Marked Chapter 27

Now that PCK has, sort of, shown there’s a threat of some sort I wonder how this chapter will turn out. Will it be an endless stream of action? Will it perhaps be a sloppily executed scene out of an old fashioned parlor mystery? Maybe Zoey will round everyone up and begin explaining her thought process to everyone before fingering the killer. Or instead we’ll start off with a confusing passage.

“Nice dress, Zoey. It looks just like mine. Oh, wait! It used to be mine.” Aphrodite laughed a throaty, I’m-so-grown-up-and-you’re-just-a-kid laugh. I really hate it when girls do that. I mean, yes, she’s older, but I have boobs, too.

That’s a pretty complicated laugh. It’s got to take a bit of practice because it’s easy to give someone the I-don’t-mean-to-laugh-in-inappropriate-situations-but-that-only-makes-me-laugh-harder by mistake. I might be expected to point out that her comment about having breasts is stupid but it’s actually decent. It shows us, not tells us, that Zoey is immature and insecure. It’s like a single breath of fresh air in the middle of a landfill.

Zoey pretends she doesn’t understand, not much of a stretch, and fawns at Aphrodite. Then she takes a dig at her by telling her she was reading how the leader of the DDs are supposed to make new people feel welcome. I hope you’ve got plenty of aloe because she burned you good, Aphrodite. Are you going to let her get away with that or did you need to leave soon because your skin donor is waiting for you? Oh, you have a retort?

Her face hardened. “Fuck off, freak,” she hissed. Then she laughed as though she’d just made a huge joke (at my expense), turned her back on me, and with a hateful flip of her hair walked to the middle of the rec hall.

Ok, why is she a freak? It’s just that Zoey’s done nothing that would make her a freak. At least that Aphrodite knows of. I would think she’d just call Zoey a bitch rather than a freak but Aphrodite must have heard Zoey’s narration and learned that being called a freak is her Kryptonite. Zoey is then glad she insulted Aphrodite and calls her a cow and a bunch of other PG insults in her head.

Hey, PCK? Why won’t Zoey swear? It’s clear that you’re not afraid to drag in a few curse words every once in awhile. Which is good, I was worried that I was reading a vampire novel as written by a twelve year old while they’re being watched by their mom. But really, why doesn’t Zoey? She doesn’t have to be prolific as George Carlin doing Seven Word You Can’t Say on Television and going through those that deserve honorable mention but I expect it here and there. Plus it’s not endearing the way she keeps using childish stand-ins.

Aphrodite tells everyone that a couple of students are dead but they were weak so it doesn’t matter. Zoey gets indignant because she liked Elizabeth though Elliott, and especially dead Elliott, are horrible creatures which should be shunned by everything. Aphrodite says that humans would call it survival of the fittest but thank author they’re not humans.

But whatever, tonight’s Halloween and that means it’s party time. She says they’re supposed to remember all the great vampires of old and blah blah blah. She says that it’s the time when the veil—you know, the veil which shows up merely to be torn through for the sake of any story it appears in—is thinnest. Zoey wonders if that’s why she saw to dead kids earlier. Then Aphrodite asks what they’re going to do for celebration and everyone shouts back “go out”. This is followed by another baffling passage.

Aphrodite’s laugh was way too sexual to be appropriate, and I swear she touched herself. Right there in front of everyone. Jeesh, she was nasty.

I’m starting to think that Zoey’s an extreme prude who’s hallucinating everything she sees. That there’s not a bunch of public sex acts so much as Zoey is convinced that everyone else is having lots of public intercourse and she’s the only one left out. Eventually she’ll decide that she has to cleanse the school with fire because everyone else it just too filthy.

Aphrodite tell them she knows just the place and that their snack—I refuse to use PCK’s slang “refrigerator” for victims—is already waiting. Aphrodite says they just have to focus on being invisible and any humans that are still awake won’t see them. Wow, that’s a useful power. Does PCK dare to insist that there aren’t any vampire cat burglars? Because I bet there are.

Zoey considers going back to her dorm but then she sees Erik. He’s busy looking like Superman—because PCK can’t let us forget that’s what he looks like—and waiting for her. They all head out through a trapdoor that’s hooked to a keypad. Erik explains that everyone who’s ever been a dark sibling knows about it and the adults know about it but pretend they don’t because sneaking out is a tradition. Yeah, but it’s not really sneaking out if you have access to a keypad which opens the door.

So they sneak out and are all darting across the lawns of mansions. Apparently the vampire school is built in the middle of the richest neighborhood in Tulsa because the vampires like annoying the upper crust. Though Zoey could be lying about all that as most “mansions” have modern security systems which include, at the very least, motion activated flood lights. People who own mansions tend not to like trespassers, human or otherwise.

PCK describes the outside and it’s very pretty. Erik stands on the other side of a footbridge and looks “knight-like”. That’s right after she says he looks like a hero out of legend like Superman or Zorro. Neither of who really resemble each other and even Zoey admits they’re not heroes of legend. Then she realizes they’re on the lawn of some museum and says they’ll be in trouble if they get caught. Erik says that they’re not going to get caught.

Erik heads after the group and Zoey struggles to keep up. She says that this is a museum and that they have security guards. Erik says that’s not a big deal because Aphrodite will have drugged them. It’s a good thing she did that to the security system as well. Though I’m curious to know why the guards are going to wake up and not report it or find is suspicious that they spent the night unconscious. Maybe she puts their pants on backwards and leaves a bottle of wine out so they’re too ashamed to ask questions.

For no apparent reason, the knocking guards out reminds Zoey of the “people of the faith”. And she says it’s something that needs to be changed. I highly doubt the “people of the faith” go around drugging security gurads so they can have a blood ritual in the local museum but I’m ready to be proven wrong.

Everyone meets at some gazebo that’s in the center of entrance. Zoey says it’s really very pretty and would we please take her word on is so PCK can go back to describing Erik or Zoey’s clothes instead. Aphrodite heads to the center which is described as throne like and that her presence ruins the magic of the place. Oh yes, and there are her three cronies and one additional evil blonde girl because blondes are evil.

Zoey sees a slumped form wrapped in a cloak and passed out sitting at a picnic table. Zoey says that the draining seems to take a lot out of people and wonders if that might have contributed to Elliott’s death. Why no, I’m sure blood loss couldn’t have possibly made him weaker than he was. In fact you should start draining yourself daily, Zoey, it’ll cure you of what ails you. In fact you should just install a spigot into your torso so you can enjoy the restorative effects of bloodletting at a moments notice. Zoey immediately turns the narrative back to her and complains that it’s weird how something so gross, blood drinking, can make her so hungry.

Aphrodite announces, rather casually, that she’s going to call the spirits of their ancestors to them. Zoey goes off on a rant about how Aphrodite is just like any bully, “insecure and immature” and that any spirit she could summon must be weak and or benign. Now if that isn’t jumping so far to conclusions that she’ll need jet back, I don’t know what is. What if these spirits just need a single willing participate in a blood sacrifice to unleash them on the world? What if Aphrodite isn’t insecure, just immature?

And I laughed at PCK for generalizing so broadly. It makes them sound like the only knowledge they have of bullies comes from after school specials. And even if both of those were true in this case, that doesn’t mean Aphrodite couldn’t be powerful. Someone can be immature but still cave your head in with a sledgehammer. Zoey though, says that Aphrodite definitely won’t face down some awful monster.

Or anything as truly freaky as what Elliott had become.

Right, not Elizabeth who has been one of the unundead for longer. She’s okay because she’s not the chubby kid with red hair who draws derision from everyone in the school simply for breathing. Aphrodite starts up the ritual and Zoey enjoys the power and standing next to Erik. He’s staring at Aphrodite like everyone else and Zoey actually gets annoyed because he’s supposed to be stealing glances at her like she’s doing to him.

Then Zoey tells us, in the same paragraph, that Aphrodite is burning sweet grass  which is one of the most powerful herbs and blah blah blah. It’s should only be burned after sage purifies the area or else it’ll attract “any” energy. Oh no, will bad things show up and devour all the snotty, over privileged brats? Oh please, oh please, oh please say that’ll happen. Aphrodite’s prayer/song calls to their ancestors but not the human ones, only the “magical” ones who are more in death than human.

Zoey swears she can see spirits appear in the smoke and they look exactly as Zoey figured they would. Like they were the product of a fog machine and a couple of filters in Adobe Premier. Aphrodite then welcomes them to her circle and offers wine and blood. Which is interrupted by heath saying he knew he would find Zoey. PCK decided to leave that as the cliffhanger which means the “climax” of the book will probably appear and be resolved in the next chapter with twenty nine being left over for wrapping up.

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4 Responses to Marked Chapter 27

  1. redclause says:

    I’m actually kind of insulted at all the ‘sex is evil’ bull crap surrounding some characters, more so considering Zoey is going to become Queen of the sex nuts later. 8/ Also Zoey doesn’t seem to realize that Erik is a okay with everything Aphrodite does, or is just spineless as crap.

    • vivisector says:

      Ah, but Zoey’s sex will be sancrtioned by the goddess aka PCK. And yeah, why isn’t Zoey bothered by how easily Erik buckles to who ever is in control?

  2. maeverin says:

    even though burning sweetgrass has been a ritual and supposedly hasn’t caused any issues in the past, Zoey is smarter than Neville at herbology and hasn’t been consulted, so now everything is going to go to hell.
    that’s awfully considerate of the evil energies to adhere to Cherokee beliefs about rituals…

    • vivisector says:

      And isn’t it odd that the Native American and Euro-pagan rituals and holidays all mesh without question? It makes me wonder if the spirits could have been driven out by a Catholic exorcism or maybe a Kagura.

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