Home > Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)
Author: Veronica Roth

Part

One

 

 

EXCERPT FROM

Comedian Jessica Krys’s standup routine

Laugh Factory, Chicago, March 20, 2011

I’ve got a question for you: How the fuck did we end up with the name “Dark One” anyway? This guy shows up out of nowhere in a cloud of fucking smoke or whatever, literally rips people limb from limb—apparently using only the power of his mind—recruits an army of minions, levels whole cities, brings about a degree of destruction heretofore unknown to humankind . . . and “Dark One” is the best we can do? We might as well have named him after the creepy guy in your building who looks at you a couple seconds too long in the elevator. You know, the one with the really moist, soft hands? Tim. His name is Tim.

Personally, I would have gone with something like “Portent of Doom in the Form of a Man” or “Terrifying Fucking Killing Machine,” but unfortunately, nobody asked me.

 

 

EXCERPT FROM

The Dark One and the Emergence of Modern Magic

by Professor Stanley Wi?niewski

There are, of course, some who would argue that the little understood force we informally refer to as “magic” has always existed on Earth in some form. Legends of supernatural incidents date back to the beginning of human history, from Herodotus’s mágoi, who commanded the wind, to Djedi of ancient Egypt, who made a show of decapitating and then restoring birds such as geese and pelicans, as recorded in the Westcar Papyrus. Arguably, it is an integral part of nearly every major religion, from Jesus Christ turning water to wine, to Haitian Vodou practices, to reports of Theravada Buddhists levitating in the Dīrgha-āgama—though, notably, these acts are not referred to as “magic” by practitioners.

These stories, great and small, appear in all cultures across all regions in all of time. Formerly, scholars might have said that it’s simply human nature to devise imaginative stories to explain things we don’t understand or to aggrandize those we perceive to be higher or greater than ourselves. But then the Dark One came and, with him, the Drains—those infamous catastrophic events that could not be explained despite valiant attempts by scientists to do so. Perhaps there is no truth to the ancient legends at all. But perhaps there has always been a supranormal force, a little understood energy, that intrudes upon our world.

Whichever theory we posit, one thing is certain: no “magic” was ever as plain or as powerful as the Drains the Dark One wielded against humanity. It is the purpose of this paper to explore various hypotheses for why this may be. In other words, why now? What were the circumstances leading up to his arrival? What goal was he working toward before he was thwarted by our five Chosen Ones? What effect has he had on the planet since his death?

 


Sloane Andrews Doesn’t Care (No, Really)

by Rick Lane

Trilby magazine, January 24, 2020

I don’t like Sloane Andrews. But I might want to sleep with her.

I meet her at her neighborhood coffee shop, one of her usual haunts—or so she says. The barista doesn’t seem to recognize her as either a customer or one of the five teenagers who took down the Dark One almost a decade ago. Which, to be honest, seems remarkable, because world-famous face aside, Sloane Andrews is that wholesome, clean brand of gorgeous that makes you want to get it dirty. If she’s wearing makeup, I can’t see it; she’s all clear skin and big blue eyes, a walking, talking cosmetics ad. She’s wearing a Cubs hat when she comes in with her long brown hair pulled through the back, a gray T-shirt that’s tight in all the right places, ripped jeans that show off long, shapely legs, and a pair of sneakers. They’re the kind of clothes that say she doesn’t give a fuck about clothes or even about the long, lean body that fills them.

And that’s the thing about Sloane: I believe it. I believe she doesn’t give a fuck about anything, least of all meeting me. She didn’t even want to do the interview. She only agreed, she said, because her boyfriend, Matthew Weekes, fellow Chosen One, asked her to support the release of his new book, Still Choosing (out February 3).

In our preliminary exchanges about this interview, she didn’t have many ideas for where I might meet her. Even though everyone in Chicago already knows where Sloane lives—in the North Side neighborhood of Uptown, just blocks from Lake Shore Drive—she flat-out refused to let me see her apartment. I don’t go anywhere, she wrote. I get accosted when I do. So unless you want to try to keep up with me on a run, it’s Java Jam or nowhere.

I’m not sure I could take notes and jog at the same time, so Java Jam it is.

Her coffee secured, she takes off the baseball cap, and her hair falls to her shoulders like she was just tumbling around on a mattress. But something about her face—maybe it’s her slightly too-close-together eyes or the way she cocks her head sharply when she doesn’t like what you just said—makes her look like a bird of prey. With a single glance, she’s turned the tables, and I’m the one on guard, not her. I fumble around for my first question, and where most people might smile, try to get me to like them, Sloane just stares.

“The ten-year anniversary of your victory over the Dark One is coming up,” I say. “How does it feel?”

“It feels like survival,” she says. Her voice is flinty and sharp. It makes a shiver go down my spine, and I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing or not.

“Not triumph?” I ask, and she rolls her eyes.

“Next question,” she replies, and she takes her first sip of coffee.

That’s when I realize it: I don’t like her. This woman saved thousands—no, millions—of lives. Hell, she probably saved my life in one way or another. At thirteen, she was named by prophecy, along with four others, as someone who would defeat an all-powerful being of pure malice. She survived a handful of battles with the Dark One—including a brief kidnapping, the details of which she has never shared—and came out of it unscathed and beautiful, more famous than anyone in the history of being famous. And to top it off, she’s in a long-term relationship with Matthew Weekes, golden boy, the Chosen One among Chosen Ones, and quite possibly the kindest person alive. But I still don’t like her.

And she couldn’t care less.

Which is why I want to sleep with her. It’s as if, by getting her naked and in my bed, I could force her into some kind of warmth or emotion. She turns me into an alpha male, a hunter, hell-bent on taking down the most elusive prey on the planet and putting its head on my living-room wall as a trophy. Maybe that’s why she gets accosted when she goes anywhere—not because people love her but because they want to love her, want to make her lovable.

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