Hi this is Cas and Claudia, and welcome to our first collaboration Games!
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- Please submit detailed tributes. You needn't write a novel, but we need enough personal details about your tribute(s) to at least give us something to work with!
- Please do not spam-advertise in the comments without permission.
- Also, do not cause fights or disruption or use heavy negative criticism.
- As for swearing in comments, do it at your own risk but please keep this in mind.
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Template for Non-THGRP Tributes
If you already have a tribute on THGRP with all or most of these things, then you may link them.
Also, italics on a template form indicate that this field is important and should be detailed.
District (This decides which Queen will be ruling/betting on your tribute to win):
Strengths, Weaknesses, and Fears are also highly recommended!
Introduction - Four Divisions of Madness
Following the second rebellion, the generations after faced tougher times. Either they had lost their family, or there were perhaps the younger ones, who grew up in the ashes of those before them—the unlucky ones. Years have passed, and the presidency reigns anew, belonging to such a person whose beliefs shaped them to a near-personal level. This president was a solipsist—they couldn't escape the never-ending theory that only their mind alone existed. This casted a bold shadow upon this ruler's presidency, as the ticking clock brought this dream closer and closer to an end.
This president also had four advisers, with equally shaping beliefs that so nearly resembled the theory that the president could relate to them. One adviser believed in nurturing and growth; she carried a Heart-suited card alongside her. Another believed in resources and intellect; her suit of choice was that of Clubs. A third was caught up with environment and the unpredictable strength of security; Spades seemed to echo her theories, her doubts and values. The last was a stern woman who believed in power and mock innocence as a way to keep this world in line; her heart was patterned with Diamonds. The president's mistake was that they had grown too promising, and much less self-aware, and thus they granted potential presidency to all four of these women.
At last fear and time mixed into a bland drink that the president was seeming to sip from more and more, and they were beginning to make plans. Their solopsism forced upon them the belief that this illusion would end when death arrived. The president then began to make final arrangements, and was reminded by these four representatives that the next in line for the powerful position was left undecided. The year moved onward, and the decision was made: to prove who was the most powerful and purest in belief, a Games will be held. These advisors became the four Queens: The Queen of Hearts, The Queen of Clubs, The Queen of Spades, and The Queen of Diamonds. Each Queen was granted the right to lay a betting hand upon three districts which best reflected her values and ideas. The victor's Queen will be the one which will take reign as the next in line.
If you've read the Introduction, then hopefully that explains why the Districts are broken into different colours.
Red=The Queen of Hearts is "Ruling" this District.
Dark Green=The Queen of Clubs is "Ruling" this District.
Black=The Queen of Spades is "Ruling" this District.
White=The Queen of Diamonds is "Ruling" this District.
District 1~Saffron Star's POV
The smell of fresh bread, mingled with the sunlight dappled across my face soothes me awake. I sit up straight in my king sized plush bed, pull my silk sheet back, and stretch my stiff, cold, dead muscles until they are alive with electricity. I open my curtains, and with a sinking, doomed heart I realize I forgot what day it is.
It's the day of the Reapings.
I can annoyingly tell instantly because of the camera crews setting up near the town's square. Crews are set up all around the city, hanging banners with a diamond smoldered in the center of the creamy white fabric. Peacekeepers, more than usual, stomp down the clean, polished streets in sync with one another. On their shoulders, the same diamond insignia our district upholds with power.
Unlike most of the other districts, excluding the ones under our Queens hold, we like to breathe, control, and maintain power in any way in the world. Its been this way since the second rebellion, since we inherited the Diamond, and inherited our Queen. Power is best, innocence is weak, blah blah blah...
I put on my slippers and go downstairs to the smell of fresh breads and cakes, and my mother's smiling face. I know that smile though, it hides sadness and fear, all concealed behind a tight grin. I know it's because of the reaping. I see my father sit down next to her, appearing from the back of the kitchen, with a fresh loaf of bread. I almost look away in disgust... I still remember what he did..
"Good morning sweetie...." my mother speaks softly, "Did you sleep good?"
"Yeah..." I slide down in my seat across from them, trying not to look at my father too much.
I love my family, don't get me wrong. Even though our district might have changed due to the rebellions, District 1 still wallows in a pampered society of idiots and chokes on gems and chocolate. But, hey? Why would anyone argue with that. I could have been born in 11 or 12, where all you do is work, and starve.
"Are you ready for the Reapings?" my father asks judicially.
"I guess.... even though it is the same every year, one person gets called, then every kid volunteers." I reply.
"Don't you like volunteering though? You bring pride to our district... to our queen." he adds
"Yeah but so many kids volunteer, the escort usually just picks one at random, so it's highly unlikely they would ever pick me..."
"Still, it's considered decent to volunteer, shows power."
I try to finish the oatmeal that had been put in front of me by one of the servants, and he disappears behind one of the doors, probably to go ready the bakery in the front room. It is how we make our living, and I must say, it is a decent living. I don't want to brag about our wealth, because bragging and having the best thing ever is really just not how I view things, but we stand out here. The bakery is one of the more successful businesses in our part of town, almost equal with the diamond cutters. We have never had to worry about anything, and have had a lap of luxury to go with it. I don't question it, I just accept it. Once I finish my oatmeal, that's when the ringing quakes throughout the house.
Bells, goddamn awfully loud bells, start ringing, pounding a cling clang sound around the district, calling all of the eligible children to start heading for the town square. Since my mother and father have to stand in the designated area for parents, I kiss them both goodbye, and I go to my room to get ready for the Reaping.
I look in my emerald encrusted dresser mirror, and I see the spitting image of District 1. I see a pretty blonde girl, with light blue sparkling eyes, and a slender figure. Nothing special, expect that yes I am pretty, why should I lie to myself, and yes I will be beautiful compared to the other tributes, as most tributes from District 1 are. I grab a silk white ribbon and tie my hair back in a tight, tall pony-tail, and line my eyes with some black liner. That's all the makeup I really need, or care for. Now, I search my closet for a appropriate outfit. After searching for a few minutes I find a short, white summer dress, and put it on. It only shows some cleavage so it's dress code ready for here. I find some blue ballerina flats, and make my way out the front door.
Of course the town is in full tilt madness. People are running everywhere, laughing and dancing, girls skipping to the town square arm in arm. The boys having spit contests on the sidewalk, then getting scolded by older citizens in big white fluffy coats even though it is nearly spring. I walk in a slow stride, arms crossed, bored to death of this happy little diamond mine. But once again, I just accept it and imagine my life would be a lot harder. Of course, once I manage to block out all the noise, that's when the confetti starts shooting out of invisible spots on both sides of the street.
It rains down, well, like rain. Its the same every year. Plain snow white, paper diamonds. It symbolizes two things, our queen and her insignia, and our main export to the capital. Cheers roar from everyone, and I finally find the check in desk, where they always stick your finger and sign you in. Once the peacekeeper, a woman by the sound of her voice when she asks for my hand, takes my blood and checks me in, I find my way to the other 5 foot 16 year old girls, and stand in the pitiful line they are forming in front of the giant stage. I see our mayor sitting with his son and daughter on the left side, and the escort as well as her companions and the previous victor and mentor on the left. The funny thing about our escorts is that they are always different, and I never know why.
The new female escort, who seems to think she is a peacock because her dress has feathers stick out from the bottom, taps the mic, and the echo from it silents the district into a excited hush.
"Welcome! Welcome, Welcome!" she announces as fake and happy as she can, "Welcome to the games that decide the new President and ruler of our glorious nation."
"As you all know, they will have the same rules as any of the other normal games hosted each year, but these will have a grander outcome. Our great leader... our hero... has become ill and we need a new leader. These games will vindicate who will have the justice and rights to our nation!" she cries out, and we watch the video that is pre made for the Reapings. Once it's done, she continues,
"Well, without further ado..... ladies first!"
She walks to two large crystal balls towards the front middle of the stage, one tinted pink, and one tinted blue. She reaches into the pink one, digging deep and fishing into the bowl to find the vessel that will carry our district to volunteer in unison. The girl next to me starts hyperventilating, her shoulder already itching to raise up. I almost want to snort.... She really thinks she is getting chosen? By that dipshit with feathers sticking out of her ass? Please. The escort finally pulls out a slip, and walks back to the mic. You could scrape the silence with a knife. She opens the slip, and calls out the name.
"Vivian Terramount!" she announces cheerfully.
Almost EVERY single girl screams in harmony, me included,
"I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!"
Then they all start getting hectic, jumping up and down, spinning, still screaming and crying and kicking, and seizing just to get in a games to get killed. I know I will never get picked anyways, so I drown out all the noise, with my arm still raised, trying to find my parents in the crowd of other parents. I finally spot my mother, and she is crying... My father is so beet red with joy I feel like he is going to burst. I give them a questioning look, when a sharp nail jabs me in the shoulder.
"OH MEHHH GASH SAFFRON HELLO GO TO THE STAGE OMG!!" some dark haired girl says behind me. I look back at her confused, and then I realize everyone is looking at me with shits and giggles. I turn back towards the stage, and see that the peacock is pointing at me....
AT ME? NO NO NO NO!
I was NEVER supposed to get picked.... This is too much....
A peacekeeper from the outside of the crowd calls at me to hurry up, and I spring through the crowd to try to save me some embarrassment. I skip up the steps, and cries and cheers are coming from all hearing directions.
"SAFFRON SAFFRON SAFFRON!" my name is being chanted from the crowd. I don't even know how half of these people know me... much less my name.
I finally get to the mic and the escort asks me to speak my name, and I say it clearly in the mic. The victory cries continue from the crowd, as I stand there still letting this sink in, while she draws a slip from the blue tinted bowl. She calls out a name but I didn't hear it. My senses are dull, as I dig my perfectly filed nails on the inside of my sweating palms. I hear a soft, faint wave of volunteers, but they are distant in my ringing ears. Some boy, cute boy, climbs onto the front of the stage and backflips into his spot next to me. He cheers with the crowd, and I think I hear him call out his name in the mic.
Copper McPrice is what I faintly collected.
The ringing won't stop, my head is pounding. I manage to shake his hand, and enter the Justice Building in one piece. But when I am pushed into the room where I will say my goodbyes, I collapse on the sofa in the corner of the room, staring blankly at the ceiling. My vision is dancing around, like some voodoo doctor. My parents come in crying and saying the usually your gonna win! and we love you! lines, hugs are exchanged and they leave.
It feels rushed, but I finally assert my situation. I brave my mind for my imminent death. But oh ho ho, they are going to have trouble killing me. I won't lie down in the dirt, I won't cry and hide. I will be a tribute from District 1, and I will represent it tooth and nail.
Copper McPrice, huh?
Your probably already plotting my death...
But I've already plotted yours.
District 2~Nile Sebek's POV
It doesn't take too much to wake me up; the murmur of conversation in the living room is enough to bring me to consciousness. I have been used to sleeping through a few quietly spoken words here and there, but this time the voices are beaming with anticipation. Some of them are confident—almost triumphant, even. The others, though, are shaky and all of them, nonetheless, are uneasy.
My room is nearly bare, but it is not quite spartan. A few Egyptian pennants act as accents to the simple walls, and weapons as well as candles are placed on the stonelike shelf beside my bed. There is a small window in the right corner of my room, opposite the bed. Normally the colors reflected from the window are neutral, slate-like colors. The grey streets of the District Two village that I live in often glow in the evening hours, and glow even more eerily in the night hours. I could, on any other day, see a few of the stone mountains and quarries, used for the district's industrial purposes. Occasionally, even the mayor of this District would walk those streets, but that's about as exciting as it gets.
This, however, is clearly not a normal day. I do not see the cool, calm slate colors. This is far from the everyday balanced landscape; this is near madness. There are boys and girl lined up on the street wearing formal clothes: clothes to mimic the stone, with black and grey colors. Or clothes to exaggerate the "natural" beauty we see here: dusty lavender, as well as silver and gold-tinted dresses and dress shirts. These people are all too reckless, and I can make no successful attempt to block out the clamor. I get out of bed and calmly, walk to shut the blinds. Does this help? Obviously, not. The cacophony continues, and suddenly this registers in my mind: it is, indeed, the day of the reapings.
It registers with me immediately; unlike the confused younger children, I am apathetic to the cost of lives in these Games. I can understand and take it all in, the reasons behind these. So the only thing that seems odd to me is the amount of peacekeepers among the crowd. There are a large amount—one to every three people. In the past, the ratio of Peacekeepers to citizens was no larger than 1:10, so this is a shock. Did I miss something, did somebody commit a crime?
The answer is, of course, neither. Everything comes together when my gaze falls upon a Spade symbol, stitched in to a peacekeeper's uniform. The Queen—no, "our" Queen—wants this, for our own good. As if having controlling, cruel police patrol the streets like hell is for our "own good".
I've never seen the Queen in person—I doubt anyone has, honestly, except for the President. Big deal, all she ever does is send peacekeepers to our district and sleep with the dying old man who can't make up his damned mind. I have seen her picture once on the city's television screen—a plain woman with stiff, straight hair and enough flowers in it to make her corpse a garden the minute she dies.
I do not need to do ready myself very much for these reapings; all I do is put on an intricately woven, golden robe, resembling that of a god. My feet would be fine bare, but I put on sandals with a woven, snakelike pattern. I run my hand over the array of staffs and scimitars in my room, gently grazing the metal so as not to get cut by it. I choose one of the pennants to take with me for this occasion: an Egyptian pennant with the Ankh character on it, which I place in my palm. The cold surface of the pennant does not show hope, nor does it express hopelessness. It just feels right.
I do not see my family on my way out of the house, but they have certainly beat me to the town square. It's forty-five minutes before the reapings begin, just enough time to walk there. I step with calm strides; I am in no hurry, but punctuality is important either way. By the time I reach the stony hill, a quarter mile from the town square, I quicken my pace a bit. Ahead of me, I can see a small line still lingers by the town square. There are not many people there, though, about twenty, so most people must be standing impatiently as the rest file in.
As the line in front of me gets shorter and shorter, I am eventually called to get my finger pricked. The needle pierces bluntly and I watch as my blood spills in several drips over the table. I pay special attention to the color of it, which is darker and richer, nearly amber-colored. The lady holding the needle has a tired slouch and makes slow, exaggerated movements. I wonder if she did volunteer to do this, or if her family needed it. Either way, she works quickly and wipes off the blood. A peacekeeper checks my name off the list and leads me sternly to the central crowd.
How long is it, exactly, until the escort arrives on stage? Five, maybe eight minutes, until a woman with olive skin and darkened eyes walks onto the stage. She looks nearly like a statue; she is built solidely and unlike other escorts, walks about with dignity and seriousness. But her makeup is still a bit tacky, as her silver lipstick does shine even under the overcast sky, and she talks with the purring, synthetic Capitol accent as she greets everyone.
"Ah, WELCOME to the reapings! You, yes, you, could hold the future of this growing, ever-changing nation. Only the strongest and the bravest shall step forward in loyalty of the Queen of Spades!
"Without further ado, let's get to the reaping ceremony, shall we? Oh, but first, we must view a special presentation. Made not by the President, but by the Queen of Spades herself!"
She steps forwards and, as if on cue, a video begins to play on the regional screen. There is no audio to this video, so everyone slips into a hushed trance that is much more appealing to me. There are pictures flashing through the screen; most of them are in black and white while few use a sepia-style color spectrum. Pictures of people, screaming and pained, are among the images that flash by. There are also images of burning buildings, of shots firing into streets and no peacekeepers to stop these. The video ticks on for five minutes, recieving horrified and impatient glances from the crowd, until it finally melts away into five words, surrounded by black smoke.
We are what controls us.
The video is over and the silence becomes a wilted flower, slowly and slowly diminishing until everyone is talking. Everyone, except for me, of course. The escort makes a gesture at a peacekeeper, who aims his gun into the sky and fires it sharply into the air. Everyone is silent, and the escort continues.
"Ladies first, as always, yes...", the sinister smirk on her face beams as she reaches her arm into a rosy crystal sphere containing the names of many youths. Her arm digs around for less than a second before jerking out and sharply reading the name aloud:
Nobody recognizes the name, of course. Not that anyone would need to, over the shouting, because a horde of girls screaming "I VOLUNTEER" overpowers the poor woman, and she points blindly into the crowd. A black-haired girl looks back at the escort for confirmation, then, she walks frustratedly to the front stage where she reaches sharply for the microphone. "Exodus Magnum." She says nothing else, but the tone of her voice indicates that it would be better off if she didn't anyway. The escort is slightly taken aback by this defiance but she continues the ceremonic process.
"Now, for the guys!"
She reaches into the bowl and reads a name. This time, no one hears it over the roar of voices. I tighten my grip on the pennant and speak loudly, without screaming. "I volunteer."
Everyone around me is silenced by this, and quietness spreads like a virus around the crowd as the escort points at me. Me. I walk to the stage, feeling everyone's eyes burning on me, and grab the microphone smoothly. I say my name, quietly, nearly mumbling, but it is recognized. Nile Sebek. I see my parents below the stage, in the crowd, shocked, their mouths agape. It almost makes me want to smile, but I keep my expression blank and stiff.
"And, there we have it! Exodus Magnum and Nile Sebek, the tributes of District 2!", she turns to us.
"You two, I am sure, will make our Queen proud, yes?"
The crowd roars with spirit, most of it fake, but what could be faker than the smile on our escort's face as we are led into the Justice Building?
District 3~ Mahruo Firee's POV
It happened five years ago. Well, maybe in a week or two it would be five years. Five years since I ruined my fathers career, five years since I ruined his invention. More or less, it was only still in beta testing, but it still would have revolutionized the district. It was a transporter of some sort, but it was functioning to its full capacity, as it could only transport small objects. But still, it was a work in progress, and I ruined it. I hate to think about that whole day, hate to think I caused it. I made my father what he is today, a depressed alcoholic drunk. But that was only partly my fault... Right? It was those men... Those men who did that. But I could have did something, I could have jumped in and at least tried to save her. But I didn't, I hide in fear under a counter, and just let them rip my family apart.
And now, as I am getting dressed for the annual Reapings, I look outside at the orange tree she planted. It has grow a lot in the last five years. She would have been proud. But I hate it. Because ever time I look at it, it triggers the story all over again.
Lets say it started on a warm day, not to cold or hot, but pleasantly warm. My mother was busy in the kitchen, my father was at work. I think I was eight years old at the time, and I had just finished watching our Queen address her colleagues and her districts. Since we mainly do our work in technology and inventions, she looked at us, District 3, in the most hopes that we would bring honor to her hold. She established us after the second rebellion, because she believed that resources and absolute intellect were the keys to making a just and grand society. I only remember faintly what she was saying on her podium, but I think I remember something about how our President was growing worse each day.
Anyways, my mother is telling me that lunch is almost ready, when a we both hear a light knocking at the door. My mother walks over and looks at me funny, because we usually don't get visitors that often. I held her leg, because for some reason I didn't want her to answer that door. I didn't trust the knocker. But she shrugged me off and answered it anyways. She opened the door, but I couldn't see who was standing there.
"Hello" she told whoever was there.
"Move bitch!" the man suddenly threw her against the door, and she fell to the floor. I ran into the kitchen, hoping they didnt see me. I could hear them, I knew there was more than one by the faint whispers and footsteps, then they started ransacking the house. I could her stuff being throw against the walls, the tv falling to the floor. I think one of them went upstairs, and the other was still in the living room. I was silently crying, panicking. I didn't know what to do. The back door was directly in front of me, but I stayed shaking in my hiding spot under the counter. As I finally worked up the nerve to move a little, that's when I heard my mother scream
There was banging, a few groans and whimpers, then silence.
"WHAT DID YOU DO?" one of the strangers screamed, "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"
"She wouldn't stop fighting, so I shut her up didnt I?" He snorted back
"She could DIE! This wasn't suppose to happen!"
"I didn't stab her hard enough to kill her-"
I had to find help now. I jetted out the back door, into the neighborhood I lived in, but I didn't stop at any of those houses, I didn't stop running. I ran all the way to the small factory my father worked at. I was sweating when I literally burst through the doors. The lady sitting at the counter got up really fast, and tried to come over to me, but I pushed by her really fast, and ran down the hall. My vision was blurred with furious tears, so it made it hard to find which room I knew he would be working in. I finally discovered the room, with him sitting in the darkness, tinkering with the machine he has been bragging about for months. He shoots up out of his seat when he sees me run towards him crying and sweaty.
"Mahruo? What is it?" He asks frantically
"Mom... Moms in trouble.. Bad guys..." I barely manage to get out
"Watch the machine for me, okay ?" He kisses me on the forehead and runs out of the room without another word spoken.
I sit down in the computer chair and sob, with my hands in my face. I look up at the machine. It's no more the size of a small suitcase, and is oval with blinking lights. One of the lights, a particularly big red flashing one, catches my attention. I have no idea why, why I did it, or why I wanted to, but I leaned over and pressed it. The last thing I saw was smoke filling over my head.
I woke up in the hospital, my father holding my hand. When I open my eyes, he starts crying.
"Where am I?" I choke out
"The hospital" he said
"You had an accident... So I brought you here."
"You must have pressed the override button on the transporter, and it blew up in your face."
Right when he said that, I noticed that the right side of my face was bandaged heavily. I clawed at them, but he stopped me.
"Don't." He said bluntly
"Why are you not working?" I ask
"I got fired."
"Because I left you unsupervised around important equipment, and the accident burned down half of the facility, killing two of the workers."
"It's my fault their dead..."
"No, it's mine, I should have known better than to leave you there... But I didn't know any better because of the situation."
I literally almost jump up out of the bed.
"WHERE'S MOM?" I cry out
That's when he starts crying, and I start crying with him. He looks into my eyes, holding my face,
I snap back to reality, looking away from the window. I finish what I want to wear to the reaping, simple sweater vest with blue jeans, and look in the mirror. My dark skin doesn't hide the ripped up scar tissue around the side of my face, and my dark hair refuses to endure any type of containment, so I guess I'm ready. I head downstairs, passed my father snoring on the couch with a bottle of what smells like vodka in his hand, and head out of the door.
Reapings are usually a sad occasion, as we don't celebrate it like District 1 and 2. They are cruel to us, everyone hoping and praying they aren't chosen, and no one volunteers. I can smell the plastic factories, and battery acid as I walk along to town square. Kids my age and up are all walking quietly in groups or by themselves, everyone wearing a mask of grimace as we head to the slaughterhouse. I usually just don't try to worry about it. My name is only in their twice, and we have a pretty large district. Most of the shops are closed, and as I turn the corner I can see the line already at the check in counter. The stage in set, mayor in place, peacekeepers with the club insignia on their shoulders marching up and down the rows of terrified kids, making sure everyone stays orderly. The man sticks my finger, takes my blood, and I go to my designated area. The escort is already testing the mic. I look at the two large bowls in front of her, one green and one white. Girls names in the white bowl, boys names in the green. As soon as every eligible child is in place, the escort, who is dressed like a flower, steps up to the microphone,
"Welcome all citizens from District 3! Welcome to the year of the games that will determine which Queen will take over the presidency!" She announces loudly, hurting my ears.
Everyone falls into a quiet hush. We watch a short video with shooting and smoke and gun fire, basiaccly to scare us ad remind us why we are here. Afterwards, she happily starts the Reapings with her usual banter. I tune out, until I hear her announce she is starting the draws.
"Ladies first!" She calls out, reaching her hand into the white ball, pulling out a slip, and walking back to the mic.
"And the first tribute is... Amber Burn!" She announces happily.
The district is quiet, as one girl, with very pretty wavy red hair, quietly is escorted to the stage, and placed next to the escort, who wraps an arm around her and tell her to speak her name clearly into the microphone. She says it quietly, and I can't tell if she is reeling from shock, or she smelled something unpleasant from the escort. She then takes a solemn stand next to the mic.
"And now, for the boys!" she says, and reaches into the green ball. She pulls out a slip, and my heart starts beating.
She walks to the mic. My heart starts beating faster. She unfolds the piece of paper. Sweat starts beading in my forehead. She starts to read the paper. I feel like throwing up my lunch. It's my name.... My heart explodes.
I feel faint, and a red warm wave of poisonous dread takes hold of my body. How.... Only 2 slips held my name... And she picked me. How? Did I do something to piss the universe of? My head is spinning, and I make my way to the Peacekeepers. They escort me to the stage. I probably am already looking like an easy target, shaking, sweating. I feel like crying. My father having no idea I'm even here, he is too busy breaking the law by not attending the Reaping. The escort has me say my name, I shake hands with Amber. Luckily, her palm was sweaty too, just she looks like she is containing herself more.
Amber Burn... Why don't I know much about her. I think I have seen her school a few times. Maybe she was the girl that drew the animal mural on the cafeteria wall? Yeah.... It was her. Her cheeks are a nice pink. Are they always like that? Or is she just nervous? Whatever the case, I like her. I don't want to hurt her, I don't want to hurt anyone. But then that means I die...
I enter the room they have me in to say bye to family and friends, but no one comes. I look at the walls, and imagine myself in the arena. I have one chance. No going back now, if this is what life wants me to do, I guess I will do it. But what do I have to come back to? A drunk dad, a empty home. And that damn orange tree...
Yeah the orange tree... That's why I have to come home.
To cut it down.
District 4~Lisbet Hanai's POV
The same tireless nightmare that has haunted me for what seems like centuries yet again awakens me with a cold sweat. I swear, I could hear water falling on water like a waterfall, clapping at my innocence as it has long since begun to leave me.
This time, though, I can smell an ocean spray in the air, flatly lingering alongside me. If only it was anyone else who could smell this, anyone but me. Someone from the outer districts—perhaps, with a keen sense of belonging from nature—would take it in with shallow breaths, touching the sheets of wind and breeze as though they were papers flying about the air with the most beautiful of melodies composed on them, in black ink. One from District One or even any district under order of the Queen of Diamonds would surely scoff at the fishy smell that is an aftertaste to the rejuvenating sprays of ocean air. A District four native would have grown accustomed to it and learn to enjoy it—after all, the murkiest of waters can hold the most picturesque reef.
This, however, reminds me of something that can't be washed away by the clean high tides.
As I am awakened by the usual morning exchange of hearty greetings from the fishermen as they cast their hooks a few yards from my house, I notice that it is indeed the day of the reapings. It's not like I had to gather this information from the chants outside; it was the reason I had even more difficult sleep than usual last night. I don't know why I should be nervous though; this is the career district. Even if my name were to be called, there would be others tripping over each other ready to take my place.
I put on my reaping outfit, which is a short-sleeved ocean blue dress with white waves embroidered on it from the waist-up. Below that, the skirt of the dress is layered with a lighter blue that seemed to reflect the sky.
My hair is a powder-blue color, with a hint of aqua in it. One of my many attempts at fitting in that has failed. I brush it thoroughly until it hangs straight and limp down my shoulders. The flowers in my hair mean hardly anything to me anymore; they are merely accents to compliment the pastel colour.
As I step out the door I can't help but notice how the sky remains undisturbed by the day. The horizon is a thin line, firm and not nearly as shaky as the high-strung District children.
A few fishing boats are beginning to pull into the docks as I begin walking to the square. I try not to catch anyone's eye here, but a few of the girls, the ones who have no trouble at all being normal, look at me funny, with their eyebrows raised before bringing them down with a rain of disgust. I sigh and keep walking; they're not exactly strangers, but I am still better off having them not know the person I really am.
I shiver, in contrast of the warm air. The humidity in the air hits my skin and sticks like a gluey paste that marks me as different from the rest, even if they feel it too. My hair tries to fly loose in the wind, and I don't make an attempt to stop it. Surely it will be frizzy by the time I arrive at the district plaza, but I could care less.
By the time I get to the district plaza there is a long line of children and family members—a hundred, possibly. Each in line to get their finger pricked and to head into the coliseum. I sigh, not too loudly, and wait patiently in line. The girl in front of me turns around curiously after a few minutes and looks at me, up and down as if inspecting me, before harshly turning her back to me. I try to ignore the rude girl and bite my nails a bit as the time passes.
When there are nearly fifteen people left in line, the girl in front of me pretends to walk an extra step forward. She then takes a step back and the pointed tip of her high heel—purposely, of course—crushes my toes under my flats. This gets on my nerves, so I retaliate by scraping the back of her heel with my shoe. She doesn't turn around again.
The woman at the front desk pricks my finger with merciless vehemence, and I look away to distract myself from the pain. There are multitudes of peacekeepers standing alongside her, and the leftmost one leads me to the coliseum. I walk through arrays of people and peacekeepers, so many peacekeepers, to the middle of the girls' section. The girls around me look uneasy, like they would distance themselves from me if they could.
The escort for our district is a superficial woman with fake blue curls and a long white dress that is decorated in starfish and seashells down the skirt. Her makeup is clumpy and she wears a plethora of sea-green eye shadow.
She flicks arrogantly into the microphone, causing a cracked boom to spread through the coliseum.
"Welcome to the Games, we all know the deal here. The victor's Queen will be brought forth as President, and will bring a bit of an economical change to our shattering nation!" She smooths her hands over her skirt and clears her throat. "Picture, please."
A peacekeeper standing behind her with the spades suit stitched into his white uniform presses a copper button next to the podium that is linked to the theatre screen in the plaza.
A short film begins to play. All I can see are the eyes of the girl on one of the first of the flashing images: wide, with fear, and wet, with hopelessness.
I shiver yet again.
By the time the film is over and my cold chills come to some sort of end, the escort remains unfazed. She grips the white, metal microphone and her voice cracks when she says, "Hm, let's pick from the girls first, shall we?"
Silence. Everyone is poised and ready to volunteer. At least, the oldest ones are.
I feel a tightening lump in my throat as I stand and wait for someone to volunteer. Maybe I'm going deaf, or maybe time has frozen. Either way, the girl behind me gives me a shove hard enough to put bruises on the back of my collarbone.
"Don't just stand there, honey, come up here."
And though I do not have parents to gasp with their mouths agape, or friends to shed silent tears, it's almost as if I can feel all of it encircling me as I take doubtful steps to the stage. They didn't volunteer...nobody did...why didn't anyone volunteer...
And as I'm standing on the stage, deaf yet again to the escort's apathetic words, I realize why. Maybe it's who I always was, a different girl, or my failed attempts to fit, or the monster I have once became. If a monster like that became of me out here, what will become of me in there, in the arena?
The escort calls a name that I can't hear. I can't hear anything over the pounding of my heart, but I see a boy being led firmly by peacekeepers who look as though they are angry with him. The boy is let go of and walks to the stage with a mischievous smirk on his face. He doesn't even ask before saying his name into the microphone, "Julius Spring", with an accent I haven't quite heard before. I see some of the girls looking triumphantly at me as my senses awaken, and the escort leads Julius and I by our wrists to the Justice Building. The last words I can truly hear are "...and may the odds be ever in your favour!" before being closed alone in the visiting room with only the rhythm of time to console me.
And though my eyes keep on the door, not a single person shows up behind these quiet walls.
District 5~Nichole Peyton's POV
I am already getting ready. It's strange because I have done this same routine for 3 years. When it's the morning of the Reapings, dread surges throughout me. I can't help it but it just come through me, like a storm. Then suddenly, it settles, and turns more into a ticking time bomb. The only comforting feeling is that I live in a fairly large district, so maybe another doomed soul, could somewhat save the rest of ours. I look out my window, into the dark sky. I see the silhouettes of dark birds. I feel like I want to grow wings and fly away with them. This world is nothing but pain, and everyone feels it. Even after the second rebellion, it only got worse. All the Queen's have different view's on life, but one thing is for sure. They are power hungry, no matter if they view the world as powerful, resourceful, or loving.
I finally manage to untangle my red hair. It's so thick it just takes a while to get it somewhat smooth. I find a yellow bow, and put that on. Afterwards, I find a yellow dress, one that I wear to every Reaping. It might seem a little taboo, because the Reaping isn't suppose to be something happy. Yellow is happy, and most people probably look at me like a freak for wearing it every year, but why not? I might get chosen to go gut 23 other kids. I will wear what I want to. And yellow makes me happy, so it helps the tension throughout the day. I take one last sorrowful look into my mirror, and wish it was different. My green eyes read calm, but heart indicates sadness. As I make my way towards the door, I glimpse it shimmering on the nightstand in my room. I run to it, and slide it on my finger. I read the ingraving,
I smile remembering the day my brother got me this. But why does that matter. Thinking about him only leaves a warm poison in my heart, so I leave the memory behind, and walk out the room, forgetting about my now dead brother.
When I walk downstairs I see my little sister sitting at the table, eating some cereal. She seems happy enough, but she doesn't realize what today is. The meaning of today, stained with tears and blood. I sigh and take my spot next to her. She smiles when I sit down.
"I like your dress. Yellow is pretty." she says through her bites of cereal.
"Yeah it is, isn't it?" I rub her head.
She laughs, then keeps eating. I wish I could prepare her for what is coming in the next few years, but I think that wouldn't be good for her. No one told me what the Reapings were, until I woke up one morning, I was 12, and was told I was going to be put in for a lottery. I got excited, but then when I heard what the lottery was, I cried for hours. I cried when I was at the Reaping, even though it wasn't me that was Reaped. IT was some poor girl. Some poor dead girl, now.
I hurry and try to eat, knowing my friends will be waiting for me in our usual meeting spot. They are all participating in the Reaping as well. I know one of them has already had to put their names in more times for some wheat. I would never have to do that because we are pretty wealthy. For District 5 anyways. The Queen of clubs doesnt host really fancy districts.
I finish, put my bowl in the sink, and give my sister a kiss on my forehead.
"I'll see you at the town meeting okay?"
"Ot'ay!" she spit out part of her cereal.
Then I walk out the front doot.
There is a sharp wind, and the grey skies don't make today more comforting. I walk along the cracked street behind two boys, dressed in grey, arms crossed. They seem just as unhappy as the rest of the District. The aura of the whole area is a misanthropic feeling, sickly and full of dread. My yellow dress flows like running water in the cold wind. I finally arrive, finding my friends. We greet each other. I notice they also noticed I wore my yellow dress again. They are all dressed in dark colors. I stick out, and part of me likes that. Part of me feels like a stained glass window, me being a white breakable piece in a sea of black glass. I want nothing more than to make it through this Reaping though. So I can return home, and go back to sleep. I look at the lamposts, with the usual green Clubed banners. Only we are in urgent need of new ones, because ours are dirty and ripped from years of Reapings and abuse.
Once I find the check in center, the lady takes my blood, which hurts worse every year. I waddle to my spot in the sea of other girls. Thats when I feel a cold water raindrop hit my shoulder. Great, it's going to rain, and they never put up anything to protect us from the elements. I remember this happening a few years back, and everyone got drenched. Well, everyone on the stage got a tarp.
Our escort seems to be still applying makeup, and talking to our mayor. She seems silly and foolish as always, sporting somesort of golden design on her face. Her dress looks like a golden cube.... I have no idea. She always comes out from the Capitol looking crazy. She must notice the rain to, because she starts pitching a bitch fit to get the tarp set up. I feel another one, but this one hit my upper back, and veins down into my lower back, sending chills up my cold spine. Once they get it set up, she seems to calm down a little. Finally, once everyone is checked in, and she seems content with the shit on her face, she approaches the mic.
Thunder booms out of nowhere, making her scream loudly into the mic, suddenly knocking it over with her demon claws she considers nails. I snort, then so does some people behind me, and soon there is a quiet giggle going around the District. She must notice, because she turned beat red, and picks up the fallen microphone stand, adjusts the mic, and starts over.
"Welcome! Welcome all! You should know, that was a clumsy accident on my part-" she chuckles right there, "So I do apologize for that! But lets get on with the Reapings!"
I want to cry, because there goes the feeling starting all over again. The rain turns into a sombersome drizzle, and I can feel my heart beating the drops off my bare skin. Why... why is the rain somewhat comforting? Why does it offer a symbolic cold blaket of soothing relief. I look up to the skin, and close my eyes. My hair starts to feel heavy, and sticks to my face. I attempt to brush it away, but I can't.... I just can't.
"Now, the Queen's have prepared a special video for us to enjoy! Let's turn our attention to the screen!" the escort annouces.
But I have no intrest in knowing what those hags have to babble on about. My breathing slows, and I can feel every drop of rain slick onto my body, and I smell the mud forming below out feet. I wonder what my friends are doing, probably watching the video. Then I start hearing bits and pieces.
I hear gunfire echoing through the speaker.
I feel my heartbeat slow.
Now there is the sounds of screaming children.
I feel the wet hair matting to my neck.
Then I hear the Queen's talking.
My head blurs.
This always happen when I am at the Reapings. Everything becomes hyper realistic, either in a good way or a bad way. Maybe I'm crazy, or maybe this is how everyone functions with the Reapings.
"Alright, ladies first!" the escort blabs
This is when I snap back into the reality of our universe. I find myself starting to feel warm, my pulse increasing, and sweat beading around my hairline. Or that could be rain, or both, either way it feels extra moist right there. She walks over to the bowl, plain glass, large bowl, and sticks her hand straight down in it, and pulls out a slip of paper instantly. As she walking back, I count the ticks of her highheels.
I counted 12.
She opens the paper.
Must be a bigger stage than it looks for 12 ticks.
She breathes in.
I wonder how she walks in those.
She reads the name on the paper.
"Nichole Peyton!" she annouces
Then I realize that the name sounds like mine. I squint in confusion at her, then people begin to look at me in relief combined with pity. Or at least the girls anyways. And thats when it gets fuzzy. I remember getting on the stage. I remember feeling like the world is crashing down on my face like a fucking brick. Then I don't remember anything else.
I wake up in the Justice building, with my mom and my little sister next to me, holding my hand. I rise off the couch.
"W-ha.... happened?" I croak
"You fainted sweetie." My mom also barely manages to get out with a whisper. She looks bad, with her eyes stuffy, her nose running. I feel my yellow dress stuck to my skin, my cold bare skin, and it is suddenly very annoying.
"Where are you going sissy?" My sister questions. She is so innocent.
Wait.... where am I going. I find myself in the Justice building, my mom crying, my sister oblivious. And thats when it hits me. It hits me hard, because I start sobbing. I grab my sister and hug her, and she starts crying too. My moms starts, and soon we are are like a thunder cloud of tears. Once we are done, and collect ourselves, the Peacekeeper comes and takes them away. I run to the windowsill to see them walk out of the building. It is pouring rain, and the sky looks awful. Wow, what are start to my games, passing out at the Reapings. That already makes me look weak. I won't even survive the bloodbath, so why does it matter anyways.
But then I see my little sister, and I think of how selfish that just sounded. Mom is getting old, and she won't be around long enough to take care of her. So who will? Me. I will win these damn atrocious games, even if I have to manipulate, back stab, and cut my way to the top. I feel more settled now, and I lick my cold blue lips, praying to whatever is out there to help me. I start thinking of plans and strategies.
The sky is vacant and gray. I see a black bird fluttering away into the grey unknown.
District 6~Akumai Kubaya's POV
Our video was really cool. It was really well put together I should say. I am pleased with it, but I dont how Tatsumaki will handle it. He has never been bright, but he has always had a unusal perpective on what we do. I guess that is why he is our leader, the only leader we ever agreed on even. His opinon is everything.
This certain video is suppose to make people upset, which would be wonderful for the district, because the target audience is the Capitol, and the poisonous bitches that run it. Simply entitled, "Top Five Things the Districts Hate about Panem", I really shouldn't have to explain it. I close my old computer, and get out of my billowing bed. It's actually pretty sunny outside, unlike most days in six. It usually is pouring, and you can always hear the loud melody of the raindrops beating off the the trains and hovercrafts. I really feel like doing nothing, but since my life is being gambled with, and I could get shot, I better attend the Reaping. The Reapings are usually short anyways, but these are suppose to be extra special because President Old-as-Balls is starting to get worse, and the Queens are having a pissing match to decide who should get to rule the broken, starving nation of Panem. Well, MOSTLY starving. District 1, 2, and 4 might be better off than the rest of us. Always Capitol favorites. I tap the bedframe of my mattress and try to figure out what to wear.
I can't really decide to do casual, or just go all out and not care. I decide to sit between the two options, and find a white dress shirt, and some dark smooth jeans, and tuck the shirt in. Yeah that looks okay. Why should I care anyways. We are a uncaring populace. If I wore a duck on my head, the only thing I would get is "Shut your duck up, we are killing kids."
Once I make my way downstairs, it is obvious my family has already left early to get a good spot at the Reapings. Didn't even bother to wake me up. I guess they thought I wouldn't be stupid enough to skip the Reapings, which I can understand. I wouldn't have liked to be woken up anyways. I like to fall into my own, custom and cozy pace. I find the stove has one egg still left greasy in the burnt black pan, and I take it with pleasure. Eggs are uncommon, and mom doesn't like to spend alot of money on food, because I guess its tight. Once I scarf it down, I drink a small glass of water, taking some of the grease down to the bottom of my stomach. After thats finished, I really dont have to leave for the Reapings for about another 20 minutes, so I sit on the couch, and turn the TV on, and can't actually watch TV because every TV in the nation is programmed to tell people to get their asses down to the Reapings, so I get to watch all the Reapings that have already happened. The District 1 Reapings come on first. Always the same, people cheering, white confetti going everywhere. The one girl that is reaped for it..... Saffron I think the reporter said, didn't even realize she had been chosen, she just had her hand in the air standing there, until some other girl had to tell her she was the selected volunteer. Then the reaped boy does a backflip, and I turn the TV off. They are so sick there.... wanting to be put in a arena to kill people. Kill kids much less. I guess their culture is just more fucked up than ours. I sigh, and start for the door. Time to head out anyways.
On the way to the Reaping, someone punches me in my lower pack, and I almost fall on small blonde girl walking in front of me. She looks back at me with dark grey eyes, a confusing look drawn on her face. My friend Toby comes up behind me.
"Loser, your not suppose to fall" he snorts.
"You punched me asshat. That girl is looking at me like I am some virus." I reply angily
"Yeah, next time when I punch you, dont fall foward."
"I'll try REALLY hard okay."
He falls into a stride next to me, and I tell him the video is almost done. He told me after the Reapings, we can go to his house to watch it. I then ask him if he has seen Tatsumaki anywhere, and he just shrugs and tells me he is probably at the Reaping already. Tatsumaki has always had a weird obession to want to be chosen for the games. He likes fame and such, but never volunteers. We think he is too scared to actually be put in the games, he just likes to dream about it.
Once we get to the small table that will take our blood, we give the woman our hand. A little electric shock jars my index finger numb for a few seconds, then turns back to normal. She smears it on a clean sheet on white paper, then yells next. I split up with Toby, because I am a year older, and tell him see him at his house, he tells me okay, good luck, and then joins the other sixteen year olds. I fit in with the other seventeen year olds, and looks up at the stage.
The two balls sit next to one another, both a weird gray mesh color. I dont know how they tell which gender is for which, but the Queen of Spade's must not care much for color. She has always been a weird one, but at least we didn't get stuck with that Diamond queen. She is crazy in the head. As I am thinking this, our escort, suprisingly pretty in a simple black dress, and strange green eyeliner, taps the preset microphone, and annouces the Reapings are going to begin shortly. That the video player to play the Capitol issued video is broken for some reason.
After minutes of waiting, it is obvious they can't fix whatever is wrong, so the escort basically says that we won't be viewing the video. She seems a little embarrased this happened. But I am grateful I don't have to sit through that trash. I mean who would want to? Maybe the brain dead people in the the Capitol. They view their leaders as immortal gods, and want nothing more than to let all the Queen's trample over them. The Queen's to me are nothing more than your typical power hungry bedazzled bitches, and that if they honestly think any one gives a damn about them here in the District's is udder bullshit. The sun beams down on the white stage, making it hard to look at.
"Well, the techinal difficulties are a set back, but that doesn't mean we can't still have a merry Reapings, right?" she cheers
A few people in the crowd clap a little, but other than that mostly everyone just stares at her. They don't want to play the happy go fuck game.
"Well, now, since there is no other offical business that needs to be discussed, we can start the Reapings! As always, Ladies first!" she almost skips over the right bowl, and digs for her treasure. But to someone, it will only be their demise. She gets a slip, and goes back to the microphone.
"Ahem! Well, the lucky female tribute representing District 6 is...... Saadia Gaena!!!" she annouces shatteringly.
My jaw almost drops, when I realize that Saadia is the girl I fell into on the way to the Reaping. She has to be 12, because she looks like tiny shifting through the crowds to get to the waiting peacekeepers. She has a heartbreaking look on her face, that only reads despair. She finally gets to the stage, and stands next to the escort. She is forced to say her name in the microphone clearly so the whole district can hear her name again. Then she lowers her head. I swear I saw a tear dance down her pale cheek when she did this.
"And now, for the boys!"
The escort goes the left bowl, and digs down deep. And now I get a uneasy feeling surging through me like poison. If that little girl, that little girl that was JUST walking in front of me, got Reaped, whats to stop me from getting Reaped too? I start to feel the first wave of sweat cross my palms, as the escort crosses make over to the microphones. Fuck me if it is me. FUCK me.
"And the strong gentleman going on this adventure with Saadia is.... Akumai Kubaya!"
It surges through me like vomit.
"FUCK ME!" I scream to the top of my lungs.
I then grow really red, when everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, looks stunned. Even the escort dropped her lip a little. I rush to get the stage, and then I find myself barely able to get my name out. My tongue has turned to stone, and I don't want to say anything else. I look across at Saadia, whos eyes are puffy, and instead of shaking her hand, I find myself doing something else more shocking.
I hug her.
I hug her because I know she doesn't deserve this bullshit. No one does. I
I hug her because I know she is scared, and probably has already given up on fighting her battle. I can't see someone go down like that. It is just a fucked up system, with fucked up people calling the shots, and getting to kill innocent girls like this. She tightens her arms around my waist, and I feel her heartbeat coexist with mine, and they are both beating rapidly. A sensation happens, and that somewhat makes both of us to calm down a little. I look into her eyes, and smile, as we are torn apart and escorted into the Justice building. It takes me all this time, sitting here, and thinking about her and my parents that I didn't even see at the Reaping. They might come soon, so I let myself break a little, and a few tears scrolls down my cheeks. And that was when it hit me. I didn't hug her just because she was scared, and it was unfair for her to be reaped.
I hugged her, because I was scared too.
District 7~Jayson Huff's POV
I breathe in the air. It's cold and damp, the feeling of nausea subsiding. The axe leaning against the pine tree offers some fun till the Reapings. I hack away at a dead stump, only stopping to pull my dark, sweaty hair out of my eyes. The woods have always been a place of sanctuary for me. The sap has always had a conforming feel, and the smell of pine and fresh air is comforting. I find myself pondering what I've done with my life often. To know if it has been a good life. I clutch my medallion hanging from my neck on a chain. It seems like it has only been a week ago that the bear left the scars embered into my flesh.
As soon as my arms start to go nub, the normal motions replaced with burning aches, I put the axe back against the tree, and start back to my shack of a home. Leaves crunch quiet screams under my feet through the woods. I think I hear I bird calling out into the empty air. I see the smoke billing out above the treetops, and I know mother has started to cook the normal wheat an porridge for breakfast. I know I am close to home.
I take my work boots off at the door, and have to lean under the top of the door to enter the small house. Mom is standing by the wood stove stirring something in the pot. I start put more wood into the fire.
"How was the woods?" she questions
"Same old woods I guess" I reply
The same old woods. The same old house, the same old boring conversations. I feel like I have been in a continuous loop, this certain loop only disturbed by Reapings, only touched by the certain aspect that I could very well possible be put in a arena to die. The noise of our small, district issued television distracts me, and I see a small woman, obviously from the Capitol due to her appearance and surroundings, say something mingled with static,
"And as the Presidents condition worsens, it is crucial these games happen as soon as possible, to determine who will become our new leader! I think all of them are good options for the esteemed position-" My mother cuts the television off, sighs, and continues cooking. I don't ask her what's wrong, because why ask something you already know? She hasn't been the same since dad died, and I can't help but feel pity and anger at her.
"You should probably be getting ready right?" she doesn't even look back at me.
"Yeah, I guess." I climb the steps to our attic, which is also my room.
When I try to flick the light on, the bulb breaks, and the light flickers on and off, casting shadowy monsters against the wooden walls. I sigh, and attempt to and attempt to fun something decent to wear. I decide on a pair of overalls, and a flannel shirt, because why now? I will wear my worker boots, and I don't even bother with my hair, which I am sure has a wood chip or two embedded into the tangled black locks. Since I don't have to leave for another 10 minutes, I fall on my rather small bed for a 6 foot guy. Feeling for my medallion, once I find it, I rub it with my fingers, feeling the smooth cold surface. It has become sort of a worry stone for me, and it actually helps some. Since I am a pretty stressful person, it comes in handy sometimes. Once it's time to head out, I hug my mom on the way out, she wishes me luck, and I head out the door.
District 7 probably has a different landscape than most of the other Districts. Since we have miles of trees and forests, the small area where most of the the residents live is actually deep in the forest. The wild forest. So there is no streets, no sidewalks, just small man made trails, padded down with some gravel. Hardly anyone except the higher class, shopkeepers, and the mayors family lives in the actually town. It's a long walk, but once I get to town, I start directly into town square, nearly hitting my head on a low hanging heart banner. The town is surrounded by the dense, tall forest, so no sunlight hardly hits anything, instead replaced by the light traced through the leaves, created a wash of eerie green over the buildings. I fall in a normal stride behind a group of people around my age, only I about a foot above them. Once we finally arrive at town square, they take my blood to check me in, and then I find the other kids my age, and stand at the very end because of my height. Being nearly 7 foot I tower over most of my district, excluding some of the lumber haulers that might actually be 7 foot. It gets cold fast, and I wrap my arms around myself. This is how the Reapings usually are for me. I don't get scared or nervous, because I most likely won't ever get reaped, so why get worked up over something that most likely won't happen?
The escort, male, is wearing a green suit with green accents and leaves and twigs in his swirled green hair to most likely match our district export. He looks utterly ridiculous, but we are all use to it by now.
"Welcome ladies and gentlemen!" he announces, "Welcome to the Reapings that you should be honored to participate in!" he almost leaps into the air with excitement.
"This year, these Reapings will determine the new ruler of the nation I am proud to call my home! Before we start let's watch a quick video presented by the queens!"
The video is hell to watch, as they are every year, and I am glad when it is finished.
"Wasn't that scrumptious!?!" the escorts yells when it's done.
The two balls catch my eye. The are entirely made of pine needles, one painted red, one painted white. Queens colors. Males are always red, girls white.
"Ladies first! Even though males are far more beautiful! JUST KIDDING!" Some of the girls in the crowd huff.
His hand goes straight down into the ball, and a slip is tight between his fingers. He walks to the microphone, and calls the name out crystal clear,
"Lucinda Irongate darling!"
A girl with straight brown hair, a terrified look painted on her face, scurries to the stage, but trips on her way up to the stage. She turns beet red, and find her way next to the escort.
"Took a tumble huh?" he says, "What's your name sweetie?"
I have no idea why they ask the poor kids to say their name, when they just got reaped, we already know their name. I want to go back to the woods with my best friend, my axe. But I have to wait to see what poor guy gets reaped with her.
"Now for those sexy men!" our escort, goes to the red ball, takes a minute, and finds the slip.
"Alright and the person joining her is..... Mr. JAYSON HUFF!" he calls out
I literally scream. People start to stare at me awkwardly. I mean.... how? I climb the steps, and get a uncomfortable squeeze on the shoulder from the escort. I say my name in the microphone, having regained my composure, my fight for survival starts now. I actually manage a smile, and wave to the crowd. I give Lucinda a kiss on the cheek. I have no time to panic now, I have my life to save. And I know the Capitol eats up positive attitude. Sponsors are a lifeline, and I need to plan what I am going to show the game makers.
Once I am in the small room inside the justice building, my mother comes in, wearing a imaginary mask of pain. She doesn't say anything, she just hugs me, until she has to go.
"I believe in you." she whispers in my ear.
I find confidence in that. I get a little choked up, because I saw a fire in her eyes that I haven't seen since my father died. But I can't cry, the cameras see everything, including weakness. And I have to do my everything to look menacing. But I am sort of not charismatic, which I will have to work on a lot before interviews and training. I am not bad with an axe.....
My mind explores new ways of survival. My mind tells me it's do or die now, and I want to live, I can feel myself wanting life. I have all the weapons I really need.
Now I have to start the fight.
District 9~ Savannah Darnell's POV
To be able to wake up to peaceful silence is a blessing for me. Usually May is in here by now, jumping up and down on the bottom of bed, yelling at me to get up. Sunlight dapples the concrete floor of my bedroom, and I arise with what I can already tell is a serious case of bed hair. But then it's when I realize in my hazy, just woken up brain, that it's the day of the Reapings.
Of course the dread of it makes me wanna gag. But it's a overwhelming sense of relief to know that May is only still 8, and can't be put in yet. But the other fear surges through me like a wild pack of wolves. There is over 9,000 children packed into my District, and 1 of the 9,000 slips has my name printed on it.
My eyes scan the open window, trying to find some sort of of helping image, but I only see crowds of people on the murky streets, and lots of cameras and lights. It makes me feel somewhat enraged to think that the beetles behind the cameras families back at the Capitol do not have to be subjected to this torment. They are protected, pampered, and don't know any better than a nice life. They would never survive in the districts, having to work for everything you eat and wear and use. I turn my head, and try to stop myself from getting worked up over something I can't help. And deep down inside, I know they can't help it either.
My red hair is a tidal wave of fury, and my eyes seem like lifeless husks. The cracked mirror offers a dim image, but it's enough to know I need to perk up and do something with my hair before the Reapings. I need to keep my mind on nothing else for the meantime, but I think it's strange May hasn't been in here yet. I think about going to check on her, but decide she must just be trying to sleep in or something. May has always been terrified of the Reapings, but maybe it's affecting her more because she does know about me being eligible. It's a requirement in the lower schools to know about the Reaping and know you will be apart of it someday. I start taking a brush to my hair, and smooth it out somewhat till it's shimmery. I make a loop braid, and then pin them to the back of my hair. After I think it looks okay, I start trying to find something to wear. Digging in my closet, I can smell bread cooking in the kitchen. The memory hits me like a knife.
"YOU SHOULD DO NOTHING! THOSE KIDS ARE DIRTY BEGGARS!" the deep voice in my head echoes. The voice belonging to my deceased uncle.
I rub the puckered white scar on my back from where he hit me with a iron roller. I only felt pity for him when he was escorted to the firing squad.
"S-savannah...?" I hear a little squeaky voice at my doorway, and know its May instantly. Part of her hair is sticking off the side of her head like duck fluff, and she is rubbing her left eye.
"May, go back to bed, you don't have I be up yet." I try to tell her softly. But she just stands there looking at me, with those big innocent eyes. I try my best to avert my eyes from her, trying to get ready, but I know can't with her just looking at me. So l go over to her pick her up and sit her on my bed. She lays her head on my lap.
"All those people with the big cameras are out there... that means... it's Reaping day?" she whispers quietly, as if someone is listening.
"Yes." I tell her quietly.
"Does that mean your leaving me...?" she questions more loudly.
"Why would you think that?"
"Because you turned 12 this year."
"That doesn't mean I'm leaving. There is 9,000 other kids in this District, and mine name is only in there once."
"12 year olds have been reaped before."
Can't argue with that. It seems there is more younger kids every year, and I wonder if it is set up that way. Like what if my name is in there 500 times, and I just would never know it. Everyone's name is probably in there more than they know. But why would I think this out loud? It would only worry her more, so I stick to the knowledge we already know, and already have preset into our minds. Even though know I am starting to believe May be the wrong information.
"Yeah, but those girls might have to sign up for food. We don't have to do that, and never will, okay?" I start smooth her hair out with my hand
"Cross your heart?" she looks up
"Cross my heart, and you need to go get ready now. It time for everyone to get to the Reapings."
She gives me one last hug, and I feel her little arms shaking. She walks out the same way she came, and I start to look around for something to wear. I keep digging in my closet till I find a old, worn out blue dress, and decide that it's better than nothing. Once I have it on, and decide I look the Reaping appeal, I head across my house to the kitchen, where my family is eating breakfast, excluding May, who must still be getting ready. My mom already has my plate made, which is fresh bread, and sausage. Honestly, it smells delicious.
"Hi honey, where is your sister, she should already be down here." my mother says, pouring my some orange juice in a cup.
"Still getting ready." I tell her, and slump into my seat.
The sausage smells heavenly so I devour that first, then start slowly on the bread so I don't seem like some animal. I think I hear my sister come down the stairs. I turn around in the chair and see her come down in a white dress, nicer than mine because it's newer. She has her hair in a ponytail, and looks really cute, as always. She takes her spot between me and dad, and mom pours her some milk because she doesn't like orange juice like me. I see the sad little glimmer in moms eyes as she looks at us.
"These... Reapings are special so I want you guys to be good alright?" my dad says without looking up from his plate
"Okay." me and May reply in unison.
May hardly eats her food, she seems distracted and worried, even though she is not even in the Reapings. Maybe she is worried about me being Reaped, but I'm not to worried about it. I can tell the odds between me and a 18 year old being reaped. Honestly it would be like hitting one of those lotteries the Captiol has in their cities. I feel nauseous when I realize WE are one of those lotteries.
"Alright girls, let's go. It going to be hard to get a spot if we are late." my dad finally announces after minutes of silence.
We head out the door a little early, and only a few crowds are flocking to town square. It bright a sunny, and the it happens. One of the few things I love about our District. The buildings are all golden, and the streets are golden and dappled with swirling shadows. That's when I get the first chance to look past the huge fences separating the entire town from the vast sea of golden grain.
The wind makes it all swirl around slowly, in harmony. It's almost... mystical how it shimmers gold off the the entire town on certain days. It makes these Reapings just a little more better. Once we get the front desk, my mom hugs me, and then May whispers in my ear that it will be okay. She kisses my cheek. I try my hardest not to cry, and she goes back with mom and dad. Once the electric shock takes my blood, find myself with the other first years, and I am one of the smallest ones. I bet some people are thinking, "What is that 6 year old doing here?" but the question never a comes up. Maybe it's the awful face of nervous horror I am sporting today.
The escort is standing in the middle of the stage, and telling the lighting crew that we don't need lights, and then something about how the golden aura is enough to see the brave spirits today.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, the massive crowd is finally assembled, and escort looks pleased enough with the set up on stage. She.... or he, I can't tell because she/he is wearing curtains covering all of her/his face, excluding the mouth. Based on the frilly lace pattern, and the black lipstick from the exposed mouth, I assume it's a woman. Boy was I wrong.
A deep, manly voice bellows out,
"Welcome, all you 9,478 gladiators! Welcome to the most amazing event of the year!" he deeply cries. A lot of gasps go around, but then are silence by him again,
"So let's get started on this amazing movie from the President and his Queens!"
The video is stupid and long, about the history of each of the queens, gunfire and then it ends. Once the escort wiped his eyes underneath his curtains, he continues.
"I'm sorry, that was beautiful... ANYWAYS, we shall now call the name of the lucky gal to be reaped for these historic games."
He walks gracefully to the pastel pink bowl, and takes a name. Once he gets to the microphone, the name is read steadily.
"Savannah Darnell darling!" he yells.
Poor Savannah.... wait. Darnell... but that's my name. I grab the guys shirt next to me, and he keeps grip on me from falling over. Since I'm at one of the ends of the rows, a peacekeeper just drags me up to the stage, and a deep nausea is pitting against myself. I can hear screams and cries from somewhere in the distance. I wonder if it's May. But all I know is I am floating on a cloud of death.... And I feel really sick. I'm not sure how I look, but once I snap out of it, I try my best to regain my composure... I say my name in the microphone. That's when I see May crying, and pitting a fit.
"NO NO NO NO! SAVANNAH! PLEASE!" she screams, my dad has to hold her back from running up to the stage. A peacekeeper is trying to keep her contained.
I fight the urge to just explode in years and run to her. Finally my dad says something to her and she quiets down... silently sobbing.
"Well, now, for those strong men!"
The escort dips his hand down into the pastel blue bowl and pulls out a slip. I hear the name clearly announced,
"Textil Archeus!" he says.
Yet again, another girl starts crying. Textil, a blonde, kind of good looking guy, is hugging a blonde girl telling her he will be back for sure. She kisses him, and he kisses her, and they just do that for minute till he has to go on the stage. He announces his name, and once more tells the girl, Eevee is what he said, that he will be back no matter what it takes. That scares me a little... because he is a lot bigger than me. We look each other in the eyes, and shake hands. Then, the weird man woman escort drags us into the Justice Building.
May is the first one to rush in crying and screaming. I embrace her instantly and cry with her. I look her in the eyes, and tell her I'm coming back. There is an air of doubt to that, in which she asks right before she leaves,
"Cross your heart?"
"Cross my heart." and I kiss her forehead.
|Pack of Water||200►|
|Cooked Unsalted Beef||250►|
|Medical Kit (Contains the Following Three Items Below)||300►|
|Needle & Thread||25►|
|Throwing Knives (6)||95►|
|Throwing Knives (20)||250►|
|Throwing Axes (2)||200►|
|Ninja Stars (16)||160►|
|Poison Darts (30)||250►|
Items not on this list may be present at the Cornucopia.
Each Tribute Gets 70► for each singular kill, and 200► for each double kill.
Tributes in the Top Ten will recieve 10► for each other tribute that they outlast.
Tribute Money Chart
Will be added once all tributes have been submitted!
Will be added once all tributes have been submitted!