Burned Chapters 5 & 6

Chapter 5

Let’s talk about pop culture again, shall we? Once again, PCK felt the need to name drop something from pop culture, in this case True Blood. I’ve already talked about how PCK’s culture in universe wouldn’t resemble anything we know. That goes double for vampire media.

See, one of the things I caught by skimming over an episode synopsis or two, and looking for a character with a misspelled name, is that those vampires portrayed have weaknesses to silver and sunlight. Which is better than no weaknesses at all, in my opinion, but it doesn’t fit in PCK’s world. After all, this is a universe where vampires actually exist.

Even if the vampires themselves are tight lipped, what about family members of vampires like officer Marx? Wouldn’t they be offended when a show comes on reinforcing a stereotyped weakness or two of vampires? What about the fact that they’re paired with other fictional creatures like werewolves and ghosts? Would that make it subtly a show denying the existence of vampires?

That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be shows featuring and about vampires. True Blood would more likely be a reality show where cameras follow around a noblewoman who was turned back in the Victorian era while she spouts off scripted dialogue. Or maybe they’d have a show where poor vampires endure acts of torture, as they heal so well, for cash. Or how about one where a priest picks a warrior through a contest a la Bachelor?

You might be sensing that I’m dragging my feet for a reason and you’d be right. We’ve back with Zoey once more. It’s not that time away from Zoey is great or anything. It’s more like waking up from a beating and finding nothing broken. Sure you’re still covered in bruises and you’ve got a scalp wound that’s trickling blood, at least you won’t be showering with garbage bags for six weeks.

Zoey’s confused and someone’s telling her she has to wake up. A boy’s voice, who we know is Heath, but Zoey doesn’t because she’s stupid. I’m sure PCK will explain this later as a product of having a “shattered soul”. Which implies that the soul, in Zoey’s world anyway, is made up of life experiences. Please note, PCK, I will remember that later when forget it.

“Okay, look. You know I don’t know who you are. Even though I know it sounds like you know me.” I paused, confused by all the “knows.”

Zoey is confused by all the knows. I think we always knew that her biggest weakness is knowledge. Now the authors have confirmed it. Zoey suddenly remembers when he says his name and realizes that something is wrong. Yes, this story has gone on far longer than the single book it deserved. Also, Heath is dead and that’s make Zoey very sad. Now who will shamble around in an anemic stupor because she’s a greedy pig? Heath tells her it’s okay and it didn’t really hurt all that much.

“But I remember! I remember!” I couldn’t stop myself from unattractively snot crying. “Kalona killed you. I saw it. Oh, Heath, I tried to stop him. I really, really did.”

You know, PCK. This moment might have more impact if Zoey wasn’t worried about how she looked. If she’s really that sad her focus should be on the grief, on the fact that she’s going to have to say goodbye to Heath. That she has room in her head to be concerned with “snot crying” means her grief isn’t all that consuming.

Heath says Neferet killed Loren and the other vampire teachers. Zoey is apparently shocked by this. She knew Neferet was evil but to kill other vampires? That’s just right over the edge into Crazytown. She cries some more, Heath gives her tissues and Zoey asks how she’ll get by without him. Heath says she’s a big deal priestess and she’ll figure it out. No, her creator will reach out a claw and tell her what to do.

Zoey starts looking around and Heath tells her she needs to go. She realizes that she can see herself at nine and Heath urges her to go away. He says she’s broken and needs to leave while it fixes itself and Zoey says she can’t—Zoey suddenly knows a lot more than she should—leave until she’s gathered up the pieces.

Zoey then whines that will mean she has to leave and go back to the real world. Heath says she can’t stay and Zoey is drawn to a flapping sound. Heath then grabs her hand and says they have to go, telling her to run and not look back.

Chapter 6

Now over to Stevie with more on the local news. Stevie is running over to Zoey’s Volkswagen an hoping the keys are in it. Not only are they but they’re hanging from the ignition. Why? Look, even if no one was going to steal it, I wouldn’t leave my keys in the car out of habit. Must be another bit of author interference.

Dallas tells Stevie it’s not a good idea to go. Stevie says she has an idea on how to help Zoey but isn’t sure and doesn’t want to talk to anybody about it until she knows more. So she’s going to go where she can “use” her element to help her think.

Great. We get to follow a character as they go off to meditate and wait for god to give them the answer they’re looking for. No, PCK, that’s fine. I don’t want to see a character use their wits or anything. I hate people who have any measure of self reliance or are just a bit too clever for their own good. Nothing I can’t stand more than a character who’s not only fleshed out but solves problems.

Before she leaves, Dallas tells Stevie that Kalona is also unconscious which he read on the internet. Stevie figures that must mean he’s after Zoey. She then goes to talk to Rephy, having lied to Dallas about communing with her element, which I like. It means that if anyone in Zoey’s universe would be up for a Nobel prize, it’s probably going to her for general competence.

Stevie, possessing half a brain, figures Rephy might know what Kalona is up to or have an idea. When they meet, they banter a bit rather pointlessly. ‘How did you call me?’ ‘What is wrong?’ ‘How do you know something is wrong?’ The answer to this and so much more is the bond. There, I’ve summarized two pages of bullshit babble in as many sentences.

They finally get to what’s going on, Stevie updating him on Kalona’s whereabouts. Rephy says that Kalona can’t go back to the “otherworld” because of how he fell. Stevie learns that Kalona was once on the side of Nyx, I won’t dare call it good. Rephy then tells her that thing he sent was his immortal strength which is why she healed so fast and why he isn’t.

They go inside the museum, the aging house Rephy’s hiding in, and he comments her power could rule the world. Stevie used her vampire mind trick to convince the security guard to look the other way then forget about them. Stevie says no, it’s not all that powerful but Rephy recognizes how useful it could be. Stevie says she can’t use it like that because that would go against Nyx and free will.

Wait, so it’s ok to use your mind powers to screw people at work but not to rule the world? Both are messing with their “free will”, aren’t they? Rephy then guesses that’s she’s expecting him to choose a different path. He protests that he’s an evil monster and blah blah blah. It still fits far more than when other, disingenuous characters have said it—like a certain Cullen we know too well—but it’s executed with little grace.

Stevie says that he should consider that maybe he’s right. He asks if this means he has to consider he may be wrong as well. Then Stevie wants to hear if Rephy has any ideas as to why Kalona is now a husk while his soul is off on an adventure. Rephy just says “Neferet” and the chapter ends. Which makes little sense, as that’s not really a good way to close. Especially since next chapter opens with Stevie again.

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