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Today is the day of the reaping. I wake up and brush my long, golden hair behind my back. I have no idea how I got my hair -- being the child of two seam parents. I still have grey eyes, though. The day seems to go by too fast.

"Don't you ever feel like if there's something you're dreading, time seems to go by faster?" I ask my brother, Dehm.

"Lily, you make zero sense," is his response.

But before the reaping, my older brother, Jay, sits me down. "Look, Lily... I want you to wear this into the arena." He holds out a leather necklace with a wooden jay on it. I take it.

"When you wear that, remember me... okay? Look... there's a Jay charm on it. If you do go into the arena... I want you to remember me. Try your hardest to win. Please? For me?"

"Thanks Jay. I will." Jay is one of the only people I trust, the only one who I feel comfortable around, except for maybe my best friend, Miley. Together, we stand, caught in the moment. Finally, he lets go. "Bye, Lily," he says. Then the 19-year-old quietly steps away.

I dress in the first thing I touch -- a short, gray tunic, black tights, and pull my hair back. Not close to beautiful. I can live with that.

Roughly, I am shoved aside, into an area where the 14-year-olds stand, waiting patiently to be reaped. My friend Miley hugs me. Dehm reaches out and I briefly grasp his hand Then we are pulled apart.

The escort, a skinny blonde with dark blue and light blue streaks in her hair, makes a show of pulling the first name from the bowl. She starts off with a long speech, and then twirls her hands around. Finally, she snags a piece of paper. I had my name in 5 times. Only 5, out of 1 thousand. Maybe more. But 5 was enough.

The crowd goes silent as the escot reads the name. The name on the paper is Lily Shade.


My visio becomes blurred. Slowly, as the realization sinks in, I realize what this means. That I am being shipped off to my death, while people bet on how long I'll live. And how long will that be, exactly? Most would overlook an average sized female from District 12. Holding my head high, I try to look my best as I slowly walk down the aisle. The crowd parts in half, letting me through. I stand before the escort, fighting back tears. The crowd murmurs quietly amongst themselves, obviously doubting my abilities. I can hunt, I know how to tie a decent knot, I am skilled with knives. But there will be tributes in the arena who will be able to overpower me, but like I don't know that? The rest of the reaping is a blur. Our escort goes on after selecting the boy tribute, Drew Yates. I listen, but yet, I am not really listening. Finally, it seems it is time to go onto the tribute train. It arrives, and I see my mentor, Katniss Everdeen. She's in her 20's about. She regards me sadly, as if she is upset to see me into the arena, and who am I to blame her? For 3 years, both tributes from 12 have died under her mentoring. I give her a determined stare that seems to set her back straighter, and I see a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Perhaps she is thinking she is not at a total loss. I could stand a chance. And maybe I could. Though after years of watching Games, after watching District 12's tributes die... I erase the thought from my mind, getting on the train. At the last second, I remember the necklace. I grab it from my posket and slip it on.

The train is enourmous. Bigger than our whole house. Full of small, electric gadgets. I open a drawer to find a large number of tunics, as if the capitol could read me like a book. In another drawer is toe socks. Grinning, I shut it. I have no use for toe socks.

Together, Drew and I watch the recap of the reapings. A Seam child, he tells me of his life. I know how to get food from the forests while he always scavenged around in the trash cans, and anywhere else you could find food. We will be reaching the Capitol soon. I can remember most of the tributes, the gorgeous pair from 1, the menacing girl and nicer looking male from 2, the wily pair from 5, the nervous girl and more confident boy from 3, the arrogant looking ones from 4. The others, I see nothing in them -- absolutely nothing. I sleep the rest of the ride into the Capitol, and finally, Drew wakes me up. "Uh... Lily... we're here."


"Slowly... careful now," my stylist, Fyhnum, says, as I get up into the large, black chariot. He grins, holding up a torch. "Man, sooo many stylists are copying Cinna now."

I like Fyhnum, but it's hard to ignore the fact that his hair is dyed bright blue. He told me he came from District 4. Hm.

I finger the jay charm. On closer examination, I see that it's a mockingjay. I tuck it into my dress, not wanting to cause a stir in the Capitol, when Fyhnum says, "Leave it."

District 11's chariot is out as soon as Fyhnum and Drew's stylist ignite our clothes with flickering faux flmaes. My dress is not of fire, but seems as if I am wrapped in an opaque layer of

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