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This story belongs to the user FluffyFlippersFab
I perched onto my balcony listening to the tempting, free song of the bluejays near the forest. They were not captivated, or controlled, by a wicked ruler. They are allowed to travel and venture wherever they please.
But I'm not.
I am trapped as a slave, constantly fighting, keeping all the emotions inside of me, yet I'm not getting anywhere. Desperation. Bolted in a tiny room where I may not even breathe. Those were the feelings I expose and carry thoughout every miserable day of my life. Some days were not as bad. But most were...
I passed my little sister, Cassandra. She was a helpless 13 year old. I tried to be as quiet as possible but Cassandra is sensitive. She woke up immediately.
"Where are you going?" She asked quizzically as she always did.
"To the, to.... to... Take a walk around the District. It's about time we get some fresh air. Don't you think?" I replied in a strange voice. It was a high and shaky voice. I never knew I could talk in a voice like that, but I didn't like it. I was obviously lying. But sometimes, Cassandra would believe anything. I continued to walk on, knowing that I wouldn't have to hold my weight as I tiptoed since Cassandra was already awake.
"Why so early?" Cassandra asked.
"Go back to sleep, Cass! Don't wake up mom and dad. And don't poke your nose into my business." I replied a bit fiercely. I always called her Cass. She never liked it, but she's used to it and doesn't mind me calling her that, that much. I loved Cassandra. But sometimes, she was a bit too much annoying at some times, but sweet, always asking her silly, little, curious questions. As she took a breath in to protest, I interrupted her.
"If you don't want to go back to sleep, play a little game with Whiskers or something. Just don't comment."
Whiskers was a dirty stray mouse I never liked. Mice just gave me the creeps. Cass chose it as her birthday present when she turned 6. He was a white mouse that was tamed, and Cass was really into mice back then. She wouldn't choose any other normal pet, like a dog or something, so Dennis decided to buy it for her. Cassandra named her new mouse Whiskers, since his whiskers popped out to the sides of his face about three inches from each side.
Dennis died a few days later, after playing in the alleys after dark. He was only 17, about to move on and start another chapter of his life. We never figured out what hapened to him. Some say he was kidnapped and muredered. Some say he is still alive and he ran away fro some wird reason. Some say he died from cardiac arrest. But nobody is one hundred percent sure. Our mother was devestated. She sobbed for days to come, until she finally learned t live with the painful reality that her little son was gone. Her face was so motionless and so empty with no expression. Like a tree's bark. All wrinkled and old. Rough and solid. She seemed so depressed, lonely and acted as if we didn't exist anymore... Our father was not of a sensitive person, he just lived with it. he knew he still had two children to take care of and raise at the time, and that is why i always look up to him as being a wise old man. My father was the only hope back then, or I was to become the "head" of the family at around 10 years old. But, our mother got over it sooner or later, as well.
I quietly walked out the door. Memmories disappearing like shadows when the sun is high in the sky.
I sprinted towards the orchards.
I stopped once I got to my favorite orchard tree. It was huge, with millions of tiny green leaves that looked plentiful with their dark shade of clover green. This was the tree me and Dennis used to go to when either one of us felt emotional, and we used to enjoy nice snacks here as well. It was our little sacred tree. You also get a great view of the rest of the forest and the nearby river. And it was probably the only beautiful thing in District 4, too.
I watched a rabbit pass by and a bluebird singing its sweet, soothing song. Tears welled up in my eyes, daring to drip out. Memories of happy times, before Dennis' disappearance. The days when everyone would be happy would pick roses and berries and sing songs in a big meadow no one dared going to anymore- happy songs.
A tear dripped out, making others fall out behind the first. I wiped my eyes. I heard a soft and curious voice behind me.
"So.... This is where you always go?"
I whipped around only to find Cassandra, with her eyes big and full of wonder. From looking at the five crowns made up of flowers laying neatly stacked next to her, I figured that I've been here for quite a while.
Cassandra followed my gaze upon the crowns. She laughs softly, and takes a crown. She dances over with two of them- She put one on my head and tapped my nose with her pointer finger, and placed the other on her own head. Cassandra sat down onto the grass, and looks at me. "Why didn't you ever tell me about-" She delicatley pointed to the tree- "This?"
I swallowed, my throat dry.
I wasn't to nervous about telling Cass the truth. But this was just my little place where I could just... Break free. From the stress and sore emotions that felt like exhausted muscles after a long, horrible day of keeping everything inside of me, bolted into my heart.
I looked away, trying to block my red, puffy face from her view.
She just positioned herself into a kneeling arrangement and just watched my every single movement. Just waiting to correct any flaws that I make.
But she doesn't.
She just sits there.
I finally show my face and start patting the grass. It was so green, so moist and fresh with the morning dew. It was almost as if it were a new born infant, who needed care, love and compassion.
As I started to relax and welcome Cassandra to the open orchards, where nobody dares to set foot on since... what happened to Dennis. He was popular and sweet. Kind to every single person.
Cassandra fell into a sitting position, her feet crossed as she leaned on the tree. She sighed, starting to realize what I was thinking about.
"I won't tell anyone. I promise. And if you don't want me to be here, that's fine. I understand." She got up, and looked at me, waiting for a response of approval.
I still remained there, looking at her with shock, and smiling my warmest and caring smile. And for a second, I felt like a had just gotten closer to my little sister, known as Cassandra.
Though it happened the same day. Just as we were about to have the nightmare, taking a chance of being separated. For the rest of our lives.
My eyes showed anger and apprehensive emotion, suddenly remembering the day. Cassandra finally realized, what I was scared about. Her eyes widened.
The reaping - it was today...
Cassandra followed me as I made my way to the plaza. It was already crowded with anxious people, the sweat dripping down their faces. Mom was already waiting, and waved for me to come closer. We stood beside her as a few children began to cry with despair. The Hunger games was no joke. the bloodshed you would see on television...Ugh, it was just horrible. Across the crowd, I saw my friend Selene choke on her tears. She was afraid, so was I. We made I contact, and a grin ran across her face. Her face lightened into a deep glow. Best of luck she mouthed to me. Thanks, I mouthed back, but I was really thinking how pathetic she was. We put our names only once, and there is a rare chance of us getting picked.
Alexandra Wilder entered the small stage and made her way to the podium. Her hair dropped down with ringlets, and she wore a short dress. It was white, as pale as her skin, and the only color added to her face were pats of violet eyeshadow. Her skin was tight, not one single wrinkle, which was pretty good for a 42 year old.
I know there was a very rare chance of me and Cassandra being chosen, we only put our names in once evey year. Though somhow, we kept getting tess oil and extra supply of food. its not that we didn't need it. it was an advantage of course, but we weren't stricken by poverty like the people in District Tweleve. We were middle class, a financially mediocre family. We expected the extra food supply coming from Selene, since she was a bit richer. She was able to afford a medium sized pool in heer backyard. And she lived in a house. We lived in a condominium. Sure, it had a terrace and everything, but it was still nothing compared to where Selene lived in. Even though we had asked her an abundance of times if she continously sent us tess oil, she denied it every single time, not even giving a tiny expression of decievement.
Yet, I wondered, if it wasn't her...Who was it?
Alexandra's squeaky voice came over the loud speaker and shattered my thoughts of confusion.
"It is time, District Four, to pick the two tributes of the ninety-sixth annual Hunger Games"
Cassandra shut her eyes tightly.
"The raffles are ready. So, without further adue, let us get this overwith...Hmm..."
I shut my eyes as well, as I saw most of the crowd do.
Alexandra seemed so jubiliant. How could she love her job so much? She was the one to blame when she chose innocent tributes that died in the Hunger Games. She was the one who chose them, she was the one to place them into these games, and yet, she always smiled whenever choosing the fate of teenagers every year in each district. A fate that is extremely simple, and horrific...
or you die...
Alexandra made her way to the raffle bowl with her dainty hands. Looking as if to see the names she had no idea to which being they belonged to, she snatched a small peice of paper, and unravled it. "Lauren Smith"
I heard my name. My horrible, terrible name. Cassandra had to push my legs to wake me up from my trauma, and I slowly walked with the peace-keepers up the stage. I stood in front of a huge audience, my sister crying, others hugging, glad that their relatives weren't chosen. I know how they felt, and I didn't blame them for it.
As I walked up on stage, Alexandra grasped my hand and held it up. The audience stared. "Lauren Smith everyone!"
"Uh, alright, then.....Gentlemen next."
I froze. I was about to meet the person I would have to kill.....unless he killed me first...
Once again, with the same caringless tone, she alomst skipped over to the raffle bowl on the other side of the stage. Picking carefully, she retrieved another name from the bowl.
She walked over to the podium.
She unfolded the paper, and announced the male tribute.
A supposed ghost.
A chill ran down my spine as Alexandra said his name again, and nobody in the audience moved.
"Daniel Smith? Are you out there?"
I took in a deep breath. "He's not here."
Alexandra glared at me. "Then where do you suppose he is?"
"He's go-" "Wait!" A figure ran onto the stage. "Wait. I'm here"
Alexandra rolled her eyes. "And who are you, may ask?"
"Me? Who am I?"
I frowned, confused.
The man continued.
"I am Daniel Smith. A forgotten boy. A boy from the dead."