1. The Reaping.
It’s the scariest day of the year, the reaping. No one talks to you, no one makes eye contact. I sit up in my bed. I bathe then change into a beautiful green dress. My District is seven. Lumber. We have vast forest areas but only workers may enter them. I long for the days where I can walk into the forest under a full moon wearing my green flowing dress. My name is Delly Ficklewood; I have an older sister and a younger brother. I am 16 years old. And today is the Reaping for the 7th annual Hunger Games. I use a trick I was taught to keep my hair straight, and then I walk through the doorway and into the room we call a living area. My mother is sat there plaiting my sister’s hair. It’s her last year in the reaping. She’s 18. I pick up my plate. I eat the bread and cheese I made with our family goat. My brother is twelve and it is his first year in the games. We don’t talk at all. Not even a good morning is said. After we finish eating, we head to the stage. I tell the lady my name. She tells me to carry on. I stand waiting for the Reaping to begin. The suspense is huge. Finally the District 7 escort, Dixie, steps up on the stage.
‘Welcome to the Hunger Games! As tradition holds, Ladies will be called first then onto the male tribute.’ She has a deep green skin tone and a green afro-like hairstyle. Her clothes are skin tight and also green. She dips her hand into the bowl. ‘Delly Ficklewood!’ I walk to the stage. This is it. I think. I’m not going to last the games. She shakes my hand. ‘Can we have a round of applause please?’ Dixie says. Everyone claps, most smile. I know they’re smiling out of relief. She dips her hand into the bowl. Not Skeeter Goldenord. Not my boyfriend!‘ ‘Skeeter Goldenord!’ He looks up at me, then walks to the stage. We are instantly rushed inside the justice building. It’s a log building that my father helped make. Then he went crazy. They came to my house in the middle of the night and took him away. I’m sat in the justice building waiting for my family and friends to be let in. My family walks in. My mother hugs me and tells me to be safe.
‘I should’ve volunteered for you.’ Says my sister. I shake my head. ‘But I was too shocked to move. I’m so sorry Dells.’ My brother stares at me. Then he hugs me, then they leave. My best friend, Chamomile, walks in. She squeezes me then let’s go and starts to cry. I tell her to stop. I tell her to be strong. I promise her I will survive. She leaves. I sit on the log bench waiting for the train. I have a horrible gut feeling. I’m not going to survive this. I hear voices outside. It must be Dixie. I stand up.
‘Come on! Quickly! We have to leave!’ I follow her to the car. We sit in silence as Dixie runs through our schedule.
‘I don’t care.’ Skeeter says. ‘Dixie, I don’t care! I’m going into this game to make sure Delly wins.’ I stare at him in shock. Then I see the train.