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.

What?

WHAT???

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.

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Posted on January 9, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Maybe by “rolling her eyes”, Margaret is actually struggling to not faint a second time, only Paul is so self-absorbed, he just interprets it as an eyeroll?

  2. Well, it wasn’t exactly hard to predict that this would be a great identification method. What is surprising is that Jenkins thought of it too.

    And as Meuror said in the previous post, it’s also interesting that Paul’s “prodigious intelect” (I believe someone was looking for signs that Paul was a self-insert Mary Sue like Buck?) wasn’t able to arrive at the myriad possibility that this could happen. He went and visited his Christian-hating father in law who has a first-born son who will die, and he took his own first-born son with him. If Ranold hadn’t actually been a far, far better man than Paul, and hadn’t run of to check on his son’s wellbeing, he’d have wrung Paul’s neck then and there.

    And holy shit, this Margaret is a collossal bitch. She barely cares about her dead son, barks at her daughter, traumatises her grandkids, rolls her eyes at her grieving husband, all to side with her son in law who is part of the group that killed her son. (let’s indeed assume she doesn’t know Paul orchestrated the whole thing) I mean, it would be excusable if she were angry at Paul but still urged him to leave because she’s worried Ranold’s rage will flow over to Jae and her grandchildren. But I’m not seeing any sign at that. No, it’s Paul’s prodigious intelect that must be protected at all costs. Were there any previous signs that Margaret was another cheerleader for Jenkins’ Mary Sue?

  3. Ah, Jenkins. It is good to see that what you might occasionally achieve in realizing that one and one might equal two, you immediately offset with OMG WTF MOTIVATIONS.

    Why does Margaret want to protect the accomplice of a huge mass murderer whose victims included her son? How can even Jerry Jenkins not realize that Cobra Commander is telling his “hero” to tone the villainy down?

  4. Maybe she doesn’t actually believe herself that Paul caused this — after all, the idea that a bunch of religious whackos could really kill so many people by praying is old-fashioned superstition of the worst sort — but she’s afraid that in the madness of grief, her husband might succumb to such an irrational idea…and do something awful? It only takes a few seconds of rage to do something you’ll regret forever, after all, and as annoying a son-in-law as Paul no doubt is, she doesn’t what to see him murdered.

  5. My guess is that Margaret is actually a Secret RTC, too. Maybe not in contact with the underground and just someone who kept quiet about things after Atheistopia was formed, but someone who knows that mass genocide is what everyone who’s not a RTC deserves, and thus not particularly bothered that her son, plus millions (billions?) of other people were just killed. She is described as “usually docile and tentative” by Jerry Jenkins, which are considered good qualities for a Godly Christian Wife to count.

    And duh, of course Connor is a firstborn son. Paul’s oldest child is a daughter, and everyone knows girls don’t count.

  6. “A place called Hell”

    To me that sounds similar to the phrase: “Have you ever heard of Jesus?” It’s that strange assumption that there might be someone in the audience completely unfamiliar with even the most basic concepts of Christianity. “What did you say? Unbelievers are tortured in a hill? …Oh! It’s a place that’s called Hell. I thought at first you were talking about some hill.”

    “And as they pack, Jae begs her mother to come with them.”

    Packing? Paul has just been exposed as a member of an illegal cult responsible for the worst terrorist attack in history. They are currently in the house of the man who will soon be hunting them and who might return home at any moment. …And they stop to do some packing. Because evading a global police force is just like going on a holiday. I hope they’ve remembered to call a cab for their ride to the airport.

    Listen Paul, God just killed millions of people on your behalf. I’m sure he’ll be able to wrangle up some spare socks for you if things get really that desperate. In fact, why bother with any escape plans at all? At this point Paul has ample evidence that God will grant him anything he asks. Why not just pray to be teleported to safety? Would making such a request be: A) disrespectful towards God (more so than mass murder) or B) an idea that hasn’t occurred to Paul yet? I’m going to go with option B.

    I guess they are packing because they need to bring stuff for the kids. Which brings up: Why are they taking the kids along? Surely it would be safer to leave them with the grandparents. No matter how angry Ranold is, he’s not going to take it out on Brie and Connor, they are obviously too young to have been involved. Indeed, Ranold would have a strong motive to protect his grandchildren from their evil cultist parents.

    It just seems very irresponsible to bring small children along when you are a fugitive fleeing from a global manhunt, every day a narrow escape from life-or-death situations. Or at least, there would be narrow escapes if this was a well written novel. Based on the earlier books, I have a sneaking suspicion that Paul’s escape will be remarkably uneventful.

    I know, I know… They can’t leave the children with the atheists, because then they’d never hear about Jesus. Ugh, that’s going to be a wonderful conversation, isn’t it? “Now listen up kids, this is very important. There is this guy called Jesus, who just murdered half your friends. But he didn’t murder you, because he loves you. Ain’t that swell?”

    • Ugh, that’s going to be a wonderful conversation, isn’t it? “Now listen up kids, this is very important. There is this guy called Jesus, who just murdered half your friends. But he didn’t murder you, because he loves you. Ain’t that swell?”

      Yeah, it’s coming. Oh my, but it is coming.

    • I hope they’ve remembered to call a cab for their ride to the airport.

      Well, as we’ve just been reminded of over at Fred’s Left Behind Classic, a great many of the cabbies have of course been raptured slain for being firstborns, which of course leads to a terrible, awful traffic tie-up around the airports. So yeah, they better be making their travel arrangements! And what could possibly be more interesting at this moment?

  7. Try substituting “eldest son” for “firstborn son” and see if that makes more sense to you. Really, though, they both mean the same thing – “son” modifies “firstborn” to only refer to male children, and while you could theoretically also refer to firstborn daughters not many people were doing that historically. In particular, the ancient Hebrews placed great importance on firstborn sons and the 10th plague of Egypt was specifically upon the firstborn sons, so if Ranold has been doing even the most basic research on the latest terrorist threat issued by the Christian underground he’d know it was specifically a threat against male offspring.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for January 16, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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