Ashlyn Dawson: One last dawn

Word Count - 550 

Stage in Games - Reaping Day

District: 2

"Good luck out there Dawson," Tiara West shouted over the street at me. My eyes flicked from the dusty ground to her sadistic grin, and sneered. "It looks like you'll need it." I clenched my fists as she began to giggle. Her and her unnaturally tall twin brother, Tobi, had taken the week before the Reaping as a perfect time to target me. The bruising would show on the beaming stage if I was chosen. The dark blue of my iris seemed brighter on the background of deep purple skin.

"Back off West!" I barked back. Today was no day to look weak. "Besides, the arena's a war-zone, not a beauty pageant!" She stared back with distaste, dropping the hair she was twirling around her finger. I gave her a smug smile and walked away, Sean and Marisa wouldn't wait forever.

The backstreets of the district were quiet, as usual. Reaping day always began with a calm morning. The Careers went to the training centre early to get in some last-minute practice. The other children had nothing to fear, knowing that if they were picked a big, strong warrior would take their place. Adults stayed inside, planning feasts and parties for the evening that was to follow. How people could celebrate the death of 23 children every year confused me. Parents of tributes would party together, though it was certain one of their sons or daughters would never return.

My mother would love nothing more than to party, knowing her daughter has the chance at fame and fortune. My eldest brother Kayne had disappointed her for the last seven years, leaving today as his last chance. Despite being trained, and excepted to volunteer, everyone knew he wouldn't do it. Everyone had their ideas. Some thought he was weak or afraid. Mother thought he was trying to defy her wishes. He really just wanted to get on with a life, working and helping our family to survive.

The ancient clock in the square declaired it was 9:03 as I reached my destination. 
"It's about time you showed." Sean's deep voice echoed along the empty alley. "You're late, again." I sighed and looked across to Marisa who was sniggering at me.

~~~~

Our escort, as usual, was dressed in outragously bright clothes. Even for the men of the Capitol, being in fashion was a must. Cordo Duncain's slim build was masked by baggy, grass green suit and glittering lime shoes. His lemon yellow hair was pulled back and shining with hairspray.

"Ladies and Gents. Hello and welcome to the 16th annual Writer Games!" I could just imagine with roar of applause coming from the Capitol. "We won't waste any time, and'll go straight to the girls."

Marisa's grip stopped the blood from flowing to my hand. I was glancing calmly over at Sean, trying to be reasurring. The truth; I was scarred. Terrified even. But I needn't be. Someone would surely volunteer for me. 

"Ashlyn Dawson!"

I wriggled out of my panicked friends grasp, making a run for the stage. With my best fake smile, I walk up the stone steps. As always, the tribute is welcomed with a warm handshake. I wait for the older girl to step forward, the one that always shows up.

Nothing... No one...

Everything began to blur. It was me. No one else. Me.

I was a tribute.

The End

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