Chapter 1
Part 1: The Reaping

  For many nights Jason had been having the same dream. It was always him walking through a swamp, pushing away leaves, moss, and the occasional spiderweb. Then a strange figure would begin to form in the distance. It started coming at a slow pace, but suddenly it would begin to run toward him. It would then jump high into the air, a sword now visible in it's hand, and lunge at Jason. But every night before the sword struck his chest he would wake up to the gentle, innocent voice of his 4 year old brother, Jake screaming, “Wake up Ja-on!”

For the longest time he had called him “Ja-on”, which his mother thought was “simply adorable”.

“What time is it, Jake?” Jason would always reply.

“Nine Twenny Fye,” he replied.

That was unusual. Jake usually woke him up at eight o'clock on the dot. Oh well, Jason thought, at least I got to sleep in on The Reaping... What! The Reaping is today!

Jason jumped from his bed and threw on an old suit. Oh crap! I'm gonna be late! he thought, the Peacekeepers will kill me!

Jason ran in to the den area and yelled, “Mom! We're gonna be late for The Reaping!”

“What?” His mother replied angrily.

Jason could hear the shuffling of feet as his mother hurried to get ready. He could hear her muttering to herself. Obviously she was as shocked as he was that Jake hadn't woken her up. As she came out of her room, clothed in a long white dress, Jason was already at the door, ready to go. It was the 92nd Reaping, and Jason was definitely not looking forward to it, but if they did not arrive on time there was no telling what the Peacekeepers would do to them.

As the three family members ran out the door they could hear the distant voice of the mayor giving his regular speech. He would always announce the brave fighters of District 12 who won or lost in The Hunger Games.

When Jason, Jake, and their mother arrived in the district square, the mayor had already gotten out a large bowl. Jason immediately knew what was in the bowl. The names of the victims, heroes, and heroines of the future Hunger Games. Jason's legs felt like jelly as the mayor reached his hand into the bowl.

The girls were first to be picked. One of them would be picked to,most likely die in The Hunger Games.

“Marissa Stewart!” the mayor bellowed to the crowd.

Jason now heard weeping as the girl that had been chosen made her way to the stage. Jason didn't know her, but he did feel sorry for her. The mayor patted her on the back as she scaled the stairs. Jason could see him whisper something into her ear and guessed it was, “smile and wave,” or something along those lines.

The mayor then reached his hand into the bowl for the boys and Jason bit his lip.

Please don't be me. Please don't be me...

The mayor seemed to take an eternity to finally draw out a name and call it out to the crowd.

“Jason Browning!”