What 'Fear' Really Is

Jasper Blackwing is a Dauntless initiate, an Erudite transfer. It is the final stage of initiation - the fear landscape. Jasper will have to face his innermost fears in order to pass. Will he be able to overcome his fear, or will his fears overcome him?

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1. Before - Anticipation

Calm.

That's all I felt right now.

Calm.

A contrast in every way to what I was about to encounter.

The chatter of the other initiates faded as I let myself sink into my mental zone of concentration. In my mind, I was alone, breathing deeply, psyching myself up for what I had to face. What we all would have to face. The anticipation was torture. I could not say it was worse than the actual event because I knew it wouldn't be.

I was not afraid of fear itself but rather how my fears would manifest themselves. The first simulations had given me a taste of things to come. They had been horrific enough, a sense of foreboding hanging over me. And now it was here.

Nobody wants to relive their worst fears; most dreaded nightmares; trembling in the wake of terrible memories.

But it was all part of the initiation. We had to go through with it to become Dauntless. My only consolation was I was not the only one facing this. I glanced to my left. Even Dan, the tough nut Candor transfer, looked pale. He had to wait until last, after me. The disadvantages of ranking top. Thank goodness all they would see were my reactions.

Nobody could see me at my weakest, most vulnerable.

"Jasper."

A harsh voice cut through the hazy reverie I had drifted into. As my bubble of calm rapidly deflated, all the blocked emotions I had not allowed myself to feel rushed into my body.

Trepidation.

Nervousness.

But overriding everything was...

Fear.

I got up as if in a trance, and walked slowly towards Matt, holding a sinister-looking syringe. He felt like a stranger to me, standing there, indifferent.

I don't shy away from the needle as I did the first time, just accepting the prick and the sympathetic smile Matt gives me as I turn and walk towards my living nightmare.

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