In the fortieth chapter of Blackout, nope. Nope. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Blackout.
I asked for none of this.
It’s interesting to me how this is like some sort of fucked up family reunion. You can see how quickly the team falls in line with Steve, President Ryman, and Rick, and I can’t deny how pleasing that is. In any other context, I might have wanted to celebrate this, but… yeah. Yeah. This is so relentlessly awful, and I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that the CDC would make these people pay a price for what they did. Repeatedly, we’ve seen the organization more than willing to murder people to support (or hide) their agenda, so I should have known they’d cause a breakout to occur in the White House in order to get back at these people.
I just wish it didn’t happen like this.
Mira Grant devises this whole sequence well for the sheer suspense of it alone. You’ve got:
- An innumerable amount of zombies ambling down a narrow hallway with only one exit.
- The exit can only be used one at a time.
- Alaric must upload the files necessary to blow the CDC conspiracy open, and there’s only one spot where service can be found.
- The nature of the exit and the exponential hoard approaching means that ultimately, one person will be left behind to take their blood test without any cover, effectively dooming them to death.
And before this even happens, there’s silence. It’s a clever use of a trope that I adore in horror/suspense: the calm before the storm. You’re left to wonder what it is that will break the silence, and when the moaning starts, it’s like a punch to the face. Thankfully, After the End Times is not going to let the oncoming threat ruin their sense of humor, and given how this chapter ended, I’m thankful that I got one last scene of these four characters joking around with one another.
At first, I thought Rick really would sacrifice himself for the others. In a way, it makes sense. Lisa is gone. How else would he allay the guilt he felt for being somewhat complicit in what had happened? It was logical that he do something heroic in the end to at least die with a better feeling about his own moral conscience. But then:
“Go on, Rick,” said George. “Mahir gets left behind, and you leave when we need someone to make it off the battlefield. That’s how this story goes.”
MY HEART, MY HEART. But this was nothing compared to the sad realization that this plan would mean one person had to stay behind, and then Becks was asserting that it had to be her, and she uses calculating logic in order to make her point. Which is exactly what Shaun says about her in his blog post at the end of this chapter. She’s calculating, and that’s precisely what you see here. She knows that Shaun and George are better at telling this story. She knows they can’t leave the random Secret Service agent or Steve behind. It has to be her.
And I didn’t want that to be the case, obviously, but there is a graceful poetry in the way in which Becks leaves this world. It’s written beautifully, which makes it all the more difficult to read. She said goodbye to her friends without any hesitation, ignoring the destruction coming her way, and she did it all to save them and the story.
It hurts, y’all. I’m still sad writing this. I want Becks back.
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