Hey guys! so this is my first story on fanfiction, I hope you like it :) Critique is welcome, (only if it's helpful) and I would appreciate your reviews, it always helps a writer to hear what viewers think. :)
(it's kinda long...hope you don't mind)
Chapter Three: The Reaping.
I lay awake in my bed. It's almost two in the morning, and I still haven't managed to fall asleep. I know a lot of kids will lay awake tonight, and after tomorrow, two families will spend many sleepless nights. I sigh and roll onto my side, and stare out the window. I hear Surf moan, and start whimpering. I smile, no one would ever belive he cried in his sleep, but at least I know. I close my eyes and try to relax, but my brain keeps saying over and over: "Twenty slip, twenty slips."I toss and turn for another ten minutes, but my mind refuses to calm down. Frustrated, I slide out of bed and slip into my swimsuit. Then I open the window quietly, and slip out into the night.
The air is cool, and salty as ever, and I can hear the ocean in the distance. I hurry to the coastline, and walk along the beach. Soon I come to my special place: two palm trees sit on top of a tall dune. I found it when I was little, and as most young boys will, I gathered drift wood, and made it into a fort. I fashioned a hammock from an old net, and it still hangs between the trees. I showed it to Annie a couple of years ago, and now we come here together a lot. The drift wood has rotted or washed away over the years, but one great stump still remains. I climb up the dune, and collapse onto the hammock. Swaying slightly, I listen to the waves crash on the shore.
"Tide must be going out."I mutter to myself. Any normal person wouldn't have noticed anything, but my ears are trained to hear any noise not associated with anything on the shore. Soft sounds, reach my ears, and I sit up. Footsteps in the sand, then I see her skinny figure scrambling up the hill.
She jumps in surprise, and nearly loses her balance.
"Finn? I didn't know you where here."I slide out of the hammock, I help her up the dune.
"Obviously, what are you doing here? Do you have any idea what time it is? Your mom would be furious if she caught you out here...with me."
She laughs,"Oh Finn, they know we're best friends. Besides my mom likes you, she says,"She starts to imitate her mother's voice."Finnick Odair is a nice young man, I'm glad you are friends with him, and he can make anyone laugh, the world could use more laughter."
I blush, embarrassed.
"Your mom said all that? How do I make people laugh?"
Annie sits down next to me on the hammock.
"Well, you just do. Like this afternoon, the whole 'charisma' thing? That was hilarious."
I grin,"Well, I wasn't far off was I? Your mom said I could make anyone laugh."
She pushes me off the hammock,"See? That's what she's talking about, that is Finnick Odair."
I stand up and brush the sand off me."Whatever. You still haven't told me why you're out here."
She sighs, and digs into the sand with her foot."Same reason you are."
I nod, but don't say anything. I don't want to bring up the subject that caused our fight this afternoon.
"Finn?"She says quietly.
She keeps messing with the sand."What will happen? If...one of us gets reaped?"
I sigh, laying back in the hammock, I stare at the stars."I don't know."
I hear her sniff."I don't think I could stand it. It's Robbert I'm mostly worried about, he's so ill, and they will send him off to the capitol anyway, and I can't volunteer for him...it's just not fair!"
She covers her face with her hands, and starts sobbing. I lay for a few seconds, awkwardly trying to decide what to do. I finally sit up and slowly place my arm around her shoulder. She turns and hugs me tightly, crying onto my shoulder. I pat her on the back stiffly, I know how she feels, I don't know what I would do if her or Robbert got reaped. I wrap my arms around my best friend, and hold her tightly, letting her cry herself to sleep. I carry her home, and leave her on the couch. Creeping out, I close the door quietly behind me. Then I walk slowly back to the community home, slide back through the window, and crawl into bed. Soon I fall into a deep sleep.
Next morning I get up early, and dress for the reaping. A pair of jeans, and a light blue button up shirt, over a white tank top, I leave it un-buttoned, and walk over to Annie's house. Her mother answers the door; tall, tan and beautiful. Her hair is a rich brown, and her eyes are hazel.
"Good morning Finnick. You're here early."
I smile at her.
"Good morning Mrs. Cresta. Is Annie up?"
She lets me in,"Yes, she's just getting ready. I'll go tell her you're here."
She vanishes upstairs, and I'm left alone. Not for very long though, Robbert walks in. Now I know why Annie was so worried, he looks like he hasn't had sleep for days, dark circles ring his eyes, and his skin is even more pale than usual.
He says smiling.
"Hey Robbert, how you feeling?"
He shrugs,"As good as someone can on reaping day."
We stand in silence for a moment, then Annie comes rushing downstairs.
"Finn! I'm glad you're here early, now we can walk together."
She's dressed in a dark green sun dress that brings out her eyes, it falls just to her knees, and her hair is pulled half up. She's wearing just enough makeup to highlight her features.
Is all I can say. She laughs and does a twirl.
"It is a bit much isn't it?"
I shake my head,"No, not at all. You look older than me!"
She smiles,"Oh whatever!"
Mrs. Cresta appears.
"We have to hurry, the reaping is going to start soon."
We make our way to the square in front of the justice building. With a few words of encouragement, I part ways with the Cresta's, and after signing in, I walk over and stand in the roped off section for fourteen year old boys. It's uncomfortably hot out, and I see several kids, looking quite faint. I look up on the stage. A lone microphone stands in the front of the stage. Behind it sits the mayor, and two of District four's previous victors.
There is an elder lady, and a middle-aged man. The mayor, walks up to the mike, and starts going on, and on about the history of Panem, and the rebellion, blah, blah, blah. After he's done, the districts escort, Tiffy Cuff, clicks up to the stage in a pair of ridiculously high heels. Her entire dress is covered in scales, and her vivid aqua wig piles her hair high on her head. I suppose in the capitol this is meant to be fashionable, but to me she just looks like a fish.
"Well! Happy, happy hunger games! Let's pick this years tributes!"
She clips over to the large glass bowl containing the girls names. Reaching in, she digs around for a ridiculously long time. I find Annie in the crowd, and give her a reassuring smile. She for once doesn't return it. I hear Tiffy clip back to the microphone. I return my attention to the stage and see her unfold the little paper slip.
She's cut off as a tall girl with black hair steps forward from the seventeen year old girl section.
She shouts out quickly. A few murmurs from other girls who missed their chance to volunteer, ripple through the crowd. Tiffy smiles brightly.
"Come on up and tell everyone your name!"
The girl almost swaggers to the stage, standing beside Tiffy.
She says clearly. Tiffy turns to the crowd.
"A round of applause for our brave tribute!"Almost everyone claps."Okey dokey then! On to the boys!"
Tiffy reaches in and grabs a slip, walking to the mike, she says.
I hear a scream like a dying animal come from the girls section. I know who it is even before I look, Annie is being held back by a peacekeeper, her skinny legs kicking wildly. I wait for the volunteer, there always is one, but no one shouts out, and Robbert starts to walk toward the stage.
My ears are filled with the sound of Annie's screams. There's always a volunteer...
I shout out confidently.Robbert turns when he hears me. He tries to protest, but a peacekeeper pushes him back. I take a deep breath, and with a confident smirk, I walk up to the stage. Making sure to keep my back straight, and shoulders back. Walking up to Tiffy, I smile at her. She giggles, and says,
"Well what would your name be young man?"
I lean toward the microphone and say clearly.
Tiffy says something to the crowd, but I lose track of everything except Annie's tear streaked face, clinging to Robbert as he holds her back. Suddenly I hear Tiffy say, "Shake hands now." I turn to Anitta Holmes, who is taller than me by an inch. Which is surprising since I'm a good 5' 9" We shake hands, and Tiffy leads us into the justice building