Thorns (Part 1)
Eric X Rose
Cheers and screams fill the air as another Erudite girl lets her blood drip into the water. My breathing hitches as I wipe my sweaty palms on my brown pants. As the girl takes her seat with her family, my name is called.
“Rose Kane.” Blood pounds in my ears as my shaky legs carry me to the hardest decision I will ever make.
The knife is cold and heavy in my hand. I stand in middle of all the bowls, not daring to look back at my friends and family, afraid I will change my mind if I see their smiling faces.
Pressing the sharp tip of the knife to the center of my palm, I press down. Slowly I drag the knife across my palm, not caring about the pain; its nothing in comparison to the anxiety and adrenalin pumping through my system. Taking the knife away I stare at my palm, watching the blood pool against my pale skin. I know I’m spending more time then normal to do this, but I can’t bring myself to choose.
Someone clears his or her throat, trying to tell me to hurry up. I don’t breathe, I don’t close my eyes; I just stand there and watch as my blood drips onto the sizzling coal.
The left side of the room that holds the Dauntless faction erupts. Its not often Amity transfer to them; they are complete opposite factions and hold values that differ vastly.
Walk over to my new family, I am afraid to turn around and see my old one. Taking a seat, I avoid looking across the room; instead I stare at my hand, rubbing the cut on my palm, wondering what initiation would be like.
Surprisingly a girl named Beatrice transfers from Abnegation, which is not as rare as someone transferring from Amity, but she might get more hate for it. Abnegation has been talked about a lot recently; mostly saying that they are unfit to be the government for everyone. There was even a rumor circulating for a while that the leader of abnegation used to beat his son, Tobias.
I remember Tobias from school. I was younger than him, but I always had a giant crush on him. One day he bent down to grab something, and his shirt rode up, showing a large bruise on his lower back. I always believed the rumors were true since that day, but I never told anyone what I saw. As I got older and the rumors continued I always felt guilty for not helping him, for not telling anyone. I feel I could have saved him, but didn’t. I know he transferred to dauntless, I over heard my parents talk about, since they are leader of Amity, they know a lot about other factions as well. It’s not reason I decided Dauntless was right for me, but I hope I see him and get to apologize for not doing anything.
The ceremony was over, and we were all dismissed. The Dauntless born of course took off running to the trains, while us transfers try and keep up. Suddenly they all slow down, they don’t come to a complete stop, but they start launching themselves at a metal post. Climbing as they whoop and howl in laughter. Beatrice and I stand together at the bottom. I have climbed trees all my life on the farms; this was easy for me. What keeps me at the bottom is Beatrice’s face. She looks scared and unsure.
“Look, climbing isn’t that hard. Don’t think about the ground, focus on moving up.” She just nods clearly still unsure. “I’ll go first, just copy what I do step for step.” I don’t give her time to chicken out; I place my hand on the first run, and pulled my self up. Step after step I make it half way up. Glancing down I see Beatrice following just below me. “You’re doing great!” I shout down at her. She looks up at me, grinning. We make it the rest of the way up, and I lend her my hand, pulling her to the platform.
Just as Beatrice gets to her feet, the platform starts to rattle. The train is coming. The Dauntless born starting running as the train comes around the corner, faster than it looked when I would watch it at school. Beatrice looks at me for guidance. “I have never jumped on I a moving train before.” having to yell over the wind, I decided to follow what the Dauntless born are doing, and motion for Beatrice to follow me.
My feet pound the metal runway, adrenalin once again flows through my veins as wrap my fingers around the door handle. Throwing my body into the train, I land on my right side, sending a shooting pain down my arm. Looking at the door I realize Beatrice isn’t on the train yet. Scrambling to my feet, I see she is just a step or two away from being able to grab the handle. Grabbing the handle on the inside wall. I extend my left arm out for her to grab. Her hand wraps tightly around my forearm.
Using all my strength I pull Beatrice into the cart with me. Lying on my back, I grab my right shoulder. I have only felt this kind of pain once. When I was about five I fell out of an apple tree and dislocated my shoulder. Thankfully there was some adrenalin still in my system, otherwise I would be crying in front of all the other initiates.
“Thank you.” Beatrice sits up. Taking another breath I a sit up with her, and place my back on the train wall to stabilize myself. “I’m Beatrice.” She holds her hand out. I grasp it limply, mostly because I was in pain and could barley raise my arm.
“Hi, I’m Rose.” We both start laughing at the absurdity of the last ten minutes. I hold my shoulder as we sit and talk. A condor girl named Christina joins us as well. I think I just made my first friends.
It’s not long before people start to move around. We hear someone shout about jumping, and the three of us go to see what the commotion is all about. Sure enough, a little further up people are launching themselves onto a roof. Some of them are graceful while they rolled, some are even so good they just land on their feet and walk it off. While Beatrice and Christina contemplate the fact that they will have to jump, I am trying to figure out the best way to land as to do the least amount of damage to my shoulder.
Christina and Beatrice grab each other hands, planning to jump together. Beatrice extends her hand to me, and I just shake my head. I don’t have time to explain that I couldn’t, I can’t move my arm. Beatrice looks a little hurt at my refusal.
Taking a few steps back I start running and leap over the large gap. My feet hit first. I tried to make it so I could stay on my feet and just run it off, but the impact caught me off guard and I summersaulted forward.
Lying on my back, I hear Christina and Beatrice land behind me, laughing. My breath was caught in my throat, and I brought my hand over my shoulder. The pain was white hot down my arm, I might even pass out its so bad.
Christina and Beatrice walk over to me, Crouching down they ask if I was all right. The wind was still nocked out of me, so I could not speak. Worried looks took over their faces, as they looked at each other, unsure what to do.
“Initiates, gather around.” I can’t see the person the voice belongs to, but it sounds strong and demands everyone to follow its instructions.
Everyone does what the voice says, murmuring a little, until falling silent under what I would assume is the gaze of a terrifying man.
“You two, what are you doing? Come over here now!” The voice barked; causing Beatrice and Christina to part, showing me to person the voice was coming from.
I try to sit up. I have a feeling the person attached to the voice would cause me more pain than my shoulder if I didn’t.
Struggling, the girls step aside as a tall, well built man walked over to us. Looking down at me, I make eye contact with his striking blue eyes. The blue looked almost unreal, but the look behind them brought me back to reality, as they looked ready to murder.
“Get up initiate.” He commands at me. Trying my hardest I make it to my knees, when his patience runs out. Grabbing me by my shoulder, I let out a scream I didn’t even know I had in me. He immediately releases me, leaving me on my knees.
Crouching down he inspects me shoulder, then without a word, snaps my shoulder back into place. My forehead hit the ground as I gasp in a breath, trying to breath through the pain.
“Stand up.” He commands at me again. This time I hold my shoulder and stand. Lifting my head I look him in the eyes once again, glad I haven’t cried yet.
He places his large hand on the middle of my back, and leads me to front of the pack. Standing next to a raised ledge. He begins to speak, while I stood by his side.
“Initiates, my name is Eric and I am a leader here at Dauntless. Behind me is the way in.” He gestures behind us to the giant black hole in a roof.
“Is there water at the bottom or something?” A tall Erudite boy speaks up.
“Maybe, maybe not.” Eric smirks, enjoying everyone’s discomfort. “Now, luckily for everyone there has already been a volunteer to jump first.” Everyone starts looking around at each other, wondering who is going to step up.
Eric turns towards me, a wicked glint in his eye. “Your up Amity.” He nods to the ledge. I don’t argue, I don’t speak, I just step up onto the ledge.
Looking down I don’t feel any fear, surprising even myself. Taking a step off I start falling. Despite the pain in my shoulder I start to smile. It feels so freeing to fall like this.
Landing on something that absorbs my impact, my smile is gone as my shoulder screams in protest. Staring at the sky above me, a noise makes me turn my head, seeing I’m on a giant net; suddenly it dips, and someone is pulling me off it.
Once my feet are on the ground I look up at the hands that pulled me off it.
“Name?” Tobias stares at me waiting for my answer. Shocked at seeing him, I don’t say anything. “Come on name? And choose wisely, you can’t change it after.” Looking at the ground I consider his question. I don’t want to be anyone new. I am still me, which will never change.
“Rose.” I say strongly. Tobias’s head turns slightly, maybe he recognizes me.
“First jumper, Rose!” He shouts out, and cheers erupt around me, revealing people I never knew were there.
Beatrice comes down next. She changes her name to Tris, but I am too busy staring at Tobias to care. Tris and Christina talk, while I am thinking of how I am going to talk to Tobias, when Eric jumps down, landing on the net. He rolls off himself, refusing help from Tobias, who barley offers any to begin with.
“Okay, new transfers go with four.” He points to Tobias. That must be his new name down here. I’ll have to remember that.
“Dauntless born your with Lauren.” Everyone starts to follow their leader when Eric wraps his hand around my right arm, holding me back. Four notices this and stops, turning to Eric with an annoyed look on his face.
“She is coming with me.” Eric says with no explanation as to why. Four looks like he is about to argue with him, and then decides against it.
Turning around everyone follows him once again, leaving me alone in the dark with the terrifying Dauntless leader.