Convergent

Con-ver-gent, adjective: Coming closer together.
They say that something as simple as a flutter of a butterfly's wings can change the course of history. What if Tris never took over Caleb's mission? What if the mission failed? What if Caleb was the one to die? An alternative (extended) ending to Allegiant, obviously with some spoilers.

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9. Chapter 9

TRIS

My side throbs as I push myself against the wall, straightening my back against the searing pain radiating through my body. At some point in the last 24 hours, I know I've managed to rip my stitches: the bandage on my side is bright red with blood, and it's starting to seep through to my shirt. I hold no hope of help from Evelyn though, so I grit my teeth against the burning throbs and attempt to wait it out.

By the time the door swings open, the adrenaline rush of the past few days has completely worn off. The soldier doesn't mess around, merely grabbing my shoulders and pulling me to my feet, ignoring my grunts and shrieks of pain as he jostles my sore body. As we're walking, or in my case stumbling, I find the effort to turn around and look him in the eye. Zeke.

In his face I see the mischievous grin of Uriah, the love that the brothers once shared. Zeke's sheer denial of his familial bond stings more than the cool of his gun pressed against my shoulder, burns greater than the re-opened wound in my side.

We walk into the atrium, and I'm happy to see that Cara's body has been moved. To where, I don't know- but at least I don't have to look at her again. It sounds bitter as I think it, to want rid of my friend so dearly. Where is she now? Rotting in the streets with the others?

My stomach rolls as Zeke pushes me into a small office, containing just a desk and two chairs- and Marcus. I fight the urge to heave, focussing on the weight of the gun still tucked into my shirt. The cool circle of metal that forms the end of the gun is still pushed against my shoulders as I sway on my feet. Marcus steps around the desk with concern etched on his face, but I'm done with his falsities. "Please, sit down."

"No." I murmur through gritted teeth, now fairly sure that the stitches in my side are no more. The room spins around me like a carousel as I stumble to one edge of the room and lean against the wall, taking deep breathes and begging for a bearing. Just stop spinning. Let me get through this.

"Please, Beatrice. Tobias would not want you to hurt yourself like this."

"How would you know what Tobias wants?" My knees collide with the floor with a painful bang. How did I get down here?

Marcus' voice cracks when he next speaks. "He's my son." Wow, he's a good actor. I almost laugh at the sarcasm my conscience expresses. Bravo, Tris.

"You sicken me. He may be your son, but you're definitely not his father."

I let my head drop to my chest as I wait for his response, breathing deeply through my nose while I wait for this damn room to stop spinning. Marcus sighs and the door swings open. A cold hand presses to my shoulder and I shiver at the touch, the gun burning against my stomach as though to remind me of its presence.

The handle of the gun is soaked with blood when I withdraw it from my shirt, and the sticky red liquid coats my hands as I spin onto my back, pointing the gun up at Evelyn. She grins, raising her hands in mock surrender as I close my eyes and squeeze down on the trigger, my heart pounding in my ears while I wait for the blast.

But instead of jolting me backwards against the floor and sending Evelyn's body falling bloody and limp, the gun clicks in my hands. Empty. I click the trigger again, but Evelyn is upon me. My head hits the tile, and the brief relief from consciousness is a heavenly reprieve from the pain, but then in too little time my eyes are open, and the devil-woman stands astride my legs.

She steps over me, stalking towards the desk in heavy boots. Zeke bends down to get me to my feet, but before he does so he manages to kick me in the side. I can tell by the low chuckle that he meant to. The room continues to spin as they shove me into the stiff-backed wooden chair, Zeke holding me upright against the whirling room. "Please. Just stop." I sob now, tears trickling from the corner of my eye and trailing down my cheek. I just want it to stop.

"Grow up." Evelyn slaps me across the face and the gun falls from my sticky hand, clattering to the tiled floor. I unclench and clench my fist, then jump up and swipe for her bruised chin with my blood-stained hand. Instead of scratching her cheek, I find myself once more crouched on the floor, my head pressed against the cold tile.

"Take her back to her room; she's of no use to us. Perhaps her friend will prove better in giving us information. Perhaps the use of force is in order."

A sick feeling fills my stomach and rises in my throat, acid that I try and choke down. I gasp against the pain and dizziness, begging. "Please."

"Evelyn- just let her go." Marcus steps up to her and murmurs low words into her ear. I catch phrases like "Andrew Prior" and "little friends have been caught", and they steal away what little hope I'd managed to retain.

"Please." I whisper again, not really seeing the room anymore. The black and white tiles morph into the black granite floor of the pit, the desk mutating into the cold and slippery railings guarding the chasm. The sound and smell of the cold running water takes over my senses, and suddenly Peter and Al and Drew are dangling me over the edge. I scream, and hands grab my shoulders, shaking me back to reality.

It's Marcus, lifting me to my feet and guiding me from the room. I stumble back into the elevator, leaning against the shining black walls as we zoom upwards. "Why?"

"Because as much as I hate you for what you've done to my son, and however much of a little bitch you're being about the whole thing, you're Andrew's daughter. I owe him this one thing- you won't get a second chance again."

It doesn't fit together, but we've reached the third floor and my head is pounding too much to form any kind of coherent thought as he guides me back to my room and pushes me inside. He gives me a look as I fall to my knees and lie crumpled on the carpeted floor, then ducks back into the corridor. He's back in an instant, sliding a red plastic bucket into the corner of my room before he shuts the door.

I try and take deep, calming breathes as I stare across at the wall. My side is in two, the open wound oozing with blood beneath the already sodden bandages. Christina is just the other side of this pale expanse of brick, but there is no way I can be with her. Firstly, Marcus has probably already taken her down to Evelyn for questioning. Secondly, even if she could hear me screaming, she would not be able to help. My stomach growls with hunger as I struggle to roll onto my back, my chest heavy with sadness.

Where is Tobias in all of this? Have they already caught him? Is he dead or somewhere in these cells? Did the gangs in the streets track him down and shoot him dead, leaving him to rot in one of those streets with the others? I let out a groan as I finally flip myself over, straightening out against the ground. What if Tobias has done as they say, and is working for them now? What if they've got him with some memory serum, and he doesn't even remember who I am anymore?

No. I can't afford to think like this. He's alive, and he's out there somewhere. Sooner or later, he'll figure out where I am and come rescue me. I know he will.

TOBIAS

The black carpet prickles my forehead as I press myself into the floor, desperate to erase all images of Cara's cold, dead eyes from my memory. She's still alive. It's all a lie. She's alive, she has to be.

I hear Marcus' voice in the corridor outside my room, mumbling quietly to somebody out there. Another prisoner, a guard? Who knows?

Perhaps Evelyn is back for another go. Perhaps this is it, the end. Maybe they've decided that I'm of no use, that they don't need to keep me here after all and they're just going to slaughter me right here, right now.

There's a little voice in my head that's desperate for that release, clawing for the easy way out. But nothing in life is fair, and nothing I will ever face will be easy. The photos crinkle in my pocket as I breathe, and that simple quiet sound is the one that keeps me going. I have to see her again. Beatrice.

But what if she is already dead? My stomach groans and gurgles against the carpet, a pain starting low in my gut from the lack of food. I haven't eaten since the peaches at the Prior house, and the half-can of sickly-sweet fruit didn't keep me full for long. A scream escapes me as I bite down on the edge of my hooded sweatshirt, frustration and boredom clawing at the insides of my skull.

With shaking hands, I draw the crumpled photographs from my pocket and hold them in front of my face. The harsh light of the uncovered bulb overhead distorts the colours and changes the images, but the photographs are unmistakably her. She smiles up at me from the paper, and Caleb with his messy crop of dark hair does the same. Even the images of Andrew and Natalie warm my heart, images of a happy family reminding me that there is- or used to be- some good in this world.

The thought sends a chill through my body, and it settles in my stomach like a block of ice. The people from the Bureau are surely all dead by now, sent to their deaths by my command. Their blood is on my hands- not just the nameless men and women but Matthew and now Cara too.

My stomach heaves and I curl against the urge to vomit, for there is nothing to throw up. Instead I tuck the pictures back into my pockets, my hands shaking as I curl against the floor once more. It's all my fault. Please just let it stop. It's all my fault.

The door clicks open and something bounces across the carpet before the door is slammed shut again. I don't dare to look as I reach out with my hand, clawing on the carpet for whatever meagre gift has been bestowed upon me. Finally my fingers close around a small bread roll. It's crusty on the outside and dry in the middle, tough and stale like it's a few days old.

I bite into it regardless, forcing the dry lumps of bread down my sore and swollen throat. It takes until I'm halfway through the roll for my old Abnegation habits to kick in, and thoughts for the other prisoners take over my mind. Do they have food too? I haven't heard off them in a while- the screaming stopped a few hours ago and since then… nothing.

My knees click as I push myself upright, walking over to the door and pressing my hand tentatively against the handle. Please, I will it to open- and to my surprise it yields.

The corridor hits me with a blast of cool air and I take the two steps across tiled floor to the other door. I press against it, the handle icy under my touch- and this door too swings open at my command. Silly as it is, the first thought to spring to mind is how stupid someone must have been to just leave them open, but upon looking at the curled figure on the simple floor, I realise why.

She's curled in a ball, moaning in pain as beads of sweat drip down her forehead. A bread roll lies untouched next to her face, which is contorted in agony. Her arms clutch her side, her fingers and pale, perfect skin stained red with blood. My voice is a gasp when it escapes my lips, my lungs contracting in shock as I mutter her name. "Tris."

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