Convergent (Part One)

Her: Chapter 16

I'm in the chair again.

No surprise there, really, but I'm getting tired of being treated like a lab rat. I'm not up for being probed with more needles and dizzy spells, because by this point, I'm already squeamish. I've driven myself to a snapping point. It's like I'm slamming myself against the insides of my head, trying to force the person I was out, but terrified to see who she really is. I try to squash the feeling that Mrs. Glas's words about me rang true, but every time that name drifts around my head, the guilt comes rushing back.

Will.

I wish I felt something else in that name. Friendship, familiarity. Anything. But there's nothing. The name is about as hallow as me and I hate myself for that. I also find my thoughts returning to the man in the lab, which I have no answers for. Was he there when I shot Will? Did he help? Did he try and stop me? Or did he just stand by and watch as I brutally gunned down a person I supposedly cared for?

That, of course, would be cowardice. But there is absolutely nothing there that I can associate to the stranger. He didn't look like a coward. Even putting that title in the same category as him sends a chill up my spine because it just feels wrong.

I rub my temples again, as if I can block out the noise of exploding gunfire.

Sometime later, the door opens and in is wheeled a wide, blank screen. Behind it stands Mrs. Glass, remote in hand. Two white-coated men push the screen until it stands in front of me. Then they leave with nothing more than a silent nod.

I try to hide my grimace at the prospect of being left in here with her, but then I make the discovery that I don't care. She can hate me. I want her to hate me. Because if she does, it gives me a reason to dislike her back and to debunk all her theories of me slaughtering people.

But if she notices it, she pays no attention. "Hello, Beatrice, how are you feeling today?"

"Peachy," I say, my lips curling. "What do you want?"

She waves her finger at me like a dog being scolded and turns the remote to the screen. "I thought it would be beneficial for you to catch up on some history. Recent history, I might add. I encourage you to watch closely."

She walks over to the wall and presses something and the room suddenly dims. The screen blinks on.

I want to ask her something but she raises a finger to her lips. I turn back to the screen. At first, there's nothing. But then pictures start flitting across, of men with guns and people kneeling on the ground, clothed in grey. I stare at the video, as men and women are knocked down; as families are torn apart; as kids are led away from their parents.

Then there's a distinct popping noise, rippling out, until they become more frequent. People begin to fall, others cry out. Grey merges with red.

"Turn it off," I say, my voice frail to my own ears. I try again. "Turn it off!"

But she doesn't. the picture just turns to another area and shows me the same thing on repeat until I have to squeeze my eyes shut to keep from looking.

"This town is broken, Beatrice," Glas says, her tone echoing through the gunshots that continue to play out before us. "You can help them. Help bring back what this city needs."

"And what is that?"

"Protection." She raises the remote and presses a pause button, which freezes on the image of a girl. It's grainy, but I can still make out the side view of her face in dark clothes, with her blonde hair tied behind her back. I squeeze my eyes harder.

"Here, you basically have a breakout of a minor civil war," Glas continues. "Do you have any idea how damaging it would be if it all broke out?"

I say nothing.

"You can help with this. You can help stop this massacre you took part in."

What I wouldn't give to throw these words back in her face. To have something to say that proves I wasn't this...this...killer. But there's no single part of me that doesn't believe I'm capable of doing something that cold. For all I know, I could still be the same person she's determined to see me as.

"This city needs guidelines, Beatrice. Only ones that we can provide. The leaders of the other Factions are...selfish. They don't have the courage to do what this city really needs done. And the only person who can help us with this, is you."

I bite back a scoff. "What could I possibly do for you?"

She smiles. "Help bring back the city to how it used to be. Better. Efficient. But without the inconvenience of other Heads. They only get in the way."

"So you want to take over the city?" I ask, trying to keep the edge out of my voice. I don't even understand why this bothers me.

Glas shakes her head. "Let's not make it sound so harsh. Why don't we try and focus on what you viewed instead." She presses play again. The screen unfreezes from my unfocused figure and moves on to herds of other people, broken and bleeding.

I keep my eyes on my hands.

"This needs to end, Beatrice. You are...strong in many unnatural ways, but here's your chance to help the lives you didn't hesitate to destroy."

Lie. Lie. Lie. Please, just let it all be a lie, I beg. My stomach heaves. I did not destroy anyone, I didn't. I didn't.

As if to fight me on it, the screen glimpses my figure again, weaving with the crowd, stoic and stiff.

I bite my cheek. "I can't do anything for you," I say. "I can't fight. Don't remember how to...shoot," the last word catches. "There's nothing I can offer for this."

"But that is where you are very wrong," she says, her tone full of conviction. "Combat is not required. Shooting is not required. All I need is your...endurance."

"For what?"

She smiles again and the look I detect is the same glint you'd see in a child's, after getting something she wants. "To take back the city."

After she knows she's already gotten it.

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