Let me just start by saying I’m not sure Meyer is using the word ‘detained’ properly here, because no one was really detained at any point in this chapter, unless Meyer is using the term broadly. Oh, did I just give something important about this chapter away by saying that? Well, spoiler alert: Wanda and Jared get away scot free because of course they do. Are you surprised? I know I was. Yep, that was totally unexpected.
That being said, there were a few slightly tense moments in this chapter, and it’s the first time she’s ended one with me actually feeling the urge to keep reading to find out what happens next, and that’s huge progress when you consider the last two chapters, so it’s not all bad. Just…most of it is.
Starting where we left off with the flashing lights and siren, we find out that the alien version of the police and the human version of the police are pretty much the same, except that the alien police are Seekers. That wasn’t really the impression I got from the Seeker in the first few chapters, but hey, when is anything how it seems in this book? I wish that was a compliment.
Wanda explains that the Seeker police force is only necessary for accidents and emergencies, and that they don’t enforce laws, except that this whole chapter is about them speeding, so I guess they kind of do enforce laws, but only when it comes to the humans or something. Because naturally, only humans would ever break laws; aliens never do so, even by accident.
She goes out of her way to point out that most Seekers don’t have vehicles with sirens, but this vehicle was “clearly made for pursuit” and is something unlike any other vehicle she’s ever seen, yet she knows exactly what it means. What, that they’re looking for humans? Do these vehicles just magically appear whenever a human is suspected? Or is there some other meaning?
Jared keeps driving, surveying his limited options, and then decides (after only two seconds, apparently, though it seemed to take Wanda far longer than that to go through all her overdramatic thoughts) to give up. Not really much else to do, all things considered; if he tries to run, it’ll just jeopardize everyone in the caves.
He apologizes to Wanda, holds her hand and starts to slow down, then verifies that she has her cyanide pill. He asks if Stryder can hear him, then tells her he loves her and that he’s sorry, which Wanda repeats back to him on Stryder’s behalf. They go silent for a moment before Jared reveals to Wanda that he cares about her too, and thinks she’s a good person.
He says she deserves better than what he’s given her, though I’m not really sure what he did wrong besides be a dick for the first while because he was scared, which was reasonable (to an extent), so I think that’s a bit much, and then Wanda notices that he has a cyanide pill too. She is shocked because she doesn’t want him to die, though I’m not sure why she thinks any other outcome here would be better, and Jared explains as much.
As Jared drifts the van over to the shoulder, Wanda begs him to give her one try at lying to the Seeker, promising to take her cyanide pill right away if it doesn’t work. She makes him switch seats with her so it looks like she was driving, and tells him to buckle up, close his eyes and turn his face toward the window. She doesn’t tell him to pretend he’s sleeping, or explain what her plan is, so I’d be a little wary of this in his situation, but I guess he hasn’t got much to lose, so he does it anyway.
She puts on her seatbelt, noting that Jared’s scar is visible from the angle she’s got him facing, and tries to psych herself up for what’s to come. She’s all worried about being a better liar, like human actors, but if the souls aren’t suspicious and her sucking at lying didn’t matter before, why would it now?
She looks to Stryder for help, but Stryder says she can’t help her be a better soul, she just knows Wanda can do it. Wanda realizes that Stryder is right, and that she just has to be herself, so she spends some more time preparing herself for the Seeker while he parks on the opposite side of the road from where she and Jared are stopped. The Seeker turns on a super bright light in his car, which makes the reflection from Wanda’s eyes bounce off the road somehow, and now I can’t stop picturing her glowing eyeballs bouncing on the road, and it’s amusing me far more than it probably should be. I think this book has truly driven me insane.
I’m assuming that was the point of the spotlight, though, so they would know what they were dealing with before they got over to the van, but I have to wonder what they’d have done if they hadn’t seen the reflection of her eyes. That probably would have made for a far more interesting chapter.
Meyer describes the Seeker getting out of the car in painful detail, and Wanda feels better because the Seeker emerges from the passenger side, and the one on the driver’s side doesn’t get out, so she sees that as a sign of comfort and confidence. Why? Has she been in this situation before? How does she know this isn’t what the Seekers normally do when they suspect humans? And hell, how does she know there are even two Seekers? Maybe the one Seeker climbed across the seat for some reason. It’s doubtful, sure, but possible.
Anyway, there’s a stupid comment about her eyes being like the North Star, and then she’s back to pumping herself up again, but with the opposite mindset this time, because like the baby in the park, nothing like her has ever existed before. Yes, you’re a beautiful and unique snowflake; we know. Now shut up.
The Seeker’s a guy, blah blah blah, lengthy description of him that we don’t need because we will, in all likelihood, never see him again, and we find that he has a gun, just casually there at his hip. Really, how can the aliens be as averse to weapons as Wanda is, if some of their own just casually carry around weapons and use them at their discretion?
I mean, some of them might have aversions, sure, but it would be just the same as only our police carrying guns, and everyone else in the world being terrified of them. It’s just not the case. I’m not a huge fan of guns in a lot of cases, but I’m not afraid of them unless they’re being wielded for the wrong reasons. The aliens would never see that happening, because they’d be either wielded by Seekers or humans, who have every right to want to fight back. Though I guess my position there is a *bit* biased.
The Seeker acts like a normal human police officer, asking Wanda if there’s a problem and informing her that she was speeding, though of course he has to word it weirdly, while looking all around for signs of any trouble. Wanda is anxious that he seems anxious, but she manages to control it, and tells him she thinks she must have drifted off to sleep while driving. She’s worried that he can tell she’s lying, since he looks at Jared, so she just keeps talking, repeating her story and how sorry she is.
The Seeker asks her her name and she tells him it’s “Leaves Above”, because that was the name she used at the last hotel she stayed at, so if the Seeker decided to look into her story, it could be verified that way. That was actually a smart move on her part, but what’s completely stupid is that of course Meyer has to make shit convenient again by having the Seeker recognize the name as belonging to another species from one of their stupid alien planets, because his partner was one of those before too. Oh, how lovely; now the Seeker will go easier on Wanda because he has found a connection to her. It’s not like we didn’t see that coming from a million miles away.
Wanda asks if she should go back to Tucson, since she feels more awake, or if the Seeker thinks she should just take a nap in the truck first. The Seeker’s response to the idea of her sleeping in the truck is one of alarm, which startles Wanda and causes her to drop her cyanide pill. Awwww, shiiiiit…oh wait, that’s not going to matter at all because it’s this book, so there is, again, zero tension here!
The Seeker apologizes for startling her, then tells her she shouldn’t “linger” there, because there was a disappearance recently. He goes on to say that it might have been an accident, but that there also might be humans in the area.
Wanda’s reaction is one of fear, and though it’s not for the reason that the Seeker thinks she’s afraid, he still tries to make her feel better, saying there have been no actual sightings of humans in the area, but she should proceed on to Phoenix without delay.
For some reason, Wanda brings up Tucson again, as though trying to convince the Seeker that he should send her back there instead of to Phoenix, but he tells her there’s no danger so she can continue on with her plans. I really don’t know why she did this; it risked her not getting home, when he was already telling her to go on her way. Just seems like an unnecessary risk to me.
The Seeker reiterates that he’s sure she can go on to Phoenix, but warns her not to “go wandering off into the desert“. I get it; it’s funny because that’s exactly what she’s going to do, right? Oh, Meyer, you’re so clever. Except not at all.
We get to hear again about how wonderful the souls are because he is worried for her, not about her, and that’s so different than humans, because humans never care about the wellbeing of other humans, blah blah blah. Sick of this shit, as I’ve already had to say repeatedly because Meyer will not fucking shut up about it.
Wanda tells the Seeker she’ll be more careful, and looks out the window in such a way that’s supposed to make him see that his mention of humans has made her wide awake. As she does so, she notices headlights reflecting in the side mirror, and apparently Jared notices them too, even though his eyes are closed.
Even though Wanda has said she’s wide awake now, the Seeker decides to ‘help’ keep her awake by giving her some medication, so he goes rooting around for that while she tries to make herself look normal so he doesn’t notice that she noticed the headlights. He finds what he’s looking for, which is a spray called “Awake” (that name annoys me more than is probably reasonable), and warns Wanda not to use it frequently, despite that he doesn’t ever actually give her the bottle, so I’m not sure why he thought that warning necessary. Wanda isn’t paying attention when he finds the meds, though, because she’s too distracted by the headlights, as is Stryder; they’re both praying that Ian and Kyle keep driving by.
Wanda realizes the Seeker is talking to her and starts to pay attention again, so he gives her a spray of the Awake and tells her to inhale it, which she does. It begins to work instantly, just as the truck Kyle and Ian are in slows down to stop on the road behind them.
Wanda and Stryder start to panic, and Wanda tries to find the cyanide pill on the floor, but the Seeker just waves the truck past, even though he should probably have checked for the reflection of their eyes on the road like he did with Wanda, if he’s so worried about humans being around. The truck begins to drive off, and Stryder and Wanda feel relieved.
The Seeker asks Wanda how she feels and tells her the Awake will wear off in about four hours, then they both thank each other (the Seeker thanking her for not being a human, basically), and the Seeker assures Wanda she’ll be okay. He offers to follow them to Phoenix, but she says she’ll be fine, and then they have some stupid idle conversation that I hate, and say goodbye.
The Seeker tells his partner to turn off the bright light, which he does, and then Wanda starts the engine as the Seekers drive off. She begins to drive again, and she and Jared discuss all the stuff we already know about what happened because we just fucking read it, and hear once more about what a bad actor Wanda is, before Jared gets into gushing all over Wanda about how wonderful she is again. I’m skipping all this shit because Jesus fucking Christ how many times do we need to hear the same goddamn bullshit in this book?? It’s not any more interesting the 700th time you tell us something than it was the first, Meyer!
Oh good, after the gushing we get back into Stryder being emo because Wanda can do more for the group than she can. We JUST FUCKING DID THIS, Meyer! FUCK OFF!
After driving for a bit, Wanda sees the taillights of Kyle and Ian’s truck, so she speeds up to pass them so that they can see that she and Jared are both okay. Jared shines a flashlight in his eyes as they pass for proof, and the guys are relived. Or they should be, anyway; apparently Kyle is, but Ian just grimaces. Yeah, okay, whatever; not gonna bother with this shit again.
Wanda asks Jared if she should drive all the way to Phoenix, but he tells her no, because the Seekers won’t follow them (Wanda knows that apparently), so they might as well go home. So home it is. We get a bunch of pointless shit about how they’re going to unload the trucks, and then we’re let in on the secret that Jeb’s directions to Stryder for how to get to the cave were just to make them pass back and forth in front of the cave so the humans could check them out before letting them in. Alright. Clever enough, I guess.
Jared asks Wanda what she thinks the disappearance the Seeker mentioned is all about, and at first she thinks it’s her, but Jared points out that that wouldn’t be a recent disappearance, and that they weren’t watching the road when they left for their raids, but they are now, so it must be very recent. They both get a bit upset when they realize that the others in the cave must be doing something, but they don’t know what it could be.
Wanda is confused because she doesn’t know why the Seekers would be looking for humans if a disappearance happened, since accidents do happen (and, I’ll point out, THE SOULS ARE NOT SUSPICIOUS), and she doesn’t think the people in the caves would do anything to draw attention to themselves unless there was an emergency.
Wanda considers that maybe they started “slaughtering people” again because she wasn’t there, and Jeb had only promised not to do it when she was there, and starts to get teary. Jared offers to drive, but she declines, and they make it home, where we get a description of what the hill the caves are in look like for some reason.
They get out of the van and Jared apologizes to her for what they both assume is going on, which gives Wanda a chance to demean/demonize him again, and then Kyle and Ian stop their truck behind them and come out. Kyle asks what happened, and Ian sees that Wanda is upset and tries to comfort her, telling her she did great.
Jared steps in and tells Ian that the Seeker isn’t the problem, as he continues to maintain a physical connection to Wanda while Ian hugs her because he’s a man and has to lay claim to his property, and then explains that the Seekers were watching the road, and that it seems Doc has been ‘working in their absence’. Yeah, right, blame Doc again. So deserved, that.
Ian gets angry in the absolute stupidest way possible, and Kyle is annoyed at the people in the cave for being idiots. Jared cuts off Kyle’s complaints about it, though he is so far the one that reacted the most realistically (maybe not for his character, but in general), and says they need to get the stuff unloaded, just in case more Seekers are watching for them.
Wanda keeps crying as they begin to move stuff into the cave, and as they walk through the dark tunnels, she hears Jamie’s voice. He shows up as Wanda tries to compose herself so she can greet him without crying, but when she sees his face, she realizes that he has been crying. Jared and Wanda both panic and drop their boxes, and Jamie runs into Wanda’s arms and tells them that Wes is dead; that “the Seeker” killed him. And that’s the end.
Sorry for rushing those last few pages, I just couldn’t bear to do it anymore. This book is so hard to deal with; I’m not sure I’ve ever hated another book as much as this one. Certainly, though, if I ever have, I’ve never had to give a book I hated so much attention, so it just…gets hard at times.
Anyway, as I said, with it ending on somewhat of a cliff-hanger like that I’m actually kind of interested to see how Wes got killed by a Seeker, but not enough to not absolutely dread writing the next recap anyway. I’m pretty sure this is all just going to turn out to be something stupid that goes nowhere again, so yay. Things to look forward to.
I’m going to call this done, now. I can’t think about it anymore.
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)