|Chapter One - The Reaping
This was the day I had been dreading. I’ve handled how I’ve felt better than I did in previous years…but its still a matter of life or certain death. I woke up, feeling lethargic after a night of hardly any sleep. As I got some breakfast, the entire house was silent even though my whole family was awake. It felt awkward, not in the sense that you might see it - but as fear. Fear because my parents may lose two of their children, I might lose two of my siblings and vice versa. The chances are slim, yes, but it could happen. No one made conversation and it made me feel even more anxious than I already was. You see, I have two siblings: Jonathan and Melissa. Jonathan is thirteen whilst Melissa is just twelve. If anything was to happen to them…
I slipped on the clothes my dear mother had laid out for me. Once I was ready, I helped Jonathan get ready. He was so sensitive to this whole event and I was there to calm him down as much as I could.
“Jonathan,” I said. “If you’re picked out of the bowl: don’t worry. I’ll make sure you won’t get hurt.”
“Don’t get hurt?” he timidly replied to me. “Will, it’s the Hunger Games…I’ll get hurt.”
“Not if I have anything to do with it,” I stated. Jonathan looked at me naively and scurried out of his room. I sighed in thought.
The walk to the Reaping was terrible. I held Jonathan’s hand in one hand, and Melissa’s on my right. Melissa was in tears, her usually pale skin turned bright red. Jonathan was shaking fretfully, causing me to shake too. Thousands of children were making the same journey as us, walking towards the Justice Building. Hearing the nearing sounds of the crowds makes me want to run, but I can’t. If I run now, I’ll get punished and that’s the last thing my family need.
When we reach the entrance, we sign in. I sign first and wait for and assist my younger siblings. Melissa needed some help due to her sight being distorted, but it went as smoothly as it could. I left Melissa in the group of twelve year olds and left Jonathan in the group of thirteen year olds, before I made the lonesome walk to where my age group stand. In front of everyone, was a stage that had a number of seats, a microphone and a table which had a two big bowls in the centre of it. Each of the bowls had all the names of one gender and our district’s escort would select a random name. This name would belong to District 5’s tribute.
My name was in one of those bowls eight times, whereas Jonathan only had his name in their twice and Melissa only once. I had refused for them to claim tesserae, when I was already claiming it. It was for their own good…to keep them alive. The escort of District 5, Bella Kaneswaran, started her speech about how brave it is to represent District 5, how brave it is to participate in the games as a whole and how she hopes the odds are in our favour. Her Capitol accent makes me shudder.
“Ladies, first!” she exclaims. She dips her hand into one of the giant bowls and scoops up one of the names. “Jessica Cloud!” A girl with long, blonde hair silently walks onto the stage, without noticing all of the stares the rest of the children are giving her. Why was someone as pretty as her participating in the Horrible Games? I thought. I was lost in thought when Bella revealed District 5’s boy tribute. “Jonathan Hope!” The crowd went silent. I moved my head towards the aisle and when I saw my younger brother walk down towards the stage, I pushed my way through the crowd and stood in the middle of the aisle. Peacekeepers asked me to remain where I was stood, but I screamed “I volunteer!” in each of their faces. They stopped pushing and I calmly repeated my words to the whole crowd: “I volunteer.”
Chapter Two - Goodbye
As soon as I had been ushered onstage, it seemed that I was instantly ushered into a room in the Justice Building to say my goodbyes. The first people that entered were my parents. Tears were scattered across my mother’s face; my father’s head bowed. Seeing my parents upset, made me upset but I knew that if it was Jonathan or Melissa, they’d be even more disheartened.
“William,” my father said. “You don’t have to do this.”
“But I do have to this, dad!” I protested, almost whispering. “I have to do to protect Melissa and Jonathan. I’m doing it for the sake of the family, dad.”
“For the sake of the family?” my mother cried. “What if you get slaughtered, huh? What if you die of dehydration like -” She was cut of by her own tears. I knew who she was on about though. Amos Green, a twelve year old boy from District Three, died of dehydration in the 50th Hunger Games. It went silent after that and my parents were forced to leave.
That was the last time I saw them. It was the little portion of my family, that I’ll probably never see again.
We were soon told that the train that took us to the Capitol would arrive shortly. In the time it took for it to arrive, it gave me some thinking time. What would my tactics be? What would the other tributes be like? I glanced across to the female tribute. If looks could kill…
Boarding on the train, I felt nervous. This train had started from District 12 and picked up the tributes from 7 other districts before coming here. That’s fourteen tributes. I timidly walked on and allowed our escort to well, escort me to our mentor. He introduced himself, but I wasn’t paying attention. Neither was the other tribute as far as I could make out. Because this was the point where we realised what we were doing: putting ourselves in for certain death.