Thursday, January 17, 2013

Re-Read: Chapter Forty Nine- Interrogated

"Did you request permission to kill me personally, Melanie?"

A group gathers in the kitchen to eat the remaining perishable food as Doc and Jeb explain what happened to Jared, Ian and Kyle in their absence. Wanda seats herself away from the others, overcome by grief and guilt. Wes died four days ago and was already buried beside Walter. The Seeker's bullet went through Wes' forehead and there was nothing Doc could have done to change the outcome. Brandt also took a bullet, but it missed his heart and lungs before resting in his shoulder blade. Doc used most of the Heal the remove the bullet and Brandt now stands guard with Aaron in the tunnel that once held Wanda prisoner. Jamie sits beside Wanda, patting her back every now and then as tears once again stain her face. Andy and Paige are not among the others; they are moving the vehicles back to their hiding places. When Jamie sees Wanda searching for Lily among the others, he softly tells her "She's not...doing so well."

A myriad of "what ifs" fly through Wanda's mind. What if she had stayed in San Diego? What if she has skipped Earth? What if she had given herself as a Mother? What is she had not come here, leaving clues for the Seeker to follow? Melanie tries to reason with Wanda, even taking the blame for leading the Seekers here since she was the one caught in the first place. She also tells Wanda that if they had not come, Jamie would be dead and maybe even Jared.

Wanda cannot understand why the Seeker continued to follow her after she left.
"Why did she have to follow me? I'm not hurting the other souls here, not really. I'm even saving some of their lives by being here, by keeping Doc from his doomed efforts. Why did she have to follow?"

Melanie is furious that the Seeker is still alive, but Jeb thought Wanda might want to talk to her and now that Wanda was back, the Seeker was condemned to die within a few hours. Wanda does not want to face the Seeker again, but she knows telling this to the others would mean her immediate death and Wanda cannot see the difference between her refusal and giving an order to kill. Though Wanda believes they will shoot her, she thinks there is also a possibility Doc will try to remove the Soul from the human body. This brings back memories of the death she witnessed in the hospital and Melanie tries to calm Wanda's thoughts, assuring her that Doc will not do that again, but either way, the Seeker has to die.
"She was right about everything, of course. It was true that there was no way the Seeker could stay alive. Imprisoned, she would work doggedly to escape. Freed, she would quickly be the death of all my family. It was true she had killed Wes. He was so young and so loved. His death left a burning agony in its wake. I understood the claim of human justice that demanded her life in return. It was also true that I wanted her to die."

Jeb's voices draw Wanda from their thoughts, asking if she has any questions for the Seeker. If not, Brandt and Aaron are eager to be done with guard duty and join their friends in mourning. Wanda tells Jeb she will see the Seeker and Melanie accuses her of trying to prolong the inevitable to find a way to save her. Jamie and Ian try to go with her, but she stops them both as Jared looks on with an "unfathomable expression." 

Jeb warns Wanda that the Seeker is a "complainer," asking for food, water, and pillows. She is also full of threats, telling them "The Seekers will get you all!," though Jeb says she is all talk since she back off quickly when she catches sight of their guns. Wanda wonders if the tunnel is the safest place to keep her. Since her days of captivity, Wanda learned that her prison was not "the darkest, deepest well in the caves" as she thought, but actually just a few paces from the exit. 
"Sometimes the best hiding place is the one that's in plain sight."
Wanda hears the Seeker before she comes into view and Jeb comments that he is surprised Aaron and Brandt have lasted this long guarding her. Brandt is relieved as Wanda approaches and the Seeker halts her pacing. The Seeker has been kept in relatively humane conditions; allowed to roam the width of the tunnel, provided and mat and pillow, and served a decent meal. The others hold their positions as Wanda walks down the tunnel towards the Seeker who glares at her with "a harsh sneer" Wanda has never seen on another Soul. 
"Well, hello there, Melanie. What took you so long to come visit? Did your little friends think I would talk to you? Spill all my secrets because you carry a gagged and lobotomized soul around in your head, reflecting through your eyes?"
The Seeker does not move towards her and Wanda tries to convince herself that the hate she feels does not belong to her. Melanie urges her forward, wondering if Wanda has come up with any questions for the Seeker, who addresses her once more.
"So, what do you want? Did you request permission to kill me personally, Melanie?
"They call me Wanda here."
Wanda takes in the Seeker's appearance and though she is covered in the purple dust of the caves, she does not have another mark on her. Wanda aches as she thinks back to the conditions she was kept in and the injuries she endured at the humans' hands. Why is the Seeker spared such treatment? 
"Do you have something to say?"
"I was wondering...why? Why couldn't you let me be dead, like the rest of them? Why were you so determined to hunt me down? I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just go my own way."
"Because I was right! More thank right! Look at them all! A vile nest of killers, lurking in wait! Just like I thought, only so much worse. I knew you were out here with them! One of them! I told them there was danger! I told them!" 
"But they didn't listen to you. So you came for us alone."
The Seeker retreats from Wanda, doubt crossing her face. Wanda knows the others will look for the Seeker, but since they never believed her in the first place, their interest will quickly wain when she is not found.  Looking at the Seeker, Wanda sees that her words ring true and that she is the one who is right. Hate fills Wanda, realizing that she never wants to see the Seeker again, but even that cannot stop her from wanting her to die. 
"I don't know how to save you. I can't think of a way."
Though the Seeker cannot understand Wanda's hesitation, it still gives her hope and Wanda realizes that Jeb was right; the Seeker wants to live. Wanda knows the Seeker is a danger to her, to all of them, if she remains, but that does not stop Wanda from wanting to save her. Melanie protests, telling Wanda they are in a war and she needs to pick a side. Wanda knows where her love and loyalty lies, but wonders if she can save the Seeker and keep her family and friends safe. 
"A heavy wave of nausea rolled in my stomach as I saw the answer I'd been trying to believe didn't exist. The only wall I'd ever built between Melanie and me crumbled to dust."
Melanie cries out "No!" as Wanda realizes there is a way to save the Seeker, but that it would cost her, as Kyle said, "A life for a life."
"The Seeker stared at me, her dark eyes full of venom." 

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