I looked around me one last time to make sure the hallway was empty then took a deep breath and started walking. I paused at every door, making sure my father wasn't sitting somewhere in there, just waiting for me to slip up so he could whip me. I finally reached the end of the hall and found the room I was looking for. The only room with a mirror in my house.
I entered the room quietly, opening the door just a crack and peeking in, and then opening it just enough for me to fit through. I slipped in and hurriedly looked around for the mirror, hidden somewhere in the loads of boxes that were stack up everywhere. I spotted it in a corner. It was a handheld mirror and I quickly grabbed it and held it up to eye level. I need a haircut, was the first thing I thought when I looked into it. I hadn't seen my reflection in over a year, since my father was strict about staying selfless.
I tried to memorize my face, not knowing the next time I would see my reflection. My hair covered half of my ears and almost reached my chin. My eyes were dark, deep blue and right now they looked mostly frightened, but curious too. I stared at myself, studying every little detail, but I froze up when I heard footsteps in the hall. I put the mirror down as gently as I could and frantically looked around for a place to hide as the steps neared the room I was in.
I was only seven or eight and found an empty box that I could easily fit in. I scrambled into, curling myself up into a ball and hoping that no one found me. If possible, I tensed up even more when I heard my father. "Tobias? Tobias, come out right now. Where are you?" The darkness inside of the box was suffocating and I whimpered, wanting nothing more than to get out of this mess.
Apparently I had been too loud and my father came in the room. "Tobias? Come out right now," he said with an edge of anger. He looked around the room, kicking random boxes and moving things aside until he reached the box that I was in and opened it. He roughly pulled me out and shoved me onto my feet. "What were you doing here?" he asked, almost yelling now, "Why didn't you come out when I told you to?"
He glanced around the room again until his eyes fell on the mirror. "That's why, huh? That's why you came here, to look at yourself?" He looked me straight in the eye. "You are a selfish little boy, and I have to punish you for that," he said, with a glint in his eye. He dragged a kicking and screaming me to his bedroom and pulled out a belt.
"This is for your own good, now hold out your wrists." I did as he said and I closed my eyes as the belt met my wrists with a slap. "Open your eyes," he commanded, and I did and I started crying again, screaming for him to stop. My father shook his head, "You will not cry when I whip you, understood? You will not cry."
He then proceeded to lock me up in a closet until I calmed myself down. And that was only the first of many whippings. At first it was only about once a month, but after that they became more frequent and for the littlest reasons, looking at my reflection a second too long, taking a bit too much at dinner, forgetting to say thank you after a meal. After a while, the lashes didn't hurt as much but I always dreaded the closet, because my time in there had made me claustrophobic and I always came out of it shuddering and breathing hard. And during all this, my mother just stood by and watched with horror in her eyes, because my father would hurt her too if it came to it.
That's one of the reasons I had to leave Abnegation and join Dauntless.