I wait for the train to appear on the tracks as I hear the shudders of the ground. It is approaching. It is the first day of fifth grade. The first day that Dauntless-borns must try to get on and off the trains.
Next to me is Zeke. Tall and confident, he seems like he has nothing to fear. Of course he doesn't. Ever since we were young, I've only seen him cry once. And that was when my father died. Betrayed by his best friend, who was jealous of his influential power and strength. My mother didn't stop crying for weeks.
Behind me is my mom. She grins at me and waves. With her long brown hair windblown and chocolate eyes filled with energy, it is enough to make me stand up taller.
It comes into sight, the long body racing across the tracks, gradually slowing down as it approaches. Slowly, my excitement turned into anxiety as I realized what I had to do next. Get on a moving train for the first time.
My mother rushes forward and hugs me."Go get 'em, Uri." I smile wanly, and she leans down and whispers.
"Nervous about the train?"
She grins, and says, "I bet you'll be one of the few who actually get on." She pushes me forward, and I find my place again next to Zeke, who gives me an arrogant, yet reassuring smile as he runs to the train and jumps on, grabbing the bars at either side and easing himself inside. All of the older Dauntless-borns get on easily and the rest study them carefully, trying to memorize the steps. Usually, the younger Dauntless got on another train, where it stops when you're getting on and off, but today, we are going to be racing beside it and getting on with the older ones. Most of the aged Dauntless will get on in another compartment, other than the few that get in ours to help us.
The next compartment is for the younger Dauntless. We all line up behind one another anxiously. Somehow, I find myself the last one.
They all get on... basically disastrously. The first seven kids all slip off the bars on the first try and need some older Dauntless to pull them in. Only two kids manage to get on without help before my turn, both of them girls. One of them I faintly recognize, with shoulder-length hair and golden eyes. Haunting. Her hard expression, I hate to admit it, is definitely intimidating. The other is someone who I have no clue of, and she doesn't stop smiling, both with her smile and dark brown eyes, the whole time she has to get on, her light brown hair flipping in her face. The rest of the kids after all stumble and require assistance.
I run alongside the train as it's slowly picking up speed. I glance back at my mom, who grins widely and flashes me a 'thumbs up'. Her lack of movement to assist me or encourage me might be discomforting to most, but to me, it shows that she believes in me. That wakes me up more than anything.
I grab both the handles and run with the train. Pulling myself up, I put my legs inside the train and lean against the side just as the Dauntless compound flashes past my face. I sigh with relief and brush my hair out of my eyes. Then, the impact of what I just did hits me, and I look away from the rest of the kids and beam.
I turn around to find myself staring at the light haired girl, the one who couldn't stop smiling. I find her grin infectious and smile back. To my surprise, the girl I recognized is with her, her stoic movement still there.
"Thanks. You guys did well, too. I didn't even expect myself to get on. More like fall off and crack my head open."
The corners of the stoic girl's lips twitch, and I stare at her. I know her. What's her name? Lea? Leanne?
"Lynn! That's your name, right? Amanda's daughter? My mom knows your mom." Instantly after I said that, I felt my face turning red. My mom knows your mom? What an idiotic thing to say. Pansycake.
To my surprise, Lynn smiles. "Uriah? Yeah, I remember you, too. Your brother knows my sister, Shauna." I recall my brother walking in the compound hand in hand with a pretty, tall girl and slyly grin. She seems to understand what I'm insinuating and laughs.
The other girl says, "Since I'm the only one who is not introduced yet, I'm Kevon. Marlene Kevon." She puts on a mock serious face and shakes both of our hands too enthusiastically. Then we all start laughing. Too loudly. Even for Dauntless.
"Calm down, guys. Even Dauntless-borns aren't so outgoing on the first day of getting on the train themselves." I recognize the blond boy who speaks: Harrison. Older than my brother and amazing in combat. In other words, pretty awesome.
"Maybe we aren't Dauntless-borns. We might as well be Amities in disguise," Marlene says, her lips shaking with suppressed laughter.
"Yeah, right. They would have fell off the train and broke their bones on the first go. And the others would be 'too peaceful' to interfere in that violent scenario," Harrison smirks.
"True," Lynn says.
"I can tell you guys are Dauntless." He grins, and then adds in, "Dauntless for life. I'll see you in this faction." He winks at us and walks away into a group of chattering guys. I find myself staring after him. I've never really considered Choosing Day very importantly. How is Harrison so sure we will be there? Even though people say the tests aren't supposed to change your choice, they do. In the end, will I end up coming back here?
"We're approaching." Lynn's crisp voice shakes me out of my reverie as I focus on the school. For some reason, it looks different today. More intimidating.
"I think these three," Harrison says, pointing to us, "will show us how to get off the correct way." Lynn's eyes widen a fraction of an inch and Marlene's mouth opens a bit. He grins at us. "Go on."
I stand on one edge of the opening of the train, with Marlene in between Lynn and me. Marlene looks at the fast-moving ground and gulps, taking both of our hands and gripping them tightly.
"On three," I find myself saying. They both nod slowly.
"One." We all tense up.
"Two." The school is right next to us.
We jump off the train and the impact of the ground hits me hard, shuddering through my body, making my knees wince. I look beside me. The grin is back on Marlene, and Lynn has a small smile on her face, trying to hide her pride at getting off on both feet. We all managed to do it properly. We turn towards each other and start laughing, but I don't know why. Maybe out of sheer relief or simply delirium. We run towards the school and I take my hand out of Marlene's grasp and put it around her shoulders. She looks at me, smiling.
I turn back to see Dauntless stumbling across the yard, some on the ground, and most of them picking themselves up. Harrison catches my eye and grins, patting us on the back.
"See you in Dauntless," he whispers. I grin. Perhaps I will.
The rest of that day is all a blur to me. I realize that I have most of my classes with Lynn and Marlene as we chat going up to the school. While we walk, I realize that I've never really had good friends before. I was one of the more quiet Dauntless, not really talking to anyone on the way to school or in it, either. Maybe today, I can change that. Maybe today, I will.