A Secret Door
I couldn’t concentrate at school, I didn’t hear or learn a single thing today. All I could hear was that scream over and over again in my mind, she got her punishment because of me. How can I live with myself knowing that she got seriously hurt because she stood up to my father?
I need to find her, I need to make sure that she is alive at the least. I now totally understand what she meant by ‘it killed me to hear you in pain’ hearing her scream in pain killed me, it made my heart stop for a millisecond before making it race with fear, regret, pain, hope. Please don’t die, please don’t die. I find myself thinking.
I realise I am at my front door, I pray that my father isn’t home so that I can search for this basement. I open the door and walk inside. I look around the house is silent. I walk to the kitchen and see a note out on the counter.
I have had to go to deal with some business, I do not know when I will be back. I have made you some food so that you just need to heat up.
Do not forget to do your homework.
I smile, I start in the kitchen, and I look down at the floor for a hatch or anything. Please be ok, I will get to you, I will find you, I will tend to your wounds just like you tended to mine. I move onto my hands and knees crawling around, I look at the corners to see if it looks like anything seemed to lift up or if anything was out of place but nothing was. How can nothing be out of place?
I start knocking on walls to see if anything sounded hollow like a secret passage but in the kitchen there was nothing. Damn it! Why? Why would she live in our basement? Is she a relative? Is she my sister? I mean mother goes missing and suddenly I find out there is an 11 year old girl in our basement. It would all make more sense.
I walk towards the living room doing the same as in the kitchen kneeling on the floor crawling around looking for anything that will give anything away. I sigh deeply when I find nothing. I sit on the floor for a moment.
It would explain why she saved me, it would explain everything, she knows me and she loves me. She hears everything, she has heard my cries for all these years, she knows about my 5 whips, and she knew he was losing control. She saved me from him. I sigh again before standing up knowing on the walls in the living room, everything was solid, no section of the wall was silent.
This is ridiculous, where would there be a secret door? Why would there even be one in the first place? No abnegation home has a basement so why the hell does my father? I slide to the floor and decide to just talk, hopefully she will hear, maybe she will even reply or give me some clue to tell me she is alone.
“Hello? I just wanted to thank you for saving me yesterday, I’m sorry I didn’t hear your name.” I sit silent for a few minute to silence, there wasn’t even movement anywhere, I begin to worry that he killed her. That he got rid of her for interfering.
I decide to continue talking hoping she would give me something, “If you knew that you were going to get punished you shouldn’t have helped me. I mean don’t get me wrong I am extremely grateful for it, but I heard your scream this morning. What happened? What did he do?”
I am met with silence once again, I sigh frustrated and I punch the wall, I put my head in my hands, I am the reason that she is dead, I am weak, if I didn’t scream then she wouldn’t have come to save me she would alive right now, she would be answering me.
“I am so sorry that you saving me cost your life.” I say out loud. Then there is noise below me, a thud and a muffled yelp. I let relief flood over me, she is alive.
“Why are you not talking? Can you talk?” I question, I do not know why I asked that question I mean of course she can talk I heard her talk. I hear a two distinctive knocks on a wall underneath me. I frown trying to understand what that could mean. Then I remember at school when one of our friends lost his voice, we had to ask him yes and no questions and he would use knocking to communicate.
“So is it two knocks for no and one for yes?” I ask which I get a single knock from.
“Why can you not talk?” I ask, then I realise that I would get a reply from it, I try to come up with a reason as to why she might not be able to talk, “Did he take your mouth?”
One knock, I grit my teeth in anger but my next question came out soft like how she talked to me, “To stop your screams from being heard?”
There is a small pause until I hear another single knock, I sigh deeply, I do not know how to ask the questions I want to know, I forget about the fact of finding the basement for now and ask questions about her, “Your name, he never called you by a name, do you have one?” It was the first thing I wanted to know about her, so I can thank her properly.
Two knocks and I gasp, “He just calls you girl?” One knock, I feel anger fill me, who gave him the right to do this to her, to not give her a name, to not make her feel loved.
I put my head in my hands before trying hard to think of the next question I have so many, What happened? why did she save me? why did she get in the way of my father? How was she so brave? but I cannot ask her any. “Umm…” I start so that she knows I am still there, “I heard your scream this morning. Yesterday when you said that the sound of my screams killed you I didn’t understand what you meant. I mean how can a scream kill you? how could it hurt you that much? But when I heard you scream I understood you perfectly.” I pause, there was a lengthy silence, before I finally find a way to word my question, “Are you ok now?”
I have to wait a few long minutes before I hear a knock. A part of me wondered if she was lying so that I wouldn’t worry. So I rephrase the question, “Do you think you will live?” there was a quick knock to that question as if to say Of course I won’t let him win.
“So you are stubborn then?” I ask smiling a little at the thought of this girl being stubborn, I hear a knock and I chuckle a little.
“Good, did you manage to see to your wounds?” I listen carefully, this was important to me, the answer I got confused me three knocks. “3? Yes and no?” one knock.
“uhh, so you partially saw to them?” it was getting harder and harder for me ask questions. How do I even start to think of ways that only has yes or no as an answer. I hear a knock in response. “then what? you blacked out?” a single knock in response.
My hands are now in fists, my knuckles pure white, How could he hurt her like that? She is a little girl! “Let me help you escape. Help me find the entrance.” I find myself saying, I couldn’t help it, I was so mad, even my voice was harder. I got a double knock in response.
“No? Why? Are you scared?” I question, it is harsh the way I ask it and I feel guilty from it, I get a single knock from it.
“For yourself?” I say softer, I don’t know why I end up asking that, it would be considered selfish if she wouldn’t let me help her because she was scared for herself. I get two knocks, I frown deeply. If she isn’t scared for herself then who is she scared for? Me? I hear a single knock. “What? did I say that out loud?” I hear another single knock.
“At least help me find the door so I can see to your wounds properly, will you help me?” I question I hear my voice sound like a plea, it is a plea I need to help her. I hear a single knock and I smile. Then I wonder how she can help me. How can I ask questions with yes and no as an answer, umm, maybe by room first? Then floor or wall? Yeah that works.
“Alright, let’s try this, is the door in the kitchen?” I stay sat where I am, not moving being silent so I didn’t miss anything. Two knocks.
“The living room?” two knocks I frown, It would never be in the bathroom that is just weird. But I have to ask. “The bathroom?” two knocks. I sigh frustrated, Where the hell is it? “Oh what abo-” I am cut off by the sound of the front door opening, I quickly stand up and start walking upstairs.
“Tobias, where are you going?” my father asks it was in a soft tone, a tone that I very rarely hear. Strange, very strange.
“To do my homework?” I answer though it sounds more like a question because I am still confused by his sudden change in mood towards me.
“Well don’t you need your bag for that?” he says a friendly manner, he even had an amused smile on his face. As he picks my bag up holding it out to me. Ok, seriously what the hell is going on? Why is he being like this? Did whatever he do to the girl make him feel better? Make him feel lighter? If so that is just sick.
I just walk as casually as I can towards him to take my bag of him, by casually I mean not flinching or rushing to get away. Though I really just want to run.
Once I have my bag I walk up stairs then to my room shutting my door. Damn him for coming home for that exact time, I was going to find her, I was going to tend to her wounds. Least I got to talk to her, least I knew that she was alive. She didn’t die because she saved me, she was punished. Yes, but she is stubborn, she will survive.
I take my book out of my bag and start completing my homework, when a thought pops into my head. Can I leave now? Knowing that she is there, that she needs help? I question myself and a different voice in my head answers the question, The only way you will be able to help her is to become dauntless so you can make Marcus pay for what he is doing. You will be able to show everyone who he truly is, then you can save her when you are strong, fearless and brave.
“Tobias dinner is ready!” I hear my father shout up, in a fatherly caring manner, he has never been like this. Not since my mother went missing anyways. I walk downstairs cautiously after all this could all just be trick, then he spins around and just whip me. I don’t know maybe it is just paranoia or something.
I walk to the table and sit down, “Thank you.” I mutter before picking my fork up to eat.
“So it is the aptitude test on Friday then the choosing ceremony. I mean it is obvious what you are going to choose I mean no one has ever left abnegation because it would be considered selfish and they have been brought up to be selfless, there is really no point in us going to the ceremony but we have to.” My father explains still in a calm and happy manner as if he is proud that I have made it this far. That he will be able to beat me some more, Well he is wrong, I will leave, I am going to be the first. I don’t care if no one has left before me, I am going to leave to save the girl downstairs.
I just nod, “Yes, it would be selfish for anyone to leave because then they would be thinking or themselves and not the people that they are leaving behind.” I answer selflessly, though it kills me to act like this when I just want to shout from the rooftops how selfish he is.
My father smiles and nods, “Glad we are at a understanding, now come on eat up, then you can finish your homework before heading to bed, you have a lot to think about over the next couple of days, it is a life changing decision and once you have made your decision you cannot change it.” He explains then he takes a bite of food.
I nod and start eating, I decide to take a massive risk, but I need to see how he reacts about it, “Father, I had a weird dream last night, I dreamt that a girl came in my room whilst you were punishing me.” I watch as his eyes widen for just a second before going to back to normal, which is what I needed. That is the conformation I needed.
He just shrugs, I expected him to shout and yell but he was still calm, “It was just a dream son, I will tell you now that no one else lives in this house. It is natural to want someone to help you in your time of need.” He looks me in the eye and though he is calm I can still see the warning in his eyes.
“Did you see to my wounds last night?” I still question, his mouth works as if deciding what to say or do.
“Yes, it is your aptitude test in 2 days and you have your choosing ceremony in 3 days. We cannot have you looking all dirty and bloody now can we? So I cleaned you up and put you to bed.” He replies his voice a tiny bit harder and harsher than before, in my mind I shout. Liar, Liar, Liar!
I move my hands under the tables as they were in fists with how easily he can lie. “Well thank you, it was very selfless of you to take time to do that for me.” I answer through my teeth, I knew if I actually opened my mouth I would yell or give him attitude.
“It is ok son, are you finished your food?” I nod in response, he stands up picking up the plates walking to the sink, “You go and finish your homework. I will do these dishes.”
I look up at him, “Are you sure? I can do the dishes then go do my homework, it isn’t a problem.” I act all selfless though this really doesn’t come natural to me, we rarely talked to each other normally. This was foreign to me.
“It is ok, I will do them, go ahead.” He turn to look at me with a smile. I just nod walking upstairs, when I am upstairs I hear a door open, I silently run to the top of the stairs to see a door open in the corridor. That is it! That is the way down to the basement! I sit and listen with all of my mighty to what is going on.
“You heard all of those question Tobias was asking? That…that is why I never wanted you to leave. Yet you disobeyed me.” I heard Marcus hiss at her.
“You were losing it, you were going to-” I hear her voice once more, this time it isn’t angry or calm but full of fear, she was petrified.
“I told you not to speak, girl. When will you ever learn?” My father replies before I hear a very quiet muffled scream. “Shut up, Girl. Tobias is upstairs. We can’t have him know that his dream was real now can we?” He snaps at her.
What has he done? I didn’t hear the belt, what did he do to her? Why did she scream? Why was it muffled? She needs help, she needs serious help. I hear her sobs and cries.
I realise I could only hear any of this because my father left the door wide open. I hear his heavy footsteps walk up the stairs from the basement, I hide around the corner at the top of the staircase. When he is at the top of the stairs I can see his shirt covered in red. No…no its blood, he made her bleed, she is going to bleed out.
I quickly move to my room, I couldn’t think straight. This is all my fault, she got hurt because of me, and she could die because of me. if I just kept my mouth shut then she would never have been hurt.
I put my head in my hands letting tears falls. Why am I crying? I don’t even know the girl, I don’t even know her name. I start to think to myself but a different voice says, You do know her name, her name is ‘girl’. My hands are in fists again.
“That isn’t a name.” I mutter to myself. I hear my father’s heavy footsteps walk up the stairs so I grab my homework sheets and start filling it in. I finish quickly only because I wasn’t focusing I just made the answers up.
I lay on my bed and try to make a plan to make sure she will be alright. I will wait until night and wait until Marcus is asleep and I will go down those stairs and help her. I will see her for the first time, actually see her not a blurry version of her. I still didn’t get the answers that I wanted of her yesterday. I should have asked her what she is to me. I need to know if she is my sister. She has to be though doesn’t she? Why else would she be in our house?
I wake up to light streaming through the window. “What no!” I mutter, when did I fall asleep? I wasn’t supposed to fall asleep, no, now how am I supposed to know if she is alive?
I hear my father shout up, “Tobias, time to get up! Aptitude test is in an hour and half.” I frown deeply. Aptitude test? That isn’t till tomorrow.
“What? Isn’t it only Thursday?” I automatically call back, I am so confused right now. how can I miss a whole day?
“No, it is Friday, you slept all the way through Thursday. I called the school and said you were ill, looked like you needed the sleep. Come on you must be starving.” He calls from the bottom of the stairs. He would never just let me sleep, what did he do to me? did he know I know where the basement is? Is he making sure she doesn’t get my help?
I slowly move off the bed trying to wrap my mind around it all, I sigh deeply walking to my shirt draw opening it and picking up the top one and I frown and a piece of paper falls out. I put the shirt on then bend down to pick it up, there was blood droplets on the paper, and the writing was messy and quite hard to read. It must have been rushed. I think before I read the writing.
I heard the conversation, I am so pleased that you will be able to escape all of this. You have to choose dauntless, it is most fitting for you. Do not give a second thought about me, go to your new life. Maybe we will see each other again in a few years’ time? Good luck in your aptitude test.
Just remember when things get tough, you are never alone, no matter what someone is going through what you are, there is always someone to talk to.
Escape. Be free. Be brave.
The girl downstairs.
I look at the paper reading it once then twice then three times, the paper isn’t just covered in blood anymore but my tears as well. I wipe my tears away then put the piece of paper in my pocket. I will keep this close to me. She wants me to go to Dauntless, she wants me to leave. she wants to see me again; does that mean she is going to choose dauntless too?
“Tobias come on! Cereal is getting soggy on the table.” I hear my father shout, I walk down the stairs. I glance at the door in the corridor before walking to the table. I wonder how she got that in my draw. I couldn’t help but thinking as I sit down, I start to eat the cereal.
“You look distracted.” My father states, I feel his eyes on me, I can see he is trying to read me.
I look up and meet my father eyes. “Just worried about the aptitude test that is all. I just don’t know what to expect.”
I eat more of my cereal as his eyes soften if that is even possible, “You do not need to worry about it.” He answers and smiles, I nod and finish up my cereal before going to clean my bowl.
I run upstairs to brush my teeth before walking back down, “Well I best get going.” I mutter before grabbing my bag and leaving.
The walk was quick because I was too obvious and thinking about the girl and her letter which I know is still in my back pocket, I smile a little as I know it. I wait in the line and it isn’t long until I am walking into the room.
“Hello, my name is Tori, I will be administering your test today. Take a seat.” She speaks kindly and I smile walking towards the chair and I sit down.
“Tobias.” I introduce myself with a single word before leaning back, I expect an injection. I mean everything is injections all the serums. Instead she hands me a glass, with blue liquid in. “What is it?”
“Doesn’t matter what it is, just drink.” She answers, I turn my head to look at her and smile a little as I notice for the first time she is wearing black dauntless clothes. She said that because she has no idea what it is. I just chuckle once before drinking the liquid.
“Now what?” I ask turning to look at her again and see she is gone, I frown looking around, I get of the chair walking towards a mirrored wall. I look away not because I am selfless but because I couldn’t look at me weak, broken self.
As I turn to look I see another version of myself I sigh and look away from that self to see another version of myself. I grunt a little turning away to see a version of me that isn’t facing me but has my back to me. I start walking towards him and as he turns around all of the beings change and there is two choices in front of me. Steak or a knife.
“Choose.” The other version of myself commands, without even hesitating I pick the knife up, I spin around to see a viscous dog, snarling at me. I just start backing away. I am not going to kill a dog. I think to myself so I kneel down on one knee, slowly moving my hand towards the dog and he sniffs it then starts wagging his tail. I smile a little and start stroking him.
“Doggy!” I hear a girl shouts and the dog become viscous again.
“No.” I mutter, it snarls at the girl and start running towards the girl, without hesitation I throw the knife at the dog and the whole room changes. I look around and see Tori looking at me stunned.
She is pulling me out of the chair, “W-what’s wrong?” I ask frowning looking at her, I read her face which was worry and a little bit of fear.
“The test didn’t work on you.” she mutters quickly walking towards a door we didn’t come in.
“What do you mean? How can it not work on someone?” I question confused as to what the hell is going on. Do I not belong anywhere?
“You are divergent, it means you belong in more than one place, for you it is Abnegation and Dauntless. You cannot let anyone know, they will try and kill you. I will type into the system that your result is abnegation so that is what you tell everyone. Got it?” I am just nodding trying to wrap my head around it all. “Good now go!” she pushes me out of the door the shuts it behind me.
Divergent? I belong in two places, Dauntless? Just like the girl downstairs said, she said I would fit into it. But what about her, she could die from the beatings. I pull the letter out of my back pocket and read it again and again.
Don’t give me a second thought. I read that line over and over until I get it imbedded in my head.
I am going to become Dauntless.