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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.
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.