District Four

Rosie stuck her hand in the jar and then withdraws it, she opens the slip of paper. "Saffron Robbins." My heart stops beating. She called out my name.


1. Reaping Day

I close my eyes again and roll over. I didn’t want to get up. Today is the day I’m dreading.


It’s reaping day.


The day everyone hates, except for the Capitol of course.

I hate the Capitol; they sit back and watch us die for their entertainment.


It’s sick.


My name is Saffron Robbins, I live in District Four. The fishing district. I can fish, luckily, Father taught me how to. He wants me to have a slight advantage in the arena, if I was unlucky enough to be reaped. I don’t blame him; I’m the only family he has. Mother died when I was born from infection.


“Saffy, time to get up,” Father says and shakes my shoulders gently. I try to slap his hands away with no luck.


“Okay, okay, I’m getting up,” I say and throw my blanket to the other side of the bed. I sit up and run my hands through my long hair. I had washed it last night so it would dry while I slept.


I stand up and grab a dress that used to belong to my Mother. I place it neatly on my bed and then head to the bathroom to wash my body. Afterwards, I get changed into the dress and pull Mother’s old necklace around my neck. It was my good luck charm. I grab my hairbrush from my drawer and drag it through the knots in my hair. I then pull it back into a fishtail plait. I live in the fishing district, so why not?


I had slept in this morning. No one does on reaping day, except me. I hate reaping day, I always attempt to sleep through it every year, but of course Father wakes me up. Anyway, we don’t want the Peacekeepers breaking our door down to find out the reason for me not attending the reaping. That’s the last thing we need.


You would think that Peacekeepers are nice, and keep the peace. They do the opposite. If you move one toe out of line it is jail or death. You don’t get to choose either. 


I pull on my boots and tie them up so they were secure on my feet.


“It’s time, Saffy,” Father says and I nod before following him out of our house. We walk to the town centre in silence and take in District Four. It’s different on reaping day, of course it is, they bring in more Peacekeepers. The Capitol want to show us how much power they have.


The Capitol: the two words I hate the most.


I queue up to sign in. It’s a very quick process. They ask for your name, prick your finger and take your blood to prove you are who you say and then you stand in line and wait for the reaping to begin.


After I have signed in, I stand in line with the other sixteen-year-olds. If my name doesn’t get pulled out of the bowl this year, I only have two more reapings to attend. I clutch Mother’s old necklace that is hanging around my neck and pray it brings me good luck.


The necklace is a silver butterfly and the wings are made out of sapphire stone. I never found out how Mother obtained this necklace.


Rosie Kelly stands on the stage and taps the microphone to check that it works. She does the same routine every year, and she wears the same awful clothes too. The same baby blue dress and has her hair dyed into a navy blue. She looks ridiculous. Even the make-up she is wearing is blue. She looks scary. Who wears blue lipstick? Just people from the Capitol because they have no fashion sense.


Hasn’t anyone told her that blue is not her colour?


While I’m bitching about her in my head, I miss the beginning of the reaping. Not that it matters. I have seen it loads before.


Rosie digs her hand into the glass bowl on the right, and then withdraws it after she has picked a slip of paper. She then walks into the middle of the stage and opens it up. With a smile on her blue lips, she reads out the name.


“Saffron Robbins,” She announces.


I could feel the colour drain from my face and my heart stop beating. Everyone turns to face me and I step into the gap between the two halves that split the girls up from the boys. I walk up to the stage.


I waited for someone to volunteer.


No one does.


Tears roll down my cheeks.


I step onto the stage.


I spot Father.

His expression matches mine.


“Joseph Odair,” Rosie calls out, her voice snaps me out of my thoughts. I watch the boy walk up to the stage, shock is etched on his face.


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