Chapter 16 – An Elastic Escape

If you remember, the last chapter ended with Kyja seeing Marcus somehow (but not through magic because she definitely can’t use magic, right? Right?) and pulling on a “rope” in an effort to help him. Chapter 16 abruptly cuts to Marcus’ POV. Marcus is screaming as the snake lunges toward him and he has time to think of all the possible ways to escape.

After about three minutes of research, it seems that the average snake can strike at the rate of several feet per second. In chapter 13, the last time the chapter was from Marcus’ POV, it ended with Marcus “staring into the face of” the snake, which means that he must be quite close to it. So, unless the snake is moving in slow motion, I fail to see how Marcus could possibly have time to think over his options for escape. But he does. For some reason.

Anyway, Kyja magically appears at Marcus’ side and shouts “No!” at the snake. This distracts the snake so it misses Marcus literally by inches. The action literally just stops and Marcus looks around for Kyja, but she’s gone. He thinks he must have imagined her. Apparently Bonesplinter (though he’s called “the snake” for the entire chapter) thinks that Marcus conjured her up as an illusion and praises him for his skill. This confuses Marcus.

Marcus had no idea what the snake was talking about. He’d had nothing to do with the girl. But if the snake thought he did . . . ?

“I can do it again,” he said. “But this time it won’t just be a girl. It’ll be a . . . a monster.”

For a moment the snake seemed to take his threat seriously. Then its eyes narrowed as it shook its diamond-shaped head. “You’re bluffing. Enough of these games. It’s time for you to die.”

If Bonesplinter thought Marcus had created Kyja as a magical illusion, then why would he suddenly revise his opinion and decide Marcus is lying? He gave no indication that he realized that the girl was actually a real person who’d suddenly acquired a teleportation skill or anything, so it just seems that he switched his opinion with no evidence to make him do so.

Marcus searches for a weapon while Bonesplinter “[prepares] to launch again,” which makes me think that 1) the passage of time in this battle is really skewed and 2) it makes it seem like Bonesplinter is an aircraft or something. Marcus suddenly gets A Feeling and puts his hand in his pocket, where he finds something and without even knowing what it is, pulls it out and holds it in front of him as Bonesplinter strikes at him. The snake hits, and whatever Marcus was holding gets torn from his grasp. He himself gets flung back about six feet from the strength of the strike yet somehow isn’t hurt. And I feel compelled to quote this because it’s too good to just summarize.

As the snake recoiled, Marcus looked up. Only a few feet away, the snake was swinging its broad, flat head wildly back and forth and struggling to snap it s jaws. It was close enough to kill Marcus with one bite, only it couldn’t see what it was doing because its head was trapped inside Marcus’s extra pair of underwear.


Marcus stares at Bonesplinter for a second, then thinks how hilarious it’d be if he wasn’t scared as shit.

The beast shook its head and gnashed its teeth, but the elastic of his Fruit of the Looms stretched out and back with every movement of the snake’s head.

The fact that I have seen the word “beast” used as a euphemism more than once makes this even funnier.

Marcus realizes it’s his chance to escape, so he wheels himself as fast as he can out of the woods. This is pretty impressive, considering that he’s wheeling across unpaved ground (a forest, no less) and the giant snakes we saw in Kyja’s world are apparently very agile. Bonesplinter pursues him and, when they reach the edge of the field surrounding the school, he launches himself at Marcus again. He needs to realize that snake mode isn’t very effective in this situation. Marcus braces himself for the blow, but then the mark on his shoulder glows and gets all hot and stuff, and he suddenly teleports into a creek in Farworld.

Note that Marcus didn’t even have a “pulling a rope and then teleporting” type of experience. He just teleports because his body decides now is a convenient time or something. Which begs the question of why it made him wait this long to teleport him out of trouble.

Marcus looks around for the snake, not realizing what’s happened, and instead comes face-to-face with Riph Raph. The skyte asks him who he is, and Marcus just stumbles backward a bit and looks around some more. He sees Kyja, and we get a nice little bit of description that feels quite out of place, marking how her eyes are “wide, green circles against her pale skin,” which makes me sad because eyes should never be referred to as circles/orbs/anything other than eyes. Then he sees Kyja’s horse.

Behind the girl, a large, gray horse winked and said, “What’s the difference between a duck and a boy?”

Marcus fainted.

Apparently Marcus can’t take a joke, but I don’t blame him, because that’s what I feel like doing every time I read one of the jokes the animals tell.


  1. lilyWhite on 8 December 2012, 15:21 said:

    Well, now I totally feel justified in carrying around a pair of underwear in my pocket.

    While my recollection of the previous chapters is probably not perfect, I’m guessing that it was never mentioned that Marcus carries a spare pair of underwear, nevertheless in his pocket. The underwear of deus ex machina!

  2. LoneWolf on 8 December 2012, 16:05 said:

    I guess the sudden appearance of underwear is another “first Harry Potter chapters” thingy, since Marcus didn’t know what it was ‘till he pulled it out.

    And yeah. Bonesplinter is really incompetent as a snake.

  3. LoneWolf on 8 December 2012, 18:38 said:

    Wait, why is this spork no longer in the articles list?

  4. swenson on 8 December 2012, 20:56 said:

    To spread them out—the Halo spork was just posted, so this one will probably be back to being public tomorrow. :)

  5. swenson on 9 December 2012, 14:40 said:

    Anyway, now that it’s formally posted, I’ll formally remark on it!

    This chapter is a prime example of authors refusing to let bad things happen to their characters. They’re in danger? Can’t have that! Can’t let there be real consequences! Time for convenient magic to save them! Marcus was literally only saved because the author said so. That is a terrible way to write a story.

  6. Danielle on 10 December 2012, 01:24 said:

    This chapter is a prime example of authors refusing to let bad things happen to their characters.

    And Savage isn’t just preventing them from getting hurt or in trouble; he’s doing it in the most ridiculous ways possible. Kyja’s entire house got lit on fire and is being attacked by a giant snake? Oh, no worries; Kyja was gone when it was set on fire, even though the man who did it was clearly trying to kill her and should have made a more thorough search of the place. Marcus stalled a ravenous beast with his underwear* but the snake is going to kill him any second? No problem! He just teleported into an alternate fantasy dimension, so he’s okay.

    It’s lazy and the mark of an inexperienced author, one who doesn’t seem to realize that trouble is the single most important ingredient in compelling fiction.

    *Most double entendres I’ve ever crammed into a sentence. Curse you, Savage.

  7. Finn on 10 December 2012, 16:16 said:

    wide, green circles against her pale skin

    Am I the only one who imagined Kyja having brown skin? I’m not sure why, but this disappoints me somehow..

  8. LoneWolf on 10 December 2012, 17:55 said:

    I’m not sure why

    Vaguely non-European name?

  9. Alicia on 7 June 2013, 20:19 said:

    Maybe the snake meant “bluffing” in that “Marcus is bluffing when he says he can make a monster instead of just a girl”.