Cheers erupt as I, Katniss Everdeen, emerge on my cart with flames flying and flickering all over. I am on fire and it is the best thing I have ever experienced. I stare at the crowd trying to work out what they are cheering for. Are they cheering for me? A girl who is going to her dead in about a week?
Cinna said to trust my instincts to make friends and within that comes sponsors. Sponsors are my way to survive so I hope the screaming and cheering at me is a good thing. If it isn’t then I am both confused and dead. The crowd is going wild and it scares me almost the loud cheers of greedy and hungry people wanting more of this abomination called The Hunger Games.
Peeta stands beside me, the boy that I am against. I have only met Peeta once before and that was when he chucked me the bread in the rain. He could hate me for taking the bread and be plotting to kill me right at this moment. I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t want to be a part of these hideous games that pits kid against each other to fight to the dead.
Our flames seem to be the things that are making the crowds cheer just like Cinna said. He said they would be a hit and they are. My heart is racing as I search through the crowds for no particular reason. I notice flamboyant wigs matched with the most outrageous oversized accessories and dresses. The men are mainly wearing suits but pink suits with patterned ties with fish printed on them. Is this what they think style is? But how would I know what style is? I come from a place where we have one set of everyday clothes and one set of formal clothes to wear to the reaping.
All of the chariots do a circle course and we see the President stood at the top of a tall podium up higher than us. I notice a few people that have been to reapings before in our district, they must be important if they are up there with President Snow. The President is examining our every movement and it intimidates me I try not to move, not to smile, just holding the rose that was chucked at me from an audience member.
Once the circle is done I notice the chariots go back from where we came and I see the doors. We are last to leave and we are last to hear the cheers of the Capitol before the doors slam shut, our chariot stops and our flames are extinguished.
Chatter is high and bubbly now the doors are closed; mentors and stylists are complimenting their tributes. Cinna pulls me into his arms and congratulates me on how I did. He was watching the whole time and he says that I did great out there I reacted brilliantly and paid enough attention to the audience to get at least one sponsor.
Other tributes are eyeing us down, staring and glaring. Attention was directed to us out there and now Peeta and I are threats to all of them. They think we have showed them up and taken all of their sponsors. But who will the sponsors choose? The careers who have trained their wholes lives to volunteer or two tributes from district twelve who know nothing about survival, well Peeta doesn’t.
Peeta is taken away by Effie and Haymitch for some reason and Cinna is called away to go and talk to some other stylists that he knows. I suppose it would be about how well tonight went and congratulation on his designs.
I am now alone with the chariot and the horse that pulls it, I don’t know what to do or where to go. I decide to just stay put because this way I won’t get lost and the others will be able to find me easily. I stroke the horse gently and just admire it.
When I turn around I am startled by a tall boy with blonde hair. He is wearing all gold and no shirt, his intimidating muscles on show for the whole world to see. Isn’t he cold? I sure am cold. The boy stares at me but it isn’t a deadly stare it is calm and collected. I just stare back but I bet my stare seems scared and intimated. Maybe that is what he is trying to do, scare me. But wouldn’t he glare at me to do that? I have no idea of human mannerisms.
I turn to see if anyone is looking and no one is longer staring over to where I am standing, glaring at me for doing what I have been told to do. Turning back to the boy, I say, “Can I help you?” In a small, calm tone. I don’t want to make any problems on my first day now do I?
“My name is Cato.” I nod and send a confused look his way. I now know his name but does that answer the question I asked? “I just wanted to say hi.” Cato sounds shy and I have no idea why. Now is not time to be making friends when we will be killing each other in about a week. Why would I want to get involved with someone now?
“Katniss, Katniss Everdeen.” I smile a little. What? You can’t turn down a muscular, tall guy that has a cute smile and decided to come and say hi. It’s cute and nice. At least I could introduce myself and make allies. Cato nods and shakes my hand quickly. “What’s your district?” I ask with wonder.
Cato smiles at the conversation I have just started up. “Two. What about you?” He is a career. Damn. How didn’t I guess before now? Can I become friends with a career; I suppose they are the ones who can protect me the most but that doesn’t mean they aren’t brutal and nasty. Cato could be trying to trick me into becoming his ally and then at the end brutally bludgeon me to death and win the games.
“T-T-Twelve.” I manage. I’m intimidated now and he can see that, he can read mannerisms. Cato tries to touch my shoulder but I move it before he can. I don’t want to be bait and useless mean for these careers.
Peeta strolls back over to the chariot and immediately notices how tense I am and how Cato is stood in front of me. But who would think someone with such an innocent look could be a brutal killer? Peeta nods at Cato and turns to me, “Is he bothering you?”
I go to speak but Cato beats me to it saying, “No. I’m leaving anyway.” He pauses, glances over to me and adds, “See you at the dinner tonight.” Then he is off, walking back to his chariot and the girl from his district.
“Making friends?” Peeta asks. I shake my head and go back to stroking the horse gently. I have eased up now but that was a little weird how innocent a career seemed and he purposefully talked to me and not another career. He could have gone over to the blonde from one or someone from another district that isn’t as far away as twelve. Cato knew I was twelve, he knew where our chariot was and who I was. That didn’t stop him from talking to me though.
I wonder why...