Matched Chapter 20

This chapter begins with Cassia walking home from the bus stop. Really, Ally? You felt that was a detail that couldn’t be ignored? You don’t spend any words on these “air-trains” or the buildings and rarely on the manner of dress these people have. Yet you feel the need to tell us that Cassia had to walk home from the bus stop which is what everyone has to do as no commoner owns or drives a car.

Cassia is busy telling Em not to feel bad that Cassia’s compact got confiscated by the government. Hey, Cassia, maybe she feels bad because it cost everyone on the block and not just you. I’d say she’s probably well within her rights to feel bad about it. Cassia says not to worry as she was happy to lend it out. Em says it doesn’t make any sense as they have plenty of stuff on display at the museum. Nice lampshade, Ally, it goes well with the plot holes.

Cassia then changes the subject now that she’s done covering and asks where they’re going tonight. Em says she talked to Xander and he wants to go to the game center. Cassia starts panicking about being trapped in a place that’s stuffy and full of crowds bus says she’ll manage. Since when was Cassia afraid of crowds? She didn’t seem to mind earlier when she went with Xander. It must be one of those plot related mental illnesses that appear when author’s are stuck. This will give Ky something to save her from, namely a panic attack.

Then Em switches gears by saying Cassia’s mom is back. Cassia says she’s relieved to see her because part of her was afraid she wasn’t coming back. She didn’t, Cassia. It turns out that call for botanists to all go to the same place was to investigate these strange new pods that have been sprouting up. Your new mom even has one waiting for you in your room so you can look at it. Why don’t you take a peek and then have a nap, you’ve had a long day.

What are mom’s first words upon seeing Cassia? She says that she’s sorry she missed her first outing with Xander. Wait, what? It’s not like Cassia’s dad was invited so I doubt her mom would get to go along. Is she just sad she didn’t get to watch them leave, chaperoned by an “Official”? And why does the topic of discussion immediately turn to Cassia and her date? If anything , the first thing her mom would talk to Cassia about is why everyone in the neighborhood has had their family heirlooms taken away.

That turns out to be the second thing Cassia’s mom wants to talk about. She says she’s sorry because she knows how much the compact meant to Cassia. Cassia says she feels sorry for Bram as does her mom. But she’s not bothered at all by the fact that thier heirlooms, which they managed to hold onto and pass down for generations, are gone because Cassia was careless. She just sort of feels bad for her son and doesn’t dwell on it. Then they move on to more mundane subjects.

‘How was your trip mom?’ ‘I was incredibly boring, would you like me to tell you in great detail?’ ‘Absolutely!’ ‘Are you sure? I did nothing of consequence and it won’t impact the story at all.’ ‘No, really. We need all the filler we can get. Tell me everything, including how often you went to the bathroom and ate.’

After that train wreck of a conversation passes, Cassia suddenly decides she should get to the arcade. Cassia tells her mom she should get some sleep because Ally forgot which character was actually the adult here. Being a puppet under the author’s control, Cassia’s mom says she’ll do that but that Cassia should say goodbye before she leaves.

Alone, Cassia debates whether she has time to read the note Ky passed her today. Pointless hesitation gives way to yes and she reads it. It’s done as a poem, I think, and it’s about how Ky liked rain until one day it went “from blue to black and left nothing”. So “the Society” bombed his family and everyone around because they’re evil. Also, there’s a drawing of Ky as a youth, clenching his fists in anger. Pretty much the standard back story for any sword swinging protagonist of an RPG.

Fast forward to the arcade where Cassia is saying that there aren’t as many “Officials” tonight. She says there are only three when there’s usually twelve. She says this must mean things aren’t right…somewhere. Can we go there and watch, Ally? I’m pretty sure no one wants to read about Cassia and her perfectly boring life of learning to write and not kissing Ky. Speaking of Ky, Cassia is glad to see him there.

His parents died. He saw it happen. Death came from the sky, and that’s what he remembers. Every time it rains.

Just when it rains or especially when it rains? Do sprinklers send him into flashbacks? This illustrates the biggest problem with first person narratives. You can’t tell the story from someone else’s point of view unless you switch. Ally doesn’t want to leave Cassia though so she opts to sloppily fill in Ky’s “dramatic” back story through notes and crappy drawings. If you don’t like how the narrative limits you, Ally, don’t use it. Just don’t punish us for your lack of foresight.

Xander stops and so we all do, too. To my surprise, he gestures to a game table where the games played are one-on-one. Games Xander doesn’t usually play. He likes to take on a group, to win when the stakes are higher and more players are involved. It’s a better test of his abilities—more challenging, more variables. Less personal. “You want to play?” Xander asks.

This was Xander talking to Ky. Ky says sure and sits down to play while Cassia watches. She’s joined by Livy who asks what they’re playing. Cassia says it’s “Prisoners dilemma” but not the logic puzzle. This is a stupid card game where each player puts down a card and they both earn the same points as long as they’re both odd or even. You only gain more point when your card is even and your opponent’s is zero. Cassia gets jealous of Livy watching Ky and thinks that his hands aren’t Livy’s to watch and then remembers he’s not for her either.

I have a thought that strikes me cold: Would I be so interested if I didn’t know that he’s an Aberration? I never paid Ky particular attention before I knew about his classification.

That’s because you’re a stuck up, spoiled brat, Cassia. Now that you’re mad at the government, also your dad, you just want to piss them off. I think she should start small, with tattoos, and move up to stripping before boning the local outcast. If none of that gets her the attention she craves, then she should run off with Ky and live in the woods.

They finish with an even number of points. Yeah, very subtle there Ally. Xander takes a walk with Cassia around the room and he says that Ky intentionally loses. How Ky was sandbagging at a card game that simple is beyond me. Cassia panics and asks if Xander will report him, Xander says no because Ky must have his reasons. Then they go back to the table and Ky asks if Xander wants to play again.

This time they’re going to play a game of skill instead of chance. Cassia says that Ky sounds serious this time and might not throw the game. Rolls her eyes at the boys playing a game because Ally wanted someone to think this was overly macho and it couldn’t be Cassia because she likes it.

I sit between Ky and Xander, equidistant from both of them. It’s as if I’m a piece of metal and they are two magnets and there’s a pull from either side. They’ve both taken risks for me—Xander with the artifact, Ky with the poem and the writing.

We get it, Ally. She’s torn between two lovers except not really because she doesn’t like Xander. She doesn’t really like Ky either but Cassia is stupid enough to conflate lust with love. Ky and Xander play a game that goes unnamed but sounds like a crappy future version of chess. Cassia watches Ky intentionally put a piece in a vulnerable spot. How the hell she knows this, as she tells us it was done without hesitation, is beyond me. Maybe he’s makes mistakes like the rest of us, Cassia.

Author forbid Ky be anything less than perfect. Cassia has a main line to the author and knows Ky lost intentionally. She says Ky knows how to play all of those games and that’s why he loses. By that same logic, all the people in Vegas don’t know how to gamble. If they did, they wouldn’t lose.

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2 Responses to Matched Chapter 20

  1. Oculus_Reparo says:

    Why is Ky drawing pictures of HIMSELF? In the words of Rifftrax, “I think Kanye West might find that a little vain!”

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