Word count: 1,210
Stage in the Games: The Reaping
The sun is struggling to shine through the clouds, sometimes winning, but most times losing. I suppose the odds are not in its favor, I say to myself. The breeze is blowing gently and it's a fairly warm day, about 65 degrees, if I had to guess. I take in a slow, deep breath.
"Marcie, Marcie!" I hear him calling my name. I turn to see my little brother, Daimon, running toward me while he flails his arms. My little sister, Abeni, walks leisurely behind him with her thumb in her mouth. She still hasn't grown out of that habit yet; she's only four years old. Daimon, however, is six, and although his name signifies tame, that is the one thing he isn't. I hold out my arms so that I can embrace him and hold him up in the air so that he can pretend he's flying. As she watches us, Abeni seems to become a bit jealous and tugs on my shirt to get my attention. I put Daimon down and pick her up. Carrying her and holding his hand, we walk back to our house together.
I am from district Ten, the Livestock district. Although I am perfectly content with our district, I have always longed to be from District Four. Maybe it's because of my love for water, or my dilemma between fire and ice, I don't know. I've just always felt like I belonged there.
When we reach our house, I put Abeni down as Daimon runs up the steps and opens the door. "Mommy, I found Marcie!" he says as he skips through the house, looking for Mom. I walk through the doorway and into the living room as my mother comes out of her bedroom, holding the giggly Daimon. I smile. Today seems better than yesterday-- yesterday was full of fear and mourning and sympathy for those who were chosen in the District Nine reaping. Today should be our day of suffering, though it doesn't seem that way at the moment. Today is the day of our reaping.
Together, Mom and I get the kids ready and dressed in their best clothes and then begin getting ourselves ready. "So where's Dad?" I ask. She's busy struggling to zip up her burgandy-colored knee-length dress, so I go over to help her. She sighs.
"Oh, thank you. It really sucks when you can't reach these zippers. Anyway, your dad's already down at the Justice Center with the others." I nod. By "the others", she meant Brayden, a guy I've known since I was about eight years old, and Brayden's father, who is also best friends with my dad.
After helping her, I went into my room and got into a light blue sundress that my great-grandma had made years ago. It's old, but still in good condition and it is still in style. Then, I put on some black mascara and pull my golden curls up into a neat ponytail. In the mirror, I look myself over and nod in an approving manor. Finally, I slip on my pair of white sandals that pretty much go with any outfit. As I do so, my two younger siblings and Mom come walking out, looking sharp. I smile wide and wrap my arms around Abeni and Daimon. "All right, let's go," I say, doing my best to stay cheery. The happy moment's almost gone, I can feel it. But for their sake, I will put on my best smile and try to keep them in a good mood.
When we get there, everyone's standing in a crowd around a stage in front of the Justice Building. On stage, there are two large, glass bowls with tons of little papers in them. Names, I think to myself. All names. Cora Hymphernickey stands near the microphone (which is on a podium) at the front on the stage. She is the mayor's niece. The mayor doesn't have any kids of his own except for a little boy named Doyle who's only a year and a half old.
We make our way to Dad, who's standing with Brayden and his dad. My dad puts one arm around Mom and holds Daimon's hand with the other. I pick up Abeni and slightly bounce her in my arms; she likes it when I do that. Once it seems that mostly everyone is here, Cora steps up and clears her throat into the microphone before speaking.
"Hello, citizens of District Ten! We are so pleased you could join us. Before we start, let us watch an inspirational video from the President of Panem."
She directs our attention to a huge screen with images of past Hunger Games and preceding victors. The actual video lasts about 10 minutes and my feet would probably be hurting by the end, if it weren't for these comfy sandals. Our attention turns back to Cora and she continues where she left off. "All right, it's now time to choose our tributes! As always, ladies first. And remember, May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!"
She walks over to the big bowl-type jar, reaches down, and swims around for a name without looking. Standing next to me, Brayden snickers. Eventually, she comes up with one and goes back to the podium, looking triumphant that she could get a paper with even her stubby arms. Then, she looks down at the small, white paper and reads it into the mic. "Marceline Fowell!" I freeze. Time slows down exponentially. Mom's hand flies to her mouth to muffle her sudden gasping and Dad holds her tighter, tears rolling down his face. Brayden looks at me with a half grieving-half horrified expression.
"Marcie, Marcie, they said your name!" little Daimon says, running over and tugging at my dress. Abeni plays with my bangs, giggling. Neither of them know what it means. I slowly put Abeni down and give my two smaller siblings to my mom and my dad, then begin walking up to the stage. I am numb. It hasn't set in yet. I make my way up the steps and shake Cora's hand without emotion.
"Congratulations!" she says.
For you, maybe, I think to myself numbly.
"Now then, our male tribute!" She walks over to the other container and, quicker this time than before, pulls out another name of another innocent person. Coming back to the stand, Cora says loudly and clearly, "Vic Partan, where are you? Vic Partan!" I've heard of him. He's a seventeen-year-old guy who goes to the same school as me. I know his name and his face, but pretty much nothing else beyond that.
After a minute or so, he―very slowly and cautiously―comes up to the stage and gives Cora a handshake. She then stands next to me and places him on the other side of herself, taking both our hands and holding them up as if we're champions. "Behold, our 67th Hunger Games tributes!" Vic and I look at each other with mixed expressions on our faces and try to put on a strong facade and suck it up, at least for the cameras and audience. It really is hard to suck it up though, when you know that there is absolutely no way we will survive.