I am Katniss Everdeen. Peeta and I were just beginning to pick ourselves back up, attempting to recover from every single loss we have encountered, but now we've been thrown into another area of the unknown.
The Capitol has been completely destroyed, its residents fleeing to the neighboring districts. Being without an official government was our ultimate accomplishment, but after a few months, things began going from bad to worse. We have decided that we do need government, but it will be completely modified. This new government will give the people choices, and will never be the mistake that Panem was. We will divide into factions, leaving our districts behind us.
This is why we are being held in a large room, filled with every other survivor from District 12. The other districts are already sorted with their new factions. I am terrified that I will lose the only person I have.
He grips my hand tighter as his name is called. Rising from his seat, he gives me a reassuring nod, but the anguish on his face gives him away. At least I know that I am not the only one that is afraid.
Peeta walks slowly down the aisle, struggling with his prosthetic leg that he gained after our first Games. A man who had introduced himself as Marcus hands him a blade, and Peeta takes it hesitantly.
A memory flashed through my mind of my little sister, Prim, at her first reaping. She was terrified of getting her finger pricked, but I had reassured her that the pain only lasted a few seconds. I feel tears welling up in my eyes, but quickly wipe them away. This is no time for weakness.
Peeta slides the blade against his palm, causing me to cringe at the pained expression on his face. I hold my breath as he stares at the five bowls. He finally hovers his hand over one, allowing his blood to drip onto the dirt. Amity.
He goes to stand beside them as they nod politely. As soon as he turns to face the crowd again he finds my face, pleading with me. No. I could never choose Amity, not after all I've done. Not after all of the deaths and tears I have caused. It wouldn't be right.
Before I was able to actually take in the fact that I am losing Peeta, my name is called. Taking a deep breath, I walk as fast as I can towards Marcus.
The knife is handed to me, and I turn it over in my hands. The tests said I am compatible with both Dauntless and Abnegation. I look between the two bowls; it feels as if every person in the entire room is holding their breath.
Sliding the knife across my palm and tensing when the pain comes, I confidently hold my hand over Dauntless. There is no way that I am selfless. Killing people just to save my own skin does not make me feel selfless at all. It makes me selfish and evil. I'd only be lying to myself by choosing that faction. My blood sizzles on the coals.
I avoid the crowd's gaze as I stand near the other Dauntless initiates, staring at my feet instead. My mother and Peeta are gone to Amity. Gale is gone to Abnegation. Prim is dead. I am alone.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and I turn, finding myself looking in the eyes of a girl who is probably around sixteen.
"Welcome to Dauntless. I'm Beatrice." She holds out her hand, and I take it automatically. If Haymitch taught me one thing, it was to make people like me.
"Katniss," I reply, and she smiles. I don't think I know how to smile genuinely anymore.
"What district were you from?" I ask. This is my poor attempt at a conversation. I can't think of anything to talk about but the lives we have all left behind. Pathetic.
"Eight. We were always supporters of you and the rebellion."
I have no idea how to respond. "Thank you."
"Hey. Girl on fire."
I look past Beatrice to see my old ally, Johanna Mason. She gives me a solemn nod. There is no love left in Johanna, who has been through more than I can say. I am not surprised in the least that she chose Dauntless, because she fits the part perfectly. She is one of the bravest people I have ever met.
I turn to stare forward again as the last eligible people are being sorted, which is everyone sixteen and above.
The last boy, who's father used to buy my squirrels, hesitates for longer than anyone else. He finally brings his hand, which is visibly shaking, over the Candor bowl. His blood mixes in with the water as he rushes off to his place.
Dauntless rises to leave first and as we pass, I can't help but look at Peeta, Gale, and my mother, who all return looks of sorrow and a nod of goodbye.
Once we leave the room, we automatically are expected to run at top speed down the stairs. Initiation has officially begun.