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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4. Next...

Time passes slowly when there is nothing but your thoughts to distract you. Thoughts that swirled round and round inside my mind, failing to make sense, an uphill struggle to hold on to reality. What I had experienced that afternoon had shaken me. An understatement.

It had uprooted whatever I thought I knew about myself, then jumbled it all back together in a mess of questions. And I couldn't forget that look Matt had given me. He had seemed...scared. Of what? Me? No. It was more complex than that. There was something he wasn't telling me.

For a while after awakening from my fear-scape, I had that crawling sensation in my gut, telling me something wasn't right. It had felt to sudden; my return to reality. A jerk rather than a gentle tug. I was grasping at straws, still hazy and disorientated. My mind refused to join the dots.

Wearily, I leant my head back against the cold brick wall of the deserted store room I had chosen as my refuge. Not long now until the banquet, and the rankings.  Matt had given me no indication of my timing, or how well I had done, except for his out-of-character nervousness. Inside the simulation, nothing can be trusted. It had felt like hours. My heart pounding. My breath coming in pants and wheezes. My palms clammy. I squeezed my eyes shut as memories tried to force their way through.

Instead, I focused on the rankings. The top ten initiates will become fully-fledged members of Dauntless. This year, we had started with only six transfers, and twelve Dauntless-born initiates. One boy didn't even make it to the train. He was the only Amity transfer.

Now factionless.

At the end of Stage One of our training, two transfers, and two Dauntless-borns were cut.

Now factionless.

Four will not make it through initiation.

They will become factionless.

I hope, I really fricking hope, it won't be me. But after what happened, I have no clue where I will be ranked. A horrible thought struck me. My friends. Including me, we made five. The odds that we would all make it through did not look good. James and Diane, easily. They were two of the best fighters. Katie wasn't as strong, though. She had a heart of gold, which was a dangerous disadvantage in Dauntless. She had talent; she just wouldn't - no, couldn't - use it. I was an average fighter. I could hold my own in hand-to-hand combat, but I my hand-eye coordination was my weak point.

No-one could predict the results.

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