"Finch Caverly," Reesha Throne, District 5's escort, calls out. My heart skips a beat. Did she really just say my name? The 15-year-old girls surrounding me watch me, shocked, as I stumble out of the roped area. My footsteps are uneasy as I walk to the front. Is this really happening? Are they really going to take me away to the Capitol; to be made pretty and famous and then force me into an arena with 23 other tributes to fight to the death? No, this is not happening. It's just… pre-reaping jitters. It's just dream. But it's not. This is very real. I slowly climb the stairs up to the stage and face the audience, my district, my home. I see my little sister, Tally, looking up at me, tears brimming her eyes. My older brother, Jediah, is astounded and I see his chest rise and fall, faster and faster. My mother and father turn as pale as the moon. I know I must look like all of them combined right now, so I take a deep breath. I have to look brave for the cameras."Now," Reesha says, "We continue with the boys." She walks so slowly; I count every "click" that her high heels make. She dips her hand in the bowl and draws out a slip. She clicks back to center stage and reads, "Inigo Lotus."
A short, stocky boy comes up to the stage. He looks strong, he's probably 16, a year above me. That must be why I don't recognize him. Inigo wears a confident face, but I see the fear that we share in his eyes. As tradition calls for, we shake hands. His hand is firm and I assume that mine feels weak in his. He gives me a reassuring nod for some reason. Maybe it's to give me false assumptions about him; maybe he just wants me to know I'm not alone in this. I don't know. Maybe that's what will get me killed off in the arena.