I watch Tris in her simulation, pounding on the walls of the glass box that is filling with water. Her body lays next to me in the metal chair, but her brain is somewhere else.
Calm down, Tris. It’s just a simulation. You can get out of it.
I shout those words in my mind, hoping she might be able to hear them.
She slaps at the glass, screaming. “Help! Please! Please help!”
The water covers her head, and she thrashes, smacking the walls. She screams, and water fills her mouth.
Calm down, Tris.
She screams again and shoves the wall with her palm. A crack appears, and she slams her other hand into the wall and drives another crack through the glass. She kicks the wall, and the pane shatters.
The word starts in my head, but soon it’s everywhere, in my arms, my legs, my heart, my soul.
I’m Divergent, too.
It’s the first time I’ve thought that word in years. Even thinking it feels dangerous.
She gasps and sits up in the chair, shaking out her hands. I just stare at her.
“What?” she asks.
“How did you do that?”
“Crack the glass.”
“I don’t know.”
I don’t know what to do. I eventually give her my hand and she gets out of the chair. She doesn’t seem worried, like what she just did could be the cause of her death. She doesn’t know that manipulating the simulation is a sign of Divergence. The Divergent are different from the rest, they aren’t wired to think one way.
When a Divergent is found out, she is often killed. There must be something about the Divergent that can make someone so desperate so as to murder them.
They can’t be controlled.
Faction leaders don’t like Divergence. Especially Jeanine.
Tris is being watched. I know it.
I grab her by the elbow and lead her out of the room, to a place where it might be a bit safer. We walk down the hallway, and she stops, pulling her arm back. I stare at her, waiting for her to confirm what is undoubtedly true.
“What?” she asks.
“You’re Divergent,” I reply. Saying the word stings my tongue.
I see fear pass over her eyes. Then she leans back, trying to act casual. “What’s Divergent?”
“Don’t play stupid,” I tell her. I remember the simulation with the crows, fresh in my mind from yesterday. “I suspected it last time, but this time it’s obvious. You manipulated the simulation; you’re Divergent. I’ll delete the footage, but unless you want to wind up dead at the bottom of the chasm, you’ll figure out how to hide it during the simulation!” Saying that makes me imagine her body at the bottom of the chasm, lifeless. It scares me, but it angers me more.
Don’t you dare let yourself die.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me.” I walk back to the simulation room and slam the door. I feel Tris’ eyes on me, and I know her mind is churning. I tell myself that at one time or another, she’ll figure out what I am. But I won’t help her, she’ll figure it out on her own.
I wake up hearing screaming.
My room is relatively close to the chasm, and it sounds like it’s coming from there.
I listen closely, and hear scuffling, the sound of a body being thrown to the ground, then groans. I’m debating between going and seeing what’s happening and going back to sleep. I plan on choosing the latter, but it’s the desperate scream of pain that does it.
By the time I reach the chasm, Peter has a hand wrapped around her throat, and he’s holding her above the roaring river. His hair is tousled and sticks to his forehead. His face is contorted and his teeth are gritted. He’s a monster. The ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.
Tris tries to kick him, but her legs are too short.
It may be because I’ve just woken up, but it feels like a dream.
I kick Peter in the knees, and he releases Tris, his eyes wide as he looks up at me. He falls on the floor, but before I can kick him in the stomach, he’s up and gone, running away. Al follows him, closely behind.
Al, one of Tris’ closest friends.
I’m not surprised. The strength and invulnerability from a little girl like Tris is unbearable for someone who is expected by others to be strong, who expects himself to be just as strong, if not stronger.
Kind of like me.
But unlike Al, I can bear it. In fact, I find it beautiful.
I don’t know how I do it, but Drew is on the floor, knocked out, and my knuckles are bloody. Tris is hanging from the railing overlooking the chasm, one step away from death. My hands wrap around her arms and I pull her over the railing, gathering her into my arms. For a moment we just stand there, paralyzed. She presses her face into my shoulder, and we are quiet. There is a sudden, hollow silence that resonates throughout the Pit.
It could have happened, but it didn’t.
I could have been alone forever, the only one, and the glow behind her eyes could have become dead coals.
I carry her back to my room.