Thursday, December 20, 2012

Re-Read: Chapter Twenty Eight- Unenlightened

"A Kyle-sized portion it is..."

Having spent the past few months being woken by the sun, Wanderer is disoriented when she wakes in the darkness of the storage area. Jamie, who must have snuck back to the cave in the night, wakes beside her and wonders if it's breakfast time. When Wanderer is hesitant to leave the area, Jamie tries to reassure her, claiming that Jared promised him the he would stop "picking" on her. Though Wanderer (and Melanie) are unsure that things will be the same as before the raiders returned, as Jamie claims, she follows him out of the darkness. 

Hand in hand, they make their way out of the darkness and through the garden. Wanderer is unsure of how the others will react to her, but she is left in suspense since the area is empty. When she asks Jamie about everyone's whereabouts, he evades the question as he did the previous night. Worry mares the thoughts of Wanderer and Melanie, whose intuition tells her that they do not know the caves and the people as well as they thought they did. There are a few people in the kitchen where eggs are being served, but the small crowd is concerning for this time of day. Lucina is severing breakfast this morning and appeases Jamie with a "Kyle-sized portion," but does not extend the courtesy to Wanderer. Jamie takes over for Lucina when she leaves her post and offers food to Wanderer. She declines the eggs, telling him that Jared and the others did not risk their lives so she could eat more than bread for breakfast. Jamie does not accept her excuse and refuses to eat unless she does too. They stare each other down, but Wanderer breaks when she notices Jamie's longing glance at the eggs. As the two continue eating, Wanderer notices the somber atmosphere of the room, whispered conversations, and the sadness written on the others' faces.

Noticing Sharon in the corner by herself, Wanderer asks Jamie if anything is wrong with Doc or Maggie. She also asks after Walter before noticing that the same sadness marred Jamie's face as well. Wanderer asks him why he is upset, but is met by silence. They finish their meal and as they leave the kitchen, Jamie is beside her, acting as her bodyguard, though Wanderer does not like the idea of him taking on such a role. 

As they move towards the large field, Wanderer spots her regular bodyguard Ian. From his appearance, covered in light brown dust and not the purple black dust of the cave, Wanderer believes he has ventured outside the community this morning. Besides being covered in dust, Ian also shows the same signs of sadness as the rest of the group. Taking anxious strides, he leads Wanderer through the darkness of a narrow tunnel, hiding them from the big room. Somber voices pass by and Wanderer recognizes Jared and Kyle's among them. 

"...don't know why we let him keep trying. When it's over, it's over," Jared was saying.  
"He really thought he has it this time. He was so sure...Oh, well. It will be worth it id he figures it out someday," Kyle disagreed. 
The two continue their conversation, mentioning Doc before their voices fade completely. When Ian leads Wanderer and Jamie out of the tunnel, he sees her bruised face for the first time. He moved to lift her chin to get a better look, but Wanderer recoils from his touch. After sending Jamie off to school, Ian and Wanderer head off to the cornfield to relax until the coast is clear. Ian is as forthcoming as Jamie is with what is going in the caves, telling her that it is nothing she would want to know about. Though Ian will not answer Wanderer's questions, he asks her one of his own, hoping she will oblige him with an answer. 
"I didn't buy Jeb's story before, but he and Doc are pretty convinced...Wanda?" he asked, looking up at me. "Is she still in there with you? The girl whose body you wear?"
Trusting Ian to not to spread the secret, she simply tells him "Yes, Melanie is still here." Wondering what it is like for them, Wanderer tells him that it is frustrating. In the beginning, Wanderer would give anything for Melanie to disappear, but now it is nice to have the company. She also admits that it is harder for Melanie since she is trapped, through she prefers it to disappearing completely. She goes on to tell him that the humans taken by surprise do not fight back, but those that realize realize what is going to happen may be a problem, so they do not offer full grown humans as hosts anymore. Instead, they would insert a Seeker, extract information, and discard the body. Ian wonders what would happen to her, as a Soul, if she were to be captured now, after hiding Melanie's continued presence and running away. If she were caught now, she would be put into another host or ship her off-planet. Souls, having no punishment, are not discarded, but taken away from "bad influences."

Satisfied with her answers, Ian ends his line of questioning. He once again moves to examine her face and this time, Wanderer does not move away. Telling her they will visit Doc when he sobers up, Ian offers to help Wanderer with the dishes now that they have "hidden long enough that Kyle's clean and unconscious." After finishing the dishes, the pair return to the kitchen for lunch, meeting Jamie in their usual corner. Wanderer watches the boys scarf down sandwich after sandwich until it is time for Jamie to return to school. Ian struggles to keep his eyes open, but he refuses to leave Wanderer's side. He asks where she spent the previous night, and though he did not like the idea of her back in the storage area, Ian leads her there so she can be inconspicious beside him as he sleeps. 

As they walk down the tunnel towards the storage area, Wanderer tries to reason with Ian, wondering what the point of protecting her is when the longer she is alive, the more Jamie will be hurt in the end. Ian does not believe her death is an inevitably, but their conversation is halted by the sight of a pale blue light around the corner. Ian tells Wanderer to wait while he investigates. 
"Jared?" I heard him say, feigning surprise.
"I know it's with you," Jared answered. He raised his voice, so that anyone between here and the main plaza could hear. "Come out, come out, wherever you are," he called, his voice hard and mocking.  

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