Chapter 4: The 74th Reaping
I watched Katniss walk back to her house until she vanished from view. Then I turned to walk back to my own home. It was only a few minutes walk to get there. When I opened the front door my mother was standing near the sink doing the dishes. My little sister, Posy, was sitting on the floor playing Patty-Cake with my younger brother Rory. My other brother, Vick, was napping on the sofa. Big suprise. It felt like every time I came home that kid was sleeping. I placed my game bag on the kitchen counter and pulled out a skinned squirel. I walked over to the sofa and held it in front of Vick's face. "Wake up, Vicky. Wake up", I had whispered in his ear. His eyes slowly opened, but once he caught sight of the squirel the bulged to the size of tennis balls. I fell over laughing my head off. When Vick got his bearings he came over to tackle me. We always did that with each other.
After Vick had gotten his energy out, I went to go get ready for the Reaping. I told the others to do the same. I put on a white shirt with a collar. I buttoned it up and folded the collar down. I cuffed up the sleeves and pulled on my best pair of jeans. From there I went into my bathroom. I combed out my hair and steped back to take a look in the mirror. Eight then my stomache started to fiz. The butterflys were coming out. My name had been in theree a lot. More than any ohter boy in District 12, I thought. The odds were not in my favour that day. They weren't in Katniss' either, which made it doubly bad for me. Then there was Vick to worry about and Prim. There names were both only in there once, though. Katniss and I wouldn't let them enter for Tessare.
I heard a little knock on my door. A soft little knock that could only have been Posy. I walked out of my bathroom and over to the door. When I opened it, sure enough, it reveled my little sister. "Mommy says it's time to go", she had said. I reached down and picked her up. I headed for the kitchen where Rory, Vick, and my mother were waiting. We filled out of the door one at a time except for me and Posy. The streets were pretty crowded with kids and their parents heading down to the square. Peacekeepers were on the sides of the coublestone streets. I didn't really understand the purpose for that. Their white uniforms were blinding.
When we reached the square, I put Posy down. Vick and I walked over to the Peacekeeper near the boys 'carale'. That's the best way to describe it. They had to seperate sections for the boys and the girls. Then there were sections within those two sections. They were sectioned off acording to age. We told the Peacekeeper our names and he checked us off. Vick and I parted ways to head off to our section. After several minutes of getting everybody in order Mayor Undersee steped up to the microphone. He said the Treaty of Treason as he always did. Same old thing. Rebeled, war, Capitol won, resulted in the Hunger Games. After that speile was over, Effie Trincket took the stage. First she introduced the District 12 victor and mentor, Haymitch Abernathy. Some name. Then,"Ladies and gentel-men, welcome to the 74th annual Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor". Effie said that same thing every year.
Her bright pink wig and flamboyant attitude sickened me. Still does when I think back on that. I mean, she was about to call the two kids who will be slaughtered in front of the entire nation and she was happy! She also had a big flowery thing in her hair. She had been wearing a deep purple jacket and the same color skirt. The sleeves had been really puffy in the shoulders. She wore a black blouse under the jacket with another flowery thing around her neck. Her eyes were outlined in light pink and her lips had a deeper, shiny pink coating them. You didn't need to be a genius to know that she was from the Capitol. The horrible Capitol that has done this to us.
Haymitch steped up onto the stage. When he went up to the microphone he had mumbled something, but it was barley audible. Five seconds later he was face flat on the ground. What a honor of a victor he was. Effie was clearly upset, but tryed to get back to the Reaping. While she was fixing her hair, which was obviously a wig, two medics came over and put Haymitch on a stretcher to wheel him away.
"District 12's female tribute will be...", Effie continued. Her hand reached into the large glass ball containing all of the girls names. I was worried about Katniss. Only Katniss. Not Prim. Who would have ever thought? But it happened all the same. "Primrose Everdeen". My mouth must have dropped to the ground. I had no idea what Katniss was thinking right then, but found out soon enough. "I volunteer. I volunteer". Katniss had run forward the second her little sister steped forward. She had screamed it so loud the first time that nobody could acually understand what she had said. Effie siad something about not asking for volunteers yet, but Mayor Undersee just let it go.
Katniss went to walk up to the stage, but Prim was grasping to her waste. "Let go of me", Katniss ahd said a little too harshly I think. When Prim still held tight, I left my section and walked over to Katniss. I lifted up Prim the same way I had Posy this morning. She had started screaming the second I broke her grasp, but I ignored it. I caught Katniss' gase right before she turned to go onto the stage. "Good luck Catnip", I had whispered so just she could hear me. Even though it had only been for a few seconds and a few words, we had had a whole conversation. We didn't need words to speak to each other. We could read each others thoughts through our eyes.
Katniss advanced onto the stage. My eyes started to water up and it took all my strength to not break down crying. The odds had not been in my favor at all that day. The best thing that could have happened from there is for me to go into the arena with her. That way I would have been able to protect her for sure and keep her safe. At the same time it was best that I stayed home. someone needed to feed both our familys. So no, it was not me that got called that day but Peeta Mellark.