Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 5: Thank God it’s not Necrophilia

Chapter 5 begins with Merry pushing at Galen so she can see what’s happening in the room. Galen fights with her on this, he doesn’t want her to see what’s happening, but instead of listening to Merry’s pleas, Galen listens when Rhys tells him to move. Yet another in the long list of ways Merry’s men refuse to listen to her or treat her as their actual ruler.

I saw the nightflyer first, wrapped around Gran like a shroud. One of the spines that they could carry inside their bodies had pierced her through. I saw the spikes on the spine, and knew why he, for it was a he, had not taken the spine back out. It would cause more damage going back, but it wasn’t like a blade. You couldn’t cut it off, so that the injury wasn’t inflicted twice. It was a piece of the nightflyer’s body. Why not just take it back out and be done with it?
Gran’s hand reached to empty air. She was still alive. I sat up, tried to get up, and no one stopped me. That was bad in and of itself. It meant that there was more. Sitting up, I caught a glimpse of that more.
Doyle lay on the ground, eyes blinking up at the ceiling. The front of his borrowed surgical scrubs was blackened, and part was peeled away to show the raw burned flesh underneath.
Rhys knelt beside him, holding his hand. Why wasn’t he shouting for a doctor? We needed a doctor. I hit the call button beside the bed.
I half fell and half crawled out of bed. When the IV pulled, I tore it out. A trickle of blood oozed down my arm, but if there was pain, I didn’t feel it.
I knelt on the floor between the two of them, and only then could I see Sholto on the far side of Doyle. He was collapsed on his side, his hair spilled across his face so that I could not see if he were awake and watching me, or beyond that. The remnants of the t-shirt that had framed the perfection of his chest now showed a black-and-red ruin. But whereas Doyle’s injury was on his stomach, the bolt of power had taken Sholto over the heart.

Doyle manages to apologize to Merry, saying that he failed her. She tells him that he’s only failed if he dies, and not to die. Then she starts screaming. Doctors and nurses fill the room and start to tend to the wounded. They try to get Merry to release both Doyle and Gran’s hands, but she refuses. Gran then spasms and Merry feels her die. Dr. Mason attempts to get Merry away from Doyle, so that the other medical staff can tend him without her in the way. They bring out a crash cart to attempt to restart Sholto’s heart, but nothing is working. Merry is just struck, watching the madness around her as two of her most powerful men lay dying, so she calls out for the Goddess to help.

Which of course the Goddess responds to, because she always does and isn’t just a fancy deux ex machina that appears conveniently when the situation becomes too large for Merry or her man to handle. Merry reaches out to Sholto and places her hands on him.

The Goddess had given me choices along the way; bring life back to faerie with life or death, with sex or blood. I had chosen life and sex over death and blood. In that moment, with Gran’s blood on my gown, I chose again.
I looked for Rhys, because I knew Galen would not do what I needed, not in time. “Rhys, bring me Gran’s body.”

There’s a lot of fucking weird sex in this series, but I don’t think anything tops alluding to necrophilia with your own grandmother to save someone’s life.

Rhys lays Gran’s body on top of Sholto, and Merry places her hands on top of Gran. The nightflyers join with Merry, and Merry’s skin begins to glow with her magical blood powers. She uses Gran’s blood and death to restart Sholto’s heart and heal him.

Oh thank god it’s not necrophilia.

Sholto wakes with a gasp and there’s a tender moment between him and Merry as he realizes what she did to save his life. Merry then claims vengeance against her cousin, Cair, for the death of their grandmother. Galen tries to argue against this, but Sholto and the nightflyers join forces and say they will back her claim. The power of the wild hunt begins to rise within the hospital room. Merry orders all the human medical staff out, saying they will go mad if they glimpse more of the hunt than they’ve already seen. They leave, taking the still wounded Doyle with them.

Out of the swirling madness that is the wild hunt’s power, a large white house appears and approaches Merry and Sholto. Sholto holds Gran’s body out to Merry, awaiting further orders from her. She ignores them momentarily to instead caress the horse. Sholto then notices that mistletoe has appeared in Merry’s hair. Merry turns her attention to the madness of the sluagh’s magic and realizes it’s quite beautiful. Rhys joins with them, and Merry notices that he is also realizing the beauty of the magic of the wild hunt. Rhys asks to go with them, which Sholto rebuffs, but two horses form out of the magic for both Galen and Rhys to ride. Accepting the decision of the hunt, Sholto hands Gran’s body out to Galen so that Galen could protect her.

Another horse appears from the magic, but it is shaped more like a cross between a horse and a nightflyer. Sholto lifts Merry onto her horse and then mounts his own, and the chapter ends with Merry and her wild hunt flying away to take their vengeance on Merry’s cousin, Cair.

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With all that’s going on in the world today, everyone’s support is so important. I want to highlight a different charity or organization to support with each post. This week is the Black Visions Collective. If you’re able to financially support them, please donate here. If you’re not, there are tons of ways to support without a direct donation. See the below link for other options.

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