I am Amity.
It runs through my blood, as pure as the factions that divide us. I am not peaceful, nor easy to get along with. I am not very good at friends, therefore I have none. Everyone resents me, even my family.
There are plenty like me, so you ask why it is me in particular that people loathe – I am Elena Amity. Don’t laugh; it is not my real name. Well, obviously Amity is, but my first name is one of my mother’s own creations. I was not blessed with the wretched name Elena. My real name is Blaze. Not peaceful. Of course not, because it was my father who christened me with it. My father was a Dauntless.
I do not wear the mustard yellow and bright red colors of Amity. Neither do I wear blue, or black, or grey or black and white. I wear my own colors. Because I am my own person. I do not believe in the term Faction before blood. Neither matter, as long as you know who you are.
I step into the burning white room and peer around. A woman, maybe in her early twenties, beckons me to take a seat. Her appearance surprises me – dark perfect hair, black skin and gold eye-shadow, with penetrating dark blue eyes. I don't speak until she does, because she is probably one of those wretched Amitys.
“Hi, I’m Oxygen,” she says with a dangerous flash in her eye. I immediately like her. Something about her makes her different to others. It is positive she is not an Amity. Her hair is too dark and vibrant, not the usual mousy color many bear. If someone was burdened with those unusual eyes they would not belong.“You must be Blaze.”
I stop abruptly. “How do you know my real name?” I had never been taken aback before.
She surprises me again by laughing. “I have your files here. Blaze Midnight Amity.” She studies me, and I feel uncomfortable. “Amity?”
Usual I refrain from telling people that, but Oxygen seems someone I can trust. Smiling wryly, I simply say. “Wish I could change it.”
Understanding, she nods. “Okay, now, come on, we’ll get on with your aptitude test.”
My palms are wet, by heart pounding. Questions are tripping over one another in my head, each one vying to be the one asked first. I don’t dare say any aloud.
I am standing in a street, when a woman walks up to me with accusation in her eyes.
“Is your name Elena Amity?” she demands, although she has no authority over my name.
“Yes.” I swallow in anticipation.
“Liar!” she screeches, and runs at me with a knife in her hands.
Reflexively my hand flies to her arm and yanks the knife out of her hand, punches her to the floor and throws the knife beside her. My chest is heaving and I am gaping at the lady knocked unconscious on the floor – my doing.
All of a sudden I am gone away from the dread and into oblivion. But that is not where I find myself. Instead I find myself in a deserted cafe with a stray muffin clasped in my hand. The blinds are ripped and the windows groggy and the cafe itself is scrappy and abandoned. Knowing that I am probably walking directly into danger, I step outside and run straight into a man who is obviously factionless.
“Help me!” he lisps. “Please, I need that cake!” His skin is healthy and I doubted he really was poor, seeing as there was a full cafe of food (even if it is stale) sitting right next to him. Therefore, I stuffed it into my mouth and let the flavor dance over my tongue. He stared daggers at me, but I don’t have time to anticipate his resent and agony because I am blacking out again.
It feels like an instant has passed when I wake. I waste no time.
“Well?” I prompt. Oxygen’s head snaps up, her unusual dark blue eyes alert.
She gets right to the point. “Erudite and Dauntless.”
My jaw drops. I am not Amity, I think, and cannot suppress the smile on my lips. Neither can Oxygen, because I can tell she knows I may find myself in one of these factions. I know it too.
But then I think: it doesn't matter what the test says. It’s my choice.
The Choosing Ceremony is whisked around through hazy hours of peace, although my heart cannot stop thumping. My brother Owen is sure to stay in Amity, which he is through and through. I do not have the heart to tell my mother about my test results – not that we’re allowed to.
We are led into the Ceremony, and my stomach keeps pulling at my flesh, begging to be fed. It gives me the peculiar sensation that I am going to puke.
My mother censures on my posture, probably wanting to come across perfect. I tolerate scolding, seeing as there is so little of it. I look forward to it in some events.
It’s my turn first, although why: I am unsure. My name is called and Al - a man from Amity who in my mind was the most selfish person alive and didn't belong there. It often gets me wondering how on Earth his aptitude test had given him that result - hands me a lethal knife. I shed my blood, ignoring the paralyzing pain, and imagine my blood swimming in the water, or sizzling on the alight coal.
I close my eyes and thrust my arm out between the bowl of water and the burning coals of Erudite and Dauntless. Then my arm angles to the left and my blood is sprinkling over the blazing coal of Dauntless.
I am not Amity.