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~I could feel it; the pressure building like a balloon inside my head. I heard name after name ring through the microphone from the stage in front of me. ‘Beatrice Prior,’ I didn’t even recognise the name as my own until I felt a light push from the Amity girl behind me. I hadn’t made my choice yet; they can’t force me into this. Somehow, I made it onto the stage. Marcus Eaton glared down at me with an unsaid warning in his eyes, his son had transferred from abnegation and it had been a huge embarrassment for him, seeing as he was an abnegation leader. I knew what Marcus wanted me to do, I knew what my parents wanted me to do, I knew what I should do, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The coldness of the knife woke me from my stupor, I needed to decide. Stones, earth, water, fire or glass. The blade scratched my palm, begging me to put it to use. I knew what bowls were in front of me, yet I couldn’t see them, my vision betrayed me. A sharp, slicing pain erupted from my arm and everything went dark.
Blaring whiteness forced my eyes open, at first I was comforted by the light, but an overpowering sense of fear quickly trumped that. I had no idea where I was, an unfamiliar beeping echoed throughout the small, plain room. A tingling sensation became apparent on my left wrist and as I tried to inspect it I realised my wrists were strapped to a hospital bed and at the source of the tingling, a white bandage was tightly wrapped around my arm. A growing, bright red line danced up the bandage right to my elbow. My memory failed to tell me where I acquired this injury but my mind was so blurred, I thought nothing of it. I was aware that I was drifting to sleep when the sharp clicking of heels stopped at my bedside. An elegant, blonde woman dressed all in blue quickly dominated my white haven. Jeanine Matthews.
Even in my dream state I recognised her. My father spoke of her often...my family, I hadn’t thought of them since I got here. Actually, I hadn’t thought of much since I got here. What have I done?
“Hello Beatrice,” her voice fills my head and I wince, “You made quite a scene at the Choosing Ceremony, didn’t you?” My mind fumbles over itself trying to recall what happened at the Choosing Ceremony, but nothing surfaces.
“I don’t know what you mean.” My voice miraculously sounds level and doesn’t waver in the slightest.
“Oh, Beatrice dear, I think you do,” she glides effortlessly to the left side of the bed and brings her dainty hand to my wrist, before I know it a searing pain rips through me, two of her fingers are pushed through the bandage and into my wrist, “Does this bring anything back?” I am vaguely aware that I am screaming but I’m concentrating so hard on remembering something, it doesn’t fully register. “You did this to yourself Beatrice, so you will live with the consequences.” As I try to unravel her words one thing stands out: I did this to myself. The memory slices through me like a knife, like the knife I used to open my wrist.
“We could heal this for you,” a short red haired man with glasses whispers in my ear, “But she didn’t want us to, ‘live with the consequences,’ that’s what she said.” I whimper as he removes the bandage to apply the fresh one. Of course they could heal it, erudite can do anything they set their minds to. My mind has been struggling all day, trying to work out where they’ll send me. Which faction will take in the girl who opened a vein at the Choosing Ceremony? Dauntless might think I ’m brave, or completely insane, but the other factions would never even consider it. Paul, my nurse helps me into my new clothes, abnegation grey underneath and an erudite blue coat on top. Paul gently leads me through the unfamiliar territory of the erudite hospital, I lose track of how many elevators and hallways I pass until we reach our destination.
Jeanine waits for me in a room made of blue glass. I’m amazed at the sheer number of things in the room, so unlike home. A large window occupies the wall in front of me and I’m disoriented by how high up we are.
“Beatrice,” she states as her welcome, “I trust you are feeling well enough to leave?” Although inside, I doubt that she really cares, I smile at her politely. “Well then arrangements have been made to ship you to the factionless sector.” My mind stops. Factionless? Surely what I did wasn’t that bad? Not once had I considered that they would leave me to a life without a faction. Without a home. Fortunately Jeanine doesn’t give me much time alone with my thoughts; I am quickly ushered outside and walked through the erudite compound. A familiar pair of green eyes find mine in a crowd that has formed. Caleb. Caleb, in erudite. He transferred and I didn’t even notice. He looks so at home in his thick-rimmed glasses and blue shirt. He quickly looks away and I know he’s ashamed. I betrayed my family.
For reasons unknown to me, I am blindfolded. I find this comforting on some level because knowing where you are going isn’t always a good thing. I travel with Paul and another erudite man for what seems like hours. Finally we stop and my blindfold is removed, Paul hands me a small first aid bag and looks at me with curiosity, laced with what I think is concern. I am guided out of the truck and told where to go. This is it, I am factionless.