When we last left off, Jared and Ian had just figured out that something was up with the one Seeker that won’t just stop searching for Melerer. We ended with a sort of cliffhanger, which was Jared demanding to know what was up. It’s kind of dull as far as cliffhangers go given we already know that the Seeker is an annoying weirdo (even by soul standards) who has it out for Melerer just because.
Jared yells at Melerer to give him an answer, and Ian actually tries to come to her defense, even taking a punch intended for Melerer. Jared is such a tool bag. Melerer feels bad about Ian getting punched even though when she first got to the cave he tried to attack her. Melerer finally explains about the Seeker because she wants to please Jared.
“Assigned to me, following me. She’s the reason—” I caught myself just before I spoke the word that would have meant our death . Just before I could say we. The ultimate truth that he would see as the ultimate lie— playing on his deepest wishes, his deepest pain. He would never see that it was possible for his wish to be true. He would only see a dangerous liar looking out through the eyes he’d loved.
Man, Meyers can be long winded. We get it, we get exactly why he wouldn’t believe that Melerer is Melerer.
What follows next, though, is sort of interesting as Wanderer takes the wheel and tries to explain the situation without giving away the fact that Melanie has been blocking Wanderer from seeing some of her memories. Wanderer explains that she doesn’t like the Seeker, that she wanted to find Jared and Jamie, that she wasn’t trying to lead the Seeker to them only get away from her.
“I couldn’t tell— I didn’t know…. I just saw the lines. The lines on the album . I drew them for the Seeker… but we didn’t know what they were. She still thinks they’re a road map.” I couldn’t seem to stop talking. I tried to make the words come slower, to protect myself from a slip.
“What do you mean you didn’t know what they were? You’re here.” Jared’s hand flexed toward me but dropped before it closed the small distance. “I… I was having trouble with my… with the… with her memory. I didn’t understand… I couldn’t access everything . There were walls. That’s why the Seeker was assigned to me, waiting for me to unlock the rest.” Too much, too much. I bit my tongue.
Ian and Jared exchanged a look. They’d never heard anything like this before. They didn’t trust me, but they wanted so desperately to believe it was possible. They wanted it too much. That made them fear.
Then it gets kind of sad, Wanderer admits she finally remembered Jared and his cabin but that she didn’t want to tell the Seeker about it, but when he prompts her further, she refuses to tell him that the reason she wouldn’t tell is because she loves him. Apparently Jared sees this resistance in her eyes and lets it be. Then he asks why she couldn’t access the memories, and Wanderer lies and says it was because the body was damaged. Because she’s a shitty liar, Jared and Ian immediately pick up on the fact that the last bit is a lie, but they let it go.
This is quickly becoming like an episode of that short lived show The Moment of Truth where people were hooked up to a lie detector and asking shit ranging from, “Do you like broccoli” to “Have you ever cheated on your husband?” Sometimes people would lose the game on a question as trivial as the broccoli one, it was hilarious.
Jared and Ian argue back and forth about whether they think she was telling the truth. Jared is super convinced Melerer is a Seeker and has stayed alive this long because of her cunning ways and not dumb fucking luck. Oh, Jared. Ian also admits he feels really guilty about hurting Melerer earlier, and Jared of course is like, “Who cares, she’s not human!”
“Just because she isn’t human, do you think that means she doesn’t feel pain?” Ian asked as his voice faded into the distance. “That she doesn’t feel just like a girl who’s been beaten— beaten by us?”
Great point, Ian. Melerer is still a living creature, and I get that it’s a living creature Jared thinks is totally evil and bad, but I liked that Ian pointed this out to him.
Later, Jeb comes down and tells Jared he’s needed on a supply run. Jared insinuates that even though Jeb will be around to look out for Melerer, somehow she’s going to die (because people will attack her? I’m not sure), but then after a minute he’s like, “K, I’ll do it,” and Melerer is so sad because it means he gives no fucks if she lives or dies. Then for like a page Wanderer talks about the term broken heart, and I flip forward to see if things get more interesting again.
And it wasn’t just ripping , but twisting and pulling in different directions . Because Melanie’s heart broke, too, and it was a separate sensation, as if we’d grown another organ to compensate for our twin awarenesses. A double heart for a double mind. Twice the pain.
A boring paragraph after another long, boring paragraph. Twice the boredom. Melerer starts crying, and the chapter is over.
Jeb asks Melerer to come out and stretch for a bit, and even though she’s got a double broken heart, she complies. Jeb of course is really sweet again and explains he was trying to get Jared out of there to give him a break and also to get Melerer out of the damn prison thing she’s in. He was actually doing her a favor and apologizes for making it sound mean when he talked to Jared. D’awww.
Melerer gets some rest, and the next morning Jeb takes her on a tour of the Magical Cave that Conveniently has Everything you Need and shows her that they even have a fucking gardening room in this cave. Seriously, there are like carrots and spinach being grown. Some sunlight made it into the cave, and Jeb used mirrors to make even MORE sunlight. Next up on the tour, the local cave bowling alley and arcade.
Jeb makes awkward jokes about how Melerer shouldn’t get lost because someone would probably lurking around a corner, waiting to stab her. I guess if you’re trying to comfort someone, talking about potential stabbings is an appropriate way to achieve that goal. “Hardy har, you might get stabbed if you wander off, Wanderer.”
Just in case the other cave dwellers didn’t want to stab Melerer enough, Jeb tells her that she can stay in the room of one of the guys who’s out on the raid. This bothers me, not because Melerer is an alien but because sleeping in someone else’s bed without their permission is SO RUDE. Anyone who shared a room in college can attest to this. “Oh, sure you can sleep in my roommates bed, I’m sure they won’t mind,” said that shitty roommate 90% of people had at one time or another.
There are a lot of overly wordy explanations about the bed, which I’m sure you were expecting. Also too many words about why Melerer accepts Jeb’s offer to stay in this room. Ultimately, she decides to stay there, and that’s all you need to know. The next stop on the tour is the mess hall, and there Jamie, Ian and the doctor join in on the tour.