Tobias: Chapter 13
"What on earth was that?" Christina snaps, crossing the belt over her waist and jamming it into the lock.
I purse my lips, feeling numb. Dazed, the image of the girl still swimming around my head. Was it Tris? Each second I seem to grow more unsure, but then I think of those eyes and everything in me just knows.
"You just...you just stood there, Tobias," Chris says. "Was it the room? Was it too much like..."
Like the room Tris died in?
I shake my head, meeting Caleb's eyes in the review mirror. I glance back at Christina, running my fingers through my hair. "I saw her."
Her eyes soften, her anger lessens, and I know how it sounds, but for some reason, it makes me mad.
"Look," she says. "I know it was hard. To be honest, I felt that, too. I couldn't get it out of my head-"
"No," I interrupt. "I saw her. She was there. She was actually there."
I said it. Now it's official. I saw Tris.
Both Matthew and Caleb let out audible breaths. My chest constricts, knowing how crazy I sound, but also knowing that they have to believe me. As impossible as it seems, she's back there, alive. Not dead.
"I think you imagined it, Four," Caleb says quietly. I shake my head, my hands fisting tightly as we ride past the city limits. "I'm telling you, she was there. This man had her tied to a chair and then he took her out the back door, the one you had no code for."
"Four, I think you didn't-"
"Why didn't you give me the code for that door?" I suddenly roar, the realization that I was just there, feet away from her, hitting me like a punch to the stomach. "She was right there. We need to go back," I say, my voice desperate, pleading. "We need to think of a way to get her out of there. They were doing things to her."
"Four," Caleb repeats, his tone hard. "Tris is gone. The room might have released a serum after the alarms went off. Something that made you confused."
"No!" I shout. "I wasn't seeing things. There was no stimulation."
"Christina," Cara pipes up, casting me a pitying glance that only spikes my anger. "Did you see anything?"
Christina sighs and shakes her head. "No, I'm sorry."
I grind my teeth. "That's because she was already taken when you came in."
"Tris is gone, Four," Matthew says, almost reluctantly. He stares out the window. "She died and she isn't coming back. It's not possible."
I curse out right. My body is shaking, shuddering and I'm trying to stay calm, but I'm boiling. Turning into fire. "I know what I saw."
"Do you really?" Caleb challenges, raising his eyebrows. "I mean, do you even hear yourself? You walked straight into a lab that held serum composites and you're telling me you saw Tris? Four, you saw her afterwards. You know what happened. You saw her-" his voice falters and through clenched teeth, he whispers. "You saw her body."
The word makes me stiffen and I repel it.
I can't believe that. Not again. I can't lose her not after I just found her. It was too real. No serum, no simulation. There was nothing that could have made it that clear. "I know, but that doesn't change this. You have to know that she. Was. There."
Caleb stops the car. He hits the break and it screeches to a halt and he turns to face me. His eyes are gentle and the look in them makes me sick. "So you're saying a man took her into another room."
"Yes," I snap.
"Did she fight?"
I stop, remembering. She paused, like she was missing something, but she didn't go at it like Tris would have. Not like my Tris would have. I hesitate. "No," I say, finally say. "she didn't-Like, I said, I think they did things to her."
Caleb turns back and gasses the vehicle again, lurching us forward. "That doesn't sound like Beatrice. We both know she would have fought, regardless of what they'd done." The finality in his tone claws at me from the inside and I turn to Christina, urging her to believe me. But I know she doesn't. If I were her, I probably wouldn't believe me either. Her eyes meet mine.
She shakes her head, just the tiniest bit, and it's that small action that is enough to plant the tiniest seed of doubt in my mind.
I don't say anything more on the way back and when we reach the warehouse after discarding the guard gear in a hidden field, I jump out of the cargo van and begin walking. I can feel their eyes on me as I leave, but it's as if I can't look at them because I know what I'll see.
Pity. Sympathy. Sorrow. More pity.
It makes me feel weak, like they expect me to break, but I won't. I haven't yet.
I jump another train, leaning against the side of it, cool metal splayed against my back. Seeing her in that sterile room surfaced all these memories, like a flood gate bursting open, many including trains much like this one. Maybe it's one she rode on. Maybe I'm standing in the same place she once did.
I rub my eyes, trying to clear my thoughts. My blood is still roaring in my ears and some morale part of me is wondering if there will be men clothed in black, standing at my door. Waiting.
But when I leap back onto to the road that eventually ropes back towards my complex, there's no one there. Though the night is silent, I still hear gunfire raining behind me and the sound of shattering glass.
Back in my home, I lie down on the bed, knowing I can't sleep, but wanting to find relief somewhere. I want to tear out those memories or put them in a box I can save to look at later when it isn't so hard, but I can't. Memories are what we carry. Our dreams and our burdens. Our gains and our losses. And no matter how many times I wish they were gone, I know I'd lose myself too if they were.
Shadows. All I see are shadows, pouring over white, bursting through the doors and coming towards me. I pull out a gun, aim, and fire. Over and over again. But no sound comes from the barrel. No bullet holes line the blinding walls.
I'm about to shoot again when one of the shadows suddenly turns white, morphing into a man in a coat.
Next to him sits a girl, her hands bound, her eyes blank.
"Tris," I say, trying to lower my weapon, but it's as if my arm has solidified, held there by some hidden force. "Tris!" I scream, but she doesn't look at me. She's looking at the doctor, watching as he unties her.
I try to call out again, but abruptly, everything blurs. Fire crawls up the walls, shelves of vials are pushed over, smashing and smearing glass tubes, dribbling liquid. I hear guns fire behind, in front of, all around me, but nothing hits. Panic rises in my throat and I look back to Tris, expecting the man to be leading her through a door, but instead, she lies on a metal slab, her eyes now closed.
The doctor is gone. The shadows disappear. The white walls turn clammy as I stand alone, staring at the girl who was alive only moments before.
"You saw her body," Caleb's voice appears in the distance, echoing, like he's at the end of a tunnel. "She would have fought."
Then Matthew: "She died and she isn't coming back."
Tris is gone.
She isn't coming back.
You saw her body.
The words spin around me and I hold up my hands like I can protect myself against the reality of them. From them meaning something to me. But the words only get louder and my fear piques and the last thing I hear is my voice bouncing off walls that aren't really there, catching my own eyes in the reflection of a now empty embalming table.