Welcome back to our worldwide The Passage readalong with Fantasy Faction. This week we’ve been busy reading (or re-reading) The Passage in the bright spring sunshine because things have gotten very dark. Virals are on the rise, our main characters are finally getting a glimpse of the stars and could this be the end of the First Colony as we know it . . . Warning for spoilers for everything in the first thirty four chapters of The Passage.
Don’t forget to join us in our Goodreads group for all the discussion as we continue our readalong. Over to Marc Aplin from Fantasy Faction . . .
The Colonel appeared on the catwalk, just standing motionless, looking into the quiet night. Then, suddenly, without warning he climbed down a ladder, over the wall and into the night.
Those attending the wall shout warnings about the 3 virals approaching, but the Colonel runs straight for them. Just beyond the Colonel and the virals, the Watch spot a young girl. They presume she is a viral and begin shooting bolts towards her. Hollis hits her in the shoulder, just as Alicia shouts for everyone to cease fire and jumps over the wall to rescue the girl. Once she reaches her, she throws her over her shoulder and runs back towards the wall. The gates are closed and the Watch don’t do anything, knowing it is against the rules to open them at night. Caleb arrives and runs straight towards the mechanism, opening the gates just enough to allow Alicia to make it through. Unfortunately, Caleb doesn’t know how to close the gates and a viral dives through, heading straight towards the Sanctuary.
Hollis chases after the viral and finds Maus trying to call it away from the children, who are all terrified. Hollis is able to fire a bolt through the virals chest and upon doing so realises that it is Arlo – he has been turned into a viral afterall.
We switch to Sara’s point of view and she is dreaming about leaving the Sanctuary as a child. Gabe and her parents are there and, bizarrely as she has never met her, Amy is there too. Sara is woken up by Caleb banging on the door, he shouts that they need her help as someone has been shot.
When they arrive at the Sanctuary, Amy is on a bed, the bolt is in her shoulder. She is in a state of shock. Lish shouts for Sara to do something, quickly. Sara says they need to clip the barbed bolt, so she can pull it out. Once Caleb gets some cutters, they clip the bolt and manage to pull it out. Sara then stitches the wound. Sara is stunned at how quickly the bleeding has stopped and is sure that the wound is receding already. As Sara touches Amy, a feeling of loneliness washes over her. It is so strong she feels like crying.
Peter arrives shortly after to offer help and notices that Amy is the girl who saved him.
Sanjay arrives next and asks if the girl will live. Sara says she cannot be sure and to the shock of everyone in attendance, Sanjay says that he is placing Caleb under arrest for opening the gates. Alicia shouts that it was her fault, but Soo tells Alicia there is nothing they can do. Teacher is dead because of Caleb’s actions.
The loss of teacher has rocked the colony. So many grew up under her care or had a relationship with her, as she looked after their children/grandchildren. The Household reacts by declaring a state of emergency and states that no activities should take place beyond the wall. Caleb is to remain locked up without sentence for the time being.
The Household are reassured that Amy shows no sign of infection. Despite this, they decide to keep her in quarantine. Sanjay is holding an inquest and it seems as though he wishes to place the blame on Peter, Alicia, Hollis and Soo. The four of them have been forbidden to speak to each other and are going to be spoken to individually.
Peter is last to be spoken to. The Household – formed of Old Chou, Jimmy Molyneau, Walter Fisher, Dana and Sanjay – ask if Peter opened the gate. He says no he did not, but he would have if he’d been there first. Peter is told that this is all they wanted to know; he is free to go. Peter asks about the others and is told Soo has stood down as first Captain (she was out of position), Hollis is taking time off to grieve, Alicia has been removed from the watch and will work heavy duty instead.
As Peter is leaving he asks who has been sent to maintain the power station. The startled look in the faces of the Household tells Peter they’d not even thought about it. It’s too late now too, they’d never make it before dark – if the power fails tonight, they are all dead.
On the way out, Peter has a heated exchange with a young member of the Watch named Ian. He is unsympathetic about Alicia and Amy.
We enter Michael’s point of view and he has worked out that the signal must be a military broadcast that is waiting for a response – a kind of handshake in order to unlock itself. Michael decides to build a piece of equipment from Military handhelds that will provide exactly that.
Almost as soon as he has finished, Jacob arrives; He is panicked and asking for Sara. Michael asks if his dad is OK and Jacob replied, “Oh. He died.” He then stares strangely at Michael saying that he “saw her in his sleep.” Michael is confused and moments later Mar arrives to calm Jacob down and sends him away. Mar tells Michael to pass her love and best wishes to Sara. He asks why and Mar is shocked that Michael doesn’t know his sister is in quarantine.
Peter finds Alicia outside the Colonels house, crying. She tells Peter she will blade him if she ever tells anyone about it. Peter thinks on the relationship Alicia had with the Colonel – it wasn’t a father/daughter one. He was hard on her and there was a coldness that they shared – Alicia was rigid around him. However, there was a kind of respect, gratification even.
Peter thinks about how many questions surround Amy’s arrival. He tells Amy that Sanjay and the Household will come round, but Alicia says in the eyes of the law he did the right thing – Alicia lost her mind when she saw Amy and broke the rules. Peter says that both she and Caleb did the right thing and he is disgusted when Alicia tells him Sanjay plans to put Caleb outside of the wall. She tells him it is because everyone is scared and he is an easy target.
Alicia says that because Caleb saved her, anyone looking to put him beyond the wall will need t deal with her. Peter says he is on her side and Alicia warns him that he may not want to be if it comes to it.
Peter and Alicia arrive at Caleb’s cell; a crowd stand outside of it shouting abuse at him. Especially, it is parents shouting about how they could have lost children due to his actions. Most are calling for him to be put out. Alicia pulls a crossbow from a Watch member called Dale and reminds everyone that she’d be dead if it wasn’t for Caleb.
When Sam Chou, old Chou’s nephew, asks whether Alicia plans to shoot the entire crowd, Alicia says no: just him. Sam says that Alicia is bluffing and she dares him to test her. As Peter watching the scene unfold, he considers how much fear can change the people he knows so well. Once Sam Chou and most of the others have broken away and returned to their homes, Peter and Alicia approach Dale. Dale is nervous about talking with them, but fills them in on the details they’ve missed: Sanjay has taken control of the watch, Galen has been chosen as second captain to replace Alicia, and Ian has been given Theo’s former position. Jimmy has been promoted to First Captain and Ben Chou has been made Second Captain to fill the resulting place.
Alicia convinces Dale to leave her and Peter with the keys whilst he goes to find more members of the watch to guard Caleb’s cell. They let themselves in and find that he is filthy and is sure he is going to be put out beyond the wall. Alicia promises that won’t happen and passes him a blade just in case. Alicia tells Caleb that if he has chance he needs to run to the ‘cutout’ and she will come find him there. Dale gets back and tells them they need to leave, Alicia is annoyed that he didn’t bring back anymore Watch members as she’d advised. Instead he has brought with him just a runner, Sunny, and she encourages Dale to send Alicia away. Alicia says she will, but only because she was leaving anyway. As she leaves she tells Caleb to remember all that she has said.
For years, Sanjay has been living with another mind. It sings to him, “Be my one … I am yours and you are mine.”
In his dreams he sees a fat woman eating food whilst talking on the telephone and the words, “I am Babcock. We are Babcock.”
This has been going on so long that Sanjay can remember thinking of Babcock as an imaginary friend whilst growing up in the Sanctuary. He’d mentioned him once, but Demo Jaxon had made fun of him about in in front of the whole class. His brother, Raj, had even joined in. Since that day, Sanjay had hated Demo and his smooth, easy way of living and talking with people. He hated the way that over the years his brother choose to spend time with Demo rather than him.
Sanjay senses through Babcock that something is coming that will shake up the colony. It is also revealed that Sanjay knows about the guns. Shortly after Demo disappeared, Gloria, Sanjay’s wife, told him about them. Raj had told his wife and she’d told Gloria. Sanjay immediately went to Raj’s wife, Mimi, and warned her against telling anyone else about them.
Because of the guns, Sanjay was keen to get Maus off the wall and away from the Watch. He’d always wanted a son, but Maus came only after many miscarriages. The pain Gloria went through birthing Maus, the fact she nearly died, means Maus will be his only child. Whilst she grew, Sanjay had to watch her getting close to Theo and had braced herself for their pairing. It was a shock, but a great one, when Galen arrived on the scene and he heard they were to be married. Even so, Sanjay can sense Galen’s weakness and desperation.
Sanjay is looking over Amy and considering what a mystery she is. Within her bag were just tools and trinkets of no significance. They gave no clue to her purpose. Sanjay wonders, and presumes, that she must have been part of a colony that sent her away for some reason. The fact there are survivors out there flies in the face of all facts. Sanjay worried that the hope Amy brings will only lead to pain. He begins shouting for Amy to wake up, which alerts Sara who walks in and the two argue about whether Amy is a patient or a prisoner.
Jimmy, also of the Watch, can’t stop staring at Amy. As Sara tells the two of them to leave, Jimmy says there is something about Amy, that even with her eyes closed he can feel her looking at him. Ben, who has sent away all the people gathering outside, makes fun of Jimmy, but Sanjay agrees that she gives him a strange feeling. Sanjay then thinks about how Jimmy, Ben and Galen could never hope to match up to Soo, Alicia and Theo, but comforts himself knowing that their dissimilarities are the reason that he chose them.
Sanjay is having second thoughts about Caleb. He knows the town will come together and demand the pointless action of putting him out, but he also knows that when it doesn’t bring them the comfort they hope they will end up regretting it. He is also impressed with the way Caleb bravely accepted all the charges brought to him. Galen annoys Sanjay by informing him that Milo and Sam Chou have said they will put Caleb beyond the wall themselves if the Watch doesn’t do it soon. This surprises Sanjay, as it is completely out of character for Sam. Jimmy is about to tell Sanjay something but then pauses. When Sanjay asks what it is he wants to say, Jimmy says nothing: he should get some sleep.
Peter is watching Amy through one of the Infirmary windows. He has worked out that the kiss was a promise that she would find him. He and Alicia sneak into the Infirmary through an old delivery shoot that Peter used when he was a child (when his mother was the head nurse).
When Peter and Alicia make it into the room, Amy is sat up and awake. Sara tells them she can’t explain it, but Amy is almost completely healed. She says she hasn’t been able to get her to talk yet and that she doesn’t seem to want people to know she is OK. When Sanjay was around, for example, she would pretend to still be unconscious.
Peter tells Sara that he has met Amy before and Amy nods to confirm. He tells Sara that she was the one who rescued him at the mall.
Michael arrives, excited. He also snuck in through the chute (after seeing the others do it). He tells them that Amy is what has been broadcasting to them. She is his ghost signal. They search Amy and, indeed, there is a transmitter deep within her neck. Sara tells Amy it won’t hurt too much and carefully cuts it out. Michael looks it over and says they should ask Amy about it, but she looks as surprised as everyone else that it was there. He says he will need to analyse it further.
Sanjay is looking for Old Chou, to discuss Milo, Sam, Amy and Caleb. He is thinking about how the responsibility of the Household weighs on a man over time. Sanjay is 45, but he feels much, much older. He gives up on the idea of finding Chou and goes home to take a nap.
Sanjay wakes with a start, an odd taste in his mouth too. He hears movement downstairs, but it seems distant and unimportant. Gloria walks in and is surprised to find Sanjay. He looks at her wildly alert and she notices he has twisted the bed cover up like a rope.
Gloria asks why he is in bed and why his replies are so robotic. She tells him Jimmy came by to look for him and to discuss who to send to the Power Station. Sanjay says he will sleep some more, but Gloria should tell Jimmy that Galen should go to the Power Station.
Alicia and Peter are playing cards in a trailer near to where Caleb is being held. They are waiting for contact from Michael or Sara and ensuring that Caleb is being left alone. Peter asks Alicia if she believes him about what Amy did to protect him at the Mall. Alicia says that she does, she has never had any reason to doubt him. He asks if she really would have shot Sam earlier and she says she doesn’t know.
We enter Michael’s point of view in the Lighthouse. Elton has started to Reek and it is now so bad that Elton can’t concentrate. Michael is working on Amy’s transmitter, but is aware Sanjay could arrive at any moment to discuss the batteries. It isn’t Sanjay who shows up though, it is a sick-looking Jimmy who arrives and asks Sheepishly about them. When Jimmy goes, Michael angrily asks Elton when he last bothered to take a shower and realises that he too looks sick. Elton agrees it is probably best he goes to bed, which leaves Michael to work on the transmitter.
Michael works out that the chip has sensors in it and is recording data. He decides he will need to hook it up to his system and read whatever data it contains. Michael knows that this is risky – to hook up an unknown object to the system that controls the lights. He quickly rigs it up and although there a few scary moments where he is unsure if the system to control the lights will come back on, it does. When it does, Michael is able to read the drive connected to the sensor. He takes a breath and opens the folder that contains the data…
Peter talks Dale, who is guarding the Sanctuary, into allowing him in to visit Amy. Her neck has almost completely healed and she wakes up, as if sensing his approach. Peter asks her how she is and thanks her for saving him. Although she doesn’t vocalise her answers, Peter knows what they are and thinks about how strange it is that he doesn’t consider her wordlessness a lack.
Peter is Amy would like to tell him her name (remember she hasn’t told anyone it at this point, they just call her ‘the girl’ or ‘the walker’), but she doesn’t seem to see a point in telling him.
Peter just sits instead and eventually falls asleep. Peter’s dreams are filled with his mother working in the infirmary and her final words about ‘not being strong’. He is woken up by Sara arriving. Sara gives Amy some bread, an apple and some cheese – which she eats greedily. Sara checks Amy’s shoulder and all that remains of the injury is a small pink depression. Peter asks Sara if anyone else knows about Sara’s recovery and she says no, but Jimmy did stop by earlier and gave Amy a really chilling look.
As Sara checks over Peter’s elbow that he has injured, Peter thinks about how Alicia was right about Sara being a logical choice for him. He just doesn’t feel that way about her… Maybe it is that he doesn’t feel alive enough to end up with a person like Sara.
Once Sara is done, she says she will check in on Caleb. Peter mentions that Sanjay better be treating him well or Alicia will not stand for it. Sara leaves annoyed and Peter cannot figure out why.
Amy asks – non verbally – what is wrong and Peter again thinks how strange it is that she can talk straight into his mind. Suddenly, to Peter’s shock, Amy gets up and walks to the basin. She fills it with water and bathes his elbow.
In Peter’s head he hears Amy say, ‘she misses you’. Before Peter can confirm who she means, Dale arrives and can’t believe that Amy is up and doing what she is doing. Peter tells Dale that he can’t tell anyone about this.
Maus is sat in the Sanctuary, within the room Hollis killed Arlo. She is trying to teach herself to knit, but is really struggling. This annoys a woman such as she, who can fire 6 crossbow bolts off in 5 seconds and throw a knife into a target 6m away. Maus is thinking about Theo and how stupid it was that she married Galen and then got pregnant. She does not love Galen or even much like him.
When Theo wouldn’t snap out of his gloom, Maus decided to tell Theo ‘maybe I will marry Galen’ and when he’d said ‘go on then’ her pride saw her go through with it.
Galen tries hard, but that just annoys Maus even more – how can he not see how she really feels. How can he not know the baby isn’t his? It is revealed that the baby is Theo’s – they’d slept together in the Power Station after Maus had broken down about the whole situation. Before Maus had got back, all she could think about was the next trip to the Power Station so she could be with Theo again. When she realises she is pregnant, she thinks about how a baby is the last thing Theo will want, but is potentially the one thing he needs. Maus had planned to tell him on the trip to the Power Station that she was kicked off. She was hoping that once she did, a light would come on in his eyes and they’d finally end up together. Now, however, that is just a story… a dream.
Galen arrives and says he isn’t happy with Maus being alone after what has happened in the Sanctuary recently. Maus says she is fine and thinks about how much she dislikes Galen’s weakness. Galen tells Maus that he and he alone is going to the Power Station to check on things. Maus is surprised and tells Galen to be careful. Galen says that she says this as if she means it, does she think he is stupid? Maus notices Galen playing with his knife and asks why he is doing that. He has a moment of inward expression before saying he will go. Maus says she will see him in a few days and he asks what she means. Maus gets a bad feeling that something bad is about to happen…