District 10 Reaping

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District 10 Reaping

Stag Browning:

"Lark... listen to me." I repeat firmly, putting my hands on the boy's shoulders. "Where is Aries?"

"He's in the office. Ms. Lockwood is yelling at him." The auburn-haired boy says innocently.

Great. Just what I need before the reaping... my brother getting in trouble again.

"Sit on the bed, okay Lark?" He does as I say, and I turn to my sister, 11-year-old Peregrine Browning. "Peri, would you and Lark get ready for reaping? Wear your Sunday dress."

"Sure thing, Stag." She helps the 9-year-old find his shirt and pants as I go downstairs to go bail Aries out of whatever trouble he got into.

"...This thieving thing has GOT to stop, Aries. First in the cafeteria, now at the market, it's... it's getting out of control."

I arrive at the front door of the office... I can hear Ms. Lockwood chewing him out. Even though I can't see my brother from behind the door, I can just picture his impassive face, the one that says "I just don't care".

I think he was beyond caring.

I knock on the door gently... once... twice... three times.

"Enter." Ms. Lockwood barked. That tone startled even me. Ms. Lockwood was a nice woman when you behaved, so it was never good when she was mad.

I opened the door and peeked my head in. Ms. Lockwood motions for me to enter, and I do, shutting the door behind me.

"Ah, Stag." She said. "Your brother was caught stealing again."

"I'm very sorry for his actions, ma'am." I tell her seriously. "Aries, go wait upstairs, okay?"

The 14-year-old nods and, jumping off the chair, he zooms out of the room, closing the door.

"Stag... have a seat."

I sit in the chair in front of Ms. Lockwood's desk.

"Is everything... okay, between you and your siblings?"

I think about it for a minute. Aries has always been withdrawn and moody since coming here, and Peregrine is a sweet girl to begin with. Lark, I can't say he's done anything out of the ordinary, but with nine-year-olds, you never know what they'll do next.

"I'd say so." I say as honestly as I can.

"Do you enjoy living here?"

"Enjoy" wouldn't be the right word. Yes, it IS a considerably nicer community home than people have made it out to be, but it's only a couple pillars above poverty.

"Yeah." I tell the woman, shrugging my shoulders.

"I wish I could tell why your brother does what he does... I honestly can't believe you both are related." Ms. Lockwood sighs.

We're getting off subject. "Is there anything you want me to do about Aries?" I ask.

"Well..." Ms. Lockwood says, "Effective tomorrow, I'm giving him one week of in-room suspension. When that's over I think he should have to perform some community service to make up for the damaged goods at the shop."

I nod... this isn't the lowest form of punishment Aries has received, but it certainly isn't the worst. "I understand, ma'am."

She nods in return. "Thank you for your time, Stag."

"Thank you." I say seriously. I get up, push in my chair, and go out, closing the door behind me.

I'm greeted by Lark and Peregrine. Lark is in a poorly buttoned shirt and dress pants, and Peregrine is in a too-small red dress paired with too big cowgirl boots.

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