It All Depends On Me

This is for the "Two Weeks in Panem" competition. It's basically the Reaping from the first Hunger Games but from Effie's point of view. Enjoy! :)

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1. The Reaping

As the clock struck ten minutes to twelve, I raised my head from my hands. Like young, excited birds, my eyes fluttered around the stylish train compartment, never truly focusing on anything. I felt like running my hands through my hair to relieve the stress and tension building and bubbling inside me like a volcano, seething and boiling and growing into a screeching crescendo before finally overpowering the feeble restraints of rock and earth, spewing and seeping into every surface its probing veins of lava could find. But of course, I had to remain calm and collected as always, painting a false mask of lies that the Capitol had forced me to adopt. Adjusting my position on the upholstered leather of the sofa, I smoothed out a few minute creases that had appeared of the seat of my dress. It was heavy, excruciatingly hot cotton that irritated my skin every time it rubbed against my thighs. The blouse I was wearing over the top was slightly more bearable, but only by a small way. It was as thin and sleek as satin, but had the texture of the finest moleskin. However, the blouse was new and had recently been dyed an eye-watering pink, causing some of the toxins to rub onto my chest and raise a colony of furious crimson rashes. Drumming my fake, pale peach nails against the arm of the sofa leather, I allowed my eyes to glance back at the huge, silver-painted cloak positioned in front of me. Peering at the intricately designed numbers carved across the face from a fringe of midnight-black lashes, my stomach growled nervously. Dismay washed around my body and the hairs on the back of my neck prickled as I watched the one of the bronze-gilded hands counting the seconds towards twelve o'clock. As the breath fled from my lungs, I realised with a numb sense of horror that I was powerless to stop the clock from chiming, from announcing that the Reaping would begin. 

 

Sweat dripping from the open palms of my hands beat a steady rhythm against the starch concrete of the raised platform I was positioned on. Railings with peeling, iron grey paint forged a barrier between me and the starved, tortured-looking crowd of District Twelve. Although the sky was a miserable, marble-grey, a few weak rays of translucent sunlight pierced through the foreboding wall of clouds. The hesitant light reflected brilliantly off the perfectly polished glass spheres placed in front of me, leaving dark spots in my vision whenever I glanced down at them. They were full to the brim with neat, stark white slips of paper, each containing a name. I knew from experience that there would be more than one copy of a name in there, most likely about ten or twenty for each girl or boy standing in the crowd. I let my eyes wonder across the faces, but never met their eyes or memorised their expressions, for fear of not being able to sleep at night. What I did know, though, was that their expressions were mere ghosts, shadows of the headstrong, outgoing children that lived within in the safe, glittering walls of the Capitol. Each child was haunted, tortured, by an insatiable hunger or pain. Finally, once every miserable, half-dead child was present in their groups, I could choose. I could pick a name and get this whole nightmare over with. But of course. The Mayor had to drone on with his monotonous speech, always talking in the most painful drone. I smiled a perfect, shining grin, displaying my evenly-shaped and pearly white teeth. Only about half an hour to sit through... 

 

"Now, at last, the beautiful Miss Effie Trinket can do the honours of selecting one lucky girl and one lucky boy to compete in the Hunger Games, fighting to the death and claiming a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring glory and wealth for them and their family!" The usually tiresome voice of the Mayor perked up suddenly, booming out louder than his entire speech. I snapped my head up and nodded brightly, although that was the complete opposite of what I was feeling inside. My stomach was a churning, seething wreck of nerves and excitement, all mixed up in one. As silence fell over the square like an omnipresent blanket of fog, I suddenly became all too aware of my actions. It was like half of me was watching from a distance, second guessing what  would do next. The footsteps made from my ridiculously high stiletto heels echoed across the crowd, the only sound in a sea of silence. I tried to smile but my nerves got the better of me. I ended up looking like I was snarling, as if I were a savage wolf or another inhumane creature. Reaching a manicured hand into the girl's sphere first, I hesitated for a spilt second. All these names, all people, all different lives, all different family and friends, pets, jobs, children, homes. I hardly knew one, let alone three hundred of these girls. Whose life would I ruin today; whose family would I cause to mourn and be put out of balance because of me? I closed my eyes, weighing up to odds of me surviving if I refused to pick a name. Let's see. 1:1,000,000. Sighing, heart pounding, body sweating,  stomach churning, I grasped hold of a name. Little did I know that by choosing this particular slip of paper, identical to all the others, I would be creating an all-time legacy. "Primrose Everdeen!" I shouted out to the crowd. 

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