What if Katniss and Peeta's lives were reversed? What if she was the bakers daughter? What if he was the son of the coalminer who died in an explosion? How would that have played out if they were tossed in the arena together?
I woke up to the sound of my brother pounding out the dough. It's a Sunday which means I should be working and helping my father with deliverys today, but I won't be. Today is Reaping Day. I am sixteen and have gone through this four times before, but it will never become less frightening. I have better chances then some of the other girls, some girls have to put their name into the bowl extra times, luckily in my family my brother decided to be the one to put in the extra names. The odds may be in my favour but that doesnt mean my name won't get picked.
I get up and get dressed and head out to the bakery. My usually cheery father greets me with a sad "Hello." He has three children that could easily be sent to their death today, so I understand his mood. I start to help with the bread orders. Many people come in getting bread for the celebratory dinner tonight, but I can't help but think why they do this. What if their child gets picked?
Friends from school come in but we don't converse as we usually would. We're too terrified of what will happen later that day. By the time one o'clock rolls around I'm told to go get in my Reaping clothes, my blue dress that was my mothers. We have to be at the town square by two.
It's 1:30 and everyone is ready to go. We leave the bakery and my Dad switches the open sign to closed. My two brothers each hold one of my hands. Usually we don't get along, but on a day like this a hand holding is acceptable. As we get to the square we say goodbye to my parents and walk over to get checked in. When were all done we each say goodbye and go to the section of our age group.
My eldest brother goes over to where the 18 year olds are all standing. This is his last Reaping. He isn't happy because if next year my brother gets picked he cannot volunteer for him. I don't have a sister, so I know that if I get picked, I will die. I walk over to the my friends and we wait patiently.
At exactly two o'clock the mayor comes out and starts to talk. He says the same thing every year so I mostly tune this out. I don't pay attention until the gaudy Effie Trinket comes to the microphone. "Happy Hunger Games!" Is what she says in her annoying capitol accent. Nobody responds, for us there is nothing happy about the Hunger Games. "As always, we will pick the ladies first!" I start to hear my own heartbeat in my head. I am shaking but nobody seems to notice because they are doing the same. Effie reaches her hand into the bowl and picks up one slip.
Please not me. Please not me. Please not me.
I almost pass out. I cannot believe I have just been picked. Out of everyone in the bowl its me. I make my way to the stage with my shaky legs. I barely make it up the stairs when Effie grabs me and pulls me over near the microphone. I stand there afraid I won't be able to move again.
I look out into the crowd and find my eldest brother's eyes. He's crying and not even trying to hide it. I find my other brother and he won't even look up. They should be worried for themselves, not about me. I was chosen and I will die.
Effie walks over to the boys bowl and mixes up the slips and grabs one. She walks back to the microphone. "Peeta Everdeen."
Oh no. I know that name, he is the boy who I gave the bread.