T’was the 74th Hunger Games reaping.
Katniss looked at the woods and wished she were inside it, instead of out here in the reaping.
“This sucks,” she said to her sister, Primrose, who stood next to her. “I wish they would hurry up.”
The Escort, Effie Trinket, tapped on the microphone.
“Welcome, welcome!” she said cheerfully. “Time for the reaping.”
Katniss rolled her eyes at Prim, eager to get the reaping over with. Besides, no one could stand Mrs Escort’s voice. It was just so… chirpy.
“As always, ladies first!” The escort pranced over to the female’s bowl and plucked one paper out.
“It's gonna be fine,” Katniss comforted her nervous sister.
The escort opened the dreaded paper and leant into the microphone.
“Primrose Everdeen,” Everyone's heads turned to the twin who's jaw dropped in surprise.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” her sister raged. “HOW DO YOU EXPECT US TO GO INTO THE GAMES? WE’RE SIAMESE TWINS!!”
The sisters glared at everyone who looked at their bodies that were joined by their entire side from the shoulders downwards - Katniss was on the left and Prim was on the right. Because of this, they had a third leg which they both shared and only one arm each.
“Looks like the odds are NOT in their favour.” Someone behind them said.
The Peacekeepers came forward and pushed them forward towards the stage. With a little difficulty, they climbed it and stood silently next to the escort in shock and horror. After all, they were always aware of the possibility of being chosen; they just never thought it would actually happen.
“And now for the gentlemen!”
The escort beamed at the twins and then picked out a male paper.
Prim looked over at the boys section and watched as a teenage boy with brown hair looked at the stage in bewilderment. Now Peeta was never one to cause a scene, but today was an exception.
“What?!” He yelled angrily. he shook his head. “No. I’m not doing it.”
Several Peacekeepers strode towards him and grabbed his arms. He struggled relentlessly as they dragged him up onto the stage.
“They already have two people. You don’t need to reap me anymore!”
He attempted to struggle against the Peacekeepers but they hit him over the head with a baguette and promptly handcuffed him to the stage.
“Why do you even have that bread?” he asked angrily.
The peacekeeper got to his knees and started to sing, “That’s how cartoon bread’s draaaaawn.”
“... I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” Peeta then screamed as he struggled. “They count as two people! They count as two!”
One peacekeeper rammed the butt of his gun into Peeta’s stomach, and he became silent.
“Rude,” he managed to gasp.
“Peeta Mallark everyone!” Effie smiled at the crowd. “Looks like this year will be interesting!” She waved at the cameras. “This is Effie Trinket coming to you from district 12!”
Then the cameras cut and they were taken to the Hall of Justice. It was visiting time, and Gale was desperate to see the twins one last time. Unfortunately he had to wait, for the family cat was first to visit.
“Meow.” The cat said.
The twins smiled at him ruefully. “You will remember to take your regular baths, right Buttercup?”
The cat licked himself all over before replying. “I’m a cat, you idiots. I can’t talk.” He promptly left before some random peacekeeper came inside the room.
“Time’s up, you must make your way to the train now.”
“That was barely 12 seconds!” Gale protested before a peacekeeper pinched his lips.
“No one cares.”
On the train, Effie introduced Peeta, Prim and Katniss to their mentor.
“Meet Haymitch” she pointed to a drunken man who simply blinked at the tributes.
“PLEASE teach us what we need to know!!!! I don’t want to die in the games, I shouldn’t have been picked!!!!” Peeta pleaded.
“Yes, please help!” Katniss agreed. However, Prim was more interested in other things...
“Look! Chocolate cakes! Gasp! Mahogany tables! Wow! Look out the window!” She cried attempting to stand up despite her sister weighing them down. “The world is so big!”
“Speaking of windows,” Peeta said. He got up and threw open the window. Then he tried to climb out. Luckily - or unluckily in his case - Haymitch pulled him back inside before forcefully pushing him back onto a chair.
“Why did you do that!?!?!” he screamed at the mentor, who calmly replied.
“You know, once I had a pet rock, but I didn’t have enough money to look after it so it died. Then I won the games and got a bunch of money, so now I can have as many pet rocks as I want.”
Peeta frowned. “How is this relevant?”
“Because if you win the games you can have anything you want.”
“How did you even win the games?” Primrose asked trying to make the conversation relevant.
“Well, it’s a long story…” Haymitch then proceeded to recount his entire games to the two (or three) tributes, who barely kept awake. It took several hours.
“...And so to summarise I just never got into my elevator and then after five days I finally got inside and quickly grabbed some food and by the time I had done anything, everyone else was dead.”
The tributes stared at him. “So you are basically useless to us since you didn’t even properly participate in the Games.”
Haymitch contemplated this statement for a while before replying. “Yes.”
Katniss sighed as Effie stepped in. “That is not true Haymitch and you know it. I’m sorry, he’s just had too many drinks. Although I have never participated in the Games I suggest to just… um… hide?”
“But what about us?!” Katniss whined. “We’re siamese twins! And the Capitol can’t surgically separate us; we both share the same heart!”
Peeta frowned. “Wait, is that even possi-”
“Yeah, you’re going to have a bit of trouble, sweethearts.” Effie smiled, trying to brighten the mood.
“Oh great, we’re at the Capitol now.” Katniss said as she stared out the window. She and Prim stood up in sync to get a view of the city. However, it was suddenly replaced with darkness as the train entered a tunnel. After about a few minutes the vehicle slowed to a stop.
Haymitch took a huge swig of a drink before clearing his throat, “Before we get off the train, I’ve got something to say.”
Everyone looked at him.
“Peeta is a girl’s name.”
“PLOT TWIST!” Katniss yelled.
After settling into their temporary homes and participating in intense training sessions, the 25 tributes were now waiting to be called into a room so that the gamemakers could assess them and give them a score of 1-12. All three district 12 tributes were freaking out, especially due to the intimidating demeanours of the careers.
“What are we going to show them?!” Prim whispered urgently.
Peeta took a deep breath and stood up. Then he went into the other room.
“Ok, we need to plan,” Katniss said. Prim agreed, but they had a limited amount of skills they could show the gamemakers.
“What if we do stand up comedy?”
“That would never work!” Katniss said harshly.
“Singing? Dancing? Clapping?!”
“NO! Be serious, our lives could depend on this.”
Both of them thought for a few seconds.
“Well, we can sort of shoot,” Katniss said. “We have to try. Even though it’s pretty hard for us like this.”
“That’s never going to work!”
“Well, I don’t see you coming up with anything.”
Prim was about to retort when they were called up.
“Primrose Everdeen.” the voice said, then hurriedly added “And Katniss.”
The twins entered the room. It was big, bigger than they thought it would be, and the gamemakers watched them from a viewing platform.
“What do we do?!” Prim whispered harshly.
“Prim, listen to me,” Katniss said. “We have to try and shoot. We have no other option.”
Before Prim could respond, Katniss picked up a bow.
“Here, hold this,” She handed it to Prim. “Now remember, the way we practiced, okay?”
Katniss picked up an arrow and notched it onto the string of the bow. Prim straightened her arm as Katniss pulled back the string. They aimed it and…
The arrow went nowhere near where they wanted it to go. Instead it shot towards the gamemakers and shattered the lights above their heads. Glass rained onto them and they dived for cover.
“Mother of coal!” Katniss swore and they ran out the room in embarrassment.
That night, Peeta, Katniss, Prim, Haymitch and Effie gathered around to watch the news. The tributes waited anxiously for their scores. So far, all the careers had gotten a score of either 9 or 10.
“From district 9, we have the male tribute with a score of…” Caesar left the audience hanging for a second. “...12!!!”
Everyone in the room gasped and Effie fell off her chair.
“WHAT?! HOW??!?!” Peeta screeched.
Caesar frowned at the paper in his hand. “Oh, wait, it says minus 12. My bad!”
They sighed in relief.
“This tribute stood and blinked the entire time. What happened, district 9?” he flipped the page.
“Ooh what’s this? It appears the female tribute from District 9 gained a score of… 7.5! By hiding inside the gamemakers roast pig they were about to feast on, waiting until they were cutting it open and then... waving at them? Uh.. okay then. Very good hiding on her part.”
Soon it was time for district 12. Peeta was looking extremely proud of himself, and Katniss wondered what he had shown the gamemakers.
“Peeta Mellark from district 12 received a 9.”
Prim looked at Peeta in bewilderment. A nine?!? What on earth did he do to get that?
Haymitch slapped him on the back. “Well done.”
“What did you do?” Prim demanded.
Peeta flashed a grin. “Secret.”
Caesar continued. “And the twins from district 12, Katniss and Primrose Everdeen, received…” There was a long stretch of silence. “...Also a score of 9.”
“What?” Katniss and Prim yelled.
“WHAT?!?!” Peeta yelled louder. “How is that possible?!? What did you do in there?”
Katniss grinned maliciously. “Secret.”
Peeta looked like he was about to strangle the both of them when Effie spoke up.
“Oh, well done to the three of you!” She crooned. “Now, you must tell us all about how you received those scores!”
“To be honest, I have no idea,” Prim started but Katniss shushed her.
“Well, I’m not telling anyone.” Peeta crossed his arms.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Haymitch exhaled. “You two are going to have to get along and stop being so childish.”
“Who says?” Peeta was indignant.
Haymitch pinched his brow. “Remember what I told you, boy.” He muttered. This seemed to considerably calm Peeta down and he lowered his eyes.
“Good. Now tell them what you did.”
Peeta hesitated, but finally he sighed. “I got a knife and pretended to stab myself. They all thought I was dead so the peacekeepers rushed in. They tried to find my pulse but I didn't have any, and so they tried to take me to hospital but that was when I got up and they realised I was still alive.”
There was silence.
“You pretended to die?” Katniss clarified scornfully.
“He didn’t just pretend to die,” Haymitch said. “He stopped his flipping pulse! He should have gotten a twelve!”
“Yes but how is that useful in the-” Prim asked.
“Enough talk. I told you what I did, now you tell me what you did.”
So Katniss and Prim told him.
“Wait a second,” He said after they were done. “Your shooting was so bad that you shot the gamemakers, and they gave you the same score as me?!”
“Peeta, calm down.” Haymitch waved his hand.
“No! You calm down! How is any of this fair?!? I tried my best but the twins failed and got the same score as me?" Peeta huffed furiously. "And why am I here in the first place? I shouldn't even be here!!”
With that, Peeta stormed out of the room and slammed his door shut.
“Manners!” Effie called after him. "Hmph, teenagers."
Haymitch shook his head. “I’ll get him when it’s time for dinner.”