Reapings: Districts 11 and 3
"What do you think?"
I look at myself in the mirror, my black hair has been done up in sort of a swirling pattern, it works well with the makeup, which in turn accents my deep mahogany eyes and luscious brows. "Excellent job" I tell the stylist, she has managed to do my hair in such an incredible way. I hate how straight it is when it's not done up and finding someone who can style it a way that I approve of is rare. On reaping day, I can't afford to take any chances; I've got to look my best.
"Excellent job," I say as I hand the stylist a large tip. So many in this district struggle despite their hard work, it's nice to help them out a bit. Now that my hair is perfect, my reaping outfit is complete. I've had my dress custom made, and it is incredible. A beautiful sequent green dress, that accents me in all the right places.
There are some of the perks of being the mayor's daughter. I try to give back, many are cold or hungry, and every so often I go to the poorer parts of the district handing out my old clothes. But it's not my old clothes I'm concerned with today, its my fabulous new outfit. I get a lot of attention as I head to the reaping square.
I know how people resent me for my upbringing but what can I do about that? It isn't my fault my father is able to give me whatever I ask for. It isn't my fault that I haven't ever signed up for tessera. My father didn't write the laws, he only sees that they are enforced. It is not our place to make the rules, we are not the moral authority, and frankly I'm a bit annoyed at those that think they are. My father has instilled on me a sense of justice, that must be applied equally to all. I have seen those who abuse their authority, and I have no patience for them.
I remember about five or six years ago there was a man who stole some bread. If my father would have had his way the man would have paid a fine and spent a night in jail, but even the mayor doesn't have control of peacekeepers. The peacekeepers beat the man to death, it was terrible. My dad felt so bad he invited the man's family to our house, where his son was given a medal, and enough food to last a couple of months. I wonder what ever became of that boy.
"Hey everybody." Our escort isn't incredibly enthusiastic about having to work in District 11. I see all the angry faces in the crowd, many of who I know have signed up for tesserea. I pity them for their situation, but taking tesserea is a choice, a difficult choice, but still it is forced on no one. Besides, no one is exempt from the reapings, not even the mayor's daughter. Of course, the chances are so small I'm not worried in the slightest. The escort draws a name from the bowl, grabs a slip, and emotionlessly reads out a name, "Lolita Bracken"
I hear gasps all around, the audience is just as surprised as I am. I must stay composed, I abide by the laws of Panem just like every other citizen. If I'm going in to these games, I will do it with honor and grace. I will show all of Panem I am a force to be reckoned with. I will show the sponsors the I am the one they should bet on and I'll show the other tributes that I will be a valuable ally. I may not know yet how to fight or survive, but that is what training is for, after all.
"Hey," the escort waves his hand lazily when I get to the stage, "You're the mayor's daughter, huh, what are the odds?" The odds may not seem to be in my favor, but they are in the district's favor. I doubt that anyone else in our district could honestly be a contender for the games. District 11 rarely makes it very far in the games, but this year we will have a chance that we haven't had in years.
Wow, I can't believe the mayor's daughter got reaped. She seems pretty confident about it too. I wonder how the mayor is going to take it. I've always liked Mayor Bracken, he is a very fair man. He lives his life according to the law, and he expects everybody else to, but he isn't cruel like the peacekeepers. I feel pretty sad for him, but don't think I'm as sad for Lolita's mom. She never has been as nice as her husband. She seems pretty stuck up, and maybe even kinda mean.
I know this better than most of the people in 11 because a couple years back I got to meet the mayor and his family. He even had me over at his house. Then he gave my mom and I a bunch of food, and we don't eat that much so it lasted a long time. Now he is gonna loose his daughter just like I lost my dad. I almost start crying when I think of this. Then when the escort read my name, it gets really hard not to cry.
My mom never knew I signed up for so much tesserae. She didn't know I signed up for any actually. It was hard, hiding it, making sure I got up super early on the day it got to our house and mixing it in with the rest of our grain and oil. She worries about me a ton, and I don't want her to get all stressed. I wish that instead of going up to the stage I could get away, and go climb a tree. That is my place, I can forget about all of the bad things that happen to me, when I'm up there.
I guess I am too busy thinking and I don't remember to walk to the stage until somebody behind me pushes me. I've gotta do my best now to look strong, I want to start crying and my hands are trembling, but I don't want everyone to think I'm an easy target, especially when Lolita looks so confident up there.
When I shake her hand I can see her trying to figure out how she knows me, and after a few seconds she gets it. I remember her too, she was sort of the a mix between her parents. At least that's how it seemed to me. She, like the mayor, has a really strong sense of what's right and wrong. I saw how angry she was at the peacekeepers after what happened. She was sorta selfish like her mom though. I mean, she likes others but not as much as she likes herself. I see her sometimes giving out her old clothes and stuff to people, but its never anything she needs anymore. Either way, she is helping people, and there is nothing bad about that.
I think she will probably be a good tribute, if I can't win then I want it to be her. Its not just 'cause she is from my district, but because I owe her family. That food that we got after my dad died kept us alive. Usually when somebody's dad dies the family gets couple months for the other parent to get a job, but since my dad was considered a criminal, we weren't allowed.
Me and my mom are here today because of Mayor Bracken. I just don't know how much longer I will be here.
District 3 Reapings
"Theoretically, if we could travel through time, I don't believe we would be able to alter the events that conspired." I address the class. "But I doubt that such time travel is possible. Time travel into the future however is another matter."
"Yeah, I'm traveling into the future right now!" my friend Ram yells out. This receives a good natured laugh, and I must admit I chuckle under my breath myself. I don't mind a good joke, even if it is at my expense.
"Alright, let him finish," my teacher Mr. K. says, but he is smiling too.
"Well lets assume that one could invent a vehicle that would travel near the speed of light. Due to the law of relativity, if one were to spend one week aboard the craft, upon exiting, roughly a century would have passed, essentially time travel to the future."
A murmur falls over the class and Ram whistles as if impressed. "Good job," Mr. K. says as I take my seat. "Another impressive presentation, Lexeon, we'll finish the presentations tomorrow, lets call it an early day." Of course it wasn't Mr. K.'s call to say it was an early day, the reapings are the real reason, but everyone appears content to enjoy the time off.
I've got about half an hour to get to the reapings, judging by my watch. The watch is one of my sister's designs, with a few of my own modifications thrown in. I hope that one day, like my sister, I can be an inventor. I'm quite glad that I was born in District 3, as I often find myself fiddling with technology, it runs in the family. I have questioned what things would be like, had I been born in another district. Would I have devised some efficient way to catch fish if I was a native of 4? Would I be concerned with cleaner burning coal in District 12? Or what if I was I had been brought up in the capitol? The technology in the Capitol utilizes every aspect of each District's industry. It is truly fascinating, and equally tragic that such advanced technology is used in such a morally reprehensible way.
My watch begins to emit a high pitched beep, which is problematic. My sister's designs are flawless, but I'm afraid that my modifications are a work in progress. I suppose I'm young, and still have much to learn, and luckily time to learn it. That is unless I am reaped for the Hunger Games. While I may not possess the exact figures to formulate my exact chances, I am confident that the likelihood is very small.
I arrive at the town square and find my group of friends in the square. There is Ram, his brother Kelvin, Dex, Marie and Rallon. We are an interesting and varied bunch. Marie and Rallon have recently begun a relationship, which is interesting to say the least. Dex, trains his body and mind, preparing for a day where he is sent to the games. Ram and Kelvin are quite the noteworthy pair. As fraternal twins, they are as different in looks as they are in personality. Kelvin shares my thirst for knowledge, but Ram appeals to my humor.
I hear a bit of feedback from the loudspeaker which is followed by the escort's voice. "Hello everyone, it is time to begin!" This is the first year that we have had this particular escort, and I notice her accent is not as strong as other's I have heard from the Capitol. I wonder if this is because she has spent a good amount of time in the districts.
"Lets find out which lucky boy will be representing this lovely district this year." She does sincerely seem to think District 3 is "lovely." I'm sure that she worked her way up to this district after may years in poorer places. Except for perhaps the "career" districts, this is one of the most desirable places to be an escort. While it certainly would not be called luxurious here, people have enough to get by.
"Our male tribute is," she unfolds the piece of paper, "Lexeon Zinc!"
I think I feel the color drain out of my face. Everyone around me is horrified, even the eternal optimist Ram seems crushed by despair. As I walk to the stage, I become vaguely aware that my entire body is shaking. I try to calm down, drawing a deep breath, but it's all to no avail. I feel like crying, but that is the one thing I will not do.
I can't allow myself to cry now. I can't show any weakness; its time to be brave, for my district, for my friends, and for my family.
My stomach turns as I see the fourteen year old walk to the stage. Every year the Capitol shows up and takes two of us away to die. If that wasn't bad enough, they parade the child who was the cruelest and most devious around every year, and we are supposed to show them some kind of sick admiration. Disgraceful. But no matter how sadistic the victor is, I don't hate the victor. Well, sometimes I do, but that can not even come close to the abhorrence I have for the Capitol.
Panem is ruled by tyrants, and populated by slaves. The Capitol's cruelty goes far beyond the games. There is nothing greater in the world than freedom, and the Capitol has stripped every person in the districts of their freedoms. The citizen's of the Capitol are just as bad as President Snow, or Seneca Crane. They sit idly by and let the people of the districts suffer. Why? So that their every desire can be fulfilled. They don't even think of the fishermen lost in a typhoon in 4 so they can have a shrimp cocktail, or those who die in a coal mine in 12 so they can have power. They certainly don't think of the eight people who died last week in District 3 during an industrial fire testing waterproof music players.
We are not even an afterthought to them. The only time anyone from a district is seen as an actual human being is after becoming a victor. Before that though they watch us die for entertainment. Taking bets on how long we will last, reveling at children bashing each other's brains in. How can humans be so terrible, so foolish and so selfish all at once?
One day, I'm sure there will be another rebellion, and this one will be a success. We will rise up and take our freedom, I know we will. Unfortunately, when such a rebellion would come is uncertain. It could happen in a week, a decade, or a hundred years. I just hope that it happens in my lifetime. I would gladly trade every day I have left in my life for a chance to fight the Capitol. I would die a thousand times if it meant the liberation of Panem.
My friend Pierce and I have discussed our rebellious attitudes many times over. We can't say what's on our minds at work, so we have to find other places to discuss our thoughts. Pierce has always been afraid that if we are overheard, the Capitol would rig the reapings, and perhaps the games after to silence us. It certainly wouldn't be the most underhanded thing the Capitol ever did. Well, I suppose they never did hear us, because this year Pierce, for the first time, is safe. I asked him how it felt, exactly one year ago, to be safe from the reapings for the rest of his life. His answer surprised me.
"I'm not safe, I'll never be safe, not until the games are abolished forever, till Panem is free. The reapings can't take me, but they can still take those I love, my brother, my sister. If one day I have children, they can be taken from me. They can still take you. And what can I do? Nothing. No, Proxy, I'm not safe."
That really stuck with me. I scan the crowd and find him; he like many others is watching the poor boy, who by now is on the stage, the escort is wrapping up he questions for him and announces that it's time for the girl to be reaped.
"Out female tribute is...Proxy Snyder!"
I feel like crying, screaming, running. But I don't move. Everyone is staring at me, but I refuse to go to the stage. The escort is calling me up, but I stand my ground. I will not give them the satisfaction of marching to my own murder. After a few minutes of this the escort tells the peacekeepers to get me.
One is about to grab me by the arm, but I quickly pull away. "Forget it, I'll go myself." I'd rather kill myself than be dragged off by some Capitol goon. I almost lose my resolve when I get to the stage. The kid, Lexeon, isn't exactly the prototype for a victor. He is pretty small, even for his age, he is all knees and elbows, pale, and his hair almost makes hum look like somebody electrocuted him. The injustices of the Capitol are endless.
I will go to the Capitol, I will enter the arena, but I will not be just a piece in their games. I will find a way to beat their games, teach them a lesson they will not forget.