Glimmer. Stupid name. My mother always said that she called me that because she knew I would be a star. I am nothing like my mother. She is an all singing, all dancing extrovert. She works as head of the design factory in our home, District 1. So she is the one to blame for the Capitol's ridiculous sense of style. I am more like my father. I like to keep my head down, get my work done. Any fool could tell that their marriage was never going to last. They only married because my mother fell pregnant with me anyway, and, still being in school she couldn't support herself. My father, being five years older worked in an office somewhere in the centre of the district. After three years, when my mother was earning money, my Father asked her for a separation. As I say, it was hardly surprising. He wasn't even bothered about seeing me. He'd rather just forget about the whole horrid experience. I don't blame him.
I too left my mother as early as I could. From the age of five children are allowed to audition for the academies on the day after Reaping day each year. I wasn't allowed to join at 5. There is a order. If you are the child of a past victor, you can audition at 5 years old. If you are the child of somebody with a good job, or upper class you can join a year later, and so on and so forth. Being from my family, I was only allowed to join at the age of eight. Not ideal, but at least I passed the audition on the first attempt. Some will try for years and fail every time.
The academies are... hard. There is no other way to describe them. The same routine every day - up at 5 am each morning, kept to a strict diet, and training. Endless training. Each of us were brainwashed and made into killing machines. None of us were taught to value human life. That was just an obstacle separating us hopefuls from a life of luxury and ease. At the end of each year, we must take a number of tests to allow us to pass onto the next level. If you fail, you're out. It's as simple as that.
I have done well, made it to the end of the journey. I am the perfect killing machine, the best my district have to offer. And I will succeed. Failure is not an option.