Untamed Chapter 11

One of the odd things that you have to worry about in a story is the passage of time. Not the time it takes to read the story but the flow of time around the characters. See, people will suspend disbelief when it comes to big things quite easily because there’s such a large gulf between reality and fantasy. It’s the little things that nibble at the consciousness of people. Unicorns are easier to take than a character being an expert pole dancer and a heart surgeon who speaks twenty languages fluently.

Let’s go back to Harry Potter as an example. In each book, there’s a lot going on and Harry and friends are busy doing school work, navigating the social strata and dealing with the issue du jour. We only see them during moments that are salient to the plot or character development but most of the books take place over the course of a school year. You’re never left wondering when Hermoine had the time to read up on trolls or horcruxes because it’s only been a day. It’s plausible that sometime in the months during the story that she picked up a book and spent an afternoon speed reading about merfolk or whatnot.

Then we have Zoey, or rather PCK. Remember the last ten chapters? Those have all taken place during the same evening with no break in between. This is all still in December and Zoey has yet to be a fledgling for even half a year and already she’s gained numerous powers, been put in charge of the DDs, solved a couple of mysteries and performed a resurrection. That would all feel a bit more plausible if it were stretched out over a couple of school years.

The problem is that PCK wanted sex and romance out of it but she wanted to write a long series like Rowling did. It doesn’t help that she won’t let Zoey age much. This forces her to compress a lot of events into a small timeframe. She could have alleviated this if the first two books where Zoey’s years in school and the rest were her as a vampire teaching at the school. There could still be the conflict between Zoey and Neferet as well as the good versus evil showdown that we all know is inevitably in the works. But PCK was scared that she’d lose the audience because teens just can’t identify with anyone who can’t register to vote.

We begin this chapter with a joke.

My friends babbled about nothing in particular while we walked the rest of the way to the dorms. Everyone studiously ignored the fact that we’d just run into my very ex-boyfriend and that it had been a really awkward, really awful scene. Or at least for me it had been awkward and awful.

Yes, Zoey’s friends are capable of babbling about “nothing in particular”. Considering the weighty issues they often tackle like who’s hot and which of the boys they’d like to pounce, I can’t imagine what they’re discussing. If you could hear it though, it would be classified as cruel and unusual punishment under the Geneva convention.

Zoey whines to us about how much she misses Erik in spite of being caught screwing someone else. Again, this would be appropriate if they’d spent a couple of months apart instead of two days. Damien snaps her out of her complaining by asking her about Stark. This is followed by the other servants immediately calling him “hot” and saying that’s just the way they like them.

From now on I’m referring to Erin and Shaunee as Beavis and Butthead. Both pairs have a lot in common, when you think about it. They both sit around talking about the opposite sex and how hot certain members are often followed by odd and stilted entendres and invitations for sex. Of course, neither pair ever actually engages in sex or hardly talks to members of the opposite sex. Shaunee shall be Beavis for her fire affinity and Erin shall be Butthead because he’s the only one left.

They ask Damien what he thought of Stark since he spent more time with him. No doubt the ten minutes he spent escorting Stark to his room provided him with a wealth of information that they couldn’t get off his facebook page. Damien says that he seems distant though that may be his way to cope. Up next on Doctor Damien, men who secretly want to go back and sleep with their second grade teachers, only on OWN. They muse for a bit about him not using his “talent” and Zoey says there could be more to it than they know and that, sometimes, having powers can be scary.

Call me a cynic, but I don’t think being able to shoot a bow weighs heavily on Starks mind like, say, being Spiderman does. Neither Green Arrow or Hawkeye sit around and curse their ability to fire archaic weapons accurately. ‘Curse this bow and my boxing glove arrows! If only I wasn’t able to shoot a bow at above Olympic skill then I never would have had to use it! How can I fit in among my peers being able to play Robin Hood?’

They say they’re going back to their dorm to watch the Bourne movies, because PCK is always one to be topical. Zoey says she never saw the last one and doesn’t know what it’s called, Damien does and Zoey says he knows all the movies. Damien then says that he mostly knows classics because the old actors were real stars unlike today’s. What made them real stars? Because those are the people PC watched growing up so they’re real stars and everyone else is just a poser. Then Damien starts listing names and has a flash of intuition.

“James Stark is the name of James Dean’s character in the old movie, Rebel Without a Cause. I knew his name sounded familiar, but I thought it was just because he’s so famous.”

‘Ok, so I’m totally cribbing from and old movie, you caught me. What do I do now?’ ‘Well, PCK, you could change it to make it less obvious and maybe make an original character.’ ‘That sounds like work and I’d rather focus on hot teacher/student romance. What else do you have?’ ‘Just drop a lampshade on that bastard and tell yourself you’re doing a homage to Rebel Without a Cause.’

Zoey is the only other person in their group who’s seen the movie. She says that Stark decided on that name must mean something “pretty interesting about his personality”. Yes, it says that he had a subscription to AMC and he thinks he’s original. He’s not the first teen to think that he’s being original by emulating James Dean and he won’t be the last. They ask Zoey if she’s coming along and she says no, then belabors an explanation.

The long and short of it is she’s still upset that she lost her virginity. Sure she complains more about being tricked by Loren but she keeps mentioning her virginity like that’s why we should really be mad at Loren. Not because he was a manipulative pedophile, but because, gasp!, he took Zoey’s virginity. I really wish PCK would explain why Zoey cares so much about virginity but that would require character development. That’s less space she can use to remind us about old movies and actors.

The servants run off, glad to be free of Zoey for a little bit while Damien stays behind. Zoey says he doesn’t have to and Damien reminds her that she was “attacked” by “something”. Zoey and Damien banter about him playing at tough guy then Zoey hears a birdcall. Damien thinks it’s a raven and not a crow. You can tell because the distinct call of a Crow is ‘Screw you, movie!’ while a raven caws. Damien asks why it bothers her and Zoey says that it’s just creepy and the “thing” that attacked her was accompanied by flapping.

Instead of dismissing her complaints as silly, because birds aren’t scary, he says that he believe her because she’s more intuitive than him. Is it really intuition when your god drops knowledge right into your brain? They only get partway there before Zoey’s cat shows up and meows stupidly at her. They take it to mean that Damien has been relieved and can go back to Jack and the other servants. He says if she needs him, she can call him and Zoey thanks Damien.

“No problem, Z.” He smiled at me once more and then, humming “Seasons of Love” from Rent, he disappeared back down the sidewalk.

This is one of those details that makes me wonder. Is he humming it because he’s gay or because something about the moment reminded him of it? Zoey turns a corner and hears a sudden “thwap!” a couple of times. This “pricked” her curiosity but doesn’t worry her as she goes into the “field house”.

Okay, the field house is basically an inside football field that’s not a football field but just the field part with a track around it. Inside it kids play soccer and do track stuff. (I’m really not into either, but I do know how the place works in theory.) It’s covered so that fledglings don’t have to deal with the whole sun issue, and lit along the walls by gaslights that don’t bug our eyes. Tonight most of those were unlit, so it was the next thwap! sound and not my eyesight that drew my attention to the other side of the field.

So the vampires are too good for football, are they? I don’t care for the footbal myself but it’s no dumber than soccer or any other sport. Why do I get the feeling that they don’t play it, simply because PCK thinks football is lowbrow while soccer is sophisticated because Europeans play it?

Anywho, the noise is Stark practicing with his bow. She says, so much for his dog being a watchdog, and then waxes about how intense he is. He’s far more intense than other teens she knows and then says she can see how hot he can be on the “Bad Boy Hot Scale.” I’m sorry, PCK. I had an independent firm rate him on the BBHS and Stark ranked a 2.1, just above Edward but not even a tenth of James Dean himself. Personally, I think the firm you used to judge was suffering from bias. And then PCK needs to remind us that he’s a certified archery badass.

With a surprised little gasp, I realized why the arrow in the center of the target looked so weirdly big. It wasn’t just one arrow. It was a bunch of arrows that had hit one right over the top of each other. Every single arrow he’d shot had gone to the same center spot on the target. Utterly shocked, my eyes went back to Stark, who was still in his archer’s stance. And I realized what hot-guy scale he should be on: the Bad Boy Hot Scale.

Remember, people. You have nothing to fear from the vampires at all. Never mind their superpowers an preternatural skills. Just mind your own business and don’t discriminate against them and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t bother Zoey unless you want to end up as Chicago style road pizza.

“I know you’re there,” Stark said without looking at me.

Zoey is shocked and greets him. He says that saves him the trouble of having to look for her and asks if her “marks” means she has an affinity with all the elements. Zoey complains about having to explain to new kids because they either worship her or treat her like “a bomb that might explode all over them”. As opposed to a bomb that will explode all under them. He asks if she can control the elements and Zoey says yes, because PCK saw X-Men and thought it was brilliant.

He asks if that means Zoey is pretty powerful. Zoey, being the sociopath she is, asks if he’s threatening her. Just because that’s what you would do, doesn’t mean everyone else would, Zoey. He says no, that he wants to tell her about his power. He says that his gift is to always hits his target. So, basically he’s Bullseye? He also says that his target isn’t always what he’s aiming at. Then he mentions his mentor, a big name in vampire archery who’s dead and he killed him. Cue dramatic hook as PCK ends the chapter there.

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