Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow everything happens. Tomorrow our fates are decided. Tomorrow is the day of reaping.
I’m so scared, more scared than I’ve ever been in my life. I shouldn’t be. I know I shouldn’t be… but I keep thinking of those twenty-six white slips of paper with my name written on. Twenty-six. What if I get chosen? What if my name is read out? What if, this year, I’m the tribute?
I hate this, hate the way my life has come down to statistics. It seems so cold and heartless. The probability of me being chosen is twenty-six out of four hundred. But the chance of me surviving? Zero.
By far the worst thing is the fact that everyone from the Capitol is saying what a big honour it is, to be chosen to represent our district, and how we should be proud and excited. We are not proud or excited. We are terrified. In the weeks leading up to this, district 12 has been growing quieter and quieter. I pass other teenagers in the streets and their gaunt, lifeless expressions mirror my own. Mothers cry at night in terror that their children will be taken from them.
I feel so sorry for Janie… her little sister has just turned twelve. This will be her very first reaping. Her name will only be in there once, but Janie is so, so worried. I am too. Her sister looks more like six than twelve. Against the career tributes, she wouldn’t last an hour.
This system is cruel and unjust. Every year, one girl and one boy aged between twelve and eighteen are chosen from every district. That’s twenty-four in all. And twenty-three of those young people are slaughtered. And everyone, from every district, is required by law to watch.
Memories of the past Hunger Games flit through my head. So many ways to be killed. Poisonous plants, dehydration, heatstroke, hypothermia. And starvation, of course – why else would it be called the Hunger Games? And those are just the natural causes of death. Don’t forget there are also twenty-three heavily armed tributes trying to murder you. Bow and arrow, spear, sword, javelin, crossbow. Every time I close my eyes I see the colour red. Blood-red.
Oh, I wish this was over. It soon will be. In twenty-four hours it’ll be over in some way or another. I’ll be as free as a bird… or another doomed tribute. I’m so scared that I feel like this is all a dream. Nothing feels real any more.
But it’s getting late. I’d better go to bed. I won’t be able to sleep a wink.