She ran through the woods, dodging limbs and roots, trying to escape her hunter's grasp.
"You can't survive. You're too weak." She heard the small voice whisper. It was gaining on her. She pushed her sweaty blonde bangs away from her face. She had to escape. She can't lose. She's come too far. She needs to go back to the place she hates, yet loves. She even missed the electric fences keeping her town enclosed, as if they were dirty barn yard animals. She missed her friends. Her life.
"You can't survive. You're a goner." The shrill voice was now closer. She refused to look back as she kept running, ignoring the sweat pouring down her face. 'Keep your eyes open. They're all waiting for me to break down. They're watching.' She thought. She suddenly felt a searing pain shoot through her back. Her dark eyes went wide as she fell to her knees. She pressed her hand against the spot just below her collar bone, just above her heart. She could feel the sharp knife and the foul stench of blood.
"Told you that you wouldn't survive." The high pitched voice cackled.
Her eyes shot open. She was breathing heavily as tears were welling up in her eyes. She clutched the side of her bed and forced herself to stop. She pulled one hand up and felt her chest. Nothing except the feel of her pyjamas. 'I'm still alive…But…' She gasped as she realized today was her most feared day. She dreaded it. Ever year, two kids from her town die. The most traumatizing day of the year. She's been able to avoid it for 4 years. This is her last year. But the butterflies in her stomach never fade. Today is always the worst. Reaping Day.
She threw herself out of bed, grabbed her robe, and headed downstairs to the kitchen.
"Ahh Miss Lucy. Good morning! Did you sleep well?" The short chef asked.
"Good morning Eido. No…I can't say that I did…" The blonde mumbled.
"Ahh cheer up! You're name isn't in that bowl really at all. You've never had to place it in for food or anything. You'll be alright."
"But still…I could still be picked…But…I need to stay strong." She forced a smile and wiped the tears quietly streaming down her cheeks.
The short man sympathetically smiled at her and handed her breakfast, "Here. Eat up. You need your strength."
She smiled weakly and began picking at her eggs. She suddenly looked up and asked, "Eh..Eido? How did you survive the Games?"
The chef froze in his place of washing plates and turned towards the girl, "By not giving up. By staying alert. Not letting anyone get in my way. Also by getting an ally."
"Don't think about it."
"You don't worry about that. You need to worry about your own life. Not others."
"I see…" Lucy excused herself after she finished her food, and slowly walked back up to her room. She pulled open her closet and took out her cotton white dress she wore annually to the Reaping. She reluctantly zipped it up and tied the bow. She walked over to her floor to ceiling length mirror.
"This is the day. You'll be okay. It's your last year. You can get through this, Lucy." No matter how many times she said it, the fluttering feeling in her stomach wouldn't leave. She watched her face loose it's colour as she tied her hair up in her usual side pony.
"Miss Lucy? It's time to go. You don't want to be late." She heard one of her maids call from the hallway.
'As if I would actually mind being late for this crap.' She slowly walked out her door and stared at the floor as she walked down the main staircase. She looked up to see all her servants and maids lined up along the wall with gloomy faces on. 'I should be used to this…But I can't...' She gave them all a hug and fought to hold onto the tears trying to force their way out of her eyes. She eventually came up to Eido.
"Remember what I told you, sweetie. You'll be fine. I'll see you real soon." Lucy closed her eyes and nodded. Eido will be coaching the two tributes from her district before the Games, as every victor does. Eido has been the only tribute to come back to their district in the past 10 years.
She turned around at the doorway and tried to smile, "I-I love you all. Don't forget me in case I…Don't forget me, okay?"
"How could we forget you, Miss Lucy?!"
"We would never forget you! We love you!"
"You'll be okay! We'll be cheering for you! Picked or not!" All her servants were rambling on and on all at once. All of them were trying not to cry.
"I love you all!" She repeated and wiped her watery eyes. She then turned around and looked over towards the gathering area, took a deep breath, and began walking down the front steps of the place she loves.