Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 41: Do Goblins Dream of Orgasmic Death?

Chapter 41 opens with people screaming. Merry is lying on the ground with something heavy on top of her. She starts pushing at it, trying to move it off of her, when she realizes it’s Jonty, her Red Cap friend. Merry continues to push at him, trying to move him off of her, but all she’s really accomplishing is getting herself covered with his blood. She notices that it’s still warm, though, so she is pretty sure that Jonty is still alive, but wants to find out for certain. She starts trying to find his pulse but he is so large she’s not anywhere near his heart. She’s right by somewhere else with a healthy pulse, though!

My fingers found something softer than his thigh, which meant I was close to the artery. I moved my fingers down a little and to the side. As I pushed my way lower, his body reacted to my touch. What had been large and soft was becoming less soft. Did that mean that Jonty was alive? I tried to remember what I knew of the freshly dead. I knew that death sometimes made you have one last orgasm, but was this that, or was the quickening of his body against my wrist a sign that he was alive?

She finally gets a pulse from him and notices that it’s quite slow. But, isn’t Jonty like 9 feet tall and just fucking gigantic? Don’t larger beings require slower heartbeats? Also, he’s a fucking immortal magical being, he’s gonna be just fine.

Merry begins to panic. She’s wondering why no one is coming to her rescue. She is wondering why her men haven’t been looking for her. She’s trying to talk herself down from screaming out, even though if she started screaming she’d likely attract some sort of help. But, you know, gotta preserve what little oxygen is under Jonty or something.

Finally, Jonty begins lifting off of her. Merry sees the leg of whoever is lifting Jonty off of her – it’s dressed in a torn designer suit pant. She screams out for Doyle, and he responds that he’s there. She realizes that all her men are helping to lift Jonty off of her. Eventually they lift enough of him off that she’s able to escape from under him. Well, only after Doyle asks her if she can do that. She’s too scared and panicky to try to escape on her own.

Once she’s out from under Jonty, she is able to check on him. He is lying face down on the ground. His back is basically tore up. Merry wants to rush him to a healer, but then notices that all the Red Caps are all wounded. They protected the humans from the bomb.

“How are the humans up and the Red Caps so hurt?”
“We were hurt,” Dawson said, “but we healed.”
“What?” I asked.
“Every soldier who you healed earlier healed on their own. Then we healed the others.”
“What?” I asked again, because it still didn’t make sense.
“We healed them,” Dawson said. “We used the nails. They were like some sort of magic wands.”

So Merry wonders if the nails could heal the Red Caps, even though the nails are made of metal and metal usually has a damaging effect on faeries. They decide to try anyway.

Then there’s some random confusion thrown into the chapter about Taranis attacking and… what? I don’t remember Taranis being a thing at all in the last few chapters – Merry and her men were able to flee from the sluagh mound (where Sholto stayed back) and escape the Seelie who were waiting outside it by using the National Guard and police. That was the last we even heard of the Seelie, right? It was Cel and his guard and followers who attacked Merry the last few chapters, right? I’m not crazy, am I? What the fuck is this:

Mistral’s coat was a blackened ruin across his back. Had Taranis himself attacked with his Seelie warriors? I realized that Sholto was still missing.
“Where’s Sholto?”
Doyle dropped his hand from my face, and answered me while turning away. “Sholto is well. The sluagh came to his call. It is all that saved us from Taranis and his men. They fled from the sluagh.”

What? Taranis then isn’t mentioned the rest of this chapter. I’m so confused.

Anyway, they start trying to heal Jonty and the Red Caps using the magic nails. Dawson shows them how the healing worked on the humans: they held the nail, point down, over each wound and it would close. As he demonstrates on Jonty, Merry’s hand of blood starts tingling. She drops to her knees next to Dawson and calls out to him with her power, asking him what he wants of her. Dawson asks that she heals everyone, so she starts using her hand of blood to… heal?

… I spread my hand over Jonty’s back. My skin ran with heat, as if the blood in my body was turning to molten metal. There was a moment of almost unbearable pain, then blood fountained upward from Jonty’s body. Metal rained upward, expelled from the body with the blood.
Jonty came to with a gasp. But the blood kept pouring out. I scrambled back from him, and Dawson came with me. The blood slowed, but though the metal was out, the wounds were not healing.

Jonty then tells Merry that he is proud to die for her, and she responds that she does not want that. Jonty tells her that she can’t always get what she wants, and then Holly and Ash step out from the darkness. Holly and Ash are two half goblin/half sidhe twins who Merry promised to fuck to pure sidhe-ness. I hate them. They start telling Merry how much they hate that her magic calls to them. Merry asks them to help heal the Red Caps, but the refuse, saying that goblins do not heal, they only destroy.

Then, the scent of flowers fills the air. Guess who’s back in the house?

“Do you smell flowers?” Holly asked.
“I smell forest,” Ash said. “A forest like nothing in this land.”
“What are you doing to us?” Holly asked.
“You wanted to be sidhe.” I held out my hands to them.
“Yes,” Ash said.
“No, ” Holly said.
I smiled at Holly. “You both want power, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Holly said, his voice a little reluctant.
“Then each of you take my hands.”
“What happens if we do?” Ash asked.

Have I mentioned before how much I hate dialogue in these books? Scenes like this take forever to get through because I have to read through so much he said/she said and repeated redundant questions. After they each ask a million questions, then they of course start accusing Merry of performing a sidhe trick to confuse them, but all of their questioning and accusing is for nothing because the chapter eventually ends with both taking Merry’s hands and the field disappearing around them.

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