I stood, shaking, still with the lingering sick feeling in my stomach from this morning. I know something terrible is going to happen. Just please don’t let Carey, Heston or Taerm be picked, please, if there is any justice. They’re only kids damn it!
I pressed my sweaty hands against my dress in order to control my shaking, but it didn’t work. So I clenched them into fists and let the sting of my nails biting into the skin there take my mind from what was in front of me.
Looking around me I saw so many scared faces, so many children clinging desperately to their parents, and parents not letting to of their children. There were a few of the older children, about my age, who saw this as a privilege. An honour to represent his or her district and go into the arena to fight to the death. Most likely, theirs. How the killing of children could be seen as a sport I’ll never know, nor do I want to know. It wasn’t just a sport though, it was sacrifice, murder, I would even go so far as to say genocide. If I ever get the chance to see President Snow; I’ll make sure he never takes another breath.
With that sobering thought I looked about, searching for some of my friends, who looked terrified, others were looking to the ground or at the stage. On which stood our past tributes, an elderly man crouching low over a cane, his eyes clouded white from blindness due to the acid rain used in those games. A withering woman, holding herself proudly; the stump where her left hand used to be on full show. Saying to the whole of Panem what she sacrificed to be a victor. Besides them, Finnick Odair stood proudly nearer to the centre of the stage, our Capitol liaison, Kami Tiyrre next to him. She was dressed in a bright aqua blue trouser suit with a vibrant pink v-neck blouse underneath, which Finnick seemed to find very interesting. The blouse took some of the attention away from her hair which was dyed a softer shade of pink, but only some. It took me a while to take in my surroundings but I saw that the screens were starting up; President Snow was going to be speaking soon.
I swallowed and sighed, closing my eyes to concentrate my breathing and slow down my erratic heartbeat. His voice came through the speakers and I tuned it out, knowing his words off by heart by now. There was one sentence that broke through though, one that always did.
“And may the odds be ever in your favour.”
I felt a shiver go down my spine at his words. Kami then gave her traditional speech about how we should feel privileged to represent our districts. I couldn’t care less. Then Kami’s reached into the glass bowl with the collection of names, her beautiful hand suddenly looking sinister.
“And our female tribute is…”she read the name. “Olivia Thressa!”
They called my name. Without feeling anything, not the wind through my hair nor the salty spray of the sea on my skin, I walked to the stage, like I was walking to my death; I was. From the stage I looked out and saw my parents, my brothers and sisters in the crowds. Crying, even the boys had tears in their eyes. My strong little boys. It was a small comfort that they were safe; for this year. I wouldn’t come back to see Sage’s 6th birthday, or get see Carey finally grow into a woman, or even to see the boys realise girls were pretty.
I was losing so much, just in one simple action.
The other tribute’s name was Theo.
I was still too stunned to look for his reaction to hearing his name but I looked up in time to see him walking onto the stage.
He had thick cropped black hair, startling blue eyes and slightly tanned skin, rather like my own. He stood beside me, smiling. He was proud, he wanted to be a representative. Unlike me.