Tribute

Tribute

A Story by RachelReaper
"

little Rue

"

Tribute

   I remember exactly what I was doing on the day of the Reaping.

   See, no one gets to take a resting day in District 11, and we only get one break a year. That's the day the Capitol picks one boy tribute and one girl tribute from the ages twelve to eighteen to fight each other to death in their game show called "The Hunger Games". If you ask me, I thought it was sick, but no one says that aloud, no one wants to deal with the consequences that would follow.

   They say the Hunger Games are a reminder to all of the districts who rebelled against the Capitol seventy four years ago, but in all honesty I thought it was meant to pit the twelve districts against each other so that we couldn't work together. Why would you form an alliance if your children were killing their children, or if their children were killing your children? But you can't say that aloud, either. Not if you value your life and your family's life, you have to grow up and deal with it and work hard.

  But between you and me let me tell you the Hunger Games is awful. Putting kids against one another to kill (they have weapons where they put them, in the Arena, they call it. They have swords, crossbows, knives, bows and arrows) the other twenty three tributes. But not everyone dies from being stabbed or shot with an arrow. Depending on where the Capitol decides the arena will be and what terrain it is, you could die from other things like dehydration, freezing, burning, starvation, or natural things like that, too.

   And it's not like anyone in 11, our agriculture district, can afford to lose any kid they have that helps bring in the money we all need to survive. Even though we're surrounded by all of this food, we never get to eat a single bit of it unless it's so rotten not even the Capitol's engineering can fix it, but in that case it would just make you sick to your stomach, anyways.  It's hard to watch and even harder to shield your siblings from when people die from starvation while harvesting a bushel of carrots or a bucket of corn.

   One of the escapes from the hunger is the Hunger Games itself, and last month I just turned twelve years old, just old enough to be in the Hunger Games, so I put my name in more than one time in the drawing, because every time you put your name in an extra time, you get one year's minimal supply of grain of oil, so I put my name in six more times which is one extra for me and one extra for every member of my family. The odds of my name being drawn are still small since District 11 is a big district, but...

   But no one is safe. The thought had been gnawing at me all week almost as bad as hunger itself. My chances of being drawn were still thin, but I worried. Everyone here worried.

   To try to take my restless mind off of it, my mother had made me a breakfast this morning in our small kitchen with all of the wood creaking and falling apart.

   But I loved our kitchen, it felt like home, even more than my room that I shared with my two sisters did. And any other day I would've been happy for apple slices and bread, but today I didn't think I could stomach anything.

   I shook my head, my dark curls slunk around my face and I tried to clear my thoughts. I forced a half smile for my siblings and managed to somehow eat all of my apple slices, but I gave the bread to my youngest brother, Pattra, when he started to cry.

   I patted him on his silken haired head. "Pattra," I soothed, "Our district is huge, and you know my name is only in the drawing seven times. I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying right here, okay?" 

   "But Rue-" He sniffed, his voice cracking.

   I put a slender finger to his lips. "No." I said, "I'm going to be fine and then tomorrow we're going to go right back to work as usual. I'll take the blue pale and then you'll take your favorite green one, and we'll climb onto the highest branches to pick apples where no one else can reach. And we'll have a race, to see who can pick the fastest." I had to believe that, I had to be strong for them.

   "And you'll whistle at sunset? For the mockingjays?"

   "Like always." I kissed him on the forehead. "Now go help mother hang the clothes, Pat. It's a Resting Day but we still have chores to do."

   Pattra hugged me, racing off to get the clothes from the washing boards and feeling more at ease with every day chit chat. I wished I could say I felt better, too.

   When my mother walked into the kitchen, she tried to keep her face expressionless, but with one look I knew we both shared the same worry over that day's drawing. She was a tall, thin, dark skinned, beautiful woman and one day I knew I wanted to look just like her and have a family like the one we have now. That had always been a not so secret dream I wished for.  

   "Rue," she said, "You don't have to do your chores today. You could play with your friends-"

   "No, that's okay." I said quietly. I didn't want to see Birdie, Fin, or Leif. Not today when any one of us could be leaving based on one slip of paper in one draw. One of us could die. We couldn't play or sing or dance or talk under the shade of our maple tree today. It wouldn't sit right somehow, so I decided that busywork was the best way to not have to think about District 11's Hunger Games announcer, Berkrade. He always wore a silly, brightly colored dress suit with pants that didn't match at all and stood up at his podium with a smile that seemed like it was poisoned. Maybe it was, the Capitol is a very odd place.

   No one in 11 liked Berkrade at all. He would always drag out who was drawn for the Games for as long as he was possibly allowed. All I could think of was Berkrade holding onto a slip of paper with my name on it before he was finally forced to say "Rue Willows." with his poisoned smile. Everyone staring at me, my mother sobbing, father yelling, and I-

   I realized I had been mopping the same spot so hard some of the wood was chipping on the floor. I was going to get more water to mop the front steps when I heard, "Everyone is to report to District Eleven's main camp for the reaping of the seventy fourth annual Hunger Games." Projected loudly through our house's announcement system. And everyone's house on our street. And everyone's house in 11.

   Not coming is never an option, though people have tried to escape before there are so many Peacekeepers around to manage everyone and make sure they are following orders from the main camp that if you aren't dying and you don't show, they do horrible things to you. I've heard sometimes they cut out your tongue and take you away from your family.

   A shaky breath escaped my lips. I wouldn't know where to run to, anyways. I think to myself as my mother holds the door open for me. I glance at her.

   I need to keep it together, for my family. No matter what, I won't cry, not even if I know the boy or girl from school that get picked, I will not cry.

 

 


   In the main camp, there were Peacekeepers dressed up in their white uniforms everywhere. They were setting up the stage where Berkrade would announce the two tributes, roping off sections where the kids who were in the drawing would stand, and one was going to take my blood right now.

   "Next." He said, sounding like he was bored. How could you look bored when you were carrying such a long, dangerous needle? I looked at him warily and started to reach my finger out, but the peace keeper grabbed my wrist impatiently and jammed the needle in my flesh. He smashed my finger down on some piece of paper with everyone else's bloody fingerprint beside the name "Willows, Rue".

   Letting go, I coiled my wrist back from him. "Next." He called, already getting rid of me. I frowned at him, but I was swept up by the crowd like cattle and didn't have time to say anything to him.

   The standing area for all of the kids in the reaping works in order. The youngest kids, the twelve year olds (like me) stand in the front and it goes in order of age to the back until you get to the oldest kids, the eighteen year olds. The last place I wanted to be was in the front of Berkrade's stage, but I wasn't allowed to leave the twelve year old area. My insides felt like they were squiggling around like worms in the dirt when Berkrade speed walked to his microphone, waving at people that didn't want to see him.

   He smiled that awful smile, leaking acid that would make you sick.

   "Hello again, District 11. I'm your host for the annual seventy fourth Hunger Games! I'm sure everyone is overjoyed to see me again, am I right or am I right?"

   Everyone was completely silent. The kids, the parents, the ones in the drawing, everyone. I stared at him blankly.

   His smile faltered for a second, and he straightened his wig that was green this year with outrageous spikes on the top that looked like thorns.

   He quickly recovered, smiling again as he said, "First to start off this wonderful morning, we have a video brought to your from the Capitol so everyone be sure to tune in!" As if any of us had a choice.

   The video was something they showed every year, trying to brainwash us into "the Capitol is good, the districts were bad and rebelled", but I think Berkrade is one of the reasons I don't believe that. That we're the bad ones, I mean.

   The video ended and I was sweating cold. As long as I wasn't picked for the Games I could go another year pretending they didn't exist. As long as it's not me, it can't be me, it won't be me.

   Please don't be me or my friends!

   Berkrade stepped back up to his microphone and said, "As usual, first the girlies." with a grin that stretched over his whole face. I concentrated hard on not getting sick.

   Berkrade slowly, slowly reached his gloved hand into a huge, glass bowl holding all the slips of paper with our names on them. With my name on some of them.

   It won't be me. So many people have their names in the bowl that he wouldn't pick me. I don't stand out, so it won't be me. I looked around at the crowd with thousands of kids to reassure me. It won't be me, even Berkrade wouldn't do that, he wouldn't pick me. So many kids have their names in their thirty or forty more times than I do.

   Berkrade is back at his microphone, taunting us with a folded slip of paper he holds in his hands.

   "Ahem. This, this very slip of paper here determines which one of you lovely young ladies will be representing you all. All of District 11. Are. You. Ready?"

   The silence spreads like the plague.

   He opens the slip of paper. My heart hammers against my rib cage as fast a humming bird wings. I squeeze my eyes shut, I can't look.

   "The tribute's name is..." He paused and all of the girls, including myself, took a collective breath in.

    It can't be me, it won't be, it's not possible, nononononono.

   Berkrade squints, "Rue Willows."

   I open my eyes one at a time. At first, I didn't understand, I was sure he didn't say my name.

   "Rue Willows," He called, "Is there a Rue Willows somewhere in the crowd? Come up, doll, we don't bite."

   I can't move my legs, I can't even blink.

   A devilish smirk lights up Berkrade's features. "Or do we have some extra drama? Did someone skip? Did someone bail out on the reaping?"

   I clear my throat and let my breath out.

   "No." I say, feeling my voice tremble, "I'm here." I clench my fists at my sides and ignored whatever Berkrade was laughing about on his podium and announcing to the audience. I walked up to the stage, letting a Peacekeeper help me up the stairs to stand in front of Berkrade's tall, shiny figure. When I saw his slimy, fake smile, I decided.

   Remembering the promise I made to myself this morning, I won't cry. Not for him, not for the Capitol, not for the Games, not for anyone. I had to be strong, I had siblings to look after.  

© 2013 RachelReaper


Author's Note

RachelReaper
I hope you enjoyed :) I'd had this idea playing around in my head for a while now, so i decided to go ahead and do a Hunger Games fanfic with it. I can't take credit for any of the characters or terms in this book, all of that credit goes to Suz C. If you saw any errors, please tell me and please rate or comment!

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Reviews

You really did a nice job on this Rachel . Honestly , i'm not a big fan of the Hunger Games series , but this piece is quite excellent .

Posted 8 Years Ago


wow this is amazing ever since i read the hunger games ive wanted to see it from all the tributes pov but rue was always my fav well after katniss so u hit a homerun with me i love it :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

thank you so much :)
Mazie Tackett

8 Years Ago

R u gna write more I really hope so
I like this. I'm a huge fan of the hunger games. I was always inspired by her books! Peeta Mellark is my cutie.

Posted 8 Years Ago


RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

thanks for reviewing, and, of course, I'm a Hunger Games fan, too.
Clove

8 Years Ago

I think I love Peeta enough to try and steal him from Katniss
RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

have you read my poem "How to get Peeta's attention"? I think you'd like it.
This was wonderful! Rue was so sweet!
A wonderful tribute to a wonderful girl! This kept me captivated until the last word, i couldn't read fast enough (even though i already knew what would happen!)
Five stars and all that :D

Posted 8 Years Ago


RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

thank you!
I didn't see any editing errors, but then again I cant even edit my own book, hardly. But I love the hunger games series. I like how you were descriptive, that always makes for a good story/book. I could feel the nervousness Rue was feeling and the tension in the crowd. It was a good idea to write this, good write.

Posted 8 Years Ago


RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

thank you, I wasn't sure how it would come out, but I'm happy with it. And I'll edit it further in t.. read more
Rue is my favorite character in the Hunger Games and always has been so I was happy to read something about her. I think you wrote this very well, much in the style of Suzanne Collins. One thing I caught and remembered. When Berkrade starts announcing he says that he is their host for the annual 74th annual Hunger Games. You said annual twice. Just thought I'd point that out. A bit to nicely written...I feel like crying remembering her death. :(

Posted 8 Years Ago


RachelReaper

8 Years Ago

*facepalm* I'll go fix that, and thank you so much for reviewing. And I know, i was so sad when Rue .. read more
Phillitup

8 Years Ago

:)

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Added on January 7, 2013
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RachelReaper
RachelReaper

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Hey!!!!! My name is Rachel, and my unofficial last name is Reaper. I am 14 years old. Blood and kisses to all who review my work, I appreciate it so much and couldn't express to you how much it means .. more..

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