It was the door to faerie, all humans go through smiling, but they don’t always come out that way.Ah, the commas that die to provide LKH with run on sentences.
The police immediately get rolled by fairy magic even though the press didn't, so now Merry and Co. have to oil up the cops.
“The queen gave vials of oil to the guard as a precaution in case the reporters became befuddled by the magic that is intrinsic to the sithen, but it was merely a precaution. The main hallways of the sithen have not affected humans in this way for more than fifty years.”And of course it's Merry bringing magic back. Also, there's a random guard who is tattooed with fur all over his body.
I am sure this is absolutely necessary to the narrative.
So they grease up the cops. One at a time. In detail. There's a point where one cop asks Merry for a cross instead of whatever sigil Merry intends to use, and Merry says a cross won't work because the faeries aren't evil.
“We aren’t evil, Carmichael, just other. Contrary to popular myth, holy symbols won’t stop our magic, any more than holding up a cross would stop a blizzard from harming you.”
Yeah, but a blizzard doesn't decide to threaten your life, decieve all your senses and potentially abuse you because it would find it entertaining. Also: turning your jacket inside out apparently works better than prayer.
So now the freshly oiled cops start lusting after the fairy men because this makes totally sense. All the men show off, and it takes three pages for them to get back to the plot. Then Galen heads off on his own and Merry has a premonition, so she sends a couple of other guys off with him. Doyle headed off on his own quite a while ago. Then the magic cup appears because why not, it's not like we wanted to actually GET TO THE GODDAMN PLOT.
One of the cops is still making cow-eyes at the men, and Merry has to explain what being elf-struck is to the cops. Who have to deal with them fairly regularly. Eventually they send that person back up topside, because that's the easiest way to resolve the problem. It's also implied that this episode fucked up that woman's life forever, but that's less important than making sure we all understand, Merry's men are PRETTY.
The chapter ends with one of them making the poor bewitched girl cry.
Meanwhile, in Elsie...We finally have a chapter that isn't completely worthless. Christmas is coming up, and Horace gives Elsie extra money so she can buy Christmas presents...after instructing her to keep track of every penny she spends, because "his little girl must not be lazy". He leaves. presents are bought. He comes back. This happens:
"Well, daughter," he said, passing his hand caressingly over her curls, "papa has brought you a present; will you have it now, or shall it be kept for Christmas?" "Keep it for Christmas, papa," she answered gayly. "Christmas is almost here, and besides, I don't want to look at anything but you to-night."And then Elsie spends most of the rest of the chapter evangelizing to her father.
You know, a funny thing about growing up in an abusive situation is how quickly we normalize the adult's behaviors. It's a survival mechanism--we are dependant on our parents. They HAVE to be perfect in our eyes because otherwise the world might fall apart. It's the logic of a child. A couple weeks ago a child from one of homeschooling's superstar families came forward with her story. One of the things she said hit very, VERY close to home:
The life of abuse isn’t full of anger, getting thrown and smacked and bruised, and being yelled at and torn down. That’s only part of it. You also feel special and needed. You don’t feel like life is hell, even if it is, because you know how to force a smile. It feels good to damage your own health and wellbeing for your abusers, because you’re told that you’re doing what is right. You fight for acceptance and admonition, because you’re always getting small tastes of it, and it’s always just out of reach.I don't know who Cynthia Jeub is, but that paragraph right there is something I've always wanted to say. People who are abused as children are often unaware of just how deep and profound the damage really is. We internalize it and repeat it and perpetuate it because we do not want to lose something we've always seen as a foundation. We do not want to face how shaky that foundation really is.
I've got some pretty out there variations in my version of Christianity--tarot cards, new agey things. This last week I finally understood why. It's because a part of getting positive attention from my parents, especially my father, was to repeat exactly what they believed exactly the way it was taught to me. I believe I took a more-than-slightly heretical path because it took my spirituality out of a toxic framework and put it into a place where I couldn't use it in my relationships with my parents. It made it into something that was mine.
Abusive situations are never a continual, ongoing ocean of misery. They do have positive moments. If they didn't, it wouldn't be so very hard to leave. Elsie is getting positive feedback now that she's conformed perfectly to her father's wishes. She's getting presents and affection. She's also gotten the message that if she wishes these things to continue, she is not allowed to have her own thoughts. The only reason her faith has a greater stranglehold on her than her father is that her version of God is exactly the same as her version of Dad, and she doesn't want God angry at her.
When you live with abuse you live for the sake of your abuser. In the process, you forget who you are. And if you're a child, you never get to learn.