Chapter Thirteen – The Trap
We open up the 13th chapter inside the Temple. Ooo…we get to see what the Sanhedrin are up to! Will we learn some crucial bits of information that will put us on pins and needles for the rest of the book? Will everything become clear? Will it be interesting…at all? Let’s find out!
Elmas is angrier than he’s ever been in his life. His underlings are scurrying around like rats. Those who can have already vanished into the woodwork. Everyone who has to stay is sitting there listening to his words, which Elmas is using like whips. At least that’s what Morris says. Instead it sounds like a teenager trying to sound mean and failing miserably. I think the real problem here is that Morris is assuming he’s built Elmas up to be pure evil and we’re going to be terrified by his presence alone, when in fact he does nothing but amuse me and is far too incompetent to be scary. He tells everyone that if they don’t find the Sociopaths they’re going to face the Questioner. One chap, named Bolus, asks why they matter – aren’t they only children? Stupid quote, here we come:
“Only children, are they? You dunce! Don’t you know that once in Oldworld a baby was born in a lowly place – just a common child like these – and that one child wrenched the entire world from our grasp!” (page 133)
First: If he’s in this room with Elmas, Bolus must be one of the senior Sanhedrin. Doesn’t he know this already? Why does he need to ask why the Sociopaths are important? Shouldn’t this be common knowledge among the most senior Sanhedrin?
Second: It’s obvious that this baby Elmas is referring to is Jesus. And since Jesus wrenched the world from ‘our’ grasp, this sentence completely removes any doubts in my mind that the Sanhedrin are not only Evil, they’re demons in human form, answering directly to the big cheese, Satan himself. That’s it, there’s no middle ground, no chance that the Sanhedrin might just be people mistakenly working for the wrong guy or convinced that they’re doing the right thing. They’re demons. Pure, unadulterated Evil. Subtlety, you are not our friend.
Elmas asks what everyone else is proposing they do to keep themselves out of the mines. And then someone says he has the solution. A figure materializes out of the darkness….it’s Hamar!!! Yes, he’s evil, thank you all for playing. Elmas yells at him for a bit, and asks him what he’s going to do to fix things. And it’s time for stupid quote number two:
“It shouldn’t be difficult. One of them is an egotistical fool – the one called Dave. I fed his ego and introduced him to hypnosis, although he was not aware of it. Now his mind is in my grasp” (page 134).
Now, I could be wrong about this, but I’m reasonably certain people cannot be hypnotized against their will. Furthermore, even if Dave had been introduced to hypnosis, how would this then put his mind into Hamar’s power – enough so that Hamar can contact him through his mind and lead him back to the Temple, which Hamar reveals as his plan? Hamar says that Dave wanted to play with magic, and it’s quite obvious that the point here is that magic, hypnotism, and astrology = bad, but I wonder why Morris didn’t simply have Hamar say that Dave trusted him implicitly which let Hamar put a spell on him. It would be a lot more convincing than this hypnotism angle. But Hamar says that he’ll bring Dave back tonight, which makes Elmas happy.
We then cut back to the rest of the Sociopaths. They’re resting in a grove of trees just outside the city. There’s no mention of how they passed through the city gates or avoided the guards, which I guess is because Morris couldn’t think of a good way. Apparently, they all needed time to rest and recover after their “ordeal” in prison. I don’t know why. They spent a grand total of four days in there, with plenty of food, blankets to sleep on, and completely painless and effortless Questioning. In fact, it could be said that the Sanhedrin did them a favor, since they’re better off now than they were before.
It’s also worth mentioning that it took Josh roughly a day after waking up to reach the city, find Reb, and rescue everyone – which means he must have spent three days in the river and/or unconscious.
Fortunately, they find plenty of nuts and berries, and a pig that Reb manages to catch. Which they must have eaten raw, since lighting a fire would be dangerous. Since they’re resting just outside the city when at any moment swarms of guards might be coming out looking for them.
Josh tries to cheer everyone up, because there’s only two more Sociopaths to go. Dave asks what then? Josh doesn’t know the answer, but Grumpy points out that they’ll just have two more mouths to feed. Sarah is encouraged, though, and apparently she now has a special trust in her eyes for Josh, which she’s had ever since they met at the gate. And Dave is jealous of this. I knew only having two girls was going to be a bad idea.
Dave says that they’re just going to get caught and locked up again. Grumpy agrees, points at the map. The next Sociopath is right out in the middle of the Deadlands. Kybus – the preacher, who came along with them from the prison, even though Hamar didn’t – says that it’s dry, hot, and dead. And his people live right next to it. If it’s dead, how do they survive?
Josh says that Goel will help them. Dave immediately calls bullshit and says that Josh was probably just hallucinating. He suggests they negotiate, which Crusoe immediately shouts down, talking about how you cannot negotiate with pure evil. So Dave goes on saying how screwed they are, and instead of slamming him with pure logic, pointing out how Goel managed to rescue them from the dungeon and save Josh from leaping off a cliff into the rapids – everyone just whines for awhile. And then suddenly Josh has a thought – about the last thing his father told him. “Obey the book.” His mother’s journal. Of course, that had to make an appearance. Josh whips it out and starts reading an entry. I would think that after being underwater for three days, the journal would be unreadable, but it’s a Plot Device, so it has to survive. The journal entry goes something like this:
Blah blah blah believe in yourself blah blah blah random vacation in Wyoming blah blah blah EAGLES blah blah EAGLES blah blah THINK OF THE EAGLES JOSH!
Remember, this book is called “Flight of the Eagles”.
Kybus asks what eagles are. Josh says that they’re big birds. And everyone stands around for awhile not saying anything, and finally Josh says they should go, because they only have a few hours before dark. They were rescued at midnight. Shouldn’t it still be dark, or morning at the best?
Dave says that they should put it to a vote. And Josh shoots him down:
“This is a time when somebody has to decide. If I have to fight you again, I will.” (page 138).
This isn’t a democracy, it’s a dictatorship! Someone has to decide, and it’s going to be me! Still, it probably wouldn’t have ended well for Josh, except Reb instantly jumps in and offers to kick Dave’s ass for him. I’m liking Reb better by the minute. Dave, remarkably, is smart enough to know that Reb would make mincemeat out of him, so he gives in. And they walk for awhile and make camp and eat about the last of their food and go to sleep.
Dave keeps on hearing someone’s voice. And finally he opens his eyes and Hamar is standing there. Dave asks him how he got out of prison, which is a great question: how did this man get out of the same prison that you all easily walked right out of? Hamar says that everyone else is in a trance and Dave’s got to help them – by getting up and following Hamar. So he does. He walks for hours and hours and has this nagging feeling inside that he’s doing something stupid but keeps going anyway because he wants to be proven right. And then finally he sees a light, and sees priests and the Questioner and Hamar, in the flesh, and realizes he’s screwed. He screams like a little girl, and the chapter ends.
Chapter Fourteen – The Sixth Sleeper
Sarah wakes Josh up and tells him that Dave is gone. And Kybus is, as well. Crusoe immediately says that he thinks Dave has gone back to the Temple and betrayed them to the Sanhedrin, because he’s got that Look about him, like he’s fallen under the enemy’s spell. Crusoe says he’s seen this many times before. It’s a bit reminiscent of Edmund’s betrayal in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but really the only thing I can think about is why, if Crusoe saw all this, didn’t he take steps to prevent it? He could have sat Dave down and had a serious talk with him, tied him to Volka…posted a watch on him, maybe? No. He just let Dave run off, betray them, and probably end up dead. Crusoe also says he’s been fighting the enemy for years, which I can actually believe, since the only person more incompetent than Crusoe has been Elmas.
They spend approximately one sentence wondering where Kybus has gone, and Morris abruptly refers to him as a dwarf now, even though before he was only called a gnome. And then they decide to go find the next Sociopath. No one asks or even discusses what they’re going to do about Dave or if they’re ever going to try to get him back.
They have now reached a desert, and spent half the day walking towards the location on the map. I wonder, again, how these people even know where they are. They have a bad map, no landmarks, no directional equipment, not even a compass. But they find the spot, which is a chunk of rock sticking up out of the sand. Sarah’s heart starts glowing, and they start looking for the door. And instantly Reb trips over something. It’s a handle sticking up out of the sand. Because after fifty years the sand wouldn’t have covered it.
Josh recites the song and the door opens. Reb starts to go through and instantly gets thrown back by an electric shock. Josh tries as well, and confirms that it’s wired. Everyone mopes around for a bit, and finally sit down to have a bite to eat. The Hunters return and say that someone is following after them…probably the Sanhedrin. Everyone is distraught, and then Sarah has a flash of inspiration. The final line of the song is No man that breathes may pass through me. Since she’s not a man, it won’t effect her. And then she runs through the door, just fine. I’m getting a flashback to a certain duel between Eowyn and the Witch-king, but everyone else is impressed:
“I reckon I’d take her to the ice cream social anytime,” Reb said (page 147).
Which is great, except for the fact that there hasn’t been an ice cream social in the United States for about seventy years.
I also wonder exactly what the point of doing this is? The United States government couldn’t really count on the fact that there would be a woman in the party coming to try and get through the door, and how would they managed to rig the door anyway, to scan whoever passes by and only shock the XY chromosome? For that matter, why would they want to keep men out of here, and not out of the rest of the bomb shelters? If it was a matter of protecting the girls, why wasn’t Sarah’s wired as well? And why oh why doesn’t Morris apply logic to what he writes?
They wait for a bit, and finally Sarah comes back out – leading the prettiest girl that Josh has ever seen. And the chapter closes with stupid quote goodness:
“Hello,” she said huskily. “My name is Abigail.” And when she smiled, every masculine heart within twenty yards beat a little faster (page 148).
So Crusoe and Volka are getting turned on as well? Yeah, that’s not creepy…at all.