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The games had given me two options to stay alive. Pretend to be in love with my best friend... or chance luck.
The day of the reaping. The only day out of three hundred and sixty-five that I hated.
My friend, Indigo, nudges me. We're standing in neat, straight rows as we wait for the names to be called out. She knows Indigo Brogan's written on well over thirty slips of paper, but she's standing straight, tall, proud, and unafraid in her hand-sewn green dress. Her family owned the tailor shop in town, though they're made poorer than the other merchants by Indigo's ten younger siblings. The idea of eleven children is frightening. That meant eleven mouths to feed, if you didn't count their three sheep. Luckily, Indigo's a natural hunter and fisherman, so at least half of the time they go to sleep with a bit of food in their bellies.
I look around for Peeta and Gale. Peeta's standing next to someone I recognize as Madge Undersee, the mayor's daughter. Gale's standing a few rows ahead. I breathe a sigh of relief as the mayor steps up to the podium to read the story. A story that marveled me when I was four and bored me to death now I was sixteen. Then he reads the list of District 12 victors. Indigo clenches her jaw as he mentioned Haymitch Abernathy, and I know why. Indigo's older brother Taylor was picked as the tribute five years ago. He was on his way to victory, in the top eight, a feat unaccomplished by any District 12 tribute for as long as I could remember. Then he was killed by a Career. A silent, violent death. I remember Indigo sitting in front of our old television, staring at the screen in horror as her brother bled to death on the grass and her crying on my shoulder as Prim patted her back.
After a few minutes of watching Haymitch be drunk, Effie stepped up to the ball full to the brim with slips of names and called out, "Ladies first!". She digs around and finally comes up with a neat folded square. She opened it up and read the name. As I silently wish myself and Indigo good luck, she calls out the name. And it isn't me. Or Indigo.
The name on the neatly folded square... was Primrose Everdeen.
The look on Indigo's face described exactly how I felt right now. Absolute shock.
The next two minutes are a blur to me. For thirty seconds, I just stand there, not saying anything. Just standing there with my mouth in a perfect O. Then I run up to Prim and yell her name repeatedly. "Prim! Prim!"
A few peacekeepers try to keep me in order. I wiggle my arms loose and yell something I thought I'd never say. "I VOLUNTEER! I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!"
Prim looked at me. "Katniss, no!" she screams. Indigo and Peeta run up to her and hold her back while Gale tries to calm her down and says, "G-go.... Cat-Catnip."
The first time I heard Gale stutter. More shock. How could this day hold any more suprises?
No one claps. Everyone's silent, with only a few whispers among the drunk and the bet-takers. From their suprised tones, no one betted for me to be a District 12 tribute. I don't care and I never will.
Then there's another suprise. Everyone touches their three middle fingers to their lips and holds it out to me.
Now it was time to choose the boy's name. Effie walks to the ball holding the boy's names and grasps around for a slip of paper. She unfolds it and reads the name.
My name. My name was called. Out of thousands and thousands of slips, one of my fourty-two slips was the slip of paper that was picked out of the ball.
And the person going with me to the Capitol was Katniss. I disguised it as well as I could, but I secretly liked her. As more than a friend. Not like I'd ever admit it to her face.
After the reaping, we're put into two seperate rooms. For visitors and things like that.
MORE COMING SOON