I gave my brother Will a quick hug as we stood behind the mass of people gathered in the square outside the Justice Building.
At age 18, this was Will's last year of being eligible for the reaping. That was a relief, after losing both my parents, I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to lose my brother. We parted ways as he took his place with the other boys in the district.
My cousin Starla and I, who are both 16, joined in with the anxious crowd of girls. This was the day we all dreaded, the day when one of us would be selected to compete in this year's Hunger Games. If you were selected, that was pretty much it. District 6 isn't exactly one of the nicest districts, and it wasn't too often we had a victor. We did several years ago, Ryder, who won the games at a young age of 15.
Currently, I saw him sitting on stage, since he was the mentor this year. Also on stage was well known Capitol socialite Portia Canterbury, her pink hair twisted into some sort of strange updo.
"Welcome", she said happily into the microphone, "as you know, it's time to once again pick this year's tributes for the Hunger Games."
She walked over to one of the large transparent balls that contained the slips of paper with the names of all the girls in the district, teetering slightly in her ridiculously tall shoes. She put an arm in and withdrew one of the slips before making her way back to the microphone.
"And the girl who will have the honor of representing District 6 in this year's Hunger Games is... Persephone Winters".
And I knew in that moment my life would never be the same again. Me and Starla exchanged horrified looks before peacekeepers came and led me on stage. As I sat down, I noticed Ryder looking me over, probably deciding if I had a chance.
Soon, it was the boys' turn and the name called was Greyson Beckham. He was a year younger than me, and I'd never really talked to him before, but I knew who he was. Saying goodbyes were terrible. First, I said goodbye to Starla.
"Goodbye", she sniffled tearfully, "win for us okay".
"I'll try". But I didn't know if I could win, in fact, I was guessing most likely not.
After that, it was aunt Estelle. After we hugged she handed me a simple gold ring.
"This was your mother's wedding ring", she explained, "she wanted you to have it one day, and I think today is that day".
I knew it was, because most likely, today was the last day I'd ever see my family or my home again.
I thanked her and we hugged before Will came in to see me.
"Persephone", he said softly, "it's okay. You can do this, okay".
"I can't", I cried, "I don't have a chance and you know it".
"Shh", he said gently, "don't give up so easily okay. You need to fight alright, you need to try."
"I...I will", I promised.
We hugged and said a tearful goodbye, and soon after I was being led to the train station, where I would have to leave the place I'd lived my whole life, and the people that I'd always loved.