No one ever wants to be in the Games. They just end up there. Stuck. No idea what to do anymore.
I'll tell you a story. There was a boy. He had blonde-white hair that came down to his ears. Sadly, his mother died giving birth to him. Devastated, his father gained a drinking problem and could barely support himself, his son, and his daughter. At age 4, the son decided to find a job to help his family. The local Mellark bakery was happy to help. They provided food and a attic where they could stay. The son and daughter worked in the bakery. Since the son had not been named because the father devastation, the Mellarks named him Rye. A year later, Rye saw two girls playing outside next door. He walked out and introduced himself. They happily asked if her wanted to play. Mr. Mellark gave him permission. Ever since then, Willow and Penny were his best friends.
That's me. That's Rye McDean.
On my best friend Willow's 15th birthday, everything changed.
I walked down to the Reaping as usual, not waiting for Anne, my older sister. It's her last year in the Reaping. Hope she doesn't get picked.
After my finger gets pricked, I look around for Willow and Penny. They're either not here or already in the crowd of heads. I'll find them afterwards.
After the video, Effie Trinket, a Capitol darling since birth, steps up to the microphone. "May the odds be ever in your favor!" Fake enthusiasm, like every year.
She proudly walks over to the bowl with my best friends' names in it. I give it a deadly stare. Not Anne. Not Willow. Not Penny.
She pulls out a slip of paper and walks back over to the microphone.
An "I" sound creeps around the Square as Willow steps out of line. I look over at her. No, I think, Not on her birthday.
"Wonderful!" Effie exclaims with excitement, like she's happy to see us die. "Now for the boys!"
As she strolls over to the next bowl, I wipe my eye. A tear has made its way down my cheek.
She walks back to the microphone, next to Willow.
I freeze in place. Did I hear that right? Rye McDean echoes through my head.
All the boys around me turn and look at me. No, she did say my name.
I step out of line and look ahead at the stage, which now gives me the chills.
A faint crying sound come from the girls side. I jolt my head over. It's hard to see but I can't miss Penny's head. It's in her hands. I push forward.
I can see Willow put a hand to her mouth as her eyes mist up.
I walk up next to Willow and grab her hand. I lean over to her ear and whisper, "Meet me on the train in my bedroom." She looks over and nods.
"Thank you District 12! And, May the odds be ever in your favor this year!" And with that, we're dragged off to say our goodbyes.