Yay, a short chapter again! It’s been so long! And this one is mostly just one long scene, so there shouldn’t be much to talk about! I’ve probably totally screwed myself by saying that, but hopefully not.
The chapter starts with Wanda sneaking into Jared and Jamie’s room to get her clothes, since she didn’t have a chance to get them back after Jared returned, and she knows he’s with Doc, so he won’t be there to be upset that she’s in his room. But…if her clothes were in his room, shouldn’t he already know that’s where she slept? If he does, I have to wonder how he felt about that, and why that hasn’t come up at all yet…
Anyway, Wanda finds Jamie and Ian sleeping in the room when she gets there, and the positions they’re sleeping in are very amusing to Wanda despite everything that’s going on with Walter and Jared, which alerts Stryder to the fact that Wanda is sleep-deprived. Stryder suggests that Wanda get some sleep, but Wanda doesn’t want to do so until after Walter is gone, because she doesn’t want to miss out on saying goodbye.
Thinking of Walter’s imminent death easily stops Wanda’s giggle fit, so she heads to the bathing room, knowing that she has to hurry because Doc could change his mind on keeping Walter alive until she returns, or Jared could argue with Doc and change his mind for him.
She thinks she hears someone behind her as she leaves the area where the sleeping halls are, but she doesn’t see anyone, so she just assumes it’s people starting to wake to prepare for the day of work ahead, which she considers helping with later. This is actually a nice bit of foreshadowing that I didn’t notice the first time I read through it, and the fact that I didn’t notice it is exactly why I’m calling it ‘nice’. She put the idea into your head that there’s something to be wary of here, before anything actually happens, so you’re already on edge to some degree before the action hits. I’m going to give Meyer credit for that. Her writing is ever so slightly improving in these past few chapters. Y’know, aside from all the impossibilities, bad dialogue, age issues and other stupid things, of course.
Wanda keeps walking toward the bathing room, her mind (and apparently Stryder’s, as well) all over the place and needing sleep, and when she gets there, she’s totally okay with the pitch blackness of the room because she’s used to it now. Well, that’s beneficial. Strange because just a short while ago she said she wasn’t, and now she’s talking about it like she’s been used to it forever, buttttt whatever; I’ll let it slide, because I really just don’t care at all.
And I just realized that that bit is also foreshadowing, as well as giving a reason why Wanda is not paranoid and on her guard this time, when she usually is, which is integral to this scene. She’s been here enough, and nothing bad has happened, that she doesn’t think anything will. Just in time for something to happen, of course; that’s convenient. Still, though, I’m wondering why Doc and Jared let her go out on her own without a bodyguard, when they know that Kyle is out to get her. That just seems very unsafe. Ian would kill them for that.
Wanda cleans herself and her clothes, then goes to get her dry clothes, and there’s a bit about her accidentally kicking rocks into the pool, and I’m not sure what the point of describing that was unless it was to let us know how someone was alerted to her location…which makes less sense given the foreshadowing earlier would imply that someone was following her all along, not that they just realized she was in the bath because of her kicking the rocks and then went there. One or the other, Meyer; one or the other.
Either way, she manages to get completely dressed before anyone shows up, and when they do and address her (though she’s still in the dark bathing room so she can’t see them and they can’t see her), she thinks the person who has come is Ian…until she realizes that Ian and Kyle have the same voice when they’re speaking “normally”, because the voice tells her that Ian is still sleeping. Apparently she noticed that they had the same voice before but forgot about it, and we just weren’t told she noticed it because Meyer did not actually think of that plot point before now and couldn’t be bothered to go back and add it in. I’m also wondering when she’s ever heard Kyle talk in a “normal” voice before, because every time she’s encountered him he was either angry or on edge…but hey, whatever, gotta bullshit us somehow.
Kyle says Ian won’t sleep forever, so they’d better “get on with it“, and Wanda realizes the danger she’s in and freezes, knowing there’s no way out other than to go the direction Kyle is in. Stryder tells Wanda to keep quiet and listen to her surroundings, which Wanda does, even though she’s afraid. She can’t hear anything, though, so she doesn’t know where Kyle is or what he’s doing. Stryder tells Wanda to grab a rock to use as a weapon, but Wanda says she can’t do that (-_-), so Stryder tells her to let her have control so she can do it instead, if that’s the case. Wanda, it would be so much fucking easier if you would just accept that even if Stryder is at the helm, it’s still ‘your’ (as you view it, anyway) body performing the acts of violence, so you might as well just save time and do it your goddamn self…but whatever. Stryder is less of a coward than you, so she’ll probably hit harder anyway.
Wanda picks up a rock and some pebbles, then tries to let Stryder have control, but she doesn’t seem to be able to. She hears the splash of something entering the stream a few yards away, so she and Stryder start panicking and Wanda reveals that she doesn’t know how to give Stryder control. Unfortunately, Stryder doesn’t either, even though she’s done it before, so she can’t take control after all. Great, now they’re both screwed because Wanda is a wimp and Meyer has made Stryder conveniently forget how to do something she’s done more than once before, and fought to do even more than that, and EASILY DID WHEN JARED KISSED WANDERER BUT NOW CAN’T DO WHEN HER GODDAMN LIFE IS AT RISK. Because Jared is THAT much more important than even LIFE OR DEATH SITUATIONS. My fucking god.
They hear another sound, but this time it’s a breath by the exit, not something in the pool, and they realize they have no idea where Kyle is, how close he is, or if someone else is with him. Wait a minute, here; Wanda is thinking someone else might be with Kyle, waiting at the exit, because…she thinks the splash in the stream was Kyle getting into it? The splash is described as “tiny”; how small does she think Kyle is? Does she think he just casually, quietly slipped into the pool, somehow making no more noise than, oh, say, a rock being tossed in the water, despite that he was obviously planning to barge in and kill her? I’m sorry, but that’s kind of incredibly stupid.
Anyway, Wanda moves away from the sound of the breath, further into the bathing room, rationalizing that choice by thinking that Kyle must be in a hurry from what he said (and, y’know, possibly also because you did just say other people would be starting their daily routines, and some of them like to bathe before work), but also thinking that the odds are on Kyle’s side because more people would be willing to let Kyle do what he wanted to do than would try to stop him. Right, because we’re back to everyone hating you again. Yeah, okay. Whether that’s true or not, if you think it is, Wanda, why would you be able to rationalize this decision? If more people are willing to help him kill you, it’d be in your best interest to GTFO…
Wanda hears another noise by the door, so Stryder advises that she “get ready” and hold onto the rock tighter, but instead of listening to the person who’s most likely dealt with these situations before, or at least would have seen them play out before, Wanda decides to ignore her and try to run instead, because she “would not be an effective fighter“. So…why did she move back into the room at all, then, if she planned to run? Oh, whatever.
She’s probably right that she’d be a crappy fighter, but she could at least try; she’s not willing to, though, so she throws a handful of pebbles behind her into the passage to the latrine, so they bounce off the wall there, to draw Kyle’s attention. Despite doing that herself, she does not seem to realize at any point that Kyle may have done the exact same damn thing when she heard the sound in the stream, and neither does Stryder, because they still worry that there are two people present.
Either way, Wanda’s decoy works and Kyle heads toward the latrine, so Wanda edges along the wall toward the exit, thinking if she can get out, she can outrun him. She hears a footstep in the stream at the back of the room and moves faster, but then gets splashed when Kyle jumps into the pool to move toward her.
Stryder tells Wanda to run, but she hesitates and Kyle is able to grab her ankle. She tries to get away but falls, which causes his grip to slip but not enough for her to get free, so she kicks her shoe off, and then she says she’s down but so is Kyle, and…no, he shouldn’t be, he should still be in the pool. He didn’t at any point get out, and that’s the only way he’d be grabbing at her foot instead of her body, so…yeah.
Wanda crawls forward, and Kyle grabs her heel, but he can’t keep his grip, so she gets free, gets up and runs in what is a very confusingly described fashion that I can’t understand why she would ever do. She makes it through the exit because no one else is there (surprise surprise), so she runs through the river room, trying to reach the tunnel.
She can hear Kyle behind her because he apparently got out of the pool, even though Meyer didn’t describe that, but she thinks he’s not close enough to catch her…until he throws a rock at her which hits one of her legs and causes her to fall, losing the rock she was holding in the process.
Kyle jumps on top of her and pins her against the floor, slamming her head into it, so Wanda (at Stryder’s suggestion, not because she would do this naturally, though she fucking should) screams, hoping that Jeb will hear and have his gun. Kyle covers her mouth with his hand, then rolls with her a bunch of times. What…the fuck? Why would he start rolling around with her? If he wants to kill her, why doesn’t he just bash her face in? He was on top of her, he had the advantage, and he’d stopped her screaming; why the hell roll around a bunch of times?
The explanation for why he does this is so he can roll her to the water to drown her, but he’s been described as more than strong enough to grab her, even if just with the free hand that’s not covering her mouth, and shove her in there, yet he has to…roll her. I’m sorry, but that’s fucking stupid.
Kyle holds Wanda’s head underwater, so she starts flailing in panic as she breathes the water into her lungs, and apparently somehow, despite how strong Kyle is (strong enough that she doesn’t think anyone, including Jared, could take him now, even though Jared was strong enough to throw her into a wall with one hand), her flailing alone is strong enough to cause him to lose his grip on her. My god, this just gets more realistic as it goes, doesn’t it?
Wanda moves toward Kyle when he tries to get a grip again, managing to get her head out of the water enough to choke out the water she swallowed and get a breath of air (also realistic; he totally would have given her enough time to do all that -_- it’s not a quick process, Meyer), and then, despite that she’s apparently still choking on the water, Wanda is able to wriggle enough that Kyle can’t manage to push her back down into the stream, and instead his weight starts working against him. …How?? This doesn’t make any fucking sense! None of it does!
Kyle starts yelling at her now, which makes sense given he doesn’t want anyone to hear what’s going on and he didn’t need to say a damn thing to her (my god, Meyer, think), and “drags” himself off her, which really keeps me wondering how the hell his weight was ever working against him, if he was still on top of her. Wanda realizes there’s something wrong with her leg because it’s numb, and she can’t make it do what she wants when she tries to drag herself away once he’s off of her.
Kyle grabs Wanda’s wrist and pulls her to a standing position, causing her leg to buckle, and then lifts her in what again is a very awkwardly described fashion and carries her to the closest sinkhole. Wanda realizes he’s going to throw her into the sinkhole so that she will get carried away as she boils to death (hehehe I like this idea), so she cries out and starts writhing to get away.
Her knee hits a rock column, and that somehow enables her to wrap her foot around it, so she uses that leverage to try to pull out of his grip, though I can’t see what good that would possibly do her, and I can’t picture how this would work at all. At least not in her favour.
Kyle pulls her free, which apparently gives Wanda time to do something she’s supposedly done before, but I don’t see when, unless Meyer is trying to say she’s doing the same as she just did on the column and that counts as having “worked before” (because yeah, moves that were gloriously unsuccessful can definitely be considered to have worked). She twists toward Kyle and wraps her legs around his waist, then locks her good ankle around her bad one, ignoring the pain so she can get a good hold on him.
Okay, not only is this incredibly fucking unrealistic because Kyle would NEVER be weak enough for her to be able to do all this, but she would NOT be able to get a good grip on him with what sounds like a broken leg, no matter how much she tried to ‘ignore the pain’, especially if the leg was fucking numb. This is all ridiculous, and I hate it. I want this chapter to end.
Kyle tries to get her loose, which shouldn’t be fucking hard, but apparently that somehow gives Wanda the advantage enough that she can get one of her wrists free (I sincerely fucking doubt he’d have anything but an iron grip on those, but okay, Meyer, whatever you say), which she wraps around his neck to grab his hair so he will have to go in the sinkhole with her if she goes.
Up to this point, Kyle has apparently been ‘prying at her leg’, because it would be so goddamn hard to get a girl with a broken leg to let go (he could just grab the broken leg really hard and yank it off; whether she likes it or not it would be too weak to hold if he did that, and would hurt too much for her to maintain her grip besides. And it’s not like he doesn’t know which leg she hurt; they were in a lighted room when he threw the rock at her), but he stops doing that to punch her in the side.
Somehow, being punched in the side does not disable or slow Wanda down in any way, it instead gives her a further advantage in that she can get her other wrist free and that hand into his hair too. Yep, I completely fucking believe all of this. It’s not bullshit at all.
Kyle wraps his arms around her and then grabs her waist and tries to pull her off, and again, he’s fucking strong enough to break her bones just from that position from what’s been described, not to mention that he could just go after the fucking broken leg again, but instead, they stay locked in this absolutely ridiculous position while she pulls his hair out. Meyer describes the steaming water for some reason, and then Wanda’s leg finally starts to give out and Kyle starts to win like he should have been doing all along, easily.
Wanda thinks of Jared and Jamie and how she and Stryder will never get to say goodbye to anyone, and then Kyle jumps into the air so that when he hits the ground, her legs come loose. …Seriously? That’s how he gets her off of him? You have to be fucking kidding me. That is the most ridiculous fucking shit I have ever heard. It’s like something you’d see in a video game, except a thousand times more stupid.
Apparently, Kyle is not big or strong enough to get Wanda off of him, but he is big enough that when he jumps, he cracks the floor of the cave, and the floor starts to crumble away beneath his feet, so he stumbles backward. *sigh* Meyer, this is fucking stupid. You’ve been watching too many dumb movies; it doesn’t work like this. If he broke through the floor at the lip of the river, he’d have fallen in before he could have stumbled back, especially because he wouldn’t have his balance well in the first place due to Wanda and the fact that he just jumped.
But anyway, the crumbling floor keeps chasing Kyle backwards, because again this is the most realistic scene ever, and then a piece disappears from under his foot, so he falls. His head knocks against a stone pillar when he lands (because apparently he was actually running backwards, he didn’t turn around and run…brilliant), and he goes unconscious, conveniently, while Wanda is perched on his chest. Their feet are both apparently dangling above the ’empty space’ (what the fuck is beneath this room; nothing? It should be something…at least water or lava or some shit, not just empty space with rock hovering above it), so Wanda timidly says Kyle’s name, because that’s going to be productive.
Stryder tells Wanda she has to get off of Kyle because they’re too heavy together, and the floor will give way if she stays. She advises that Wanda use the pillar to carefully pull herself away from the growing hole in the floor, which Wanda does, because she’s apparently too terrified to think for herself. How is Stryder so calm? This is fucking stupid. So fucking stupid.
Wanda pulls herself up Kyle, to the pillar, then uses it to get past the pillar somehow and onto the ground beyond it. I don’t even get how that works, but I’m not giving it any more thought. She scrambles toward the exit tunnel, then looks back when she hears another crack, and sees that Kyle’s leg is dropping further down because the floor is continuing to give way. Now there’s apparently a river beneath him, not empty space, so I guess the empty space was just for Wanda.
Wanda realizes that Kyle is going to fall, while I realize that Kyle and Wanda have now just destroyed the entire bathing area and latrine, which is fucking great, and Stryder is happy that Kyle will fall and die. Yeah, I would be too, if I were her; as she says, if he falls, he can’t kill or even hurt them anymore, but if he doesn’t fall, he will. She’s right.
Of course, Wanda doesn’t think she can just leave him like that, even when Stryder tries to encourage her to, and despite the fact that she wants to live and knows Kyle will pretty much guarantee her death (and that his death might just allow her to stay safely and happily with the humans), and despite the pain she’s in and the fact that she’s bleeding (Meyer writes this like we should be surprise, but I’m not sure why).
Meyer spends some time attempting to build tension about Wanda’s decision whether to help Kyle or not, describing how she can feel and see the floor giving way more and more, and Kyle sliding further into the hole (how has he not fallen in yet, if his legs were dangling into the hole before and the floor has continued to give way since?), while Stryder tries to convince Wanda to let him die.
Wanda decides that Stryder knows the world better than she does, so she must know what she’s talking about (because that has mattered to her so much before), but then she stares at Kyle’s face for some reason, and realizes how peaceful he looks…and how much like Ian. Oh, good.
Stryder realizes what’s going through Wanda’s head and tries to stop her, but it’s to no avail; Wanda crawls back to Kyle anyway, hooks her leg around the pillar again (I do not see how this is ever useful, or how small these pillars must be for her to do that, but she keeps doing it), and tries to pull Kyle away from the edge. She isn’t able to move him at all, though, and the floor is only giving way faster with her weight on it too, and then a large piece of rock falls away and Kyle starts to fall. About fucking time.
Wanda screams and somehow pins Kyle to something that I don’t even fucking understand because she should not be strong enough for any of this shit, given how both she and Kyle have been described, and then instead of letting go, she just keeps screaming for help. Idiot. Goddamn fucking idiot.
And that’s it. So, for the most part, this chapter is a whole lot of nonsense, with an extra dash of stupidity, and I can’t wait to see what Mike has to say about it, because I’m fairly certain he’ll go into more detail about the fight than I did. In the end, the only good thing about this chapter was that it was shorter, even though that didn’t help at all in making my recap shorter because it was so fucking dumb. Still, I wish they were all that short. Or, y’know, gone completely. Even better would be if they’d never existed in the first place.
…I’ll shut up now.
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)