The 16th Tribute: The reaping

July 18, 2012
“Good morning, citizens of district 8, may the odds be in your favor.” Brinser Waltz smiled down on us. From the screens surrounding the stage, I could see a nervous look in his eye, and his lip twitched slightly. Our new escort.
“So much for being composed.” I said to myself, as I made my way to the rest of the fourteen year olds.
Brinser was a handsome young man. Dark brown, curly hair, cut short . He had dimples, though they were barely noticed, next to his blindingly white smile. He seemed much less colorful than our last escort, aside from the purple colored contacts, and lovely yellow suit.
“I’m guessing cashmere.” I whispered to my friend, Taffeta, who stood next to me in her pink ruffle dress.
“See his baby blue tie?” she whispered back, “It’s definitely silk.”
“The shirt looks like Egyptian cotton, but I could be wrong.”
“No, I think you’re right. Funny he’s wearing all those together.”
“At least it’s not yellow velvet.”
Taffeta giggled, and I smiled, as Brinser began his speech.
“As you know, today is a very exciting and special day! Today, two tributes will be chosen to prove District 8’s worth, in a historic and noble tradition: the sixtieth annual Hunger Games!” Brinser’s grin grew, “Now, I know we usually let ladies go first, but girls would you mind if the gents are chosen first this year?”
As I suspected, there were no objections.
“Great! Thank you, ladies!” Brinser reached in and pulled the first name.
“I wonder why they want gents to go first this year.” Taffeta whispered to me.
“Amateur.” I muttered, as he finally managed to pick a slip. There was a moment of silence as Brinser stepped back over to the mic, opening the small paper.

“Theo-” Brinser called, but the microphone cut out just as he said the last name.
My heart stopped, “Theo? Did he say Theo?” I asked Taffeta.
“Maybe we heard wrong-” she replied
“This is the reaping, nothing is ever wrong. What if it’s my brother?”
“It won’t be, Loveanne.”
“Yeah, that’s what they said about my uncle.” I waited, as onstage they fiddled with the mic, counting down in my head.
The mic sprung back to life, and Brinser started smiling again.
“Sorry for the inconvenience this morning, our male tribute is...” he began.
“Please don’t say him, please don’t say him.” I muttered to myself, squeezing my eyes shut. The silence seemed to last forever before he said the name.
“Theo Satin!”
All the air came out from my lips, in one struggling, desperate, broken sob. I could hear my mother in the background, screaming out in agony, “Not my baby!” Tears streamed down my face, they were actually going to take him from me, they were actually going to pull us apart.
“Love?” Taffeta reached out and touched my shoulder.
“I want to go home.” I muttered, shaking.
I was going to lose my mind, how could I survive this? How could I survive losing my brother?
“Theo’s on stage now.” Taffeta said, coaxing me to open my eyes. Slowly I did, and looked up at him, standing emotionless to the side of Brinser. He was avoiding looking at me, avoiding eye contact. I kept staring at him, I’d never had to judge if my brother was strong enough to do something, strong enough to win something, because I had never thought he needed to be. Now, I tried to picture him being the victor, him winning.
“Now, for our second tribute!” Brinser said. He pulled a girl’s name, and opened it carefully. “Well would you look at that,” he said, looking up “Loveanne Satin!”

My eyes widened, me, I was the other tribute. “No, that can’t be right.” I said, turning to Taffeta, “It can’t be right! Tell them it isn’t right!” Mother had given out an earth shattering scream, which echoed inside me like a broken heart beat. I was still staring at Taffeta, who had her mouth hanging open like she didn’t know what to say. “It can’t be right!”
“Don’t make a scene.” I told myself, “Remember what Father taught you, whatever you do don’t make a scene.” Slowly I took a deep breath and stepped out of the crowd.

I always wondered how the tributes could keep walking towards the end of their life. How they so steadily headed towards the escorts, while I could barely stay standing in the crowd. Now I got my answer. Whether you refuse to move or not, you are more alone in that crowd than in an empty room after they call your name. There is no other choice than to move forward. There is no going back in the Hunger Games.

Abner Tilt was standing, our previous victor, so shocked by the horror of the reaping.
“Let’s give a round of applause for our tributes!” Brinser said, as I finally took my place next to Theo. Neither of us said a word, as our old friends, neighbors, peers, teachers, mentors all clapped. Silently I slipped my hand into Theo’s and squeezed.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

malaikah said...
Aug. 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm
the names are really good, and you captured the nervous chatter between the two teens really well, but i can't get past how impossible it would be for her and her brother to be picked. i mean, i know it's not IMPOSSIBLE, but it's so unlikely. also... not very original. i know that it's fan fiction, but... the main character's younger sibling gets picked in the reaping? that's essentially the plot of the hunger games. try keeping the same world of panem, but an entirely ... (more »)
TessaRose replied...
Feb. 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm
They're actually supposed to be twins, I forgot to mention that.
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