3: First Day
I couldn't sleep. Between the excitement of the first day of training and the wailing of some initiate, it was practically impossible. I decide to get up before anyone else. I don't know what the time is, but I bet it is in the middle of the night. Could it hurt with a watch somewhere in this room?
My hair is quite greasy so I head to the showers. I was about to strip off my clothes when I heard a voice.
"Couldn't sleep either, huh?" I was startled and I turned around. There stood Al, looking pretty awkward. He must realize what I was supposed to do.
"Sorry," he says in a quiet and humble voice.
"It's okay," I answer him. "I am just a light sleeper. Couldn't really fall asleep."
"Again, sorry." Now I am confused. Why apologize? Then I realize that he is the one who has been crying. I was kind of blaming him for my lack of sleep. How could I be so stupid?!
"It's not your fault" I tell him quickly. While looking at him I can't help but wonder how he managed to get Dauntless as a test result. Sure, he is big, stronger than most initiates but he doesn't seem like someone who likes fighting. I know that in order to get Dauntless as a result, he would have to pick the knife and kill the dog. I just can't imagine him doing that. He is just too nice.
"What time is it?" I ask him. Maybe he knows.
"Don't know. I think it is around five or six." He responds. My hair is still pretty dirty and I really want to shower.
"No offense, but could you go away? I need to shower." I ask him pretty awkwardly. Al nods as a response. He was about to walk away when he started to hesitate.
"If it helps, I could hold up a towel around you?" He said it more like a question than a statement. "Be-because someone else could wake up and see you," He explains quickly. He is pretty adorable. Did I just think that?
"No, you don't need to. I'll be fine." I don't want to bother him. I bet he barely got any sleep too. In order to train you need to rest. I shouldn't really think that considering I've haven't gotten any sleep either. Al stalks away to his bed. I start my shower once I have no clothes on my body. When the shower is over, all I hear is silence. Either Al managed to fall asleep or he is still awake waiting for me. I hope it is the former. I am usually not that good at small talk. I dry my hair as much as I can and put on some clothes. In the sleeping quarters, everyone is asleep. Even Al. There is no point in trying to fall asleep again. I decide to explore a bit of Dauntless. I've read a bit about it before but never experienced it in person. I can't deny that I wanted to escape Erudite on visiting day only to check out the other factions up close. I actually did it once. When I was 13, I escaped Erudite on visiting day and went to Abnegation. I just wanted to sustain my Erudite curiosity and see the faction Erudite despises myself. It was nothing like Erudite had described it. I didn't see any hidden stashes of food or luxurious things anywhere. The only thing I saw was plain buildings, all alike, and people with baggy, grey clothes helping anyone who crosses their path. We do need them in our society, otherwise this town would be covered with people who only cares about themselves. I might be one of those people but helping others is something everyone needs to do.
I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't look at where I was going. I accidentally bumped into someone. From just one touch I could tell it was someone who has been training a lot a couple of years or so. But it wasn't the body that scared me the most. It was the face. It was Four. I just bumped into my trainer. I can see from his face that he isn't that pleased to see me.
"What are you doing out of bed, initiate?" He asks me with a stern voice. I have no idea what to say. Should I say that I just wanted to explore? Or wasn't I supposed to do that? I've suddenly lost my voice because I don't know what to answer him. I should answer him. Prove to him I am not an annoying little Nose anymore.
"I- I couldn't fall asleep," I answer him. The stutter came out involuntarily. Perfect. I must look like a little-scared girl to him. I do not want to be known like that.
"Well, I was on my way to wake you guys either way." Four tells me. Seriously? I thought it was in the middle of the night. Maybe I did get some sleep after all. "Good thing you wake early. Just don't let me see you out here before I wake you again." He warns me.
"Yes, sir." I only wanted to say 'Yes' but that seemed to simple. Trainers here probably wants some authority over us so they make us call them 'sir'.
"We meet at the pit in two minutes. Be there." He says before walking to the initiate sleeping quarters. I look at him walking away before making my way to the pit.
The pit isn't as crowded as yesterday. From the window I can see that the sun has risen, but only barely. Those Dauntless members who are here are either training or they are hanging with another. On the right I can see the scary Dauntless leader: Eric. The one who was on the roof with us yesterday. The one who looked at me weirdly, like he knew me. My Erudite senses come to life and I now want to find out why. Still, I won't walk up to him and ask him 'Hey! You looked at me weirdly yesterday. Care to tell me why?'. I am no Candor. I know that by doing so I just dug my own grave. He doesn't look like someone you should mess with. I decide to just wait by the entry to the pit for my friends. Like I was going to spend a second alone with someone like Eric.
Two minutes went by pretty slowly, mostly because I had nothing to do. Tris, Al, Will, and Christina showed up together with all the other transfer initiates. They all seem surprised, except Al, that I am here early.
"Where were you? Your bed was empty," asks Christina. I don't feel like telling her the entire story so I just sum it all up.
"Couldn't sleep." My response was. She seems to buy it, needing no further explanations. Tris and Will seem to accept it as well. They started to walk away when someone grabbed my arm. I turn around to see who it was and there stood another initiate with orange hair and a strong build.
"You're that Erudite leader's daughter, aren't you?" He asks me. His hand is still holding my arm. I think I've seen this guy with Peter and his other companion Molly. I know not to trust him so I don't answer him and try to squirm my arm from his grip, but he is too strong. "I asked you a question, bitch!" He is now yelling. I fear that someone will hear us.
"Drew!" Someone calls. It was Peter. "What are you doing to the Nose? We got enough time for that later on." He says. Drew lets go of my arm and walks to the Pit. Before Peter did the same, he winked at me. Gross!
Four and Eric is waiting for us where I saw Eric sit before. How did Four manage to get here without me noticing?
"There are two stages of training." Four starts. "The first is physical, push your bodies to the breaking point and master the methods of combat." If there is one thing that I am not prepared for it's fighting. I guess we have to do that everyday here. "The second is mental, again breaking point. You'll face your worst fears and conquer them unless they get you first." How are we supposed to do that? Am I going to tell them my fears and then put me into the environment with that fear? I don't care what their reason is, but I'd rather not be burnt to a crisp by fire. "You'll be trained separately from the Dauntless born, but you'll be ranked together. After initiations rankings will determine what jobs you move into. Leadership, guarding the fence, or keeping the factionless from killing each other." I don't care what job I get, although guarding the fence seems like the most boring job ever.
"Rankings will also determine who gets cut." Eric exclaims. Cut? Like, cut from Dauntless cut?
"Cut?" Christina asks on the right side of me. Always the Smartmouth. Eric didn't seem to like that because now he is making his way toward Christina. Four did the same yesterday, but I believe that Eric is more ruthless than Four.
"At the end of each stage of training, the lowest ranking initiates will be leaving us," He tells us like it is nothing. So it is cut from Dauntless cut. Great. Just great. Eric didn't walk all the way to Christina and stops in front of the entire group. It's more like he is standing in front of me, without looking at me.
"To do what?" Al asks. That was a pretty stupid question, like the one he asked on the train yesterday. I couldn't help but roll my eyes.
"There's no going home to your families, so you'd live factionless," Eric explains. Just like I originally thought.
"Why didn't we know that?" Will questions Eric.
"It's a new rule." Eric asserts. It seems pretty unfair that we knew about it only after we chose Dauntless.
"A new rule? Somebody should have told us that." Christina complains until Eric interrupts her.
"Why? Would you have chosen differently? Or out of fear? Well if that's the case, you might as well get out now." Even though I might not like him, he is right. I wouldn't have chosen another faction. The freedom of Dauntless would have seemed more appealing than the fear of living factionless. "If you're really one of us it won't matter to you that you might fail. You chose us, now we get to choose you." He still doesn't look at me, but with him just standing there makes me a bit scared. Probably why he became a leader. His motto is most likely 'Better to be feared than respected' because that is basically what he wants us to act.
We move on to where we are supposed to be training. It was probably a warehouse before the faction system was created. It's huge with square pillars lining up, separating the different parts of the room. Between some of the pillars are orange punching bags hanging from the ceiling and hooked to the ground. The Dauntless born are already here training with their trainer: Lauren. While us transfers need to watch Four showing us fighting techniques, the Dauntless born train on their own. They've trained their entire life so they don't need to learn the basics. But, then again, the moves Four shows us is nothing like beginner training. He goes immediately to advanced. I wonder if we are supposed to do that too. I study his every move, remembering his stance and where he hits. I've never been one for fighting but I would have to learn it now that I am in Dauntless.
Our first proper training is on the roof where we get our own guns. Four hands us each a rifle and lines up orange dummies a couple of feet away from us. Everyone, including me, starts shooting. My aim isn't the best but I am able to hit the dummies. I am doing pretty well even though it is my first day. I can't say the same for Tris, though. She is on the left side of me and she hasn't hit her dummy once. I feel kind of bad for her. I would give her some tips but I have no idea what to say. Will seems to notice this as well.
"Statistically speaking, you should have hit the target at least once by now, even by accident." Will claims. Tris doesn't seem so happy after that.
"Will, shut up and go back to your own dummy," I tell him. He shrugs his shoulder and goes back to shooting. Tris turns to me with a smile and then tries to shoot the dummy again, but fails.
After lunch there is even more training. We are going to be jogging as a warm up and then we will go back to the training room to practice fighting. Four leads us outside the Dauntless compound and we follow him. While strength isn't my best ability, I do love running. I feel so free feeling the air in my face and letting my feet move quickly. Christina doesn't seem to love it as much as I do. She seems short of breath only after ten minutes. Now I know what she needs to work on. Tris, however, seems to enjoy it.
Once we've jogged for, about, 30 minutes, we are running underneath the railroad. I see a few Dauntless guards ahead of us. Four jogs over to them and stops to talk. We all decide to rest now that Four has stopped.
"Hey. What have you got?" he asks the guard.
"Factionless. Not doing anything." I look past his shoulder to see the factionless striving to survive. I wouldn't really call that not doing anything. They are doing the best they can.
"Check it out, Stiff. That's gonna be your new family." Peter informed Tris. Tris looks over there as well. I want to cut in but I can't. I've already stood up for Tris today. She needs to learn to fight her own battles. "Go say hi." He continued. I seriously hate that guy. Him and Drew. Speaking of, I see Drew behind Peter looking at me. Once he sees me looking at me, he winks. Disgusting! Does he actually believe he will get me to like him? In his dreams!
Back in the training room, we've been paired up and train basic block maneuvers. I've been paired together with Myra, another one from Erudite. She is small with no muscles. She won't last long in Dauntless. We train in a small square with fluorescent lights forming a square above us. There are two pairs in every square. Together with me and Myra are Edward, Myra's boyfriend, and Lucas, a guy from Candor. We've done the same routine the past hour now. I am getting bored and I can see that Myra is bored as well.
"First jumper!" Eric calls out. I didn't even notice him coming in. Everyone stops fighting and Tris, who was the first jumper, listens to what he has to say. "In the ring." Tris walks over to the lit up square a few inches from the ground in the middle of the room. "Last jumper. Time to fight." Eric informs us. Everyone gathers around the the place where they will be fighting. Molly, the big girl from Candor who is Peter's friend, walks over to the square as well. Tris have to fight her? Molly is basically twice Tris's size. I guess it doesn't matter here in Dauntless.
"How long do we fight for?" Molly asks with boredom. She must have expected her first fight to be a challenge for her. I guess it is a challenge for Tris because she is the first jumper. She needs to prove herself to Eric and Four.
"Until one of you can't continue," Eric explains to us.
"Or one of you concedes." Four adds.
"According to the old rules. The new rules: no one concedes." Eric seems excited to watch this fight. Four and Eric talks in low voices to each other. After Four said something to him, Eric doesn't seem too happy.
"You'll be scored on this, so fight hard." He tells Tris and Molly. Molly stands in position, ready to fight. "Go!" Eric tells them, getting impatient. I wonder what he was like during his first fight. Tris gets into position as well and Molly advances towards her, but Tris backs away. She steps out of the ring and someone chuckles at her cowardice. Molly seems disappointed, but lets her walk into the ring again. Tris looks at us, as if calling for help, but we can't do anything. She walks up again and stands in position. Molly throws a punch at her but Tris dodges it. Tris tries to punch her but fails, giving Molly the opportunity to punch her. Tris tumbles backwards with a hand on the part of her face that Molly punched. She tries to tackle Molly, but Molly only punches her simultaneously in the stomach. Then Molly gives Tris a hard punch on the face, knocking her to the ground. She looks at Eric, wanting to know it's okay to knock her out. Eric gives her a 'Go ahead' expression and she knocks Tris out. That wasn't so unexpected. This was Tris's first day. Like she could take Molly out now.
"Glad that's over," Eric says. "Most anticlimactic fight I've ever seen." Molly doesn't seem so offended by that, probably because she thought the same. This was too easy for her. "Next fight!" Eric scans the room for his next victims. His eyes stop on Edward, the big guy from Erudite. "Edward, your turn." Edward obeys and steps into the ring.
"Who will I fight?" He asks. Eric looks around the room again. A lot of eyes dart to the ground, including Al, Will, and Christina, but mine stays on him. That might have been a bad call because he is now looking at me.
"Clo, in the ring." He tells me. Crap. I have to fight Edward. I walk up to the ring and remember Four's fighting technique which he showed us this morning. He usually went for the throat, so that is what I will do. "Fight." He tells us. Edward doesn't hesitate. He throws a punch at me directly after Eric told us to start. Luckily, I was quick enough to dodge it. I then throw a punch at him, aiming at his throat, but he grabs my hand and punches me with the other. I fall to the ground and holds my nose, which I think is broken. Edward walks over to me, ready to knock me out, but I am fast and kicks his leg. He didn't expect that and stumbles backwards. That gives me enough time to stand up again. I advance towards him and punches him on the nose as well. I didn't break it but it will bruise. I punch his throat as well, making him stumble back more. I almost got to punch him the third time when he punches my stomach and then kicks me. I fall to the ground again clutching my stomach. I didn't have time to think until his fist collided with my face and me blacking out.
My head really hurts. It's like a drum but without the sound, just someone banging on it. I am laying on a bench away from the ring. From here I can see two guys fighting each other. My vision is all blurry so I can't quite see who they are.
"Hey! You're awake!" Someone calls from the side, making my head hurt even more.
"Please be quiet. I can't focus." I tell the person. I see now that it's Christina. She hands me something and I take it. It's an ice packet.
"Sorry. I've just been waiting for you or Tris to wake up." I put the ice packet to my head and it really helps my headache.
"Tris isn't awake yet? How long was I out? Why aren't you with everyone else? Who are fighting?" My head is swarming with questions.
"Calm down. No, Tris isn't awake yet. She is over there." She points to the bench on the other side of me. There Tris is sleeping peacefully. I still feel pretty bad for her. I wish I could have helped her. "You've been out fifteen minutes. I won my fight against Myra so I don't need to watch anymore." Poor Myra. I knew she wouldn't last so long in Dauntless. "The guys who are fighting right now are Will and Al." Will and Al are fighting each other? That's pretty cruel in my opinion. But, then again, it was Eric who chose the partners.
Someone cheers over by the ring and I see that Al has won the fight against Will. "How long did they fight?" I ask Christina. I think that the longer you last in the ring, the higher rank you will get.
"About three minutes. They really didn't want to hurt each other." I can understand that, but if I were in the ring with one of my friends, I wouldn't hesitate. I want to stay, and if that means punching friends then okay. That doesn't mean I would do it when we are official Dauntless, though. I only want to get through initiation.
The fighting continued for a half hour until everyone had fought. Tris is now awake and has an ice pack to her face as well. I don't have a headache anymore so I don't have one myself. Once everyone is awake we follow Eric to a board which is on one of the pillars.
"Alright, guys, over here. Listen up." The board switches on and shows all our names and ranks. "Know what this board is? It's your life. We grade you every day, if you're still in the red by the end of the first stage, you're out." I scan the board to find my name. My name is beside 24, below the red line. I am not at the very bottom, which I see Tris is near, but I am not good enough yet for Dauntless. I will have to train even more.
"I'm never gonna make it." Tris tells us. We've eaten dinner, which was hotdogs, and we are now in the sleeping quarters. It is still too early for bed so me, Tris, Christina, Al, and Will are just hanging here. We got nothing better to do.
"Yes, you are." Christina assures her, but she doesn't buy it.
"I'm the weakest one here," Tris argued. That is a lie. She might not have muscles, but she is definitely not weak.
"Then you'll be the most improved," Christina tells her. It is good having a positive attitude, especially when it comes to friends.
"Tris, you are not weak. You may not be good at fighting, but you are anything but weak." I tell her. Christina nods at me, showing that she agrees.
"You're a Candor, you're not supposed to lie. And you're an Erudite. You are supposed to know better than this."
"I was Candor. And I'm not lying." Christina tells her.
"Same for me. Ex-Erudite. And I do know this." I smile at her, leaning on the pillar next to our beds.
"If they cut me I think my parents would take me back," Al tells us confidently.
"Yeah, they would but they can't," I tell him.
"It doesn't work like that. Even if they wanted to, their faction wouldn't allow it." Will explains my statement.
"Even if my parents would take me back…I wouldn't belong there anymore." Tris claims.
"This is getting depressing." Christina jokes. I chuckle together with Will and Al. "You know what we should do? Get tattoos." Now I am interested. I've actually always wanted to get a tattoo, but I've never known of what.
The tattoo parlor is dark, lit only by the light from the outside, which is a faint light, and red and purple lamps. On every wall there is art of tattoos. This does not help in choosing what tattoo I should get. I decide to look around for something before making a choice I will regret in the future. After a few moments of searching I find one that I like. It is a picture of a butterfly. I pick it up and hand it to one of the tattoo artists. He looks skeptical but asks where I want it. I point on my right back shoulder blade. I also tell him to make it a blue and black butterfly, symbolizing my both Erudite and Dauntless: my aptitude test results. If I truly am Divergent, I better embrace it. It is who I am, Dauntless is just a part of it.
Over an hour later the tattoo is finished. I get up and look at it in the mirror. It is beautiful. It looks so realistic, like it is a real butterfly flying away from my shoulder. I want to touch it but my shoulder is kind of sore. The tattoo artist helps me bandage it. Tris, Christina and Will are waiting for me outside. I can't see Will's and Christina's tattoos, if they ever got one, but Tris's tattoo is on the front side of her shoulder. It is three birds, looks like ravens, who are flying. I like it.
Everyone is fast asleep after a stressful day like this, but not me. I am in the training room practicing on one of the bags. I don't know what time it is but I know that it is late. I keep punching the bag, imagining the faces of those who I've come to hate: Peter, Drew. My knuckles start bleeding but I don't pay attention to it and continue punching.
"You are doing it wrong." I'm get startled and whip my head around to see the culprit of the voice. It was the cruel leader: Eric. He is standing, about, five feet away from me with crossed arms.
"What?" I ask him. I want to know what I did that was wrong.
"Are you deaf?" Eric questions me. "I said that you are doing it wrong."
"I know what you said, I just want to know what I was doing that was wrong," I tell him. He is such an ass.
"Your stance is wrong. Also, you're not protecting yourself from any attacks." He informs me.
"I don't think a punching bag will hit me back."
"You are training for the real world. Better train blocking as well." I let out a sigh and concede.
"Fine. How am I supposed to stand."
"Feet further apart. You've got no balance standing like that. Your opponent can easily knock you down." I do as he says and put my feet further apart from each other. "Shoulders down and block like you learned earlier today." Again, I do as he says.
"Keep practicing. I'd rather not deal with a crying mess later." He informs me before walking away to the other part of the room. Eric came in here to train as well, it seems. I decide to ignore him and continue practicing. I don't understand Eric. One minute he makes me face Edward, the strongest initiate in our group, and the next he is helping me? One thing is for sure, though: I can't trust him.