ppy birthday and had dinner and cake and by the end of the night before the crack of dusk, everyone but mine and Clarice’s family were gone. Our grandparents had asked us if me, Clarice, Arabella, and Violet wanted to spend the night since it was tradition before every Hunger Games that we would spend the night just in case something were to happen to any of us. It used to be mainly for me and Clarice since at one time me and her were the only ones legible to be picked to be a tribute in the Games, but now Arabella was legible so our grandparents nerves were sort of all over the place.
“Yeah, sure Grandma! We’d love to!” Violet said, happily. She never really knew the real reason why we stayed over, which was the best way for it to be.
Me and Clarice walked over to our houses and grabbed our things, and then walked back over to our grandparents house. Once we were all settled we stayed up and played some games and then Grandpa told us a story about one of the Hunger Games that he never forgotten, which was the full lengthen story of the time when the District 1 tribute betrayed the girl from District 7. It was a scary and intense Games, something I would never want to live through.
The story ended the night for everyone since it was getting really late, and I went upstairs to mine and Clarice’s quarters in the house and we both fell asleep on the bunk that grandpa had made us when we were kids. I got the bottom, Clarice got the top.
The next morning you could tell all over District 12 people were quiet, and starting to become really nervous. I decided that I was going to practice more today just in case tomorrow went against anything that I had hoped for. I asked Clarice if she wanted to train and she said no, that her mom wanted to spend the whole day with her for the same reasons. I decided that it was best to hang out with my family too so I shot about fifty times until every single one was bulls eyed and went back to the house. My mom began to cry as soon as I walked in with my bow and arrows and came over and gave me a hug, which caused Arabella to cry.
“Mom, stop. You’re upsetting Arabella. I’ve been lucky enough to never get picked, and this is the last year. It’s going to be okay.” I said, trying to calm her down. But the only thing it got me was space to breathe because she continued to cry. My dad sort of laughed at them because they were being completely ridiculous, and he knew I was right. Besides, if it was my last day to spend in District 12, I did not want to spend it with them crying.
We all went for a walk into the market and I was afraid that the Peacekeepers were going to be there, but they weren’t. Hardly anyone was, besides the lady running the clothing stand.
“Can I help you find something?” She asked my family and I, who decided to look around just for the hell of it, and because there was no one else around to give her any sort of business or human interaction. I found it sort of odd that she wasn’t spending time with her family before Reaping day tomorrow, and I guess Arabella did too because she asked why she wasn’t spending time with her family.
“I don’t have any family to spend time with, my son was killed two years ago in the Games and my daughter got married and moved to District 4 with her rich husband. She hasn’t spoken to me since she left.” The woman said, seemingly weird as if it didn’t bother her at all besides when she mentioned her son being killed in the Games.
“I’m sorry, it really isn’t any of my business.” Arabella said, walking away to another rack of shirts that she found interesting.
When I walked over to another station that seemed to sort of be hidden, as if it were for older people above 18 years old, I asked her about it. All I saw was ink and a needle.
“What’s all that for?”
She smiled and walked over to it, happy to finally be of assistance to one of us since we were just looking around to make her feel good.
“Tattoos.” She said, smiling up at me as if gesturing a question to whether or not I wanted one.
I didn’t hesitate, of course I wanted one. My parents didn’t care either, because I was 18 and considered an adult now. I could make my own decisions.
“Do you have any idea of what you want?” She asked me, and I had no idea. She proceeded with another question, “You’re good with a bow and arrow, aren’t you boy?”
I nodded. She grabbed my hand and told me to close my eyes. I could feel her drawing something on both my arms, and when I opened them when she told me to do so, she had drawn a shield on my right arm which I use to fire the arrows with, and it was split down the middle with a lightning bolt looking crack to it. And then I looked over to my left arm and it showed a target symbol, with an owl stretched across it.
“The owl and target is for good accuracy and sight, while the broken shield is for powerful shooting and death. Maybe these will give you the power you need to remain in control if you were ever sent into the Games or just out hunting. Sort of like good luck charms…do you like it?” She asked me, and I nodded and smiled, then said, “They’re really cool, how much?”
She shook her head and smiled, “Free of charge, my dear boy. I saw what you did yesterday with your cousin, you’re very brave.”
Trying to avoid my parents weird looks and possible questions that they could be asking at any second, I changed the subject with thank you and asked her about her son.
“What was it like for you, watching your son fighting in the arena?”
She told me how nervous she was at the Reaping, and that when her son was picked she almost fainted and had a heart attack to the point where someone behind her had to sit her up right. She cried for nearly a day and a half straight, even when she went to visit him in the Justice Building, where parents and friends had only about three minutes each to visit their loved ones before they were sent off into the Capitol to train and get ready to fight to the death in the arena.
My mom exchanged looks with my dad, in a sort of agreement of how she would react if I were to be picked. He put her arm around her and kissed her head, trying to make her feel better and not think about it too much. Arabella had found some shirts and pants she had liked, and after the prickling from the needle came to an end and my tattoos were finished, they looked amazing. She gave Arabella the shirts, asking for only 25 cents for all the clothes, since the tattoo was free thanks to my brave act that might just get me in trouble some day.
“Thank you.” We all said to the woman as we walked back to the house. I could not stop staring at my tattoos, even when it was time for bed. They were so cool, and before I went to bed I went to the washroom and cleaned myself up. I went back to my room where I laid on my bed, dreading what tomorrow was. Reaping day.
Waking up in my bed with sweat on my clothes wasn’t exactly how I had been planning on starting off the already gloomy, unwelcoming day. It was officially Reaping day, and last night’s night terrors weren’t any help in remembering myself of it. My mom walked into the room to make sure I was up and told me that breakfast had been served and that after I was immediately to return to the washroom and get ready for the Reaping because we did not want to be late. It was 9 o’clock in the morning and the Reaping starts at 11 o’clock, and anyone who is late after 10 minutes is considered a runaway and is automatically killed on sight.
I walked downstairs to find Arabella had already eaten her breakfast and was now just laying on the couch, trying to get another half hour of sleep before she had to get ready for the Reaping. My dad was sitting down at the kitchen table having his black coffee and some toast, while bacon and eggs were laying on a plate in front of my seat.
“Where did you get the bacon from? I didn’t bring any pig game home.” I said, surprised but excited about the mysterious bacon.
Mom smiled, “Your grandparents gave it to us at the party as a little surprise to have before the Reaping. Hurry up and eat, Aunt Deanie wants to meet a few minutes early and go together. She’s been really nervous this year, says she had a bad feeling about this one.”
Of course, I didn’t think anything of it. I have missed out on the “amazing” opportunity to participate in the bloody Games for the past 6 years, and I think I’m on good shoulders again for this one. If I was, than it was officially over for me, but the nightmares and anxiety won’t go away, because Clarice still would have 1 more year, Clarice would have 3, and Violet would have 6. It won’t be over until I’m in my late 20’s when I can finally say that the Hunger Games won’t affect my family anymore, until I have my own family to take care of and introduce to the Games. My parents were lucky enough to avoid the Games all years as well as Clarice’s parents, so I’m going to hold onto that family luck and see if it gets everyone by again this year around.
It was 9:45 and time was going faster than I had thought. I went upstairs to take a shower in our tub with our water basket for washing our hair and body, and the wash cloth that we had to wash and then use every time. When I was done I got dressed into appropriate clothing for the Reaping, which wasn’t too formal, but no one showed up looking like a bum either. Capitol rules, I guess. Getting all nice and ready just to be Reaped into the Games where you die in a matter of minutes, hours, or days. How exciting. I can see how it all makes sense…
It was finally 10:30 and we were ready to leave and meet up with Clarice and Violet. We spotted them at our Grandparents house, who were also ready as well. Even though they were senior citizens, they were forced to go to the Reaping just in case their grandchildren had been picked. Some people use it as an excuse to get out of the Games, which their entire family wasn’t there to be with them, and that’s when the Peacekeepers usually execute the whole family, including the chosen tribute.
Clarice and I looked at each other and instead of greeting each other like we usually do with smiles or sometimes jokes, we glared at each other with such grim faces that one could think we hated each other or were depressed. But, we have as many reasons to be depressed, after all. Today was the Reaping, not Christmas.
“Everything is going to be okay, you hear me?” Aunt Kyra said to Clarice, rubbing her back. Clarice shrugged her shoulders which caused Aunt Kyra’s hand to come off her back.
“Don’t even tell me that.” Clarice said, walking ahead of everyone. I understood how she was so upset, but she didn’t have to be so dramatic and hate on her mom so much for just trying to comfort her. Everyone noticed my tattoos and loved them, thinking that they were good “mental support” for me when I’m shooting my bow. Which I agree, it definitely gives me more confidence in my shooting. Just thinking about it I can already see some improvements, but it was all mental help. I don’t know how I would do physically with just tattoos on my arms, the magic behind it would probably fade away if I ever came close to needing to actually kill something, or someone.
We were a mile away from the Justice Building, where the Reaping was held. When we got closer, we could see the workers already fixing everything up, such as the screen that plays the Capitol video showing the reasons why we have the Hunger Games and that it was to be acknowledged as law, not some sort of payback for rebelling against the government. But we all know how much bull that really is.
When we approached the entrance to the Reaping, there was a separate line for adults and children. The children who weren’t eligible to participate in the Reaping were to go with the parents, and the legible participants were to go in one line to get their finger pricked with a needle so they can be identified with their blood.
“See you after.” Everyone said to me, Clarice, and Arabella in their own different ways. We gave our last hugs and kisses before separating into different lines. Our moms were already crying, and so was Violet. Some of the 1st year participants were shaking and tearing up at the same time, but they were never able to actually cry because of how much shock and fear they were in.
“Be calm, and don’t think about it. Okay?” I said to Arabella, which I told her every year.
She nodded as we entered into the Reaping grounds and walked over to the pricking station. They called out our names alphabetically by last name, so Clarice, Arabella, and I all went together. After being pricked, we made our way into the guys sections and the girls sections. Clarice and Arabella found their own spots next to these girls that they always stand next to, who live in the other side of the district. Jake and Alex were in their original spots, and greeted me as I walked over to them.
“One more year, wonder what’s going to happen?” Jake said, clapping me on the back. Alex seemed more terrified this year than every other year, but I don’t know why.
“What gives?” I asked Alex, and he shrugged his shoulders and avoided conversation.
Before we could get into an in depth conversation about the boy from the bakery and President Snow’s message he gave the citizens who were in the market, a strange woman who dressed in exotic colors and had a big, curly pink wig with a bright purple bow on the top left side of it appeared on the stage. I looked over at Clarice, who made instant eye contact with me. We both nodded and I mouthed, “It’ll be okay.” To her, and she tried managing a smile, but instead nodded and turned her head to the stage where Effie began tapping on the microphone.
“Welcome, welcome…to the 74th annual Hunger Games! Like we always do, we’re going to start off with a special presentation brought to you all the way from the Capitol!” She said, with the biggest smile on her face. She was always weird and creepy about the Games, but somewhere deep down I could see that it bothered her having to manage the Reaping for District 12. Seeing how helpless and poor everyone is just made it worse that we were about to offer up two people that people love, that two families love, that friends love, that the whole district loves.
The movie always started off with a creepy picture of a pile of skulls. Than President Snow’s voice echoed throughout the whole Reaping grounds.
“War…terrible war. This is what the Districts of Panem brought to our nation. Man turned on man, brother turned on brother. Motherless children, orphans, widows…this is what the rebellion against the government brought to its people. But, safety and prosperity found its way into sunlight once again…”
As the video continued, I could see everyone now starting to get antsy and nervous. They knew that the Reaping was officially, about to begin at any moment when the video was over. The good thing is, it’s fast and to the point. They don’t drag it out longer than they should, which would just be cruel. Not that the Games enough aren’t cruel, or making families wait for the loved ones to be Reaped, but it was better for me that it was fast and not slow.
“…So the government come to decreed, that each year an annual Hunger Games will be hosted by the Capitol and the Gamemakers, and that a public Reaping would be held in every district in Panem, where a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 will be chosen to train in the training arena in the Capitol, and learn how to fight to the death, in the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor…”
The President’s voice echoed one last time and it was time for the Reaping. My heart was pounding faster than it did when the bear attacked me and Clarice had to save me in the woods when we went hunting. I couldn’t imagine how scared the 12 year olds who’s first year of having the chance to be Reaped. Luckily for me, ladies went first.
Before Effie could begin, a woman ran into the Reaping grounds screaming, “I’m here, I’m here!” It was the mother of some 16 year old boy named Jack, who was late to the Reaping. For causing such a disturbance, the Peacekeepers took her behind the shed that was inconveniently placed in the Reaping grounds, and you could hear fists hitting pure flesh. Jack couldn’t do anything because if he did, they would both be shot. Since he was so close to me, I reached over to him and told him to remain calm and focus, and that as soon as the Reaping was over, they would stop beating her. Which was true, since she was only a few minutes late, they weren’t going to execute her. Plus, she was Jack’s only family left, and a parent must be present at a Reaping, so they can feel the same pain the Capitol’s people felt when the rebels of the Districts rebelled against the Capitol and killed its children.
“There seems to be something wrong with the girls containers with the names, some additions need to be put into the glass. So this year, we will start with the boys.” Effie said, walking over to the boys glass bowl full of names.
My heart started to pound even faster. So much adrenaline and fear was rushing through me all at once that my body went into a shock and my hearing went out completely. I saw that Effie placed her hand into the glass bowl and swam through all the names with her hand and finally picked up a slip of paper. She unwrinkled it and said the name.
Since I couldn’t hear, I had hoped it wasn’t me. Then I began to see a sign of relief on mostly everyone’s faces in the boys section, but then I saw their attention turned to me. They all looked at me, and Jake placed his hand on my shoulders and gave me a look. What was happening? Had I been picked?
I looked over at Clarice, who was trying her hardest not to cry, and saw Arabella trying to push her way through Clarice, who was also holding her back. She was screaming and crying. But since I couldn’t hear well from everything that was going on inside my body, I saw two Peacekeepers coming my way and grabbed my arms so hard that I was automatically forced to try and lose their grips by shrugging them off. They didn’t hit me or say anything to me when I did so, because I participated with them accordingly. I didn’t bother looking for my family, because I did not want to see how they were reacting to this. It felt so weird that I was actually picked. I was not expecting it at all, and when I walked up the concrete stairs of the Justice Building, I found myself on stage with Effie and the Capitol senators behind us, sitting in chairs, a few feet apart, emotionless.
“Figures…” I thought to myself, as Effie walked over to the glass bowl full of girls’ names and apologized to everyone for the inconvenience. Someone began to shout nasty things at Effie, but everyone seemed to ignore it because since the voices were coming from inside a crowd, giving attention to the shouter would identify him immediately, and he would probably be executed.
Effie picked a name out of the glass bowl and walked over to the microphone. She unwrinkled the name and just stared at it, obviously puzzled. She didn’t speak, which left the whole district on edge. She looked behind her and whispered something to the head Gamemaker, who had to be present during the Reaping. He shrugged his shoulders and gave her an okay to say the name. She looked at me before speaking and then happily said, “The girl representing District 12 in the 74th annual Hunger Games is… Clarice Chapman!”
My heart sank to my stomach. How could this happen so conveniently? Somehow it had to be rigged…it had to be. I began thinking of how much of a chance we might have to winning the Games now that we were partnered together, which I began to feel like a Capitol person who thrived at watching the Games and got immediately disgusted with myself. I almost shed a tear when I saw Clarice walking up to the stage with the Peacekeepers, and then got a slight view of my family. My dad was on his knees, having lost all strength in his legs, and my Uncle was leaned up against the fence that was directly behind them, his back facing us. Arabella was being carried away by Jake and Alex after attempting to run onto stage and get us off, while our grandparents hugged each other and sobbed. Our moms were holding each other and crying, while Violet hugged her mom and was bawling her eyes out. People started to crowd around them and tried comforting them, but nothing would ever calm them down after this. Nothing would ever be enough to forgive the Capitol for throwing in two children from the same family, nothing. My family wasn’t the only people who felt this way, either. When I was standing on one side of Effie and Clarice on the other, and we were facing our District, everyone began to shout awful things at Effie and about the Capitol. That’s when I saw it. The woman who gave me the tattoo’s held up a large, flag like cloth that had my tattoo carved into it. Except, there was an addition to it. The shield with the lightning bolt crack going down it, causing the shield to break into two pieces, was also breaking through another symbol. It was the changed symbol of the eagle you find on the back of quarters, the only difference being the eagle is clutching a bunch of arrows in both claws, representing war, and only war. The seal of the Capitol.
Before a mob could take place, Effie grabbed onto mine and Clarice’s shirts and pulled us into the Justice Building, placing us into the same room since we were family. Normally, if the two tributes aren’t related in any way, they place them in two different rooms. Luckily for us, we got to see our families together considering that’s why we were placed in here in the first place…to say our final goodbyes before being sent into the Games.
“I don’t think we were picked together by chance…” Clarice said, looking at me walking over to the window to look at all the people rioting. I could see our family being escorted by the Peacekeepers into the Justice Building, so I backed away from the window and stood next to Clarice and simply said, “We’ll talk about this on the train ride to the Capitol. We don’t speak of this to our mentor, or to Effie because who knows who we can trust now that we’re officially in the Games. Great, here they come.” I finished as my parents walked in, then Clarices, then Arabella and Violet, then our grandparents. Everyone exchanged hugs and kisses and then my dad looked at Clarice and I with the most serious face I’ve ever seen him have.
“You both know very well how to survive in these Games. Use your weapons, and do not…do not go for them as soon as the timer runs out and everyone runs to the middle of the Cornucopia. That’s suicide waiting to happen, because once you get there and get what you want, the minute you turn around, someone who was faster than you will be just finishing their swing with a sword to your necks. You get right into the forest and leave everything behind. Find food, find water, and make shelter if you need to. No fires during the night time.”
Clarice and I nodded as he finished his sentence and everyone gave final hugs and kisses before the Peacekeepers gave anyone else a chance to say some advice to us before we were shipped off to the Capitol. Once our families were escorted out, Clarice and I looked at each other and did not say a word until Effie came in and asked if we were ready to go. We both nodded and she grabbed us by the arms, leading us out onto the stage of the Justice Building to say goodbye to our district and then had Peacekeepers follow us three to the train just in case someone was going to start rioting and try to take us away, or possibly do us a “favor” and kill us. Three years ago a girl was killed after being picked to participate in the Games by her father because he didn’t want her going, thinking she didn’t have a chance. Statistics show that if she went into the Games, she would have had a 75% chance of winning. He was arrested immediately and then committed suicide himself in the Capitol prisons after hearing the statistics that the doctors told him.
“You two are just going to love the train ride! You get to experience all of these Capitol goodies that no one else does!” She said, with a big, bright smile on her face. She obviously is completely oblivious to the fact that we just said our possible final goodbyes to our family and the last thing we want to do is hear about how the Capitol is spoiling us till our deaths.
“Great…” I said, walking into the train cart and hearing it slam shut as soon as Effie walked in. The Peacekeepers did not follow us into the train cart, because they had their own. Our mentor was no where to be found when we walked into the lobby where all the food and drinks were. They even served us alcohol. It was all a trick. Even though we’re not in the arena just yet, the Games have already started. Drinking alcohol and eating all of these delicious looking food would cause us to gain weight and drain our stamina greatly.
“Don’t eat anything besides nutritious food, and drink only water.” I said to Clarice, as she nodded. I could tell she just wanted to sit in silence for a little while, which was okay.
All of the furniture was stainless steel it seemed like, or a very shiny glass. The alcohol was died to different colors such as lime green, dark blue, purple, yellow, orange, red, and brown. The candy and baked goods looked delicious, almost impossible not to crave, but we fought our hunger as best as we could until the maids served us dinner on the train, which was okay to eat because it was chicken breasts, bread, corn, and green beans. A hearty, healthy dinner.
Clarice said a couple words here and there, but that’s when our mentor, Haymitch, a drunken victor that won the Hunger Games years ago, during a Quarter Quell year, came into the train cart where we were. All she really did was introduce her and me, and then sat back down and stared out the window.
During a Quarter Quell, President Snow picks additions that are added to the Games every 25 years, creating the Quarter Quells. Haymitch’s Hunger Games had 48 tributes, instead of 24. He won, and ever since then, he hasn’t been the same. He’s no longer happy unless he’s got drink with him, and he remains mostly in a protective, sarcastic and smartass personality realm. There’s no going back after you’ve been changed from the Games, and Clarice and I knew that; so we respected it and just asked favorable questions that would help us in the Games. We started off with the most obvious question imaginable that he must have been asked millions of times, considering once you win the Games, you can become a mentor; which is a profession that allows you to train and mentally prepare tributes for their own Games, so they’re ready to face the brutality and death of the arena.
“How do you stay alive?” I asked, and Haymitch didn’t answer. He walked over to the whiskey cabinet and poured himself some more whiskey. He looked at me after taking a swig from the bottle and said, “Don’t die, dumby.”
I looked at Clarice who got up and walked out of the compartment. After all, it was already 11 o’clock and everyone, including Haymitch, was probably tired. And besides, there was plenty of time to prepare for the Games. We had another day and a half on the train ride, and once we were off the train ride, we were going to be washed and shaved and then taken to dinner, which will have the Tribute Parade to follow up, which means that our costume designers were going to show us off to the world.
“But how are they going to show us off…we’re from District 12. Our district is in charge of Capitol coal, that’s not anything really exciting.” Clarice said to Haymitch and Effie the next morning when we woke up and sat at the breakfast table.
“Yeah, all the other years the tributes were boring from 12.” I said, trying to add in the fact that there really was no hope in us looking anything great to gain the sponsors attention.
Sponsors are people who watch the Games and are very wealthy. They are hired by the Gamemakers and their job is to send help in any way, shape, or form to a tribute that they favor to help them live throughout the Games, and possibly win.
“Let me see your tattoo, boy. The shield.” Haymitch said, after pouring whiskey into his coffee. I rolled up my right sleeve and revealed the tattoo that the market woman gave me before Reaping day. That’s when I remembered what she did. She defied the Capitol by flying up that flag with my tattoo carved into it, with the Capitol seal being broken into two pieces with the shield by the lightning bolt crack. She was probably whipped in front of the whole district, or killed. My guess was that it was her last real chance to stand up to the Capitol for taking her son from her. If only people were half that brave, maybe another rebellion could happen…and maybe, just maybe, we could win this time.
“Ah, Cinna will have some brilliant ideas with this, kiddo. Keep your head up and try and be helpful to your cousin here and win sponsors to yourselves. You both need as much help as you can get, because my guess is that every tribute that was picked already knows you’re the favorable pair, considering you’re cousins. And what better way to start off the Games by slowly killing family members? The other districts will love that.” Haymitch said, then being smacked on top of the head by a rolled up paper by Effie.
“That’ll be enough of you, Haymitch! To fill these kids heads with such thoughts isn’t going to want them to leave the train at all, let alone fight and protect each other in the Games!”
She marched out of the lobby and went into her own train cart to get ready to show us off to the Capitol. She gave us these soft clothed outfits to wear, that were plain and simple. A lightly tanned button up shirt, along with faded jeans. The number 12 was on the back of the button up shirt, so I’m guessing each and every tribute that was approaching the Capitol at this moment was also getting into similar outfits, representing their districts with their district numbers sewed onto the back of their shirts as well.
Another hour went by and as we finished getting ready, we went under a dark, long tunnel and as soon as we appeared out of it, we could see it. The Capitol. It was huge, and very futuristic looking. All of the buildings were either white, or concrete. I never saw anything like it.
“You live here?” I asked Effie, and she nodded.
“Oh yes, isn’t it fabulous? Wait till your inside! It’s truly breathtaking.” Effie said, with another huge smile on her face.
We approached the train station where it seemed all of the Capitol citizens were waiting for our arrival. They wore very weird clothes like Effie did. They had multi colored wigs on, some people having blue ones, purple ones, orange ones, green ones, red ones, pink ones, the list goes on. Their clothes generally were the same color or shade of color that their wig was, along with their pants and shoes. Some of them had weird eyebrows that extended past their nose, some had colored eyebrows that matched their clothes, along with their lips being colored and some went so far as to color their whole body a lighter or darker shade of their clothes.
“These people are weird.” Clarice said, and I noticed Effie give Clarice a dirty look. I couldn’t help but laugh, which Effie caught on quickly. She huffed and walked to the operating car, where the driver was. She told them to park us in the center of the train station, where the most people were. She did us a huge favor because the more we waved to people and smiled like we wanted to be here, two family members ready to face 22 tributes and even each other in the infamous arena, was spectacular to them. Something that they could never forget. The hard part was that Clarice and I both knew that we weren’t going to kill each other, and that if it ever came down to the two of us, I would have her kill me instead of us fighting, so she could go home and share the wealth with our whole family. But we weren’t planning on that happening, we wanted to stick together during the arena because we could kill people faster and smarter with the two of us and our skills being put together as one, but doing that would doom us to that fate of her having to kill me to end the Games. There had to be another way.
“Remember, smile and wave. Act like you want to be here and you can’t wait to face off in the arena. Believe it or not, those thoughts will keep you alive, and gain you sponsors.” Haymitch said, hiding from the citizens as he finished getting his fancy blue overcoat on with his tanned pants and black dress shoes. At least he dressed somewhat normal, considering his hair was just naturally long and blonde. Not long enough to go past his shoulders, which I would automatically assume it, would be a wig if that were the case.
Effie put Clarice’s hair into a fancy braid and had her show it off to the citizens as she waved to them when we finally were able to get off the train and walk on the Tribute Carpet, which would lead us directly into the Games Penthouse, where we were housed while we stayed in the company of the Capitol.
As we walked down the carpet, Clarice and I waved to all of the citizens that we could. We agreed with some of them when they asked, “Are you prepared to kill one another in the arena?” which brought many of the citizens to scream with excitement. How sickening, I thought to myself as I fake smiled to everyone and waved even more. I could see other tributes walking a few yards ahead of us, doing the same thing. Except the Careers, the tributes from Districts 1,2,3, and 4, who were happily signing autographs and taking pictures with the citizens.
“Great, looks like we all know who’s getting all the sponsors.” I said to Clarice, but before she could answer, Haymitch interrupted her.
“Don’t think like that, they do this every year. Just because they’re taking pictures doesn’t mean you guys don’t have anything to offer the sponsors.” Haymitch said, patting both our backs as we finally made it to the end of the Tribute Carpet. We walked inside the Games Penthouse which was awesome. The Games Hallway was the first tour we went on with just Effie and Haymitch, since the other tributes went through with their mentors as well. We saw pictures from all the other Games, some bloody and gruesome, others just self-portraits of the victors from all the previous years. We saw Haymitch’s picture, but he walked past it without saying a word. Once we were done with the Games Hallway, Haymitch and Effie lead us into the lobby where a big statue of a man and a woman was standing, in the middle of the lobby with chairs and tables all around it on the marble floor. They were facing off, the man having a trident and the woman an axe, and on the stand of the statue it said, “Welcome, Tributes of the Districts of Panem, to the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor.”
We passed the lobby to the elevators that took us to our washrooms, where hired men and women of the Capitol were to shave us and wash us, to make us look “presentable” in their eyes, since we weren’t from the Capitol and they believe that we didn’t have the same hygiene as them. I was taken to the boys area, and Clarice was taken to the girls, naturally. After we were shaved, bathed, and made presentable, we were taken to our penthouse designated to District 12. Since we were the poorest district, we got the best penthouse in the whole Games Penthouse building. We walked in and there was furniture and tables made of stainless steel, with different colors to compliment the steel. I don’t know what it was about the Capitol being big on colors, but it sort of looked pretty cool.
“Now, dinner is going to be served after the Tribute Parade. Cinna and your costume crew will be arriving in approximately any minute to introduce themselves and share their ideas with you. Of course, your costumes are supposed to be a surprise to you too, so they won’t reveal everything.” Haymitch said as Effie walked over to the waiters and waitresses in our penthouse, and told them to bring us some waters and fruits to hold us over until dinner time. When they got back from bringing us our refreshments, we saw they brought the cleanest, freshest looking water I’ve ever seen, and lots of different fruits which were glazed over with sugar crystals, along with a complimentary tray of a dozen different fruit dips.
We munched on them for a few minutes until Cinna and the costume crew came in. Cinna was a short, tanned black man and his crew members Fulvia, Cressida, and Harley had their skin colored. Fulvia had a olive green look to herself, Cressida a pale, but great looking white skin tone, and Harley having a light cobalt color to herself.
“If we weren’t in the Capitol I would think we were at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I said, which no one else laughed at besides Clarice, because that was a movie that took place in District 12, which was supposed to make fun of President Snow and the Capitol citizens.
“I know how hard this may be for you both.” Cinna said, placing a hand on both mine and Clarices shoulder. “It is very rare, if at all, that two family members are picked to fight against one another from the same district. Did you two cause any trouble for your district before the Reaping?” Cinna asked us.
We thought and only came up with two things. Hunting in the restricted part of the district and maybe getting caught on camera shutting the electricity off the fence, and then me throwing down the spear that the baker’s boy carried with him to hunt in front of the Peacekeepers. We also told them about the lady from the market’s flag, which showed off my tattoo with an extra addition being torn apart: The Capitol Seal.
Haymitch laughed to himself when we explained everything, reminding himself again of how much he hates the Capitol and wishes he had taken part of all those things with us. Effie was shocked and drank more wine to try and calm herself down, over reacting as usual. Cinna smiled and nodded, “Perfect. No wonder you both were picked, Snow is trying to set an example to the districts that even family plotting together against the Capitol won’t be spared. And if that’s truly the message that he’s sending, considering this is my last year as costume designer, I’m going to go out with a never forgetting bang with your costumes, since you can’t be charged for what I do to you guys. Only I can, and quite frankly, I’d love to see Snow’s face when he sees what I’ve done to your costumes.”
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