All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
In Peeta's Eyes
Disclaimer & note: I don't own any character except for Johnny and Rye. I kept playing on the bread idea. Johnny is like Johnnycake and Rye is just rye haha. The other characters belong to the brilliant Suzanne Collins :)
I wake up to the smell of baking bread, like every morning. It's 6:30, no better time to get started on the flour, at least on a normal day. But today is the day of the reaping.
I brush my teeth and quickly change into my reaping clothes, as I won't be doing much today to get it dirty. Blue, carefully ironed shirt, on top of brown, simple pants.
On reaping day, the bakery is closed, with only a few exceptions, so when I hear the sound of a door opening and closing downstairs quietly, I am surprised. The people are trying not to be heard. I venture down the stairs and see Gale Hawthorne. one of the boys from the Seam, whispering to my father, the baker. They are sitting across from each other in the bakery that is usually teeming with activity at this time. Today is the exception.
"Good morning, Gale," I say politely, even though I never liked him.
"Hi, Peeta," Gale says, not bothering to look up.
Gale hands my father a squirrel in exchange for a loaf of bread. Normally, I'd protest at such a bad trade, but today is the day of the reaping. Everyone is feeling closer today.
"Good luck, Gale." my father says, and I can't help feeling bad for Gale.
Everyone knows the reaping system is unfair. The poor get the worst of it. Every child between the ages of twelve through eighteen are entered in for the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. You are entered once, at the age of twelve, once more at the age of thirteen. Since the entries are cumulative, you'd have seven entries at the age of eighteen. It seems pretty equal, right? Not.
If you are starving and poor, you can opt to enter your name in more times in exchange for tesserae. Each tessera is worth a year's supply of oil and grain, but just barely enough. For people that are poor and have a big family, like Gale, this is unfair. You can do this for all your family members. One person with tesserae, one extra entry. Gale has been feeding a family of five for seven years. His name is also entered seven times because he has to. His name will be entered forty-two times this year and I will be entered only five times.
"Good luck, Peeta," says Gale, walking out the door. It's clear in his eyes that he knows I won't be going to the Capitol anytime soon, or I have a really small chance.
I sit by the window and eat a muffin for breakfast. Normally, I'd eat a loaf of stale bread, the bread no one wants. But not today. I always wake up earlier than my two brothers on reaping day. I suppose I'm just woken by nightmares, replays of previous Games, afraid that I will have to live through the terror.
I glance out the window and see Katniss Everdeen, the girl I've had a crush on since I was five, although I would never admit it to her face, and Gale. They're hunting partners. Only hunting partners, they say, only friends. I think there's something more between them, at least for Gale. They walk into The Hob, the black market here in District 12. The street is free of people. Usually, there are coal miners getting up and buying supplies before they enter the mines. Not today though. Everyone tries to sleep in if they can. At two, we are required to go to the square. Required. Peacekeepers, the officials, will investigate the reason why you weren't at the reaping. If you are on your deathbed, you are excused. If not, they'll have you imprisoned.
"Hey Peeta, you're up early!" exclaims my oldest brother, Rye, making me look up. He's safe, too old for the reaping, unlike Johnny, our other brother, and me.
"Yeah, well I had nightmares again," I say, not wanting to elaborate further. My brothers would never understand my nightmares. We have enough to eat, although the bread is usually stale and hard.
"Nice hair!" Johnny jokes, entering the kitchen, his hair a mess. My hair is ashy blond. It falls in waves over my forehead. Right now, it is a little messy, some hairs curling up.
"I'm going to comb my hair, alright?! Can you just lay off me?" I exclaim, not knowing where the anger came from. It's just, today is a stressful day for everyone.
Our house/bakery has two stories. The top is our living place, the bottom is the bakery and kitchen. I run back upstairs, to the bathroom and slam the door. I calm down and look outside the window. There's Katniss again, heading home. Getting prepared for the reaping. I suppose I'm a shy guy. I stick to the town boys in terms of friends. She has dark brown hair that's always in a braid. Her gray eyes give the impression that she's intelligent and observant. She's talented with her bow and arrows. I know this because she'll usually bring in squirrel to trade with my father. I comb my hair absentmindedly, lost in my daydreams of Katniss, until my father knocks on the door and warns that we are leaving in five minutes. At least my hair has returned to its normal wavy place.
I set off with my family, five minutes later. The children, the ones eligible for the reaping, are lead to roped off areas. The eighteen-year-olds in the front, the twelve-year-olds in the back. I am lead to the area of sixteen year olds. I glance around. Camera crews look like hawks, searching for prey. Bright banners are hanging too, but that fools no one. Everyone is silent as they file in. All we can do now is wait.
It starts to feel a little claustrophobic as the square fills up. The square's not big enough to hold all of District Twelve, so I'm not surprised when I see people being led off to another street. They watch the reaping on huge televisions. People slip through the crowd with betting slips. They're usually people without children. Bets are placed on which two children will be drawn, depending on if they're town kids or Seam, if they have taken tesserae, and of course, their ages. Most people refuse to bet, but if they do, they bet very carefully.
I focus on three chairs on the stage in the square. It's temporary, unlike the Games. Only two out of three chairs are occupied. The mayor of our district seems to murmur to the woman next to him, fresh from the Capitol. The woman's name is Effie Trinket. She is District 12's escort and she looks absolutely terrifying in her spring green suit, complete with pink hair and a grin. I remember who's supposed to be in the chair. This is the seventy-fourth Hunger Games. There have been two victors from District Twelve and only one is still living. His name is Haymitch Abernathy. He's drunk every minute of every day, though.
The mayor starts the long history of Panem. It's the same every year. The history of Panem isn't very interesting. We're the country that rose out of the ashes of what was once called North America. There were many storms, droughts, floods, fires, and other disasters that eroded the land away. Then came the wars, humanity fighting to survive, when there was already little left. Panem became the result, which consisted of thirteen districts that were ruled by a Capitol. The Dark Days happened, the districts rebelled against the Capitol. However, twelve of the thirteen districts were defeated, and the thirteenth bombed, destroyed.
The Treaty of Treason requires us, the districts, to provide one boy and one girl from each district to fight with each other and the tributes from the other districts in a vast arena that can range from a giant forest, to mountains, to a dream-like scene. We're in District 12, about as poor as you can get. If you are chosen to be a tribute, you go to the Capitol as they plan your death. Everyone has to watch and celebrate it like a holiday. Sounds like loads of fun, huh? You're only out of the Games when you die unless you win. If you're the last one standing, you win and live a life of ease and become rich. Your district gets gifts, mostly food we can't afford normally, for a year. This is the punishment for the rebellion and it shows that there should never be one again. We have no choice. In the wealthier districts, 1,2, and 4, it is considered an honor to be chosen and some actually volunteer. Even though it's illegal, they are trained beforehand. The are called the Careers, here in 12. More often than not, a Career is a winner. They are trained to survive the Games.
"It is a time for repentance and a time for thanks," the mayor finishes.
He introduces Haymitch, the only victor of 12 alive. Like every day, he's drunk. The crowd cheers like they're supposed to, but it's forced. He falls into the third chair on the stage, confused. He gives Effie Trinket a big hug and shrugs away from his grasp.
The mayor must be so tired of having our only living victor drunk. All the reapings are televised, so every citizen of Panem must be laughing at us. He decides to pull the attention away by introducing Effie.
"Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!" Effie exclaims, as usual, in her so affected Capitol accent. "What an honor it is for me to chose the tributes of District Twelve!" This is a lie and everybody knows it. She can't wait to be promoted to a better district. Instead she's stuck with us, the district with the drunk victor, embarrassing you in front of the whole nation of Panem.
"Ladies first!" Effie says happily, with a grin.
I stare at the two balls that hold the slips of paper with the names of the children, one for girls, one for boys. I try to calculate how many slips Katniss has in the glass bowl. She's sixteen, so she has five entries that are required. She lives in a family of three since her father died in a mine explosion. Gale's father died of the same one. She's definitely taken tesserae for five years. Five times three is fifteen entries due to tesserae. Five plus fifteen equals twenty. Twenty slips. There are twenty chances in thousands that she could be picked. I try to convince myself that it's a low number. There are thousands of slips.
Effie Trinket digs deep inside the glass ball. She pulls out a slip and I hold my breath, along with all those around me. Suddenly, I am scared to think that Katniss will be picked and I'll never get to tell her how I feel. I glance over at her. I know she's worried about her sister, Primrose. Prim's twelve, so this is her first year. I'm almost positive Prim hasn't taken any tesserae, so it's pretty impossible for her to get chosen. Twenty slips with Katniss Everdeen written on them- that's not too much! I'm still trying to convince myself.
"Please, not Katniss, not Katniss!" I mutter.
It's not Katniss. It's Prim.