I've always wondered what was outside the wall that surround our city. Were there more people? And if so, why weren't they here, where it was safe? Ever since the war ended, I feel like the only thing on this Earth is our city. There's no contact from outside the wall and nobody enters our city saying they are from outside the wall. When I was little, I used to dream of having adventures outside the wall, meeting nice people, seeing new things.
But as I got older, those thoughts quickly diminished and I focused on more important things, like my aptitude test that was coming up. This was a test you couldn't study for. You didn't know what the questions were, you didn't even know if there were questions. All you knew about this test was that it determined who you are and where you belonged.
For me, I didn't even know if I belonged in the city, let alone the factions. I just felt...lost and...confused on the faction system. What was the point of it? Why separate people by their personalities? It made no sense to me at all. I asked my mother about the faction system and why it was here. She told me it was developed after the war, but she didn't know why. I didn't care about how it was formed. I just wanted to know why.
When the time came for my aptitude test, I became very stressed. I had despised the faction system from the start. Now I would learn where I belonged in it.
In an attempt to calm down, I grabbed my guitar and strummed a few chords of one of my favorite songs. At one point in the song, I started to sing the lyrics that went with the song. Singing was one of the few things that helped me to relax, which wasn't strange for my faction. As I sang, I felt my body start to unwind and relax opposed to the tense feeling I had when I was stressed. I placed my guitar back at the foot of my twin bed.
My mother yelled from downstairs saying I had to leave if I wanted to take my test on time. As much as I dreaded taking the aptitude test, I knew I had to face it sooner or later. Reluctantly, I opened my bedroom door and walked out of my room.
I stopped at our hallway mirror to review my features. My long, curly brown hair ended in the middle of my back. My light blue eyes in the mirror stared back at me, the same look of indifference I had had for years plastered on my face. The small amount of muscle I had on my upper arms stood out against my thin figure.
Knowing that I couldn't stall for long, I walked away from the mirror and headed downstairs. My mother was waiting for me as she handed me my bag and kissed me on my cheek.
"You'll do fine, honey. I'll be right here when you get back," she cooed as she rubbed my arm. I weakly smiled at her. She gave me one last kiss on my head and I was off to the Hub to take my test.
I breathed deeply as I drew closer and closer to the entrance. Even though the faction system meant nothing to me, my result would determine who I was and where I belonged. If I didn't belong in Amity, where did I belong? I waited in line, the longer I stood there, the more anxious I became. To ease my nerves, I dug my nails into my palms. It was another one of my relaxation techniques. However, this technique left small white scars on my palms. Once again, I cooled down and my breathing evened out.
All of a sudden, I heard train tracks rumbling in the distance. I turned my head to the right to see a train carrying Dauntless approach the Hub. They threw themselves out of the train, ran to their designated doors, and formed a line.
The one faction I actually appealed to was Dauntless. They were very free willing. They did what they wanted, when they wanted to do it. It was as if the faction system wasn't holding them down.
These thoughts distracted me from entering the building, as it was my turn for my test. I took a deep breath and opened the testing room's door. I released it as I examined the room I had entered. There was an odd chair which slightly resembled a dentist's. A Dauntless woman sat next to the chair and was observing a clipboard. I sat in the chair and readied myself for what was ahead. I would take the aptitude test and I would know where I belonged in this horrible faction system.
"You okay?" the Dauntless woman asked. I nodded my head and took a deep breath. "Don't worry. It's not as bad as other people make it seem," she reassured. She handed me a vial which contained a blue liquid.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Just drink it," she replied, seemingly annoyed. I drank the blue liquid, which tasted very metallic as it traveled down my throat.
Almost instantly, a completely different atmosphere formed in the testing room, making me examine the room once more. The Dauntless woman had disappeared. I left the chair and realized I was surrounded by countless reflections of myself.
"Choose," one of my reflections said. I saw two platters, one containing a sharp knife, the other containing a block of cheese. My hands trembled as I grabbed the knife. The cheese disappeared as I heard a growl like that of an animal's. I slowly turned around, and saw a dog growling at me. The dog launched at me, and by pure human instinct, I stabbed the dog in the neck. Its breathing slowed significantly and its body turned limp. I breathed deeply as I allowed the knife to fall from my grip.
"No!" a little girl screamed. I looked up and saw...me...at ten years old. Then, I heard a familiar growl as the dog rose from the dead and ran at the younger version of myself. I instantly ran after her and the dog. I pounced on the dog and felt the floor under me give way.
I landed on the floor of a bus and sat up. I walked down the aisle and saw an old scarred man stop me in my tracks.
"Do you know this man?" he asked, pointing at the front page of the newspaper he was reading. I looked at the man on the newspaper; I thought I knew him, but I knew something bad would happen if I revealed the fact.
I shook my head and said, "No, I don't." He stood up and gripped my arm tightly.
"Tell me! Do you know this man?!" he feverishly asked, his voice rising in volume.
"I don't know him, really," I replied, my nervousness rising.
I woke up and gasped. I breathed deeply and wiped my forehead, which was infested with perspiration. The Dauntless woman was consulting a tiny monitor and smiled.
"What was my result?" I asked inbetween heavy breaths. She looked at me, a small smile forming on her lips.
"Welcome to Dauntless, Amity," she said happily.
Slowly, a smile formed on my lips as I repeated what she had said in my mind. Welcome to Dauntless. I knew now...I knew where I belonged. I could feel the adrenaline pumping through me already.
I thanked the Dauntless woman and exited the the testing room. As soon as I walked out of the Hub doors, I ran home with a huge smile appearing for the first time in a very long time.
My mom was surprised to see me running to the house. I hugged her tightly, the smile still on my face.
"I guess it went well," she said as she hugged me.
"It went great," I said against her shoulder. I finally knew where I belonged. I belonged in Dauntless.
The next day, I didn't dress in my usual attire, which consisted of a long red skirt and a yellow jacket covering a red shirt. Today, since I was choosing Dauntless, I wore red jeans with a yellow tanktop. On my feet were my favorite pair of yellow sandals.
This was the day. This was the day where I leave my family to go where I belonged. Dauntless. The faction of the brave. I was brave. It felt weird knowing I never knew I had that quality. It was like...I couldn't even describe it, it was so bizarre. As far as I knew, I had done nothing in my life to prove that I was brave or courageous in any way. So hearing from the Dauntless woman that I could join her faction was shocking.
I walked hand in hand to the Hub with my mother. I could tell that, inside, she was incredibly nervous, afraid to lose her only child. But on the outside, her smile was radiating pure happiness and her eyes were beaming. I felt sorry to leave my mom all alone in Amity, but people could help her and take care of her there.
We took the elevator up to where the Choosing Ceremony would be held. I looked around and saw all of the other teenagers my age, about to choose between their home faction or where they actually belonged.
I held my mother's hand tightly as we exited the elevator and walked into the room where the ceremony was being held. There were countless amounts of people there, which made me even more nervous. I breathed deeply as we took our seats and the ceremony begun.
Jeanine Matthews discussed the reason for the faction system and that it's a 'living thing'. I had to do everything in my power to resist rolling my eyes.
The time finally came for us to pick our factions. I waited as Marcus called the names, knowing each name that was called out was one less name separating me from my decision.
I took a deep breath and walked down to the front of the room. Marcus handed me a brand new knife, which I used to make a small incision on my hand. The blood seeped out of my palm while I gazed at the five bowls.
I knew what I wanted...right? Could I, my mother's only child, abandon her? I was very much tempted to turn my head and look at her reassuring eyes...to pick Amity...to be in my home forever...but I couldn't do it. I couldn't deny my true feelings.
I placed my cut hand over the bowl and watched as the blood from my hand fell onto the hot coals, making a faint sizzling sound.
"Dauntless." The Dauntless section roared with applause and cheering as Marcus announced the faction I had chosen. I made my way to the Dauntless and one of them offered me their seat. I sat and waited for the ceremony to be over. I did it...I chose Dauntless...I would be where I belonged.
I tried my best to avoid looking at my mother. I knew she would be staring at me, disappointment embedded in her eyes.
An Abnegation girl interrupted my thoughts as she sat next to me.
"Hi. I'm Beatrice. What's your name?" she whispered, a smile on her face.
I smiled back and said, "My name's Alyssa. Nice to meet you."
Beatrice and I left the room together with the other Dauntless. I avoided my mother's gaze as best as I could as we exited the room.
We ran out of the Hub with the other initiates, Beatrice behind me. I could feel the exact same adrenaline I felt after my aptitude test. We ran to the train track posts and saw them climb the posts to get to the platform. I climbed the metal post along with Beatrice and pulled her up to the platform. We both smiled as we waited for the train to arrive. This was actually...fun. I loved the rush running gave me and could only imagine it in more difficult situations.
My thoughts were cut short by the sound of the train rumbling on the tracks. I saw the other initiates run ahead of the train and followed them in hot pursuit. I heard the train as it rushed to my side, catching up to me and the others. I saw someone let out their hand for someone to grab and instantly held onto it as I launched myself inside. I held out my hand for Beatrice to take so she could get on the train. She grabbed it and I pulled her inside just as the platform ended. Beatrice sat next to me as we both catched our breath. I thanked the Candor girl that held out her hand for me.
She nodded and said, "I'm Christina." She held out her hand and I shook it with a smile.
"I'm Alyssa and this is Beatrice." I gestured to Beatrice and she waved.
"Is it just me or are they trying to kill us?" Christina asked, a faint smile on her face.
"I think they're trying to kill us," I said. We all laughed at my comment and ended up talking.
Our conversation was cut short as we were told to 'get ready'. Christina, Beatrice and I stood up and looked out the train, confused. Suddenly, one of the initiates jumped off the train onto the building in front of us.
"Guys, they're jumping," I said, gaining their attention. I stepped back as far as I could as I readied to jump. "On three, guys?" I asked and they stepped back with me. "One, two, three!" We all ran as fast as we could and jumped onto the roof. I landed on my feet, but I ended up falling and landing on my side. I looked for Beatrice and Christina and saw them also on their sides. We all laughed and helped each other up.
As I brushed myself off, I heard one voice boom above the others. I looked to see a young man standing on the edge of the building.
"Everyone listen up! I'm Eric, one of your leaders," he walked along the edge, apparently unafraid of falling. "Behind me is the entrance to the Dauntless compound. If you want to be Dauntless, you'll jump."
I inspected him carefully. He was well built, which helped show off some intimidation. He had two piercings above his left eyebrow and short blond hair. The one thing that scared me the most about him wasn't his muscles or his piercings. It was his eyes. Maliciousness and intimidation seemed forever embedded into those light grey eyes as he glared through the crowd. They sent a shiver down my spine.
"So, who's going to be the daring soul to jump first?" he asked, glaring through the crowd.
There was a long pregnant pause before Beatrice finally spoke. "I'll jump." She pushed her way through the crowd and Eric jumped off the edge onto the roof to stand to the side.
Beatrice took off her jacket, which made one Candor boy whistle and say, "Yeah, Stiff. Take it off." I watched as Beatrice stood on the side of the building. "Today, Stiff," Eric said, seemingly annoyed. Finally, Beatrice took a deep breath and threw herself off the building.
"Who's next?" Eric asked, searching the crowd.
His eyes landed on me, which is when I spoke up. "Me." The crowd parted as I made my way to the edge of the building.
"First the stiff, now the banjo strummin' softie," the same Candor boy said. I ignored his idiocy and stood on the edge of the building. I instantly jumped and gasped as I felt the drop. I finally landed on the net, which launched me back in the air a couple metres. I lay still on the net, feeling the rush. I was brave. I was Dauntless.