This Present Darkness: Chapter 4

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OKAY. Maybe today we’ll find out about this adultery business. Also I wrote Chapter 5 initially in my subject because my brain is trying to cheat me. No such luck, unfortunately.

So, we start out this chapter by describing Marshall’s own personal demon. This demon apparently absorbs light and doesn’t return it. He has swirling wings. He is like a high-strung little gargoyle (is that a personality trait or is “high-strung” a visual descriptive queue….?), he has a “hide” that is slimy and black, body that is “thin and spiderlike: half humanoid, half animal, totally demon.” I am struggling because of how I don’t really see the spider part of that? HOW is he half animal? I am not feeling clear here. Also he has “huge yellow cat-eyes.” Two of them, in case you were wondering. I just feel like… like which half is humanoid? How does that work? What does he mean? Does he have spider legs? Whatever the answers to these many questions may be, we know he’s watching Marshall.

Marshall, who is going to pick up his daughter, hoping he can get to know her again. Sandy is “a beautiful redhead.” Have you noticed every female in this book is very attractive? Marshall is sad in his head about how he was always an absent father and Sandy was too much like him and her “cries for love and attention always came out like stabs” and he’s determined it will be different and he won’t pick fights or lash out, he’ll just let her talk this time, etc, etc.

He is picking her up at the Psychology department. Guys. Is the Psychology department going to be a source of evil here because I just really can’t… I mean, I can. Obviously, I can. But I just have a hunch…. and oh look. She’s taking a “Psychology of Self” class. Yeah. We’re fucked.

Oh here we go. He’s overhearing a lecture. Which incidentally, is this “… so if we settle for a simple ontological formula ‘I think, therefore I am,’ that should be the end of the question. But being does not presuppose meaning…

Obviously he is smirking and disgusted by that outrageous display of nonsense…?

Yeah, here was more of that college stuff, that funny conglomeration of sixty-four-dollar words which impress people with your academic prowess but can’t get you a paying job (okay, seriously, the only word in that sentence that wasn’t a normal word was ontological? Also he runs a newspaper. He worked in a big city newspaper. Has he had NO college education??). Marshall smirked to himself a little bit. Psychology. If all those shrinks could just agree for a change, it would help. First Sandy blamed her snotty attitude on a violent birth experience, and then what was it? Poor potty training? (I hate everything.) Her new thing was self-knowledge, self-esteem, identity (clearly all works of the devil); she already knew how to be hung up on herself – now they were teaching it to her in college.

So it’s hard to believe Sandy doesn’t love her father’s attitude about everything. I am finding it very hard to believe. He looks into the classroom and is stunned to see it is being taught by a gorgeous woman. He sees Sandy in front and decides to slip in and hear the end of the lecture, deciding if he hears something of what she’s learning, maybe it’ll give them something to talk about. Which… like I feel like it’s nice that he’s trying but on the other hand he’s clearly completely and totally disdainful of what she’s learning so I’m not sure that is actually an awesome idea? Oh well. Doesn’t matter.

The lovely professor sees him, stares at him forever and apparently gets a look like a “treed cougar” across her face. He feels uneasy, she basically kicks him out of the classroom. Which seems kind-of pointlessly disruptive to her class. I don’t know, I’ve never had a teacher who had a problem with someone sitting in, although I guess people have generally asked first. However! It’s MUCH STRANGER THAN THAT! Basically she hypnotized his ass out into the hall. Like she says that and then he finds himself in the hallways freaking out and shaking. He tries to replay it and then only remembers absolute terror and fear and… seriously, wtf are these demons doing? He relates it back to how he felt in Brummel’s office, in case it was too subtle for us. Sigh. So I guess we’ve gotten the message that will undoubtedly be much more strongly pushed here. Satan is in the college classrooms, people. I can only imagine what they’d do in one of my hippie school courses.

All the students come rushing out and Sandy walks right by him and doesn’t acknowledge him at all. I would imagine maybe she’s humiliated, because probably I would have been, although that would not be my way of dealing with it, personally. Anyway. He tries to follow and feels like he is being held down by a tremendous weight. He’s so tired. And then we find out that his own personal buddy demon is like entwining around his legs, holding him down, holding him back. But it’s getting harder! BUT HE LOVES HIS DAUGHTER. He chases her down and the demon is sad because he is not totally successful.

Sandy is outside, very hurt and angry and embarrassed. She suggests that perhaps the teacher knew who he was and didn’t want press in her class (which is something I hadn’t thought of and actually would make sense). They get into a stupid fight because Sandy feels like he was “snooping” on what she was learning which doesn’t really make any sense to me and he gets mad and…. they yell.  And then Sandy says the dumbest shit that people do not actually say but that Frank Peretti would like you to believe that every confused kid might say.

“Okay, I’ll lay it all out for you. I’m a human being, Daddy (you’re not making your case stronger by getting stuck on Daddy, hun), and every human entity – I don’t care who he or she is (I bet if he wrote it now, he would have her include other gender pronouns) – is ultimately subject to a universal scheme and not to the will of any specific individual. As for Professor Langstrat, if she doesn’t want you present at her lecture, it’s her prerogative to demand that you leave! (the only sensible thing she says)

Marshall demands to know who’s paying her salary and she ignores him and continues with…. “And as for me, and what I am learning, and what I am becoming, and where I am going, and what I wish, I say you have no right to infringe on my universe unless I personally grant you that right!” Okay. I mean, that’s…. true but god that’s a stupid way to say it. On the other hand, she is like 18 I assume, so maybe.

At this point “Marshall’s eyesight was getting blurred by visions of Sandy turned over his knee.” So that’s gross. He is pissed and demands to know if her teacher taught her that and she says he doesn’t need to know and he says he has a right to know and she says he waived that right years ago and he’s devastated, the end. She runs away. The demon jumps on him and he’s all despairing because he fucked things up, woe, woe, what is wrong with him? He hates himself the most. Etc.

Just then there is a flash of blue light and the demon jumps away ready to fight but there’s no angel and he knows what happened but not why they ran away and how curious.

So. Hitting a lot of marks this chapter. Good times. No adultery explained yet. Sigh.

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