Sunday 27 October 2013

NEW: A Reading by Veronica Roth - An Excerpt from one the Unreleased Four POV Divergent Novellas

At the San Francisco Allegiant book tour stop, Veronica gave a reading to fans from one of the unreleased novellas she has written in Tobias/Four POV. (If you didn't already know, there will be 4 of these short stories. See our books page.) Some of you have probably read the first one, The Transfer, which was released in September. We didn't hear her come out and say exactly which novella this is from, but it's most likely either The Initiate, which is due out December 17, or The Son, out January 21. (If you were there, let us know if you were told which it is!) Read/watch it after the cut:

Below is a transcript of the excerpt, as well as a video of Veronica reading it at the event. Keep in mind that we transcribed this, so all spelling and grammatical errors are ours, and it may not be word perfect.

Transcript - Four POV

This scene takes place after Four/Tobias has been initiated into Dauntless, before the events of Divergent. Someone has been breaking into his apartment, and they left him a note with a code on it. He figures out what the code is, and thinks it may be from Marcus. (Veronica says those that have read Insurgent will know who it actually is.)


The sun's heat is still coming off the pavement at one thirty in the morning when I leave the Dauntless compound. I can feel it on my finger tips. The moon is covered in cloud so the streets are darker than usual. But I'm not afraid of the dark, or the streets, not anymore. That's one thing beating up a bunch of Dauntless initiates can teach you.

I breathe in the smell of warm asphalt and set off at a slow run, my sneakers slapping the ground. The streets that surround the Dauntless sector of the city are empty. My faction lives huddled together, like a pack of sleeping dogs. I find a steady rhythm, squinting at the street signs as I pass them to keep track of where I'm going. I know when I reach the ring of buildings the factionless occupy, because I can see their shadows moving around behind blacked out and boarded windows.
I move to run under the train tracks, the lattice wood stretching out far ahead of me, and curving away from the street. The hub grows larger and larger. My heart is pounding but I don't think its from the running.

I stop abruptly when I reach the train platform and as I stand at the foot of the stairs catching my breath, I remember when I first climbed these steps, the sea of hooting Dauntless moving around me, pressing me forward. It was easy to be carried by their momentum then. I have to carry myself forward now.

I start to climb, my footsteps echoing on the metal, and when I reach the top, I check my watch.

Two o'clock. But the platform is empty.

I walk back and forth over it to make sure no dark figures are hiding in dark corners. A train rumbles in the distance and I pause to look for the light fixed to its nose. I didn't know the trains ran this late. All power in the city is supposed to shut off after eleven o'clock to conserve energy. I wonder if Marcus asked the factionless for a special favor. But why would he travel on the train? The Marcus Eaton I know would never dare to associate himself so closely with the Dauntless, he would sooner walk the streets barefoot.

The train light flashes just once as it careens past the platform. It pounds and churns, slowing but not stopping, and I see a person leap from the second to last car, lean and lithe.

Not Marcus. A woman.

I squeeze the paper tighter into my fist, and tighter until my knuckles ache. The woman strides towards me and when she's a few feet away, I can see her. Long curly hair. Prominent, hooked nose. Black Dauntless pants, grey Abnegation shirt, brown Amity boots. Her face is lined and worn, thin. But I know her. I could never forget her face.

My mother, Evelyn Eaton.

"Tobias."' she breathes, wide eyed, like she's as stunned by me as I am by her. But that's impossible. Because she knew I was alive, but I remember how the urn containg her ashes looked as it stood on my fathers mantle, marked with his finger prints. I remember the day I woke to a group of grey faced Abnegation in my fathers kitchen, and how they all looked up when I entered, and how Marcus explained to me with sympathy I knew he didnt quite feel, that my mother had passed in the middle of the night, complications from early labour, and a miscarriage.

"She was pregnant?" I remember asking.

"Of course she was, son." He turned to the other people in our kitchen. "Just shock of course, bound to happen with something like this."

I remember sitting with a plate full of food in the living room with a group of murmuring Abnegation around me, the whole neighborhood packing my house to the brim, and no one saying anything that mattered to me.

"I know this must be alarming for you," she says.

I hardly recognize her voice. It's lower and stronger and harder than in my memories of her. And that's how I know the years have changed her. I feel too many things to manage, too powerfully to handle. And then suddenly I feel nothing at all.

"You're supposed to be dead." I say, flat.

Its a stupid thing to say. Such a stupid thing to say to your mother when she comes back from the dead, but, its a stupid situation.

"I know." she says, and I think there are tears in her eyes but its too dark to say. "I'm not."

"Obviously." The voice coming from my mouth is snide, casual. "Were you ever even pregnant?"

"Pregnant? Is that what they told you, something about dying in childbirth?" She shakes her head. "No, I wasn't. I had been planning my exit for months.  I needed to disappear. I thought he might tell you when you were old enough."

I let out a short laugh, like a bark. "You thought, that Marcus Eaton, would admit that his wife left him, to me?"

"You're his son," Evelyn says, frowning. "He loves you."

Then all the tension from the past hour, the past few weeks, the past few years, builds inside me, too much to contain, and I really laugh. But it comes out sounding strange, mechanical. It scares me even though I'm the one doing it.

"You have a right to be angry that you were lied to," she says. "I would be angry too. But Tobias, I had to leave, I know you understand why." She reaches for me, and I grab her wrist, push her away.

"Don't touch me."

"Alright, alright." She puts her palms up and backs away. "But you do understand, you must."

"What I understand, is that you left me alone in a house with a sadistic maniac." I say.

It looks like something inside her is collapsing. Her hands fall to her sides like two weights, her shoulders slump, even her face goes slack as it dawns on her what I mean, what I must mean.

I cross my arms, & I put my shoulders back, trying to look as big and strong and tough as possible. It's easier now in Dauntless black than it ever was in Abnegation grey, and maybe that's why I chose Dauntless as a haven. Not out of spite, not to hurt Marcus, but because I knew this life would give me a stronger way to be. 

Video & photo credit: Thanks to 8bitcommunity tweeting this to us.

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