Her: Chapter 28
Someone is carrying me.
I'm aware of that-of skin against skin and the unsteady beat of a racing heart. I want to know who it is, but it's like I'm in another world, being carried in one as I watch another burn.
It's as if I'm watching the end of everything; every bad thing I've seen is hanging over me, begging to be remembered. But in the distance, someone's telling me I'll be okay, though I don't even know what that word means anymore.
I'm too busy trying to quiet the sound of gunfire going off in my head.
Maybe I've died. Maybe this is the punishment for all the things I've done; to watch through someone els's eyes on the deaths and the pain that I have been a part of.
But before I acknoweldge the fleeting thought, the images dissapear again and everything goes black.
The only thing I'm sure of-in my life and all it's held- is that I've accepted the terms of death. When you die, you die. There's no melodramatic hauntings; no corporial bodies you follow around numbly. There's no given option to come back because you agree you'll do things better the next time around. You just stop breathing and let your spirit go from there.
And I know I've seen death. I have this feeling I've met it a lot, but for some reason, it never seems to want me to stick around.
As my mind slowly starts to come back to itself, the dark waters receding and the images now a dull throb in the corner of my mind, I start to wonder if I've done something wrong that just pissed death off so much so that it would wait as long as possible before coming for me.
And I've figured death as a lot of things, but indecisive was never one of them.
I know it's chosen not to bother with me again when I become more aware of my surroundings; the soft cushion beneath me; the fluffed sensation under my head; the warm blanket covering me from my neck down.
And then the voices. Always the voices. Talking about me like I can't hear any of it.
"I honestly don't know what to tell you. Her mind is in a fragile state," a male voice says. "I mean, I know you don't like to hear this, but they did things to her, Four-damaging things. If you overwhelm her with everything too soon or too quickly, it can overwhelm her. Go home, get some-"
"I'm not leaving," a deeper voice objects. It sounds more like a snap; like breaking glass.
If she comes to and you throw everything at her, the effects will be your fault. That's something you can't blame me for."
"Do you honestly think me so reckless?" the second one replies, tone still dark;daring. "I'm not an idiot; if it will hurt her, I won't do it. You can count on that."
"Fine. I'll be in the lab."
I can tell it's the end of the conversation.
"Want some company? Or would you rather be left alone?"a third voice chimes in, but this one, I know, is feminine.
"That's all right. I'll call you when she wakes up, okay?" I
notice his use of when rather than of if.
There's a pressure on my hand. "See you soon, Tris."
I know she's talking about me, but the name sounds weird yet familiar. Both of something light and dark. I wonder who this Tris used to be; I wonder if she's still in here.
There's silence. Only for a few moments though, until I hear something pull up to the side of whatever I'm on and I hear the man sit down. I can tell he rubs his face by the tired noise he makes and the sound of rustling hair. Then he sighs and there's that pressure again, but this feeling is much different than the girl gave off. The way he holds my hand is tender; but not in such a way that he thinks I'm broken. More like he's in awe as I feel the delicate tracing of his fingers drift from each of my own and down into my palm, like he's memorizing me.
I think this should bother me. Or at least, make me feel uncomfortable. It doesn't, though. Maybe I'm just so out of it that I've decided I don't care. Or maybe, on some level, I like it.
As the man continues those maddening swirls on my wrist, something weird trickles down my back, like electricity spiking through bone. On reflex, my hands tense and mine grabs on to his as the other does to the sheet as the jolt passes.
But then the silence is back and everything in me is tingling and the man doesn't sound like he's breathing anymore.
"Tris?" the word is barely a whisper.
Instinctively, I open my eyes and almost wish I hadn't. For one, I don't know the person sitting next to me. Or rather, I do, because of those images, but I don't feel that instant facial recognition. I know it's him, because his face is etched somewhere in my brain, but the way he's looking at me makes me almost feel awful.
Awful because I know it hurts him. I don't even know how I know that, but I do, and I find myself staring into blue eyes, thinking of that small girl saying she loved him, while wishing I'd just acted asleep and stayed that way.
His face reads a thousand emotions and I don't even have time to disentangle them before he speaks that name again. "Tris." My-my name.
"Uh," he struggles, staring at me in disbelief. "You're in a technician's lab, located outside the factions," he's mumbling, voice shaky. "I found you in Erudite and...brought you...here."
For some odd reason, I didn't expect him to sound so unsure. A part of me already fixated him for being a bold man with a strong voice and a brave spirit. He must still be all those things and I remind myself that he probably knows certainties I don't, with the way he looks at me; just as this means more to him in ways that I don't understand.
I bite my lip, feeling a question well up inside and spill over the rim. "Who-who are you?"
His eyes seem to draw back at my question, losing a bit of that disbelief and it's replaced by a raw pain. He nods to himself, as if trying to accept something I don't see, and looks down suddenly. "I should-I'm going to get Caleb and tell him you're awake." He stands before giving me a small smile, walking down a hall and disappearing throught the door.
I know that it was the wrong thing to say.