My name is Teddy Jones, and I am sixteen years old. I was born in District One to a rich family, and I've always been fed well and raised for the Hunger Games. My older brother, Ted, died a long time ago after he got reaped into the Hunger Games, and now it's time for another reaping. My name is in that bowl only six times, no biggy, right? Wrong. I get reaped, and my life, which seemed to be perfect, turned upside down. My life is so not going to be the same...ever again.
Chapter One Edit
It was reaping day. Big deal, my parents never needed to put in my name more than the minimum amount for extra food, because I had more than enough.
I had woken up from the sound of the big apple tree beside our house tapping on the downstair's kitchen window, so I got up, not bothering to go back to sleep.
I go through my closet, looking for the perfect clothes to wear for the reaping. I want to look stunning, more stunning than I have ever looked, but all I find is a simple pink dress with a big bow wrapped around the center. Oh well, I think. This is going to do.
I walk into my bathroom when I hear a disturbance outside my bedroom door. I exit the bathroom and approach the door, and when I open it, I see my mother going through the outside closet I requested to be built for me when we bought the house.
"Mom, what are you doing?" I ask, although I already knew what she was doing. She wanted me to wear the ugly white dress she wore to her wedding with Dad.
"Looking for the beautiful dress I want you to wear!" says Mom, searching the closet with fast eyes. She had no clue of how much hatred I had for that dress. It was too simple, and while the pink dress I picked out was simple too, it was pink! I absolutely love pink!
"But Mom, you know I hate that dress! I told you ever since you introduced it to me, I can't stand how simple it is." I tell her, but Mom shakes her head. She does that a lot; if she hears something she doesn't like, she'll shake her head and simply ignore you.
"Oh, I just can't find it. I'm sorry Teddy, but you can't wear that dress. Maybe you can wear the pink version of it that's in your bedroom closet." she says, and I nod. I got to it before you Mom, I think, and walk back to the bathroom to apply my makeup.
As I finished adding foundation makeup on, I take a look outside the tiny window in front of the sink. I see the unusually large apple tree that had woken me up, and I smile at the cute little apples that grew on it. I've always loved to eat them with Mom, while Dad and Ted preferred meat.
Ted..., I think. The mention of his name, even in my head, pains me. Ted was reaped in the 77th Hunger Games five years ago, when he was eighteen. He had survived seven other years of reaping, but on that year, he was unluckily reaped. I remember being eleven, the last year I was free of reaping, and I had hoped someone would volunteer for him, but sadly, no one did. It was rather surprising, because in District One, a lot of people are willing to be put in the Hunger Games.
"Ted, no! Someone please help him!"
I remember that line so well. I was a little girl, begging for the life of my older brother. Everyone was looking at me, and some people were laughing at Ted and joked that he should 'tame his little sister'. Now that I think about it, it's heartless to say that to a person who might never see anybody in his family ever again. That doesn't matter though, because during the Hunger Games, Ted did really well. He hid from the other tributes, and he survived on hunting with a large knife he got from the Cornucopia. It wasn't until the last day that he ran into trouble. Him and another tribute, Trevor, got into a fight for some meat, and Ted was winning until he lost balance and fell in the small stream behind him. Trevor jumped after him and stabbed him right in Ted's heart, and Ted died immediately. I remember watching all of this on television, and I remember my parents crying as soon as they saw this.
"No..." I tell myself. I shouldn't be remembering all of this at the moment.
I finish my makeup, and I put myself in the pink dress. After I am finished, I twirl myself around in front of mirror, admiring my absolutely cute appearance. I top of it off with a pink bow, which I place on my soft, blonde hair. I smile at myself, then I exit my room and walk down the stairs. I find my parents in the living room, and since we had a few hours until the reaping, I decided to join them.
We watch some television shows, which mostly only appealed to my father and not to me and my mother, until a few minutes before the reaping began. Of course my dad would wait until the last second to get dressed, because by the time he finished, we barely had enough time to arrive.
There were so many people at the reaping. It was held at the center of the town I lived in, called Shiner. Many people from the other parts of District 1 were already here, and I think I was the only person not in their groups yet. As you see, there are eight roped groups, and everyone in a certain age must go to the roped area representing their age. My mom and dad go to the sidelines with everyone else as I join the other sixteen year olds.
Nathaniel Harly, the escort for District 1, walks on stage with a microphone in his hands. He looked weird; he had green hair, and although his skin looked normal, there was a rumor going on that Nathaniel's skin would turn green in the dark. A glow in the dark escort sounds really cool to me in my opinion, but everyone else looks down upon Nathaniel just because of the rumor.
"Welcome to another reaping!" the mayor, James Stocker, says into the microphone, waving at everyone. He begins talking about the history of Panem, the country that we all live in and had come out of ruins of a place that used to be called North America. He enlists all the disasters and other horryfing things that are in Panem's history, and I force myself to listen to him. All of this is repeated during every reaping, and I have heard this many times before already. He then explains the rules of the Hunger Games, and I sigh.
Twenty-four tributes from each of the twelve districts are placed in an outdoor arena, where they will fight to the death. The tribute that survives everyone will shower his or her district with prizes, while a small part of the same district and other districts will grieve at the lost of another one.
Finally, James begin listing past District 1 winners, and there are many. We're known for winners, as we get trained for the Hunger Games sometimes, but I refused to be train after learning of Ted's death.
James then let's Nathaniel speak. "Happy Hunger Games! May the odds be in your favor!" he says, and everyone claps and hollers at him. Why must they do this? The Hunger Games is just a pathetic excuse of a punishment. As you see, long time ago, there was a rebellion against the Capitol. Thirteen districts were against the Capitol, and twelve lost, the thirteenth one being destroyed immediately. The Hunger Games were then created to remind everyone that the Capitol is too great to be challenged, but in my opinion, the Hunger Games might as well be like killing your child for breaking a lamp.
I glance at my mom and dad, who were both watching me. I pointed at my pink dressed, raised both of my eyebrows, and gave them a thumbs up. I was so excited to show everyone my dress after the reaping, except the two unlucky boy and girl that would have to compete in the Games.
"Okay, girls must go first!" says Nathaniel, and he walks to a glass ball containing many strips of papers. Everyone that is able to participate in the Games have their name written down and placed in the globe. The older you get, the more times your name is written, so younger competitors are rare, unless they choose to add their name extra times in exchange for extra food. This is why younger competitors are more common in the poorer districts.
Nathaniel reaches in the glass ball, and moves his hand around it. I cross my arms with impatience as I watch Nathaniel do a little dance with his hand in the ball. Some people laugh, but others know this is an obvious fail of a joke. Finally, Nathaniel picks out a piece of paper, and takes a deep breath. The crowd gets quiet, and I do too. I feel sorry for the girl who would have to risk her life.
"Teddy Jones!" Nathaniel cries out, and that's all I remember, because I totally blacked out right after that.
Me? Me?! Why me?! I was six slips in thousands! Oh no, this can't be happening! It's like during the 74th Hunger Games, when that twelve year old girl got chosen for District Twelve, and she was only one slip in thousands! Oh no, this can't be happening...
I wake up in the roped area. I obviously wasn't fainted for long, as the first thing I heard was, "Come on Teddy! Your name was called!". I look around to see who said that, and I see my dad gesturing for me to start walking to the stage. What the heck? Why would he be telling me to go there? Did he want me to die in the Games?
I was bombarded with so many questions, and my mind was so fogged up. I walk out of my roped area, looking back at my good friend Josie. She has a sad look on her face, and that didn't help my mood at all.
I walk up the stage, faking a smile at Nathaniel. I'm hoping someone would volunteer for me after Nathaniel introduced me to everyone. I think it's stupid talking about people after they are reaped, because like, really? They're about to be plunged into an arena where they could die! Oh well, this had to be done.
"Everyone, I would like for you to applause for the girl tribute for District One, Teddy!" Nathaniel claps, and everyone else joins. I see my dad clapping, but my mom had tears running down her face. It was the same face she had when Ted was reaped...
"Any volunteers?" Nathaniel asks, and while volunteers are common in District One, as winning the reaping is an honor, no one volunteers. I'm guessing they want to see me, the 'preppy, bubbly, blonde girl with high-quality clothes' be forced to fight and defend for herself.
"No? Okay then! Stand here Teddy." Nathaniel walks to the other glass ball that contains the boy names. I hope I get a strong and handsome partner, but he won't really be my partner, because I'm probably going to be killed by him.
"The boy tribute is...Zach St. Ange!" Nathaniel shoves the piece of paper in the air, letting the cameras catch the handwritten name on it. Zach? I see him in school all the time, but he didn't seem like the tough guy that would've been called in my mind. I see people clapping for Zach as he quietly makes his way to the stage. He glances at me for a moment before positioning himself next to me.
Zach and I have a weird relationship. We don't hate each other, but we don't talk much either. Maybe it's because we simply just don't have time for each other, but we used to be best friends when we were younger. Now we're competing in the Games.
"Any volunteers?" Nathaniel asks, and again, everyone falls silent. I have no idea why no one would volunteer this year, as District One almost always has volunteers! My jaw slightly dropped open as Nathaniel welcomes the mentor for them, Kingsley Blue. Kingsly was a victor of one of the older Hunger Games, and trains tributes every year. He didn't do well in the 74th Hunger Games, where his tributes Marvel and Glimmer died quite early in the Games. I stop thinking about this as Kingsley shakes both of our hands.
"Hello, Zach and Teddy. I am Kingsley, and I am your mentor." he says simply, and both Zach and I nod our heads at him. James goes on about the Treaty of Treason, and brings Zach and my hands together, and we both shake them. Zach smiles at me, and I smile back. I'm happy I have him as a tribute partner. We turn back to the crowd, and the anthem begins to play. During the anthem, Zach stays still, but I can't help but move around nervously.
How come no one volunteered this year? Every reaping I've been to, there's always someone volunteering! And why me? Why were the odds so rude to me this year? All these thoughts swam in my head as the anthem began to end. I glance at my parents, and I let a few tears run down my cheek. What if I ended like Ted and died?
Tough it up, Teddy. Everyone thinks of you as the snobby girl who can't do anything. You are about to prove them wrong, I think, and I hold my head up high and let out a wide smile.
The anthem soon ends, and Zach and I are taken to this weird building. I forgot what the building was called, but at the moment, I couldn't care less about it.
The Peacekeepers leave me in a room, and the inside was very easy to admire. The sofa was made of some kind of gold fabric, and everything else was of gold or glossy white, and my eyes shine with happiness as it admired the beautiful furniture it offered me.
The next hour is a time for the tributes' families to say goodbye to them, and my mother and father come to me. I hug them immediately, tears flowing out of my eyes like a waterfall. I cannot stand to leave my family to die in the Games, because I'm positive I'll die pretty early.
"Oh Teddy, I can't believe this is happening!" says my mother, sitting down on the sofa with my father.
"It's okay Mom, I'll try to stay...alive." I say. It's weird to say that to a loved one, especially after their son was killed in a games, and their daughter is about to go through the same thing. I turn to my dad, asking him why he rushed me to the stage, and he shrugs.
"Teddy, after your brother died, I told myself to be brave if you ever get reaped. I will support you the whole way, and it doesn't matter what happens, because I will love both you and Ted forever." he says, and tears are impossible to hold back now, and soon the gold fabric of the sofa gets wet from my tears.
"Teddy, please don't cry. Once they start televising everything, and they see you crying, it will be a sign of weakness, and you won't get sponsors. Teddy, listen to me! Please do not cry!" my mother commands, and wipes all the tears from my eyes. I try my best, but my best only holds back a few tears. My mother hands me my favorite grapes, and I smile, and hug her.
"Thank you Mom." I say, and put the container of grapes to my side. I spend the remaining time with my parents sharing memories, and telling each other we'll be okay. Soon enough, a Peacekeeper signals for Mom and Dad to leave. I hug both of them, holding back my tears, just like Mom commanded.
"I love you both! I'll be okay, I promise!" I yell to them as they are whisked away, and both of them turn around and wave at me. I smile weakly, then sit back down on the sofa. I lay down, staring pointlessly at the wall, then I feel something as I move my feet, and I see the grapes Mom made me. This is currently the only thing that will remind me of home while I'm gone...
A knock on the door. I jolt up as Josie enters. Josie Amber is my best friend, and I'm so glad she could come and visit me. She sits down quickly with me, her eyes obviously trying to hold back tears like mine.
"Oh Josie!" I cry out as I hug her. She hugs me back, and soon, we're crying like two girls who have had two bad breakups.
"Teddy, please promise me you'll be okay during the Games! I couldn't stand to watch you die." she says, and I nod at her. She hands me her small blanket I always see her wrap herself with, and I wrap it around the grapes.
"Thank you Josie. And I do promise that I will be okay. I have Zach, and I hope he will protect me." I say to her, and she nods her head. She is good friends with Zach, and if he wouldn't protect me, she would warn me.
"Well, I have to go soon. Please be safe Teddy." Josie says, and we both hug once more, only this time there are no more tears. She stands up and leaves without a Peacekeeper guiding her out. I look at the blanket covering the grapes, and I lay my head on it.
Zach and I are put in a car to ride to the train station. I've been in a car a lot of times, but Zach seemed to be a little poorer than me and looks surprised after he puts on his seatbelt.
As soon as we get to the station, reporters are dashing towards Zach and me, taking pictures of us and recording us, trying to get answers. Zach completely ignores them, but I let myself answer some questions.
"Teddy, what do you think will happen to you during the games?" a brunette male reporter asks me as I continue to walk.
"I don't know! I think whatever happens will happen for a reason." I tell him, and I don't think how this answer will make the other tributes think about me, but after answering a few more questions, I begin to ignore the reporters.
Zach and I arrive at the train, and we let the cameras snap pictures of us at the doorway before the doors close. As soon as they close, the train begins to move.
The train speeds past the station, and it takes me a moment to balance myself before I walk to the chamber I am assigned to. I gasp as I enter, because it is so much better than that building's room I was in. I immediately look in the drawers, and I sigh with relief as I see fine clothes there. I take a quick shower, then change into a pink t-shirt and a silver pleated skirt.
"Oh my gosh..." I say to myself as I admire the fashion that is upon me in the bathroom. I twirl myself in front of the mirror, smiling at myself.
Nathaniel knocks on my door, calling me for supper, and he leads me to a dining room with wonderful designs on the wall. Little angels are playing around on the bottom, while sweet white clouds stay still at the top. I admire this design, then I see Zach walk in and sit down at a table. I see Kingsley there, and Nathaniel takes a seat too. Oh this is great, a table sitting four people, two of which are strangers to me.
The food was great. It came in courses. A sweet, spicy soup that I was unfamiliar with, a chicken salad with dressing, different selections for the lunch part, and cupcakes and pudding for desert. I neatly eat, but Zach is just stuffing everything into his mouth.
"Having fun?" I ask Zach, and he smiles with food in his mouth, and I gasp in disgust and look away. Nathaniel gives Zach a dirty look as he returns to his food.
After eating, we all go to a compartment where we watch the different reapings across Panem on a big television on the wall. One by one, we see innocent young people get reaped. There are many strong looking people, however, especially people from District Two and Four.
I think about this for a moment. I've heard that some poor Districts call District One, Two, and Four the Careers for some reason. I think it's because in the past, they have teamed up together, and they were so fierce. Well, I don't think of Zach and me grouping up with anyone from District Two or Four, so I dismiss this thought completely.
When the reaping reaches District Twelve, an eighteen year old girl named Shayla and a sixteen year old boy named Robert are chosen. I shiver as I see how tough Shayla looks, and although Robert looks a little less intimidating, he looks very clever.
"Ah, that was fun." Nathaniel comments as the reaping ends. Zach glances at me, and mouths the words, 'We've got major competition.'. I nod at him, and Kingsley nods too as he walks towards the both of us.
"Well, Zach and Teddy, you're basically under my control now." he simply says, and walks away while saying something to Nathaniel.
"He seems like a nice mentor." I say, and both Zach and I softly laugh.