I hear my name and a shudder propels me forward. Halfway to the bowls, I am sure that I will choose Abnegation. I look at Caleb, who now stands behind the Erudite. He stares back at me and nods, a little, like he knows what I’m thinking, and agrees. My footsteps falter. If Caleb wasn't fit for Abnegation, how can I be? But what choice do I have, now that he left us and I’m the only one who remains? He left me no other option. I will be the child that stays; I have to do this for my parents. I have to.
Marcus offers me my knife. I look into his eyes and take it. He nods, and I turn toward the bowls. Dauntless fire and Abnegation stones are both on my left, one in front of my shoulder and one behind. I hold the knife in my right hand and touch the blade to my palm. I drag the blade down. It stings, but I barely notice. I hold both hands to my chest, and my next breath shudders on the way out. I open my eyes and thrust my arm out. My blood drips onto the carpet between the two bowls. Then, with a gasp I can’t contain, I shift my hand forward, and my blood trickles into the cracks of the rocks. I will learn to be selfless like I am strong.
+ + +
I look down, and wait as the rest of the names are called out and people select their future. More and more people follow my brother and choose to switch factions, most of which transfer to Dauntless, the faction I would've gone for instead of Abnegation. Do I regret my decision? I look up and glance into the crowd, catching my mother’s face, who looks in my direction and smiles at me. No, I don't regret the choice I made. I smile back at her. I am selfless now - I live to make others happy, and choosing Abnegation for my parents is a selfless act.
I lose myself in my thoughts, and before I know it the ceremony is over and the last girl has made her choice - Amity. My eyes meet the Dauntless queue, and they exit first with Erudite following on. Something about not changing in life or experiencing any further new or exciting events brings me down... but 'me' is not a word I should be too bothered about anymore. I need to consider the others surrounding my body, the people I'm affecting with what I do, how I live. It's time to change my ways. To stay here, I have to be the kind, generous person it says I am on my aptitude results, despite what I really am. I am part Abnegation, so I need to let that part of me shine.
Heads in front of me begin to suddenly bob up and down, as the queue moves forward. We step out of the hall, and into the corridor. Shockingly, I can hear the echoes of Dauntless' voices as we head up the stairs - somewhere only Abnegation should be going, but they sound like they're having fun. One thing that can be added to my list of negatives.
I watch as they run along, and out of the door to the first floor where the outside wind brushes along my body. It's cool and refreshing. Abnegation continue along the winding staircase and reach the second floor. At the front of the queue is a small and timid girl I recognize from school. Her hair is lanky and so blond, it's nearly white. There's a slight wave in the messed up texture that ends just beneath her chin, cut dead straight. We stop; she lifts her hand and knocks twice on the door ahead, soft and calmly.
A few seconds fly by before a young man, I predicted was a leader, swiftly opens the door. He opens his mouth to speak, ‘Hello, my name is George and I am one of the leaders of your new, or continued faction', he says,’ We are honoured that you chose Abnegation for the future waiting ahead of you, and we are sure you selected us for the right reasons', he spoke "right reasons" slowly, scanning his eyes around each and every one of us, trying to spot someone with a guilty look on their face. His speech felt like more of an interrogation than a welcome. He continued, ‘Although we will expect you to have selflessness in you, we understand that everybody has their flaws, so of course, you will too. But we strive to make you the best people you can be, so your flaws will be taken care of here. Any questions?' No one puts their hands up. He pauses and nods, ‘follow me'.
He turns around and travels forwards. We join him, stepping into a small, square shaped room with white stone flooring and grey brick walls. The corridor we follow through is the same plain style, but when we enter the next room I am dazzled. From the arched, one hundred foot tall walls, to the smooth, horizontal flooring, only pure crystal and marble is used to form the glistening view. The theme is continued with sculptures scattered around the room - people standing in crowds, a saint leaning down to great us, a fox acting gentle towards a hare, and two hands grabbing onto each other. The sign of Abnegation waits for us in the centre, going up half of the height. An iron ring supports to two clear hands, presumably made of glass, with a stand for the piece to rest on, made of simple stone. Delicate, capital letters decorate the stand spelling, ‘ABNEGATION' and beneath it, ‘THE SELFLESS'.
Once again I find my eyes trailing around the room, scanning all the beauty... taking in all of the shimmer. Who would've thought the selfless would create a room like this though? A room for only a few's pleasure.
'The first step', George calls out, despite how silent the room his. We all turn to look at him, falling out of our dazes, ‘is inner beauty. Were you expecting something like this? Or perhaps, you were waiting for something a little like the first room we walked into?' Each and every one of us half nod, acknowledging what he's saying like someone selfless would. After years of practicing, I find it easy and effortless to listen and not be distracted, but in the corner of my eye I spot a transfer from Candor finding difficulty to not question what he's saying. I guess staying quiet isn't quite so easy for some. ‘Judging a book by it's cover is so easy, you think that the outside represents exactly what's in... but that's not how it works.
'Having an attractive outside doesn't always mean an attractive inside. You're first step takes place in this room', he spreads his arms out to show us our surroundings; ‘I want you to talk to one another, become friends, learn some facts. Really listen - try not to get distracted. You can start now'.
It takes more than a few shuffling feet for everyone to begin moving around, and far more for everyone to begin talking, even though each person knows half of the people here. Embarrassingly, I'm one of the ones to make the first move, but then again, I'm probably the only one here with any Dauntless in them. I start by heading over to someone I don't know - an Amity. I feel pity as she wanders around clueless.
'Hi', I say, ‘my names Beatrice'. Her big eyes are open wide; obviously she didn't expect anyone to walk up to her. I find myself smiling to release the tension between the two of us, but it doesn't feel like enough. Hesitantly, her mouth opens to speak; she closes it.
'Are you okay?' comes out of my mouth not long after she closes hers.
'Yes...sorry.' Her breathing becomes unsteady, ‘I’m Chloe’; she pulls out her hand to shake mine as a swarm of leaders pour in. Suddenly one comes towards us. He has a spare upper lip and a full lower lip. His eyes are so deep-set that his eyelashes touch the skin under his eyebrows, and they are dark blue, a dreaming, sleeping, waiting colour. I reach forward to grab her hand when he stops me by grabbing my wrist.
'I’m sorry, but that's not how you greet each other here’, he let's me free, ‘instead, we bow our heads to each other, in a sign of respect', his eyes meet mine, ‘something you should know', I understood what he meant, and I knew he was right. Being an Abnegation before meant I knew no one shakes hands here, as it would imply that they were rude... but I was too embarrassed to correct her, ‘What are your names?' he asks, eyes still on mine.
'My name is Beatrice, and this is Chloe', once I speak her name, his eyes switch to hers making me relieved yet disappointed at once. Chloe seems weak and timid, with for once, a shorter height than me, chocolate brown eyes, the size of boulders and eyelashes at a long length. Her hair is smooth and straight, a fiery ginger colour completing her yellow and red clothing. It ends in a bob just below her shoulders, only turning in a little with a neatly cut side fringe, covering some of the light freckles sprinkled across her cheekbones.
Slowly he turns away from her, ‘My name is Tobias, I'm a volunteer to help you become selfless people. I'm sorry if I shocked you when I grabbed your hand, but at least you both learned something new... or at least Chloe did. I'll see you both later then', Tobias turns away and leaves our conversation, I wasn't shocked when he grabbed my hand, I was shocked when he said his name. Tobias is Marcus' son. The one that vowed to never see his father again.