This bit’s getting harder to break into chunks, as the stories are getting more and more intertwined.
We begin with Marshall. Thursday afternoon (note the time jump! Nothing happened Monday through Wednesday?), he decides to call Langstrat. Her home number is unlisted, and she wasn’t in the office that day. Professor Darr gives Marshall the number for her apartment. It was busy.
Yeah, I figured you guys’d kill me if I left it there ;P We next go to Langstrat’s apartment, continuing the narrative from the previous paragraph through a different viewpoint character. Langstrat is “counseling” a female in what is apparently hypnosis:
“You hear only the sound of my voice…” This went on for several minutes until her subject was in a deep, hypnotic trance.
“You are descending. . . . descending deep within yourself. . . “
So far so good, though I doubt the former would work very well as a hypnotic chant. Usually asking the participant to count or go down a set of stairs works better, but I’m not a professional hypnotist. The latter statement should probably have come before the declaration of being in a trance.
Langstrat holds her hands above the subject’s body, a few inches above the flesh. That’s pretty much showmanship right there — what’s she going to do, levitate her on stage?
“Release your true self… let it go… it is infinite… at unity with all existance… Yes! I can feel it! Can you read my energy returning to you?”
“You are free from your body now… your body is an illusion… you feel the bounds of your body dissolving away…”
So… are they trying to astral travel? It sounds like some kind of astral projection technique at this point.
“That’s enough. You may stop there. “
So… what did they do? What did it feel like? There’s lots of talking but no description in this section. What does it feel like to have one’s body dissolve away? What really happened, since obviously everything here is some kind of demonic trap?
I doubt it’ll be surprising to you that “the subject” turns out to be Sandy We still have no idea how she feels by the end of the section; she sounds breathless and grateful, but we’re not really seeing this from her perspective at all. Nor Langstrat’s, since she’d know a lot more than we’re told. Shawn apparently is there as well; maybe he’s our viewpoint here?
I considered stopping there; that’s the end of Marshall vs Langstrat for this chapter. But the next section goes on for ten pages, so let’s start that and end on a “cliffhanger”, shall we?
Friday again, and Hank is in his office. Mary is not home. This is a problem, because Carmen of the voices is coming over.
Hank had no idea if there were spies watching the house, but he could never be sure.
Actually, at this point, he can probably be pretty confident. His enemies appear to be regular people who just dislike him. They probably haven’t bugged his house, and evidence gathered while invading his privacy would make them look worse as well, wouldn’t it? Seems a bit paranoid. Anyway, Hank can’t be alone with Carmen because his mysterious enemies might use it to try and get him thrown out again.
Well, he knew one thing: If Carmen didn’t show a genuine responsiveness to counseling and begin to apply real solutions to the problem, that would be the end of it as far as he was concerned.
Er, what? First of all, what counseling? Last session — their first session — he did nothing but nod and space out and think about her dress. (By the way, the very next paragraph harps on how inappropriately she’s dressed again without describing a single thing.) If he thinks nodding and smiling is going to help this woman, then it’s just as well he stop “treating” her. And anyway, he’s only a pastor, not a psychologist. He has no idea what to do for her. So far he doesn’t seem to think it’s a spiritual problem so… why is this happening exactly?
Mary, meanwhile, is at Joe’s Market, which is under new management (as was mentioned earlier).
What bothered Mary [about the new owners] was how obviously secretive they became any time she asked them whatever became of Joe Carlucci and his family.
Seriously? An “I don’t know, all I know is the store was up for sale” is too difficult? What, does everyone sneak around on tiptoe twiddling their mustaches and bursting into evil laughter when they think nobody’s looking?
Triskal, the angel, has been shadowing Mary whlie she does her work. As soon as she steps into the grocery store, both angel and woman are hit by a wave of sheer evil. A dozen warrior demons surround and overwhelm Triskal: Rafar’s personal bodyguard, each of which would easily be a match for the angel.
“Are you so surprised?” Rafar asked. “You should feel privileged. You, little angel, are the first to look upon me.”
Er, what? Didn’t Tal wrestle the guy in Babylon? So what, was Tal blindfolded at the time?
Back at the ranch, Carmen is cooing and sighing and Hank wishes he had a tape recorder. Probably a smart instinct. She mentions not hearing voices all week.
“Oh…. um…. yeah,” said Hank, finally getting his counselor’s thoughts in gear. “That was what we were talking about, wasn’t it?”
After that four-paragraph interlude, we’re back with Mary and Triskal. Mary is just fine. Rafar doesn’t even give a shit about her. He does, however, have his bodyguards still the car’s engine so she can’t leave. A “young, greasy-looking character” who has been “posessed by one of Rafar’s henchmen — as a matter of fact, several of them” approaches Mary’s car. Seriously? It’s a Friday afternoon in broad daylight in the parking lot of a busy supermarket. What’s he going to do to her? Leer her to death?
He was skinny, dirty, and dressed in black leather and chrome chains.