Read an Exclusive Excerpt of the New "Divergent" Book
Living in a future Chicago where she must choose to live as part of one of five different factions, Tris (Shailene Woodley's character inDivergent, the film) has picked the full-of-life but frightening Dauntless. During her training as an initiate, she's attacked by a fellow trainee, Al, who ends up killing himself. As her trainer, it's up to the enigmatic and handsome Four (played by Theo James) to make her understand why her life is in peril.
"Tris," I say.
"What are you doing here?" she says bitterly. "Shouldn't you be paying your respects?"
"Shouldn't you?" I move toward her.
"Can't pay respect when you don't have any." I'm surprised, for a moment, that she can manage to be so cold — Tris isn't always nice, but she's rarely cavalier about anything. It only takes her a second to shake her head. "I didn't mean that."
"This is ridiculous," she says, flushing. "He throws himself off a ledge and Eric's calling it brave? Eric, who tried to have you throw knives at Al's head?" Her face contorts. "He wasn't brave! He was depressed and a coward, and he almost killed me! Is that the kind of thing we respect here?"
"What do you want them to do?" I say as gently as I can — which isn't saying much. "Condemn him? Al's already dead. He can't hear it, and it's too late."
"It's not about Al," she says. "It's about everyone watching! Everyone who now sees hurling themselves into the chasm as a viable option. I mean, whynotdo it if everyone calls you a hero afterward? Why not do it if everyone will remember your name?" But of course it is about Al, and she knows that. "It's …" She's struggling, fighting with herself. "I can't … This wouldneverhave happened in Abnegation! None of it! Never. This place warped him and ruined him, and I don't care if saying that makes me a Stiff. I don't care, I don'tcare!"
My paranoia is so deeply ingrained, I look automatically at the camera buried in the wall above the drinking fountain, disguised by the blue lamp fixed there. The people in the control room can see us, and if we're unlucky, they could choose this moment to hear us too. I can see it now, Eric calling Tris a faction traitor, Tris's body on the pavement near the railroad tracks … "Careful, Tris," I say.
"Is that all you can say?" She frowns at me. "That I should be careful? That's it?" I understand that my response wasn't exactly what she was expecting, but for someone who just railed against Dauntless's recklessness, she's definitely acting like one of them.
"You're as bad as the Candor, you know that?" I say. The Candor are always running their mouths, never thinking about the consequences. I pull her away from the drinking fountain, and then I'm close to her face and I can see her dead eyes floating in the water of the underground river and I can't stand it, not when she was just attacked. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't heard her scream? "I'm not going to say this again, so listen carefully." I put my hands on her shoulders. "They are watching you. You, in particular."
I remember Eric's eyes on her after the knife throwing. His questions about her deleted simulation data. I claimed water damage. He thought it was interesting that the water damage occurred not five minutes after Tris's simulation ended. Interesting.
"Let go of me," she says. I do, immediately. I don't like hearing her voice that way. "Are they watching you too?"Always have been, always will be.
"I keep trying to help you, but you refuse to be helped."
"Oh, right. Your help," she says. "Stabbing my ear with a knife and taunting me and yelling at me more than you yell at anyone else — it sure is helpful."
"Taunting you? You mean when I threw the knives? I wasn't taunting you!" I shake my head. "I was reminding you that if you failed, someone else would have to take your place." To me, at the time, it almost seemed obvious. I thought, since she seemed to understand me better than most people, she might understand that too. But of course she didn't. She's not a mind reader.
"Why?" she says.
"Because you're from Abnegation," I say. "And it's when you're acting selflessly that you are at your bravest. If I were you, I would do a better job of pretending that selfless impulse is going away, because if the wrong people discover it, well, it won't be good for you."
"Why? Why do they care about my intentions?"
"Intentions are the only thing they care about. They try to make you think they care about what you do, but they don't. They don't want you to act a certain way, they want you to think a certain way. So you're easy to understand. So you won't pose a threat to them." I put my hand on the wall near her face and lean into it, thinking of the tattoos forming a line on my back. It wasn't getting the tattoos that made me a faction traitor. It was what they meant to me — an escape from the narrow thinking of any one faction, the thinking that slices away at all the different parts of me, paring me down to just one version of myself.
"I don't understand why they care what I think, as long as I'm acting how they want me to," she says.
"You're acting how they want you to now, but what happens when your Abnegation-wired brain tells you to do something else, something they don't want?" Zeke, one of the other initiates, is the perfect example. Dauntless-born, Dauntless-raised, Dauntless-chosen. I can count on him to approach everything the same way. He was trained to from birth. To him, there are no other options.
"I might not need you to help me. Ever think about that?" she says. I want to laugh at the question. Of course she doesn't need me. When was it ever about that? "I'm not weak, you know. I can do this on my own."
"You think my first instinct is to protect you." I shift so I'm a little closer to her. "Because you're small or a girl or a Stiff. But you're wrong." Even closer. I touch her chin, and for a moment I think about closing this gap completely. "My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press," I say. It's a strange admission and a dangerous one. I don't mean her any harm, never have. I hope she knows that's not what I mean. "But I resist it."
"Why is that your first instinct?" she says.
"Fear doesn't shut you down," I say. "It wakes you up."
Reprinted from FOUR: A Divergent Collection.
Video: HAPPY 104TH BIRTHDAY, HEDY LAMARR: READ EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL BIOGRAPHY
How to Prevent Lymph Nodes from Swelling After a Mastectomy
Celebrity Hairstylist Mara Roszak Opens Hollywoods New It Salon
How to Make the Most out of Your Microsoft Zune
Skin test to determine if youre drinking enough water
How to Make Friends if Youre Deaf or Hard of Hearing
American Horror Story: Cult Episode 9 Was About Kais Grand Cult Ambitions
How to Write a Conclusion
The e-Bike That Might Replace Your Car
Phoebe Philo Is Leaving Céline—Heres Everything We Know
20 Weight Watchers Breakfast Recipes with Points
AWESOME WEDDING HAIRSTYLES WITH GORGEOUS HAIR ACCESSORIES – PART 1
How to Clean Dress Shirts
How to Put Volunteer Work on Your Resume
4. Orgasms are calming
The Top Ugly Autumn Trends Were Here For