As opposed to Raising Hope, I guess.
Hard as I tried, I couldn’t accept Gabriel’s proposal of waiting for divine guidance. It seemed very unlike him to respond in such a way, uncharacteristically cautious [...]
Yes! So, you’re going to find Jake on his own, kick his ass and rescue Molly?
What’s that? You’re going to the cemetery but you’ll be clinging to Xavier instead of showing yourself to be independent?
I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.
We saw a lone mourner, an elderly woman in black, tending one of the newer graves.
During afternoon tea, there’s a shift in the air. A bone trembling chill that tells you she’s there. There are those who believe the whole town is cursed. But the house in the marsh is by far the worst. What she wants is unknown, but she always comes back. The spectre of darkness… The woman in black.
Yeah, I’m just going to watch a few cute kitten videos to get rid of the memories of me watching The Woman in Black. (God that film was creepy.)
Anyway, me making random references aside, this is a spooooky cemetery. There are ravens all around the place and… bumblebees in the lilac bushes. Terrifying.
The graves were old and abandoned, their cast-iron railings rusted. Over time, a tangle of ivy had smothered all other vegetation and now ruled unchallenged, threading its tenacious tendrils through the iron railings like rope.
Oof, that’s so purple it hurts. “Threading its tenacious tendrils?” The alliteration is an okay idea, but… oh man.
Bethany and Xavier dither through the graveyard and finally find Jake and his minions.
Jake stood on a mossy grave facing them, his legs apart and his back arrow straight. He wore a black leather jacket and the inverted pentagram hung from a cord around his neck.
As Kira pointed out in her review, well… having a pentagram being inverted makes no sense. It becomes a pentacle. The universal symbol of white magic and healing. A demon — an entity typically associated with evil — would be wearing a symbol of pure white (as in good) magic. Makes sense to absolutely nobody but the most ardent of Bible bashers, I guess.
On his head was a grey fedora.
I am rolling. Oh dear, yes, MRAs! You are in fact the devil! But it reminds Bethany of something… *gasp* Could it be the weirdo stood beside the rugby pitch a few weeks ago? Speaking of that, Xavier seems to have recovered awfully well. I thought it was a nasty fracture, but nope! Here he is, ambling through the graveyard with Bethany and not feeling any discomfort whatsoever. If he broke his ankle only a couple of weeks ago, wouldn’t it still be hurting, and wouldn’t he still be in plaster or in a plastic boot?
The thought that he’d tried to injure Xavier sent a burning anger pulsing through me, but I tried to stifle it. I needed to keep my wits about me now more than ever.
Whereas when Jake’s killed a whole bunch of other people who you didn’t personally know, you barely reacted.
Rearing up behind Jake was a ten-foot angel made of stone. It had to be one of the most chilling earthly things I’d ever seen. Despite looking like an angel, there was something sinister about it. It had narrow eyes, huge black wings that reared majestically behind it, and a powerful body that looked as though it could crush anyone and anything. A long stone sword was melded to its muscular waist. Jake stood under its shadow as though it was protecting him.
Okay, so Jake’s about to be eaten by a Weeping Angel, or…?
The statue is supposedly ten feet tall. Unless Jake is much, much taller than average, there’s no way it’s ‘rearing up’ behind him. Also, if it’s made out of stone — a material that is primarily grey – how does it have black wings? Was there some stonemason who decided to get a slab of black slate and carve it into his wings? Or is this just some kind of demonic presence? Like, this is supposed to be foreshadowing to Lucifer or something.
Oh, wait. I know. It’s an Erika!
Amusingly enough for all of us Night Vale fans, it looks like Jake’s got a whole horde of Hooded Figures surrounding him.
They were dressed strangely, some in hooded garments that shrouded their entire faces [...]
[...] and others in tattered black lace and chains, their cheeks powdered chalk white and their lips stained bloodred.
This is like something from My Immortal, I swear to god.
So yes, the Goths are all happy to shuffle around and deposit votive offerings at Jake’s feet. You know, of all the people a demon would target, I don’t think it would be Goths. Surely it’s better for a demon to actually corrupt people who are the least likely to be interested in dark, Hot Topic-y things.
It turns out that Molly isn’t in the group of hooded figures. Could it be that she’s going to be bound to an altar and sacrificed? Oh noes.
Jake held up his hands and the group stilled. He threw off his hat, and I saw that his long, dark hair was uncombed and tangled. He looked almost wild. When he spoke his voice seemed to reverberate from the stone angel itself.
“Is this not simpler?”
Sorry, Loki, you’re not wanted here.
“Welcome to the dark side,” he said, and laughed coldly. “Although I prefer to think of it as the fun side.” There were murmurs of appreciation from his followers. “I can promise you that nothing feels better than sin. Why not turn to pleasure when life treats us with such indifference? We are here, all of us, because we want to feel alive!” He ran a slender hand over the coarse stone of the angel’s thigh and spoke again, his voice dripping like syrup. “Pain, suffering, destruction, death, these things are like music to our ears, sweet as honey on our tongues. We thrive on them. They are food for our souls. You must all learn to reject a society that promises everything and delivers nothing.”
God, this is a long speech. If Jake’s trying to speak like a cult leader or something, he’s doing a terrible job. He should be going around to individuals and convincing them of their new beliefs, rather than delivering some sermon from on high.
“Let us invoke the twisted spirits of the night to assist us.”
Ahahaha!! Oh god, that is Grade A purple prose right there. Sounds like something Christopher Paolini would write.
Anyway, Jake’s followers all do something akin a death metal scream into the air. Which puts me in the mind of a whole group of people screaming BWAAAAAUUUURGHHH!!! from Death Note‘s second opening, because I’m a fucking nerd.
Jake smiled approvingly then glanced at his gold watch. “We don’t have much time. Let’s get down to business.”
TO DEFEAT! THE HUNS!
DID THEY SEND ME DAUGHTERS?
WHEN I ASKED — FOR SONS!
God, this book and its ear-worms.
“Where are they? Bring them to me.” Two figures were thrust forward so they fell at Jake’s feet. Both were wearing hooded cloaks. Jake took hold of the figure closest to him and pulled back the hood, revealing an ordinary-looking boy whom I recognised from school, a fairly unassuming student who kept a low profile and was a member of the chess club.
Oh, of course it’s a member of the chess club.
Jake is handed a book, and only Jake recites something and the wind starts picking up does Bethany release that zomg he’s using a grimoire.
He spread his arms wide. “Exorior meus atrum amicus quod vindicatum is somes.” He was speaking Latin, but not like I’d ever heard it before. It had been altered, and somehow I knew it was the language of the Underworld. “Is est vestri pro captus,” Jake sang, his hands clutching at the empty air.
“What’s he saying?” Xavier whispered. I was surprised to find that I could translate the meaning of the words exactly.
“Come forth, my dark friend, and claim this body. It is yours for the taking.”
Yeah, it’s kind of like Supernatural, isn’t it? Demons speaking in a strange form of Latin, having solid black eyes… Also, why are they speaking in Latin? That’s a very Augustine thing — the original Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and then into many other languages. Latin being the lingua franca of the church and I guess the angels/demons in this book, is very much Catholic. I thought that angels communicated ‘without language’ — hence that long spiel Bethany goes on about in the first chapter or so about human language being frustratingly limited. Oh, what the hell am I doing expecting continuity in this book?
The chess club kid gets possessed by a vengeful spirit, and Bethany cries that she should have seen this coming.
“I befriended him, I wanted to help him… I should have sensed he was a demon.”
Why didn’t you before now? He acted weird and made several very transparent references in the poetry you wrote in class, as well as having a snake motif. You don’t need a firm grounding in semiotics to work out that he’s a being of pure evil, god damn.
Xavier put his hand on the small of my back. “This is not your fault.”
IT IS! IT FUCKING IS, XAVIER! DON’T TRY TO ABSOLVE THE ANGELS OF BLAME HERE! THIS COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN CARE OF WEEKS AGO, NIPPED IN THE DAMN BUD. But what did they do? Twiddle their thumbs and wait for God’s approval whilst baking a cake for church coffee morning!
Bethany explains to Xavier what demons are, and how they’re never normally a problem for angels. “[...] Our powers are far greater than theirs.” Right, so why don’t you use those powers to get rid of ‘the demon problem’ before it can present a problem to your current area? Seriously, just sniff out demons using your angelic ‘sensing’ abilities, and cast them back where they came from. Boom. Done.
Of course, the next hooded figure kneeling before Jake is Molly. Her demonic possession is delayed by Jake paying attention to another girl, before finally dragging Molly to be possessed by teh evulz. Xavier comes up with a cunning plan… That is immediately ruined by Bethany being a complete fool.
I stumbled out from behind the tombstone, ignoring Xavier’s yell of protest.
“What are you doing?” I screamed. “Stop this! Jake, let her go!” When I looked at Jake’s face, it was distorted with anger.
“You!” I pointed a finger at Jake. “We know what you are.” He clapped his hands slowly and mockingly. “Well done. What a first-rate detective you are.”
Bwahaha okay, Jake, you get to wear favourite character crown for now. Sorry, Nicole. But yes, seriously, Bethany and her siblings should have been investigating. Instead, all they did was faff around for 25 chapters.
Jake insists that he’ll let Molly go, only if Bethany agrees to take her place. That’s not cliché at all!
He and Xavier also get into a taunting match, and it’s revealed that Jake was involved in the fire that killed Xavier’s girlfriend Emily several years ago. While the rest of her family got out alive, Jake made sure that Emily was tied down to her bed and couldn’t escape as the flames engulfed her. So I’m guessing her body was almost entirely cremated, because an autopsy of her body would perhaps find bruise and ligature marks on her somewhere. I don’t know, it would probably make more sense for Jake to just hypnotise her to stay in her bed, rather than physically tying her down like some old villain in a cowboy movie.
Xavier is naturally angered by this, and tries to take a swing at Jake. He simply gives Xavier a nasty case of magical stomach cramps. (What? He’s clutching his abdomen.) They’re so bad that Xavier is ‘shuddering in pain.’
In my head I tried to silently invoke God’s help by issuing a mental prayer: ‘Almighty Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, deliver us from evil. Send your spirit to help us, and call forth the angels of salvation. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever…’
Bethany’s prayer doesn’t work, however, so she reluctantly gives herself over to Jake.
“You’re evil,” I said. “I’d never join you.”
“But naughty can be oh so nice.” Jake laughed.
Uh-huh. A being of supreme evil giggles about being naughty.
“Oh, shut up [Xavier],” Jake snapped. “Your pretty face can’t save her now.” The last thing I remembered before everything went dark was the greedy glint in Jake’s snake-green eyes and Xavier’s voice calling out to me.
Snake-green… What, the same colour as a little tree snake?
Okay, so I think that should be it for this chapter. Check back next time. It’s going to be about as scary as your average Care Bears episode.