I sit down, my body still trembling. I will be spending the rest of my life with the boy I hoped to never see again.
"Your parents will be waiting for you after the assembly. You may take a seat, Kevin Alan Ford." Jacques gives him a nod and he makes his way back to his seat. Kevin. Who knew I'd be spending the rest of my life with Kevin Alan Ford, my arch enemy from Anterior School.
After many boring choosings later, I heard my name being called. This time it was not for a partner approval, although I wish it was. I stand up slowly, flattening my pink silk dress. My heels clack on the auditorium as I step up the steps.
"Girl 128, have you chosen your designated name?" I nod.
"You know the drill." He gives me a wide toothy grin and hands me the pad. I slowly type in my name.
I take a deep breath as I type in my last name.
Before I typed the name in, there were scattered conversations here and there. Now everyone stood still, frozen. I hand back the pad. Jacques wasn't smiling anymore.
"Um, Priscilla, you have, uh, already found your, uh, um..." Jacques looks as if he had lost his train of thought.
"Partner." I whisper, chuckling. But he didn't chuckle back.
"Yeah, that." He mumbles, turning his head away.
"Yes. Boy 99." I look out into the crowd and make eye contact with Kevin. His eyes quickly flash away. I frown.
"Okay. Your parents will meet you at your seat, yada yada, you can go... Priscilla Echo... Everdeen." He mumbles my last name under his breath. Usually, there are claps and cheers from the audience. Now the only claps come from Kevin.
I push my way through people, whos eyes are burning a hole into my back.
"Carter, what's going on?" I squint my eyes at Carter, who only looks away. "Carter, please tell me." I set my hand on her shoulder, shaking her lightly. She shakes her head and avoids eye contact. I slump back in my seat.
An hour later, Jacques announces that it is time to meet our parents. The crowd seems healed, not as uneasy as they were when I chose.
I walk over to the booths and find the one that says 'Girl 128.' I pull open the red and white curtain. A women with bleached blonde hair sits in a brown chair. She looks up at me, her eyes shining. Her hair is shoulder length, like mine, and it is really wavy. She stands up, putting her hands in her pockets.
"Priscilla." She smiles, her perfect teeth glowing. "I'm your mom." She walks closer towards me. I hold my breath, unable to breath. Soon, I find myself wrapped in my mother's arms. She cradles me like a baby.
"Mom." I sob into her shoulder, my breaths unsteady.
"You're so beautiful. I can't believe I finally get to meet you. Look at you." She holds me by the shoulders but pushes me back.
I have short, dirty blonde hair that falls neatly against my shoulders. I have dull green eyes, nothing like my mom's which are bright blue and they pop. My face is really round, my features squished. I'm really short for my age.
"How old are you now? Let's see, you are in Year 10, so you must be 16." My mom answers her own question. I, however, do not know what an 'age' is. I stand there in confusion.
"You will learn it while training." Training. The words made my heart stop.
"We never chose our occupation. Mom, we never chose our occupation." I let go and started to pace around the room.
"Oh yes." Mom turns around and grabs a small sheet of paper, handing it to me. "This is your occupation." I slowly unfold the paper, prepared for what was coming next.
Girl 128, we have assigned you the job of the Sectioneer. Details below.
Sectioneer. I had never heard of that job before. I kept going.
A Sectioneer is a person who takes care of all the Sections, keeps them in order. They must plan assemblies, arrange meeting with other Sectioneers with other Sections, and keep the Sections alive.
I fold up the paper once again.
"This seems like a lot to take on." I shrug. "Lots of responsibility."
"But I bet you have that. If the Council chose you, then they must believe you can handle the job." I nod.
"Yeah, but still." I sit down in a chair, staring at the wall.
"Where's Dad?" My mother goes silent. I watch out of the corner of my eye as she sat down in the other chair.
"He died." She whispers.
"He... didn't do what the Council wanted."
I lean against the wall in my dorm room, eyes closed. Summer steps into the dorm room, shutting the door behind her.
"Priscilla." I ignore her.
"Priscilla." Don't let her make you speak, Priscilla.
"PRISCILLA!" I hear Summer slam her fist against the wall. I scream and my eyes shoot open.
"My goodness, Summer!" I growl at her and make my way to my bed.
"Sorry. How'd choosing day go for you?" She sits next to me.
"Good, I guess."
"Why did everyone go silent when I announced my name." There it was again. Summer went silent her eyes locked on the ground. After a few seconds she stood up and marched to the booktube. She plugged in her reading device and typed in a title. I heard a ding and she unplugged it, walking back over to me.
"Have you ever read this?" She hands me the device.
The Hunger Games
I shook my head.
"Well you should." Her tone is harsh, and she stands up to walk away.
"Please explain it to me. Not the book, about my name." I set the device down.
"You want to know why everyone didn't clap?" Her face is inches away from mine.
"The main character in that book is called Katniss Everdeen. Everdeen. Years ago, someone made a prediction that the last name of Everdeen would come to life, and the person who owned the name would ruin the world. As if this world isn't already a dystopia." I stand, frozen in fear.
"You better watch what you do, Echo."
And that was it. No one actually called me Priscilla after that. They all called me Echo. They were all scared of me. Scared of me.
Me, Priscilla Echo Everdeen.
Who would never hurt a fly.
Night after night I lay in my bed thinking about what Summer told me. She had been avoiding me ever since that night. The only people who would make even eye contact with me were Carter, Kevin, and Mitzi, my other dorm mate. She slept next to me every night. She and Carter would protect me from the other girls who hated my guts. Minnie, Alannah, and Summer.
"Miss Priscilla." A low, rough voice woke me up Saturday morning. I sat up slowly, running my fingers through my tangled hair.
"Miss Priscilla, the Office would like to see you downstairs immediately." Amelia, the Office Attendance lady stood at the foot of my bed, her dark hair pulled into a tight, neat bun.
"Yes, m'am." I nodded quickly, pushing myself to my feet. I followed Amelia out of the room, shutting the door behind me. I had noticed as we left that there was no one else in the dorm. That was odd.
"Where are my dorm mates?" I asked quietly. Amelia shrugged. I growled under my breath, hoping Amelia didn't hear me.
Once we arrived, Amelia turned back to me and gave me a glare of hatred.
"Be good." She whispered. I ducked my head and opened the metal door. The handle was cold like ice, it made me shiver. The room was dark, except for a little light peaking around the corner. I heard deep voices, each different, but all somehow gave me the chills.
"Priscilla, don't just stand there, sit." I recognized one of the voices. It was the head chief, Mr. Andrews. He was the one responsible for Section F, my section. He stood 6 foot 2, towering over each and everyone one of us. True, Section F is the richest of Sections, but Mr. Andrews held the record of most cash in his bank. The people of the Sections declare him ruler of our land. Therefore, he is technically all of the Section's leader.
I hesitantly took a seat at the far end of the table. 9 pairs of eyes lay on me. I shifted awkwardly in my chair, uncomfortable with this unexpected session.
"You wonderful during Choosing Day, Priscilla." Mr. Andrews acknowledged me. I nodded my head and smiled great fully. It was impolite to speak without being notified by the chief or one of his executives.
"However, by the laws of the Great, I am forced to remove you from all of the Sections, whether you like it or not."