1. The Reaping
“Ladies first,” She cooed, reaching into the pot and fumbling around before pulling out a single slip of paper. “Alyce Lockwood.”
I stood arms flat against my bony frame as I watched my eldest sister stride up to the podium, a perfect smile plastered onto her face. It was her quivering hands that gave her away as she shook Ramona Ivory’s perfectly manicured set. Ramona is the escort for district 7 and we all despise this as much as her oblivious attitude. She acts as though the ‘games’ are something to look forward to and enjoy; instead of picturing the never-ending scenarios in which we could die, like the rest of us do every night.
I caught Alyce’s eye, it was rounded in horror, as though she had witnessed her death sentence, which, I suppose she did. Rolling over the sea of bobbing heads, my own eyes picked out my Grandfather. He was slumped against comforting friends, who were lying to him with their sad smiles and reassuring pats. Everything was falling out of place and there was no way I could stop it. I couldn’t volunteer to take my beloved sister’s place, I was of the opposite gender and besides, no one volunteered. The only case that I had heard of was when a girl from district 12 had volunteered to take her twelve year-old sister’s place, but that was like twenty years ago and she was allowed. I wasn’t.
“Let’s not forget the boys!” Ramona’s slippery voice twisted through the air, allowing everyone to cringe in fear. Yet again, her fingers danced in-between the names, before picking one. She held it up and squinted at it with her dyed violet eyes, like she was expecting the blazing sun to just disappear into thin air.
“And the male tribute is…Sandor Lockwood.”
I drew in a long rasping breath.
I am Sandor Lockwood.