The 107th Reaping happened on Monday the 14th of September 2014. Drawing the names from the bowls, the whole community watching and waiting in nervous angst. And I stood, sure that I wouldn’t be picked. It was just another year, I wouldn’t be picked and I probably wouldn’t know the people who did. I may have seen them at school or around, but I wouldn’t know them. And I wouldn’t be them.
I was confident when I got up in the morning. I was confident when I walked to get breakfast for my family. I was confident when I started walking to the reaping. I was confident when they pricked my skin for blood. I was confident when they picked the 3 male tributes. I was confident when they picked the first 2 female tributes. I was terrified when they called the third.
“Dorothy Gale! The third and final female tribute!”
Oh no. It’s me. I’m in the Hunger Games. I’m going to die. Holy shit.
“Goodbye Aunt Em! Goodbye Uncle Henry! Goodbye Toto! I’ll miss you!” As I said these words, I was grabbed and swept into City Hall.
“Dorothy Gale” one of the peacekeepers boomed “You have two, no sorry, three visitors.” He turned and poked his head out the door “You can come in. Keep it short.” And with that, in rushed Auntie Em, Uncle Henry and Toto. Toto immediately jumped into my arms while Auntie Em and Uncle Henry looked at me with tear-stained eyes. They hugged me tight and cried for a little while, but managed to pull themselves together for long enough to have a decent discussion about how things were going to work.
“Auntie Em, You are going to have to take good care of Uncle Henry while I’m gone, Ok? And Uncle Henry, find some way to get food for you two. You’re getting awfully thin. Get a job or something. I don’t know, but you two will have to sort out an arrangement so that you don’t starve to death.”
“Oh Dorothy, Don’t you go worrying about us, dearie. How are you going to deal in the Hunger Games? What are you going to do? Have you had any experience surviving in the wild?” Auntie Em asked in a panicked voice.
“I’m going to win this thing no matter what, alright? I’ve just got to see you guys and Toto again. I’ll figure out how to survive. I’ll come back, I promise.”
They were ushered out of the room as I finished what I was saying. I meant what I said. I was coming back.
As soon as they left, I was completely alone. Alone to ponder the many ways I could be brutally murdered. Shot in the arm by an arrow and bleeding to death or dying of infection, Getting stabbed through the heart and dying immediately, being impaled by a spear, getting stung to death by tracker jackers, eaten by a bear, starving to death, whatever. It was not a pleasant time to be alone. By the time I had thoroughly freaked myself, the peacekeepers came in to tell me that I was to get on the train to leave. I wasn’t quite ready for this to be moving so fast, but I complied with the orders and trudged down the long, plain hallway to the train at the back of City Hall.
The train was white, looking very sleek and aerodynamic. It was a brand new and had not a mark on the surface. Honestly, it looked way to expensive to be where it was. The city hall was an old building, wood arched doorframes accenting the stone ceiling. Marble floors created a fancy finish, and it looked old in the way that old schools look old. It looked worn but clean, tired but perfectly sound. The way the city hall made you feel was comforting. It was a kind of warm feeling, knowing that centuries of history had been recorded or created here. But the train, that was a different story. The shiny white plastic created a cold, intimidating feeling that settled right under your skin. It made you feel like there was always someone watching, waiting for you to make a wrong move. It felt wrong, it didn’t belong in such a quaint little town where nothing happened. It was the most out of place object in the whole town, even more so than the perfectly paved roads where it would look better cobbled. It felt like a betrayal getting on that train, but I had to. And anyway, there would be much more betrayal than getting on a train that doesn’t look like it belongs.
I stepped up onto the train, and the doors closed, sealing us to our fate. We were off to see the wizard in The Emerald City.