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CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

IN THE DAYS that follow, it’s movement, not stillness, that helps to keep the grief at bay, so I walk the compound halls instead of sleeping. I watch everyone else recover from the memory serum that altered them permanently as if from a great distance.

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Those lost in the memory serum haze are gathered into groups and given the truth: that human nature is complex, that all our genes are different, but neither damaged nor pure. They are also given the lie: that their memories were erased because of a freak accident, and that they were on the verge of lobbying the government for equality for GDs.

I keep finding myself stifled by the company of others and then crippled by loneliness when I leave them. I am terrified and I don’t even know of what, because I have lost everything already. My hands shake as I stop by the control room to watch the city on the screens. Johanna is arranging transportation for those who want to leave the city. They will come here to learn the truth. I don’t know what will happen to those who remain in Chicago, and I’m not sure I care.

I shove my hands into my pockets and watch for a few minutes, then walk away again, trying to match my footsteps to my heartbeat, or to avoid the cracks between the tiles. When I walk past the entrance, I see a small group of people gathered by the stone sculpture, one of them in a wheelchair—Nita.

I walk past the useless security barrier and stand at a distance, watching them. Reggie steps on the stone slab and opens a valve in the bottom of the water tank. The drops turn into a stream of water, and soon water gushes out of the tank, splattering all over the slab, soaking the bottomof Reggie’s pants.

“Tobias?”

I shudder a little. It’s Caleb. I turn away from the voice, searching for an escape route.

“Wait. Please,” he says.

I don’t want to look at him, to measure how much, or how little, he grieves for her. And I don’t want to think about how she died for such a miserable coward, about how he wasn’t worth her life.

Still, I do look at him, wondering if I can see some of her in his face, still hungry for her even now that I know she’s gone.

His hair is unwashed and unkempt, his green eyes bloodshot, his mouth twitching into a frown.

He does not look like her.

“I don’t mean to bother you,” he says. “But I have something to tell you. Something . . . she told me to tell you, before . . . ”

“Just get on with it,” I say, before he tries to finish the sentence.

“She told me that if she didn’t survive, I should tell you . . . ” Caleb chokes, then pulls himself up straight, fighting off tears. “That she didn’t want to leave you. ”

I should feel something, hearing her last words to me, shouldn’t I? I feel nothing. I feel farther away than ever.

“Yeah?” I say harshly. “Then why did she? Why didn’t she let you die?”

“You think I’m not asking myself that question?” Caleb says. “She loved me. Enough to hold me at gunpoint so she could die for me. I have no idea why, but that’s just the way it is. ”

He walks away without letting me respond, and it’s probably better that way, because I can’t think of anything to say that is equal to my anger. I blink away tears and sit down on the ground, right in the middle of the lobby.

I know why she wanted to tell me that she didn’t want to leave me. She wanted me to know that this was not another Erudite headquarters, not a lie told to make me sleep while she went to die, not an act of unnecessary self-sacrifice. I grind the heels of my hands into my eyes like I can push my tears back into my skull. No crying, I chastise myself. If I let a little of the emotion out, all of it will come out, and it will never end.

Sometime later I hear voices nearby—Cara and Peter.

“This sculpture was a symbol of change,” she says to him. “Gradual change, but now they’re taking it down. ”

“Oh, really?” Peter sounds eager. “Why?”

“Um . . . I’ll explain later, if that’s okay,” Cara says. “Do you remember how to get back to the dormitory?”

“Yep. ”

“Then . . . go back there for a while. Someone will be there to help you. ”

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Cara walks over to me, and I cringe in anticipation of her voice. But all she does is sit next to me on the ground, her hands folded in her lap, her back straight. Alert but relaxed, she watches the sculpture where Reggie stands under the gushing water.

“You don’t have to stay here,” I say.

“I don’t have anywhere to be,” she says. “And the quiet is nice. ”

So we sit side by side, staring at the water, in silence.

“There you are,” Christina says, jogging toward us. Her face is swollen and her voice is listless, like a heavy sigh. “Come on, it’s time. They’re unplugging him. ”

I shudder at the word, but push myself to my feet anyway. Hana and Zeke have been hovering over Uriah’s body since we got here, their fingers finding his, their eyes searching for life. But there is no life left, just the machine beating his heart.

Cara walks behind Christina and me as we go toward the hospital. I haven’t slept in days but I don’t feel tired, not in the way I normally do, though my body aches as I walk. Christina and I don’t speak, but I know our thoughts are the same, fixed on Uriah, on his last breaths.

We make it to the observation window outside Uriah’s room, and Evelyn is there—Amar picked her up in my stead, a few days ago. She tries to touch my shoulder and I yank it away, not wanting to be comforted.

Inside the room, Zeke and Hana stand on either side of Uriah. Hana is holding one of his hands, and Zeke is holding the other. A doctor stands near the heart monitor, a clipboard outstretched, held out not to Hana or Zeke but to David. Sitting in his wheelchair. Hunched and dazed, like all the others who have lost their memories.

“What is he doing there?” I feel like all my muscles and bones and nerves are on fire.

“He’s still technically the leader of the Bureau, at least until they replace him,” Cara says from behind me. “Tobias, he doesn’t remember anything. The man you knew doesn’t exist anymore; he’s as good as dead. That man doesn’t remember kill—”

“Shut up!” I snap. David signs the clipboard and turns around, pushing himself toward the door. It opens, and I can’t stop myself—I lunge toward him, and only Evelyn’s wiry frame stops me from wrapping my hands around his throat. He gives me a strange look and pushes himself down the hallway as I press against my mother’s arm, which feels like a bar across my shoulders.

“Tobias,” Evelyn says. “Calm. Down. ”

“Why didn’t someone lock him up?” I demand, and my eyes are too blurry to see out of.

“Because he still works for the government,” Cara says. “Just because they’ve declared it an unfortunate accident doesn’t mean they’ve fired everyone. And the government isn’t going to lock him up just because he killed a rebel under duress. ”

“A rebel,” I repeat. “That’s all she is now?”

“Was,” Cara says softly. “And no, of course not, but that’s what the government sees her as. ”

I’m about to respond, but Christina interrupts. “Guys, they’re doing it. ”

In Uriah’s room, Zeke and Hana join their free hands over Uriah’s body. I see Hana’s lips moving, but I can’t tell what she’s saying—do the Dauntless have prayers for the dying? The Abnegation react to death with silence and service, not words. I find my anger ebbing away, and I’m lost in muffled grief again, this time not just for Tris, but for Uriah, whose smile is burned into my memory. My friend’s brother, and then my friend, too, though not for long enough to let his humor work its way into me, not for long enough.

The doctor flips some switches, his clipboard clutched to his stomach, and the machines stop breathing for Uriah. Zeke’s shoulders shake, and Hana squeezes his hand tightly, until her knuckles go white.

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Then she says something, and her hands spring open, and she steps back from Uriah’s body. Letting him go.

I move away from the window, walking at first, and then running, pushing my way through the hallways, careless, blind, empty.

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