In the twenty-fifth chapter of Deadline, the After the End Times team begins to flee. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deadline.
What is this leading to? How can any of this be resolved in two chapters? HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO YOUR NARRATOR AFTER WHAT YOU DID IN FEED? I am upset, y’all, and I’m frightened about what next week is going to do to me. This isn’t fair! IT’S NOT FAIR.
Credit is given where credit is due, though: Grant does a fantastic job building suspense and giving us the feeling that this is all coming to an end. There’s a very distinct tone of finality to chapter twenty-five, and it’s conveyed in three different ways:
1) Shaun’s speech to the staff
Shaun is not a verbose, elegant dude. He’s just not! It’s not in his nature, so the staff meeting had to end in certain disaster. How is Shaun going to communicate the severity of this situation and avoid talking to George on camera?
He succeeds at this in the only way Shaun really could: by being super honest. I was touched by what he told these people, many of them he never met or got to know. It’s a weird situation, you know? Shaun’s essentially a figurehead for some of these staff members, and now he and Mahir are explaining to them all that the world is ending. So, I appreciated how forthright Shaun was here. He thanks these people for their work, admitting that it’s not what any of them signed up for. And he imparts a vital message to them: What they do matters, and they will pass on the truth to “the ones who’ll tell the truth after us.”
It really felt like the big speech one gives before some big battle, except this isn’t even that. There’s no battle ahead of them. They’re just running. That’s all they have.
The end is so close. UGH.
2) Leaving the actual house itself.
I’m happy that Grant gave Maggie a moment to almost… panic? For Maggie in particular, this is horrifying. She rarely leaves her house, and I’m sure that given other circumstances, she’d just stay behind and live with the comfort of knowing she’s safe. But now, she’s leaving this house, leaving her dogs behind, leaving her safety behind, and throwing her future to the wind. (Pardon the unfortunate phrasing!) Even as they’re packing the van, I couldn’t help but feel anxious, nervous, and generally terrible. This can’t really have a good ending, can it? The post-Rising world is bad enough. A second Rising is worse. But a world where Kellis-Amberlee can be spread by the bite of a mosquito? Every single detail about this fictional universe is conspiring against these characters. And that is what makes this chapter an exercise in terror.
3) Leaving the property.
This feeling of finality is best portrayed in the sheer horror of watching the gates close behind the van and the bike. Y’all, they can’t really go back. I mean, I suppose if they reached the street at the end of the driveway and turned around, they’d be okay. But they can’t do that. It’s only a matter of time before that house is blown to high hell, so they run. I agree with George in this chapter: This is a bad, bad, bad idea. But what choice do they have? Sit around and wait to get blown up? At least this way, they’re taking their destiny in their own hands and running to meet it instead of hanging about in fear. Still, that doesn’t necessarily make me feel better about all of this. As the group drives away from Maggie’s place, we’re very quickly reminded just how fucked up this trip is going to be: THEY CAN’T TAKE THE I-5 THE WHOLE WAY THERE. Fuck, FUCK! They’re stuck on frontage roads and gravel paths. GREAT. GREAT.
It’s at this point that I stopped thinking about the end and starting panicking. I was so confused by Becks’s fear of Shady Cove until Shaun’s narration explained it all to me. I just… god, can Dr. Abbey not be leading them into a trap? I JUST WANT ONE PERSON TO DO SOMETHING NICE FOR THESE PEOPLE, PLEASE. Please??? I agree with Shaun that a dead zone is a fantastic place to hide an illegal lab, but –
NO, WAIT, NO, WHY ARE THERE ZOMBIES. Duh, Mark, it’s literally a zone of the dead THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED A DEAD ZONE, YOU FOOL. Oh god, just –
I twisted the throttle, starting after them, only to come up short as an arm was hooked around my neck and I was jerked off the bike.
FUCKING STOP IT. DON’T DO THIS TO ME.
Maybe it was the fall I’d taken earlier, and maybe it was just a natural flaw in the construction of my body armor, but when the zombie pulled, I heard something tear. I whipped my head around, looking for a shot, and saw to my horror that the entire left sleeve of my jacket was ripped along the main seam, leaving my arm – protected only by a flannel shirt – exposed.
YOU ARE MESSING WITH ME, YOU CANNOT DO THIS. WHY. WHY.
Most of my concern was for the new hole in my flannel shirt, and the blood welling up through the fabric.
I AM SO DONE WITH THIS BOOK AND EVERYTHING EVER. No, there is no getting out of this. THERE ISN’T. By the very nature of the virus, Shaun has to be infected. He can’t escape this. THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.
And despite that no signs of amplification show up in the chapter, I don’t feel good about this at all. The group decides to take Shaun to Dr. Abbey’s anyway, and then Mira Grant rubs this all in my face with Georgia’s unpublished blog entry at the end, which makes me want to curl up in a ball and never read another book again. HOW CAN SHE DO THIS? You killed off your narrator in Feed, and now Shaun is going to die. WHO WOULD NARRATE THE THIRD BOOK? Oh god, I can’t.
Because I couldn’t live with myself knowing I’d allowed him to amplify. No one deserves to end up like that. No one.
You’re evil. All of you. The whole lot of you. Evil. I am not going to be okay next week.
Mark Links Stuff
- I am going on tour in 2013! There are 27 tour dates spread across the eastern half of North America. Please help suggest venues, offer up a place to crash, and RSVP for dates near you!
- ALL VIDEO COMMISSIONS WILL CLOSE ON FEBRUARY 9TH SO THAT I CAN WRITE POSTS IN ADVANCE FOR TOUR. The only exception to this are any upcoming projects I am doing, so I have listed all upcoming Mark Reads posts that are missing commissions.
- You can, however, commission me to read bad fic/fiction on ANY Mark Does Stuff Tour date. You can claim a specific date to have a live reading right here.