Home > Allegiant (Divergent #3)(9)

Allegiant (Divergent #3)(9)
Veronica Roth

I press the memory away as if stuffing it into a drawer that is too small for it.

“I’m sorry,” I say. I don’t know if I really mean it or if I’m just saying it so she still thinks I’m on her side. Then I add tentatively, “Why didn’t you tell me about the demonstration?”

She shakes her head. “I didn’t know about it.”

She’s lying. I know. I decide to let her. In order to stay on her good side, I have to avoid conflict with her. Or maybe I just don’t want to press the issue with Edward’s death looming over both of us. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell where strategy ends and sympathy for her begins.

“Oh.” I scratch behind my ear. “You can go in and see him, if you want.”

“No.” She seems far away. “I know what bodies look like.” Drifting further.

“Maybe I should go.”

“Stay,” she says. She touches the empty chair between us. “Please.”

I take the seat beside her, and though I tell myself that I am just an undercover agent obeying his supposed leader, I feel like I am a son comforting his grieving mother.

We sit with our shoulders touching, our breaths falling into the same rhythm, and we don’t say a word.



CHRISTINA TURNS A black stone over and over in her hand as we walk. It takes me a few seconds to realize that it’s actually a piece of coal, from the Dauntless Choosing Ceremony bowl.

“I didn’t really want to bring this up, but I can’t stop thinking about it,” she says. “That of the ten transfer initiates we started with, only six are still alive.”

Ahead of us is the Hancock building, and beyond it, Lake Shore Drive, the lazy strip of pavement that I once flew over like a bird. We walk the cracked sidewalk side by side, our clothes smeared with Edward’s blood, now dry.

It hasn’t hit me yet: that Edward, by far the most talented transfer initiate we had, the boy whose blood I cleaned off the dormitory floor, is dead. He’s dead now.

“And of the nice ones,” I say, “it’s just you, me, and . . . Myra, probably.”

I haven’t seen Myra since she left the Dauntless compound with Edward, right after his eye was claimed by a butter knife. I know they broke up not long after that, but I never found out where she went. I don’t think I ever exchanged more than a few words with her anyway.

A set of doors to the Hancock building are already open, dangling from their hinges. Uriah said that he would come here early to turn on the generator, and sure enough, when I touch my finger to the elevator button, it glows through my fingernail.

“Have you been here before?” I say as we walk into the elevator.

“No,” Christina says. “Not inside, I mean. I didn’t get to go zip lining, remember?”

“Right.” I lean against the wall. “You should try to go before we leave.”

“Yeah.” She’s wearing red lipstick. It reminds me of the way candy stains children’s skin if they eat it too sloppily. “Sometimes I get where Evelyn’s coming from. So many awful things have happened, sometimes it feels like a good idea to stay here and just . . . try to clean up this mess before we get ourselves involved in another.” She smiles a little. “But of course, I’m not going to do that,” she adds. “I’m not even sure why. Curiosity, I guess.”

“Have you talked to your parents about it?”

Sometimes I forget that Christina isn’t like me, with no family loyalty to tie her to one place anymore. She has a mother and a little sister, both former Candor.

“They have to look after my sister,” she says. “They don’t know if it’s safe out there; they don’t want to risk her.”

“But they would be okay with you leaving?”

“They were okay with me joining another faction. They’ll be okay with this, too,” she says. She looks down at her shoes. “They just want me to live an honest life, you know? And I can’t do that here. I just know that I can’t.”

The elevator doors open, and the wind hits us immediately, still warm but woven with threads of winter cold. I hear voices coming from the roof, and I climb the ladder to get to them. It bounces with each of my footsteps, but Christina holds it steady for me until I reach the top.

Uriah and Zeke are there, throwing pebbles off the roof and listening for the clatter when they hit the windows. Uriah tries to bump Zeke’s elbow before he throws, to mess him up, but Zeke is too quick for him.

“Hey,” they say in unison when they spot Christina and me.

“Wait, are you guys related or something?” Christina says, grinning. They both laugh, but Uriah looks a little dazed, like he’s not quite connected to this moment or this place. I guess losing someone the way he lost Marlene can do that to a person, though that’s not what it did to me.

There are no slings on the roof for the zip line, and that’s not why we came. I don’t know why the others did, but I wanted to be up high—I wanted to see as far as I could. But all the land west of where I am is black, like it’s draped in a dark blanket. For a moment I think I can make out a glimmer of light on the horizon, but the next it’s gone, just a trick of the eyes.

The others are quiet too. I wonder if we’re all thinking the same thing.

“What do you think’s out there?” Uriah finally says.

Zeke just shrugs, but Christina ventures a guess. “What if it’s just more of the same? Just . . . more crumbling city, more factions, more of everything?”

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