Soon: Prologue: Subtlety and Violent Death
So they drag Andy to some deserted industrial park, because let’s not miss a cliché. By this time, “some big shot” in a limo (no doubt solar-powered) has shown up, and directs the mean, raw-boned lady as to what to do next. Although why the Big Shot is directing them is anyone’s guess–they’re already all set up for what they’re going to do.
Indeed, they have a 55-gallon drum just sitting there, waiting, and Andy seems to know exactly the purpose to which it will be put (he smells “acrid fumes” coming from the barrel, and prays that he will be “stoic“). Because nothing is more important than being a Big Strong Manly Man (TM) until the end.
“Actions have consequences, An-dy,” the woman said. (Emphasis Jenkins’.)
Okay, what’s with the weird emphasis on the first syllable of Andy’s name? What, is the raw-boned woman six years old? It’s not like Andy is some kind of strange and unusual name.
And even though “surrender wasn’t in his nature,” Andy can only imagine how he would fight his way to freedom, and lets himself be stuffed into the barrel, which happens to be lined with napalm. He imagines how they would shoot him if he made a run for it. Me, I think if I had to choose, I would take the bullets over the being burned alive, but maybe that’s just me.
Oh, and he wants to spit in the raw-boned lady’s face, but refrains. Andy’s a gentleman.
“Now others will get the message. The USSA does not tolerate subversives.”
Are you serious, Jerry Jenkins?
Honestly, are you serious?
Holy crap, you are serious.
So Andy is imagining scenarios of torture, but they’re really just there to kill him. Hell, they don’t even ask him a single question, which seems like a real wasted opportunity. Surely the…oh geez…the USSA might be interested in “the compund” where Andy’s compatriots are. I mean, they have a compound.
But no, they just kill him. Man, the USSA is inefficient. The guy isn’t even struggling or spitting or anything.
Now, I’m no expert in the area of being killed while stuffed into a barrel of napalm that is set on fire, but Jenkins manages to inject the scene with at least a bit of horror. (Well, he has to, doesn’t he? After all, this is just what eeevil atheists would do to a Christian, if only they had the chance.)
Andy willed himself to make no sound, but he failed. He had drawn in enough air to fill his lungs just before the conflagration enveloped him with a heat so hellish he could not fathom it. And he exhaled with a scream so piercing he could hear it above the roar of the fire.
Now, not to take anything away from Andy’s pain in the moment, but I do feel compelled to point out two things, the first of which may seem insensitive, but is related to the second point:
1. Andy’s pain, great though it is, is over in seconds. He has time for one scream before he dies.
2. Speaking of hellish, this is what RTCs think will happen to atheists forever when they die. Oh, and all those other silly Other People, too–the Muslims and Hindus and Wiccans and Buddhists.
I want to be fair about this, I really do, so I went and checked, and found footage of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (though it is important to remember that Jenkins is the sole author of Soon) talking about the fate of nonbelievers and the existence of hell, on Beliefnet.
So if people deny Jesus, they get stuffed into a fired-up barrel of napalm…forever. Which, okay, would suck, but someone has to explain to me how this threat would make me a) believe in him, and b) even if I did, worship him out of anything but abject fear.
So ends the Prologue. On to Paul Apostle!