My feet were firmly planted in the water. The muscles in my legs didn't strain I kept them tight and unmoving. I stood in the water for the better part of ten minutes before I saw my opportunity. The fish worked its way towards me; it was unaware of my threat to its life. I hardened the grip I had on my weapon; it was a trident that worked a lot like a spear. The middle prong was much longer than the other two. Slowly as not to disturb the fish I lifted the long pole out of the water, the fish swam forward. I took aim at it, waiting for it to glide a few inches closer.
"Quel!" A shout came from ten feet off. The fish was able to sense the tremors of my father racing towards me. I hissed mean words of frustration under my breath then threw my spear at the fish. Somehow, I pinned it.
The fish was not dead, but my trident was stuck in the fibers of its tail. I took hold of the weapons handle and reached for the fish. It was rough to the touch, and also hard to hold onto. Carefully I pulled the fish, and the trident, out of the water.
My dad who was splashing up to me in the waist deep water started speaking "Why are you fishing?" He inquired as he came up behind me.
"It calms me." I replied pulling the fish free from my weapon.
"I'm glad to see you have an interest in the family business," he stated proudly. With a hard pat to the back; the fish sailed out into the water, my thoughts riled with anger. "But the reaping is starting in twenty minutes!"
I glared at him then pushed my way to shore. Being shorter and thinner than him I was able to keep out of his grasp and we trudged through the water. At the small beach I set my spear inside the weapons shed. My father was just emerging from the water as I locked the shed.
I raced to the house to make sure I didn't get a lecture about wasting food. Our house is set on the edge of a cliff facing the ocean. It is covered in peeling blue paint. The white trim isn't peeling, but in the sun it's slowly turning tan. I set foot on the porch that wraps around the house, and my dog barks from inside.
I slip through the door and step over the heavy set husky. My mother is in the kitchen clearing the dishes from lunch, and my two little brothers are playing trains in the living room.
Our bedrooms are all situated upstairs. Mine probably the dirtiest, the floor is covered in shirts and shorts. I don't even care about stepping on the clothes as I pull open my dresser.
I peel off my swimming shorts and t-shirt and put on a black dress. The dress sits at my knees and bounces around my thighs. There is lace on the bodice and trim, it nearly blends in because it is a dark navy blue.
I look into the mirror on my dresser; my hair is sticking out from its pony tail like a black nest that a bird knit together with twigs. I manage to work out the band without becoming bald. It's even messier once it's not secured back.
"This is going to take a while" I sigh to myself starting the work on my hair.
I manage to smooth out my hair and fish-tail it over my right shoulder. The braid nearly comes down to my elbow and takes a long time to create. On the back of my head I secure the fly away hairs with a clip that is shaped like a trident. I put its much larger twin on the left side of my head.
My head now branded with the emblem if district four I put on red flats just in time to be called downstairs.
"Bequel we have to leave!" My mother shouts up the stairs. I took one last look at my fixed hair do and run out the door.
The government building is the backdrop for the large stage set in town square. We walk there of course; nobody owns a car these days. My tanned skin feels hot under the burning sun as I step in line with my brother to get our blood drawn.
Only one of my brothers is eligible this year, he turned twelve this past summer and this is his first games.
We sign in, he cries for a moment after the blood is drawn, but he is able to wipe the tears away. I don't even flinch. This is my fourth year eligible and the program runs like clockwork.
I tell my brother to go to his group, and I place myself in the 16 year old girl section.
My best friend, Tori, shouts a greeting at me and pushes to a spot next to me.
"Hey! Are ready for another boring speech?" She chips. I shrug "as I'll ever be."
Tori is shorter than me, her hair is a shining white blonde, and as a result of pounds of suns cream she is still fair-skinned. She is really my only friend in the district. There are a few people that I manage polite conversation with from time to time, but no one else I would call friend.
"Ready or not," she spoke after the mayor shouted out "Welcome to the 67th annual hunger games!" Tori was careful not to disturb those who actually listened "here it comes" she murmured.
The mayor had a jolly voice; it seemed it fit him, he wasn't exactly thin. His head started balding last year, and the hair on the crown of his head is gone. He went through his speech about honor and punishment that is showcased by the games.
They play a movie about district 13 when the speech is over. At the end of the movie there is a reporter at the site of the ruined district. I look at the top corner and watch the bird that flies by each time. It isn't unusual, the movie never changes, but I find comfort in the small bird.
The movie ends and the district escort walks up to the microphone. He is a tall man, probably a foot taller than me; it's obvious he is from the capital because he is wearing a cape that has got to be inappropriate for this weather.
The cape has a collar that practically covers his face, and wraps around the back of his head. The material is purple, the same shade as the purple skunk streak in his black hair. He is wearing a blue scarf, and a black shirt.
"Ladies first" His voice echoed over us, he had an accent that resembled the old English accents people used to have. I cross my fingers hoping it's not my brother, or Tori.
"Bequel Blanchard!" the capitol man shouts.
I see Tori shift and open her mouth "Don't you dare volunteer for me" I hissed at her, there was no way I would let her take my place. She shut her mouth and her eyes looked at me wet and shining.