The Reaping“Willow! Let her go, Snow! You’re a beast! Give me Willow back! Willow!”
I was being dragged into a room, while a boy was yelling and tugging. I was yelling for help, and the boy was trying to get to me, but the peacekeepers were restraining him. A girl was crying in the background. She was sobbing my name, while Snow was standing beside me.
“There’s one thing I want you to remember before you go. It’s the things we love most that destroy us Willow.”
“NO! Willow, don’t listen to him! Stay with me, please!”
I woke up suddenly shrieking, with the smell of sweat stuck in my nostrils. I looked up and saw Mrs Everdeen, gently shaking me. "Willow, are you OK?” I could see her eyes were swollen with tears, and as I was about to ask her what the matter was until I realised why. Oh no, it’s today. Reaping day. The day when two innocent kids get taken away from their home and fight to the death. I made my back sit upright and looked her in the eyes. "I had that same dream.” Her eyes widened. She gave me a terrified look with some sort of depression in it. " All of your nightmares are the same. Why?" I looked behind her to see Katniss and Gale, waiting for me. I jumped out of bed and got dressed in my hunting clothes quickly. "I've got to go. See you later." I raced out of the door before she could say anything.
I looked at Gale. Brown, silk hair. Hazel eyes, strong muscles. Who could ask for a better best friend?
"You ready? I've been waiting for almost 10 minutes!"
"Gale! You exaggerate too much these days", I reply with a sigh. "Besides, I didn’t have such sleep."
“The same dream? You’re like me you know. Why aren't you my sister?" Katniss said with amazement. I shrug. I don't know why I'm not her sister. The Everdeen and Hawthorne families have been so kind to me for the past 4 years, I don't know how to thank them anymore. They are my family.
"Come on. If we want to catch some food we better get going."
So, the three of us started to walk at a slow pace. None of us was ready for today. I could hear Katniss' breath starting to shake so I put my hand on her shoulder to let her know that she's not alone. I've known her for a while now and know when she needs comfort. Well, everyone needs some sort of comfort, especially today. Gale's facial expression, however, wasn't sad, but angry. And I don't blame him. I hate the hunger games, I hate the Capitol, and I hate President Snow.
"Bullseye", Katniss declared in a soft tone as she hit one of the birds flying in the air with an arrow.
"Every time" I murmur under my breath. Nobody could beat her in archery. And she taught no one her secret but me. I'm not bad myself at archery, but could never beat her at it. We decided to take a break after managing to catch a bag full of birds and squirrels.
"You guys nervous?" Katniss asks, breaking the silence.
"Kind of." Gale responds with a straight face
"Nope. It’s not like there any family here that will care if I leave.” I answer. Katniss and Gale exchange looks and Katniss replies,
“We’re your family, Willow. Well, not by blood, but we’re like family.”
"I brought you guys something," Gale says smiling. He went to his bag and held out a loaf of bread in his hand. It was fresh and calling our mouths to chew unto it.
"Oh my gosh! Is this real?!" I choked out.
"Better be." Katniss grabs it from his hands and smells it. Gosh, it's been a while since I've seen anything like it. But then again, it reminds me of Peeta Mellark, the bread boy who works down at the bakery. He must be one of the wealthiest people in District 12. He saved me and Katniss' family from starving and even had a beating for it. I've always respected him for that, but I've never met him in person. Probably because he doesn't live in my area.
"And may the odds be ever in your favour." I pronounce with a posh Capitol accent. A smile creeps unto Gale as he glances at my face. His chestnut eyes lock into mine, until I ask them something.
"How many times has your name gone in?"
"42. Guess the odds aren't exactly in my favour."
"30. I might be able to slip this one out", Katniss answers. Gale and I share a look and know what she's going to ask. The question that we’ve all been dreading.
"What about Prim?"
"Her name's been in there once. They're not going to pick her Katniss." Gale replies. I think about it for a second. No, Willow, she won't get picked. Listen to Gale's advice. But maybe... no, no, no, no. She won't and that's that.
"We better head back. It's almost time" I say with empathy.
Katniss jumped off the group and paced herself so that she was ahead of us. Gale offered to wait for me, and I accepted. He pulled me up and we trudged along the grass. I wanted to hold Gale's hand, not for the feeling, but to make sure that I won't cry. Immediately, Gale's hand touched mine and gently crept unto it. It was as if I asked him, and I thanked him for that.
"I know when you want to cry, Willow. Your eyes tell everything."
"Really? I thought the brownish colour would block that. " I moaned as we caught up after Katniss. She turned, and stared at us, startled. Me and Gale never really hold hands, so I pushed his away mine.
--Two hours later--
"Happy hunger games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!" I hear Effie Trinket state. She was wearing a purple dress with a ridiculous amount of makeup and happiness. "Ladies first." This was it. I could feel my heart bashing against my skin, and turned towards Gale. He quickly studied my face and mouthed 'Don't worry'. But I have to worry. It could be anyone.
"I volunteer!", I scream at the top of my voice so that I can be heard. Katniss dropped her jaw and begged me to stop.
"Willow, no! Don't do this!"
I let go of her grip and run towards Prim. She was yelling too. "Willow! Wilda!"
Gale budged through the crowd and picked up Prim. I looked at him and sighed a thank you. Then he whispered, “I believe in you, Willow." After that, I was taken by the peacekeepers to the stage and Effie gave me her hand. "Come along, dear. What's your name?" I responded with my name. "Willow Streams." My hands were trembling as she smiled at me.
"Now for the boys......Luke Mellark."
Mellark. His brother saved my life. My heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach. No, I might have to kill him in the arena. I watched as Luke was taken to the stage. He peered at me and gave me a sad, yet satisfying smile.
"Our tributes of this year's 74th annual hunger games. Willow Streams and Luke Mellark, let's give them a round of applause!" She said, starting to clap her hands, slowly died off. Instead, everyone raised three of their fingers in the air, a sign of respect.
This was going to be hard. I was going into the games...