Tobias: Chapter 27
My mind is sluggish, so much so, I have to continuously remind myself why I'm here. The fog hangs over my head like a black cloud but I force myself through it, knowing it's not coming from me, but from somewhere else. Something is going on and I can see it in the washed looks of everyone I spot, keeping busy for one moment before looking confused, as if they're trying to think but can't.
Perhaps it's sheer will that drives me on, but I'll take whatever makes me put one foot in front of the other. I barrel against the block in my mind, keeping all my focus on one thing. Just one thing.
I turn down another road, moving slowly due to the weight that hangs, compressed, against my skull.
But then, I pause.
For a second, I'm terrified that my body has given up before my mind has; that it has stopped listening and will fall to the will at whatever is doing this, but then I hear a noise, something I reacted to before I registered it. This sound has me trekking back towards the road, which feels like mud beneath my numb feet, and turning down a wedge between two buildings.
Because that's when I know that the noise is somebody screaming.
A haze drops over my vision as I search, feeling a tight pull almost as great as the one in my mind. I have to keep going. I have to. There's something there. Something...
That's when I see it, Or rather, that's when I see who is making the noise and I swear, it's like time stops, the earth pausing on its axle.
And I see her.
Memories flood back through me, one punch after another and the world feels like a dream that I don't dare wake from. But then I notice nothing is happening in the way it should; Tris doesn't see me and run to me. No, she lies on the ground, holding her head as if she thinks it will burst.
It's then that I realize she's screaming, "Stop!" and that's when I move, shoving the sensation of sand in my mind in some locked compartment as I go. It feels like minutes have passed by the time I reach her, disbelieving, terrified down to each bone that this isn't real.
But then I'm touching her. My fingers are on her hair, her arms, her waist, lifting her off her feet, murmuring her name over and over just to remind myself that this is actually happening. I don't think she sees me as her eyes trail far off into some place I can't follow, but I don't focus on that now. I'm just astounded I'm able to walk while carrying her, having never been more grateful for her size.
"It's okay, Tris," I say, and there's a broken sob in my voice. Never had I thought I'd be able to speak those words on this earth again and everything in me feels like it's breaking and mending all at the same time. Agonizing, like I'm coming alive again. I don't even pay mind to those around me, knowing that they'll have to pry my hands off with a cleaver if they want me to let go of her.
Then, miraculously, I'm somehow running. I trip, I stumble, I lose my footing and almost fall to my knees but I don't care. I don't care because nothing else matters, beyond the girl bound tightly against my chest.
I think I expected it to be harder. I thought houses would burst with guards and people clothed in black with guns would chase us, but they don't. The doors remained closed and it's then that I realize that maybe they can't enter.
I heave Tris a little higher as I go.
That's when I hear someone speak her name.
"Beatrice," it says and I think someone's behind us or in front and a surge of panic fills me but then I notice it's too quiet and no one is around. I lean my head closer to hers, stopping for a moment to catch my breath, and I know it's coming from her.
Then I see something small and circular protruding from her ear and I gently lift it out.
"Beatrice, what is your location?"
My vision goes white. My chest expands and contracts in rapid movements as I stare down at the piece. This. This is the person who took her; who hurt her; who took a life and maimed it to a mold that fit their own purpose. I breathe once, the ground shaking and this time, I know it's from me.
I lift the piece to my ear. "She doesn't belong to you anymore."
Then I I let it fall to the ground and crush it underfoot.