~Prologue~

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Part I: The Canary


~One Year Earlier~

I hummed as I walked through the woods outside of 12. I made sure I stepped over every snake I saw, and smiled at every mockingjay that flew over my head.

I walked past the old lake where my mother used to take me to catch fish. I hummed as I dipped my feet in the cold water and cupped it into my hands and took a drink.

I decided to keep walking until the trail faded into nothing. Once I saw that the trail of brown dirt became overgrown with soft green grass, I took off my shoes and continued walking bare-foot.

I had never been so far from 12. Usually my mother would tell me about the ghosts and monsters that roamed out this far, but so far I had only seen red and black snakes and black mockingjays.

"Ow!" I hissed, jumping backwards and falling towards the floor. Something had pricked my foot, but luckily there wasn't any blood, so It couldn't have been that bad.

I crawled forward and started separating the grass where I was standing when I got pricked. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find it, so I stood back up and took another step forward, when it stabbed my foot again. This time, I dropped to my knees and dug through the dirt to find it.

Then, I found it. It was a rusted, dirty silver necklace with what looked like a dog tag attached to it. I couldn't make out the words, but a dip in the lake should make it better. I picked it up and shoved it into my skirt pocket and kept on walking.

After a few more hours of walking, I came upon what looked like a tiny shack. It appeared deserted, so I walked up and opened the door.

"Helloooo?" I called into the shack, walking in. There was a single bed, a fireplace, and a desk that had a small book laying upon it. Scribbled onto the cover was a name.

Lucy Gray Baird

I opened the book and found it brimming with writing. Half of it was a story, the other half was songs, songs that I could sing!

"Well, Ms. Lucy Gray, I'm takin' your book!" I giggled to myself, picking up the book and sitting down on the old dusty bed. I opened the book and started to read the pages. "I'll consider it an early twelfth birthday present!" 

Turns out, Lucy Gray was a very interesting woman. She was the victor of the 10th Hunger Games, and was a singer. She sang in the Hob with her band, The Covey, to make money. Most of all, she had President Snow wrapped around her finger. He became a peacekeeper in twelve, killed his best friend, then left when Lucy threatened to let the secret out.

Lucy described Snow as a good manipulator, but not as good as her. She wrote that he killed a young tribute, Bobbin, then the mayor's daughter, Mayfair, then betrayed his best friend, Sejanus, causing him to be hanged. The kicker is he tried to shoot Lucy Gray, but she got away easily.

The ending says she plans on going back to Twelve, under a new name, the only people that would know would be the Covey.

Wonder if she ever made it back. Wonder who she is. I thought, someone old, definitely, if she even made it back.

The songs in the back of the book were great, considering I can already play the guitar, maybe I could start singing in the Hob to make some extra money. I already know Greasy Sae, maybe she would let me perform outside her stand.

I shut the book and left the shack, walking back to Twelve with a perfect plan in mind.

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