Amity, Candor, Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation. I hovered my hand over the bowls with the tiny droplet of blood getting closer and closer to falling down into one of them, deciding my future for me. No wonder. It was at least the fourth time that I ran through my possibilities. I really have to hurry up. So I started again. Could I be Amity? No, I couldn't. Came the answer instantly. I couldn't smile at everybody all the time, even when I feel sad or pissed off to no end. Furthermore, no way I could occupy myself with harvesting or picking fruits from the trees for the rest of my life. Apart from that, the aptitude test didn't bring it up either. Then Candor? No, that's not an option for me. I already have secrets that cannot be discovered, not by any means, and they would know I have something to hide. Everybody knows the Candor are exquisite judges of character and I have no doubts that they would pull it out of me eventually. I moved my hand on above the next bowl and the drop of blood slipped even lower, now barely separated by a hair-thin stretched out trickle from splotching down. Think faster! I ordered myself. What's next? I glanced down at the big plaque and an even more enormous eye stared back at me. Erudite. They had been humiliating Abnegation for months and spreading false news in order to take over the governing. I hate them. Came the realization. I hate them and I would never betray my faction like this. Like my brother did. My faction. Whispered a tenuous voice in my head. I closed my eyes as the drop of blood left my hand and arrived at the bottom of the bowl with a quiet splash, which sounded like heavy rain pelting the window in the strained silence. My faction, my faction, my faction. I kept repeating without really uttering the words as I opened my eyes and gazed down at they bowl, where my blood mixed with hundreds of others. "My faction." I said it loudly this time, as if I wanted to convince myself. But Marcus, the conductor of the Choosing Ceremony, took it as a cue.
"Beatrice Prior, Abnegation" he crackled to the mike solemnly and as I didn't move he gave me a starting push toward my faction. My new faction. My old faction. My faction. Where my home is. Where my parents are.
I was sitting numbly between my morosely glowering father and visibly sad, nonetheless not at all angry mum for the rest of the ceremony. Although most of the initiates were sitting in the front rows where they had to I, as a child of one of the Council members, had certain privileges to even the others who were born to Abnegation.
While my peers who has left to choose made their decisions, I was caught up in musing on Caleb's decision and how I had never noticed his intentions to become an Erudite, because I was sure he'd been planning on transferring for months if not years, and on whether my choice was right. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't even notice when the last kid walked off from the stage to mingle in with the other Amity initiates and the throng of now initiates and their families started to surge outside.
"Let's go, honey" mum tried to shout over the clamor, the mix of excited and scared yells.
It took five minutes until we finally managed to hustle down from the middle section of the rows of chairs, reach the too narrow door and file out. All along mum and dad both held one of my hands, the hands of the only child who had left for them.
We took the stairs to let others use the elevators just like on our way here and the Dauntless did the same, albeit for a different reason, just like before the ceremony. They were way faster than us as they were running, or at least most of them were. A few, most likely the transfers, were legging behind in lost of their breath, trying to keep up, but often tripping in the extreme speed, however, even as it is the last one of them disappeared quickly in the next bend of the staircase.
By the time we got out of the building the sun was going down and the air was getting cool. We were fairly in autumn now and although it was pretty warm during the day yet, the weather dropped quite a few degrees as soon as we approached the evening and the daylight didn't heat the air up anymore.
I blinked a few times to readjust my eyes to the light again after the murky staircase and I turned to follow my parents who had already started down the street toward our house, when I caught a glimpse of something black and shiny shrinking to the distance. It must be the Dauntless train that takes them to their Headquarters. They must have jumped on it. I always wanted to try it out. I felt a sour taste rising from my stomach to my mouth as the train of thoughts continued in my head no matter how much I tried to stop it. There my freedom, a more exciting future goes. I shook my head as if trying to shake the hurting thought out of it and ran to catch up with my parents.
When we got home I went straight to my room just like mum and father. In other factions they might celebrate, but for us any kind of celebration was forbidden. It was considered as a self-indulgent act and so the Abnegation disapproved it. I didn't feel like celebrating anyways. I felt numb and exhausted and my limbs were as though they had been made of lead. Probably because I wasn't trained to climb so many stairs, twice and even walking home afterwards, yet I had the distinct feeling that it had nothing to do with physical means. Still, I welcomed the warmth coziness of my bed as I climbed in and curled up into myself, drawing a sheltering cocoon around my body like it could have closed out all the empty feeling of loss and regret.