Author(s): Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games Book 1
Publisher: Year: 2010
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 a born mouser. Even catches the occasional rat.
Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped
hissing at me.