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I wake up early after a night of restless sleep. I am tired from staying up tossing and turning all night worrying about the reaping. Of course, I don't have much to worry about, seeing as my father the baker doesn't need me to submit my name for extra tessarae. However, I can't help wondering who will be chosen as the tribute for the Hunger Games this year. The year before the last, it was my best friend's sister.  

I remember watching the TV screen in horror as the Games started. That year, the arena was built to be a desert, with exotic and laboratory bred animals more vicious than a tiger. I remember sitting with my best friend while we sat frozen, eyes glued to the TV, watching his sister slowly starve to death. Normally, watching the Games didn't affect me; the tributes that died were all just nameless faces, but that year it seemed more real. I actually knew her, she was a kind and giving girl, who used to make me porridge whenever I visited. It wasn't until those Games that I realized how cruel the Capitol was for making us watch our loved ones die. 

Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I drag myself downstairs to the bakery, where I can already smell the scent of fresh bread being baked. My father is, as always, cheerful, and greets me with a bright smile. 

"Morning, son!" 

I can't help but smile at his enthusiasm as I say, "Morning! Do you need any help?" 

My dad sighs and smiles. "That would be so nice. We're going to have a lot of business today. Everyone will want to have fresh loaves of bread to feast on after the reaping." 

As he says that, my gloomy pensive mood of before returns. I wonder which families will be unlucky enough to have their children torn away. Tonight, the whole town will be feasting and celebrating besides them. 

I quietly help my dad get ready to open shop, kneading dough and putting the bread into the oven. As I finish with my last batch, I hear the familiar clop clop of feet down the stairs, followed by a sharp and rather nasty voice. 

"Peeta, you forgot to make your bed!" 

"Sorry, mother." I reply, then hurry back upstairs to go make it. 

Behind me, I can hear my mom muttering, "What a useless child!" to my dad. Way to make me feel loved. 

I'm sure my mom means well, but she's just so different from my sunshiney dad, and it bothers me sometimes. He's rather chubby and always happy, never seen without a smile on his face. He has light blonde hair, like me and clear green eyes. Mom, on the other hand, is stick thin, with sharp, angular features and dirty blonde hair. I inherited my piercing blue eyes from her, but thankfully, not her personality. She is just so uptight I sometimes feel suffocated by her presence. 

Tidying up my room, I glance at it once more to make sure that it is impeccably clean, then head back downstairs to help my dad. Making loaves of bread for the poor, baking cookies and frosting cakes for the wealthier, I fall into my daily routine.

Around noon, my mom is happier than I have seen her for a whole year, counting up the money we have earned today. The shop has been extremely busy this afternoon, bustling with the poor and wealthy alike. As I help my dad bake enough loaves to meet everyone's demands, I habitually scan the shop for the one person I am hoping to see.  

Unfortunately, she never comes in. I wonder what her family will be eating tonight. She's so self sufficient, but I had hoped she might have come in to buy at least a loaf. I guess not.  

My friend Braedan walks into the shop, closing the door behind him. People are slowly emptying out as it gets nearer and nearer to the reaping. After awhile, Dad hangs up the "closed" sign, and we all get dressed in our best attire.  

After dressing myself in a nice black suit, I walk with Braedan down to his house, which is above the butcher's shop. He's the one whose sister was killed in the Hunger Games two years ago. All that can be heard in his house is silence. 

"My parents left already," he says with an edge in his voice. "I guess they didn't want to be with me in case I get drawn in the reaping." 

I try to comfort him. "Come on. I doubt you'll get drawn. We are less likely to be chosen than those coal miners' kids, who have their name entered tens of times." 

Braedan just shrugs. "My sister got drawn."  

I try to ignore his bluntness and the steely edge in his voice. Normally I am good with words, they just flow out of me, but for some reason, I feel rather awkward.  

I help him close shop and we walked out towards the Justice building in silence.

A crowd has already formed, and we go to join the pale faced children who were shaking in fright. I catch a glimpse of a dark brown braid, and make to walk towards it, but before I have taken two steps, the girl with the dark hair has already disappeared.  

Music blares over the speakers, giving this ceremony an entirely false feel. I feel like I am on some sort of sick game show, where innocent and naïve people are purposely misled. 

A woman with vivid hair steps up to the podium and begins trilling in her loud, obnoxious voice. What a weird accent she has! I tune her out during her speech, trying to disregard her piercing voice. The only part I care about is the reaping.

When she finally finishes saying her speech, I turn my attention back to her, as she dramatically draws a name from the entries. I hold my breath and pray that none of my friends will be sucked into the horror of the Games. As she unfolds the paper with a flourish, she announces a name that makes me sigh with relief. "Primrose Everdeen." 

I watched as a petite blonde girl blanches, walking tipsily up to the stage. I can''t help feeling sorry for her and her fate. What I don't expect is for a girl with dark brown hair, woven back in a braid, to step forward and say, "Take me instead. I'll take her place." 

My relief turns to horror as I realize who has just volunteered herself- Katniss Everdeen.

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