Last time on the Summoning, it turns out Gill or possibly the entire place knew Chloe was a necromancer.
“So when you . . . change . . .”
A short laugh, this obviously not being what he’d had in mind. But I was keeping my voice low, and if I couldn’t hear them talking, they wouldn’t hear more than the murmur of my voice.
“You change into …” I struggled to think of the right word for the image that came to mind—a Hollywood werewolf, half human, half beast.
“A wolf.” He steered us to the left, away from the car.
“You know. Large wild canine. Commonly seen in zoos.”
“You change into . . . ? But that’s not—” I stopped myself.
“Physically possible?” Another short laugh.
You have no idea how much terrible writing you miss by me summarizing this shit most of the time.
Anyway, look at the wild Chloe! Its natural behaviors are being endlessly confused about everything to drag out conversations, even when such confusion would render it unable to say the setup lines in the first place. Chloe is picturing a horrible half and half thing, and yet the idea he just turns into a regular wolf is breaking her brain. And it’s because physically changing is impossible compared to dead bodies being animated by plugging their souls back in.
Personally I’d just assume the transformation done with some sort of modified superhealing. That is, an understandable process that was simply going unusually fast. Compared to the flat out impossibility of ghosts and zombies, this is practically scientific.
“I heard them say ‘It’s them’ and ‘Call Marcel.'”
“Marcel? Isn’t that Dr. Davidoffs name?”
“Yeah, and something tells me it’s not common enough to be a coincidence.”
Uh, well you did bash Gill over the head, and assuming she woke up shortly afterward, which is normal for head injuries, she would have alerted everyone else, including the head doctor. I don’t get what’s so weird about this.
But who were they? Where had they come from? Simon and Rae hadn’t been gone more than forty minutes. How had they gotten here so fast?
“Tori,” I whispered.
“Tori found out about our escape. That’s why she was so quiet. She didn’t give up; she was—”
Plot. Plot. I know you’ve only just arrived and aren’t really that experienced. But this is an embarrassment.
The sirens only start after Chloe and Derek attack Gill and leave. (Actually, wait, what was Gill doing there at all? She doesn’t stay overnight like the nurses.) If we’ve being expected to say that the police were already on their way and it was just a coincidence that it happened right then, it would have been better for Derek to hear sirens when Gill had grabbed Chloe instead of suggesting a cause and effect with their own escape and the sirens.
Meanwhile, if Tori did tell, they shouldn’t have gotten out at all. The easiest point of failure is just changing the code for the alarm, and the easiest is just having the adults stay up and wait for the kids to come down. The only way this works is if you assume the adults woke up right after Chloe went into the yard, they checked the house and found only Tori, and Tori then told about the escape plan, except at that point it’s obvious that the kids had escaped so they wouldn’t have needed Tori to explain.
Anyway, they keep going and when they get to the factory Simon and Rae were supposed to go, they’re spotted. Hasn’t it occurred to them that maybe they’re just tipping people off about where the others are? I think the sirens have probably clued them in that they’re being chased by now, they don’t need Derek to explain it. Someone Chloe doesn’t recognize calls her name, and when she looks back she sees someone else has a gun. Eh, it’s probably a tranquilizer gun.
“Th-they sh-shot at us,” I whispered, barely able to get the words out. “No. I m-must have— A radio maybe. Or a cell phone. I made a mistake.”
I wonder if this is a really oblique reference to the gun being edited into a radio in ET? Because it’s fucking stupid in context that she’d be saying this about a large gun, and right after it’s just been fired.
Anyway I’m right about it being a tranquilizer. One’s tangled in Derek’s shirt but it didn’t really get him. They really should have aimed at Chloe, it has a better chance of taking her down and Derek won’t be able to escape as easily with her as deadweight.
“Derek? You know you shouldn’t be out here. It’s not safe. We’ve talked about this, remember? You don’t want to hurt anyone. I know that, and you know you need our help to get better.”
I looked up. Derek’s jaw worked, his gaze distant.
“I could go,” he whispered.
What the hell? They have mind control now?
Chloe reminds him that, uh, these people just shot at them, and Derek’s all “but it wasn’t with actual bullets…”
Dr. Davidoff continued. “You already have a documented history of inappropriate behavior toward her. When the police see that, and hear our corroborating statements, you will be in a lot of trouble, Derek, and I know you don’t want that. Even if she defends you, it won’t matter to the police. You’re a sixteen-year-old boy running away with a fourteen-year-old girl.” He paused. “You do realize she’s only fourteen, don’t you, Derek?”
I shook my head vehemently and whispered, “He’s lying. I turned fifteen last month.”
Dr. Davidoff said, “To the police, it will be a clear case of kidnapping and interference, possibly even sexual assault.”
“Sexual—!” I squeaked.
If it wasn’t for the weight of context behind this, there wouldn’t be anything much of issue here. But there is.
We’re running toward the end of the story now, and past chapters have repeatedly dismissed and belittled the idea that there could be anything wrong with a boy’s interest. This kind of thing really does happen, there is good reason why the police wouldn’t accept her defense, and readers, please remember you aren’t a mature adult able to take care of yourself because you “turned fifteen last month”.
It would be entirely fine to twist the existing system to their advantage in this one instance if the rest of the book hadn’t acted like the very existence of concerned adults and reasonable rules were ridiculous. This is especially nasty because the sort of support and concern Chloe gets isn’t even the established norm. There are still plenty of people willing to ignore it or dismiss it as PC nonsense or outright blame Chloe, and those people don’t need any help.
Anyway, Chloe explains that Derek would have given himself up if they’d played on his fears of hurting others, but threatening him was a mistake. Considering he’s been getting therapy for months, why wouldn’t they know that? It’s not like it’d even have been hard considering he almost jumped up and went back to them just because they asked.
Also of interest – why aren’t they trying to talk Chloe out? I assume they’re focusing on Derek because Derek’s the harder to catch, but Chloe might give them both away if they can talk her into it. Also, if the rest of the group is also aware of the Lyle thing like Gill, it seems like Chloe’s the one they’d be more interested.
And Chloe should have an obvious point to prey on too. Chloe’s never been on her own, and her knowledge of living “on the street” seems to be entirely based around afterschool specials and horror movies. And now she learns that in addition to being a target by being a naïve teenage girl, she’s also a supernatural, which is even worse.
This is just a terrible disappointment. This could have been a great scene where the two of them have to face their weak points as the adults try to talk them out. Since Chloe’s talking lovingly of how Derek only cares about others he’s now 110% confirmed future boyfriend, so it’d have been nice to see them actually supporting each other, arguing against whatever the people were saying to try to talk the other one into surrendering.
Instead that’s it, the attempt fails.
Derek then tells her to stay there while he tries to find a way out, because super wolf senses.
I stayed put.
Our heroine. And on that line, the chapter ends.