Hahaha, April Fools! We've still got ten chapters to go, and our authors will be deadly serious about it all until the bitter end.
Chapter 25 opens like this:
Dr. Pazder would often look back upon this day--he would think of it as the day the war began. It was a cosmic battle Michelle was describing, lasting many weeks, with the Devil and his followers on the earthen floor of the round room, attempting to proceed with their dreadful and apparently crucial ritual, and, somehow in the air above, other forces bearing down, disrupting the ritual with an interference that was not physical but spiritual.
He also mentions that Satan is using Michelle as a pawn in this spiritual "war." Which, okay, using children as pawns in war is a pretty solidly bad-guy move to make. Honestly, though, I'm more disturbed that the forces of Heaven are letting Satan do this.
We pick up the flashbacks where we left off last time: Mary has vanished off somewhere. The ritual is still in full swing, Satan's still (oh, piss) speaking in rhyme for no reason, and he still has his tail wrapped around Michelle's neck. Oh, and now that Michelle has talked to the Mother of God right in front of him, he's cheesed off to boot. Michelle tells us he is "raging" and "throwing flame everywhere" until the whole room is "filled with fire." He also moves his tail from Michelle's neck to her mid-section, where it burns and squeezes her so hard that she feels as if it's sunken inside her skin. He's so angry, in fact, that he seems to be causing a localized meteorological disturbance:
The child was almost speechless with terror, yet she kept pushing the words out, trying to tell Dr. Pazder what was going on. The air was swirling, gusting. She felt as if she were in the center of a maelstrom. The round room was full of deafening noise, but there were noises from on high too, and a turbulence somewhere far above. She was in a precarious no-man's-land--unprotected, vulnerable, frightened.
Well that sounds like a totally not dangerous or traumatizing situation to leave a six-year-old child in at all! It sure was nice of Mary and Jesus to show up juuuuust long enough to get Satan good and furious at their perceived interference, and then leave without depriving Michelle of the wacky, rollicking adventure of getting nearly squeezed in half and dodging literal Hellfire missiles.
But then Michelle recites the prayer that Mary taught her, and Mary shows up again. Then she whisks Michelle somewhere far, far away and gives her to a loving foster family, because cosmic war between good and evil or no cosmic war between good and evil, dragging kids into adult conflicts is just despicable.
Hahaha, April Fools again! Instead, this exchange happens:
"Oh, ma petite. Shhhh," [Mary] shushed her. "Shhhh. I came back."
"I'm tired," the child sighed. "Ma Mere, I'm tired."
"You must watch just a little while. Just a little while more. I'm sorry it's so hard. My coming makes him angry. But you needed to know I'd come back."
Plus brownie points for wanting to provide emotional support to the abused kid. Minus brownie points for a) doing it right in front of the person abusing the child, angering him so that he inflicts even worse abuse and b) jerking the child around emotionally by briefly offering hope of safety and then disappearing again.
Then Mary tells Michelle that she ought to know just who is tormenting her. Michelle doesn't want to know--which seems perfectly fair. I mean, if you fell into the hyena cage at the zoo and the zookeeper was all, like, "I'll save you, but you'll need to memorize the names of all the hyenas currently mauling you first," wouldn't your reply be something along the lines of, ASSHAT IF I SURVIVE THIS I WILL PERSONALLY BEAT THE STUPID OUT OF YOU WITH MY OWN SEVERED LEG? I reckon it would!--but Mary insists. She says it's necessary for Michelle to learn her tormentor's name, for other peoples' sake as well as her own:
"Shhhh. Shhhh. It is very important. Many people do not know who he is. That is why so many people get hurt. They are afraid."
First, that makes no fucking sense. Do people get hurt because they don't know who Satan is, or because they're afraid? Or because they don't know who Satan is, and that makes them afraid? Or are they getting hurt because they're afraid of other, unrelated things, and coincidentally they also don't know who Satan is? All kidding aside, I think--I think--this passage is probably meant to imply that simply not knowing about the Devil (i.e. being ignorant of the true nature and depth and breadth of evil) equals being afraid/too cowardly to confront evil in the world at large, which...is kind of a simplistic view, book. Just sayin'.
Second, maybe tell the kid her tormentor's name once you've gotten her safely removed from his clutches?
Alas, no such luck. The chapter ends with Mary telling Michelle what we've all guessed already--that the huge scary guy in the fire is called Satan. No explanation for why he talks like a brain-damaged Dr. Seuss character, though. She also assures Michelle that "our Father is looking after us" without even trying to justify our Father's apparent policy of letting the minions of Hell run riot among His precious creations and leaving the heavy-duty work of Satanist-cult-busting to a six-year-old girl. Michelle Remembers God could use about twenty centuries' worth of parenting classes. Hmm, maybe that explains why Michelle Remembers Satan turned out so weird. His negligent divine parent probably dropped him on his head multiple times.
|Still a better parent than Michelle Remembers God.|