2. The Choice
Today is the choosing ceremony. We're whisked into The Hub - the huge centrepiece building of the city. We are then lead into a large circular room, filled with teenagers and family members sitting on the plain wooden chairs. I see the usual mix of emotions; nerves, excitement, fear, arrogance, happiness. My eyes move to the centre stage, where the five faction bowls are placed. As we take our seats in the grey-clothed Abnegation section, nerves take over and my gaze connects with an imaginary spot on the opposite wall.
Suddenly, silence. Somebody's talking, although I can't work out whom, my mind still unable to snap out of its daze.
"Caleb Prior." The announcement of my brother's name is what finally breaks through my trance. I look to him, panic setting in. He won't leave me surely? Please, Caleb, don't go. He squeezes my hand gently and smiles before standing and making his way down to the bowls. He's gunna stay with our parents in Abnegation. He is Abnegation. Everything about him is Abnegation. He's-
"Dauntless!" The strong voice announces. No! Caleb! He's not... He's not Dauntless! I want to stand and shout for him to come back, to give me one last hug. But shock pins me to my seat. My mother sobs beside me. The loss of a child. Not just a child, the child you expected you would never lose. Caleb was that child.
"Beatrice Prior." Oh no. That's me. Right now, they expect me to stand up, put on a brave face and carry on like I haven't just lost my brother. And somehow, I do.
Everything falls away as I make my way down the steps and up to the stage. I know that every eye in the room must be on me, but I can't feel or see them. My senses are numb. This is my entire life I'm about to choose.
I stand in front of the bowls and gaze over my options. Abnegation - where I have spent my life so far, and where my parents are. Dauntless - where my brother is. Or Erudite. If none of my family is in Erudite, why is the idea of choosing it so appealing? And in that moment - in the second before my blood falls into the clear water - I know. Erudite is appealing because Erudite is me. Intelligence is where I belong.
"Erudite!" The announcement encourages the tension in my body to fall away; tension that I didn't even know was there.
But then I hear it. My mother's emotive protest at loosing another child. What have I done? I've left my parents childless.
I walk slowly down to the Erudite seating and fall to sit on a free chair. People reach out to shake my hand, but I don't feel anything. I am numb. And yet, I am free.