Psssst!…. are we alone? I have a secret I need to share, but… I’m afraid. Can I trust you? I’ve been on my own long enough to know trust is not free for the taking or the giving, but… No, don’t try to see me, I think I’ll stay hidden right here, thank you! Listen: if you want to know me a bit better, you will stay right there. In fact, why don’t you go sit on that stump over there, where I can see you? Thank you.
Ok, here’s my story.
My name is Kapera. I am the second child of a set of twins. Kapera means “This child too will die”. Rather bleak, I know, but that’s the kind of attitude you can expect when you are born in District 11.
From the beginning, my parents made it clear I was one child too many. You see, they didn’t know they were expecting twins. As new parents (I’m also the last), they had little experience with bearing children, let alone raising them. My sister pleased them, they couldn’t help themselves, any more than they could help falling in love with my twin, the expected one. They were resigned to the idea of facing hardship to feed one child; not two.
I can’t blame them.
Their farm was one growing cotton. For as long as I can remember, my sister, my mother, my father and I have picked cotton by hand, and shipped it out to the Capitol. It’s not an easy life. My mother has always been sickly, and I must have inherited that trait from her. Or maybe it’s because I’m the second born, who knows. I’m the runt, after all, and father never tired of reminding me.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I ran away.
I managed to escape into a wooded area as far away from District 11 as I could manage. I’m always on the move, never saying in the same place longer than it takes to eat (if I can), and sleep (when I must).
Whenever I think I can risk it, I raid encampments of other rebels. I almost got caught like that once, when paratroopers suddenly appeared over an encampment. Everyone was either captured or killed. I managed to escape.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, the other day I found myself within walking distance of a district, I’m not sure which one. All I know is I saw cows for the first time! Can you imagine? Well, maybe you can. I was fascinated.
Eventually, I realized there was no one around. I watched for two days, until I understood something was distracting the entire district. I couldn’t help it: I got curious. So I wandered into town to see what could be more important than the quotas for the Capitol.
That night, I saw my big sister for the first time in a long while. She was laying down in the grass. A young girl, a few years older than us, was singing a lullaby to her. I hadn’t heard that song in ages. My mother used to sing it to my sister. Never to me, but I heard it anyway.
I wonder what Mama is doing right now? I imagine she is crying. Papa too. Their favorite, their eldest and only true daughter died today.
I am Rue’s twin sister.