27th February 2013
Melanie and I strolled calmly along the pavement. Her shiny brown hair trailed behind her. She stopped and looked at me with perfect blue eyes, through her glasses.
She smiled as she dug around in her pocket. "Happy Birthday Rae." In her hand she held something that shimmered in the sunlight.
"No." I said automatically. "You said we weren't doing gifts." The look spread over her face was one I'd seen many times before. She told me silently; I know what we said but you're having this anyway.
She handed it to me carefully. I held the pin with my fingertips. It appeared to be gold, though it probably wasn't. Inside the ring was a soaring bird catching an arrow in it's glittery beak. It was a Mockingjay pin.
"Where did you-"
"-I bought it on E-bay ages ago. I gave everyone one, before we were split up." There used to be five of us. Me, Melanie, Bella, Louise and Abigail. We all attended the same school and lived relitavly close. But when the government was sorting the districts we were separted. Abbie to 1, Bella to 8, Louise to 10 and Melanie and I to 4. "I wanted to give it to you before the Reaping."
It was amazing how many people didn't know what the Reaping was. I did. I read the book the previously, after constant nagging from my friends. I also knew what we were being picked for. At least half of us didn't. They didn't even know they were going to die.
* * * *
1st March 2013
The morning of the Reaping was fairly pleasant. The mood however so less so. I'd hugged my sister so hard her brain may well have oozed out of her ears. I was going to tell her what was happening, but it was too hard. How could I?
The 4 of us, me, my sister Kaite, Melanie and her sister, Maria, walked to the square. There was little talk. Melanie and I knew that this could be it. The last time we ever see each other. When we arrived I thought I might've burst into tears, but I stopped myself. Instead we hugged each other harder than we'd ever hugged before.
I was going to say goodbye, but the words wouldn't come.
We split into our age groups. I lined up with the 15 year olds. They took my name and my bloody fingerprint and I proceeded to the crowd.
I glanced around. There's Katie and Maria, standing together. I can't see Melanie though. A trickle of sweat slides my neck.
A suited man stands on the stage, speaking into a microphone.
"Welcome all to the 1st Annual Hunger Games." It felt dream-like. Was he actualy saying this? "And may the odds be ever in your favour."
"Get on with it Effie!" Someone from the male crowd yelled. I sniggered along with the rest of the literary enlightened.
It was time. Time to find out my fate.
"And the female tribute for district 4 is..."
I closed my eyes.
My name echoed around in my head.
It wasn't me. I'd heard it wrong. It couldn't be me.
"I volunteer." Someone shouted.
In perfect syncronisation we ran from the crowd to the stage.
"What the hell are you doing?!" I shouted at her. "I was chosen. I'll go."
"No you won't. I'm going!"
Only Melanie could do this.
"Ladies, ladies. Please." Said the announcer. "We can settle this easily."A cruel grin wiped his face. "You can both be tributes."
No... Not both of us!