Author's Note: This story takes place in modern day America, so there is no Panem. These are all original characters, but you might see a few similarities to some of the beloved HG characters. For these Games, the 50 American states send in tributes. I have re-imagined some of the rules and procedures so that the Games could feasibly take place in our time. One major change is the age of the tributes. I'm just too soft-hearted to write about killing kids so I raised the age requirement. Everything should be explained in the story, but if anything is unclear please let me know so I can fix it! Happy reading, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Update: This story has been nominated for an Energize W.I.P. Award! Thanks so much to everyone who reads, reviews, votes, follows, etc!
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games :(
Chapter 1: Chosen
As I walk to the mailbox my heart hammers, but I already know what's coming. I've been feeling the dread settling on me for months. I knew something bad was going to happen, but I didn't know what. Now, I know it will be this. I grab the mailbox handle but let go, clenching my fists. There will be two letters there. One for my husband, Thomas, and one for me. I dance from foot to foot in the driveway, coaching myself through the moment. Come on, Corenn shake it off. It's just your imagination running away with you. It's nothing, it's nothing, it's nothing.
I open the box. There are two small envelopes there. Both are identical and non threatening. I try to be relieved. Surely one would look different if it contained bad news. But I can't shake my anxiety. I take the envelopes out. Mine is on top. My hands are shaking so badly, it takes me three tries to open the letter. There is a single sheet of white paper inside.
Your presence will be required at your state capital's courthouse on September 9th at 10:00 AM. You have been selected as a state finalist in the reaping of the United States of America's first annual Hunger Games. You, among fifty other women from your state between the ages of 20 and 30, have been randomly selected for this honor. The final name, as well as that of the male participant, will be drawn on live television at the designated hour. If you are not present for this reaping, your name, as well as that of your closest relative, will automatically be selected. There will be no air, land, or sea vehicle allowed outside of the US prior to the aforementioned date. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter. Congratulations, and good luck.
President Verilius Alanton
I am shaking so hard that I drop Thomas's letter. Somehow I keep hold of mine. Maybe the sweat on my palms made it stick to me. I sink to my knees. I know Thomas is watching me from the house. He is tending our son, Kade, while I check the mail. He will know now, that one of the letters contains bad news. I quickly retrieve Thomas's letter and nearly shred it in my haste to open it.
Your name has unfortunately not been drawn for the honor of representing your state in the United States of America's first annual Hunger Games.
I stop reading. I don't care what the rest says. Thomas is safe. At least that is some relief. The wind takes one of the crumpled envelopes into the street, and I make no effort to stand. I don't cry. I'm much too numb for that. I try to tell myself that it's not really so bad. There's still a chance that it won't be my name that gets drawn. There are 49 other women in Mississippi who got a letter just like mine. I know it will be me, though. Somehow I know it. I've known it since the night the government was overrun by Verilius Alanton and his army of traitors. I've known it since his devilish face started appearing on television every night informing us of new changes to our way of life. I've known since two weeks ago when he announced the Hunger Games.
He insists that it will be a spectacle with great fanfare to raise the morale of each state, and to unite them with a common goal - to win the Games. But we all know what it really is. It's just another way for him to show us that we don't have any power. He can kill us. He can make us kill each other. And he can make everyone else watch. It will be the only thing televised for the duration of the games, and every home will be given a monitor to make sure that their tv is on. If it's not on at every hour of the day, then all members of the household will be subject to arrest. The new government is even giving away televisions to families who don't have one. Alanton has been building a giant death trap for the unfortunate man and woman selected from each state. The rumor is that it's somewhere in Kansas. 100 representatives will go in, and only one will come out.
I feel a sticky little hand touch the back of my neck. I turn and Kade smiles at me. Thomas is there too. He is not smiling. His face is white as a sheet. I can see the unspoken question in his eyes. Which one of us?
I hand him my letter. He reads through it quickly. I give him his letter, and he takes it mechanically. He glances at it, and to his credit, he does not look a bit relieved. He kneels down beside me and takes Kade and I into his arms. He tells me that it won't be me, that someone else will get picked. That my name is only one of fifty. That I've never won a drawing in my life, and I surely won't win this one. I am not listening. I'm holding my son as if my life depended on it. His brown eyes, a mirror of mine, stare up at me. He knows something is wrong, so I try to smile. He hugs me and I let myself cry.
September 9th is in one week.