Shadowed: Chapter 2: Run Like Heck
Because nice RTCs don’t use the word “Hell” in such a context.
Speaking of: a phrase I’ve noticed recently on Christian talk radio is “a place called Hell.” As in, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ will be separated from God and tormented forever, in a place called Hell.”
Why not just say “Hell.” Do they think saying “a place called Hell” softens the blow or something? I don’t get it.
Anyway, we cut to Jae in the kitchen. The kids are understandably freaked out, and I really have to wonder why Jae is making them “help” with their semi-conscious grandmother. Why not banish them to the family room with the good old electronic babysitter, to spare them from as much trauma as possible? Put in a “disc” and let parentified Brie keep an eye on little Connor.
Margaret comes (a little more) to and asks if her son is dead. This, naturally enough, freaks out the kids even more, and Jae solves this by…ordering them to go upstairs and pack.
Yeah, that’ll help. Way to be a conscientious and protective mother, Jae.
Jae calls Paul into the room, and something interesting happens:
Mrs. Decenti, usually docile and tentative, reached for Paul and pulled him close while barking at Jae.
I find that fascinating. That is her daughter she is “barking” at. Her daughter and now, her only living child. The child who was just taking care of her while both her husband and her son-in-law found better things to do. (Since Ranold ran off to help Berlitz and Aryanna, he gets more of a pass from me than Paul.) Yet it is this son-in-law, previously engrossed in the television and his own self-absorbed thoughts, that Margaret “pulls close” while she “barks” at her loving and attentive daughter, who was also, let’s not forget, trying to wrangle two small children.
So, you guys are awesome: you accurately anticipated Ranold’s response to this crisis!
Margaret tells Paul that she and Ranold had been talking about the threat from Paul and the underground Christians (though Margaret, of course, does not know that Paul is the one who actually wrote the threat). She tells him that Ranold had said, probably only half-kidding, that if the slaughter happened, “it would make it easy to know who the enemy was. They would be the dogs whose firstborn sons remained.”
As we’ve observed in the past, Ranold ain’t no dummy.
Now, as I’ve already discussed, there is a fairly bizarre set of rules around who qualifies as a firstborn son and who does not. I still can’t quite swallow the idea that Connor, the younger child of the family, is a firstborn son, but I guess that’s just one more reason I’m not RTC.
So anyway, Margaret tells Paul to run, with Jae and the kids.
But who could measure the depth of Ranold’s rage, his determination, his vengeance?
Good point. And honestly, who could blame Ranold for feeling these things, given what has happened? He’s grown to trust his son-in-law, who betrayed him in the deepest possible way—not giving him a personal warning that he knew for a fact that his son would be dead within days. And now Berlitz is dead.
Hell, this is origin story stuff—the kind of tragedy that could lead a man to become a superhero. Aquaman, even.
And yeah, I have always had a soft spot for Ranold, no matter how much the books want me to scorn and scoff at him.
And just then, Ranold calls. On the stupid landline instead of a skullphone.
The phone rang and Margaret picked up. “What’s happening, dear?” she said, rolling her eyes at Paul.
Oh, hardy-har, that Ranold, amirite? So eyeroll-worthy, such a silly blowhard…you are talking to your husband, lady, who is at this very moment staring at the corpse of your only son.
And she’s rolling her eyes.
Friggin’ sociopaths in these books, every damn time.
Ranold talks to Paul, and tries to play him, even asking to pray with him (heh), but Paul doesn’t buy it. And as they pack, Jae begs her mother to come with them. For reasons best known to herself, Margaret opts not to. Because I guess it doesn’t bother her that after tonight, she’ll probably never see either of her two children alive again.
Great parenting is just all over these books.