I'm sitting here on our boulder irritated as hell, waiting for my best friend Gale for what might be our last hunting day together and he's late. Very. No doubt he was out celebrating his last night of being single. Today is the day of the marriage reaping.

A pandemic had swept the country of Panem a year or so before the 50th and final hunger games. It was estimated that it had ended up killing 30-60% of Panem's population. It also hit the capital and even with all its medical advances they could do nothing to stop it. It didn't make any sense to keep on killing district children for their entertainment with all our numbers so low. Some people say it started in district 13 and spread while they met with capitol and district rebels in talks of an uprising.

District 13 rejoined Panem once the games were over and their president, Alma Coin became one of President Snow's top advisers. They say she carries her own drinking flask and she even has an Avox taste test all her food. I guess you can never be to careful.

After the plague ran its course, the new marriage laws were put into place. Once you turn eighteen we are subjected to a physical exam to insure we are fertile. They hand us a questioner to complete and turn in the week before the reaping to help with compatibility. We are expected to have a minimum of 2 children but they encourage more by offering a small stipend for each additional child.

The virus has also caused sterility in some and slight deformities in others, these people are classified as 'abnormal' and are treated as second class citizens.

"Hey, Catnip" says Gale.

"You're late" I snap.

"I know, I'm sorry but I brought some sandwiches" he hands one to me.

"Well in that case you're forgiven." I take a big bite "Mm." Food is my weakness and he know it too. We grow up together almost like siblings, we are the same age, born only a couple days apart, our fathers are best friends as well./p

"We should get started, our dads need a good haul, we had last minute orders for today's celebrations." I say. "I sent Rory and Vick up ahead to work the snare lines and to gather. This way we can work on getting bigger game." Our dads survived the last mine explosion 7 years ago. But not without sustaining injuries.

My dad James Everdeen lost a foot and Hunter Hawthorne lost an arm. They opened up a stand at the Hob and call it "Stumpy's Butchery" kind of ironic.

"I hope we get a deer" saids Gale. "Or a boar." We get both and even manage to get two wild turkey's and 3 geese. With Rory's and Vick's help we field dress our game and drag our haul to the hob. It was a very good hunting day.

As dad and Mr Hawthorne look over our game Gale leans in to me and asks, "So you planning to volunteer?" I look at my dad and he gives me a nod.

I give Gale a wicked grin and say "Yeah."

Mr Hawthorne shakes his head "Mellark's in trouble."

My dad just shrugs "Peeta's been in trouble since the first day of school."