Shadowed: Chapter 5: Big, Bad Ranold
He was a beefy, jowly, red-faced man…
Yeah. And here we are introduced to one of the leitmotifs of Shadowed: Ranold’s weight.
‘Scuse me…his beefiness.
As you may recall from previous Jenkins works, our beloved author has…perhaps a bit of an issue with weight. Jenkins has been quite open about his own struggles with his weight, but that has never stopped him from displacing that hatred onto others.
Exhibit A: Poor, doomed Charlotte. Who’s dead, but that’s okay, since she was both an atheist and plump.
Then there’s my favorite woobie, Leon Fortunato, another guy we know is big and beefy…since Jenkins constantly tells us so.
So, watch for references to Ranold and his eating habits. Trust me, they’re coming!
In the meantime, Jae is the worst double agent ever.
“Paul took the kids out. They were getting squirrelly.”
Really, Jae? REALLY???
Yup, that’s the best she can do. Remind me again why she remained behind, instead of throwing her mother into the backseat and just going.
Ranold, bless his heart, buys this not at all…though for about ten seconds, he thinks it’s just Paul who flipped, not Jae.
But Jae soon proves herself with some crazy capitalization:
“You want to take arms against a Force that could wipe out over a billion men?”
“Are you going to tell me that the Person you’ve never believed in wins a battle, as you call it, of this magnitude, and you’re not ready to concede He exists?”
But Ranold is not one to be taken in by mere capital letters:
“I concede nothing. I never give in, never give up.”
You go, Ranold!
I’m serious: Ranold is having the reaction we’ve always said is logical when faced with this genocidal maniac of a god: FIGHT HIS ASS.
Well, and fight Paul. In which goal I am also behind Ranold 100%.
But Margaret is not. And when Ranold threatens to turn in Jae, too, things quickly devolved into a screaming match.
At least until Margaret collapses. Again.
“You killed her!” Jae screeched. “Look what you’ve done!”
Sure, Jae, I’m sure this second collapse is entirely Ranold’s fault, and has nothing to do with Margaret’s son being dead less than two hours.
(Of course, Margaret has shown that she cares about Berlitz about as much as she cares about a dog she doesn’t like, so who knows…)
Her father’s face had frozen. He rushed to his wife, whining, “Margaret, don’t! We’ll talk this through!”
Whining. His son is dead and his daughter is a traitor and his wife has just collapsed and Ranold is just so whiny, isn’t he?
Margaret has no pulse and so Ranold immediately begins CPR…which Jae is against.
“Daddy, don’t,” Jae said. “Don’t. She’s gone.”
Um, says who, Jae? Your God? Is this some kind of screwed up, can’t-accept-medical-assistance-because-it’s-against-God’s-will or something?
Or has there not been enough death tonight for you yet?
Hell, I give up. On Jae and on understanding her. She is every bit as sociopathic as her husband and her mother.
Ranold, in the throes of grief, plays the get-out-before-I-do-something-we’ll-both-regret card. So, leaving her mother dead and her father sobbing, Jae heads out alone into the night.
Need I point out that all this could have been prevented had Paul and Jae just run off together and taken Margaret with them before Ranold got home?
Since Paul is trying to get through to the D.C. underground, Jae has to leave a message on his skull phone.
Yeah, these two are gonna be pros at being on the run.