The room was dark and cold, small lights hung on the concrete wall, putting out very little light. In front of me, a woman sings. She suddenly stops, when she notices the doorknob on the metal door turning. The door opens, and in steps a man. "Are you okay," the woman asks as she threw her arms around his neck. "Yes, dear; I'm just a little scratched up." The man was clearly more than a little scratched up, but the woman did not push it. They hugged for some time, until there was a loud noise followed by screams and the lights flickering. "It's time", the man said, breaking the silence. The woman let go of the man, her hands sliding down his arms stopping at his hands, when he intertwined there fingers.
"I don't think I can do this," the woman said as a tear rolled down her cheek. "I can't give them up."
"I wish we didn't have to, but it's for their own good." The man looked torn himself.
"I know. I'll miss them so much."
The man steps away, releasing the woman's hand, and walks in my direction. When he's right in front of me, he bends down to pick me up. I look over his shoulder to see the woman holding a small boy, no older than two. The man and woman look at each other before heading out the door, and into a hallway lit with red lights. I hear another noise, followed by more screams. When we finally make it outside, they break out into a jog. I look around, only to see the place I call home, up in smoke. Everything is on fire. The ground we walk on is covered in blood Men, women, and children of all ages, lay covering the ground. I realize that they are not breathing, dead, in a better place. I hear screams of children, and look to see a house on fire. The man and woman keep running, despite the cries of help coming from the house. Everywhere I look I see houses up in the dancing flames of death.
After what seems like miles of running, we stop at a house much like the rest. The man and woman carry us in, and sit us on a table in the middle of the house. The woman takes something out of her pocket. It's a golden locket. She puts it around my neck and kisses my head. The man does the same to the boy, and puts a golden pin on his shirt. Sadness is covering both people's faces as they reluctantly leave. Moments after they leave, I hear a screech and a loud explosion. I cover my ears just as the building catches on fire. Fire leaps all around us in a dance of death and beauty. It's such a strange thing, that, the thing that can end your life can be just as beautiful as it is deadly. The wooden house starts to fall around us. When part of the roof falls on the table, it breaks, and sends the boy and me falling to the ground. I hear a loud, pain filled scream along with a deeper 'no', followed by a grunt.
I wake up gasping for air. This is the sixth time I've had this dream this month, but it's never gotten this far. I look around the room as I catch my breath. The house is all wood, and only has three rooms, the kitchen and two bed rooms. My parents sleep in one, while my brother, Glenn, and me sleep in the other. The dream comes rushing back, leaving me gasping for air once again. This time I can't regain my breath. I need to sort things out, and the best place for me to do that is the woods. I carefully get out of the bed, hoping the creaking of the old wooden floor doesn't wake anyone up. I slip on a pair of pants, a long sleeved brown shirt, and my hunting boots. My father's older brother gave them to him for me, when my father visited him in District 2. I walk into my parent's bedroom to see them holding each other in their sleep. The floor creeks, and I hold my breath, hopping I didn't wake them. When I see that they are sound asleep, I continue walking toward the only mirror in the house. I stop in front of it, and quickly braid my long, wavy, black hair across my shoulder.
When I finally make it outside, I run straight to the meadow. Each year, on this day, I go to the meadow and pick flowers, to put on my sisters grave. Five years ago, today, my older sister Ember, was Reaped in the annual 84th Hunger Games. She was seventeen. My parents never quite got over her death. None of us did. In the mist of my thoughts, I arrive at the meadow. I look around, searching for only the most perfect lilies. Nothing but the best for Ember...they were her favorite flower. After I have a bouquet of lilies, I take them over to her grave, under the biggest willow, in the same meadow. It was her favorite place in all of District 12.
"Today's Reaping day," I say to Ember as I sit down beside her grave. "As usual, I brought lilies." I put the lilies on her grave. "I guess we have our own little annual thing. Mother and Father are finally moving on. Glenn, he keeps painting you. I mean, he paints other things, but the majority is you. I keep having the same dream. But this time it went further than the rest." "I just can't figure out what it means." I start fiddling with my locket that I've had as long as I can remember, as I do the dream starts to come back. The dream is a blur, most of it anyway, until the part where the woman pulls out the golden locket. I quickly slide my locket off my neck realizing.....it's the same one from the dream. Must be my imagination, I think.
"Well sis, I need to go. I have to meet Hillton, and be home in time for the Reaping."
Hilton is my oldest and dearest friend. I don't know what I would do without him. We know everything about each other, he knows all of my deepest, darkest secrets. We do everything together. Hilton is tall, about 6'3" with dark brown hair. If you look at him on a cloudy day, his hair almost looks black, but when the sun hits it, you can see the brownish red show through. He has wolf-like eyes. A steely, grayish-blue that pierce through your soul. I always joke with him and tell him he must be part wolf, especially when he's hunting and stalking his prey. Everyone thinks we look alike, but most people that live in the Seam usually do. Most of us have dark hair and gray eyes. My parents are no exception. Glenn looks out of place, though. He's around 5'8" with the prettiest golden curls I've ever seen, and common, for the Seam, blue gray eyes. I always tell him he should have been a girl. And he fires back saying I should have been a boy. I agree, I'm not girly at all. I may have been, if Panem wasn't like it is today. Only if things were different, but I can't afford to think like that. It's too dangerous. When I reach the electric fence that separates District 12 from the woods, I listen for the buzz that means the electricity is turned on. We only have electricity for a couple of hours in the evening, but I listen anyway.
When I don't here the buzz, I quickly drop down on my stomach and crawl under. I would rather have stayed in the woods. I feel much safer there, it's my safe haven from the madness that exists in Panem. Since the Hunger Games began again, life has dwindled to merely existing. The woods are peaceful, quiet and beautiful. The trees are large and provide shade from the hot sun. They also provide an excellent place to hunt for food. When I make it far enough into the woods, I go to the place I keep my bow and quiver full of arrows. When my uncle, Gale, started working in the mines, my father, being the next to oldest, had to learn how to hunt. Gale would hunt on Sundays, his only day off, and Father would hunt after and before school. Then after the rebellion, Gale moved to District 2. He's never been back, and I hope he never will be. I mostly use the weapon for hunting, but today I need them for protection. The fence is around District 12 for a reason; to keep animals out, and people in. I'm brought out of my thoughts, by a twig snapping. I quickly load my bow and turn around.