Convergent (Part One)

Her: Chapter 32

"I'll start with a small dose. It should last perhaps a half hour at most, and I can't give you anything to dilute te affects if they become...overwhelming. Do you still want to do this?"

I look at Caleb, at my arm he holds in his hand and nod. I have to know. I can't undo the hurt I've caused, but I owe it to remember those I've hurt and why.

"Okay, this shouldn't hurt."

Those are the last words I hear. Put directly into my body the affects come faster and the world suddenly seems to press down before it disappears altogether.

I see three birds flying over my collar bone. Black, regal, sleek, lines in a row over flesh. I look down and realize it's me. I bear these birds on my own skin.

It shifts.

Now I'm running alongside a grassy knoll. Tracks follow next to me and on them, a train. My body knows what to do before my mind does and I jump, grasping the cool steel of the door and pulling myself inside.

"My parents died today."

I can barely recognize my own voice and then the image disintegrates, morphing into a black one. I see nothing. I can only hear.

"Who cares about everyone, what about me?" It's his voice this time, angry, and though I can't see him, I know it is him. I wish I could lift the veil that splits between the two of us, but I can't.

"You would move on and do what you had to do," I say.

"That is a lie."

I feel arms wrap around my waist."Promise me you won't go," he says.

And in an empty voice I don't believe, I whisper, "I promise."

"Are you nervous?" This is somebody else speaking. A woman. I face a mirror now, and she stands behind me, cutting my hair. It falls in blond tendrils to the floor and I want to ask who she is, but I already know.

It's my mom.

"They will mend each other."

Now I'm on the floor, one that used to be white, but is now covered in red. It's all I see an I can't take it in, like the sight is almost too sharp. Then again, maybe that's the pain. My hand is over my abdomen but before I can look closely enough to see what's beneath, a man sitting in a chair appears.

He holds a gun. And the two shots he fires from it explode in my ears.

I jolt up, gasping, my forehead slick with sweat. Tobias is sitting on the bed next me, eyes furrowed as he gauges my reaction. There's a shimmer of anger there and I'm momentarily taken aback by how easy it is to read his feelings by just looking at his face.

You have to really know someone to be able to do that.

"Did it work?" Caleb asks. He stands on the other side of me.

I nod because I can't speak yet.

"What did you see? Anything specific?"

I lick my lips and shake my head. "It wasn't really...clear." My voice breaks. "Just flashes. Some sentences. Gunshots." I speak the last word with hesitancy.

"And I saw her...I saw mom." The term only feels odd for a minute before it relaxes, as I put the face of the woman to the title. It feels real now; like two essential puzzle pieces back in their rightful place.

"And there was a man in a chair," I continue. "With-with a gun." My mind resurfaces the memory, frail and thin, like paper that's been copied too many times. But I can still see the scarlet seeping through.

Tobias's eyes grow dark, his fist clenching just slightly. It's then that I realize he knows the man. And he isn't particularly fond of him.

I'm not either; I'm not fond of many people pointing a gun at me.

"Who was he?"

In my peripheral vision, Caleb just shakes his head. "We'll discuss that later. What else? We need to lay as much as we can out."

I think back. "You were there," I say, still looking at Tobias. His eyes soften. "I was...promising not to go somewhere. I said that you'd...move on." I feel vulnerable saying this to him in front of Caleb, like he's intruding on something private.

Tobias's lips purse and the softness switches to pain that I suddenly want to take back. But then he masks it. "I'll remind you of the 'I told you so' later," he says, crossing his arms. "Was that all?"

"The man with gun...I think he shot me," I whisper, looking into Tobias's blue eyes. "Twice."

A very subtle flinch. It would have been impossible to notice, had not been watching him so closely. But there it is, his eyes like windows to his emotions that are only open to me."

"We don't have to worry about him anymore," he says, voice icy. "Anyway, we know Caleb's theory works. Now we-"

"I want to do it again," I say suddenly, looking between both of them.

Caleb shakes his head again. "I don't know if that would be a good idea," he says. "The dosage and all...I don't know what the limit is. Air born, it can't affect you as...directly. This way, there are risks."

But I don't care. I'm almost there. I can feel it. "Please," I say. "I need to do this."

"Four, would you tell her-"

"Tell her what, Caleb?" Tobias intercedes, to my surprise. He's looking at me, searching mny eyes the way I'm searching his. "Obviously I'm not thrilled with this whole plan, but it's her decision. Her questions, her answers."

Caleb mutters something that sounds like "reckless" and "unbelievable" but complies nonetheless. He reaches for my arm again.

"This time, all bets are off," he says and I shift my gaze to him. He gives me a hard look. "I have no idea what this will do or how long it will last. You're stepping into complete unknown territory here."

I nod and lie back down as he lowers the syringe to my arm. "No more than usual," I say, before I disappear once more.

The woman-my mother-is dead. Red pools on her grey jacket and I swallow back the sobs that are building, choking, breaking my chjest apart. "Mom," I cry. But I can't stay here. She knew that. I know that. I have to run.

I have to leave her.

I'm sorry, I think, before turning away and running down an alley.

I'm standing in front of a throng of people; black, blue, yellow, white, grey. I grip a knife in my hand and blood trickles down my other palm. I hold it over a bowl of coals.

It hisses as it strikes the heat.

In the next image, I'm lying on a table. I watch as woman stands over me, a cold look in her eyes. Then something sharp pierces my neck and the world drops away and I no longer feel anything.

I am no longer real.

A different memory: In this one, I'm being led down a hallway, a glass panel separating me from the next. And he's there. Tobias stands on the other side, pulling against someone.

"Her!" he yells. "I need to see her!"

I walk over and our hands meet, the glass panel standing like a barrier between us. "Tris," he says.

And then I leave him, too.

I'm in a lab, on another table, with that woman again, the one with cold eyes, and Caleb is this time, glimpsed just outside the door. I look at him, feeling confused, but then my attention turns to Tobias in the corner, wrestling against two guards. Again, something pricks my neck.

It makes me scream. What are you doing? I shout, looking at Tobias. I scream until I can't anymore, or until I've done so too long to register the noise as I watch Tobias die in front of me.

Another room. This one has steil walls, much like the ones I lived inside for months. White walls, shelves, and a man with a gun trailed on me. He's still in his chair, eyes monitoring imperceptible motion.

I move before I think, slamming my hand against something, just as a gunshot ricochets around the room.

I fall. Blood seeps through my clothes and I feel disconnected from what I think and what I'm looking at. Before I can make sense of the pain, I hear Tobias's voice:

"I'll see you soon."

"Faction before blood." Now it's Caleb's.

'"You are a threat to the system."

"Be brave."

And then the world erupts, in a colossal of fragmented words, just as the second gunshot sounds and everything shatters, before the silence consumes it.

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