I knew what she was thinking. ‘Why did I bring her home?’ I’d wondered that myself as I’d set the course for my war-torn and ravaged planet.
I’d wondered exactly what it was, that made it so special to me. Even after all these years.
Was it the place… The smell of the air, on a clear crisp morning. Or the way the sun glinted like gold across the ruined buildings with dawn. Was it the sound of the trains as they sped along the tracks delivering the food supplies acquired from Amity and their farms which bordered the compounds walls.
Or was it the people. The friends and family who surrounded you every day. The ones you took for granted, that you thought would always be there…
And I’d decided it wasn’t just one thing. It was all of them. Home was the smell, the touch of a loved one, a comfort that could never be replaced or duplicated. Sure you could fill you’re life up with other things, occupy your mind even your heart in a bid to not think about what you had left behind. But in the quiet moments. The moments where no answers came easy and the path ahead of you felt unclear, you would remember. The faces of people. The places…the memories of laughter shared there, and the tears; they would always come back to haunt you.
But it could also be the reason you ran in the first place.
“What is it you’d like me to do?”...
Illyria’s words startled me. I’d be so far away, absorbed in my thoughts, that I’d forgotten that she was standing next to me.
I felt slightly irritated as I turned glaring at her expectant face, before making my way out of the cockpit to my ship. It was stupid. I wasn’t irritated at her. If anything I was irritated at myself and I knew I was being an ass, I just couldn’t help it.
“You can take off those clothes!” I heard myself snap and immediately regretted it. Taking a deep breath I stopped and slowly taking a step back towards her.
“Your clothes will be out of place here… we both need to change.” I explained and smiled knowing it probably looked more like a frown to her. “I think I still have some of my old clothes around here, we need to dress in them.”
It didn’t take me long to retrieve them. In truth I’d never been able to bring myself to throw them away. They were a reminder of who I was and where I’d come from.And they’d always been a reminder in humility. I’d sometimes get them out at night. Lay them on my bed and force myself to remember. The faction war, the Bureau and the people I’d lost. The ones I had loved. I remembered the promises I’d made to them, and the promise I’d made to myself.
It wasn’t long before we were making our way across the rubble and ruined building that lay upon the outskirts of the city once known as Chicago; and I was pretty sure that my old Faction, Dauntless would already be aware I had returned. They had camera’s everywhere. Keeping a look out for any trouble that might be brewing between the Factions or any other potential threat that breached the compounds walls. I could already picture Zeke rolling his eyes as he sat behind his screen the control room of the Dauntless compound; watching us.
I called over my shoulder as I broke into a run quickly guiding her up through the area that used to belong to the Factionless. In the distance within a clearing; the square grey concrete houses of abnegation once again rose up. It was good to see they had been rebuilt, yet most of them still showed scars of the destruction Jeanine’s army had placed upon them. I couldn’t help but wonder if my Father once again lived in one. I hadn’t heard anything of him since the Factions Wars, but then again I hadn’t heard from my Mother either. But this time it was different. This time it was me who had left her. This time, I was the dead man returning!!
Taking the steps in two’s I made my way up onto the platform.. I could hear the soft rattle of the trains as they shook with the vibration of the rapidly approaching train. It would have slow to take the corner before the platform. That was our only chance to board it. And I wasn’t going to miss it!
As I glanced across my shoulder to make sure Illyria was still behind me, I saw it appear around the corner and I sped up my pace, watching. Counting as first one carriage then a second rattled passed us. And as the last carriage drew level with my shoulder I turned reaching for the handrail which mirrored the closed door, and grasped it within my fingers. Lunging my body into the air I landed upon the carriage step; and slammed my free hand down upon the button to open its door.
I didn’t have to look. I heard that she was already behind me as I made my way to one of the empty seats. But I didn’t want to look at her. I wasn’t ready to expose my plan, I wanted to leave her guessing and I knew if she looked in my eyes.. She’d know what I was thinking.
It was lucky we didn’t have to wait long, and if she was wondering about the silence… She didn’t say anything. She was too busy looking out the windows. And trying to figure out why I had brought her here.
I didn’t tell her to get ready… that it was time that we exited the moving train. I just rose in my seat and made my way to the open door. I’d already told myself again it wasn’t to be cruel. That she had to put her complete trust in me, if this going to work. Grasping hold of the handle I leaned my body out of the train. God! I’d forget how amazing it felt. Feeling the wind press against your face; as it rushes over your body. It was almost like flying. Like zip lining except you were standing on your feet.
I could see the roof of the building coming up. And I knew about the 50 foot drop to the pavement below, many had misjudged before, by jumping to soon, or too late and they’d all died. I breathed deep in preparation and I felt myself smile. It was a real smile, the first I’d managed in a long while.
It was the last though I had, as I jumped from the speeding train.
The gravelled roof bit into my clothes as I landed in a roll upon the roof of the building and I quickly sprung back onto me feet before turning to see if she had followed me. If she’d trusted me unconditionally enough, to make the jump.
I was impressed!
She was there; a scowl firmly planted upon her face as she brushed the dirt and lose stones from her clothes. I wanted to smile again. I wanted to laugh! But I knew if I did… everything would be lost. I was now the Master. And it was my turn to teach her the lessons I had learned. … So instead I turned and made way to ledge which surrounded the edge of the building. Purposely I climbed up onto its narrow platform and paused, waiting for her to begrudgingly make her way to my side once again and she climbed up onto the ledge beside me… I finally began to speak.
“See that hole in the roof down there”
I pointed to the building below which had a gaping black hole in its roof. Looking down upon it, it still looked like a bottomless pit of darkness or a gaping entrance to the abyss to hell to me.Even daylight cast no light beyond its opening; I remembered the first time I’d ever laid eyes on it. The fear I had felt, knowing they expected me to jump.
It was so dark; it was impossible to fathom what lay on the other side. It was so far away, you couldn’t judge how deep it went either; or even if it had a bottom at all.
“It represents the death of everything you thought you knew. Your life as you know it“ I informed her dryly.
“If you step off of this building, there is no going back. The life you knew is over. Tell me Illyria… Are you ready to throw away the mistakes you’ve made; to make amends and learn what it truly takes to be one with the Force?”I demanded.
If she thought I was joking, or going to make it easy for her she was wrong. My face was void of any emotion, as I uttered my final command.