Despite the fact that the sun is shining and the birds are singing and all the usual crap that goes with that statement, I'm not in a particularly happy mood. No one in any of the 12 Districts of Panem are. Only the idiotic people of the Capitol are. They're the people the don't have to worry about anything, least of all any of their friends or siblings or children (I don't have children but there's certainly a lot of parents out there with them) being sent to their most certain deaths. I worry about that every day with my sister Holly.
On a day like today, I would much rather be doing other things opposed to making preparations for the reaping. I'd love to be at the lake swimming with Holly, or at our poor excuse for a beach fishing with Dad and then going for a little dip, spearing fish with tridents. But no. Every reaping day has beautiful weather and the Capitol forces us to think of it with a cringe and a dose of fear. There's no peace for us.
The reaping ceremony takes place in the square of District Four, the only place that's big enough to hold our entire population. Even then, we all only just barely fit. The actual reaping consists of 2 jars, a silly person from the Capitol, a video, and everyone between the ages of 12 and 18 being scared for their lives.
This happens every year just to prove to us that the Capitol are the ones who really have the power, despite the fact that we, the Districts, provide everything for them. I think they realize that though, and that's why our living conditions are so poor. They give us just barely enough to live on and then take away all peace that we may receive from day to day activities.
For example; fishing is one of the many things that our District does but we have strict laws regarding how we do it. We're not allowed to directly eat anything we catch. Instead, we have to take it to the town meat factory. Every day, everyone has to do different jobs and if they aren't done then we get in big trouble. VERY big trouble.
So these are our living conditions. Some might say that they aren't exactly the most pleasant and they're probably correct in saying that, but as love as we're alive, then they're okay for us.
Like I said before, the sun is shining and there's a lot of other things that I would rather be doing rather than preparing for today.
In exactly one hour we have to be at the square so that means that I have to help Holly get ready. As it's her first year I try not to worry about her too much but she's my sister; a sibling's natural instinct is to protect their fellow brothers and sisters.
Holly sits nervously on our bed, patting her plaits into place and twitching nervously. When she see's me, she smiles half-heartedly, "At least this year we don't have to worry about cousin Mermaid, Dilli. She's safe this year."
It's her first year and that's what she's thinking about? Oh wow, that's my sister for you, the most selfless person ever invented. "Holly, you really shouldn't be worrying or even thinking about Mermaid. She's safe. You should be thinking of yourself, and that cute little boyfriend of yours." I sit next to her on the bed and kiss her forehead gently. "Or is he eighteen already you sneaky little cheeky devil?"
Holly laughs, "no he's 12 just like me. Strangely enough I'm not really overly worried about him though. He's from the richest family in the District and he's been trained since he was about six or seven for this." (*Author's note; for the purpose of this story, District 4 is a career District.*)
Now it's my turn to laugh, "so we have a little rebel on our hands then. If the authorities knew about this, he'd be gone for sure. But people like him almost never get caught. They're too safe and the police probably wouldn't do anything anyways. They'd rather we actually won the games for once instead of losing."
"Yeah," Holly smirks, "anyways, we should go eat breakfast because we have to go soon. It's strange that I'm actually not very nervous."
"Nothing bad will happen to you," I promise, hoping with all my heart that it's true.