Name: Oceana Celeste
The morning of the reaping, I woke before the sun could rise. I moved from my bed quietly, so not to wake the other people in my dorm at the academy. I wanted this time alone. I crept out through the double doors at the back of the room and stood on the balcony, breathing in the salty sea air. I was going to miss this, the rush of the waves, the ocean breeze, the cawing of the seagulls... I waited out on the balcony until the sun came glistening over the sea. Unlike so many of the other residents of Panem, I loved my district. It was so beautiful. And it was home. I felt a pang of envy that all the other girls in the district would get to stay here. But today was my day, the day I had been training for all my life.
I went back to the dorm as the other girls began to wake, casting one last look at the beautiful place that I called home. I took the parcel from my mother that was placed under my bed and opened it. I usually wore a new dress on reaping day, one that my mother made and then sent to me. I would try it on a few days before and prance around in it, imagining the day when I would get the chance to volunteer. But this year the package had remained unopened. It was different to all the other years. This year, the brown paper and string had been replaced by crinkly white tissue paper and a thick pink bow. An expensive dress, from a posh shop, right in the town centre. I savoured the silk of the bow and let the wrapping fall away to reveal a beautiful blue dress, with a plunging neck and soft material which draped down to just above the knee. I pulled the gown on and took special care to brush all of the tangles out of my long, dark hair. Finally, I took the seahorse necklace my parents had bought me when I was accepted into the academy and secured it around my neck. Slipping on my best white shoes I look at myself in the mirror on the opposite side of the room to my bed. “Perfect.” I heard a voice from the door.
“Thank you, sir.” I say, smiling shyly at the teacher. He is rather handsome. It's not just me – all the girls think so. What with his blue eyes and golden hair, its no wonder none of us can resist him. And with him being the most recent winner from our District only three years ago, he was going to be my mentor this year. I couldn't help smiling to myself about that. And then, once I won, I could come and work with him at the academy, just like all the other victors.
“Quickly now Oceana, or you'll miss breakfast.” I just smiled in response and followed him from the room down to the canteen. All eyes were on me in there, but that was to be expected. I was this year's tribute. People were either peering over for a look at me or at the male tribute, Jase Lebron. He wasn't as big as the tributes from the earlier years, which I suppose worked in my favour. But he must be good, or they would never let him go forwards.
As we are only District 4, our reaping ceremony takes place at 11am in the town square, just down the road from the Academy. Before long, I am stood in a fenced off area with the other girls my age. I lose count of the amount of people who wish me luck. Before long, Caspar Treehall takes to the stage. Then, the time comes to draw the name from the female ball. Caspar does this with minimal suspense – the whole of Panem know that whoever it reaped will never compete. Not from a career district. I didn't even hear the name correctly. I just shouted my line. “I volunteer as tribute!” I made my way up to the stage and looked out at the crowd, the people of my district. I saw my mother, glowing with pride, my father who gave me a thumbs up. They were proud of me. Soon, Jase was stood next to me on the stage, we shook hands and went into the justice building, taking our last look at the breathtaking beauty of District 4.
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