Running Wild

Told from the view of Katniss and Peeta's daughter: Rue Primrose Mellark about life in District 12, the people we left behind at the end of Mockingjay and the new improved government of Panem.

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4. Chapter 4

I turned around desparately, searching for mother or father in the crowd of murmuring people. My breath came in short sharp intakes, and I realised I was hyperventilating. Focusing on keeping my breathing in order, I spotted father's face. His mouth was in a hard, straight line and his eyes offered no emotion. Gulping, I realised I was on my own with this.

My feet shook as I took small steps towards the wooden stage. I felt everyone's eyes upon me and quickened my pace, only to trip over someone's foot, which they had cunningly stuck out. I gave the blonde girl a hard glare and she cowered away. Eventually I made it up the steps and Gale took my hand, pulling me to the middle. Under his breath, I heard him mutter something about girls always being slow. I rolled my eyes and looked out into the crowd, seeing mother huddled underneath father's arm. This time when my eyes met father's, he smiled encouragingly at me. I smiled back.

"Any volunteers?" Gale asked into the sea of young faces. As expected, nobody raised their hands. Usually when a 16-18 year old got chosen they would go with it, it was only if you were younger that people would volunteer.

"Moving on..." Gale says, wheeling over to the boy's sphere. His hand slipped in and flipped through the folded pieces of paper. After what seemed an ages, he picked a piece out. Exaggerating his every move, Gale unfolded the paper.

"Woodruff Nibbleton!" A woman screamed in pain. It was his mother, overreacting as usual. His name had always earned him giggles at school and only a few people - me not being one of them - were decent enough to shorten his name to the more preferable: Woody. The clumsy, awkward 15 year old walked up onto the stage, grinning crookedly, not entirely sure what was going on. Woody was a little bit thick in the head, not the brightest tool in the box.

"Any volunteers?" Gale says again, his imaptience showing through his fake smile. A dozen or so hands shoot up and a tall boy is pulled out from the crowd. It was Kern Selkirk, the 16 year old who was head of the committee of volunteering. He knew everything there was about politics, and he didn't look half bad either. He walked proudly up the steps and shook Gale's hand without so much as a nervous tremor. He gave me a quick smile and I felt my heart beat wildly for a second. My cheeks were no doubt turning red.

"Well, congratulations to our pair of young tributes! May the odds forever be in your favour." Gale finished the ceremony and that was it. I was now officially going to represent District 12 in the 'Hunger Games'. I felt a bit nauseous and wobbled unsteadily on my feet. Suddenly, hands were steadying my shoulders and I looked into Kern's face.

"Be careful. You don't want to hurt yourself." He smiled again. I pulled a face at him before running down the wooden stairs, my feet squleching in the mud beneath them.

"Dad!" I yell, launching myself at him. He hugs me close and only when I find my cheeks wet, I realise I'm crying. Father quickly puts me down and holds my shoulders with his big hands.

"I'm sorry." He looks like he's about to say something else but Gale comes over.

"What's for dinner tonight then?" He asks, grinning. Every year, Gale comes over to our house for dinner after the "reaping" ceremony. Father's face turns hard, trying to look more than a man than Gale. I press my lips together to stop myself from laughing.

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