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By:Veronica Roth

When I reach the north corridor, I don't go straight to the cell, but rather to the woman who stands at the end. She is middle-aged, with eyes that droop at the edges and a mouth held in a pucker. She looks like everything exhausts her, including me.

"Hi," I say. "My name is Tobias Eaton. I'm here to collect a prisoner, on orders from Evelyn Johnson."

Her expression doesn't change when she hears my name, so for a few seconds I'm sure I'll have to knock her unconscious to get what I want. She takes a piece of crumpled paper from her pocket and flattens it against her left palm. On it is a list of prisoners' names and their corresponding room numbers.

"Name?" she says.

"Caleb Prior. 308A."

"You're Evelyn's son, right?"

"Yeah. I mean . . . yes." She doesn't seem like the kind of person who likes the word "yeah."

She leads me to a blank metal door with 308A on it-I wonder what it was used for when our city didn't require so many cells. She types in the code, and the door springs open.

"I guess I'm supposed to pretend I don't see what you're about to do?" she says.

She must think I'm here to kill him. I decide to let her.

"Yes," I say.

"Do me a favor and put in a good word for me with Evelyn. I don't want so many night shifts. The name's Drea."

"You got it."

She gathers the paper into her fist and shoves it back into her pocket as she walks away. I keep my hand on the door handle until she reaches her post again and turns to the side so she isn't facing me. It seems like she's done this a few times before. I wonder how many people have disappeared from these cells at Evelyn's command.

I walk in. Caleb Prior sits at a metal desk, bent over a book, his hair piled on one side of his head.

"What do you want?" he says.

"I hate to break this to you-" I pause. I decided a few hours ago how I wanted to handle this-I want to teach Caleb a lesson. And it will involve a few lies. "You know, actually, I kind of don't hate it. Your execution's been moved up a few weeks. To tonight."

That gets his attention. He twists in his chair and stares at me, his eyes wild and wide, like prey faced with a predator.

"Is that a joke?"

"I'm really bad at telling jokes."

"No." He shakes his head. "No, I have a few weeks, it's not tonight, no-"

"If you shut up, I'll give you an hour to adjust to this new information. If you don't shut up, I'll knock you out and shoot you in the alley outside before you wake up. Make your choice now."

Seeing an Erudite process something is like watching the inside of a watch, the gears all turning, shifting, adjusting, working together to form a particular function, which in this case is to make sense of his imminent demise.

Caleb's eyes shift to the open door behind me, and he seizes the chair, turning and swinging it into my body. The legs hit me, hard, which slows me down just enough to let him slip by.         



I follow him into the hallway, my arms burning from where the chair hit me. I am faster than he is-I slam into his back and he hits the floor face-first, without bracing himself. With my knee against his back, I pull his wrists together and squeeze them into a plastic loop. He groans, and when I pull him to his feet, his nose is bright with blood.

Drea's eyes touch mine for just a moment, then move away.

I drag him down the hallway, not the way I came, but another way, toward an emergency exit. We walk down a flight of narrow stairs where the echo of our footsteps layers over itself, dissonant and hollow. Once I'm at the bottom, I knock on the exit door.

Zeke opens it, a stupid grin on his face.

"No trouble with the guard?"


"I figured Drea would be easy to get by. She doesn't care about anything."

"It sounded like she had looked the other way before."

"That doesn't surprise me. Is this Prior?"

"In the flesh."

"Why's he bleeding?"

"Because he's an idiot."

Zeke offers me a black jacket with a factionless symbol stitched into the collar. "I didn't know that idiocy caused people to just start spontaneously bleeding from the nose."

I wrap the jacket around Caleb's shoulders and fasten one of the buttons over his chest. He avoids my eyes.

"I think it's a new phenomenon," I say. "The alley's clear?"

"Made sure of it." Zeke holds out his gun, handle first. "Careful, it's loaded. Now it would be great if you would hit me so I'm more convincing when I tell the factionless you stole it from me."

"You want me to hit you?"

"Oh, like you've never wanted to. Just do it, Four."

I do like to hit people-I like the explosion of power and energy, and the feeling that I am untouchable because I can hurt people. But I hate that part of myself, because it is the part of me that is the most broken.

Zeke braces himself and I curl my hand into a fist.

"Do it fast, you pansycake," he says.

I decide to aim for the jaw, which is too strong to break but will still show a good bruise. I swing, hitting him right where I mean to. Zeke groans, clutching his face with both hands. Pain shoots up my arm, and I shake my hand out.

"Great." Zeke spits at the side of the building. "Well, I guess that's it."

"Guess so."

"I probably won't be seeing you again, will I? I mean, I know the others might come back, but you . . ." He trails off, but picks up the thought again a moment later. "Just seems like you'll be happy to leave it behind, that's all."

"Yeah, you're probably right." I look at my shoes. "You sure you won't come?"

"Can't. Shauna can't wheel around where you guys are going, and it's not like I'm gonna leave her, you know?" He touches his jaw, lightly, testing the skin. "Make sure Uri doesn't drink too much, okay?"

"Yeah," I say.

"No, I mean it," he says, and his voice dips down the way it always does when he's being serious, for once. "Promise you'll look out for him?"

It's always been clear to me, since I met them, that Zeke and Uriah were closer than most brothers. They lost their father when they were young, and I suspect Zeke began to walk the line between parent and sibling after that. I can't imagine what it feels like for Zeke to watch him leave the city now, especially as broken by grief as Uriah is by Marlene's death.

"I promise," I say.

I know I should leave, but I have to stay in this moment for a little while, feeling its significance. Zeke was one of the first friends I made in Dauntless, after I survived initiation. Then he worked in the control room with me, watching the cameras and writing stupid programs that spelled out words on the screen or played guessing games with numbers. He never asked me for my real name, or why a first-ranked initiate ended up in security and instruction instead of leadership. He demanded nothing from me.

"Let's just hug already," he says.

Keeping one hand firm on Caleb's arm, I wrap my free arm around Zeke, and he does the same.         



When we break apart, I pull Caleb down the alley, and can't resist calling back, "I'll miss you."

"You too, sweetie!"

He grins, and his teeth are white in the twilight. They are the last thing I see of him before I have to turn and set out at a trot for the train.

"You're going somewhere," says Caleb, between breaths. "You and some others."


"Is my sister going?"

The question awakes inside me an animal rage that won't be satisfied by sharp words or insults. It will only be satisfied by smacking his ear hard with the flat of my hand. He winces and hunches his shoulders, preparing for a second strike.

I wonder if that's what I looked like when my father did it to me.

"She is not your sister," I say. "You betrayed her. You tortured her. You took away the only family she had left. And because . . . what? Because you wanted to keep Jeanine's secrets, wanted to stay in the city, safe and sound? You are a coward."

"I am not a coward!" Caleb says. "I knew if-"

"Let's go back to the arrangement where you keep your mouth closed."

"Fine," he says. "Where are you taking me, anyway? You can kill me just as well here, can't you?"

I pause. A shape moves along the sidewalk behind us, slippery in my periphery. I twist and hold up my gun, but the shape disappears into the yawn of an alley.

I keep walking, pulling Caleb with me, listening for footsteps behind me. We scatter broken glass with our shoes. I watch the dark buildings and the street signs, dangling from their hinges like late-clinging leaves in autumn. Then I reach the station where we'll catch the train, and lead Caleb up a flight of metal steps to the platform.

I see the train coming from a long way off, making its last journey through the city. Once, the trains were a force of nature to me, something that continued along their path regardless of what we did inside the city limits, something pulsing and alive and powerful. Now I have met the men and women who operate them, and some of that mystery is gone, but what they mean to me will never be gone-my first act as a Dauntless was to jump on one, and every day afterward they were the source of my freedom, they gave me the power to move within this world when I had once felt so trapped in the Abnegation sector, in the house that was a prison to me.