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This piece is about a headstrong twelve year old girl who is Reaped at a time when her district is at the brink of collapse, caused by one individual. She is not afraid, but when a young man with seemingly no moral code or feeling is called up to join her, she is forced to exact the one thing which cannot be forgiven: revenge. That girl is Willow Ashley from District 4, and this is her story.
My older sister, Leah, calls me downstairs. I ignore her. I know it's the day of the Reaping, but a single thought is keeping me here, in my cramped and musty bedroom.
He's a boy from my district, and he's been a thorn in somebody's side for as long as I can remember. The thing is, he would definitely be punished by now if it weren't for one inconsequential detail: he's the mayor's son. So really, he's untouchable because he's a blood relative of the most powerful man in District 4. Well, almost.
What worries me is that if he gets Reaped, not only will no-one volunteer to take his place but the girl who gets chosen will most likely be forced by the whole district to take him out. Sort of like peer pressure, only way bigger. And what plagues me is the chance that I could be that girl.
"Willow!" There's a tinge of anger in Leah's voice now, so I hurry down the stairs and meet her at the door, where she's standing with her typically pursed lips and stiff demeanour. I know it's because she's worried for me - and annoyed, to boot - but I give her a smile which I hope can't be read as fake. She doesn't pick up on it as we head out to the Square.
"I hope that delinquent, Oliver, gets his name drawn," I hear her mutter, and I feel my throat constrict. Despite all the damage that he's caused to District 4, I don't want to think about the poor girl who will have to kill him. It won't be me. It won't be me.
I am silent the whole way there. I promised myself I would not be afraid if I was Reaped with no Oliver in the picture, but somehow I can't let go of the horrible alternative. Oliver's name is only in the bowl once - being the mayor's son and all - but that doesn't mean he won't get picked.
TO BE CONTINUED...