They're back. The Hunger Games. I can't believe it. I thought they had gone. But the Capitol has come back to power and want them to carry on. They have changed the rules slightly. Because it was only district 12 and District 13 that started the rebellions, they are going to reap two districts in the Capitol and then a few weeks later have a reaping in the two districts chosen. Six boys and six girls. There is an even higher risk than usual. That's not all though. To humiliate us further, they want a speech from each of the two districts chosen. District twelve wants it to be me. Oh and one more thing: There are to be no volunteers.
We filed in to the stadium in silence. The Capitol folk came in too, whispering about us behind their hands and gossiping. I stared straight ahead. The other nominees nervously twisted their hands and straightened their ties. I glanced along at the row, counting. Including me there was fourteen of us. Fourteen? That couldn't be right. My eyes fell upon a brown haired girl. She was reading through notes furiously, as if trying to memorise three different things at once. I recognised the nominees on either side of her because they were from districts nine and ten. The lights went down suddenly and I turned my attention back to the stage, feeling sick to the stomach. Effie Trinket walked on to the stage.
"Welcome, welcome, settle down. It's such an honour to be here…" she went on about the honour for a while and this time she wasn't lying. It must be an honour to do a reaping in the Capitol. When she has finished, she crossed over to the ball containing the fourteen districts.
"Happy hunger games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!"
I held my breath.
"District 12!" I gave a groan inwardly. I stood up and made my way up to the stage, head held high. I only hope that the cameras didn't pick up my shaking knees. Once I was on there, Effie looked at me in surprise.
"Katniss Everdeen! What a pleasant surprise!" I nodded at her and gave her a tight smile, before turning to the crowd.
"People of Panem, I am Katniss Everdeen from District 12…" I carried on with my speech, barley hearing myself say it. I had learnt it so much that it just rolled of my tongue without a second thought. When I finished Effie gave me a smile and motioned for me to step back. I stood at the back of the stage whilst she crossed over to the ball once more. I barely had time to wonder who the other district would be, before:
"District 9…and three quarters?" Effie's face was a picture. Luckily, the girl I had seen earlier came bounding up onto the stage.
"Hello, we are District 9 and 3/4. We are located between districts 9 and 10 and we specialise in teaching magic." My jaw dropped. So did everyone else's. Magic? Magic didn't exist. I was sure of it. As if to prove her point, she pulled out a slim wooden stick from somewhere within her billowing robes.
"Argumenti!" she cried waving it about. A stream of water flew from the end of it.
"Wingardium Leviosa!" The microphone hovered in the air, before flying around the auditorium and settling back into place on its stand.
"And last, but not least…Expecto Patronum!" An otter glided from the tip of her wand, before bouncing around her and bringing warmth and light with it. I just stood and stared at it. Eventually Effie, who had managed to pull herself back together, strode forwards.
"Thank you miss..?"
"Miss Granger. Well we'll see all in two weeks' time for the reaping's in District 12. Good Bye!" She gave what she evidently thought was a winning smile. It really wasn't. The cameras faded out and the lights came back on. "I need to go and sit down!" declared Effie. She tapped her way off the stage, leaving me and the Granger girl alone.
"What's your name?" I asked after an awkward silence.
"Hermione Granger. I know who you are of course. You're Katniss Everdeen. I've read all about you. Even to us witches and wizards, you're famous." She said this all very fast, without taking a breath.
"Of course you are! You and Peeta made history!" It takes a minute to digest this. We made history? Of course, we were the first pair of people to win the Hunger Games. I just don't want to go back into the arena. But then again, the odds have never been in my favour exactly.