When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My
fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only
the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had
bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she
did. This is the day of the reaping.
I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in
the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up
on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks
pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still
worn but not so beaten-down. Prim’s face is as fresh as a
raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named.
My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.
Sitting at Prim’s knees, guarding her, is the world’s ugliest
cat. Mashed-in nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the
color of rotting squash. Prim named him Buttercup, insisting
that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower.
He hates me. Or at least distrusts me. Even though it was
years ago, I think he still remembers how I tried to drown
him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. Scrawny
kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas. The
last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim
begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. It turned
out okay. My mother got rid of the vermin and he’s born.
Excerpt from the Hunger Games?
What does this mean you say? I'll let the Taxmaster explain.
The pony has landed.