Sunday, January 6, 2013

Re-Read: Chapter Forty One- Vanished

"I need you to kiss me, Ian. Now. Please."

Wanda and Ian sit in the darkness for three days. Ian leaves only to get food and water, but Wanda refused to eat anything and Ian soon followed. Wanda cannot not stop sleep from overcoming her and though Ian tries to comfort her, placing her head and shoulders in his lap, her quick recoil and violent shuddering ensures he does not try that again. On the third day, Ian finally speaks, begging her to eat. He also asks her not to hate him and that, if he had know what the other were doing, he would have stopped them. Though Ian is sincere, Wanda does not believe him. To her, he was just one among the other monsters and, as Jared said, Ian had no objections to the procedure before Wanda came to the caves. Ian sits quietly with her for another hour or so before leaving the room again. Wanda is conflicted when he leaves, thinking him a monster, but also wanting him to stay with her. 

Hearing the distinct sound of Jeb's contemplative whistle, Wanda waits for him as he strides over to her, bringing light to the room with the click of a flashlight. Settling himself against the wall beside Wanda, Jeb questions if her plan is to starve herself. Wanda knows her period for mourning the lost should has past and it is now her anger that drives her solitude. When Jeb tells her there are easier ways to die, she counters, telling him to give her to Doc for his experiments. 
"Did you expects us to just give up Wanderer? We have a stronger survival instinct that that. Of course we want to find a way to get our minds back. it could be any one of us someday. So many people we love are already lost. It isn't easy. It nearly kills Doc each time he fails - you've seen that. But this is our reality, Wanda. This is our world. We've lost a war. We are about to be extinct. We are trying to find ways to save ourselves."

With these words, Jeb speaks to Wanda as a soul, not as a human, and she cannot dispute what he is telling her. Since other humans, mainly Ian, were courteous enough to see things from her perspective, she could do nothing less than return the favor. Though she sees their side, Wanda cannot get past the dismembered baby souls she saw carelessly left on the table. Jeb tells her they cannot tell their young from their old and that the same is true for her kind; they do not spare human babies. 
"We don't torture them, though. We never internationally cause anyone pain."
"You do worse than that. You erase them."
"You do both."
"We do, yes - because we have to try. We have to keep fighting. It's the only way we know. It's keep trying or turn our faces to the wall and die."
Wanda realizes what is happening when Doc operates; he operates, slicing up her family and the soul's limbs shred through the brains of his. The humans have tried several methods of extraction, including section and poison, but the souls do not respond to either since their chemical makeup is completely different. One time, a soul seemed to realize what was going on and "tore up [the human's] brain from the inside." Wanda is surprised (and impressed) but this, telling Jeb the souls are tiny creatures, dependent on unwilling hosts, so of course they developed defenses over time. 
"I'm not denying that your kind have a right to those defenses. I'm just telling you that we're gonna keep fighting back, however we can. We don't mean to cause anyone pain. We're makin' this up as we go. But we will keep fighting."
When Wanda suggests she should be given to Doc again, Jeb laughs off her proposition once more. Humans put so much value on the individual, maybe even too much, and Wanda is valued in this community. Though Wanda does not hate Jeb and the others, she does not see how she can live with them anymore if they are going to continue with their experiments. Jeb promises to tell the others not to bring back more souls and she is going to have to trust him on that. After a little more pressure on Jeb's part, Wanda takes her first bit of food in three days. Ian returns then with a look of "joyous relief" at the sight of Wanda eating. He seats himself across from Jeb and Wanda, who places her hand in his and apologizes for the past few days. Now that things are settled, Jeb announces that he has more to say to Wanda. He prefaces his news by telling her not to freak out, but this only causes her to panic and grip Ian's hand tighter. 
"It's Jamie."
Those two words slam into Wanda, causing her to jump to her feet, taking Ian with her. Jeb asks her to calm down and that the reason he came to find her in the first place was for Jamie, but he cannot see her in this current state. Wanda inquires about Jamie's leg injury and Ian reluctantly tells her there is an infection, but there is nothing they can do since it is a bacterial infection and there are no more antibiotics since the souls invaded. Jeb and Ian try to calm her down, but as the memory of Walter's grave cloud her mind, she moves to find Jamie, taking Ian with her. 

With Ian's hand still in hers, Wanda passes through the caves with great purpose. She comes upon the hallway, but has to pass through a crowd of people before finding the entrance. Though there is a crowd outside, the room itself is relatively empty with Jared watching from wall as Jamie lays on the mattress with Doc by his side. Relief passes over Jamie's face when he sees Wanda, who falls to her knees beside him, taking Ian with her as she refuses to let go. Jamie's skin burns beneath her hand as she asks how he is. She reassures Jamie, telling him he will be fine. When he tries to speak about what she witnessed, Wanda calms him down, but he hated no knowing how she was in her absence. Jamie changes the subject, asking about her soccer game with Wes and Lily, knowing that Melanie must have loved playing the game. It is not until Jamie asks about his sister that Wanda realizes she cannot sense Melanie and begins to panic. When Ian offers to get them food, Wanda asks him to send someone else and excuses herself to go wash her face. Once again, she drags Ian with her past Jeb, who is surprised to see her leave Jamie so soon. 

Wanda drags Ian through the tunnels and past the main plaza into one of the dark corridors. Frantically, Wanda tells Ian she needs his help with something. He of course is willing to help her with anything. 
"I need you to kiss me, Ian. Now. Please."

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