Racing through the dark tunnels, we turned another left like I vaguely remember when meeting Tobias and his sister for the first time. Only our shaky breaths and running steps could be heard on our path to knowledge.
As soon as I reached the ladder, Tobias bent over panting and said, “My sister was the girl I couldn’t shoot in my fearscape.” My sweaty body turned toward Tobias sudden conversation, “I thought she was just a symbol of innocence I didn’t want to be made to kill. But she’s a real person I knew.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I responded confused.
His eyes finally met up to me with apprehension and he responded quietly, “Whatever you are trying to achieve tonight, what if it proves no good. Are you willing to accept it??”
I backed into the ladder feeling very defensive and said uneased, “I’ll be fine.” The letter would be there meaning it was all real.
Tobias pinned me against the ladder and said calmly, “I need to know can you handle the truth that Zeke is dead.”
Tobias’s last words twisted like a knife in my gut. I didn’t want to even entertain that thought. Zeke had to be alive. He promised nothing would keep us apart.
Tobias moved a hair from my eye and added, “If you can’t we’ll go back right now. I can’t afford losing the only other person I trust now.”
Gazing into his searching eyes, I stated rather firmly, “I can do it. I need to know Tobias. I need to know if any of it was real.” Tobias nodded his head and released his body pressure away from me.
“Where to then?”
“Follow me,” I stated climbing up each ring of the ladder. Removing the man hole, I gently pushed the bin to the side allowing us to step onto abnegation streets. My breath suddenly hitched appalled and Tobias moved behind me quickly on guard, “What, ah….”
Taking another step on the charred gravel, every building was burned or crumbling down. The smell of lighter fluid, ash and something rancid reach my nose with every gentle cool breeze.
But what made my stomach and Tobias plunge to the ground on his knees was the piles and piles of partly burned corpses of men, woman, children and even some dogs. Tobias trying to choke back the overwhelming wretchedness and rage said, “They burned them alive and left them here in piles to rot.”
Turning away from the horror, my eyes locked onto the apartment complex I had once spent in the simulation. Taking off down the road, I burst inside racing up the rickety and burn remains of the stair well. “It has to be here,” I looked at the untouched upstairs room that miraculously didn’t burn up. Pulling out a crow bar from my bag and began removing the floor board.
As it popped open, I rummage through but found nothing. Again, I cracked another one and searched. And crack again. And crack again. I didn’t want this to be real, my mind was screaming in panic. Crack. I was panting harder as I let my throbbing cut up fingers ply the boards apart faster. We were being lied too. Crack. We were under a simulation testing now. Crack. We didn’t make up all those people. Crack. Ezekiel was alive. Crack.
Staring around at the destroyed floor the emptiness of the barren room swallowed me with the truth. Everything I had once thought was just made-up memory. The war wasn’t over. People were still dying. Jeanine was still under control. I had no family. No home. No love. I was a no one.
“Kinder!” I heard Tobias call out in panic and I got up somehow to report back to him. When stepping outside the road, Tobias grabbed my hand and pulled me forward in his running. Running from what?
I tried turning my head back, but only got a glimpse of movement around the corner as Tobias hid us in a crumbling brick factory house. Moving closer inside, we leaned against a hallway wall with Tobias taking peaks out of the door way to the main exit.
“What is it?” I asked nervous and he lifted his finger up to his lips and gave me a look that said to reload our guns.
I heard a constant noise enter the main entrance and Tobias nodded his head at me. Taking a peek, I scouted out a medium floating square machine scanning the area out. Pulling back, Tobias counted silently. One. Two. Three.
The sound of our guns went off and I watch my good shots deflect off its armor. The machine’s beeping sound became a faster beat until it locked on us. Instantly gun sprouted out and Tobias yelled, “New plan.”
We tucked and rolled away from each other for cover and I slowly crawled behind a pile of bricks. Taking another look I found it almost on top of Tobias and so I fire out and roared, “Come and get me you son of a bitch!!!”
Quickly the machine reversed around to the source of noise and Tobias diligently tackled at the machine ripping off the one set of guns and held the other one in his hands trying to push it at the machine. Knowing it was in trouble, the machine lifted Tobias off his feet and rammed them into the brick wall. Rubble shook down at us as the machine charge his body into the wall again.
Without a thought I ran toward Tobias aid and slide under the machine and shot the underside of the belly. Instantly the machine went haywire firing its gun up at the ceiling and before I knew it my body had hit the rough ground hard with Tobias shielding me.
Sitting up slowly, our once exit, bag of supplies and the death machine were buried now. Wiping the blood from his forehead, Tobias asked, “How did you know to shoot there?”
I shrugged my shoulders as I lay back to the now gaping hole in the ceiling. The memory of this was bubbling out of me, “I’ve done this before. They’re Probs. Though I don’t understand why they would be here in abandon spot.”
He was starting to scale the cracked cement wall and answered, “There’s something out there. I saw a fenced in building with towers and guards littering the area.”
The one ledge gave out under his hand and he dropped to the floor. I said as he got up to try again, “Sooo….”
His eyebrow rose at my uncaring tone and replied, “So we check it out. Maybe we can foil Jeanine’s plans.”
My body sat up again and stated angered, “News flash. There are no plans to foil. They already came true.”
Tobias stared at me with his arms crossed, “What has gotten into you?”
“Don’t you see? There’s no point.” My hands were trembling as I continued to say, “Just for argument sake, let’s say that we weren’t trapped in this self tomb we’ve created, how can you think we can even beat her?” Pushing off the floor, I began to pace with resentful logic. “She has an army. But not just any kind of army, but mind controlled dauntless army that have been training their whole lives to kill. An army that is supplied with weapons and drones like this piece of,” I kick the pile of rubble, “crap.”
Standing still Tobias never let his eyes drop away from me as I continued to ramble onward. “We have no back up. No friends to rely on. Our numbers are outnumbered as well. And who knows by now, they could have that new serum already to go to control people like us.”
“Kinder,” Tobias called out as my eyes began to well up and I wave my hand to shut up.
“Oh, but George made that huge discovery. That out everyone tested there I’m the ONLY ONE who can break free. Tell me Tobias how is one person supposed to stop an almost end to a war??”
Grabbing onto my arms, Tobias got right into my face. He said frustrated, “I know we’re in a losing battle Kin. But I’m not going to just give up like that.” I tried turning my head away to avoid his pointless conversation and as a result Tobias turned my face back to meet his blue determine eyes. “I choose dauntless.”
“You were never dauntless. I was never erudite. It wasn’t real,” I growled at Tobias and struggled to break from his grasp.
“You’re right.” He paused as he let me go. “But we’re better than that. We’re divergent. And right now, I’m choosing to be dauntless. There are still innocent people out there. There are people still willing to fight for what’s right and until then I won’t give up.”
Tobias began to dig through the dirt to find our bag as I turned away down the closed in hallway. “You’re not the only one whose lost someone, Kinder,” his voice trailed off softly as he desperately pushed more debris to the side.
It finally registered in my mind that he too was deeply hurting as well. Tris was just a memory. Taking a deep sigh, I walked back over and started to help Tobias push some rocks to the side.
A small smile of appreciation lingered on Tobias face and I rolled my eyes, “Don’t get use to it.” My jaw dropped down in surprise, “Hey I actually found it!”
Lift the bag up, Tobias rummage through it to find our gaffing hooks and smiled, “Ready to do some recall?”
“Yep,” I said taking the gun and attaching the other end to my belt. I was finally realizing Tobias way of thinking. Really what more did we have to live for now. There was nothing to return too. All we could do is just push forward.
Peeking from the dark rain clouds I could guess the sun was beginning to set and I’m pretty sure a search party of our absence was being formed now. Tobias said annoyed, “There’s just no way we could get through there. It’s to enforce.”
“Maybe on the surface,” I suggested as a few rain drops hit my face.
Tobias head pivot toward me and asked, “Are there tunnels that led under it?”
“There’s only one way to find out,” I stated when retracting slowly from our coverage to find a manhole. We quickly sneaked through the shadows avoiding more drones that arrived on the premises and Tobias called out, “There’s one.”
Lifting the heavy lid up, we both dropped down and began to walk in the direction to the guarded building.
“What do you think is going on in there?” I asked as my feet splashed in the trickling water.
Making a left, Tobias barely said, “Maybe they are testing on other divergents?” My blue eyes sneaked a glimpse to find a ray of hope in his face. That maybe Tris was alive still.
Instantly I bit my lip to say anything hurtful and focus on the tunnel ahead of us. “Crap,” I stated when my hands felt bars blocking our path and I tried pulling them away. “It’s a dead end.”
Tobias sighed and glanced over to me with a crazy thought. “Do you think we could squeeze through them?”
My mouth slightly opened in surprise at the thought and I responded back unsure, “I don’t know. Can you?”
Tobias smirked over to me and said, “I guess there’s only one way to find out.”
Miraculously Tobias did squeeze through after shimming his broad shoulders back and forth. On the other side Tobias said, “Your turn.”
Planting my body side way, I started to move through the bars as well until my breast got in the way. Feeling heat light up my face I ordered out, “Turn around.” Tobias tried biting down a smile as he faced away.
Quickly I squished my breast to make it and punch him in the shoulder. “Shut up.”
I started to climb the ladder leading up to a man hole and he responded mocking, “At least you have some.”
Internally I sighed with frustration and commented back, “Please don’t make me not regret kicking you off this ladder.”
He gave a slight chuckle, but stifled it as soon as my hand reached to lift up the lid. Peeking out, I noticed boxes surround the area so we should have so coverage to get out.
Sliding the lid very quietly, we both emerge to find ourselves in some dark warehouse. Tobias moved ahead with me behind into the unknown until sounds of voices caught our attention.
“I don’t understand why she wants to keep him? He doesn’t know where the rest of those divergents are.” One of the men finally said and the other man said, “Because they want to test this divergent rat we pulled up from the sewer. But first I want some answers.”
The man in blue wailed a metal pipe down at the prisoner. A sudden echo of agony rippled and my body took a step forward, but Tobias held my hand. Another three times the bad man was thrashing in into his legs. “Where are the others?”
“Go to hell,” the wither prisoner yelled and the bad guy said, “Just tell us where to find the rest of the divergents and you can live.”
With sweat dripping down the tan skin face, the prisoner stated, “What live long enough so you can bomb the rest. Over my dead body.”
The man raised the pipe again as he said mocking, “As you wish-”
Instantly he dropped dead as I fired another shot at the man next to him. The third man began to run as he yelled in the walkie talkie, “We need ba-”
Four closed line the guy in the neck dropping him to his knees. With one swift kick, the guy was out like a light. Untying the man’s restraints Four hoisted him up and we ran to our escape pod as footsteps could be heard coming for us.
Rolling the man hole away, Four began to carry the prisoner down when guns shot off. Raising my gun up, I fired back just to buy some time so I could go down as well. “Clear. Come on Kinder,” Tobias yelled and I shot one more shot as I pulled the lid over.
Rushing to get down the ladder the man hole was being pried up and I heard someone call out, “They’re escaping down the sewers. Flush them out!”
With my heart racing, Four shimmed through the bars again while I held the now unconscious body up. “Help me get him through,” I stated a little panic as I heard water starting to flood out into the sewer. I started to grunt as we tried squeezing him through the bars. Tobias tone seemed to suddenly rise as he said, “It’s no use. Get over here.”
I shook my head as I commanded, “Use the crow bar.” Bam. I was smack in the head by a surprised force.
I heard Four’s voice yell as I tried getting up in the hip high water. “Look out,” Four called out as he began to force the one bar back.
The next punch the dauntless chick threw, I caught. Without a thought she raised a gun at my head and pushed her into the wall slamming her hand against it over and over. “I got him,” Tobias said and I pushed her away to turn around to escape.
Suddenly a gush of water knocked me off my feet and slammed my body into the poles again. Standing up in the water to my shoulders now, I saw Tobias grasping the bar in one hand and the other onto the man.
I only had a small chance to meet his dark afraid blue eyes before I was held under water. Struggle out of her claw like hands, I thrashed around feeling my air bubbles leaving me to die.
Suddenly the pressure was off and I grasped for a breath with my body crushing into the grate. But not as crushed as the girls head caught between the bars from Four’s grip.
“I’m not losing you again,” Tobias pleaded. Embracing myself I held on for dear life as my body bang through the wider gap Tobias created. “Whatever you do, don’t let go of me,” Tobias said over the rushing water. With my head giving a nod, I latched onto his body and prayed we wouldn’t drown.
Like a water slide, without the fun and safe aspect, our body’s whirled around in the water allowing us to only receive a few breaths every now and then.
As my head surfaced again, I caught sight of a ladder that could lead us up to safety. If I missed it I was sure we you been dead soon. With luck my hand somehow latched onto the ladder forcing me to scream underwater as my arm snapped. Instantly Tobias face surfaced up as well and with the last of my strength I pulled Tobias close enough to the ladder so we could both pull the unconscious man closer. Removing the lid away, we crawled out onto the street coughing up water.
That was a close one, I thought turning over to taking deep breaths. Tobias sat up wiping the water from his face and asked in a hoarse tone, "You okay?"
I nodded my head still holding my sore arm and went over to find the man we saved was still breathing. "Let's get him to safety."