CONTAINS A LITTLE/A LOT OF SWEARING.
HEYYAAAA peopl rereading this, the edits are in for every chapter :D
District 5 girl
The bell rings out across the orphanage, signaling reaping time. I couldn't sleep a wink last night, and now it's that time again. Maybe I can skip it. It's my last year, why shouldn't I be able to? It'd get the Peacekeepers mad, but that's definitely ok with me. I smile to myself. Yeah. I'm already dressed, I'll just sneak out the back, no one'll miss me.
I crouch down low, right against the wall as the other girls start to wake up, sticking to the shadows. I've just made it to the fire escape, when something grabs my arm.
"Not this time Lydia."
I turn around to see a Peacekeeper, holding me steady, and I assess my options. He's got a strong grip, I remember him from yesterday, when I grabbed a couple of 'illegal' apples from the market. I can probably wriggle free, and I can run faster than him, but if I didn't see him when I was sneaking out, he's quiet, and he's got the back-up. I sigh, my muscles relaxing, and he smiles wickedly at me. He pulls me up to my feet, and takes me past the hall, and past the offices, where some of he wardens look at me in disgust. I smile sweetly back at them, and cock my head before the Peacekeeper pushes me out of the wooden door of the orphanage.
Whatever. Prison's nicer than that depressing hellhole.
But he doesn't take me down the familiar road to the prison cells, and instead, takes me straight to the reaping, only metres away from the other orphans, and shoves me into the eighteen's crowd. Ok then...no prison.
They start off the same way as always, that crap about the Dark Days, then wishing us a happy Hunger Games. But then, our escort in her stupid frilly dress, digs her hand into the bowl, and pulls out a name.
"Lydia Ray!" she sings. What?! Of all the names in that bowl...the girls in my area turn to me, wide-eyed and stupid looking, and I scowl at them, walking up to the stage. I smile at the escort, trying to put on a good show for the stupid Capitol. I can probably win. With a lot of stored up food, an axe or something, and a nice little cave by a river...yeah, I could win this thing! When it comes down to the last three, a Career and a tribute are even, because the tribute is better rested, and the Career is probably wounded, right?
She asks for volunteers, and I curse myself for hoping. Who in their right mind would volunteer for me? They all hate me. Well, even if I go out, I'm gonna go out with a bang. I'll make them proud to have known me, whether they hated me loads or just a bit.
District 5 boy
"Josef honey, wake up." my Mum says, kissing me on my forehead. I groan and turn to the side.
"Sweetie, it's reaping day. You don't have to go to school, just get up for an hour then go back to bed." she soothes me, stroking her arm up and down my arm, trying to get me out of bed.
"Ok, I'm getting up." I sigh. She goes away while I get a T-shirt and jeans on, before taking them off again. I know I'm fat. Barely any of the clothes they sell fit me, because most parents don't have enough money to feed their kids the way mine do. I'm in a very successful family.
I go straight off to the reaping, skipping breakfast as usual. I slip into the twelve year old boy's section, and immediately find two boys crowding around me.
"Hey Josef, can I borrow your homework?" one guy, Finley, asks me.
"Hey, can I have your bracelet? I need it for dinner tonight."
That makes no sense. But I think he needs it.
"Sure." I smile to both of them, handing Finley my homework, and the other boy my beaded bracelet. I still have my beaded necklace, so I'm ok. That, I wouldn't give to anyone. The reaping begins as the video plays out, and a pretty but grumpy looking girl with pale green eyes and short black hair comes on to the stage. Then,
My eyes widen, and I trip as I hurry up the stairs, trying to get this done with. I can almost hear the whole of Panem laughing at me. I get up again, and the escort shakes my chubby hand, asking for volunteers as I regain my strength. The girl shoots me a look, a pitiful one, and I look back at her, smiling.
Later, in the Justice Building...
I sit on the soft couch, loving its feel, running my fingers along the fabric. Surprisingly, someone opens the door, and one of the wardens from the orphanage comes in.
She sits next to me on the sofa, neither of us saying anything. She's probably thinking of what to say. She's required to come in here, but I haven't spoken to her much before. Probably the wardens who know me better didn't want to say goodbye. Too busy celebrating.
"I hope you die peacefully." she murmurs. I look at her directly now. She's not much older than me, twenty maybe.
"I won't die." I say, and I can imagine myself, green eyes ablaze, staring directly at her. She looks down at her hands, nods, and walks out.
"Josef, sweetie!" my Mum and Dad rush in, smiling at me and running in for hugs.
"We're so proud of you, we know you'll win this thing for us." my Dad says. My eyes light up.
"You really think I can?" I beam.
"Sure." Dad laughs. He pats me on the back and sits next to me on the beautiful sofa, my mother following suit, and we talk happily for a little while, before I'm taken off to the station.
District 6 girl
Someone knocks at the door.
"Kia? Are you dressed?" my mother calls through my bedroom door.
"Yep." I shout back. I woke up about twenty minutes ago, got dressed, and now I'm lying on my bed, swaying my legs around behind me. My mum opens the door, and I get up off of my bed to face her. She pats down my shoulders, making sure nothing sticks out, and then she nods at me.
"It's time to go."
We walk straight out of the house together, even though I wanna run ahead of her. She drops in to talk with some friends in the family section, whispers 'Good luck.' in my ear, and I head off to the sixteen year olds, at the same time watching my aunt Auda, cousin Iso, and Dad join her. Iso waves to me, and walks past them to the fifteens, a couple of metres from where I stand. He gives me a thumbs up and I return it, grinning at him and laughing to myself.
"Renia?" I call, tilting my head to the sky, and cupping my hands around my mouth.
"Right here dummy." she giggles. I laugh. She looks a little like me. The seventeen year old girl I hang out with at school is smart, has warm golden skin like me, except her hair is very dark, where mine is rust coloured.
"Hey, have you seen Devy anywhere?" I ask her, frowning as it crosses my mind. Devy is my best friend since early childhood, he's like my companion for everything. Renia shrugs, but we don't get anymore time to talk before the Mayor starts his speech, the video plays, and before I know it, for once, I'm right here at this moment where our escort is humming loudly and shrilly in the microphone, and breathing in to read out the female tribute's name.
"Kia Waliant!" she shrieks. Renia looks at me nervously from my section, but I frown at her, waving my hands to indicate that she should calm the hell down! It's the games! Sure it's a shock, but I've been a cheeky little girl all my life, I know how to survive, and I can probably win this thing, so I need to start acting like it!
I walk up confidently, smiling at the annoying escort, who, I'm actually taller than, and standing tall on the stage.
I can do this. I will do this.
District 6 boy
"Mum I'm home!"
My head snaps up to see my older brother, Geoffry, stumbling in through the front door of our tiny little house. I hate him so much. He only cares about partying, women and fun. He doesn't care that the Capitol are ruining our chances of survival, snatching away our freedom from under our noses. He doesn't burn with hatred like I do.
"Geoffry? Geoffry!" my Mother screams at him, positively furious at him. "Are you drunk?!"
"No shit." he giggles. She burns red, and slaps him round the cheek, wiping that smile clean off of his face.
"What the hell was that for?" he rages.
"You come home after a party, when we had no idea where you are, at reaping time the next day? Do you want to be locked up in prison?" she yells.
"Do you want to be a boring old bitch all your life?" he staggers, yelling with equal strength. I step forward. That's no way to ever, speak to anyone.
"Don't you dare say things like that to our Mum, you rude, ignorant, scum!" I yell. Geoffry glares at me, and I almost flinch at how much hatred there is for me in his eyes.
"So I come home drunk one day. Everyone does at some point. But of course, you guys will always hate me, just because I don't wanna grab a pitchfork and kill the Peacekeepers in their sleep!" he turns to Mum. "And you have always hated me, because he," he points at me. "Is your perfect little kid, and I'm just the soulless, hopeless, washed up rag in your eyes." he storms up the stairs, and Mum hurries me out the door, muttering on our way to the reaping.
Mum leaves to the family section, and I meet with my friend Hektor Gibbits, who is hanging with his stupid girlfriend, Jessica, as always.
"Thought of any more rebellion plots lately?" he greets me cheerfully. I roll my eyes.
"Why do you have a girlfriend? If you're reaped, how'll she feel then huh? Besides, we're only fourteen." I say. Hektor chooses to ignore me, but we don't have any more time to speak before the escort pulls a name from the bowl.
"Nathan Burtson." my eyes widen and I look for Hektor for some support, but he's disappeared from sight. I tremble up the stairs to the stage. No. I stop. I will not appear like this to the Capitol. I will not let them think that I am scared by their games.
So I walk up the stairs confidently, not smiling, but at least managing to keep my tears at bay.
In the Justice Building...
"Devy! Where were you at the reaping?" I can't stop myself from smiling as he dashes into the room, his olive skin turning a little gold in the patches of sunlight that come in through the window.
"I was right there, you didn't see me?"
I shake my head.
"Oh well, it doesn't matter. You got reaped. How you feeling?" he asks me. I shrug in return. He holds me by my shoulders, and I notice Renia sitting down on the sofa next to me.
"You can win this thing, yeah? I think you might have a really good chance if you try hard, so focus and train." he smiles at me, and they walk out, my family taking their place. My mum sits next to me, her hand laying cautiously on my back, ready to move if I brush her off. Iso sits down in front of me, my dad sits on my other side, and Aunt Auda. Ever since my uncle died, they moved in with us, but I don't mind, since Iso and me are good friends.
"Kia, we don't have much time at all. Remember that we all love you." Dad says, breaking the silence that everyone was scared to shatter, but didn't want to support.
"And don't do anything silly." my aunt says, treating it as a joke but I know that she's referring my endless years of tricks and daring. Just because I'm a little less boring than most people, doesn't mean she needs to tell me off for it.
I nod and smile, not too worried about anything much. I just hug them all, and walk off to the station.
Hektor walks in, and sits next to me, hugging me fiercely.
"Don't die, ok?" he says, his voice breaking.
"I won't be a victim to the stupid Captiol's games. I won't kill anyone, I'll hide out until the end." I say. It seems a good strategy to me, but Hektor just nods and smiles at me, walking out with as little an explanation as 'I gotta go.' but my parents walk in immediately afterwards, and my smile fades as I see that they've brought Geoffry. I gesture towards him angrily.
"We couldn't stop him, he brought himself." my mother snaps, turning to face him. I can tell that behind her strong character, she's distraught and holding back the tears.
"Nathan, I know you don't like me, ok? I get that," Geoffry starts. "I'm not the guy that any of you have wanted for any role in this family," he looks at all of us, and comes back to me, his eyes weirdly focused since he's still kind of drunk. "Stay alive as long as possible. Show those Capitol assholes, show them you can't be forced into anything you don't wanna do, ok?" he smiles. I don't return it, but I nod.
"I'll try and stay alive."
District 7 girl
I wake up less than ten minutes before the reaping, which is the perfect time for me to get my clothes on, brush my hair, and then go off to the reaping.
I open my wardrobe quietly, to try not to wake my parents, if they aren't awake already. I finger a short but sweet and sensible flowered dress, with buttons at the top, and I tie my hair back into a ponytail with a cream coloured ribbon that my mother gave me on my first reaping, three years ago. Speaking of mother, she comes in my bedroom, knocking so quietly I don't hear her, and my father behind me. I pat my dress, and turn around for them.
"Any stains?" I ask them, but I know the answer. I feel a little guilty about it but I want to show them that I can be trusted, and that I've kept this dress pristine and immaculate. But they know all that anyway.
"Perfect." my father smiles at me.
"Shall we go?" Mother asks. I look to Father before nodding, and we walk in a huddle to the reaping, walking awkwardly on the badly cobbled pavement, and almost immediately finding ourselves in the market, where huge crowds of children, parents and teenagers stand. It's time for us to part ways.
"May the odds be ever in your favour." my parents each kiss me on my forehead in turn, and I let them take a prick of my blood, before striding towards the fifteens, where I see my friend Ruth.
"How're you today?" she giggles at me, mimicking the Capitol accent.
"I'm fine thank you, how are you?" I say back. We laugh quietly, trying not to disturb any conversations.
"We'll talk after if that's ok. The video's starting." Ruth points out, and I nod, her blonde hair swishing around in my face a little.
After the video, the escort trembles over to the bowl, and giggles a little as he puts his hand deep into the bowl, and swirls around for a tribute name.
"Esther Bloom!" he beams, and my smile drops. My name? What did I do?
I start thinking a little negatively, no, a lot negatively as I walk up to the stage.
"Any volunteers?" he asks. Silence. Of course, I didn't expect anyone to, but why did they choose me?
It's not fair!
District 7 boy
I wake up in the cold sheets, icy air flowing around me.
"Somebody shut the door!" someone groans a couple of beds away from me. I keep my eyes closed, but push the boy in front of me out of his bed gently, and he mumbles something rude. But at least he closes the door, which was open.
"Why'd you shut this door? Wake up you lazy bastards!"
...and open again. The head warden storms in, whacking the stomach of every boy in bed. I leap to my feet, almost cursing at the freezing temperature of the tile floor, and grab my clothes, running out of the dorm room before she can yell something like,
"Micah get back here!"
I sigh, stop and think. I don't have to. I don't want to. Maybe I didn't hear her? And on that note I run out onto the streets of District 7, hopping along the cold stone with a couple of other clever guys from my dorm.
The crowds part for us, seeing our orphanage uniforms and I run into the seventeens, just in time for the start of the video, which zooms by. Before I know what's happening, a pretty little girl walk up onto the screens of everyone in Panem. I know her. A few years younger than me, goody-two-shoes, top of the class, perfect missy. The kind of girl I could convince that pigs can fly in two seconds flat.
But a second later I hear the name "Micah Phoenixhair" boom around the stage, and am shoved towards the steps by someone. People hate the orphanage kids. I don't know why, but they don't speak around us, talk rudely about us, and shove us into stairs when we've been reaped. I was apparently found on the side of the road. No one knew who I was, or had any money to look after me. So I was shoved into the orphanage and that was the end of that. Named Micah Phoenixhair by some nurse or other. And I can't remember any show of love anyone's ever bothered about with me.
It's a lovely little district is mine.
"Any volunteers?" he calls when I've joined him on stage, and no one speaks, of course. I join hands with the shaky girl, and raise our arms in the air for all of Panem to see that we're controlled by the Capitol, under their will, and have no opinion in our deaths. Well we'll see about that. I can use someone, lie all about myself or other things, I just need to survive. I can manipulate a Career...that would be best. I just can't afford to die.
The Justice Building...
I'm crying when my parents burst into the room, hugging me and making a little warm and snuggly shell around me.
"Aw sweetie, it's ok!" my mother says to me, rubbing me on the back.
"It's not!" I scream, and she and my father both look at me, shocked.
"I'm going to die! Is that ok?" I cry angrily, tears streaming down my cheeks, and I see Ruth open the doors out of the corner of my eye.
"It's not fair. I won't have it." I say, shaking my head and collapsing onto the sofa again, my bravado gone and my father daring to put his hand around my back, smoothing the crinkles in my dress.
"Whatever happens we love you." he says gently, and kisses me on my cheek.
"The orphanage requires someone to be sent," the head warden's voice snakes around me like the cold chill that seeps into my dorm every morning. I put my head in my hands. "It's your lucky day." she says. I don't even have to look up to know that she's smiling. Sometimes, you can just hear it in their voice.
"Well you've seen me now." I say in a sarky tone.
Something stings on my right cheek and my hand instinctively flies up to it, and then down again because touching it hurts.
"What was that for?" I shout, because of all days, this is the one that I can shout at her for. She glares down at me, hands in fists on her hips. her thin and wilting face taut and pale.
"Because you are never going to speak to me that way again!" she shouts.
"I'm never going to speak to you again!" I scream as she storms out of the room.
Stupid cow. I'll show her I can get somewhere. The bloodbath will be hard to get past, but I think I can do it. I'll most likely die in the games, but not the bloodbath, I've decided. I guess my token is my father's wedding ring that I always wear. I look at it now, silver and shining. On the inside it says Forever...and I furiously wipe a tear off my cheek.
District 8 girl
"Nareilan it's reaping day!" someone calls. I got dressed at about one in the morning, and meant to stay up, but instead I think I fell asleep on my bed. At least I'm dressed.
"I'm coming!" I scream as harshly as I can. I give my hair a quick brush. I love the look of it in the mirror. But unfortunately, I have to stand on my bed to look in the mirror since I'm barely a stupid four foot five.
I died my hair black a while ago, black with white streaks. For effect. It was on my eleventh birthday when I dropped my dog, and she started bleeding. Weird thing was, I really enjoyed it. When I was a bit younger, I used to injure animals and make them bleed. But I'm fifteen now. I still enjoy it, but I've learnt not to hurt animals where people can see. My Dad and brother Charn, even my old best friend Karmast are horrible about it though. They make me feel guilty for being the way I am, when really, I can't help that! And they hate me for it. Not my problem.
I make sure my feet sound off of the walls when I run out of the house. I see a blur of my Dad and Charn just about to walk out of the door, but I barge past them and sprint to the square, where the huge screen, cameras and stage are set up. I walk to the crowd of teens that I see at school, all fifteen, and I settle in, people flinching as I come near, and I notice that I have a little bubble where no one dares to walk.
I turn to see who wants my attention. Ugh. Karmast. I used to have loads of friends, but they've all betrayed me, they don't talk to me anymore. I would rather die than be seen with her again, her little brown bob, sharp features and blue eyes are all too familiar. I turn around from her, but she stands next to me, not saying a word.
"Alrighty, let's choose this years tributes! First up, the girls!" the escort trills. They drive me insane, those stupid Capitollans. She digs her hand into the glass bowl, making us wait ages for 'suspense' I suppose. Really, it's just a bother. I wanna go home, and this stupid excuse for a woman is all that's stopping me. And a couple of Peacekeepers but they don't matter.
"Nareilan Reece!" she bubbles.
Me? Oh, this isn't so bad. I smile, and begin to weave my way through the crowds to the stage. But she said my name wrong.
This is so hopeless that I almost laugh. Of course, no one speaks up.
Oh, this is going to be fun.
District 8 boy
My eyes are sticky. I rub them once, twice, three times to get the weird stuff off them, so I can open them properly. I giggle when my Mum's multi-coloured hair floats in front of my face, and I pull it experimentally.
"Joel, it's reaping day." she whispers in my ear. That tickles, so I bat at my ear, but then a second later there's nothing there.
Then I get up from bed, and Mum hands me some clothes that she made for me to put on. Of course, they are brightly coloured, my bright orange top mixing with a set of neon pink trousers. Different to what the other kids wear, but that's what we are;
My parents make all of their own clothes, and I love what they wear, so I get to wear them too. But today is reaping day, when kids from town go into the Hunger Games, and don't come back. I don't get that. Why don't they come back? Maybe it's because the Capitol is so nice that they don't want to. I don't know.
"Come on then, let's get ready for reaping!" Mum screams, and I let out a little scream as well. I love my parents so much, and as I walk out of the room with Mum, Dad joins us to walk to the square, dressed in matching colours to me. Since they don't work, we have loads of tesserae, and my name is in there, what, around fifty times? I'm only twelve, and it's so cool to be in that many times. If I ever got to go the Capitol...I'd love it.
"How's Martin today?" Dad asks in a silly voice.
I look to my side and ask, "How are you Martin?" I listen in for a little bit and nod, and giggle at what he says.
"Martin says he's fine thank you, and that he thinks the lady up there on the stage is very ugly." I laugh as if someone tickled me.
"You'd better get going," Dad says glancing up at the stage. "We'll see you boys later!"
The crowd makes a path for me as I walk down, and I bow to them in turn saying,
"Thank you, thank you." to almost every one of them.
the video isn't any different from the year before, which is boring. It would be fun if they could change it, but every year is the same. The woman Martin called ugly is up and she's calling me name.
"Joel Craig...can we have a Master Joel Craig up here please?"
Oh. They want me to come onto the stage. But I don't want to go up! Oh well. Martin says he wants to see her from close up, so I'll go too.
Oh I get it! I'm in the Hunger Games!
Saying their final goodbyes in the Justice Building...
"Now Nareilan listen to me very carefully." Charn says, trying to get me to look at him. He's covered in dirt from working, because our Dad is too old to work. Dad's here too actually, and Karmast.
"When the gong sounds, get out of there, run and hide."
"But I can probably kill a couple tributes!"
"You're not a frickin vampire Nareilan!" he says. I know I'm not. I like blood, I don't drink it. I watch pain, not even blood specifically.
"Listen to him." Karmast says gently. Or patronisingly. I can't tell.
"You're not my mentor!" I shout at him. "And time's up anyway! Have a nice life guys." I storm out
"Joel, have fun ok!" Mum laughs.
"It's all about fun. Fancy foods and weird furniture and lots of other kids your age and older!" Dad says.
"I'm so excited!" I scream. Mum screams too, and even Daddy screams a bit.
"I guess we'll see you on T.V then!" they say.
"Ok, bye!" I shout.
"See you soon!"
Sorry that took so long people x Last reaping chapter up tomorrow, and then after that it's five tributes per chapter until the games...then little snippets from everyone x TELL ME ANYTHING I DID WRONG PLEASE :D