Deep in the Meadow

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Chapter 5

I line up next to the coal black horses, straightening my collar. I am wearing a smooth, tight black dress, black gloves and a small black tiara. I have purple eyeshadow and black lipstick on my face, my hair is shining in a bun. On my back is a sheath with one blunt arrow and in my hands is a bow. I wanted a sword but Rachel said that the bow had a surprise element. On my glove is a button, a small round button that would activate my dress. โ€œYou look awesome,โ€ says a voice behind me. I instantly grab my one arrow and load it swinging around and face the person speaking. Itโ€™s Dean, of course, also with a bow. He is wearing a black suit and black gloves with black lipstick.

โ€œHi,โ€ I say naturally.

โ€œHi,โ€ he says, seeming not at all disturbed by the fact Iโ€™m holding an arrow centimetres away from his face. โ€œThe arrows are cool arenโ€™t they?โ€

โ€œI havenโ€™t seen them fired yet,โ€ I say.

โ€œWell my stylist, Painia said that we should fire them together when we get in front of Snowโ€™s palace,โ€ he says.

โ€œSnow?โ€ I say โ€œI thought Snow was dead.โ€

โ€œWell yeah but it is still the Snow palace, It was his granddaughter who took over, wasnโ€™t it?โ€ he replies.

โ€œOh yeah true.โ€

I look to the side, not wanting him to see the blush creeping up my cheeks, then notice the other tributes. The twelve year old girl is wearing a dress made of autumn colored leaves that highlight her hair with a long train. She also has a short headdress of branches with twinkling lights hanging down. The boy has brown jeans with a bark like pattern, a shirt made of branches and boots of a vine material. They match but donโ€™t, just like two trees. Then my eyes move down the aisle, the District One giant is dressed in mink fur pants and a soft glass like shirt. The District Four boy is wearing a shirt of a golden net and scaly pants. I look at his face and find with a jolt that he is staring at me. He nods to my bow, of course, we are the only ones with weapons, it must look odd. I shudder and look further down the line, I donโ€™t think I like that boy much.The District Nine girl with the black hair has a golden dress with flowers at the seams and a crown of grain.

โ€œHello? Earth to Willow! We have to get on the chariot now.โ€

โ€œHuh?โ€ I say shaking my head to see Deanโ€™s face in front of mine. โ€œOh do we have to get on?โ€

โ€œYes,โ€ he nods.

โ€œOk,โ€ I step into the chariot and almost fall off.

โ€œWhoa,โ€ Dean says as he catches me. โ€œDonโ€™t fall off the chariot.โ€

โ€œWell, duh. Itโ€™s not like Iโ€™m trying to you idiot. Anyway, how am I going to not fall off when we are moving, let alone fire arrows?โ€

โ€œI can help with that,โ€ he answers, ignoring the insult, as he steps up onto the platform. โ€œGet ready to press your button.โ€ He grins and grabs my hand. Then without any warning the horses start to walk forward, I watch the District Eleven chariot wheel out of the building and then we are out, out in the blinding light, and I feel slightly dizzy as I press my button.

Wow. It is incredible. At first I feel a slight tingling at my neck that slowly spreads down my body and ends at the tip of my boots. Then I look down. My whole body and tiara are covered in diamonds. Diamonds that shine, sending beautiful shapes into the air and the crowd. The Capitol people are going ballistic. Calling to us, chanting our names. We have made such an impression that nobody can contest with. Every eye in the place is drawn to us. Everyone loves us. No. Not everyone. The other tributes donโ€™t, they hate us. In fact all of them hate us right now, and you know what? I couldnโ€™t care less.

Then I look up. We are almost there, at Snowโ€™s palace. A squeeze from Deanโ€™s hand tells me that it is time to fire the arrows. Ok. Letโ€™s do it. I ease my hand out of his strong grip and place the arrow into the bow. I draw back and fire. I hear a small twang of a bow as Dean does the same. The arrows seem to be robotic. They turn in a perfect spiral around each other. Then they explode into fireworks, but not just regular fireworks. They make a picture - a picture I would recognise anywhere. One hundred metres up, my motherโ€™s Mockingjay is back in the sky.

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