In the fifteenth chapter of John Dies at the End, John, David, and Amy finally get some answers, and everything is way more horrifying than I expected. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read John Dies at the End.
Chapter Fifteen: D-Day
OH MY GOD I THINK I UNDERSTAND SOME THINGS.
We’ll get there in a second. This chapter opens with David finally explaining some things to Amy, which is a nice way of reminding the reader of how long and weird this journey has been. John and David hadn’t taken soy sauce since the beginning of the book! And now here they are, so close to some sort of confrontation, and the bizarre drug has presented itself again. I’m curious as to why Amy isn’t supposed to take it, though. How does the stuff know? How is soy sauce connected to Korrok and whatever else is in this reality?
I was quite pleased with how lo-fi this whole adventure was, too. After the opening scene, John and David assemble some fairly crappy weaponry, which Amy rightly calls out as being kind of worthless. (I really hate that line where David implies that women just don’t understand the practicality of a flamethrower. Dude, those things rarely work well. Shut up.) This is so entertaining to me because it’s so in character for David and John. They’re not geniuses. This is exactly what they would do in this situation, and it makes me love Amy even more that she’s totally unimpressed with their display of poorly assembled weapons. Even the bomb itself is pretty goddamn terrible, though I loved the idea of playing “November Rain” on a loop over the plant’s speakers. Personally, I would have gone with “Purple Rain” instead, but that’s just me. The other part of this plan – the part they haven’t told Amy – is that they both fully intend on dying. I expect John will at this point because DUH. It’s the title of the book. Plus, we don’t even really know what Korrok looks like. He’s a giant worm-thing, right? What if his mouth isn’t big enough for them to fit in it? Why is that my first thought? Molly, who is now clearly way more self-aware than any dog should be, eats the bone bomb that John and David constructed. Did she do that on purpose?
AND THEN DRAKE. DRAKE. Jesus, I’d forgotten about Drake, and then he’s back in the story, except now he’s possessed. There are also numerous references to Mulholland Drive, and it took this for me to realize how eerily similar these two stories have been. Out-of-order storylines, a constantly shifting reality, horrible monsters that loom just out of sight, and both stories’ deconstruction of the genre they inhabit. But I’m totally fascinated by this deliberate comparison between Korrok and the man in the alley in Mulholland Drive. What exactly does Korrok represent? If the man in the alley is supposed to be anything from a manifestation of guilt or the grim reality of a life in Hollywood, then I’m wondering if this comparison is a way to get me to think about what Korrok is besides being a worm-thing from a hell dimension who subsists on human suffering.
I have no real clue yet.
I wasn’t any closer to discovering the truth once it was revealed that Amy’s missing hand was the only thing that could turn the handle on the ghost door. Yeah, I simply don’t get this. HOW? HOW IS THAT A THING? However, I do recognize the futility in asking such a question, because clearly anything can happen here. I know I brought this up before, but this is precisely why I am so happy that given all the fucked-up shit that’s happened, Amy is still insistent on coming along. She rejects the notion that David asking her to leave is some noble, altruistic thing. Well, first, that horrible thing comes into the room. I always have to say “thing” because there’s no other way to refer to these monsters. They’re completely invented and they’re completely random. Except maybe these monsters were Drake and the black cop from earlier??? OH GOD, WHAT IS GOING ON? This book is so overwhelmingly confusing, y’all!
But this is nothing compared to where this chapter goes. After Amy gets stuck on the other side of the door, John, Molly, and David ascend into this massive facility populated by people in white jumpsuits, working on… stuff? As they give chase to what I’m guessing was a security guard (or maybe a worker on break?) who managed to see them enter carrying weapons, David observes things that we’ve seen before. Barrels of that thick, red liquid that looks like blood. Men without faces. Bags of fats, including the very one that was once in Amy’s bathroom. It’s a production facility of some sort, except then there’s that boy in the cage who is electrocuted to the point that his body disintegrates and HE TURNS INTO A PIG.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS PLACE!!!!!
I don’t know! I AM SO LOST. Then David gets this rush of anger and fear when he and John are confronted by one of the suited men, and it’s this invigorating moment for his character. The man really did go into this place intending to die, you know? He charged this guy because of that. And when he does use the chainsaw to saw off two of the guy’s fingers, he still has a twinge of remorse because he knows he has ruined that guy’s life in some way. It’s a remarkably raw moment amidst all the chaos. Right, so that chaos? Is when David and John and Molly are chased by lots of guys in white suits. I am trying to understand the things they see along the way, but even with Robert North’s clues, I still haven’t put everything together. Though I must again appreciate John and David’s double set of puns when he sets a bunch of people on fire.
But let’s go back to Robert North. WHY IS THIS GUY HERE? Does he work for these people? I’m so confused because he didn’t seem like he would be with the bad guys? I always got the impression that he was, in his own way, trying to help David. And then my brain is just done.
“I was born here.”
“And as for what they’re doing out there, well, they’re doing the same thing all thinking creature do, from the moment they come to life. Trying to change the world as they see fit.”
I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
“Take a moment and try to understand what you’ve seen,” North said. “You will not be angry once you understand. Your anger clouds you.” North glanced around the room. “I was born here, as I said. One month ago. Do you understand?”
OH MY GOD.
The bags of fat, the gallons of “blood,” the sacks of what looks like beef. They’re creating people. Or, beings, I should say, that resemble people, only not quite right. Well, that doesn’t explain some of the other things they saw, like the man with snakes for arms. And I was completely lost during North’s explanation of the column in the middle of the room they’re all in. The shadow people (he calls them “dark men,” which prompts John to make that gross comment about them being black people) are “the ones who have lived but have been torn from their bodies, through death and, well, other circumstances you would not understand.” I worry that calling them “souls” would be reductive, but it sounds like that’s what he’s talking about. Is this the afterlife for all living creatures? Is this what they end up as? North makes multiple references to this idea of a “thread” in life that links everything and even says that the human world would vanish if the column were destroyed. But why? And how do these beings here not know about soy sauce? If they don’t know how John and David pass through “worlds,” then where the FUCK did soy sauce come from?
I AM SO LOST.
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