“Veronica Varian.” My heart almost exploded. It was my turn to choose my future.
A Candor girl beside me jabbed her bony finger into my side, the electric of the touch running through my bones. Those steps to the stage were like I was walking miles rather than metres, my legs threatening to turn to jelly.
Mr Eaton, the Abnegation leader, looks down on me. My attention focused solely on the blade as it broke my skin.
I don’t bother to look at the blood burning in the coals. I pass the earth and then the water, both covered with red rain. I pass the grey stone; home. I do exactly what Andrew did.
Blood falls onto the glass.
I want to run as the heat bursts from my chest, but my eyes fall to the floor. I drag my feet, trying to restrain my head from turning. Taking my place with the Candor initiates, I can’t help it.
My mother’s face is straight as usual, but it looks like it’s been smacked on. My father’s glare doesn’t move from the stage. It’s selfish of him to show anger at my choice. Of all people they should have known I'd transfer.
My controlled childhood is gone; taken from me. But it feels good. I don’t care about my parents' reactions.
You could see the spite of some as they turned against their parent’s virtues or the tears in others at the realisation they couldn’t live up to them.
Honestly, I couldn’t give a damn about any of that. It’s finally my life.
“Welcome to Candor.” Whispering in my ear, the breeze from Andrew’s mouth made my lip curl. The initiates clambered onto a bus taking us home. Looking out over the crowd, it’s mainly black and white with huddles of kids wearing plain black together near the back.
However, there are a couple of reds and blues dotted about, but only two from Abnegation; me and my old neighbour, Eldwin. His whole family were transfers so he followed their footsteps. You could never quite work him out; he wouldn’t stand to answer questions but he excelled in playing instruments in front of an audience. He could snap but he knew when to keep quiet. I try to keep my distance from him. He was different and different is dangerous.
Caught off guard, my mind flips back to the conversation I had with Andrew last night. What was different was dangerous...
His arms around my waist was what pulled me back. Together, we were safe.
Smoothly stopping, everyone pushed forward to leave the bus. As I reached the door, I noticed a woman in front being followed by toilet paper, stuck to her shoe.I stop to think. Should I tell her? Normally you wouldn’t care...
“Erm, there’s something on your shoe...” Tapping her shoulder, she looked down and pulled it from her heel. She smiled and shook my hand, making me radiate confidence.
Although small, that act was my first act of true honesty in public, with no reprimand about being insensitive.
“Welcome to Candor!” We were met by an official-looking woman with teeth wide in smile. “Here stands our future generation, plus some failures, but follow me and we’ll find out who’ll pass!” She spoke in an overly-optimistic manner.
We pushed forward again.
"I'll be right back." Disappearing from the group, Andrew was gone before I could shout after him.
I tried to stay calm. He could go wherever he wanted, I just had to hope he wouldn't get into trouble like Dauntless do, but then again he's not completely Dauntless...
The woman showed us to our dormitory to pick a bed and then make our way to the Board Room.
My fingers trailed around my chosen bunk before having a girl shove my shoulder.
“Don’t get comfy yet, Abnegation.” She was the one sat next to me earlier.
“Excuse me?” I raised an eyebrow. I'd hoped to meet some friends here, but I had to expect some judging. Abnegation easily got on the wrong side of people.
“Your kind ain’t trusted 'ere.” I rolled my eyes, tossing my grey jacket into the bin.
“I’m a Candor, like you.” My eyes glanced up and down her already black and white attire.
“Not ‘til you pass. Lying to save peace is yer way.”
I snoop through the drawers next to the bed, finding Candor clothing. I pulled the curtain across the bed and changed.
The whining voice came through the thin material. “Nah, you ain’t gonna last with tellin’ the truth constantly, and I’m honest.”
“I won’t lie about liking you.” I chimed back.
“What’s going on?” A familiar voice popped up. Thrusting the curtain back, my new clothing unnaturally tight.
“Where’ve you been?” Andrew pulled his shirt over his head and began buttoning up a white one.
“Kid left their book on the bus. I returned it.”
“You with ‘er?” Our conversation was interrupted.
“Yup.” Andrew didn’t look at her. I couldn’t help but smile at how casual our relationship was now.
“Dauntless with a Stiff?”
“Yup. We need to be somewhere?” Andrew gestured to the empty room.
“Yeah, the guide wants us in the Board Room wherever that is.” Smiling over, I knew she’d have to show us since it’s not the Candor way to hide their knowledge.
She huffed, “Come.”
Merging yet again into a pool of black and white, I loved not standing out anymore. The room wasn’t as packed as the bus but just as bright. The room had some chairs in the middle. Two remained empty.
“Thank you for choosing Candor. Our numbers have already depleted. The truth must always be spoken.”
Lost paper? The penny dropped as I noticed a transfer from Amity and Erudite had vanished. The woman with the toilet paper was a test! Initiation was going to be a lot more difficult for the transfers.
“I’m sure those remaining will pass these simple lie detector tests. You will take them every day until Truth Day alongside other classes like learning to read body language.” I sat up straight. I wanted to learn everything.
“Some of you will be tempted to lie, and those who aren’t trustworthy for us will leave. Off you go.”
I followed everyone through the double doors. Andrew squeezed my hand, pulling my attention to its shaking. “Don’t worry about it. We’re Candor. These tests’ll be easy.”
I released his hand, naturally resisting the urge to kiss him. He smirked and pushed his way through into a vacant room. I did the same.
The rooms reminded me of when we took the Aptitude Test, just with glass instead of mirrors so we could see everyone. A man sat behind a desk, twirling electrodes in his hands. “Please sit. You know what to do.” His eyes danced with his smile.
I took a deep breath. I had to be myself; a Candor.