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CHAPTER ELEVEN

TRIS

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

THE TRAIN SLOWS down when we get closer to the fence, a signal from the driver that we should get off soon. Tobias and I sit in the doorway of the car as it moves lazily over the tracks. He puts his arm around me and touches his nose to my hair, taking a breath. I look at him, at the collarbone peeking out from the neck of his T-shirt, at the faint curl of his lip, and I feel something heating up inside me.

“What are you thinking about?” he says into my ear, softly.

I jerk to attention. I look at him all the time, but not always like that—I feel like he just caught me doing something embarrassing. “Nothing! Why?”

“No reason. ” He pulls me closer to his side, and I rest my head on his shoulder, taking deep breaths of the cool air. It still smells like summer, like grass baking in the heat of the sun.

“It looks like we’re getting close to the fence,” I say.

I can tell because the buildings are disappearing, leaving just fields, dotted with the rhythmic glow of lightning bugs. Behind me, Caleb sits near the other door, hugging his knees. His eyes find mine at just the wrong moment, and I want to scream into the darkest parts of him so he can finally hear me, finally understand what he did to me, but instead I just hold his stare until he can’t take it anymore and he looks away.

I stand, using the handle to steady me, and Tobias and Caleb do the same. At first Caleb tries to stand behind us, but Tobias pushes him forward, right up to the edge of the car.

“You first. On my mark!” he says. “And . . . go!”

He gives Caleb a push, just enough to get him off the car floor, and my brother disappears. Tobias goes next, leaving me alone in the train car.

It’s stupid to miss a thing when there are so many people to miss instead, but I miss this train already, and all the others that carried me through the city, my city, after I was brave enough to ride them. I brush my fingers over the car wall, just once, and then jump. The train is moving so slowly that I overcompensate with my landing, too used to running off the momentum, and I fall. The dry grass scrapes my palms and I push myself to my feet, searching the darkness for Tobias and Caleb.

Before I find them, I hear Christina. “Tris!”

She and Uriah come toward me. He is holding a flashlight, and he looks far more alert than he did this afternoon, which is a good sign. Behind them are more lights, more voices.

“Did your brother make it?” Uriah says.

“Yeah. ” Finally I see Tobias, his hand gripping Caleb’s arm, coming toward us.

“Not sure why an Erudite like you can’t get it through his head,” Tobias is saying, “but you aren’t going to be able to outrun me. ”

“He’s right,” says Uriah. “Four’s fast. Not as fast as me, but definitely faster than a Nose like you. ”

Christina laughs. “A what?”

“Nose. ” Uriah touches the side of his nose. “It’s a play on words. ‘Knows’ with a ‘K,’ knowledge, Erudite . . . get it? It’s like Stiff. ”

“The Dauntless have the weirdest slang. Pansycake, Nose . . . is there a term for the Candor?”

“Of course. ” Uriah grins. “Jerks. ”

Christina shoves Uriah, hard, making him drop the flashlight. Tobias, laughing, leads us to the rest of the group, standing a few feet away. Tori waves her flashlight in the air to get everyone’s attention, then says, “All right, Johanna and the trucks will be about a ten-minute walk from here, so let’s get going. And if I hear a word from anyone, I will beat you senseless. We’re not out yet. ”

We move closer together like sections of a tightened shoelace. Tori walks a few feet in front of us, and from the back, in the dark, she reminds me of Evelyn, her limbs lean and wiry, her shoulders back, so sure of herself it’s almost frightening. By the light of the flashlights I can just make out the tattoo of a hawk on the back of her neck, the first thing I spoke to her about when she administered my aptitude test. She told me it was a symbol of a fear she had overcome, a fear of the dark. I wonder if that fear still creeps up on her now, though she worked so hard to face it—I wonder if fears ever really go away, or if they just lose their power over us.

She moves farther away from us by the minute, her pace more like a jog than a walk. She is eager to leave, to escape this place where her brother was murdered and she rose to prominence only to be thwarted by a factionless woman who wasn’t supposed to be alive.

She is so far ahead that when the shots go off, I only see her flashlight fall, not her body.

“Split up!” Tobias’s voice roars over the sound of our cries, our chaos. “Run!”

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I search in the dark for his hand, but I don’t find it. I grab the gun Uriah gave me before we left and hold it out from my body, ignoring the way my throat tightens at the feel of it. I can’t run into the night. I need light. I sprint in the direction of Tori’s body—of her fallen flashlight.

I hear but do not hear the gunshots, and the shouting, and the running footsteps. I hear but do not hear my heartbeat. I crouch next to the shaft of light she dropped and pick up the flashlight, intending to just grab it and keep running, but in its glow I see her face. It shines with sweat, and her eyes roll beneath her eyelids, like she is searching for something but is too tired to find it.

One of the bullets found her stomach, and the other found her chest. There is no way she will recover from this. I may be angry with her for fighting me in Jeanine’s laboratory, but she’s still Tori, the woman who guarded the secret of my Divergence. My throat tightens as I remember following her into the aptitude test room, my eyes on her hawk tattoo.

Her eyes shift in my direction and focus on me. Her eyebrows furrow, but she doesn’t speak.

I shift the flashlight into the crook of my thumb and reach for her hand to squeeze her sweaty fingers.

I hear someone approaching, and I aim flashlight and gun in the same direction. The beam hits a woman wearing a factionless armband, with a gun pointed at my head. I fire, clenching my teeth so hard they squeak.

The bullet hits the woman in the stomach and she screams, firing blindly into the night.

I look back down at Tori, and her eyes are closed, her body still. Pointing my flashlight at the ground, I sprint away from her and from the woman I just shot. My legs ache and my lungs burn. I don’t know where I’m going, if I’m running into danger or away from it, but I keep running as long as I can.

Finally I see a light in the distance. At first I think it’s another flashlight, but as I draw closer I realize it is larger and steadier than a flashlight—it’s a headlight. I hear an engine, and crouch in the tall grass to hide, switching my flashlight off and keeping my gun ready. The truck slows, and I hear a voice:

“Tori?”

It sounds like Christina. The truck is red and rusted, an Amity vehicle. I straighten, pointing the light at myself so she’ll see me. The truck stops a few feet ahead of me, and Christina leaps out of the passenger seat, throwing her arms around me. I replay it in my mind to make it real, Tori’s body falling, the factionless woman’s hands covering her stomach. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t feel real.

“Thank God,” Christina says. “Get in. We’re going to find Tori. ”

“Tori’s dead,” I say plainly, and the word “dead” makes it real for me. I wipe tears from my cheeks with the heels of my hands and struggle to control my shuddering breaths. “I—I shot the woman who killed her. ”

“What?” Johanna sounds frantic. She leans over from the driver’s seat. “What did you say?”

“Tori’s gone,” I say. “I saw it happen. ”

Johanna’s expression is shrouded by her hair. She presses her next breath out.

“Well, let’s find the others, then. ”

I get into the truck. The engine roars as Johanna presses the gas pedal, and we bump over the grass in search of the others.

“Did you see any of them?” I say.

“A few. Cara, Uriah. ” Johanna shakes her head. “No one else. ”

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

I wrap my hand around the door handle and squeeze. If I had tried harder to find Tobias . . . if I hadn’t stopped for Tori . . .

What if Tobias didn’t make it?

“I’m sure they’re all right,” Johanna says. “That boy of yours knows how to take care of himself. ”

I nod, without conviction. Tobias can take care of himself, but in an attack, surviving is an accident. It doesn’t take skill to stand in a place where no bullets find you, or to fire into the dark and hit a man you didn’t see. It is all luck, or providence, depending on what you believe. And I don’t know—have never known—exactly what I believe.

He’s all right he’s all right he’s all right.

Tobias is all right.

My hands tremble, and Christina squeezes my knee. Johanna steers us toward the rendezvous point, where she saw Uriah and Cara. I watch the speedometer needle climb, then hold steady at seventy-five. We jostle one another in the cab, thrown this way and that way by the uneven ground.

“There!” Christina points. There is a cluster of lights ahead of us, some just pinpricks, like flashlights, and others round, like headlights.

We pull up close, and I see him. Tobias sits on the hood of the other truck, his arm soaked with blood. Cara stands in front of him with a first aid kit. Caleb and Peter sit on the grass a few feet away. Before Johanna has stopped the truck completely, I open the door and get out, running toward him. Tobias stands up, ignoring Cara’s orders to stay put, and we collide, his uninjured arm wrapping around my back and lifting me off my feet. His back is wet with sweat, and when he kisses me, he tastes like salt.

All the knots of tension inside me come apart at once. I feel, just for a moment, like I am remade, like I am brand-new.

He’s all right. We’re out of the city. He’s all right.

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