Are you ready for another round of pointless water-treading, folks?
Bernice eats soup! And then finally goes over into the tavern which is an obvious trap given the police car she saw hovering outside earlier. Still without glasses except for her sunglasses, which are now useless because it’s night, so she has a choice between blurry or dark. Dan pulls the windowshade half down and by the time Bernice recognizes that as a signal from a gangster movie, the police are flooding in. She flees!
A figure was after her, running swiftly in hot pursuit No! No! Please don’t chase me, just let me go! I can’t go on like this! [...]Oh, God, help me!
The lack of quotes or italics makes me picture the author, trapped at a table, forced to ghostwrite this book on behalf of some dark, evil force.
Bernice hides in a barn, where Susan Jacobson finds her! Okay, that’s… sure, why not. I don’t even care how probably or well-told this story is anymore, I just want this to end. Oh yeah, turns out Kevin’s alive too — he’d fallen asleep in the men’s room and someone randomly stole and then crashed his truck. He turned out to be a-ok despite, you know, being poisoned. All three of them decide God must be behind this, which makes sense given the sheer unlikeliness of surviving — people do tend to associate low-probability events happening with divine intervention. But we have no idea how Susan’s alive.
Meanwhile, Hank and Marshall keep talking about demons. We get out Obligatory Biblical Evidence:
“When the Gospels talk about Jesus and His disciples casting out unclean spirits, that’s what they were really doing?”
“That’s what they were doing.”
Ok whatever. Apparently this whole jail thing is actually a Conversion Scene, specifically designed to scare the audience into thinking they’re not Christian enough if they read this book as a work of fantasy:
They talked about sin, that aggravating and destructive tendency of man to stray from God and choose his own way, always to his own hurt. That brought them around to Marshall’s family again, and how so many attitudes and actions were the direct result of that basic, human self-will and rebellion against God.
Marshall shook his head as he saw things in this light. “Hey, our family never did know God. We only went through the motions. No wonder Sandy wouldn’t buy it!”
Then Hank talked about Jesus, and showed Marshall that this Man whose name was so casually thrown around and even trampled upon in the world was far more than just a religious symbol, a lofty, untouchable personality in a stained-glass window. He was the very real, very alive, very personal Son of God, and He could be the personal Lord and Savior of anyone who asked Him to be.
“I never thought I’d be lying here listening to this,” Marshall said, suddenly. “You’re really hitting me where it hurts, you know that?”
[...]“Where’s the pain coming from?”
[...]“I guess from knowing that you’re right, which means I’ve been wrong a long, long time.”
There is nothing so masturbatory, self-congratulatory, narcissistic, and arrogant as a conversion scene from Nominally Christian to Real True Christian. Since I want no part of a deity who sees humans as puppets, created solely to glorify his name and sing his praises despite being created with free will, thoughts, feelings, and lives that they’re expected to throw away in order to fit some mold they were never cast from, I’ll just leave it at that.