1 YEAR AFTER THE EPILOGUE
It’s been the same thing every day without change. Wake up, eat a small breakfast, and head to work. My schedule does often change, with my free days, but this has been my daze I call life for the past three years.
Today just so happened to be one of my-work-free days and I’ve been thinking long and hard on what I want to do today.
I quickly eat my small breakfast and lock the door to my apartment. As I casually stroll through city where I live, I’m in no hurry to complete the task that has been on my mind for days, even weeks now.
“Hey Four!” I hear a familiar voice ring in my ears.
“Hey Christy!” I reply back.
“I told you to stop calling me that, Four!” She scolds and I smile a little.
“Where are you going?” I ask as we both stroll through the city streets. So much has changed here. Tris would have loved living here.
“I’m just going to visit Zeke and Shauna. And later I’m supposed to help Matthew and Cara with something.” She replied. I snicker and try to cover it up with a cough, but Christina notices.
“What?” She protests smacking my arm.
“It’s just, what could Cara and Matthew possibly need that requires your help.” I chuckle.
“Oh shut up, Four!” She laughs too. “I don’t know. That’s what I’m going to find out! See you later!” She says and walks away without another word.
I continue on the path and can see the peak of the Hancock building. So many memories are held there. So many I hold dear. That’s where I overcame my fear of heights. Since the day I spread Tris’ ashes, I have zip lined more and more with Zeke, Christina and the rest of our gang.
I catch a glimpse of my mother on the balcony of her apartment. I smile and wave, but continue walking when I see her having a casual chat with some of the others who have found this place to be their new home as well.
It’s different here; a good different. It’s the life I imagined to have. Once all the violence and warring was over. It’s the place where I pictured me and my Tris to casually walk, and enjoying our freedom. The life I could have only dreamed of. I try my best to stay busy and keep my mind off of things; off of Tris. I try to bury myself in work or spend my time with my friends, but the absence of Tris weighs on me every day and night.
“Not even going to say hello.” Amar says snapping me out of my thoughts.
I clear my thoughts and stop to greet Amar with a hand shake. “Sorry, I’m… sort of out of it today.”
“I understand. I hear from Zeke you’ve been working pretty hard lately.”
“I try.” I smile a small smile.
“Amar! You ready?” George calls.
“Yeah, just a minute.”
“Going somewhere?” I ask, curiously.
“Yes, I’m about to head to the Bureau, if that’s what you want to call it.” He states. We stand there awkwardly before I rubbed the back of my neck right where my Dauntless tattoo peaks out.
“Well, I’ll see you around.” Amar finally says and I nod.
“See you around.”
I pass by house after house that has been rebuilt or refurnished. Until I stop in front of one house in particular; my old one.
As far as I know, it’s vacant. I walk up the stairs, creaking with every step I take. Turning the knob slowly, the memories are hazily still stuck in the back of my head as I walk around. I walk up the stairs to my room and shiver at the site of my bathroom. This memory is clear in the back of my mind. It seems to be the only memory of this house that still scares me. I stare into the mirror that is scratched and dusty. There are cobwebs and dust mites that live on the floor and in empty spaces. I wipe off the mirror and stare at my reflection. I shudder. The last time I was here, I almost took away one of the most important things in my life: my memories.
The old razor blade is still in the cabinet where I sheared off my hair several times. I hear my screams and Christina’s yells as she begged and forced me to put down the vial of memory serum. I shudder again.
I have to leave, I tell myself, but my feet are cemented to the floor. Finally I push the fear aside long enough to place one foot in front of the other and leave the house that holds so many bad memories.
After just walking around in a daze, I finally reach the destination I have planned for weeks now. The place I intended to come to when I woke this morning. I am at the place that I speculated and doubted to come to for so long.
I’m standing on the Dauntless compound.
These walls are so familiar, it’s scary. I walk past the giant net that is still there and still being used. Many former Dauntless members did keep their homes here at Dauntless compound, although it’s rarely called Dauntless compound anymore. It’s just another area in our new world. I pass a few friendly faces, but don’t know who they are. I assume they know who I am just by the greetings I’m given. As people continue to stop me and say hello personally, I think back to what Zeke told me. “You’re Four, Dauntless legend.” I chuckle to myself. I’m no legend.
Once I’m safely away from everyone, I begin to take a trip down memory lane.
I need this. I remind myself.
My heart aches as I pass by the large net again. The first place I truly met Tris. Not Beatrice, the friendly and selfish girl from Abnegation. But Tris the strong and brave girl I fell in love with. This was the first place and first time I looked deep into her innocent eyes. Thinking of Tris’ eyes, I also remembered the last time I looked into her eyes. They still had the innocent glow to them, but there was also so much more. Strength, vulnerability, beauty; there were so many things that I saw when I looked at Tris. And it pains me to know I’ll never see those things again.
I pass by the old tattoo parlor which is no longer the parlor I remember. I think of Tori and the patience she had to create so many tattoos. She had delicate hands that made the tattoos simply accurate and precise.
I continue my journey, and reach the Pit. The floor is still the same; there are still dummies and targets although there is no reason to practice violence anymore. Yet, once a Dauntless, always a Dauntless. Some people practice just for the thrill. But when I look at the Pit it brings me back to the first day of Initiation. I see Tris trying to shoot. I remember seeing her small, fragile body. She was so small when she first came here, but the last time I saw her she was strong; in every way possible.
I continue past the targets, but also remember how brave she was, how she took the punishment for Al, which allowed me to throw knives at her head.
The Chasm. I remember this as well, for many things, the place where Tris and I shared an intimate and special moment. This is the place where Al took his own life and also the place where Tris’ own life was almost taken from her. I also see the place where Christina’s hot-headed, Candor mouth got her in trouble and was suspended over the railing. But this is also the place where one of my dear, brave friend’s ashes is spread. This is where Uriah remains. I see his smile when I think of him. It was warming and welcoming.
I go through the compound, basically reliving so memories. Some make me smile while other’s make me frown. This place shares good and bad memories. I go to my old room and no one’s there. It’s like it hasn’t even been touched since I left; and maybe it hasn’t. It reminds me of all the kisses and embraces Tris and I shared. I remember sitting in this room thinking about her; even before we were dating. From the moment she stepped off the net, I thought about her; about us. I remember looking over her chart in initiation and coming to the conclusion that she was Divergent. I have a cold chill when I remember finding the entire compound under the attack simulation and only being able to think about Tris and her safety. I remember telling her about me being Divergent and her running her hands over my tattoos.
I sit down on my bed and run my fingers through my hair. I remember everything about this place.
Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes? I don’t know how long I sit on the bed and mentally relive my old life, but the real reason I came here tugs at me and with a jerk, I stand. I have to do what I really came here to do. And with that I walk out my old, Dauntless room, keeping nothing, but all the memories it holds.
There it is. Behind this door is a whole other world of pain. I turn the knob and see just what I imagined. Everything here is either repaired or untouched. The chair, the syringe, the medical supplies, the screens, all of it remains right where it was left. This is the room I was once obsessed with. I was obsessed with reliving my fears; a bad obsession that I couldn’t break. This is the room where I came to enter my fear landscape time after time. The place I had set out to come to all along.
The room is cold, I flip a switch and light shines on everything in sight. I flip another switch and it all fades away except for one spotlight. This one beam of light shines only on the chair I sat in for every one of my fear landscapes. I slowly walk towards it and sit down. It instantly begins to feel familiar; too familiar.
For a while I just sit there, lost in thoughts. Then the voice in my head reminds me. This is the only way. I reach into my pocket and pull out the vial filled with liquid. I poor the liquid into a syringe, with every drop that leaves the vial, my doubt grows stronger. But I remember the voice. This is the only way.
I clutch the syringe with both hands. 1…2…3! I feel the liquid in the veins of my neck. It’s been so long since I’ve been injected; so long since I injected myself. The last thing I remember is the clatter of the syringe as it hits the cold, tile-covered floor.
It’s dark, really dark when I open my eyes. I hold my hand in front of my face and squint to see it, but I see nothing. There’s nothing, but darkness all around me. I hear voices, but can’t put a name to the voice just yet. It’s distant, and faint; like a mumble.
Think. Where am I? I already know I’m lying down. It’s soft and cushiony like a bed. I’m lying down in a bed and I hear a faint voice. That’s what I’m definite of. I lay there longer listening, trying to recognize the voice. It’s small, sweet, but also sounds pained; almost like a cry for help. I try to concentrate more as the voice gets louder and closer. Finally, I feel my heart ache in every way possible. I try to move but it’s no use. I’m restrained to the bed. Her voice continues to haunt me to where it sounds like she’s right next to me. The small, faint, pained voice is now in my ear, the voice belongs to Tris. She screams louder and I thrash around, trying to break free from the invisible chains keeping to the bed.
“Tobias!” She screams. “HELP ME!”
I cover my ears and try to shut out her screaming. What is this fear?
“TOBIAS, YOU HAVE TO HURRY!”
She’s screaming louder than ever in my ears.
“HURRY, TOBIAS, HURRY!”
“YOU CAN DO IT! JUST HURRY!”
I scream as loud as I can, and then I scream again! Her voice won’t fade away! She’s still screaming the same thing! She wants me to hurry.
Tris is still screaming, but I finally stop screaming and realize what I have to do. If Tris were really here she would tell me to think. And she’d tell me that I could do it! Tris isn’t screaming in this fear for me to help her, she’s trying to help me.
This is the fear of being asleep, because when I’m asleep, Tris’ screams haunt me. I never see her face in my nightmares only screams. I calm down and lay there for a while. I can do this. I imagine her running her hands over my tattoos and my face to soothe me, but also reminding me that I can do this. And I can.
Suddenly the invisible bars that restrained me to the bed disappear and it’s no longer dark. I see a small light coming toward me. Closer and closer it comes until it hits me right through my stomach like I’ve been shot. I sink to my knees and everything goes dark again.
Sliding my hand to my stomach I feel something warm and wet: blood. I have been shot. Then again, I feel another sharp pain hitting me in the stomach. I’ve been shot twice. I can’t breathe. I’m lying on my knees and soon fall on my back. Then everything goes black again. I hear another loud bang and everything changes, but this time there’s no pain in my stomach just my heart. I open my eyes and look around at my new surroundings, but I almost scream at the new site. I’m the one holding the gun, I just fired it twice. I just fired the gun twice at Tris. I run forward towards her, but just as I dive for her body it vanishes. She reappears a few feet away and I dive again, but this time, there is an invisible wall between us. I slam my fists onto the wall and scream her name.
Her body falls to the ground in slow motion. I see every ounce of pain in her body as she falls to the ground. I see the vulnerability in her face. I see her dying. I watch as she takes her last breath. I sit there against the invisible wall, watching the life leave her body. Then the entire process starts over with her body falling in slow motion. I want to run to her and heal her. I was supposed to protect her. Tears escape my eyes and screams escape my mouth. Then it starts all over. I can’t bear to watch this again. I shut my eyes and place my palms over them.
Think. I remind myself. How can I move on to the next fear? What is this fear?
I think harder and realize exactly what this fear is. From the moment this fear began, I had to experience Tris’ pain, had to see her blood-covered body fall to the ground and I was unable to save her.
This is the fear of re-living Tris’ death. This is the fear of watching Tris die. This is the fear of seeing someone you love get hurt and not being able to do anything about.
When I open my eyes, Tris is still. The horrific scene is no longer playing in my head. She just lies on her back, covered in blood, and white as snow. She’s beautiful, even now. A tear falls down my cheek and I choke out three words: I love you. I know she can’t hear me, but just as the words leave my lips, her body disappears and doesn’t return.
The next thing I know, the scene has changed. I’m in a place that I was in earlier today. I’m back in my old house, staring at myself in the mirror of the bathroom. I also notice one more thing: the memory serum clutched tightly in my hand. I stare at myself, remembering this moment. It’s only a matter of time before Christina burst through the door and stops me. I try to think of why this is in my fear landscape. After a few minutes, I become worried. It didn’t take Christina this long. And as if on cue, I take the memory serum and unscrew the lid. This never happened… Before I can stop myself, I raise the vial to my lips and drain the liquid into my mouth. My entire body shivers and cold fills my entire body.
What have I done?
This feeling is weird. I feel alone, unwanted, and lost. Who am I? Where am I?
“Four?” I hear a small voice next to me.
“What?” I ask. “Who are you?” Her expression is cold, like all the blood has left from her body.
“Don’t say that! Of course you know who I am?” She pleads. I feel bad. Should I know this girl?
“Are you… my… girlfriend?”
“Oh my God.” Her voice shakes and she places her face in her hands.
“I think I would know who my girlfriend was or not.” I say with a shrug.
“Stop it! I’m not your girlfriend. I’m your friend! You’re girlfriend, my best friend, is dead! And you don’t even remember her!” She screams.
“I… have no idea what you are talking about!” I reply with anger rising in me. Why is she getting mad at me?
“STOP! Stop, Four! Your name is Four! And-“
“Why would my name be Four?” I ask, but she ignores me at first.
“And my name is Christina! You were nicknamed Four because you only have four fears!”
“Oh.” Is all I manage to say before she starts yelling again.
“You really don’t remember me?” Her voice cracks. It pains me, but I shake my head. I’m sorry, I think, but doubt it will help.
“Do you remember Uriah? Zeke, Amar, Cara… Tris?” She pleads.
“I’m sorry.” I say shaking my head.
She throws her hands in the air. “I can’t believe you would do something so selfish!”
“What did I do?”
“You drank the memory serum! You took away all the memories you had! Memories at Dauntless, memories with the initiates, memories during the war, memories with Tris and me and all your other friends! You don’t remember any of it?!” She screams and I think I see a tear escape her eye.
I don’t reply this time. I think really hard.
“I remember the first day I met you. You were already so into Tris, that you barely gave me a second glance. And now, I don’t even care. During initiation, I began to think you were a total jerk, but then you became one of my good friends. I had already developed feelings for Will and I saw how much Tris loved you. She honestly did! I could never look at you the same, I thought I liked you at first, but I really just wanted to be friends with you. After witnessing the love you and Tris had for each other, I had grown to really respect you. I was so envious of Tris, but only because she had found someone that loved her so much. But now that she’s gone, I miss her so much! She was always there for me. Yes, she had made mistakes, but we all do. And now, I can’t believe you took away the memories you two shared. Memories are supposed to stay with you forever, but you deliberately took away yours, Tobias.” She says with pain in her voice. When she looks up, everything floods into my mind. Moments of Tris and me, Initiation, Talks with Uriah and Zeke, how soft Tris’ lips were on mine, how she wasn’t the prettiest girl in the world, but to me she was more. My mouth drops. I look at Christiana.
“I remember.” I choke out.
She looks up again and I really tell that she had shed a tear or two. “You do?” She croaks.
I nod my head and smile. I hug her, but just when I do, my smile fades, my arms feel like lead and my entire body is cold again. I just got back the memories of me and Tris, but I didn’t get my Tris back.
Finally I’m back to myself, I’m not back into the fear landscape room, but I’m lying on my bed in my apartment.
How did I get here?
I look around and see myself standing a few ways away. I look tired, wait no, exhausted. I slowly walk to the bathroom and shower. Then eat a small meal and head to work.
Why is this in my fear landscape?
I walk out the door and follow myself. I go to work, and then visit some of my friends, but one thing I notice is that throughout the day I barely smile. Is this how I really look every day? I walk down the street when everything whirls and I’m lying in my bed again. I watch myself get up and complete the exact same thing. Why am I afraid of this? The day seems to go by faster and I’m back in my bed again. This is weird.
I’m lying in bed again when the other me notices something else. It’s the photo of Tris that I keep in my wallet. It’s peeking out of my wallet and I walk over to it. I watch the other me, pick it up and shake my head.
“Why did you leave me?” The other me asks the photo in a shaky voice. The other me lifts the photo to my lips and smiles, with a tear leaving my eye.
I place the photo back into my wallet and watch myself. I’m broken. And I can never be mended. Tris was my rock. She was my anchor. She was my everything. And now, she’s gone.
I realize what this fear is…. It’s the fear of reality. My life and my reality were supposed to be with Tris Prior. She was my life and now I fear it.
I watch myself lie down in bed again and go to sleep. This time, I don’t wake up and restart the day. I lift my eyes in the fear landscape room.
I’m sweating and my face feels warm yet wet. I lick my lips that were dry from screaming, and taste salt. I wasn’t only sweating, but also crying.
I don’t move for a while, I just go over my fears in my head.
I fear being asleep, because Tris’ screams haunt me and let me know I’m without her.
I fear re-living Tris’ death, because I couldn’t be there to save her.
I fear losing all of my memories, because all the good ones involved Tris.
I fear reality, because my reality was Tris. And it was taken away from me and never given back.
I somehow manage to smile. Four. I have four fears. Just like always.
Last time I checked my fear landscape I also had four fears: falling, claustrophobia, murder, and my father. They have all changed.
I feared falling, but overcame that fear because of Tris. She always wanted me to go zip lining and I did.
I feared being claustrophobic, but Tris helped me with that. I no longer have to fear that, because when I was in the box that continued to get smaller, I realized that I couldn’t ever get out. But Tris helped me be okay with that. And now I realize that my life is that box. I can never get out of a life of depression and sadness from losing Tris. She helped me to not fear the box that was collapsing on me, and even though I’ve lost her, I know she’s with me.
I had always feared of murdering someone, I did it, to protect myself or the ones I loved, but eventually I lost that battle too. After Tris died, because of a gunshot wound, I gave up guns completely.
I feared Marcus, my father, for so long, but now I realize that I let him go and letting him go, not only got him out of my life, but also allowed me to no longer fear him. I also have to thank Tris for helping me overcome this fear. When she died, I loved her so much, that I had to learn to let her go. She is always with me; we are one. But she also taught me that some things aren’t forgivable, but in some ways they always are. Marcus was my father, and he did many unforgivable things. Therefore instead of forgiving him completely, I chose to let him go.
I have always had four fears, that is why I was given the nickname Four. But now that I have seen my new fear landscape I still have four fears. Even though they have all changed, they still all share one thing in common: Tris. I now realize Tris helped me overcome each of my old fears and she is now in all four of my new fears.
I stand up and walk toward the door of the fear landscape room. I turn one last time and glance at this room, having no intentions of ever returning here again. I have experienced a lot here in this tiny room. I’ve screamed, cried, shuddered, and faced so many scary things here. I continue to make my way through the halls of the Dauntless compound. And I think, what scares me the most is probably never returning? I spent half my life here. I made friends here, I made enemies here. I found true love here. I learned to fight here and I learned how to make a new life for myself here. I will never forget all the memories this place holds, but I know my life will never be the same because of it and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing yet. But one thing I am sure of is because of this place, because of the people I met here, because of the things I learned here, and because of the life I made for myself here, I now know: I have been changed, changed forever.