Silenced, Chapter 30: Not Spiteful at All, Part 2
On the plane back to the USSA, Jae reveals why she had no concern whatsoever about the fate about to befall her beloved brother:
“I do not believe this slaughter is going to take place. If it doesn’t, it will tell me a lot about your fellow believers and the effectiveness of their prayers. If it does, besides being the most shocked person in the world, I can’t promise how it will make me feel about God. I suppose I will have to believe He is real, but I would have a hard time understanding Him or liking Him much.”
Paul worried about Jae…
He’s worried about Jae??? Jae will be fine, Paul. How about sparing a bit of worry for your brother-in-law, a person you claimed to love back in Chapter 1:
“I know Berlitz is a strange bird,” [Jae] said, “but I love him.”
“And that’s reason enough for me to as well.” [said Paul]
But is a few short hours, Berlitz will die and be sent to an eternity of torture in Hell, for the crime of being raised in a secular world by secular parents, and having a brother-in-law who doesn’t care enough to warn him about the murders he knows are coming.
Let’s unpack the rest of Jae’s comment, though. She says that if the slaughter doesn’t come to pass, it will tell her a lot about believers and the efficacy of prayer. But that’s true either way, no? Jae already knows that her husband and thousands of his “brothers and sisters” are praying for the mass murder of millions of innocents, including children. (Granted, according to Jenkinsian “logic,” the smaller children would probably Pass Go and go straight to Heaven, but not the kids over the magical age of twelve.) Why do the murders not have to come to pass in order for Jae to know that these people are horrible sociopaths?
And then Jae says that if the murders do happen, she will be the most shocked person in the world. I doubt that, as almost every family in the world is likely to suffer at least one unexpected death. But whatever, I’ll forgive her hyperbole since she doesn’t believe it will happen.
And she will “have to believe,” but would have a hard time understanding or liking God. Overstatement followed by understatement.
Besides, Jae has already prayed to God, though she hasn’t “made the transaction” and prayed the sinner’s prayer. So she’s not officially RTC yet, though her attitude about her husband others like him show her most of the way there.
Oh, and Paul still could not give less of a shit about this whole situation. After noting that the slaughter will take place at midnight, Bern time, and that is 6:00 p.m. in D.C., Paul simply sleeps the sleep of the sociopath for the rest of the flight.
They arrive in D.C. in late morning, meaning Paul still has hours to talk to Berlitz, but he just could not possible care less. They basically do nothing all day until the kids come home from school and Ranold comes home from work. Berlitz and Aryanna are going to come over for dinner and celebrate.
In the meantime, Ranold offers Paul a drink, and I think it’s important to note that one of Paul’s final actions in this book is to tell yet another lie:
“I got a little shut-eye on the plane, but alcohol would probably put me out for a week.”
Liar. Paul slept for almost the whole flight, and won’t drink at all now, because good little RTCs don’t drink.
Paul is checking his watch again and again (superspy that he is), and Ranold notices (because he actually is observant) and thinks that Paul just wants to watch himself be the hero on the news again. So, with only a couple of minutes left until the mass murder, they plant themselves in the living room.
Paul drummed his fingers on the arm of the chair.
“Man, I cannot wait for everyone to croak!”
And he doesn’t have long to wait…
At six straight up…
DAMN, I hate that turn of phrase. “Six straight up”??? It’s six o’clock, you jerk!
…it was as if the power went off in the house.
And the power has gone out everywhere, all over the world. So God did a momentary blackout so he could carry out all the murders.
If there’s anything fortunate about this, at least God killed them quickly. The first death we see is the news anchorman, who is slumped over his desk when the TV comes back on, and then Aryanna calls from the car–
Margaret answers the landline, and when Aryanna tells her that Berlitz is dead, his poor mother faints.
(By the way, Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!)
Berlitz was driving, and slumps over when the lights go out (even the headlights of cars), and Aryanna, because she is apparently a FRAKKING BADASS, takes control of the car and steers it to safety.
Gorramitall, Aryanna, why isn’t this book about you?
Paul and Ranold both get skull calls, as the women, Aryanna and Jae, are left to handle the actual crisis.
Enzo Fabrizio has called Paul to gossip. As you would at such a moment.
“It’s happened, Paul. Are you watching the news?”
“Yes, Enzo, I’m just sipping a virgin daiquiri in front of the tube. Because this worldwide crisis has NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on my actual life and the people I profess to ‘love’.”
Bia has called Ranold. Tai, her son in college, has died. It’s a sad commentary on Bia’s life that the only person she can call for moral support is Ranold, who is himself processing the death of his only son.
People’s actions (and inaction) here rather call back to the crisis of Soon, when L.A. is dessicated. Ranold is stopped for a moment by a panic attack, Bia springs into action. Paul does absolutely nothing.
Here, Ranold is paralyzed for a moment, the women do everything they can (Aryanna, you frakking rock) and Paul does absolutely nothing.
Ranold’s shock is short-lived, however:
“I’ve got to get to Berlitz and help Aryanna,” he said.
GOOD MAN, Ranold.
“Paul, will you come?”
Paul doesn’t even get the chance to say no; Jae says it for him:
“Let him stay with Mom, Dad,” Jae said.
Then Paul makes one of the bigger dumbass mistakes of his life: he tells Ranold RIGHT NOW what’s happened.
“Ranold,” Paul said. “it’s happened.”
You’d think Ranold would realize kinda what’s happened. Both his and Bia’s sons have died at the same moment. He may not think God is behind it, but surely he must think that the Christian terrorists are carrying out their evil plot.
“The curse. The plague. The warning from the underground.”
“Well, okay, not so much a ‘warning’ as it was the fervent mass prayer that millions of innocents die. Isn’t God just the best???”
“What? What?” Ranold looked wildly at everyone in the kitchen, his eyes finally landing on Connor. “But, but your son, your firstborn is fine!”
We’ll get back to this.
The kids burst into tears. Ranold stormed out.
Jae helped her mother into a chair and fanned her. “You kids help me with Grandma. Now! Get me a glass of water. Paul, you’d better check the news.”
Yes, five-year-old child, help me with a grown woman in shock. Paul, go do nothing.
Why does he need to check the news? They both know what’s happening.
(Let’s also note that despite Jae’s prediction that she would be “the most shocked person in the world,” she is handling this with aplomb. You go, girl-who-is-not-quite-yet-RTC.)
So Paul, on the advice of both his buddy and his wife, goes and watched TV. What a helpful dude. Of course, he immediately sees that this is happening all over the world, including to Ball Dangler, who lost his firstborn son.
And on that note, the book ends. Boom.
Much like the cliffhanger ending of Soon, which ended exactly post-“miracle.” So stylistically, I can’t fault the stories for that.
But that firstborn thing…
Ball Dangler’s eldest son (he has four sons and no daughters) is dead. Okay, makes sense. Berlitz is dead. Again, fair enough. He is older than Jae.
Why is Ranold shocked that Connor is alive. Remember, Brie is two years older than her brother.
To my secularly-raised mind, Paul and Jae do not have a “firstborn son.” They have a firstborn daughter and a secondborn son. They have no child who could be affected by the “plague.”
But, I’ve been wrong before, so I checked with reliable sources.
According to my sister-in-law’s Sunday School classes (she was raised Catholic), Connor would be included in the plague. Because he is the first son in the family, and because daughters don’t count, don’tcha know.
It actually makes perfect sense to me that Jenkins/God would think this way. So, let’s roll with it.
So, that’s the children. What about their parents?
Because Connor is not in the crosshairs because Paul is a Christian.
But Jae is not. She might have prayed once and might believe in God, but she doesn’t actually come to Jesus “all the way” until Chapter 4 of Shadowed.
So, daughters don’t count, and mothers don’t count.
Everyone’s shocked, I’m sure.
This is also driven home by the fact that Paul himself is spared the plague. His mother was an atheist and his father was a Christian. Then again, this could also be because both his parents are dead. (Chalk it up, once again, to my secular upbringing, but I just think that people are still their parents’ children, even when the parent is dead.)
(On that note, I was really worried for Ranold earlier in the book, as it is strongly implied that he is an only child. But, presumably, his parents are dead, so he is also spared the plague.)
In conclusion, in order for God to bring the Hellhammer down on your sorry ass, you need to be the oldest boy in the family (but not necessarily the oldest child, and your father must be an alive non-Christian.)
Another note of interest: I know that Jenkins thinks that RTC-ianity is the only real religion, but perhaps even in Atheistopia, there are secret underground Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and pagans. Their firstborn sons are dead, too, and roasting in Hell.
So, that’s Silenced. Worse and even more depressing than Soon.
Before we move on to some awesome Christian movies, let’s have a secular moment of silence (or Silenced, if you will) for poor Berlitz Decenti. And a moment of respect for the awesomeness of his wife, Aryanna.
Okay, that’s done. On to Belle and the Beast!