A/N NEW CHAPTER! WOO! *cue trumpet fanfare*
Sorry this is pretty late for my usual updating timetable. Please note that I don't have specified update-days, and I am so sorry this took so long!
And, guys, ready yourselves, this is amazing. I got EIGHT REVIEWS! EIGHT! WOOOO! I LOVE YOU ALL!
BTW this chapter introduces some ideas not really explored in the book. In Insurgent, when the visited the factionless and they were all happy and smiley and had tons of food blah blah blah, I didn't really believe. I mean, aren't they like homeless people in our society? The Abnegation can't provide supplies for ALL the factionless. It just didn't seem believable. So, I'm showing a different side of the factionless. The darker side. Be prepared! This chapter is kinda sad. :(
But still, enjoy!
The simulations," Tobias announces, "Are simply a more efficient way of designing situations in which to test your levels of selflessness. There is only so much we can learn from community service, and your future places in or society will be based on your initiation results. We want them to be as accurate as possible."
We sit on the benches outside the simulation room, and everyone of us can't help but be nervous.
"The simulations will be administered by a serum, which will be injected into your arm. It may take a few seconds for the serum to take effect, then it will transport you to a scene. The situations will be simple this week, mostly normal, everyday happenings."
Tobias stands up. "I will call you in one at a time. First, Lee."
An Abnegation boy I knew in school stands up, knees shaking, and shuffles into the the door Tobias holds open for him. We all stare blankly at his erratic progress, but Tobias's eyes harden, as if in contempt.
The door closes with a soft click. And fear begins to build in my chest. What if he can find out that I am Divergent? Because I can manipulate the simulations? Can I hide it? What will he do if he finds out?
Before I know it, Lee is stumbling out the door, the tracks of old tears on his cheeks. I feel the tension in the room intensify.
I jolt in my seat. No. Not me. He'll know. He'll find out. Unless he is who I think, unless he...
"Beatrice." He repeats.
I stand up quickly and walk to the door, heading automatically for the familiar chair in the middle. The mirrors on the walls reflect my uncertain expression time and time again.
The door clicks shut.
I comply. He takes a swab from a table and motions for me to roll back my sleeves. The swab makes my shoulder go numb, so I don't even feel the injection.
"Alright. It should take just a few seconds to take effect. Just remember that I'll be watching the simulation remotely."
I nod, and the world begins to blur. Before I know it, the chair has been swept out from under me.
I am crouching on my hands and knees, on a familiar cracked side walk. Tall grey buildings tower around me, centering on the scene.
People weave and march along the road, not paying the slightest bit of attention to me. Their eyes are set on their destination, like machines, with no room for free thought in their minds.
But there is another shape on the pavement, just there, through the hundreds of legs.
A small boy, about six, is crouching on the ground a few metres in front of me, head down. His bones protude from his skin, his skin is pale and sweaty. He is wearing threadbare clothes, mismatched and much too big. He must be factionless.
The boy grasps the pant leg of a passing Candor.
"Please," he gasps. "Food. Please."
The Candor man kicks his trapped foot viciously, striking the boy in the ribs. He cries out and falls down, gasping.
The boy's prone form shudders and he emits a soft cry.
I lift myself up and glance around. The crowd are casting disgusted glances at the little boy, or are just outright ignoring him. I even see a young Dauntless grind his foot into the boy's hand, muttering, "Factionless scum."
Of course. Most people despise the factionless, they are exiled from our society, with no place. They are at the bottom of the food chain, only able to get food and supplies from the Abnegation, or even pick pocketing. Why would anyone bother to aid a poor, sick factionless boy?
The boy shudders again and claws at the pavement.
I am crouching beside him before I even feel my legs move. I put a hesitant hand on his shoulder and he grasps my hand, squeezing it tight.
"It's okay. Don't worry. It's alright. I'm here."
The boy stares up at me, eyes wide and shining with tears. His cheeks are sunken, the skin pale as a ghost except for the dark spots around his eyes. His other hand clutches his chest which is rising and falling at a rapid rate. I lift his shirt gingerly and gasp.
The boy's ribs are showing easily through pale skin, and one in particular is crooked and bent, pointing inward to his lungs.
The boy's breathing quickens, and he is clawing at my hand, crying and gurgling. He can't breathe properly. The rib must have pierced a lung.
I gather the boy up in my arms slowly, I need to get him to a hospital. Quickly.
I push through the crowd, but don recognize my location. I have never seen this part of the city before.
"Excuse me." I tap the shoulder of a passing Erudite woman. She walks by without a glance. I try the same on an Amity man, but he can't seem to hear me, or just doesn't care.
I pick a random street and sprint down it, hoping to find a familiar area. I ran as fast as my body will allow, feeling my heartbeats quicken along with the rapid breaths of the little boy. I yell loudly at everyone I pass, trying to get their attention. They don't even turn their heads.
Frantic now, I run down an alley, looking for something, anything. Anything at all.
The alley is a dead end.
I stop and look down at the child in my arms. His eyes are rolled back in his head, and his chest is shuddering irregularly. I check his pulse. It is fast, too fast. The boy tries to focus and croaks out, "Stop. Please."
I look around helplessly. I won't find the hospital. I know this in my heart. This is how the simulation is supposed to go.
I set the boy on the ground carefully and kneel beside him. He grabs for my hand and squeezes it tight.
"It's okay. It's alright. Okay? It's gonna be alright." I whisper. The not doesn't respond and I can't help but think that I am only reassuring myself, and with no effect.
He stares into my eyes, his big brown ones glassy and afraid. His breaths become even faster, quickening with his heartbeat.
"No." I know, now. I know what is happening. It was inevitable, all along. I knew. It would have to end like this. One of the greatest tests of selflessness. To watch a stranger die.
The boy's breathing shudders to a stop and his pulse dies down. His eyelids droop and he is frozen, caught in a final moment, as if paused in his life.
"No!" I can't let this happen. Even in a simulation. I just can't find it in myself. I spread my palm on the boy's chest and compress, trying the technique that I have only seen as an onlooker. Thirty compressions, i remember. But I can't remember the other stages of the process, something about breathing air into his lungs. I don't want to try unless I make his breathing worse. I keep on compressing, again and again, until my arms burn with fire. Finally, I stop.
And the boy lies there, unmoving. He could be sleeping. He could be a malnourished, dirty, sick, Factionless boy just taking a nap in an alleyway. But he isn't.
He is dead.
And suddenly I fell a surge of anger. This is our society. My society. A society where those who do not totally fit are cast out and left to live alone. A society full of outcasts who do not get enough food, or clean water, or health treatment, or shelter. A society where a little boy can die on the streets, lungs punctured by a kick from a disgusted Candor.
This society. My society.
And this boy isn't the only one. In this city, there must be thousands of Factionless. More have died. More are dying.
And then a door in my mind opens, one that was once firmly locked.
Either I can force this society to change, or I don't want to be a part of it.
A/N alrighty. There it is. Hope you liked it. I know it was kinda heavy and sad, but next chapter will be more fluffy. Don't you worry!
To Awesomesawse- is it How I Met Your Mother? Lol idk.
Reviews are the high point of my day, remember. ;)
Til next time... :)