I walked towards the village centre with my Mum and Forrest. They were looking anxious as if they knew something bad was going to happen. I walked to the front of the large group of kids between the ages 12-18 that had lined up in age order. I was between a short blonde girl, who was looking more terrified by the minute, and a young-looking boy, who had shiny brown hair, freckles and looked quite intelligent. Glancing behind me, I saw a quick flash of Thresh's nervous face and I managed a weak grin for myself knowing that thousands of kids were terrified, like me, every year. I knew from the worried look on Mum and Forrest's face that something was going to go wrong but if it was going to then I couldn't stop it.
Joseph Star, the man who picked the names from the giant upturned goldfish bowl (I didn't know how he slept at night), walked casually on stage as if he was choosing someone for the Good-Citizen award; not worried at all but the minute he glanced at us small ones, his face softened. "Right. Ladies first, I think. Let's pick our champions for this year..." He grinned, reaching into the glass bowl with thousands of tiny slips of paper. I grew more confident. It was a one in a thousand chance I would be picked. Joseph had finished picking the female champion and was about to read the name: "Rue Falkner!" Joseph announced. I shivered. Surely I'd miss heard. I waited for whoever had been picked to step forward yet nobody did. My friends looked at me, everybody else copying them. I shyed away but the scary men dressed in white with a silver mask forced me to the stage. I heard the disappointed sighs and groans from the audience as everyone hated it when a 12-year-old had been picked. I noticed Farmer Hansen's smug face as I was pushed by; he was grinning at me.
Joseph reached in again. "And time for our male champion..." He said, pulling out another thin strip of paper: "Thresh Pitts!" Thresh walked towards the stage, without resisting or hesitating. "And here," Joseph said, indicating Thresh and I, "are our champions for the 74th Hunger Games!" Everyone clapped but a few sighed sadly at the though of such a young girl entering the games. Everybody knew I wasn't going to survive. I didn't dare look at Mum or Forrest. I only saw Farmer Hansen's satisfied face.