"I had a dream last night. The same one as the rest, but it went farther this time." I can't imagine the look on my face right now. Dreams are never a good thing for me.
"Dream, not good." I can only imagine what's going through his head right now. I wonder if Hillton thinks I'm crazy. The last time I had dreams Ember was killed by a girl from District 4. She was one of the last two tributes and before Ember could take a breath the other girl thrust her trident into her stomach. I understand that it's the way of the Games, but it doesn't take away the pain. That girl is the reason I had to learn how to cook and take care of a lazy boy only two years younger than me.
"Lark, are you going to tell me what the dream was about," Hillton ask bringing me out of thought. "I wouldn't know where to begin", I stammered. "You know I don't like to talk about that stuff". From the look on Hillton's face, I could tell he wasn't going to drop it this time. My dreams were becoming to frequent and he could tell it was bothering me.
"Well, you need to. Just start from the beginning." Hillton's right, I do need to. So I do as he said; and start from the beginning.
Silence. I hear nothing but silence, and the dirt crunching beneath my boots. After hearing my dream, Hillton was stunned into silence. Neither of us could figure out what it meant. It was very frustrating for us both. Now, on our way to the Hob, there is nothing but silence between us. The Hob is District 12's black-market. It's been destroyed time and time again. The first time that my Father knows of was when the districts rebelled, the second time was when Cleopatra Snow, took over. It's now located in an old abandoned building not far from the original spot.
Hardly anyone goes there on Reaping day, but we need the money. Taxes have just gone up and the pay in the mines went down, but my Father either can't or won't get a second job. Mother helps Nana with her washing business all she can, but Nana can't pay her, she needs the money just as much, maybe more, than we do. So here I am doing all the illegal stuff. All punishable by death. I harbor cold feelings for my father. He's the man of the house, he should be risking his life for our family, not me. Even Glenn does more than he does. Glenn gives me paintings to sell to the more well to do people at the Hob.
He would be the one selling them if I let him. I just don't want my younger brother caught up in this mess. He does know how to hunt though. Before my father ever taught Ember or me how to properly use a bow n' arrow, we all learned how to throw knives. A skill I still use from time to time.
We walk into the Hob, only to be greeted with shouts. Things like "Good luck today," and a "Keep ya' head on straight," are said to Hillton and me. We're regulars here, and apparently, well respected. We quickly trade what we need to then leave; no time for chit-chat. At this point, Hillton and me would normally head to the bakers shop and trade with him. He never shows his face so we would have to trade with one of the workers. As we leave the Hob, I look at a clock on the wall. "It's 12:30, Hillton, we need to go home," I state.
"Lark, the reaping doesn't start until two, we have plenty of time," Hillton says carefree.
I don't know if it was his carefree manner, or what, but whatever it was, it angered me quick.
"Fine," I fire, my temper rising, "you be late for a reaping. I'm not taking that chance. Remember the last person that did? You don't want to end up like her, do you?" I speed up from a walk into a run. Hillton doesn't even try to catch up to me. He knows to just let me cool off.
When running, it doesn't take me long to get home. When I walk through the front door, I see my family is ready to go. Glenn looks handsome in his trousers and light blue button-up shirt, that is in fact, un-tucked. He lets his golden blond curls fall naturally, almost covering up is eyes. "Glenn Jay Hawthorn, you better tuck in that shirt before I can get a hold of you," Mother fusses. Even on Reaping day my family can be comical.
"Boy," I tease, trying to keep the smile of my face, "you better listen to your mother." He turns around and sticks his tongue out at me.
"This is no time for nonsense," Mother screeches. "And you," she turns directly to me, "get your butt in the tub. We need to get going." I watch as Glenn laughs at me as Mother pushes me into her and Fathers room. After she leaves the room, I undress and scrub a week's worth of dirt off me. As I'm drying off I notice a red dress is laid out on the bead. It's the one Ember wore on her 6th Reaping. The one she was chosen in. "I thought you might like to wear it," Mother says softly. I say nothing as I slip it on. I watch as Mother puts my hair into multiple layers of braids hanging loosely down my back. She then takes a white ribbon and ties it around my waist.
"Look at you. All grown up." Tears come to the surface of Mothers eyes but never fall. I turn around and hug her tightly. "I love you Mom," I whisper in her ear.
"I love you too, my little bird," she whispers back.
Right before we leave Mother places my locket around my neck. "We can't forget this." Father comes over and places a kiss on my forehead while Mother hugs me and places a mocking jay pin on Glenn.
"Hello, everyone," Patricia Blue, District 12's escort, and the first escort to have an almost district sounding name, squeaks through the microphone, "and welcome to the 89th annual Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor." What her name lacks in Capitol style, her clothes make up for. Her hair is silver colored with a purple tint. Her caramel colored skin is covered in shiny markings the same color as her hair. But her dress stands out the most, it's bright yellow with lime green swirls all over it. And the front of the skirt is completely missing showing a pair of lime green mini shorts.
"As always, ladies first," Patricia squalls in her capital accent. As she walks across the stage to the girls bowl, you can hear the click of her heels. After Patricia chooses a slip she parades back across the stage.
"Madge Reed." I watch as Madge makes her way from the group of 14 year olds. Right before Madge makes it to the stage, a child screams, "Sissy, no, don't go!" At that statement I remember saying very similar words and just wishing I could take Embers place. I am brought out of my thoughts by Patricia asking for a volunteer. Before I can even process what is going on, I shout the two words that will change my life forever, "I volunteer."
A/N: Hope you enjoyed :P