Shadowed: Chapter 17, Part 2 and Chapter 18: I’m Here
As Straight is playing the stupidest spy games ever with Surgeon Sneakypants, Felicia is still sitting in her car, waiting for an answer from God.
Seriously, that’s what God says to Felicia. ‘Scuse me, that’s what God “communicated directly to her heart, to her inner being.”
Funny how God didn’t see fit to communicate that little idea to her inner being before the slaughter of the firstborns. Hell, it would’ve been convenient if God had communicated directly to the hearts of the firstborns themselves.
Felicia then has basically the same thoughts that Jae had back in Silenced…
Sure, sure, Felicia gives some half-assed protestations over that little matter of murdering her son:
“You love me? And You show me this how? By taking my son? By turning my boss and friend into a fugitive and leaving me on my own? By wounding my husband until he is not the same man he once was?”
Notice the order there. Her son, then Paul, then her husband. Paul really, truly is the most important person on the planet, and it is only the natural mammalian maternal bond, present even in evil atheists, that causes Felicia to name her own son first.
Hell, it’s not like that son’s presence in Hell prevented his mother from working overtime these past few days.
Anyway, in response to the whole “murdering my son” thing, God has this to communicate to Felicia’s heart:
I lost a Son too.
Oh cry my a river, God. To hear you tell it, that was the only option open to your omnipotent self to “save” the world, and you knew it would happen always, and you lost him for three whole days, and now he’s ruling the universe with your forevermore. So forgive me if I don’t consider your “loss” as even in the same universe as Felicia’s, and Ranold’s, and Aryanna’s, and Bia’s, and every other parent and child and sibling and spouse on the planet.
Felicia actually has several similar questions to mine, which God answers directly to her heart with:
Had I prevented His death, there would have been no payment for sin.
And again. So much for being omnipotent, if there’s only that one very specific option available to you.
But of course, Felicia is so awed by the presence of God that she feels “filthy” even when he is speaking directly to her. Poor Felicia. We all knew this was coming, but it makes it no less disgusting and painful to watch yet another innocent character become a mindless drone.
So she apologizes to God, because it is all Felicia’s fault because she is a filthy sinner that God struck down her son where he stood and now he is in Hell.
Properly chastened by her totally loving God, Felicia heads home to Cletus, who has been dealing with his grief in what actually seems to me to be a relatively healthy way—by throwing beer bottles against the wall.
Felicia, to give her (momentary) credit, joins in by throwing one herself. It all ends with the couple laughing and sobbing together, and is actually one of the more real moments Jenkins has ever written.
So we know it can’t last…Felicia tries to convert her husband. Cletus has the natural question: how can you worship the being who would do this?
“We were all warned. You can’t legislate God out of life and then wonder where He is when everything goes wrong.”
Then again, when God is the one who makes everything go wrong in the first place…
“He offers forgiveness and life, but we—all of us—pushed Him away, made Him illegal, denied he even existed. It’s a wonder He didn’t wipe all of us out.”
Right? Because that would be such a forgiving, life-giving thing to do. Just like when he murdered your son.
And on that note, there is a bizarre chapter break which I am going to ignore.
Not able to convince him via the “legislated him away” and “wasn’t it nice of him not to kill us, too?” tactics, Felicia moves on to describe how God spoke directly to her inner self and stuff. She tells Cletus about how God reminded her that he had lost a son, too.
What could Cletus say? That it wasn’t fair because God was God and had the power to bring His own Son back to life? That it wasn’t fair because Danny would not be returning to them?
YES!!! YES, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD SAY!
And on and on Felicia goes, scolding herself and Cletus for doing crazy, God-hating things like “satisfy[ing] our wants and needs.”
Well, since God doesn’t…
Cletus again makes a solid argument, asking why God “overreacted”:
“Wasn’t there some other step in there, between drought in L.A. and slaughtering a billion men and boys and babies?”
And, just like every time a non-Christian asks a valid question, the Christian in the group is at a loss:
“I don’t know. And I don’t guess I’ll know till I see Him face-to-face.”
“Not that I’ll ever see my son face-to-face again, since God murdered him and sent him to Hell. Still, seeing God will be even better, won’t it? Won’t it???”
I guess it will, since Felicia seems to have all but forgotten about said son. Like Paul, who never spares a thought for his mother (who loved him and raised him all by herself) who is in hell, and Jae, who hasn’t spared a thought about Berlitz burning in Hell, Felicia simply concludes that “He did what he had to do.”
Yeah, I guess that’s the natural conclusion when someone murders someone you love.
So long, Felicia. Another one bites the dust.