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Crud, I meant the 57th Hunger Games!!!
I wake up screaming from my nightmare. A horrible dream, a horrible one. My mother dying, it always plays in my mind over and over again. I can barely even remember her, and I'm sure my little brother doesn't either. He was only seven years old when she died. I live in District Three, one of the poor districts of Panem. There was a war here, there used to be thriteen districts, until the thirteenth was obliviated, destroyed. The others were completely overpowered by the cruel Capitol. The idiots in the Capitol that make us participate in these stupid Hunger Games every year. I don't know why they make us, but they do. I think it's because of what our ancestors did seventy-seven years ago. Which reminds me, today is the reaping. My name was put in about thirty times. I am fifteen years old, which makes my chances very high. Higher than my brother who's only twelve this year. His first reaping. Oh, I hope he doesn't get reaped.
"Rai!" My father calls for me. I almost forgot I have to go to the woods to get the berries for breakfast. My father taught me to know which berries were poisonous and which ones weren't. I carry a little book in my pocket that tells me in case I'd ever forget. I pull my hair back into plain pigtails like I always do, and put on my wood clothes. I run into the kitchen and give my father a kiss on the cheek. He smiles and hugs me.
"I'm going to go get the berries." I tell him and he nods. I walk out the door and run to the woods. I climb up the fence, even though it's supposed to be electric 24/7. It isn't, though. I jump down off the fence and walk around looking for my friend Matt. He's usually in the highest tree. I walk around looking up the trees and finally see his foot dangling down. I start to climb up the tree and I call his name.
"Hey there Rai." He calls down and I smile. Matt and I are from the poor part of our district, but we look like opposites. I have bright hazel eyes, and red hair, and ghostly pale skin. He has dark hair, dark eyes, and tan skin. I can basically make his skin look about three shades darker than it really is.
"Hello." I tell him as he picks me up by the waist to lodge me up on his branch. He's medium heigth, and I'm really short. I look out over the woods and see a berry bush with ripe blueberries. I jump down and Matt follows behind me swiftly. I run over to the bush and pick as many berries as I can hold in my bag. Matt takes some as well. I eat a few because I'm starving, and of course that isn't unlikely, in District Three, you might just die of starvation.
"Well, I better get back, my mom's probably worried sick." Matt tells me and I laugh. We both have a parent missing, and our remaining parent is completely overprotective. I grab my bag and we race to the fence. I always win. I'm so much faster because I've been running from everything my whole entire life. I climb back over the fence and run back to my house. I walk in and hand my father my bag of berries. He smiles and I hear bells ringing outside. The reaping bells. This is Reaping Day. My brother's very first Reaping Day. I go upstairs and see a green dress layed out on my bed. I braid my hair in two pigtails and put the dress on. It falls just below my knees. I walk out and show my father, and he smiles.
"You look just like your mother in that dress." My father tells me and I smile. I take my brother's hand and we walk to the town square. I wait in line to have my finger pricked with my brother. I hold out my finger and they prick it, and I wince a little at the pain. The woman smiles and I walk to the fifteen-year old section. I stand next to Matt, and he puts an arm around my shoulders, and rubs my arm. I start to cry a little.
"Sh, sh, Rai, it'll be alright." He says and I try to smile, but I can't.
The movie plays, and I must fall asleep because Matt shakes my shoulder to wake me up. "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Now time to pick the female tribute for the Seventy-seventh Hunger Games!" She bobbles over to the girls' reaping ball. "Railee Barker." She pipes in her Capitol accent. I look at Matt and he shakes his head. He leans down and does something I'll never forget. He kisses me.
"Rai, I'll volunteer." Matt whispers into my ear before I walk up to the stage. I look back at Matt and shake my head. He frowns.
"Now, we go to the boys." The escort says as soon as I get on the stage. She bobbles over to the boys' reaping ball and pecks a name off the top. "Matt Harrison." She says and I start to cry. Matt doesn't take his eyes off me as he walks up to the stage. I don't take my eyes off him either as he walks up. We shake hands, but I pull him into a hug, not caring if the whole district can see. Peacekeepers pull me off and they bring me to the Justice Building to say my final goodbyes. I sit, but no one comes. No one. Not my father, or my brother, or anyone. Then I think I see the door crack open, and a Peacekeeper grabs my arm and brings me to the train.
"Rai! I have something for you." Matt tells me as soon as he sees me. I fly into his arms and he strokes my long red hair. He slides something around my neck and I look down and see a golden heart-shaped locket.