It had been a few days since Tobias and the others departure to the city. Not only was Tobias going to console Uriah’s family, but also attempt to convince his mother to take a step down in power and let the people decided their actions. As for me, I had been avoiding people like the plague and just visiting Uriah.
Wiping his forehead with a cloth, a red light began to flash in alert and the sound of sirens blasted everywhere. Was the place on fire?
I stepped out into the hallway perplexed when I shifted away from the window that was now dropping a metal panel down. No it wasn’t a fire, I realized as I turned to see Tris running toward me. We were going into lock down.
Without hesitation, Tris pulled my arm forward with her direction. “Come on, we have to get to that room,” she commanded and I followed in a daze.
Caleb was on her other side holding a gun as we turned around a corner into another hallway. Soon men with their own guns pointed directly at us and we all ducked in a cover. Crap why were they trying to kill us now?
Tris shot first as Caleb was flat against the wall pale as a sheet. “Give me that,” I growled taking his weapon away and fired back killing the rest of the other Tris didn’t hit. She had to be doing this do a right reason, I hoped.
Marching past their dead bodies, I felt like I was having dejavu again. Why did I get these weird feelings of doing this before? Caleb accessed us into a room and my mouth dropped open see this black cloud surround what looked like a vile of something.
Caleb finally said, “They have to the death serum protecting it. One breath Tris and you be dead. Let me do it.” Her face was impassive as Caleb glanced over to me, “If I fail, it won’t be any lose.”
“But Caleb you’re not divergent,” Tris responded, “I am. I’ll get it and then we can reset the Bureau.”
She stepped into the cloud when everything finally clicked. They were guarding a memory serum after all. “Tris,” I called out terrified and stepped forward without a thought.
Looking at my hands, I glanced up to Tris with a smile. We were alive. As she grabbed for the vile that would change everything for the better, I heard a click of someone emptying a case from the slide lock.
Quickly I blocked Tris’s vulnerable back and two shots rang in the small air tight room. Falling to the ground, I watched David fall dead to the floor. Not today you, you, ah-.
Tris quickly knelt down next to me and I couldn’t understand why my thoughts suddenly felt cloudy and just confused as the guards and Caleb from the memory serum. Was , I, I not immune to this, uh, one serum?
Tris was now holding me tight and abruptly a sharp pain from my heavy intake of breath caught me off guard. Slowly my vision was becoming blurry as I glanced down to find my hand covered in bright red. And it finally hit me. I had been shot too. I was in shock.
She started yelling for help, but I don’t think anyone could do anything now. I was dying. Grasping her hand I was losing feeling and I said shaky, “Tell Zeke I’ll be okay. I’m okay.”
Placing her hand on my stomach to clot the bleeding, Tris cried beside me and said, “Why did you? You can’t die. You can’t die like this.”
I glanced in her eyes and it was getting harder to see, “This is a good way to die.” Tobias didn’t lose the one he loved and that somehow made me feel good. “Be happy with him. You both deserve this. You both….”
It was suddenly dark and I couldn’t breathe. All I could still remember thinking this must what death feels like. But as I waited for that peaceful feeling to wrap around me like a blanket, I suddenly convoluted.
Something was wrong.
My vision was flooded with a bright light and my ear rang a high pitch sound. Rolling around on something solid, my vision started to focus more to the images around me.
Again my body convulsed and I could feel my lungs latch onto the air. Bolting up while hyperventilating and I couldn’t understand, Was I alive? Or in what was called the beyond after death? Weird as it seemed I felt like I had just woken up from a horrible nightmare.
Letting my hands reached down my sweaty and shaking body, I found no open wound, but wires. Ripping them off and pulling out an ivy, I shift my eyes around not knowing where I was.
But my thought all stopped when noticing on other tables was Uriah and Four. Walking over light headed, panic was rising in my chest as it dawned on me. “It’s a simulation.” Were we in Jeanine’s lab still? I started to cry as I said horse, “It’s a sim.”
Ripping at the tub connecting to the wall, sudden alarm went off and I began to pull harder. I need to free them. An inch finally busted and gas leaked out making Four’s eyes slightly opened up. I went to shake him, but two men pushed me away as I yelled in terror, “Four. Wake up. It’s a sim. It’s not real. It’s-”
“Kinder,” I was suddenly turned around from Four being put back under simulation and faced with someone I never thought I see again.
“Tori?” I shifted back to the others and demanded, “What is going on?”
Her face was calm as she sat on the table I once laid on. “You were testing out if you could break under Jeanine’s simulation directed only for divergents.”
Why didn’t I remember agreeing to this? My mind doubted and Tori gave a sad smile, “You don’t remember because she’s combined it with the blocking memory serum. That way, divergents are unaware even being placed under simulation.”
My logically mind screamed at me this could be a trap. Serums didn’t work on us. I wanted to pinch my side hard maybe to wake up again. After all I could be under another simulation.
But as my hazel eyes analyzed Tori, I had this gut feeling I could trust her. She sighed as I watched her brother step into the open room, “Georgie,” his brother rolled his eyes and bickered back, “Please don’t call me that.”
She laughed and he said, “What she’s trying to say is that…. I went under that simulation as well and tried to break from it. But I couldn’t not even after I died. I was like Uriah over there, motionless under the sims control.” He rubbed his arm and added, “If Tori didn’t go into the sim with me, I don’t know if I would have believed anything after waking up.”
Tori patted my hand, “I know this must be overwhelming, but when the others wake up we like to get you updated and let you to see the recording you did so you could jog your memories back. After that, you could do as you please.”
A million questions bobbled in my head. How long were we under? Was Jeanine really not dead yet? Why did that feel so real? Where was the others…. I paused afraid to know that answer. So instead I focus on simple questions away from that topic, “Where are we?”
“This is the last and only refuge for everyone who escaped the city.”
George ran over to Tobias’s machine and I sat up more concerned. He said, “He just died.” I waited for him to wake up like I did, but he laid still. Was he dead for real?
“I’m going to pull him off now,” George responded to Tori and turned off the gas they had been letting us intake.
“Ahhh,” Tobias twisted around and his eyes popped open like a crazy cat that just escaped its crate. Like I did, wires flew into the air and he stumbled to get up.
Without a thought I ran over and hugged him with such fierceness. He was one of my only lifelines now. “Tobias,” I whispered and he held me tight as his eyes dance around guard.
“Get behind me.”
He posted his body in front of me, but I turned him around. “Listen to me. It’s okay. Really.”
I could see doubt floating in his deep blue eyes and I grasped his hand, “Trust me.” His mouth was set firm, but he nodded his head. I whispered close to him, “We have to let them explain the situation and then we’ll decide what to believe. Okay?”
“Okay, but if things go down. Stay by my side,” he order taking a defensive side and I agreed.
“Uriah,” my head twisted around quickly witnessing the woman holding Uriah’s hand.
“Hannah,” I barely whispered and her brown eyes glanced up sadly to mine. “You’re real.” I glanced around with my heart fluttering with slight hope.
She gave a friendly nod, but she knew something I didn’t. Something with deep sympathy and regrets. Slowly Uriah gasped and his mother caressed his face. “Mom?”
Her eyes welled, “Hi baby,” she grasped him in a hug and he looked over at us confused.
“I thought I was dead.” He said confused and she said, “No baby. Come on, let’s get these things off you and we’ll explain what’s going on.”
“Okay?” Uriah sounded unsure.
“This way,” Tori called out and Four’s eyes bulge a little in disbelief.
I whispered to him, “Feels like seeing a ghost.”
His guarded eyes dropped down to mine unreadable again, “You can say that.”
Sitting around in chairs, a white screen faced out at us. “Like I was explaining before to Kinder, please give us your patience and keep your mind open to what I am about to say. And ask questions anytime you need too.” She glanced over to her brother and said, “How should I even start?”
George answered, “Well you all know you were under a simulation. One that felt beyond real. I know because I test it out myself being divergent. This newer serum was created to target us divergents and as creative as they,” he hissed that last word out. He took a deep breath, “have become, they could only temporarily block our memories under the drugs influence, thus giving the erudite’s serum a chance to fool us.”
My mind soak this information in and it was starting to make sense. The memory serum targeted divergents. Tori wasn’t divergent. That’s why George said if she didn’t go in the simulation he wouldn’t believe anyone, kind of like us three, who were feeling that doubt right now.
“Why were we under it to begin with,” Tobias said monotone.
Hannah twisted in the chair and responded, “You all volunteered to go under in hopes to break it.”
“I never did, not even when I died just like Uriah. I literally had to be taken off the drug to be awoken again. But surprisingly,” George’s eyes lit up with hope, “Kinder you did a few times. The last was when you died in the simulation and bolted up out of it.”
Underneath the table, Tobias took my hand as George sat down to informed us, “You know what’s really weird.” I mentally answered his rhetorical question. Everything your saying right now. “Because we are divergents and can manipulate simulations, our minds in this certain sim wants to make things believable. We literally will create a logical reason for something you begin to doubt. Maybe it’s because we can’t remember it’s fake….”
“What’s really going on in the world? Is Jeanine not dead?” I asked unsure reality from fantasy now.
Tori looked out the window and replied, “The simulation was based on true events that have happened. A war is occurring as we speak. Jeanine has destroyed the system, first by taking over dauntless with the simulation transmitter and has annihilated not only abnegation, but candor. Amity is now just the pack mule they use and abuse.” I glanced down at the table getting the feeling of dejevu. I knew this information. “Factionless had been fighting this losing battle and we aren’t sure how much long they can hold out.”
“So we are worried about Jeanine making a serum to control us then?” Uriah asked trying to wrap his brain around the news.
Hannah’s mouth smiled hearing his voice and she said to Uriah. “Yes, especially when most of the forces in factionless are made up of divergents. If Jeanine could posses control over them, well it be official that erudite would win.”
“What about the bureau?” Tobias threw out with a slight annoyance. They never made it, I suddenly thought unsure.
Giving a sigh, Tori informed us, “It did once exist. But Jeanine’s army took over and destroyed them. And so now this is it. The last of the survivor’s from Jeanine’s reign.”
Walking to the screen, Hannah glanced over to Uriah with worry in her eyes. “This is going to be the hardest part, the truth of you before. Are you ready?”
I squeezed Tobia’s hand tightly. I wasn’t sure if I ever be ready to face this head on. But as I glanced over to Uriah slight smirk and Tobias reassuring grasp, I at least knew I wouldn’t be alone.
“Go ahead,” Tobias somehow said strongly as I let out a deep sigh.
First appearing on the screen was Tobias placing the camera on a table by him. He was alone in a cluttered room filled with many beds. My mouth slightly opened when for the first time I noticed he had no tattoos I once knew. He was just a muscular kid with dark brown hair and deep blue eyes with grey clothing. Nothing screamed dauntless at all.
On the screen, Tobias’ face seemed self-concious and yet determine to get a point across. “So my name is Tobias Eaton. I’m eighteen years old. I used to belong to abnegation,” he paused in deep thought as if he was reliving a sudden bad memory. “My father’s name is Amar and he had escape with my sister, Natalie.” The small smile disappeared when mentioning, “My mother died during the attack on abnegation. We tried saving many people as we could and that’s how I meet Kinder.” His tone went lighter as he picked at his nails. “She helped us to escape.”
Escape. A sudden memory hit me like a ton of bricks.
The smell of gun powder overwhelmed the air and my division was being called back away in retreat. More troops of zombie dauntless were appearing and I ran throw a crumbling building to out run the gun shots. My arm ached in excruciating pain as I ducked behind a desk to reload my gun.
My alert eyes snapped over to my left a find an older boy covering a frightened girl’s mouth. The boy with brown hair held a gun out at me guarded until we all realized that the room was occupied by two of the real enemy.
I pointed my gun at the door showing him they needed to make a run for it. He nodded his head and I took a deep breath, before standing up and firing at the two dauntless. In a matter of seconds, they were dead, but reinforcements would arrive hearing the shoots.
I ran after them through the doorway and realized they came to a dead stop seeing a troop heading our way. Grabbing his shirt, I pulled them the opposite direction. “Come on,” I yelled as I turned in a dead end alley way.
“There’s no way out,” his low voice said guarded and was going to turn back.
I grasped his hand and flinched as pain shot through my bad arm. “Trust me. Help me push this,” I pointed to the empty garbage bin on wheels and without a hesitation he moved it to the side and I picked up a manhole. “This is our only chance,” I said climbing down the ladder slightly. I waved the little girl over, “Come on, I’ll help you down.”
“I’m scared,” she whispered.
“I know, but we’ll take it one step at a time and your brother is going to be right in front of you.”
The boy moved her closer to me and I helped guided her down the ladder. As the guy shifted the bin over the man hole, he took the lid and covered our only light source. Instantly the little girl clutched onto me crying and I pulled out a flare and handed it to her, “Can you hold this?”
She nodded her head and the boy said, “Thank you.” He offered his hand and said, “I’m Tobias and this is Natalie.”
“I’m Kinder. We’re going to take this tunnel all the way down to where the others refuges will be.” I suddenly stumbled and Tobias caught me. I felt woozy. His face lit up in horror, “You’ve been s-” he glanced at his sister’s confused eyes and instead he lifted me into his arms. “Let’s get going Nat….”
Tobias sighed and adjusted the camera closer, “So when you see this, well I’m just saying, I volunteered for this. If there is a possibility I can stop this, I will.”
He shifted in the bed, “I just want Nat to live in a place where she can be safe and free.” Tobias nodded his head, “Yep. I know they told me difficult challenges will be thrown at us in the simulation in order to prepare our minds for the worse and I feel ready.” His dark blue eyes looked directly at the camera and lastly ended, “I’m ready.”
Flashing next was Uriah bright expression was sitting on a couch. Uriah had only a few tattoos, but not like the snake by his ear I had come accustom too. “Alright then. The name is Uriah Pedrad.” He blew out his breath thinking and added, “I just turned sixteen. I have a mom,” he turned the camera away to Hannah not even aware of his documentary and turned it back onto him. The camera was taken away and a bubbly girl I recognized said, “And I’m Marlene. His sexy girlfriend.”
“Hey this is my moment,” Uriah took it smiling and wiggled his eyebrows, “But yes she is my smoking hot girlfriend.” I could hear her giggle in the background and somehow I felt relieved. At least Uriah could have a good life to move forward onto now.
“Besides that my favorite color is orange, I like snakes,” his thoughts became more serious. “My brother died during a revolt in dauntless, which I’ll admit it’s sometimes lonely. I miss him.” He raised a picture up at the camera and I leaned over in awe. He looked exactly like the Ezekiel I knew. “If I could wish one thing, “he glanced back to make sure his mother wasn’t looking, “I wish I had him back in my life.”
He’s dead, I barely thought through my distress.
Finally my face appeared on the screen and I was sitting by some rock formation. I held the camera in my hands and remained silent only hearing the woods voices echo. Taking a deep breath, I said almost deadpan, “Not really much too say. I’m Kinder Platts. I was born in factionless, though I don’t know who my parents are. I was abandon as a child.” I shrugged my shoulder. “I’m seventeen and have lived underground training for the war since ten.”
I swallowed hard lump on the video, “I’ve seen a lot of death these past years and I’m tired. I just don’t want to fight anymore.” I took at deep sigh, "That’s, that’s why I am volunteering for this like others before me. Yes, I know the simulation will offer stressful situations. Ones I’ll probably never would imagine. Or using people we are familiar with to adjust to the simulation living. But-”
I turn the camera out to look past the ledge to see the wall completely destroyed and a building that once was the Bureau empty. Placing the camera back onto me, I said, “I just hope I’m strong enough to prove I can do this. Thankfully, I’m not going alone.” I briefly smiled, “Tobias and Uriah,” I glanced at the camera shaking my head, “they are my closet friends, are going through this experiment in hopes to break this serum and stop Jeanine’s reign of terror once and for all.”
The film of us ended and Hannah stared at us with watery eyes. Tori cleared her throat and said, “We’ll let you to adjusting to your thoughts.”
They trailed out of the room and Hannah said softly going by me, “I’m sorry, but I tried warning you.”
Running my hands threw my hair, I heard Uriah’s chair move abruptly and he paced the room back and forth. A harsh slam grabbed my attention and I watch Uriah pull his fist away from the wall. “I don’t understand. Where are the others? We couldn’t possibly make them all up??” His brown eyes stared at me with frustration as he said, “Do you??”
Next to my side, Tobias finally stirred in motion, “I don’t know. But things are coming back to me now-”
“Then you must remember Zeke? He can’t be dead.” I flinched as Uriah argued in possible denial.
Letting my eyes shift over, I realized Tobias face was impassive. A sob bubbled up to my mouth, but I covered my hand tightly trying to hold it back. Tobias silent told the truth. None of it was real.
My mind couldn’t bring up a single memory of him before the simulation. And if that was true I was crying over nothing, but a memory.
“It can’t be true man. Tris loved you…they have to be alive” Uriah punched the wall again in anger. “What did my mom mean that she warned you? Did you know?” He asked and all I could do was shook my head no. Uriah determined to figure it out, followed out the door, “I have to talk to my mom.”
Keeping my head down, I just tried to breathe normal breaths. The warmth of Tobias’s hand took my numb hand and he said, “I don’t know what is true or not Kinder.”
My hazel eyes shot up and a slight hope carried into my soul. “Do you think there’s a chance they are a live?” Maybe they were being held captured now or possibly we could be the ones captured under a simulation?
Tobias bit his lip hard and shook his head, “I want it to be, but I have nothing to prove it.”
A smile crossed my face as I checked to make sure no one was listening. “I have an idea. We need to go to abnegation.”
His eyebrows knit together in confusion and he questioned, “Abnegation?”
“Trust me. It’s the only way to know for sure,” I whispered and he smiled back sadly.
“I always do. Sunset then.”
Agreeing with him, we stood up and started to walk down the hallways. Did anything really seem familiar to me, I wondered.
“Tobias!!!!” Glancing across the hall a thin blonde girl ran and crash into Tobias, who seemed speechless. She held him tight and said energetic, “Your back. What was the sim like?” She hoisted her head back and demanded, “Tobias you promised to tell me everything since you wouldn’t let me volunteer.”
Her green eyes shot over to me and a bright smile lit her face. She clutch onto me and said mocking, “Well if you don’t I’m sure Kinder will.” But like Tobias I was render the gift to lose all speech as well. She reminded me so much of Maeve. That same spirit I loved so much. The bright green hypnotic eyes.
Stroking her blonde hair away, I finally said softly, “We will when we feel ready.”
Her green eyes stared in deep thought and she said intuitively, “You don’t remember yet do you?”
Natalie’s head pivot over to her brother and I answered, “No, but things are becoming more clear as time goes on.”