What Would Happen if Katniss Never Volunteered?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Katniss never volunteered for her sister? Have you ever wondered what Prim would do if she was a tribute in the Hunger Games?

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"Primrose Everdeen." Effie Trinket called out.

One time, when I was in a hide in a tree, waiting motionless for game to wander by, I dozed off and fell three meters to the ground, landing on my back. It was as if the impact had knocked every wisp of air from my lungs, and I lay there struggling to inhale, to exhale, to do anything.

That's how I feel now, trying to remember how to breathe, unable to speak, totally stunned as the name bouncing around the inside of my skull. Someone is gripping my arm, a boy from the Seam, and I think maybe I started to fall and he caught me. 

There must have been some mistake. This can't be happening. Prim was one slip of paper in thousands! Her chances of being chosen were so remote that I'd not even bothered to worry about her. Hadn't I done everything? Take the tesserae, refused to let her do the same? One slip. One slip in thousands. The odds had been entirely in her favour. But it hadn't mattered. 

Somewhere far away, I can hear the crowd murmuring unhappily, as they always do when a twelve-year-old gets chosen, because no one thinks this is fair. And then I see her, the blood drained from her face, hands clenched in fists at her sides, walking with stiff, small steps up towards the stage, passing me, and I see the back of her blouse has become untucked and hangs out over her skirt. 

I stood there frozen. Not knowing what to do. Prim climbed the steps up onto the stage. Effie opened her mouth 

"How lovely, any volunteers?" She called out. There was a long pause of silence.

No one volunteered. I stood frozen and looked around. I tried to open my mouth and volunteer. But something was stopping me and I didn't know what. Was it because I couldn't leave Gale? Effie pursed her lips. 

"Well then, time for the boys!" She sang and sauntered over to the glass ball with the boys' names in. She dived her hand in and dug around a bit. She snagged a slip and pulled her hand back out of the ball. She stumbled back to the podium and opened the slip. 

"Peeta Mellark!" She announced. I froze again. I knew him. 

I was hungry. Starving, in fact. I was 11 and it was winter. I scavenged in bins until the bakers' wife yelled at me to get out. Tears streamed down my face and I stumbled over to a tree and slid down it. Admitting defeat. I wrapped my arms around my legs and cried. I looked up when I heard a loud bang. The sound that echoes when someone is hit. The bakers' wife yelled at Peeta and I saw in Peeta's hands was a burnt loaf of bread. 

"Feed it to the pig!" She yelled at him. Peeta's cheek was bright red and was swollen. She must have hit him hard. He tore chunks of the bread and threw it at the pig and when his mother had returned to the house he threw the rest of the loaf at me and it landed in a puddle. I watched him as he walked back into the house. I got up slowly and retrieved the loaf. It was still warm and I held it against my body. I ran home. Relieved that I had found food. Food to feed Prim. I meant to thank Peeta the following day at school but I couldn't pluck up the courage to thank him.

He walked up to the stage. Effie asked for volunteers. Silenced filled the air once again. Then Prim and Peeta were shaking hands and they walked into the Justice Building.

What had happened? I asked myself.  

I ran into the room Prim was in and hugged her. 

"I'm so sorry! I should've volunteered! I was just so shocked," I mumbled. Mother wrapped her arms around both of us. Well, I think it was her. I didn't see her following us. "Prim?" 

"Yes." She sobbed back. 

"Stay alive. For me. Promise me you will try and get back. I know killing people will be hard, but you have to, or they will kill you." I instructed. I felt her nod. Then our three minutes were up. 

"Prim!" I yelled, "Look after yourself! Come back, please!" I yelled. I turned to my mother. "You can't black out again. You're not leaving me again." I nearly yelled. Her bright blue eyes just looked at me puzzled. And we all said we loved each other in unison. 

"I won't, I promise. I have the medicine for it now." She muttered. I nodded and we walked home. Prim was gone. I really hope she wins. She has to win. I know she can. I know she will probably try and nurse the injured. But she can't waste time doing that. She has to win. I wish I volunteered. I hate myself for not volunteering. 

I helped my mother close all of the shutters. We just sat at the table staring into space. Too shocked to eat anything. These next few weeks are going to be painful. 

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