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[What is your name?:]
Alona Willow.

[How old are you?:]
Only 13.

[What District are you from?]
District 11.

[Are you proud of your District?]
I really am. It’s formed of great people and hard workers, and the leave me no reason to not be proud of my district.

[What is your life like at home?]
Sometimes significantly rough, but we usually can get by. I mean, quite a few people starve, and if I say my family hasn’t been to a pushing point of that, I’d be lying. But we wake up in the morning, go out to the orchards or fields of cotton and grain, and simply work as long as daylight lasts. We all live in tiny little shacks. Not houses. But like I said, we make do.

[What significant things have happened in your life so far?]
The death of my little brother eight years ago. And a few years ago, one of my best friends got reaped into the Hunger Games. Safe to say they didn’t come out. I hope better for myself. 

[If you were to describe your personality in three words, 
what would they be?:]
Creative, humorous, and weird. You’re probably thinking those are useless traits to bring to the Games. You might be right. But we’ll see. I can’t just up and change myself because of them…

[What are some facts about yourself you think the public should know?:]
I am good with endurance. I’ve never considerably laid my hands on a weapon, but the things I can do are greater. I work year round, enduring both very hot summers and cooler winters. I have to work every day, no matter if I’m sick or wounded. I can go at least three days without food, giving that I have water. But I can outlast the others. What I have endured has made me stronger, I suppose.


~ (story about reaping day.)

`When the sun wakes me up, its early morning, but my room’s already getting hot from the warm air blowing into the room from the window. I throw off the sheet and force myself up, even though I don’t necessarily want to. I never want to get out of bed, but today, work is not the reason I’d rather sleep the day away. It’s Reaping Day. 

It’s a horrible day, everyone is clearly aware. It’s the day that every child twelve through eighteen gets down on their knees and prays. It’s the day where every parent fears for their child, and reminisce about the days they, too, worried about being reaped. Its nerve wracking and I wish we didn’t have to go to the square to be announced. I wish they’d just tell the tributes, and be over with it. But noooo, of course not. It’s a “celebration”. Hah. 

I wash off with the water we have for bath water. The water is generally warm, and does nothing to cool me off this morning. I’ve beat my parents awake, but my mom had laid out my reaping outfit last night. It used to be my grandmother’s, and then my mother’s, and now mine. My grandmother saved each of her six reaping outfits to give to my mother, and of course it was handed down to me. 

Except my mother and grandmother were taller and more built at age thirteen. So obviously, when I slip on the shirt, I immediately realize it goes down to about my knees. It’s long sleeved and stuffy, nothing like last year’s reaping outfit. I wear the white skirt that goes with it under it, and it still goes past my knees. I put on tights and my boots, the only shoes I have, since I don’t usually wear them to work. 

I’m burning up already as I come out of the bathroom. My step-father and mother are both lingering around the fire, warming up bread, it looks like. Acai, a tiny terrier dog that we’ve taken in, walks around, begging and sulking. When mom catches sight of me, she forces me down to comb my hair, and tells me to put on my glasses. My glasses were once my mother’s, and I don’t know how she got them, considering glasses are extremely hard to come by. But she has them. Or did. When I got to an age where I was having trouble seeing, she gave them to me. 

As my real father goes, I don’t know that story. Mom won’t tell it. She talks nastily about him, though, so possibly a divorce or separation, but I’ve never heard of that happening a lot. Maybe he just up and left. But whatever the reason, I have a step-father. 

I eat crescent roll, but it doesn’t taste good. Not right now. It would later. I fed most of it to Acai. 

But then it’s time to head to the square. It’s a generous walk there, and we don’t want to accept the consequences of being late. Other people who live in shacks around us are emerging too, like bears from a den, and walking beside us, but no talk is made. Not today. The wind is eerily quiet, and the fields bare of people. Acai follows along behind us. 

I can’t help but remember Alden. Actually, how could I forget him. Once my neighbor, and once my best friend. We became friends over how I looked like I didn’t belong in District Eleven; how I had fair skin, blonde hair, and bright hazel eyes. Most people are from different ethnics, but I’m not, which makes me stand out. But they’re all dark skinned, dark eyed, with the dark hair and the tall bodies. 

But anyways, long story short, Alden and I had been friends since I was old enough to talk. He’s three years older than me. But that doesn’t matter. Two years ago, he was reaped into the Games, and didn’t come out… 

The square is packed of people; I can tell that as they prick my finger and send me on. As soon as I show up, the ceremony is already beginning, and I’m relieved that we aren’t late. There’s a video from the Capitol, which I can barely see, because I’m standing in the very back, and I’m considerably short. I can barely tell what our representative from the Capitol looks like; she has long, blue, mermaid hair, with fair skin like my own, and is wearing a purple lace gown. That’s all I can tell.

I can’t understand what she says with that accent of her’s, but I see her dip her hand into a bowl, and pluck out a name…. Whew. She reads it off, and it’s not mine. But I’m forced to remember that there’s /two/ tributes. She ducks back into the bowl, and pulls out a name. 

“Alona Willow.” 

….Me. That’s me. As if it was a rule, everyone turned to look at me. All the thirteen year olds in front of me gaped, and before me, and isle was formed. I swallowed hard. No. This can’t be happening… This can’t. I squeeze my eyes tight for a second, expecting to be woke up. 

“Well, come on,” the Capitol rep says, in a cheerful and encouraging voice, and I realize this is not a dream. I open my eyes. This is far from a dream.
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