Chapter 1

As I wait in my seat, listening to the rumbling of the hovercraft and the quiet breathing of the other peacekeepers, I can't help but think that it seems the day I signed up as a peacekeeper seems like barely an instant ago. Yet it wasn't, it was two years ago. Oppositely, watching my first cousin Cato during the hunger games seems like it was a lifetime past, yet that was only three months ago. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders where this hovercraft will land. That will be where I and all the others within will be stationed for the next eighteen years. I don't have any regrets about my enlistment, I've always wanted to be a peacekeeper. Even when I was young, I would listen earnestly to my grandfather. A retired peacekeeper himself, he often told of his experiences in the cavalry during the Dark days, when the half of the districts rebelled. The traitors were doomed from the start, fighting against brave boys in white. Compared to that, cement mixing or stone quarrying seemed to pale in comparison. Not even being a career in the hunger games held as much promise.

I still remember the 74th hunger games. O how I hated all of it! The rule change, the favoritism, the outcome, but most of all I hated and still hate the victors. It is not just that Katness and Peeta played the Capitol into practically crowning them halfway through, even rewriting the rules just for them. I might have been able to forgive that. I hate them because they threw my cousin to the mutts and watched for two days as he suffered in agony! Just thinking about it makes me grip my hand into a fist tight enough to crush steel.

I only stop when the corporal peacekeeper starts speaking, causing rows of grunts like myself to look towards the front of the hovercraft, some even waking up. "Soldiers, in thirty minuets we are to land in district 8. When ordered, you are all to leave the hovercraft and report to the garrison base and await orders from your head peacekeeper. Do I make myself clear?"

The response was bellowed by every peacekeeper on board. "Sir,yes sir!"

I am going to be stationed in district 8. My first feeling is relief that I'm not being shipped off to district 12, where the coal is on time and the rations are late. I was worried of being sent to some backwoods pit at the horizon of civilization. District 8 may not be one of the major population centers of Panem, but it is a safe place to be stationed. I hope district 8 isn't cold.