It was funny how I used to be the one people went to when they felt sad. But when I felt sad no one knew. When I asked for help I cried. I had done it all before, nobody ever helped. They didn’t understand. But to be honest, neither did I.
After the games people said I went crazy. They didn’t talk to me, they thought I was nuts! Well, I wasn’t, and I’m still not. It wasn’t my fault I was reaped. I didn’t know what to do. But I won and I would never even think about going back, ever. One day I would show them.
He didn’t think I was crazy though, he spoke to me, and better yet he spoke to me like I was a normal human being. I could see something in him, something others didn’t, he was sad. Sometimes, I was so caught up in my own problems that I never took notice of the fact that the boy who always smiled, was hurting so much. When you saw him you couldn’t see the scars he held, they weren’t apparent, they didn’t show on his skin or in his moods. He didn’t let them show. But when I looked into his eyes I could see the scars the games left on him. I could see them bright and clear. They shouldn’t be there. Someone like him shouldn’t have had to go through anything so horrific in their life, no one should.
Someone like him shouldn’t have had to go through what I did. But they shouldn’t have to hide it either.
The first day I met Finnick Odair, I fell in love. I mean all the girls fell in love with him, because he was so ‘hot’. But thats not why I loved him so much. I mean I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the way he looked, but I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. When I fell in love it was real, the first time I looked into his sea green eyes, they filled with something I could never put a name on. I liked to think of it as love, but I knew it would never be, why would a boy that amazing ever fall in love with a poor, mad girl like me? It would never be.
Although I was never the jealous type, I hated when the other girls talked to him, it was funny because they thought they had a chance with him, but they didn’t, no one ever did with Finnick. It still bothered me though.
I didn’t know why he hadn’t asked one of them out though. He could have had any girl he wanted at the click of a finger. But he never showed any interest. Maybe he already loved someone, just that someone never showed any interest in him. Maybe he was waiting until they did. I didn’t know, but I figured I should stop worrying about it. It wasn’t me and there was nothing I could do to change that. Even if I really wanted to.
“Annie?” A familiar voice came from down stairs.
“Yes?” I called back.
“Honey you must come watch this….” Her voice trailed off.
“What is it?”
“President snow is announcing the quarter quell.”
I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about the quarter quell. I knew the reaping was tomorrow, but I didn’t realise it was the quarter quell.
“Coming.” I replied, my voice shaky.
I padded down the stairs and flopped onto the chair next to mum.
“Hey.” I whispered.
Then I focused in on the television.The anthem played, and my throat tightened with revulsion as President Snow took the stage. He was followed by a young boy dressed in a white suit, holding a simple wooden box. The anthem ended, and President Snow began to speak, reminding us all of the Dark Days from which the Hunger Games were born. When the laws for the Games were laid out, they dictated that every twenty-five years the anniversary would be marked by a Quarter Quell. It would call for a glorified version of the Games to make fresh the memory of those killed by the districts’ rebellion.
These words could not be more pointed, since I suspected several districts were rebelling right now, since we had two victors last year.
President Snow went on to tell us what had happened in previous Quarter Quells. “On the twenty-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, every district was made to hold an election and vote on the tributes who would represent it.”
I wondered how that would have felt. Districts having to choose the kids who had to go. I thought it was worse to be turned over by your own neighbours than have your name drawn from the reaping ball.
“On the fiftieth anniversary,” the president continued, “as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes.”
I imagined facing a field of forty-seven instead of twenty-three. Worse odds, less hope, and ultimately more dead kids.
“And now we honour our third Quarter Quell,” said the president. The little boy in white stepped forward, holding out the box and opened the lid. We could see the tidy, upright rows of yellowed envelopes. Whoever devised the Quarter Quell system had prepared for centuries of Hunger Games. The president removed an envelope clearly marked with a 75. He ran his finger under the flap and pulled out a small square of paper. Without hesitation he read, “On the seventy-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors.”
My mother gave a faint shriek, but I felt more like the people I saw in the crowd on television. Slightly baffled. What did that mean? Existing pool of victors?