Chapter 1 The Reaping
I can hear the waves crashing, the breeze whispering, and the birds flying. I am closing my eyes, thinking ahead of my future. Please dont pick me at the reaping, it will start soon.
I stand up from the warm sand of District 4's beautiful beach filled with willow trees, thats where my last name comes from. Aqua Willows. I start walking towards the town's square. It's my sixth year at the reaping, my brother's third. He's turning 13 soon.
I love my home, the nature. I hate the Capitol and it's torture. On my way, let me tell you a bit about me. My name is Aqua Willows, I'm 16, from District 4. My mother died in a shark attack, 3 years ago, when I was 13, my brother was 10. It was painful for my whole family, and I know that it has damadged us all permanently. My dad is never here, we recieve money from him once in a while, but he has a very dangerous job.He works at the crab market. No, he doesnt sell crabs, he fishes them, then sells them to the market.
I have long blonde hair, it is brown at the roots. I'm really good with ropes, I can make tight and fast knots in seconds. Who knows? If I ever get reaped, they could be useful in the arena.
I looka ahead, and I'm already in the line to get my blood checked. IT STINGS. As I'm pushed by the sad crowd, I see my brother holding hands with his friends. I´ve always loved how independent he is. I watch the stage as a tall woman with short bright blue hair, walked up to the microphone and shouted happily: - Hello! Hello, I hope you had a nice breakfast, cause I am starving to know who will be our tributes from District 4!-.
As usual, she started with the typical -Ladies first!-, and everyone was nervous. She reached in the transparent bowl, pulled out a piece of paper and read out the name: -Aqua Willows!-
OH MY GOD! That is MY name. I froze, but somehow my legs started walking slowly towards the stage. I switched my blank face to a confident face. NO SMILE, it was impossible to smile. Everyone stared at me, I recognized many faces from town. I see my dad, a tear slips down his face. I find my brother, he is crying lightly looking at his feet, but he wipes away his tears when I get to the stage, because now they will pick a male tribute.
-Now the boys!- she said, everything went silent, you could ony hear the heartbeats of the crowd. -Derek Willows!- When I heard that name, the first thing that popped up in my head was MY BROTHER! NO! This can't be happening, I would volunteer but I'm already up here. My eyes grew wide, I was in shock. I saw my brother walking slowly towards the stage. This hurt me more than when I was picked me, but I refused to show sadness. In that moment, the most unexpeted thing happened, James Tides walked out of the crowd and yelled -I VOLUNTEER!- I watched as my brother stepped back into the crowd as confused as I was. James stepped up the stage, and we shook hands, by the look of his face I would think he is mad.
You see, last year, James used to be my best friend since I was ten, we shared everything, and told eachother everything. Until, the most horrible winter of all, hit District 4. There were practically no fish or fruits to eat, slowly we were starving. We were so desperate, we got into a fight. He decideed he did not want to share the food with me for his familys' sake. I told him that didn't have anything to do with our friendship, but it was no use, it didn't convince him. Since that day, the thing I less wanted to do was talk to him. I avoided him.
I'm so confused, that doesn't have anything to do with volunteering?! Is he a career tribute? Was he friends with my brother? Or does he just wanna be the one to kill me? This idea terrifies me.
Chapter 2 The Team
My brother and dad were the first ones to say goodbye to me at the Justice building. We were tearyeyed, takiing deep breaths, not able to speak. I took this time to let my sadness drain out. I cried, until they had to leave, they told me that I could win, that I'm strong enough. We exchanged I love yous, and they left crying.
Five minutes later, my best friend Shelby burst through the door. Her was in disbelief, I looked up at her and said: -Ill be alright-. She started crying, -What?! I cant believe you! How are you OK with this?! I should have volunteered for you!- she said. I responded -Youre crazy! I wouldn't let you do that-. -I would, you know, Im alone here, my dad left yesterday, I dont think hes coming back, and IM ALONE. You wouldnt have a choice Aqua-.
This is something I've never heard or thought of before. Is it true? Im so sorry for her, but also mad. Shes just making it harder for me to act strong. She stomped out of the room, while I was about to respond.I dont what I wanted to respond, I was speechless.
The peacekeepers came and took me away. We were shoved in a big train, I sat down on a silky couch, motionless not knowing what to do. Time passed and it was late afternoon, I got bored sitting on the couch playing with my hair , I decided to wonder the train halls. There was a door half open, I peaked through to find a shirtless James lying on his bed watching the roof. I couldnt really see his face but I think he was crying. Suddenly, he sat up. At that moment, I decided to act invisible and dissapeared in MY room. I looked at the images of previous district 4 tributes hanging on the wall. I came across Finnick's picture, blonde and actually kinda handsome. It wasnt long before Tinka, district 4s escort called us all up for dinner. I have to say, they eat dinner early here, back in my district we would prepare night meals like at 10 pm. It was the only time of the day our family was together.
At the dining room, I sat across from James Tides and next to our mentor, Finnick Odair. There was an awkward silence, so he tried to start conversation. -I think this years train design is beautiful- he said. tinka tagged along and added opinions until James was talking too. I didnt move, just picked at my food, I wasnt really in the mood.
I realized I havent talked much since the goodbye with Shelby, I wonder what shes doing now. Anyway, it would help me more if my team got to know me, but Im not really the social type of person, I prefer to be alone on the warm beach. I observed as they now talked about the training schedules. I didnt know what to say, so I just added a simple -When do i get to know my stylist?-. Their faces lit up and a glossy smile appeared on Tinkas face. -OH! Wonderful! I almost thought you were dead!- she said. Everyone giggled, for the first time I didnt fake the smile. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see James staring at me smiling. CREEPY What is up with him?
When we got to the capitol, it was about 10:00 pm. It did not matter, we were amazed by our suite on the fourth floor. There was a pool in the living room! My bed was blue, it had little white pillows. Next to the bed and closet, stood a tiny balcony that you could view from the city streets to the urban lake. It was really breathtaking! I changed into a comfortable wool shirt and some wierd ruffle pants, I used these as pijamas. Back at home, we never have enough money to buy wool.
Chapter 3 Stylists and Chariot Rides
The first night, I couldn't sleep a thing. I had nightmares of people I didn't know, and right at the moment I was actually falling asleep Tinka woke me and hurried me up for breakfast, and then we will meet our stylists.. I have to admit I was nervous. Do I really have a chance in the Hunger games?
I walked to the breakfast table. There was Tinka, James, Finnick , a small woman with jet black hair with white skin, and a tall man with firey red hair. -Hello- I said politely. Everyones faces turned to me smiling happily. -There she is! The Aqua Willows that everyone wants to meet!- said the girl. -I am your stylist, my name is Silverett Lockwood- said the man in a rather feminin voice. He said this, as he stood up and examined me, figuring out what he has to work with. The rest kept on eating. When he was finished, we sat down and started our perfect breakfast. Fluffy brown pancakes covered in soft syrup and a slippery piece of butter on top. Suddenly, I was starving! I hope I didn't disgust them by my gobbling up the food at once, at least I used the fork and knife, by there expressions nobody noticed.
As soon as we finished, Silverett, and the other girl named Dalia (James stylist) said goodbye and left to collect ideas on what they wouold pick for us to where to make the first impression. The Chariot Rides. I don't know how the stylists can make a giant detailed dress in only 7 hours! It would be so stressful, but they must have the right machinery and everything.
Around 1:00 in the afternoon, the stylist visit us once more to show us our costumes. Silverette leads me to a white room and closes the door. He doesnt want any paparazzi knowing my dress before the chariot rides. I sit down on a white bench opposite of where Silverette is sitting. -Aqua, you are from district 5, a beautiful district headed to the northerneast of Panem. There are beaches, meadows, and lovely resources. I want to picture you as a bright girl, that is helpful and needed everywhere. So, me and Dalia came up with an idea.- he said, as he took out the most beautiful and probably expensive dress I've ever seen. In his hand he held a poofy light blue dress, ankle length. It had a glittery silver sparkles on the skirt, the design kinda looked like seashells. He left the dress on the white bench and took out some beautiful SUPER high heel shoes, and some dark blue bracelets. How an I gonna walk in those?!
-This outfit is as blue as your eyes, and the beach. The glitter is a symbol for your brightness and intelligence. Now I want you...to do something for me.- he said. I got a little bit frightened. -I want you to promise me... that you will show that you are PROUD to be you, to be wearing this dress this beautiful afternoon.- With out thinking I smiled and nodded. The words came out of my mouth -This is one of the prettiest things Ive seen! Thankyou SOO much!-. I turned around, and Silverett was so delighted and proud of himself, he patted me on the back and left saying -Meet us downstairs for the chariot ride when you are finished changing!-
I dressed in the flawless dress, and twirled around in front of the mirror. The shoes hurt so much! but the dress was worth it. I walked downstairs trying not to trip with the shoes strapped on and walked, or should I say STUMBLED to the chariot. No one say except James, and he helped me up. That was the first time James has touched me since that unforgettable night where he left me.
I saw as the District 1 tributes were launched on their chariots and started waving at everyone with their outfits. I could tell they were dressed in really expensive gold, my father had a hook made of it, its really good cuality, but expensive. The other tributes looked uncomfortable in their outfits, mine was comfortable, despite the shoes. I would say the cottony blue and white shirt James is wearing is as comfy as this dress.
As the second chariot ws leaving, our team prepared to make our entrance, as we entered the room I heard a BOOM! from behind us. I was startled, James was too, I looked back, and I could see millions of little blue glitter flutter through the air behind us. I laughed and looked at the crowd, all eyes were on us! I was so happy, I wasnt thinking I jumped up and down wavbing at the crowd. I think I even hugged James! He hugged back.
Chapter 4 The plan
I looked back and saw the tribuites from District 5 coughing, because of the glitter that exploded from behind me aand James. Suddenly, I felt guilt, they gave me death glares. I think the girls name was Brithany, yeah, Brithany Foy.
She's a rather small girl with delicate brown hair. I wonder what she's like. At this moment, the 12 year old girl now was dressed in a bright orange and red dress covered in what seemed like brown cables. She looked beautiful in it.
Soon, the glorious ride ended. I waved to the shouting crowd as I left. They lead us to our room on the fourth floor once more, to be rushed into our rooms where stylists awaited with our outfits.