Insurgent, p.42
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       Insurgent, p.42
 

         Part #2 of Divergent series by Veronica Roth  
Page 42

 

  “We had to shoot so many,” Uriah mutters, squeezing my arm. “Just to get into the building, we had to. ”

  “I know,” I say.

  I see Christina’s sister and mother clutched together on the right side of the room. And on the left side, a young man with dark hair that gleams in the fluorescent light—Peter. His hand is on the shoulder of a middle-aged woman I recognize as his mother.

  “What is he doing here?” I say.

  “Little coward came in the aftermath, after all the work was done,” Uriah says. “I heard his dad’s dead. Looks like his mother’s okay, though. ”

  Peter looks over his shoulder, and his gaze meets mine, just for a second. In that second I try to summon some pity for the person who saved my life. But while the hatred I once had for him is gone, I still feel nothing.

  “What’s the holdup?” demands Therese. “Let’s get going. ”

  We walk past the meeting room to the main lobby, where I once embraced Caleb. The giant portrait of Jeanine is in pieces on the floor. The smoke that hovers in the air is condensed around the bookshelves, which are burned to cinders. All the computers are in pieces, strewn across the floor.

  Sitting in rows in the center of the room are some of the Erudite who didn’t get away, and the Dauntless traitors who survived. I search the faces for anything familiar. I find Caleb near the back, looking dazed. I look away.

  “Tris!” I hear. Christina sits near the front, next to Cara, her leg wrapped tightly with fabric. She beckons to me, and I sit down next to her.

  “No success?” she says quietly.

  I shake my head.

  She sighs, and puts her arm around me. The gesture is so comforting I almost start to cry. But Christina and I are not people who cry together; we’re people who fight together. So I hold my tears in.

  “I saw your mom and your sister in the next room,” I say.

  “Yeah, me too,” she says. “My family is okay. ”

  “Good,” I say. “How’s your leg?”

  “Fine. Cara said it’ll be fine; it’s not bleeding too much. One of the Erudite nurses stuffed some pain meds and antiseptic and gauze into her pockets before they took her down here, so it doesn’t hurt too bad either,” she says. Beside her, Cara is examining another Erudite’s arm. “Where’s Marcus?”

  “Dunno,” I say. “We had to split up. He should be down here. Unless they killed him or something. ”

  “I wouldn’t be that surprised, honestly,” she says.

  The room is chaotic for a while—people rushing in and rushing out again, our factionless guards trading places, new people in Erudite blue brought to sit among us—but gradually everything gets quieter, and then I see him: Tobias, walking through the stairwell door.

  I bite my lip, hard, and try not to think, try not to dwell on the cold feeling that surrounds my chest and the weight that hangs over my head. He hates me. He does not believe me.

  Christina clutches me tighter as he walks past us, without even looking at me. I watch him over my shoulder. He stops next to Caleb, grabs his arm, and wrenches him to his feet. Caleb wriggles for a second, but he is not half as strong as Tobias and can’t break away.

  “What?” Caleb says, panicking. “What do you want?”

  “I want you to disarm the security system for Jeanine’s laboratory,” says Tobias without looking back. “So that the factionless can access her computer. ”

  And destroy it, I think, and if possible, my heart becomes even heavier. Tobias and Caleb disappear into the stairwell again.

  Christina slumps against me, and I slump against her, so we hold each other up.

  “Jeanine activated all the Dauntless transmitters, you know,” Christina says. “One of the factionless groups got ambushed by simulation-controlled Dauntless, coming late from the Abnegation sector about ten minutes ago. I guess the factionless won, though I don’t know how you call shooting a bunch of brain-dead people winning. ”

  “Yeah. ” There isn’t much more to say. She seems to realize that.

  “What happened after I got shot?” she says.

  I describe the blue hallway with two doors, and the simulation that followed, from the moment I recognized the Dauntless training room to the moment I shot myself. I do not tell her about hallucinating Will.

  “Wait,” she says. “It was a simulation? Without a transmitter?”

  I frown. I hadn’t bothered to wonder about that. Especially not at the time. “If the laboratory recognizes people, maybe it also knows data about everyone, and can present a corresponding simulated environment depending on your faction. ”

  It doesn’t matter, now, to figure out how Jeanine set up the security on her laboratory, of all things. But it feels good to put myself to some use, to think of a new problem to solve now that I have failed to solve the most important one.

  Christina sits up straighter. Maybe she feels the same way.

  “Or the poison somehow contains a transmitter. ”

  I hadn’t thought of that.

  “But how did Tori get past it? She’s not Divergent. ”

  I tilt my head. “I don’t know. ”

  Maybe she is, I think. Her brother was, and after what happened to him, she might never admit it, no matter how accepted it becomes.

  People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.

  “What do you think they’re going to do to us when they find us guilty?” she says after a few minutes of silence have passed.

  “Honestly?”

  “Does now seem like the time for honesty?”

  I look at her from the corner of my eye. “I think they’re going to force us to eat lots of cake and then take an unreasonably long nap. ”

  She laughs. I try not to—if I let myself laugh, I’ll start to cry, too.

  I hear a yell, and peer around the crowd to see where it came from.

  “Lynn!” The yell came from Uriah. He runs toward the door, where two Dauntless are carrying Lynn in on a makeshift stretcher, made of what looks like a shelf from a bookcase. She is pale—too pale—and her hands are folded over her stomach.

  I jump to my feet and start toward her, but a few factionless guns stop me from going much farther. I put up my hands and stand still, watching.

  Uriah walks around the crowd of war criminals and points to a severe-looking Erudite woman with gray hair. “You. Come here. ”

  The woman gets to her feet and brushes off her pants. She walks, light-footed, to the edge of the seated crowd and looks expectantly at Uriah.

  “You’re a doctor, right?” he says.

  “I am, yes,” she says.

  “Then fix her!” He scowls. “She’s hurt. ”

  The doctor approaches Lynn and asks the two Dauntless to set her down. They do, and she crouches over the stretcher.

  “My dear,” she says. “Please remove your hands from your wound. ”

  “I can’t,” moans Lynn. “It hurts. ”

  “I am aware that it hurts,” the doctor says. “But I won’t be able to assess your wound if you do not reveal it to me. ”

  Uriah kneels across from the doctor and helps her shift Lynn’s hands away from her stomach. The doctor peels Lynn’s shirt back from her stomach. The bullet wound itself is just a round, red circle in Lynn’s skin, but surrounding it is what looks like a bruise. I have never seen a bruise that dark.

  The doctor purses her lips, and I know that Lynn is as good as dead.

  “Fix her!” says Uriah. “You can fix her, so do it!”

  “On the contrary,” the doctor says, looking up at him. “Because you set the hospital floors of this building on fire, I cannot fix her. ”

  “There are other hospitals!” he says, almost shouting. “You can get stuff from ther
e and heal her!”

  “Her condition is far too advanced,” the doctor says, her voice quiet. “If you had not insisted upon burning everything that came into your path, I could have tried, but as the situation stands, trying would be worthless. ”

  “You shut up!” he says, pointing at the doctor’s chest. “I’m not the one who burned your hospital! She’s my friend, and I . . . I just . . . ”

  “Uri,” says Lynn. “Shut up. It’s too late. ”

  Uriah lets his arms fall to his sides, then reaches for Lynn’s hand, his lip quivering.

  “I’m her friend too,” I say to the factionless pointing guns at me. “Can you at least point guns at me from over there?”

  They let me pass, and I run to Lynn’s side, holding her free hand, which is sticky with blood. I ignore the gun barrels pointed at my head and focus on Lynn’s face, which is now yellowish instead of white.

  She doesn’t seem to notice me. She focuses on Uriah.

  “I’m just glad I didn’t die while under the simulation,” she says weakly.

  “You’re not gonna die now,” he says.

  “Don’t be stupid,” she says. “Uri, listen. I loved her too. I did. ”

  “You loved who?” he says, his voice breaking.

  “Marlene,” says Lynn.

  “Yeah, we all loved Marlene,” he says.

  “No, that’s not what I mean. ” She shakes her head. She closes her eyes.

  Still, it takes a few minutes before her hand goes limp in mine. I guide it across her stomach, and then take her other hand from Uriah and do the same to it. He wipes his eyes before his tears can fall. Our eyes meet across her body.

  “You should tell Shauna,” I say. “And Hector. ”

  “Right. ” He sniffs and presses his palm to Lynn’s face. I wonder if her cheek is still warm. I don’t want to touch her and find that it’s not.

  I rise and walk back to Christina.

  CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

  MY MIND KEEPS tugging me toward my memories of Lynn, in an attempt to persuade me that she is actually gone, but I push away the short flashes as they come. Someday I will stop doing that, if I’m not executed as a traitor, or whatever our new leaders have planned. But right now I fight to keep my mind blank, to pretend that this room is all that has ever existed and all that will ever exist. It should not be easy, but it is. I have learned how to fend off grief.

  Tori and Harrison come to the lobby after a while, Tori limping toward a chair—I almost forgot about her bullet wound again; she was so nimble when she killed Jeanine—and Harrison following her.

  Behind both of them is one of the Dauntless with Jeanine’s body slung over his shoulder. He heaves it like a stone on a table in front of the rows of Erudite and Dauntless traitors.

  Behind me I hear gasps and mutters, but no sobs. Jeanine was not the kind of leader people cry for.

  I stare up at her body, which seems so much smaller in death than it did in life. She is only a few inches taller than I am, her hair only a few shades darker. She looks calm now, almost peaceful. I have trouble connecting this body with the woman I knew, the woman without a conscience.

  And even she was more complicated than I thought, keeping a secret that she thought was too terrible to reveal, out of a heinously twisted protective instinct.

  Johanna Reyes steps into the lobby, soaked to the bone from all the rain, her red clothes smeared with a darker red. The factionless flank her, but she doesn’t appear to notice them or the guns they carry.

  “Hello,” she says to Harrison and Tori. “What is it that you want?”

  “I didn’t know the leader of Amity would be so curt,” says Tori with a wry smile. “Isn’t that against your manifesto?”

  “If you were actually familiar with Amity’s customs, you would know that they don’t have a formal leader,” says Johanna, her voice simultaneously gentle and firm. “But I’m not the representative of Amity anymore. I stepped down in order to come here. ”

  “Yeah, I saw you and your little band of peacekeepers, getting in everyone’s way,” says Tori.

  “Yes, that was intentional,” Johanna replies. “Since getting in the way meant standing between guns and innocents, and saved a great number of lives. ”

  Color fills her cheeks, and I think it again: that Johanna Reyes might still be beautiful. Except now I think that she isn’t just beautiful in spite of the scar, she’s somehow beautiful with it, like Lynn with her buzzed hair, like Tobias with the memories of his father’s cruelty that he wears like armor, like my mother in her plain gray clothing.

  “Since you are still so very generous,” says Tori, “I wonder if you might carry a message back to the Amity. ”

  “I don’t feel comfortable leaving you and your army to dole out justice as you see fit,” says Johanna, “but I will certainly send someone else to Amity with a message. ”

  “Fine,” says Tori. “Tell them that a new political system will soon be formed that will exclude them from representation. This, we believe, is their just punishment for failing to choose a side in this conflict. They will, of course, be obligated to continue to produce and deliver food to the city, but they will be under supervision by one of the leading factions. ”

  For a second, I think that Johanna might launch herself at Tori and strangle her. But she draws herself up taller and says, “Is that all?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Fine,” she says. “I’m going to go do something useful. I don’t suppose you would allow some of us to come in here and tend to these wounded?”

  Tori gives her a look.

  “I didn’t think so,” says Johanna. “Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like. ”

  She turns and walks out of the lobby.

  Something about her words hits me. I am sure she meant them as a threat, and a feeble one, but it rings in my head like it was something more—like she could easily have been talking not about the Amity, but about another oppressed group. The factionless.

 
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