Urban Fantasy 101: Stitch Reads The Hollows – Dead Witch Walking Chapters 26-30

When we last left the lovely losers in Dead Witch Walking, Rachel was bleeding out and a demon sent her back to the church she lives at with Ivy and Jenks. As Rachel is literally moments away from dying, of course Ivy and Nick feel the need to get into a pissing match over her. 

Ivy’s all “how could you let her get hurt, I knew I couldn’t trust you” (which… is valid) while Nick is a smug fuck that’s like “You’re not her mom and also you’re totally trying to hunt her. I’m gonna tell her”. 

Actually, this is how his part of that back and forth goes:

“Ivy,” Nick said slowly. “I’m not afraid of you, so save the aura crap and back off. I know what you’re up to, and I won’t let you do it.”

“What are you talking about?” Ivy stammered.

Nick leaned toward her, and I slumped unmoving between them. “Rachel seems to think you moved in the same day she did,” he said. “She might be interested to know all your magazines are addressed to you at the church.” I heard Ivy’s quick intake of breath, and he added in an intent voice, “How long have you been living here waiting for Rachel to quit? A month? A year? Are you hunting her slow, Tam-wood? Hoping to making her your scion when you die? Doing a little long-term planning, are we? Is that it?”

Which even I can see isn’t what’s actually going on despite how annoying I find the Ivy/Rachel relationship.

I just don’t trust Nick. 

Like how does he know anything about Ivy? The specific thing about her magazine is what throws me. Because it doesn’t make sense. This book was written over a decade ago, true, but you can always just call to get your mail forwarded or to have the publisher send magazines your way. Before I moved out of the dorms in 2018, I was already getting mail at the apartment I’m in now with my mom. Having magazines delivered to your house isn’t a sign that you’ve been there for a wild and it is weird to pretend that it is.

Nick has only been around for a handful of chapters and I’m already tired of him.

Anyway, Rachel may be dying, but she can’t go to the hospital because she’ll get murdered for sure. So Jenk’s tiny wife Matalina flies off to grab Keasley, the old Black man from across the street who saved Rachel in the first few chapters. He’s apparently really just… gonna Magical Negro it up here, I guess. And I don’t love his reintroduction:

Keasley sat down on the coffee table with a weary sigh. His three-day-old beard was going white. It made him look like a vagrant. The knees of his overalls were stained with wet earth, and I could smell the outside on him. His dark-skinned hands, though, were raw from an obvious scrubbing.

Like… 

Why?

(Also, Keasley currently fulfills the standards of the Magical Negro by not having any family or backstory and his magic and magical knowledge are repeatedly used in service of or in order to save Rachel. Will that change in the future? I really hope so.)

Anyway, Keasley saves Rachel and then lets her know that the demon that ported her and Nick back to the church where they stay at is going to want a favor before the wound in her wrist closes up. He’s cool about it, and you do get this kind of neat dialogue from him and Rachel that makes me want more.

He shrugged as he gathered his needles, thread, and scissors on his newspaper and folded it up. “I think you did pretty well for your first run-in with a demon.”

“First run-in!” I exclaimed, then lay back panting. First? Like there was ever going to be a second. “How do you know all this?” I whispered.

He stuffed the newspaper in the bag and rolled the top down. “You live long enough, you hear things.”

Unsubtle foreshadowing for the win~

(Times two because here’s what Rachel thinks after Keasley tells her that being someone e trusts “might be expensive”:

“Of course,” I said, wondering what an old man like Keasley could be running from. It couldn’t be worse than what I was facing.

)

Chapter twenty-eight opens with Rachel in the bath and some introspection.

It’s honestly a boring start, gonna be real.

And Nick is there constantly like… reading into Ivy’s interactions. It’s wild how he’s setting her up as a baddie when he is the one who almost got Rachel killed and definitely got her linked up with an unknown demon…

The most interesting part of the chapter (and of chapter 29, gonna be real) is that Jenks and Ivy went on the road to try and take Trent down… and got in trouble with the FIB (which parallels our FBI here in the US, I believe). It’s more of the whole “even the good cops are corrupt” nonsense as Captain Edden is super willing to make a shady deal with Rachel and Nick if it means getting Trent dead to rights on smuggling and the IS looking like a fool.

Rachel, may I remind you, nearly died less than 24 hours before those two chapters.

Actually, it might have been within the past like… 6 hours.

Of course, shit goes wrong here too.

While Trent is absolutely absent at the airport where he’s supposed to be transporting some kind of bio-drug, the ever-annoying Francis is. And Rachel is not about to let this man go again. Like despite the fact that she doesn’t feel well, she still launches herself at him and tackles him to the ground.

It’s pretty damn satisfying.

At least until the witches attack…

This was a… functional set of chapters? I remember vaguely when I first read it that I was like shocked and worried about Rachel because I didn’t know there were more books in the series. But in 2020 when I know we’ve got over a dozen books in the tank and a sequel series coming up? The anxiety of “will Rachel be okay” isn’t really there. I spent more time annoyed off my ass about how Nick is obviously shady and Rachel is too busy being anxious about Ivy to clock the shit he’s spinning.

I still can’t remember what Nick does to burst Rachel’s belief in him and I don’t read ahead, but y’all… I just feel like it’s bad. Because I know Ivy is a main character for the full series while Nick… definitely isn’t. 

Well… we’ll see how this goes.

About Zeenah

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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