It’s funny, I used to be the one people went to when they felt sad. But when I felt sad no one knew. After the games, I asked for help and cried, I’ve done it all before, but nobody helped. They didn’t understand. Neither did I.
After the games people said I went crazy. They don’t talk to me either, they think I’m nuts! Well, I’m not. It’s not my fault I was reaped! I didn’t know what to do. But I won and I am never going back! I will show them, one day.
He doesn’t think I’m crazy though, he talks to me, and better yet he talks to me like I am a normal human being! I can see something in him, something others don’t, he’s sad. How could the boy who always smiles, hurt so much, what could make him so sad? When you see him you can’t see the scars he holds, they aren’t apparent, they don’t show on his skin or his moods. He doesn't let it show. Not anymore. But when I look into his eyes I can see the scars the games left on him. I can see them bright and clear. They shouldn’t be there. Someone like him shouldn’t have to have gone through that!
Someone like him shouldn’t have gone through what I did. But he 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 is so ‘hot’. But he’s not, well I would be lying if i said I didn’t like the way he looked, but I mean I have seen better, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. But when I fell in love it was real. When I first looked into his sea green eyes, they filled with something, something I can’t put a name on. I like to think of it as love, but I know it will never be, how could a boy that amazing fall in love with a girl like me, poor and ‘mad’. It would never be.
I don’t like the other girls talking to him, it’s funny cause they think they have a chance, well they don’t. It still bothers me though.
I don’t know why he hasn’t asked one of them out yet though. He could have any girl he wanted at the click of a finger. But he doesn’t do it. Maybe he already loves someone, just that someone doesn’t show an interest. Maybe he is waiting until they do. I don’t know, I guess I should stop worrying about it. It’s not me and there’s nothing I can do to change that. Even if I really wanted to.
“Annie.” A voice comes from down the stairs.
“Yes?” I call back.
“Honey you must come watch this….” Her voice trails off.
“What is it?”
“President snow is announcing the quarter quell.”
Oh, I forgot that it was the quarter quell. I knew the reaping was tomorrow, but I didn’t realise it was the quarter quell.
“Coming.” I reply, my voice shaky.
I pad down the stairs and flop onto the chair next to mum.
“Hey.” I whisper.
Then I focus in on the television.The anthem plays, and my throat tightens with revulsion as President Snow takes the stage. He's followed by a young boy dressed in a white suit, holding a simple wooden box. The anthem ends, and President Snow begins to speak, to remind 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 suspect several districts are rebelling right now, since we had two victors last year.
President Snow goes on to tell us what happened in the 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 wonder how that would have felt. Picking the kids who had to go. It is worse, I think, to be turned over by your own neighbors than have your name drawn from the reaping ball.
“On the fiftieth anniversary,” the president continues, “as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes.”
I imagine facing a field of forty-seven instead of twenty-three. Worse odds, less hope, and ultimately more dead kids.
“And now we honor our third Quarter Quell,” says the president. The little boy in white steps forward, holding out the box as he opens the lid. We can see the tidy, upright rows of yellowed envelopes. Whoever devised the Quarter Quell system had prepared for centuries of Hunger Games. The president removes an envelope clearly marked with a 75. He runs his finger under the flap and pulls out a small square of paper. Without hesitation, he reads, “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 gives a faint shriek, but I feel more like the people I see in the crowd on television. Slightly baffled. What does it mean? Existing pool of victors?