Summoning Ch38

Last time on the Summoning, a lot of filler conversations and people keeping secrets.


Simon does finally address the Rae issue now.

There were fire half-demons, but by fifteen she should have been doing more than leaving marks that barely qualified as first-degree burns.

Okay, but what about quarter-demons? Half-demon implies they’re crossbreeds, not a distinct category, and crossbreeds can keep crossbreeding. I’m willing to grant something like necromancy being a simple on/off, but if a half-demon is (presumably) possessing lesser powers of a demon, then the kid of a half-demon and mortal would possess the lesser powers of a half-demon, and so on until it became so minor it wasn’t visible.

Or, and this is just a thought, YOU’RE IN A PLACE WITH DEAD EXPERIMENTAL SUBJECTS AND NOW SOMEONE’S MANIFESTING A KNOCKOFF VERSION OF A NORMAL POWER MAYBE SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON.

Especially when Chloe’s already gotten told her powers are unnaturally strong. Not all experiments are unbounded successes, you’ve going to get weaklings too.

He didn’t think she was lying. She was just too eager to believe.

Rae’s claimed that the reason she’s in there is because she burned her mother by accident, and everyone assumed she was holding a lighter at the time but she wasn’t. So this requires more than Rae just really wanting to believe she can burn people, it requires Rae forget that she really must have had a lighter in hand because her mom really did go to the hospital with a burn. Now, there are people who can manage that sort of mental rewriting, but that requires Rae be unstable to a much greater degree than what Simon’s saying.

it would mean so much to Rae to be special. I’d seen it in her face that morning, glowing with excitement.

Or maybe she was excited because hey, people who don’t think she’s crazy. Sure, being overlooked a lot sucked, but as Chloe’s endless personal emo parade shows, so does having some unique ability that sets you apart from everyone no one believes you have when you actually do, which Rae claims is what she’s known for a while. But no, obviously Rae can’t have special protagonist thoughts, only jealous of protagonism thoughts.

Derek doesn’t dismiss it completely, because he’s suspicious about how many of them are supernaturals now. Well, “genius”, if you stop counting yourself and Simon as if you both arrived independently, then you’re down to two people, yourself and Chloe, and it stops being an amazing coincidence. You can’t prove Rae’s supernatural by saying there’s lots of supernaturals around because Rae’s supernatural. The proper count is Derek, Chloe, Liz, at which point Rae having abilities becomes plausible. If you’re only including the extras because you think it’s likely given how many are supernatural, your logic is circular.

You could argue that a group home for disturbed teens isn’t an unusual place to find teenage supernaturals, especially those who don’t know what they are.

Well yes, you could argue lots of stupid shit. As I said way back when, the odds are still astronomical, especially once we recall that supernatural power tends to run in families and there are also organizations that snatch up rare kids like Derek and normally keep them out of places like this, and then add in that sorcerer kids and probably a number of others don’t have anything that’d make them seem crazy. In fact, outside of dumbass no research land, Derek would never have been picked up – a quick look at Derek would have established that yes, he is a crazy strong kid who could easily hurt someone in a fight without needing to deliberately do so, and no, he clearly wasn’t on drugs at the time seriously who says “this kid is on drugs” and then doesn’t do a drug test? Dumbass no research landers and no one else, that’s who.

Our symptoms could be massaged to fit known psychiatric disorders, and, since everyone knew it was impossible to contact the dead or to burn people with your bare hands or toss a kid aside and break his neck—the obvious solution would be that we were mentally ill. Hallucinating, obsessed with fire, uncontrollably violent

No. The only one of you who fits a known disorder is you, Chloe. Rae happens to also be a pyromaniac, not misdiagnosed – whether or not she’s capable of making flame, she’s also fucking obsessed with it, and you know this. You don’t get diagnosed as having pyromania because you burned your mom in a fight. That’s not even in the ballpark of the criteria. If anything, the fire kid would get diagnosed as uncontrollably violent. And ability to do harm and having outbursts are two completely different things. A mentally ill person who’s uncontrollably violent does not need to be particularly strong or capable of doing major damage in order to be diagnosed as such because MENTAL. MENTAL ILLNESS. Your PHYSICAL MUSCLES are not the point here!

But there was nothing paranormal about Tori’s mood swings. Peter had apparently been in for some kind of anxiety disorder and that didn’t fit the pattern either.
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing something, that the connection was there and my brain was too distracted by other problems to see it.

You’re missing a brain.

Aside from the totally obvious fact that they could have other kids around as a cover, Derek and Simon know all of jack and shit about other supernaturals. Liz was making stuff fly across the room and none of them noticed, and they still have no idea if she’s a shaman because they don’t know enough about shamans to know if that fits. The only reason Chloe even thinks that is that she’s been seeing something that might just be a ghost but could also be astral projection and the fact that shaman was the only other one on the list. Maybe mood swings are a symptom of developing half-demons. Maybe Tori’s only having mood swings because she’s something else and they’re putting her on drugs to block her abilities because EXPERIMENTS. Maybe they both have some unrelated powers that you don’t notice because as established with Liz, you have observational skills more commonly found in dead flatworms! Maybe Peter was anxious because he was clairvoyant! You don’t know!

But whatever, they’ll take Rae because otherwise she might tattle. Not because Liz might be dead and anyone they leave could be in horrible danger, because she might inconvenience them.

They decide they’re leaving tonight. Chloe packs. I’ll spare you it.

Then Chloe remembers Liz for another minute or so, so she goes off to steal the sweater from Tori because asking is for suckers.

But she’s thwarted by Tori actually being in the room, just out of sight when she was pushing the door open. Tori does not take this well, immediately going off into a rant about how she and the other kids are plotting something.

Here’s the thing – Tori’s mostly right. The kids have formed into a group that’s excluding her. She’s wrong that they’re actually planning to do something to her, but it’s not actually a big leap since there aren’t many things you need to keep secret and “escape plan” isn’t something that’d occur to her.

“And you think we’re . . . plotting against you?” I sputtered a laugh and leaned back against the dresser. “How do you get that ego through the door, Tori?

See, Chloe has reason not to like Tori. A mountain of reasons, in fact. But it’s telling that she doesn’t respond to Tori’s accusations, she just uses their interactions as a chance to be vicious back. This kind of thing smacks of someone who, decades too late, is still thinking of what they should have said to some popular kid’s jab.

I also just really hate the ego thing. On a rational level, Tori did smash a brick over her head and then leave her in the crawlspace hoping she’d go insane. You aren’t egotistical if you think someone will want revenge for that. It’s probably the sanest thought she’s had. And on an emotional level, thinking the kids who snub you and make no secret of the fact they can’t stand you and are suddenly talking in whispers might be planning something cruel toward you is not a sign of ego. It’s the sort of thing you say to someone who doesn’t have much of one and you’re hoping to grind what’s left under your shoe.

What’s a sign of ego is what Chloe says next, which is to tell Tori that she’s absolutely nothing and why would Chloe even bother caring long enough to plot? Chloe is so much more important than Tori and it’s so obvious Tori must be an idiot to not recognize it. How dare Tori not pay enough attention to Chloe to realize this.

Also, remember that revelation a few chapters back when Chloe overheard the conversation with Tori’s mother and realized Tori really is mentally ill?

Chloe has at several points said stuff about how “if this was a movie” Tori would suddenly realize the error of her ways and be nice. After that conversation, I expected those to be foreshadowing of Chloe making this realization, that she was actually in the position and failing to live up to it. But no, she’s just kept alternating the “if this was a movie” thing to Tori and talking about how much Tori sucks as a person, even though she believes that Tori really is mentally ill and that’s why she’s acting like this.

How could a parent blame her child for not overcoming a mental illness? It wasn’t like pushing a reluctant student to get a passing grade. It was like blaming one with a learning disorder for not getting As. Whatever Tori’s “condition” was, it was like schizophrenia—not her fault and not entirely within her control. remember?

But it’s totally fine for Chloe to treat it as a personal failing of Tori’s. It’s totally fine, in fact, to attack the kid with a mood disorder and self-esteem issues by mocking her for thinking you would even bother noticing her long enough to hold a grudge. How can she even get that ego through the door, really.

I slumped back against the dresser with an exaggerated sigh. “Don’t you ever quit? You’re like a broken record. Me, me, me. The world revolves around Tori. No wonder even your mom thinks you’re a spoiled—”

Chloe regrets that last one, but apparently the rest of it was perfectly fine to say.

Anyway, Tori’s spirit properly crushed for not realizing it’s all about Chloe, Chloe asks for the damn sweater and Tori tells her it’s in the dresser.

And that was it. No “Why do you want it?” or even “Did she call asking for it?” Her gaze had already gone distant. Doped up? Or beyond caring?

Or maybe upset because of what you just said and knowing that saying anything further will just get her mocked more. Tori’s obviously supposed to be the Mean Popular Girl, but the dynamics are completely reversed. Any time Tori tries to say things to Chloe, Chloe just cuts her down worse. That’s how it goes with the popular kids, that trying to argue or fight back just invites further mockery.

Once again, I feel like reminding everyone that Tori really cared about Liz. She could have been brought in on this a dozen times over by saying that they were worried about Liz. Whether or not she’d have been a safe person to tell is harder to tell – she seems pretty loyal but also prone to saying things without thinking. But she’s also desperate for any sort of validation, and I’d honestly guess if she could get it from the other kids she’d stop chasing it from the adults so frantically.

I wanted to wish her luck. I wanted to tell her I hoped she got what she was looking for, what she needed. I wanted to tell her I was sorry.

Chloe does not.

Chloe does not because she’s sure Tori would take it the wrong way. She has a little paragraph of “oh, maybe I shouldn’t keep being nasty to Tori since she’s mentally ill”, but it doesn’t stop her from doing so and it doesn’t make her feel bad enough to bother saying sorry for any of it afterward.

Instead she just says goodbye and leaves having gotten what she came for, because unlike such bad ideas as apologizing, that certainly wouldn’t be taken the wrong way after her dissertation on Why No One Cares About Tori.

7 Comments

  1. Igloo says:
    You know, I’ve noticed that most YA protaganists can be perfectly nasty to a designated female rival and it’s considered all right, but when the rival does the same thing, it’s treated like a crime. It’s always bothered me.
    1. Farla says:
      It’s a nasty combination of protagonist-centered morality and the way female characters are always set against each other. There isn’t any objective right or wrong, it’s all determined by who’s doing it to who.
  2. purplekitte says:
    That’s how it goes with the popular kids, that trying to argue or fight back just invites further mockery. The solution is to hit them with a brick. I being serious, if you don’t get caught or the adults don’t care much, it works wonders. Go Tori.
    1. Farla says:
      Until the other person accidentally dies! Head injuries are serious business, hit them somewhere else instead.
    1. Farla says:
      It’s not Chloe’s fault that most people other than her aren’t real and deserving of consideration.
  3. Rachel says:
    Tori’s right, she IS a bitch.

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