I stand in front of the crowd, holding a blade close to the pale skin of my hand. My head feels dizzy and I can feel my cheeks burn. l I look out into the crowd and see my parents. My mother smiles and my father has a look of concern, making me wince in shame. I hope Tristan doesn't notice. I hover my hand over the Erudite water, imagining my crimson blood falling into the liquid, mingling with the DNA of the teenagers that chose Erudite before me. But I am not staying at home. My hand jerks towards the black coals of Dauntless and I jab the knife into the skin underneath my thumb. Red liquid spurts out and each droplet sizzles on the hunks of coal, steaming. I quickly look at the dull grey floor, avoiding the gaze of my parents. When I reach the Dauntless seats, I sit on the end, then start picking a cuticle.
"Saiorse?" says a voice from next to me. "You chose Dauntless?"
Tristan. I turn to look at him. His blonde hair is spiked and a silver ring in his ear. I can think of nothing to say.
"Um.. well I never expected you to be here, either," I say sarcastically after along pause.
He smiles, baring his teeth and laughs a little. Out of habit I begin to twirl my finger around my fishtail plait, something I do when I get nervous, which is something I only am when I'm with Tristan. Still neither of us say anything. All around us, Dauntless hopefuls begin to stand, so we do too. Tristan walks away, hands in pockets, to hang around with his fellow Dauntless born initiates. I walk alone. When we reach the stairs, I head towards the elevator. My path is blocked by a stampede of rowdy teens that are dancing and jumping down the stairs.. Taken by surprise, I stumble backwards a little, walking into a girl with her carrot-coloured hair snatched back into a ponytail.
"Sorry," I mumble, embarrassed.
The girl smiles and holds out her hand. "That's okay. I'm Penny, by the way. What's your name?" Her voice is slightly squeaky.
" Saiorse," I reply, then shake her hand a bit too tightly, due to nerves. "Erudite. Well, not now, I guess."
"I'm from Amity. I liked it there. I don't think Dauntless will be like that. I only joined to be brave," Penny looks away. "I'm not so far."
We are silent for a long time. Mainly because I don't usually have to comfort people, as I'm not an Abnegation member. I wonder what faction she is from. Probably Amity, if you look at her clothes. She wears bright red chinos and a vivid yellow t-shirt. Compared to me, She is like a colour explosion: I am wearing a white lace dress and a blue beaded bracelet (all Erudite have to wear at least one item of blue clothing). When we reach a train station and board an empty train. I sit next to Penny and a boy with jet black hair like mine. The train is still moving when people start lining up by the nearest exit.
"What are we supposed to do?" says the dark-haired boy.
When I see the others jumping off the moving train, I reply, "Jump. We're supposed to jump off".