Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Re-Read: Chapter Twenty Six- Returned

"She's not a danger to us."

Though Wanderer continually refused Jeb's request to become a teacher, she somehow found herself doing just that. Her class was informal, answering questions as she works in the kitchen at night, which gives her the opportunity to pause before answering a difficult question or direct her gaze elsewhere. She also found that once she started telling stories, people were more accepting of her presence, acknowledging her in the halls or simply asking her to pass the soap. Jeb joins the group every night, but usually sits in the back, quietly grinning at his success. The only people noticeably absent from her lessons are Sharon and Maggie. 

"It was in about my fourth week as an informal teacher when life in the caves changed again."

When Jamie knows the stories well enough, Wanderer lets him take over, enthusiasm lighting up his face as he uses his hands to bring the stories to life. Though he often turns to Wanderer with questions, he never waits for her answers and carries on with gusto. There is a commotion down the hall and before she can stop him, Jamie sprints out of the kitchen. Wanderer moves to follow him, but Ian stops her and tries to distract her from the noise. She continues on with a story, but when she looks up, every person is turned to the other direction. 

Jamie comes into sight first, clinging to a figure covered from head to toe in filth. Jeb stands behind the figure looking anxious, but Jamie's face only registers joy. The man steps forward, hands curled into fists, and asks "What is the meaning of this, Jeb?" At the sound of Jared's voice, Melanie "burst into radiant life inside [Wanderer's] head." More dirty figures make their way into the kitchen, including Kyle O'Shea, who is shocked to see Wanderer among them. Ian reassures her it will be ok as Ian places himself between her and the others. As Kyle and Ian exchange words, Jared's voice breaks through as he moves towards Wanderer and demands Jeb's gun. Knowing it is over, and with Melanie in agreement, Wanderer moves from behind Ian and closes her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. Jared is not deterred when Jeb tells him he does not have the gun with him, implying with his words that he will strangle her. When Ian tries to stop him, he reminds Jeb that he made the rule, whoever the body belonged to would be the one to make the decision. While Jeb acknowledges this, he also claims that Jamie may have a stronger claim. Jared looks down to Jamie and as realization comes to Jamie, he cries out that Wanda is good and that he cannot kill Mel. 

In an attempt to diffuse the situation, Jeb suggests Jared takes some time to clean up and calm down. Jared's face registers betrayal and he calls for Kyle to follow him out of the room. As the others from the raid exit, Wanderer moves towards Jamie, who throws his arms around her waist as she tells him it will be okay. Jamie, struggling to hold back his tears, tells her that he will not let Jared hurt her. Melanie reaches out, wondering what they can do to keep Jamie from harm and Wanderer's only solution is to "not die." Trudy believes the others are shocked and will come around once they get the chance to explain the situation. Others are not as convinced, but Jeb knows they just have to weather it. Ian thinks it would be an good idea to have Wanderer stay somewhere else. He, along with Wes and Walter offer to stay with her, but Wanderer does not want them to turn against each other over her. Untangling Jamie's grip on her, she moves to leave, saying she needs a moment to herself and they need the chance to discuss the situation without her present. 

Ignoring Jamie's call, Wanderer takes off down the dark hall, which was luckily deserted. In all her time in the caves, Wanderer had never found a way out and after all this time, should could not think of a reason to leave. Everything she cares about is in the caves.  

From Stephenie Meyer's playlist: "Stockholm Syndrome"- Muse (Chapter 26, page 261)

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