Perhaps it would have been an ordinary day for Rosa if it weren't for the eerie silence that greeted her when she awoke. The entirety of the farmhouse was quiet as a mouse. Had even the baby become aware of the tension? The only thing that Rosa could sense was a smell, the clear, sweet smell of birthday cake. She had told her mother not to make one, begged even, but her efforts had been in vain. "The ingredients cost so much money!" she'd said. "You only turn 16 once!" her mother had said. Had it only been yesterday? Yesterday, full of laughter and happiness and family. The difference between that and the silence of today made yesterday feel like a world away. Today was indeed the day of the reaping.
Rosa stepped out of bed to the godawful sight of a sea green dress hanging on the back of her bedroom door. Her mother's idea, now doubt. Everyone dresses smart for the reaping. Just in case. Just in case your name gets chosen and the whole of Panem will still you on camera. Dress smart in case today's the day you get called to a bloodbath!
Even though she detested the colour and even feel of the fabric, Rosa slipped into the dress and out the door, to breakfast downstairs. Her parents, both sets of grandparents and baby sister all lived in the small farmhouse in the middle of District 10. At 16, Rosa was the only one of the Greystone family to be at risk of being chosen for the games. At least, she was now. Last year, there was a her brother, too. But his name had been chosen last year. Suffice to say, he hadn't been the victor.
"Oh, hello dear," her mother greeted her when she reached the tiny kitchen. "It's late. Why didn't you wake me?" Rosa asked. "I thought you deserved a lie in, since it's... you know," her mother replied as she pulled out a chair for Rosa and fussed over her hair. "I'm not scared mom, I already told you that," Rosa replied as she batted away her mom's hand. "Don't be so rude young lady. Perhaps you think you're invincible but you mother and I live in the real world, and she's concerned. Have some respect," Rosa's dad said from across the table. "Well, don't be. I'm not going to get picked," she replied.
Eggs were for breakfast of course. Eggs were always for breakfast. District 10 was the district of livestock, but the Greystone's were a family of only chickens and dairy cows. No meat. That was the Green family's department. They were one of the richest families in district 10. They had a whole load of beef cows, and demand for beef from the Capitol was always in place. The Greens had enough money to buy all the food they wanted. But they Greystones provided eggs and milk, and that was almsot all they ate. In this small farmhouse, even bread was a luxury.
After chores, Rosa went back to her bedroom to get one last thing before the looming reaping. Sat on her windowsill was her brother's familiar ruby coloured necklace. She couldn't remember where he'd even bought it, but Rosa remembered how he'd wear it each and every day. After he died, and the Capitol returned his few belongings to his home here in district 10, Rosa had worn it every day. It was a small red cylindrical charm on a black string. She hung it around her neck, and she made her way downstairs where her mother waited with the baby. "Ready?" Rosa asked. Her mother, visibly anxious and unsettled, was undoubtedly remembering this time last year, when Rosa's brother had come downstairs and said the same thing. The last day they saw him.
It was a short walk to the town square where the reaping would take place. The eerie silence that had swallowed the small farmhouse hung over the entire town like a daunting raincloud. All the parents had the same expression on their faces; concern, anxiety. And the children all had the same look on their faces, too; nerves, panic. There wasn't a single person there who didn't feel sick with worry. Except for Rosa, the only person there with a smile. A sadistic smile at that.