Everyone's a little down about getting captured by a monstrous alien, tied up, and tossed in the back of the Psychlo equivalent of a Ford F-150. Chrissie explains that she left early when Windsplitter returned with a nasty cut, making her fear for Jonnie's life. Pattie, age eight, kept following her when she tried to leave the village. Twice she had to take her younger sister home, but by the third time they were "too far out on the plain; it was better to go on." Though this confirms that stupidity runs in Chrissie's family, I can't help but wonder what kept her from doubling back that third time. Was she worried about running out of supplies? But how could she expect to survive a search for Jonnie, then?
As always, the proper attitude when confronted with such a puzzle is apathy, allowing us to move on.
Chrissie informs Jonnie that there was a Great Village, and that Terl is one of those monsters out of the tribe's legends. Jonnie's response is "I know," which I amuse myself by reading as "I know." Really, his patience with Chrissie counts as a superpower. I'd be tempted to dump her out of the truck at some point, I'm sure.
Chrissie also remembers that Jonnie spoke Terl's language, and speculates what it will do with them. Jonnie tells her not to worry her pretty little head about it and continues brooding about how this is all his fault for not escaping sooner.
After a bit of this, Jonnie assures his love that the monster wants something from him, but will let them go when they're done, a bit of a falsehood. Chrissie smiles and talks about how they have a new parson and mayor now, and they only had to eat two of Jonnie's horses. Oh, and she made him some new clothes.
And now I understand why Jonnie tends to coldly ignore her whenever they're together.
Pattie has a much-delayed reaction to the monster, almost as if the author forgot about her for a page and wasn't willing to rewrite the earlier dialogue to include her. She suddenly snaps out of her shock to scream and worry if it's gonna eat them, but Jonnie helpfully mentions that it can't tolerate living things from this planet, and the little idiot calms down.
"Jonnie," said Chrissie. "You're not mad at me, are you?"
Oh, dear God. Mad at you. Oh God, no. He couldn't talk. He shook his head.
The roar of the mine became louder in the distance.
I love that last part! I visualize Jonnie purple-faced with rage, his veins popping out on his forehead, too furious to speak with his breathtakingly stupid companions.
Really, this has been one of the funniest chapters of the book. Next is the last chapter of this Part, and involves hazardous fashion accessories.
Back to Chapter Seven