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(Age 16, 67th Annual Hunger Games)  


In my defense I never expected to get reaped.  I had it good in District Ten, which is saying a lot considering we're one of the poorest districts in Panem. But it's true, I had it good. Because of that fact alone I was staring at the sky in frustration. My name, Lyra Powell had just been called. It's a mistake, it just has to be.

I'd played it safe. My name was never added to the tesserae, my family had money. Well, enough money to buy food and keep the cows alive anyways. Point is, when I put on my best floral dress, I assumed I'd only be an hour or maybe two tops but not forever!

District Ten to put it lightly is a dirt-poor district. There's no academy out here, therefore nobody volunteers, ever. We're not fighters, were farmers and labourers. That's it. I'm painting a bleak picture but it's the truth, we're among the bottom feeders in Panem. 

I'm actually considered one of the lucky ones in my district because my family own the farm that we live on. We've hired about eleven working men to attend the land and animals with us, but we still only make enough to pay them and feed ourselves. The Capitol of course takes almost everything, all the best cuts and we're left with scraps. Literally, think chewy pieces of fat that are only good for cooking in soups. They sure are generous.

Could be worse. At least I don't live in District Twelve. However, this could not be my life. I'm staring at our escort from the Capitol. She looks and sounds like a total freak show. I'm not kidding. She has blue hair, blue skin and glowing blue eyes. To put it lightly she scared the crap outta me.  But that's not the reason I'm staring up at her in horror...

I hadn't really registered that my name had been called out. I mean I know she said my name, I heard it. But can I really walk up there? I can't even breathe right now let alone walk!

"Lyra Powell".

Shit.  Thats definitely me.

Her glowing blue eyes swept over us all in her pursuit of me. "Someone point her out children, Ly-ra Pow-ell".

Oh fuck. I made eye contact with the girl beside me. Her name is Maisie and not to trash talk my own district but virtually every second girl here is named Maisie or Molly. Typical farm names, I guess. But of course, my parents just had to go with Lyra. They just had to be different and had to make me literally stand out from the crowd. I sighed. I know if I don't start moving soon, then I'd be escorted by Peacekeepers. Guess I better get this over with, a few kids had already started pointing at me.

I took a shaky breath and started making my way up to the stage. I wobbled a little on the steps and was soon greeted by the scary blue skinned lady. Holy shit, her teeth are blue too!

"My, you are a pretty one". She giggled and I cringed.

The only thing worse than knowing your about to die within two weeks, is having to spend it with this freak of nature.

The Capitol-freak-show clasped her hands in excitement. "Let's move on to the boys shall we!".

She seems way too excited about killing us off. I decided to tune out little Miss Freaky and try to find my family in the crowd. I spotted my brother more towards the front of the boy's section. He's just turned twelve and I knew he wouldn't survive if he were reaped with me. I know I'm not going to. 

Maybe a good goal is not dying within the first day. If I can stay alive till day two then at least that'd make my family and district proud. District Ten never wins, obviously. But we like to be in the bottom eight of the twenty-four tributes. Just over halfway, so we can die with dignity and all that bullshit. That way we've given it all we could.

A boy of about eighteen started walking onto the stage. He was lean but filled out. He's a labourer. I'm guessing from the muscles that his only skill is throwing barrels of hay. I sighed again, it's more than what I've got.

We shook hands, I guess it's expected.

The escort representing our district beamed at everyone's angry and starved faces. "I've got a special feeling about this year, you guys!. District Ten welcome your tributes; Lyra Powell and Bill Fernis". She was waving obnoxiously, and I couldn't tell if she was wearing blue gloves or if it's just the colour of her hands.

I should probably mention most boys are either called Bill or Bob, go figure. I waved half heartedly. I just feel numb. We were quickly ushered into separate rooms within our district's justice building. 

Our justice building is essentially a big barn, but big enough to have little rooms out the back. Obviously today everything around us is decorated in Capitol propaganda, it didn't look like a barn in the slightest.

I waited only about five minutes before I was attacked by hugs. My mother's perfume was strong, I think she over sprayed it. My family weren't normally affectionate so the hug threw me off. 

I felt her hand cupping my cheek and I looked up into eyes that matched my own. Her voice was surprisingly firm. "My sweet, sweet girl. Now, promise me you won't do anything stupid. Don't go out in the open, find a weapon but leave weapons alone if you'll die trying to get one. I mean it Sweetheart! You're better off hiding than fighting your way out of there."

I nodded up at her sad eyes. Fuck, this is actually happening. In two weeks, I'm going into the 67th Hunger Games.

My dad then hugged me and started wiping my tears. He looked devastated. The lines on his face from too much laughter now looked like they'd been there from worry instead.

He sighed. "None of that now. You need to be strong while you're around the other tributes. You can't give them anymore reasons to pick you off".

Again, I nodded. That's true. The lower districts are normally hunted off by the careers early in the games. Just another asset of being from District Ten. Man, I'm so screwed. He then tightened the hug and kissed my forehead. "Remember we love you.  We'll be proud of you for just having the courage to stand on that pedestal with a brave face."

Yep. I'm defiantly going to die. Most likely in the bloodbath based off my dad's point of view. I didn't blame them for thinking that way. Unless you count milking cows or plucking weeds a deadly skill then I'm as good as dead. Damn, My ranking is going to be so low. Guess I should kiss sponsors goodbye too.

My little brother then hugged me. His gray eyes matched mine and while mine had mostly dried his were falling like a waterfall. "You have to try."

I nodded.

He sniffed. "No! you need to believe you can win. Even if you have to watch all 66 Hunger games to find a strategy. Just promise me you'll try Lye. Promise me? you have to win, you ha-"

"John" I gripped his shoulder tightly. "I promise I'll try to win for you okay".

He rubbed at his tear shed eyes. "Okay".

I've never lied to my brother, but I guess when you're about to die it's the start of a lot of firsts. A peacekeeper then barged in on us and started escorting my family out. My brother quickly gave me his 'lucky' shoelace. Apparently he's never lost a race wearing it. At this point I'll take all the luck I can get.

I then joined Bill and Little Miss Freaky to the train station. I'd never been on a train before. I wondered if it'll me sick. I rode in a car once for a wedding when I was nine and vomited up a storm. I'm praying it's more like horseback otherwise it's going to be a long ride to the Capitol. 

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