Well, if there was any question as to whether Wanda would be successful in her mission or not, the title of this chapter pretty much gives away that it’s all gonna go just fine. Well, the healing part of it, anyway; whether she manages to get any antibiotics and get away without being caught is not covered by the title.
…Oh look; the next chapter is called “Succeeded“. Way to create suspense, Meyer! What’s the point of even reading these chapters if I already know what’s going to happen? I mean, I know we all assumed it’d be okay, because there are still 16 chapters left in this book, but you could have at least tried to make the chapter titles ambiguous enough that they don’t give away what’s going to happen before we read the first word.
So this recap is going to be fairly pointless (as is the next, I would imagine), but my irrational dedication to this blog leads me to write them anyway, so here I go.
Okay! We start off much like last chapter, except even more confusing, because Meyer starts this one with lines of dialogue that must come directly after the ones that she ended the last chapter with, except that it’s apparently actually been more than five minutes since the last chapter by the time 44 starts.
The first line is simply Jared saying Wanda’s name, clearly unsure about hitting her with a rock as she told him he’d have to do at the end of the last chapter, and then Wanda telling him they don’t have time to waste, and that she’d hit herself with the rock but she can’t get the angle right, so he’ll have to. Jared argues that he doesn’t think he can do it, so Wanda reminds him it’s for Jamie.
Apparently Wanda has already found and given Jared the rock she wants him to hit her with by this point, as she braces herself against the car seat, waiting for the blow (this is also where we learn that it’s been five minutes, since Meyer says Jared has been holding the “rough fist-sized stone” for five minutes).
I try to picture this scene, carrying on from last chapter, and all I can see is Wanda speaking the last line of the last chapter, then going and looking for a rock before waiting for a response from Jared (and not getting any protests from him as she does look; I guess he just sits in the car and happily waits for her), finding an appropriate rock, bringing it back, giving it to Jared, sitting there through five minutes of silence without questioning that at all, and then Jared finally speaking to say he can’t do it. In a different order, that scene might make sense, but in the order that Meyer outlined, it’s just completely unrealistic.
Jared wouldn’t sit there silently while she looked for a rock, he’d protest then, and he wouldn’t just willingly take the rock if he didn’t think he could do it…and he certainly wouldn’t then sit for five minutes in silence before voicing his objections. And Wanda, being impatient as she is, absolutely would not have waited that long for anything if he’d already accepted the rock. She’d have said something, at least; most likely something outrageously annoying in an attempt to rush Jared along.
Wanda tells Jared he “only” has to take the first few layers of skin off to hide the scar, and urges him to hurry. Stryder pipes in, telling Wanda to tell Jared that she said to “do it now” and “make it a good one“, and since at random times it seems as though Stryder is unable to feel her body’s pain, I’m thinking her motivation for wanting Jared to do it is, at this moment, ever so slightly less for Jamie, and more to see Jared hurt Wanda (and for Wanda to be hurt). I know they’re “friends” now, but I’m pretty sure there’s still some hostility there. It would only make sense for there to be, given all that’s happened.
Wanda passes along Stryder’s message, but Jared doesn’t respond, so she yells at him to do it, and then he does. Ahhh, what a sweet moment this is for me. Or would be, if it wasn’t described so poorly.
“It made a squishing sound and a thud…”
A…squishing sound…and then a thud? I…but…what…ugh, never mind.
Wanda groans as she feels the pain of the blow, and blames the fact that she makes any noise at all on the fact that human bodies do things involuntarily (because it made Jared feel bad to hear the moan, and remember, if it’s bad it’s 100% NOT Wanda’s fault in any way whatsoever). Tears well up in her eyes, so Jared wraps his arms around her and holds her to his chest.
Wanda tells Jared it’s okay, and asks if he “got it all”, which it turns out he did (damn, I was hoping he’d have to hit her again), so she says that’s a good thing and that they should go, so off they go. As they drive, Wanda checks out her injury and praises Jared for it, who asks if she’s in pain. She lies, saying she’s not in much pain, then asks how far from Tucson they are just as they reach pavement.
Wanda panics over the pavement while Jared removes the tarp from the car and hides it in the bushes (at least he was smart enough to do that), and then just as Jared is about to start driving again, Wanda stops him. She tells him she should drive, since it can’t look like she walked to the hospital in the condition she’s in, because the aliens – who, once again, are not suspicious, she has said – will have too many questions. Yep, they’re not suspicious, but they’ll question her suspiciously. Totally logical.
She tells Jared to find something to hide under in the backseat and tell her where to go, and Jared agrees to her plan, but begins to threaten her if she doesn’t go where he tells her to. Before he can finish, she cuts him off and tells him to shoot her if she doesn’t comply with his directions. Apparently both Wanda and Stryder are “stung” by Jared’s “doubt”, but come on, girls, surely you can both figure out why this would be a little unnerving for him. You don’t need to be offended by everything.
Wanda gets into the driver’s seat while Jared gets a blanket from the trunk and hides under it in the backseat, and they leave, with Wanda surprised that she remembers how to drive. Um, Wanda, it’s only been a few months since you drove to the desert; if you forgot how to drive in that short period of time, you should not be allowed to drive at all, ever.
For the next while, we get paragraph after paragraph of Jared’s directions, what Wanda sees, and how she feels about being ‘surrounded’ in the city (by her own kind; yeah, that must be fucking terrifying), and the only thing we learn at all is that the aliens are so boring that they follow all traffic laws, so they never speed, despite that those are human traffic laws and they tend to think everything humans do is stupid.
The only part of this that’s relevant at all is that if Jared had been driving, he’d have been speeding, and they might have been noticed because of that…though unless he was going incredibly fast, the souls still probably wouldn’t have noticed, since I can’t see why they would have police officers if they follow all the rules always, so there would be no real way for anyone else to know they were speeding. So I guess, in the end, this information was probably still irrelevant after all.
Wanda gets all nervous about the other cars on the road when their headlights flash on her, so Stryder cheers her on, reminding her that she’s doing it for Jamie, and Wanda decides to focus on thinking about Jamie. More directions from Jared and a description of the Healing facility, which sounds like a walk-in clinic to me, and Wanda parks in “the darkest corner of the parking lot“.
Wanda puts on the backpack Jared left in the car for her, which is apparently perfect because it’s not new, though her clothes had to be for some reason (sorry, that still bugs me), and then tells Jared to give her the knife. He tells her he doesn’t think she could fight with it, but she tells him it’s not for the aliens, it’s for her, because she needs a wound like Jamie’s so that she can see how they treat it, since she knows nothing about healing. The logic here seems a bit flawed, since surely she could just pay attention to what they do to her face, but maybe she doesn’t think she’s smart enough to understand what they’re doing if she can’t see them doing it?
Jared tells her no, but Wanda gets forceful and tells him someone will notice if she doesn’t go inside soon, so he gives in again. Wanda sees this as a hugely positive trait that Jared has; she thinks that Jared thinks quickly enough to understand what needs to be done and does it…but really, all of this has just made it seem like he is too trusting and too meek to fight with Wanda, which directly contradicts how he was to her in the earlier chapters. Again, super convenient, Meyer!
Jared tells her to be careful, so she asks if he wants to do it, and I can’t tell if that’s a real question or a snappy comment, but either way, Wanda goes right ahead and stabs herself in the arm before she can chicken out. She chooses the arm because apparently she’s got scars on her knees that she doesn’t want to have to hide, but I just cannot understand why she would have to hide them. Do the aliens expect that none of the host bodies they use will have scars on them, for some reason? A vast majority of people in the world have scars of some sort; I can’t imagine the aliens wasted their time fixing every single scar every host body ever had when they performed their insertions; that would be a huge waste of time and resources!
Besides which, this is another bad message from Meyer; “scars are so tremendously bad and disfiguring that in order to be perfect (which the aliens supposedly are), you have to be completely without scars”. So. Much. Bullshit. Wanda should be able to go in there with her scarred knees and have no problem, but no, she has to hide them because the aliens would not have let her go around with such horrible disfiguration, so Meyer’s audience should also feel self-conscious about their scars. I’m probably being way too touchy about this, but meh, I don’t like it.
So blah blah blah, description of her leading up to stabbing herself and then eventually doing it, her screaming after she has done it and Jared trying to help her out, her denying him and telling him to stay under the blanket and not move, and then Wanda’s out the door. She tells Jared she’ll be right back (she probably should have said that while inside the car, but of course that won’t come back to bite her, and neither will her screaming, because Meyer-verse is convenient) and heads across the parking lot to the Healing facility.
Wanda is panicked, nauseous and in a lot of pain as she makes her way to the doors, and she thinks she’s in shock, and I feel like this is a bit overdone for what has happened to her, but at the same time, I also feel like it wasn’t as poorly described as things have been in the past, so it’s not bad. When she gets inside the facility, the receptionist jumps up and calls for a Healer to come right away, saying it’s an emergency.
Wanda tells her it’s not an emergency, just an accident, but that’s a bit pointless because the call has already been made, so the receptionist comes over and puts her arm around Wanda’s waist to help her walk. She asks what happened to her, so Wanda tells her she was hiking, and as she was cleaning up after dinner she fell down the rocks with a knife in her hand.
The receptionist falls for the story hook, line and sinker, and asks her her name, which she says is Glass Spires, a name she stole from someone she knew when she lived with the Bears. Okay then. At least it’s a nice name.
The receptionist comforts Wanda, and she starts to feel less panicked because the woman is so gentle and caring (which shouldn’t surprise her; isn’t that how all souls are? -_-), and then the Healer shows up, and she apparently looks funny cause she’s brown. Niiice, Meyer. Throw a little more racism in there, why dontcha?
The Healer (Knits Fire…yep) asks her what happened and she explains again, as they go down the hallway to an examination room. Wanda lies down on the examination table, and it’s all very familiar and blah blah blah, and then the Healer takes a container out of a cabinet that’s full of “stacked white cylinders“. She refers to what she has as “No Pain” (how creative), and asks Wanda to open her mouth.
Somehow, she knows Wanda’s made up name even though she wasn’t there when Wanda said it, and Wanda didn’t mention telling it to her, but that’s not very important in the long run, it just annoyed me, so moving on.
The Healer puts a small, thin square on Wanda’s tongue, which Wanda says has no taste and dissolves instantly, and as soon as it is dissolved, she no longer feels pain. I had no idea Listerine PocketPaks had painkilling effects! They should really advertise that better…
Wanda is, for some reason, shocked by how quickly her pain has been taken away, despite that she should kind of have known that would be the case, since she went on at length about how great the aliens’ methods of healing were, so she must have known something about them other than that they could get rid of scars…and instant painkilling would be a pretty big one.
The Healer asks Wanda not to move until her injuries are treated, then asks the receptionist (whose name is apparently Cerulean; that is absolutely my favourite name in this book so far) to go get Wanda some water, as her mouth seems dry. I’m assuming that means she has bad breath; maybe she just needs another Listerine strip.
The Healer goes through the cabinets again and pulls out a bunch more containers, listing off the names of each as she does so (again, HOW FUCKING CONVENIENT, right?! No way, she must do this with ALL her patients…-_-). She takes off the top of one of the containers and sprays Wanda’s arm and face as Wanda begins to make some small talk about Healing and how interesting it must be.
Of course, because it’s this book and things couldn’t go any way but perfectly for Wanda when she wants them to, Wanda manages to get the Healer to explain everything she’s doing in detail, and why she’s doing it. So blah blah blah, info about Clean, Inside Clean (which she has to inhale; that’d be what Jamie needs), Heal, and some glue-like substance she uses to seal the wound (which is in a tube, but Meyer describes it as a container first, and that irks me).
I’m actually surprised the aliens use this much stuff if their medical technology is supposed to be so advanced. This does not actually seem all that advanced to me at all; it’s pretty close to what we have, just much quicker and without pain. So yeah, it’s better, but I wouldn’t say it’s “good enough to destroy everything the humans ever had” better…they could have used our stuff in a pinch…
The Healer repeats the whole process on Wanda’s facial wound as they discuss how bad it is and how much the Healer likes to watch Heal work, and then Cerulean shows up with the water the Healer asked for and goes back to her desk. The Healer has Wanda sit up, then asks her how she feels, and she says she feels perfect.
The Healer begins to put on the Smooth, because remember, fuck scars, and tells Wanda she’ll always have a small line on her arm because the wound was so deep, like the wounds they make upon insertion. So…a small scar wouldn’t have actually been a big deal in the first place anyway. Uh huh. And won’t her cheek still be scarred somewhat too, since it’s been ripped open at least twice? Oh wait, probably not, cause then she wouldn’t be as omgsopretty…
As they discuss the neck scars, the Healer takes a look at Wanda’s, and they discuss who did her insertion, though she lies about it, using one of her students’ names. She makes up a bunch of stuff about where she’s from, even though the Healer didn’t ask that, and they talk about where the Healer is from, and what Wanda’s made up calling is. Not sure what the point of all this was; it just felt like more wasted paragraphs.
The Healer cleans Wanda up and tells her she looks great, so Wanda thanks her, and then the Healer gives her the water that was brought for her, which she is careful to drink at a reasonable pace. The Healer offers her more water, which she accepts, so the Healer leaves and Wanda immediately gets off the bed and starts going through the cupboards, collecting all the different kinds of medicines (including a new one, Cool – again, convenient!) and shoving them into her backpack.
She takes entire stacks of most of the stuff instead of leaving some to make it less conspicuous, but only takes two cans of Smooth because she doesn’t want to “press her luck”. Ugggh, I hate this book. She closes the cabinets, puts the backpack back on and gets up on the exam table, then waits for the Healer to come back.
Three minutes pass, Wanda nervous and sweating all the while, thinking it’s taking the Healer too long to come back, so Wanda thinks she must have figured out that she (Wanda) was lying. She thinks of taking the suicide pill, but then hears two sets of footsteps coming down the hall, and that’s the end of the chapter.
So, yeah, more convenience and stuff, this chapter wasn’t all that interesting, which is why I kind of rushed through it (sorry for that), and the alien medicines don’t sound too different from human ones, ultimately, and there you have it. On to “Succeeded” next, to find out that Wanda gets away with all this shit without issue because of course she does! See you next time!
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)