So. Where are we?
Right. Ruben is finally taking action of his own, unstoned choice.
Yeah, I've pretty much decided that Wolf!Ruben=drugs. I've known WAY too many addicts who have acted like that when they are high off their gord to not call this one when I see it. Ruben is high on being a wolf the way a drunk is high on six shots of tequila. Congradulations, folks. We're reading a book about a self-destructive addictive spiral where the spiral is praised and the poor fuck can't detox.
He's out looking for the kidnappers, and just when this search would require, IDK, somebody with a PRESS PASS to start asking questions, his wolfyness kicks in, and he starts hearing into the police station.
Yes, the kidnappers had called again, and they weren’t going to tell that to the public, no matter who was demanding it. “We tell what serves a purpose!” a man insisted. “And there is no purpose.” “And they’re threatening to kill another child.”Dialogue is not Anne Rice's strong point.
Anne then takes a page out of L. Ron Hubbard's trick book and starts doing those lovely one-sentence paragraphs that writers think gives a sense of urgency, whereas in reality it just pisses the readers off. Glass house here, because I like using them too. I just don't like using it four fucking sentences in a row:
And it was all Reuben needed to confirm what he already suspected.
Cop cars were crawling the forest and mountain roads.
There were random checkpoints and house-to-house searches.
So law enforcement was his only enemy now as he began his search.I've spent the last two weeks editing my own work. And I am not good at editing. This is making me twitch. It is all I can do not to rewrite that into something coherent. SERIOUSLY. WHY CAN THE "SO" NOT BE A PART OF THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE? THAT IS WHY SO EXISTS. THE FIRST SENTENCE IS FUCKING BEGGING FOR A COLON.
And then Ruben smells evil.
Is it Axe body spray? Because I always thought that Axe body spray was the perfect scent for evil. It can pretend to be cool and pose next to the bar, but we all know it's a total douche and we're not going to let it serve us drinks.
And then...things get confusing. Ruben hears voices (Because Ruben is high and bugfuck insane) and it is two reporters who say they are investigating the kidnapping, and are going home, but that's not where they're going...though how Ruben could possibly know this is WAY beyond me. And then we lose any pretence that this is Ruben's POV and we just plunge straight into third person omniscient:
They were hurrying across the parking lot towards a waiting Land Rover with its lights on. Driver inside anxious, scared out of his wits, Will you come on!
Anne Rice totally doesn't need an editor to catch her fuck ups, guys. Her writing is absolutely perfect.
Yeah, it totally turns out these guys are the kidnappers, posing as reporters to find out who knows what. And the reporters outside the police station don't know anything, which means nobody knows anything. Because it's not like the cops sit on evidence or anything, right?
This manhunt was highly underwhelming.
Also, the kidnappers have another body in the car with them, and they're looking for a place to dump it.
YEAH. SORRY. TIME OF DEATH DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.
Ruben shapeshifts while driving.
I'm pretty sure there's a law against that.
And then this happens!
Then another chorus of sounds flooded his ears.
It was the children, the children crying, and sobbing, and the women’s voices crooning to them, singing, comforting them. They were in an airless place. Some of them were coughing, others moaning. He had a sense of utter darkness. He was almost there!
ANNE! RUBEN IS SMELLING EVIL. HE IS TRACKING THE EVIL BY HEARING AND BY SMELL. HOW THE FUCK WOULD HE KNOW THIS AIRLESS PLACE IS DARK?
In other words STOP DROPPING INTO THIRD PERSON OMNICENT IT IS GETTING VERY ANNOYING.
By the way, this entire thing is a car chase. The kidnappers are driving a Land Rover. Ruben is driving a Porsche.
It's obvious nobody in this novel is making minimum wage.
Ruben discovers that the kids are being held in a barn. He decides he's had enough of this shit and roars, thus alerting all the kidnappers to his presence and giving them the chance to either shoot him or escape.
Ruben is a moron.
So now he's Wolf!Ruben, and he's chasing dudes down because Plot. One guy falls down, and it is time for Our Hero to show what he's made of:
He caught the first man easily and ripped his neck open, watching the blood spurt. With all his soul, he wanted to devour the man, to close his jaws on his flesh, but there was no time. He lifted the broken body, squeezing it greedily in his paws, and then relinquished it, heaving it far away from him, out towards the distant road.
Anne Rice finds this praiseworthy. Moving on.
Ruben finds another kidnapper. He crushes the man's skull and:
It thrilled Reuben to run his tongue over the blood pouring down the man’s face. Killer, filthy killer.
I just finished re-reading Apt Pupil, the one Stephen King story that made me sleep with the lights on. This has managed to creep me out even more. Because we're supposed to be rooting for this guy. The guy who just crushed a man's skull with his mouth and is running his tongue over the pieces of his skull.
The third kidnapper is huddled in a corner. He's pissed himself in terror, he's helpless, even the text says he's helpless. Ruben will at least go through the motions of restraining this piece of shit, right?
He slammed the jangled body against the floor. Still unsatisfied, his growls as loud as before, he picked up the corpse and threw it against the side window of the room and the glass shattered as the body vanished in the falling rain.
And then Ruben starts howling in anguish because he killed everybody too fast and now his fun is all gone.
I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Dexter himself is not this fucked up, or nearly this fucking creepy.
And then Ruben remembers the children. He has to get to the children.
If I were writing this, I would have him try to eat them. And then stop himself at the last second, and go for help because DUDE YOU JUST KILLED THREE PEOPLE IN HORRIFIC WAYS IN COLD FUCKING BLOOD YOU ARE AN ANIMAL AND YOU NEED TO BE RESTRAINED BEFORE THIS HAPPENS AGAIN.
Anne Rice is writing it, and it goes pretty much the way you expect. Ruben saves everybody he decides deserves to live. He trips the house's alarm to...do something, I guess. Call an ambulance, maybe? And then he goes out to the barn to find the bus, and...
There in the bright light from the house, he saw the bus, draped in chains and tied around and around with duct tape— a torture chamber.
The dangerous super-hacker kidnappers restrained and duct-taped the bus. Not the kids. Oh, no, not the kids. They left the kids moving around inside, screaming and whatnot. But they restrained the fucking bus. Because maybe the bus might run away.
Ten bucks says a ball gag was taped to the grill.
Ruben yanks the doors off, lets the kids free, and then runs off into the woods so the kids don't get scared by all the icky blood still dripping off his hands and whatnot. End of chapter.
...Yeah, I can't get the image of a duct-taped and restrained bus out of my head.