Chapter 8: a million wheres which never may become

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Az is sitting on my left and Harper is on my right. We, James, and the ten of the Dauntless born initiates left line a dark tunnel, us on one side, them on the other. We’re all crouched down, sitting with our backs against the walls, watching each other. Az is asleep on my shoulder, but I don’t know how she can be so calm. When we first arrived, Four opened the door at the end of the hall and called Donna, one of the Dauntless bourn into the room. We haven’t heard from either of them in half an hour.

“So what do you think it is?” Harper asks aloud, and his voice cuts through the silence like a hot knife.

“What do we think what is?” one of the Dauntless girls asks. She’s long legged, and dark colored, black hair, black eyes, tanned skin.

“Stage two, what do you think it is?”

“We don’t know,” says the girl I pulled onto the train on Choosing Day. She’s tall too, but with sleek blonde hair and blue eyes. “No one’s allowed to talk about it.”

“But what could it be?” he asks again.

“Stop asking about it, transfer. You’ll know when it’s your turn,” the first girl says.

“Harper,” he says. “Not transfer.”

“Tamsin,” the first girl says, to nods her head at the other girl, “This is Alice.”

“This is Olivia, and Az, and James.”

“We know Olivia,” Tamsin smiles. “First jumper.”

“Instructor puncher,” Alice chimes.

“Infant protector.”

I can feel the blush on my face.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Alice says. “You’re quite the talk amongst the younger crowd. Especially since you’re from Abnegation.”

“I’m not Abnegation anymore,” I say.

“You’re well on your way to proving that,” Tamsin says. “Especially since last night.”

My eyes cut into hers. It’s alarming to know that the tale of what happened the night before is out. I don’t want people looking at me differently, treating me like glass because others had to come to my rescue. It also leaves me with the question of who let it out: Tobias or Eric?

“What happened last night?” Harper asks, eyes brows coming together and creasing his forehead. He looks at me then back at the other girls.

“Nothing,” I say coldly, “Not a damn thing.”

“’s not what I heard,” a Dauntless boy says. “I heard you almost got thrown over the chasm. Two guys tried killing you, and it didn’t stick.”

“That’s enough, William,” Alice says, “No need to be a dick.”

“Is that true, Olivia?” Harper asks me quietly. I try to ignore him the best I can, but when Harper concentrates on you, you have to give in.

“They grabbed me out of bed,” I tell him lowly, but with the way the others in the tunnel have gone still and silent, not lowly enough. “They dragged me to the chasm, and they did throw me over. I caught the rail. Four pulled me back over.”

“And Eric beat the shit out of the two that grabbed you,” William says.

Alice whips a knife out of the top of her boot and leaves an incision the size of my hand down William’s arm. He hisses and pulls away, pulling at his shirt and trying to staunch the bleeding.

“I told you not to be a dick,” she growls. “Don’t make me tell you again.”

“Olivia,” Harper breathes. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

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