and a mentally insane woman. Our reputation had been lost the moment my father died. Many in the east of the country knew our story but I didn't think it would have reached this far south. His eyes grow sad, he knows, and he recognizes me, pity fills his eyes and I feel the hate rise in my stomach. I need no pity. Thankfully he continues, "For a lass she is strong and able, however unfortunately she has nearly as poor an attitude as Miss. Mason over there. Good luck Mr. and Mrs. Odair." He jokes with the crowd. Laughter flows out of the mouths of the buyers. Mr. Odair simply waves it off with a laugh. "Miss. Everdeen apparently has the ability to hunt." He continues to ramble off any of my contributing attributes for the buyers to decide upon. "Shall I start the bidding at five pounds?" He eventually stops with his speech and the auctioning begins.