The ChoosingSweat shines on my forehead. I stare forward. My mum and dad are by my side. We are about to enter the Hub for the Choosing ceremony. My Dauntless friends stick by me. We are normally joking and laughing but today we are all silent. I know why. They know what I am going to choose.
We walk through the big doors and toward the elevator. All the other Dauntless crowd around me and our leader, Four, presses the button to take us up. I wait nervously, my stomach jumping like it is on fire. When the doors slide open, I am shoved forward and out to the top floor. I follow my parents and friends through the corridor to a long square room, where the five faction bowls are placed at the front. Abnegation stones, Amity earth, Dauntless coals, Erudite water and Candor glass. I follow everyone to the Dauntless seats and sit myself down in one. Then I wait.
"Welcome." A voice says. It is Marcus, leader of the Abnegation. "Welcome to the Choosing Ceremony. Welcome to the day we honour the democratic philosophy of our ancestors, which tells us every man has the right to choose his own way in the world."
I squeeze Mum's fingers. She looks at me and smiles.
"Our dependents are now sixteen. They stand on the precipice of adulthood, and it is now up to them to decide what kind of people they will be. Decades ago our ancestors realised that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world. Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality....."
I zone out and lay back in my chair. What do I choose, what do I choose. I look over at the Amity. The Erudite. Candor. Abnegation. And finally, I look at us. Dauntless, the brave one. But I can never be brave. I am weak. I am afraid. Right now, I am afraid of what I will choose. I do not know what I believe. I am torn between the factions, which to choose. I don't know what to do.
"Those who blamed aggression formed Amity."
I glance over at the Amity, dressed in red and yellow. They look happy and free. Just what I want to be like.
"Those who blamed ignorance became Erudite."
The Erudite wear smug looks on their framed faces. I have never liked that look that hangs around the Erudite, that sort of superior aura that floats around their faction.
"Those who blamed duplicity created Candor."
Truth has never been a strength of mine.
I do not like Abnegation for their seriousness. They are kind and loyal but too solemn.
"And those who blamed cowardice were the Dauntless."
I do not blame cowardice. It is okay for everyone to be scared. The Dauntless are not brave, they are suicidal.
Marcus keeps talking but I do not give an effort to listen. I stare blankly ahead, numb with fright.
Sixteen years. Sixteen years of death and pain and suicide...and for what? For people to think I am brave and to admire me? To believe in the lie I have created?
No. No. I will not let this continue, I will not let this continue.
I return back to the scene before me. Oh God. Marcus is calling out names. No, no, please don't let this be it.
"James Tucker." calls Marcus. I watch as a boy in Dauntless clothes makes his way forward. He stumbles as he goes and takes the knife from Marcus. His hands are shaking and he can't use it, but finally, he manages to and puts his hand over the Candor bowl. Blood drips onto glass. A transfer.
I look at the Dauntless. They are booing and hissing. He is a traitor now.
"Caleb Prior." An Abnegation boy. He walks over with shaky legs and takes the pointed instrument from Marcus's hands. He chooses Erudite.
A hubbub rises from the crowd. Murmurs become speech, and even shouting.
"Excuse me!" Marcus yells, "Quiet please!"
Everyone stops. I sit still.
"Beatrice Prior." A smallish girl stands up, from Abnegation. She takes the knife and chooses Dauntless.
Oh no. My mum gives me a gentle push, and I stand up shakily. Picking my way through rows and rows of Dauntless, I make my way to the front of the room. Marcus holds the blood-stained knife in his hands. I pick it up and feel it's weight. So many times I have used this as a weapon. Now I will have to use it to determine my entire future. I walk to the five bowls and examine all of them, but only one draws me to it. I walk forward and slit my hand. Beads of blood appear on it. I scan rows of Dauntless and find my mum and dad. I look them straight in the eye, as an act of farewell, rather than an act of defiance. Then I gather my wits, and push my hand over the bowl of dirt and grass. My blood drips down.
I am one of them now.
I am Amity.