Saturday, November 17, 2012

Re-Read: Chapter Twenty Two- Cracked

"Wandering- guess that's your specialty..."

Still outside the cave, Jeb continues on as Wanda listens in silence. While he talks, Jeb reveals that he has seen humans caught by Seekers in the past, even having a few close calls himself. He also tells Wanda that he was eavesdropping while she told Jamie stories of the other worlds. Like himself, Jamie is an avid reader, but having gone through the cave's collection a few times, it is refreshing to have new stories from a gifted storyteller. 

Keeping up his side of the conversation, talk turns to Wanda's reason for seeking out the caves. Many believe she hunted them to turn them over to the Seekers, but Jeb is not convinced by this notion since her trek through the desert was suicide and, as Jeb puts it, "definitely not a Seeker's MO." Dismissing the notion that Wanda is a new breed of super-Seekers, the only conclusion he can come to for her determination to find Jared and Jamie is that she cares for them. Not just Melanie, but she herself felt something for them. Jeb reasons this from his time observing the Souls on Earth, because they are not just using humans as puppets.

Breaking her silence, Wanda whispers that yes, Souls have the same human feelings: Hope, pain, and love. Jeb's concern turns to his niece and what it is like to be taken over. Does anything remain? Jeb believes he would resist and knows Melanie would be a fighter too. Melanie wonders why she ever thought her uncle was crazy when he appears to be the most insightful of all. She also hopeful that they would not have to keep quiet about her existence, at least to him. 

Not one for silence, Jeb brings the discussion back to the stories of far off planets and their creatures. Wanda encourages him, asking "What do you want to know?" Jeb's questions keep coming, so many that Wanda loses track of time until Jamie reappears with dinner for the three of them. The stories continue through the night, Jamie edging closer to Wander as the hours wear on. They finally come to why Wanderer is known by her name. 

Among the Souls, it is common to try out a planet or two before settling down. Once on a planet, a Soul can move to new hosts in the same species when their bodies are close to death. Some Souls never move beyond their home planet, though Wanda has met one who finally settled on their fifth planet. When asked, Wanda reveals that Earth is her ninth planet, which is why she was asked to teach while in San Diego. Jamie wonders if Wanda likes Earth enough to stay, to which she answers: "Earth is...very interesting. It's harder than any place I've been before."

Finally giving into his fatigue, Jeb calls it a night. He tells Wanda to rest her voice since his "curiosity is a powerful thing" and their conversation was one of the most interesting he's had in his life. As he and Jamie prepare to leave, Doc shows up, rolling out his mat in front of the cave. It is not until Jamie points out that she is shaking the Wanda even noticed the reaction she had to Doc's presence. Jeb and Doc reassure her that will not hurt her, though this does not stop her from keeping an eye on him and backing into the cave to put as much distance between them as possible. 

Allowing her tiredness to finally overtake her, Wanda settles onto her mattress, but a shuffling sound in the room bring her back to the present. As she opens her eyes and Doc's snores continue, a shadow comes into view. 

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