Mariam Whittaker tiptoed across the dirt floor to her twin brothers' beds. When she was near enough, she yelled, "Boo!"
Arthur and Wyatt Whittaker's heads shot up. Arthur rubbed his eyes and grumbled, "What time is it?"
Mariam giggled and said, "It's time to get up! It's Reaping day!"
Arthur turned around and looked at his twin Wyatt. Looking Wyatt in the eyes, he could tell they were thinking pretty much the same thing: Of course it's Reaping Day. You would think it that's a good thing by the way Mariam skips out of the room. She is eleven and watched us in the Reaping pool twice. You would think she would know by now how serious this is. We should tell her, but…I don't know. Maybe we should let her stay innocent for one more year?
Wyatt shrugged his shoulders and walked into the kitchen. Arthur followed him. They could already smell the bread their mother made from the tesserae he and Wyatt signed up for. They also managed to find grape jelly with the little money they got from harvesting the fields last time they were in town. This breakfast was a feast.
Their father sat down and cleared his throat, "So, have you two decided what you want to wear to the Reaping?"
Wyatt looked at Arthur, "Do you want to wear the grey jacket or the red suit?"
Arthur thought for a minute. Red is Wyatt's favorite color, but it's more worn than the grey. I don't want Wyatt to look bad in the crowd. Eventually, he said, "You pick."
Wyatt smiled and said, "I'll take the red. Thanks Arthur!"
After breakfast, the twins got up to go change into their Reaping clothes. Behind him, Arthur could hear Wyatt playing with their pair of wooden dice. He turned around just as Wyatt murmured, "Yo-leven, let's go!" He rolled and got two fives.
Arthur chuckled, "Better luck next time, eh, Bro?"
Wyatt stuck his tongue out and threw one die at him. Arthur caught it easily with his left hand and stuck it in the pocket of his grey suit. "Try getting eleven now!" he cried as he ran out the door.
Wyatt chased him all the way to the center of District 11. Arthur was there with his finger already pricked, heading for the fourteen-year-old boys section. Now, both boys stood side by side, out of breath. Arthur held out his die to give back to Wyatt. Wyatt smiled and pushed it back toward Arthur. "It may bring you luck today. I'll get it back later."
Arthur opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but then closed it, shrugged, and put the wooden die back in his pocket.
District 11's escort, Argo Fullous walked up to the stage in his apple red suit. "Welcome one and all to the District 11 Reaping!" Argo started in his super chipper voice that was sure to be fake. "Before we get to find out who our lucky tributes are, let's hear a word from the Capitol!"
The video they play every year started up on the big screen. I wonder what Mariam thinks of this video. It even says the words "fight to the death". What does she think that means?
Arthur zoned back in on time to notice that Argo was going to the boy's bowl first. Argo stuffed his hand in the slips and pulls one from the very bottom. He saunters back to the microphone and announces, "Arthur Whittaker!"
Arthur stood in shock, trying to process this. Oh dear! What do I do? I don't want to go. I don't want to cause a scene and lose sponsors, but maybe I can get out of this? No I should probably just walk to the stage. But maybe, if I'm fast enough…
He still hadn't moved when the Peacekeepers approached, but now he was in full sprint out of the crowd. Everyone was in such a shock that they hadn't even bothered to stop him. Some people, including Mariam, clapped. He out the back of the crowd, away from the stage. Once he was past the crowd, he kept running. He ran past the shops, past the semi-decent houses, past his house… Look at me go! I'm flying! I can make it! He was almost to the open field when he felt the sting of a Peacekeeper's taser.
When Arthur came to, he was sitting on the stage, nursing a headache. He was wearing a shackle, too. He glanced around and saw the Peacekeeper who caught him standing off to the side, looking proud of himself. He looked back at the crowd, then saw himself on the screen.
A/N Phew! I'm almost as out of breath as Arthur was! I received a lot of detail about this one and I wanted to be sure I didn't miss anything. Thank you Elim9 for your tribute! To the rest of you readers, please review and/or send me a tribute. There are 19 slots still open. The form is on my profile.
Questions for the chapter: Which Bible verse should this tribute hear? Also, do you have any favorite tributes yet from this story?