*This story is from Rue's point of view*
I wake up, dreading today. Today is Reaping. I stand up, and stretch. I put on a white long sleeve shirt, and pitch black pants. I walk to the old chest across the room. I carefully unlatch it, slowly lifting the heavy lid. I reach in, and take out momma's old hunting clothes. I slip on her old hunting boots, which have adjusted to my small feet.
I peek into my momma's room, where she's talking to Prim, who has barely woken up. I smile. And da is still asleep. These are one of the rare days he doesn't have a nightmare about the Hunger Games. I'm surprised momma didn't wake up thrashing. She usually does.
"Momma, can I go hunting? I know that today's reaping, but..." I start. She looks at me, and smiles.
"Of course you can! Just don't let your father know. And be back in time to get ready." She says. I remember dad telling me how she used to be so rebellious, and how charming she used to be. She's still like that. She's told me many things about the Capitol, when she was teaching me to hunt. I feel the same about it. The Hunger Games aren't fair.
I walk out of the house, and pass Haymitch's house. The sour odor of liquor wafts for it. I pinch the bridge of my nose, until I'm well away. I continue making my way to the electric fence, so I can be in solitude.
I stoop down, and listen to the fence. Nothing. I slide under it, and shake off the dirt that stains my shirt. I trek through the woods, to my favorite place. It's the first place I ever went when I first came to the woods. I was three that day.
I climb the tallest tree, wood splintering off into my hands. As soon as I find a sturdy branch, I pick out the wood. I take in the beauty of the forest. I really don't want to hunt today, more as Just experience the woods.
"Rue! Happy Reaping!" I hear someone yell. I turn behind me, and looks down to see Zander. He's special, and so I take care of him. Like he's my little brother.
"Zander Shawn Hawthorne, who took you here?" I ask him, worried. He could've gotten lost, or-
"Hi little Rue." Gale says. Gale is my momma's friend. He's also Zander's father.
"Hi, Gale!" I say to him. I climb down the tree, and stand on my feet. He smiles.
"You look exactly like your mother." He says. "All you need is a braid."
"No. I don't like them." I tell, observing my surroundings.
"Y'know, Your mother and I used to hunt every reaping." He comments. Zander is picking the same yellow flowers that Prim picks whenever she tags along with me.
"And that's what I'm trying to do. You know that I love talking to you, but I need to hunt. Sorry Gale." I tell him. I know dad says not to talk to grown ups that way, but I really don't want to talk.
"Sorry. Zander wanted to say hi." He replies. Zander wanders off, probably to the meadow so he and Gale can go.
I walk to the tree across from the one I climbed before, and reach into the tree hollow, and pull out my bow. I grab my quiver and arrows from a bush.
I crouch onto the dew covered grass. I survey for an animal, any animal. I'm not as good a shot as momma, but I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself. I look around, and spot a rabbit. I take a deep breath, as I pull the bowstring back, to right where my ear would be. I look straight, the arrow aimed for the eye. That's where momma told me to try to hit it. I take one more breath, before loosening my fingers, releasing the bowstring. The arrow goes flying and hits the rabbit square in the eye. It drops, and I walk over.
"I hit it!" I yell, excited. I usually do hit them, but never in the eye. I grab the carcass, and run to the electric fence. I listen for the hum, and when I get nothing in return, I slide the rabbit under, then follow. Excited, I continue to run back to my house.
I run through the door, smiling. I see dad is awake, and talking to momma. When I step into the house, momma and dad math look at me.
"I shot it in the eye!" I say, holding up the rabbit. Momma comes and takes it, setting it on the table. Dad looks at her.
"You let her go hunting?" He asks. Momma shrugs her shoulders.
"I wanted to go. I feel great when I'm in the woods." I defiantly say. Dad smiles.
"You are so much like your mother. You even look just like her." He says. Momma smiles.
"Well, there is one thing." Momma points out. I look at her questioningly. "Rue's eyes."
"Momma, who was Rue?" Prim asks, standing in the door frame. She's wearing a light pink dress, her hair in pigtails.
"Well, your sister was named after a friend. Rue was a girl I met in the games. And your sister has her eyes." Momma explains to Prim. She nods her head.
"And I'm named after Aunt Prim." She says, smiling. She walks back to the room.
I comb through my dark hair, after taking a bath. Momma has set out her's and Aunt Prim's first reaping outfit. The dark skirt and white blouse. She said one day it would be mine or Prim's. I'm glad it's mine.
I walk out, and reveal myself. Momma and dad both smile. I see Aunt Prim has also joined us. She smiles, too.
"You look so beautiful. I remember when I wore that. I remember when your mother did, too. I was eight." Aunt Prim says. Prim is walking around, showing off her pink dress.
"Come here." Momma says, and pats the chair I front of her. I sit, and she starts going to work on my hair. "How do you think she should wear it?" She asks Aunt Prim and Dad. Dad shrugs but aunt Prim thinks.
"How about a braid?" She asks. I shake my head. They start thinking again. My mom's face lights up, and she starts work. After awhile, she asks aunt Prim to do it instead. She must be only good at braids.
Aunt Prim braids a clump of my hair into what looked like a headband, then took the rest of my hair, and toeing a piece of leather around it, so it falls into a ponytail at my side. I look into a mirror and smile.
"I love it." I say.
"For a twelve year old, your so grown up." Aunt Prim says. She smiles. "When I was your age, I wasn't as intense as you were. Well, until your Momma went into the games." She says. I smile.
Effie Trinket walks onto the stage. I know that she's been the escort for over a decade,yet she never looks old. Must be a Capitol thing. She's wearing a blue wig, with skin tight sky blue dress. She smiles her ghostly white smile. Her bright blueish eyes are sparkling. Four seat out of fiveare taken up with Haymitch, Momma and Dad. Haymitch is pretty old. I think he's around fifty. I'm surprised he hasn't drinker himself to death, yet. Most likely because if momma and dad.
Effie steps up to the podium, clicking her navy blue nails in a rhythmic fashion. "President Snow has sent a special message!" She yells. Not this again. We go through a video about how the Capitol is forgiving with the hunger games, and how they're ska we some, blah blah blah. I don't pay attention.
"I so love that!" Effie expresses, wiping a tear. Or pretending to. I really haven't figured her out yet.
"So, as usual, Ladies first!" She says, sticking her hand in the bowl. She opens the slip. I'm not very worried, but I still get a bit scared.
"Rue Mellark!" She shouts out. Prim looks at me, her face in horror. I shake my head no, as she silently asks if I want her to volunteer. I'm pushed out of the crowd of twelve year olds, and I shakily walk up. Momma and dad look scared, and Haymitch is unhappy. We've become like a family to him.
"Aww! Daughter of our two mentors! Exciting!" She says, though I can tell there's a hint of sorrow in her voice.
"Now for the gentleman!" She yells, as she changes subject. I know that Aunt Prim will be watching her while I'm in the games. I hope I win.
"Zander Hawthorne!" She yells. My eyes grow wide, as Zander makes his way up to the stage. I scan the crowd, and meet Prim's eyes. She's silently crying, her two best friends going into a death machine, one of them being her twin. I see Gale, who is filled with fear. Then Aunt Prim who is on the verge of tears. And then Effie who is biting her sky blue lips.
"Our tributes for the 88th hunger games!" Effie yells. I make a bold statement, and smile. It's a nervous smile with fear in my eyes, but it's a smile.