My name is Levina Scarlett.
Hear my story.
One would think the citizens of the District specializing in luxury would be as beautiful as the gems they tinkered with everyday. Here, the girls' beauty and the boys' sculpted bodies were cultivated from a very young age, and they took care to show it off every time they get a chance to. That was something I didn't care about.
The stereotypical District 1 girl would spend their morning painting their faces with lipstick and powder, (they, thankfully, took care not to overdo it and be as horrid-looking as the late Capitol citizens) while I spent my mornings tackling my toys and wrestling with my oversized teddy. I didn't fit in with the rest of my classmates either, the girls especially, for they did not care about what kind of games I played and I did not care about what brand of clothes they're wearing.
And their names! It must have been some sort of tradition in the past, to name your children foolish names that have some sort of connection, however distant, with luxury. I was myself born with the name Ruby, but when I got to know what it meant I threw such a tantrum that my parents, distressed, decided to give in to my wishes and changed my name to Levina. It was a cool Japanese name which translates to lightning.
It's also a custom for District 1 citizens to show off their wealth by having mansions big enough for 15 elephants to roam freely. The mansion I live in had a touch of Oriental designs in it, starting from a circle wooden door to furniture made out of bamboo sticks. I'm pretty sure my dad seriously considered getting a leopard for a pet, just for the finishing touch. Almost every house has a training room, for the adolescents to train in during the times of the Hunger Games.
That was also something I didn't get. These people would willingly sacrifice their children, for that tiny chance of winning fame and glory. Is your love for money greater than your love for your children?
Now that the Hunger Games are nothing more than history, most cleared away their weapons and training courses. Not my father, a real fanatic. He insists we should keep practicing our swordsmanship, our knife-throwing, our hand-to-hand combat. "Just in case," he says.
Strangely enough, I liked training. Relished it. Loved it even. There my body was taught how to move in ways I thought impossible. There I learned to the art of self-defense. The instructors didn't quite care about me yet, for I was barely 6 at that time. They gave me plastic swords and knives and had me swing them around. It was undoubtedly fun.
It was just after one of these practice sessions that I was caught. The instructor told me I should take up running, to build my leg muscles so I could start learning how to kick. As my older brother was learning knife-throwing and it would be dangerous for me to run around in the training room while knives are flying, I decided to jog around the neighborhood, to the empty field just two blocks away, originally owned by grumpy old Mr Swen. He planned to build another house there two years ago, but he must've forgotten the plan (who can blame him, he's 80) because the field remains as empty as ever.
I had just reached the field and was about to start stretching when I heard a voice behind me.
"Hey kid!" It belonged to a burly man with biceps the size of watermelons. His smile looked more like an evil sneer. "Want a lollipop?"
He waved a yellow-green lollipop in front of me. I looked at him suspiciously, taking a few steps backwards slowly. "No thanks," I said cautiously. "I, uh, gotta go now I guess."
With that I turned around, and ran back. Before I could go as far as 3 steps though, I found my feet leaving the ground. The man had hauled me up into his shoulders. No matter how hard I struggled, I couldn't break free of the man's iron grip.
"Let me go! HELP! HELP ME! H-" the man stuffed a dirty rag into my mouth, effectively shutting me up.
"Sorry kid, no can't do. You're our first contestant!"
My name is Levina Scarlett.
And this, is my story.