Chapter 6: and staggered banged with terror through

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The full title of Chapter Six is: and staggered banged with terror through a million billion trillion stars.

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I’m lying on my back in the middle of the nursery with Adele bouncing on my chest. She’s a hefty infant and every time she lands too heavily on my chest I huff. She’s back in her black Dauntless shirt, but today she’s wearing a pair of dark red pants, and little baby combat boots, too. She looks like the Dauntless she may one day grow up to be. The door swings open and Fanny stands there in all her glory, a toddler on each hip and another clinging to the bottom of her shirt.

“You,” she says. “you only have one baby. Take Adele, and go down to the kitchen, and find out where the hell lunch is for these little shits. I swear to God if one of them starts crying again because the goddamn food trollie is late, I’m going to split someone’s head open.”

This is one of the things I like about Fanny. She doesn’t take any shit, and she’ll tell you where she stands, and where you stand around her; I suspect that she transferred from Candor.

“I can do that,” I tell her.

“There’s a baby sling in the cabinet,” she says, pointing without taking her and off of one of the toddlers. “Be careful going down the stairs. Plenty of people pay no mind to the baby strapped to your chest, and just plow on through.”

“I will,” I say, pulling the sling over my head; it’s green. “If I catch them on the way up, I’ll just feed Adele in the cafeteria. I’m starving.”

“Yeah, alright. Just find my food.”

“I’m going, I’m going.”

I scoop Adele up and tuck her into the sling; she giggles and claps, and I hand her a squishy red block to play with while I walk down the stairs. Fanny takes her kids back to her room, and I head out in search of the food cart. I keep one hand under Adele, and the other on the wall, making sure that I keep my balance; I couldn’t care less if I tripped and fell and broke my nose so long as I wasn’t carrying a baby when I did it. Adele is fascinated by an environment that isn’t the nursery room; she keeps popping her head up, then going back to her block, then looking out again to see if anything has changed.

As I make my way down to the first floor, two men a few years older than me push by, just like Fanny said they would, and I have to cover Adele’s head to keep her from banging against the wall.

“Watch it, asshole!”

“What was that, bitch?” the eldest one whips around and says.

“I said watch it.”

“Yeah? Who’s going to make me? You and the baby?”

“I can.”

All three of us look down the last six feet to the Pit floor. Max and Eric are standing there, but I can’t decide who it was that spoke; I was too worried that one of the two that pushed passed me would shove me over the ledge with the baby still in my arms. Both of the men freeze where they are.

“I know I didn’t just see you push Olivia into the wall,” Max says.

“She’s just a transfer, sir,” says the one that talked back to me.

“Transfer or no, she’s carrying a Dauntless child. I don’t need to remind you how precious children are in this faction.”

“No, sir.”

“Good. I think the janitor may need some help cleaning the floors over the next week. What do you gentlemen think?”

“Yes, sir,” they both say, and continue to trudge up the stairs, though one turns to give me a dirty look.

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