Here it is guys! Enjoy and please let me know what you think!
While the initiates lay out their plan, I lean back on the carousel and take a moment to relax. I hear them debate back and forth over whether or not to go higher, or hide the flag all together. And then I hear the sound of rusted metal in front of me. My eyes glance up at the decrepit Ferris wheel, which now has the hands of the Stiff attached to one of the lowest rungs.
At first, I assume she’s just playing around. And then she jumps to check the sturdiness. She’s going to climb up.
For a moment, I wish I were Eric. I wish that I was someone who really did not care for the well being of others, but I do. Seeing this small girl trying to climb up this alarmingly tall Ferris wheel makes me feel like I have to do something to help, but it’s not that simple.
As many times as I’ve jumped off buildings, climbed to insane heights, and more inside my landscape, it would be stupid to follow her up. Up until now, I’ve played the tough as nails card. I didn’t let anything faze me and acted as a leader. Climbing up after her would mean jeopardizing that stoic mold I worked hard to keep.
I pick myself up from the carousel and head to the bottom of the Ferris wheel. Perhaps talking would be enough to convince her that her idea is stupid. However, it’s not stupid at all. If she’s planning on getting a better view, it’s brilliant, but not for me.
“Tris,” I say, keeping my voice as low and calm as possible. I sling my gun across my back as she turns her head over her shoulder.
“Yes?” she answers.
“I came to find out what you think you’re doing.”
“I’m seeking higher ground,” she says, “I don’t think I’m doing anything.”
And that’s what I like about her. She has a fire inside of her. There was no way that she could have stayed in Abnegation. She was far too rebellious. She belonged in Dauntless.
Then I say something stupid. “All right. I’m coming.”
Before I have time to second-guess my actions, I find myself climbing up next to her.
“I’ll be fine,” she protests.
“Undoubtedly,” I answer.
She looks at me like I don’t believe in her. She thinks I’m joking, but I’m not. That’s one thing I could not joke about.
She keeps climbing up. I hesitate on what I’m supposed to do. I told her I was coming, but now I’m not so sure. She has no problem with this, none whatsoever. Me, on the other hand…
I choose to climb up after her. I breathe in and out and concentrate on the task. I grab the first rung and pretend this is just another simulation. If I stay calm and face this fear, it will be over and I’ll wake up. That’s all this is, another simulation.
“So tell me…,” I begin, out of breath and trying to hide my shaking. “What do you think the purpose of this exercise is? The game, I mean, not the climbing.”
She looks down. No, she shouldn’t do that. Looking down is the worst she can do. Has she thought about how the hell she’s going to get down from this thing? Truthfully and regretfully, I have not thought of these things either.
“Learning about strategy,” she says, “Teamwork maybe.”
She sounds so calm… too calm for someone hanging high in the air on a Ferris wheel that is falling apart. She’s way too composed for this situation. Why is she not panicking? Why does she seem prepared for something like this? How come she’s making me look like the weak initiate right now?
“Teamwork,” I say back, except it gets caught in my throat and sounds more like an awful choke rather than a laugh.
“Maybe not,” she says. “Teamwork doesn’t seem to be a dauntless priority.”
The wind rushes past my face and I feel like I’m going to fall. My palms are beginning to sweat and the old paint and rust is rubbing off on my hands. Grabbing on tighter to the railings is only making my fingers go numb and making me lose my concentration. Tris leans into the bars for support.
“It’s supposed to be a priority. It used to be,” I mention.
I look up and notice her legs shaking. Good, I’m not the only one. However, I can sense that she’s not shaking with fear like I am. This is exhilarating for her. And it’s making me more and more convinced that this girl might just be crazy. But after dealing with so many initiates who have to fight to face their fears, it’s nice to see someone conquer difficult tasks effortlessly.
Instead of climbing up, her hand nearly misses the next rung. I reach up to help her, but it doesn’t matter. She’s already clinging back to the side of the Ferris wheel. She does not need me.
“Now tell me…” I begin, “what do you think learning strategy has to do with… bravery?”
“It… it prepares you to act,” she finally says after a long pause. “You learn strategy so you can use it.”
I look down, a huge mistake, and laugh. It’s about all I can do right now. I’m hanging from the side of a dilapidated Ferris wheel with a scrawny Stiff, and I’m supposed to be the instructor here. Strangely, she’s the one instructing me and keeping me from panicking. Her calmness is relaxing to me.
“Are you all right, Four?”
“Are you human, Tris? Being up this high,” I say, swallowing my fear. “It doesn’t scare you at all?”
Another gust of wind goes by, knocking her balance off and sending her swinging. If she wasn’t scared, she is now. I race up to her level and my fingers close around one of her hips to hold her. I notice that one of my fingers is touching her bare skin just above the waistband of her pants. That alone makes me panic, so I squeeze her tighter and push her to a much sturdier place.
“You okay?” I ask. I know I’m not.
“Yes,” she says.
Just a bit up, there is a platform. Tris climbs the rest of the way up and takes a seat. She moves just enough so I can sit with her. And it’s when I’m not concentrating that I start to panic. I move back and sit against the metal support with my knees pulled to my chest. My heart is racing and my lungs are not working fast enough right now.
“You’re afraid of heights,” she says. “How do you survive in the Dauntless compound?”
“I ignore my fear,” I answer. “When I make decisions, I pretend it doesn’t exist.”
She looks at me. It makes me feel uncomfortable, but in the best way possible.
“What?” I say quietly.
She turns away and glances at the skyline. She looks motivated, like she’s here for a reason. I hope there’s a reason. She said she was getting a better look. Maybe she just brought me up here to scare me. She’s not that cruel though. She’s no psychopath… she’s no… Peter.
“We’re not high enough,” she says, and I feel my heart drop deep into my stomach. She stands up and makes her plan.
“I’m going to climb.”
She grabs a bar and pulls herself up. She looks like she’s in pain, but she ignores that and keeps going.
“For God’s sake, Stiff,” I mutter.
“You don’t have to follow me,” she answers.
She keeps climbing. As much as I don’t want to, I answer, “Yes, I do.”
We both continue to pull ourselves up further. I’m not in my element here. I can throw knives, shoot guns, and fight, but I can’t climb. I can’t do anything up this high. Eventually, we reach a platform where we can take a seat without dangling off the side of this contraption. I examine the city in front of me, wondering what it’s like in other parts of the city, in other factions, or in with the factionless. To me, Abnegation isn’t home and it never was. But Dauntless doesn’t feel anymore like home than that did… at least it didn’t until now.
“See that?” she asks, pointing in front of her.
I move closer to her to trace her line of vision, when I smile and reply, “Yeah.”
“It’s coming from the park at the end of the pier,” I add, “Figures. IT’s surrounded by open space, but the trees provide some camouflage. Obviously not enough.”
“Okay,” she says. She glances over at me. “Um. Start climbing down. I’ll follow you.”
I nod and begin to move down until I can find a place to put my foot that will not lead me to falling to my death. My hands are crimson and still shaking despite how hard I’m gripping onto these bars. Just as I’m getting back into the groove of climbing back down to the ground, something snaps. I see the bar Tris had her foot on not even two seconds ago drop down the Ferris wheel, hitting each bar on the way down. She’s hanging there with nothing but her hands squeezing the bar above her head.
“Four!” she screams.
I can’t let her fall, but going up wouldn’t help either of us. With the rung below her feet now resting on the ground after plummeting so many feet down, there would be no place for me to hold on, and her jumping into my arms was the worst option possible. We’d both die. I have to think fast.
“Hold on!” I shout. “Just hold on. I have an idea.”
And the idea might not even work, but it’s better than anything else I can come up with. It’s the only way I can think of getting her down. I carefully move my arms and legs down the rungs until I reach the base of the Ferris wheel. Tris is still hanging on for dear life so high up.
“Four!” she yells again. She must have heard me come down and assumed that I left her there for dead. She can’t hang on much longer. Even from a distance I can tell that her hands are losing strength.
I look down at the button that once operated the Ferris wheel and pressed it, hoping that maybe I’d get lucky and this would work. Maybe I wouldn’t have to climb back up. And maybe I wouldn’t have to see this girl with so much potential fall all the way to her death. How would I explain that one? How would I live with that? That’s just about as close to murder.
The wheel shakes from its dormant state and starts to move. She breaks out into a laugh as she realizes that she won’t have to hang on much longer and she’s safely revolving around the wheel to reach the ground. I sigh in relief too.
Once she reaches a safe jumping point, she lets go, dropping to the ground and rolling into a safe position. Her face is scratched up and a jump like that will take a lot out of her, but she’s alive. She’s safe.
I race over to her, peeling her hands from her eyes. Her heart is racing and breathing panicked. I can’t say I blame her. I would do that and more if I were in her position.
“You all right?” I ask, holding onto her hands.
And then I start to laugh. These past few minutes were just insane and I don’t even think any other reaction would fit, so I laugh. I climbed to the top of a Ferris wheel with some scrawny Stiff who weirdly fascinates me. Not many people could bring those actions out of me. Not many at all. I don’t feel bad once she starts laughing too. I pull her to her feet and make sure she’s sturdy.
“You could have told me that the Ferris wheel still worked,” she says. “We wouldn’t have had to climb in the first place.”
“I would have, if I had known,” I answer. “Couldn’t just let you hang there, so I took a risk. Come on. Time to get their flag.”
I pause a moment and take her arm. Instead of letting her recover, I give her a smile and start leading her to the carousel. Other factions might let her rest, but I know that she doesn’t need it. If anyone is strong, it’s her. She’s the most capable person here, and there’s no doubt about that in my mind.