Spring Heeled is the twenty-seventh chapter in Gunnerkrigg Court. It starts .
The chapter begins with Annie and Kat standing around in a corridor. They hear shouts ordering someone to stop and Jack jumps down some stairs, runs around a corner, skids and lands at their feet. Jack pulls out a folded note, hands it to Annie and flees as his pursuers come into view, jumping out a window. One of his pursuers, Shell, tells the other, unnamed pursuer that there is no trace of Jack, and they leave. The other students discuss Jack, saying that he's been acting crazy lately and that apparently he may have been off sick. One student asks Annie what the note says, but she says she'll read it later.
Later, we see the note, which asks Annie to meet Jack at 10 PM on the thirteenth floor of a building by the lake, and to bring Reynardine. Kat argues that Annie can't go, especially not alone. Annie points out that Jack said to bring Reynardine, but Reynardine disagrees, saying that since Jack was 'tainted' by Zimmy, they have no clue as to what his intentions are. Kat agrees with Reynardine, but Annie says that she feels bad about dismissing Jack so soon, and that she thinks he needs help. Kat tells her to let Jack sort it out on his own.
Kat tells Reynardine that he must protect Annie or she will kick his butt. Reynardine says that if anyone's going to be doing any butt-kicking, it'll be him kicking Jack. They point out that they wouldn't have to be concerned for Annie's safety if she didn't meddle, to which Annie notes sarcastically, "Yes, very subtle, my friends."
That night, Reynardine and Annie go to the building. The moon still bears Annie's fingerprint from Chapter 20. Annie says that she's worried about Kat. Apparently, ever since Chapter 25, she's become almost bitter. Reynardine tells her to try seeing it from Kat's perspective: she's lived her whole life in the Court, and now she's found out that it was founded by those willing to sacrifice an innocent to protect themselves. He says that it would be one thing to simply read it in a history book, but seeing it almost first-hand, like they did, is entirely different. He reassures her that while Kat is sensitive, she's also strong, and she'll be fine.
On the thirteenth floor, they find that Jack has built a bridge out a window to the top of a wall. He greets them and tells them that they're going to the power station.
Annie demands to know what is going on, but Jack has already crossed. She crosses the bridge, slides down a rope and finds Jack and a boat on the shore. He says that the only way to get to the station is by boat.
Annie asks him why he asked her there. He says that he needs to find out what happened at the power station, and he figures that the answers are either with Zimmy or the station- and since he can't find Zimmy, he'll have to go to the station. He says that Annie is the only other person who knows what happened, since he saw her in the city in Zimmy's mind. Annie asks why he didn't call out to them, but Jack says that he did. She asks him what he saw, and he gives a vague answer.
Reynardine says that seeing the world through Zimmy's eyes can't have been easy. Jack agrees, calling him Renard. He says that he found out Reynardine's real name 'on the computer'.
Jack explains that the school computers are easy to access, though they only have information about the school. He found out that Reynardine tried to kill Annie and that her father abandoned her, but seeing their glares, backtracks and says that it's not his business. He says that he was looking for information about Zimmy, but anything about students from Chester or Foley is blocked off. He asks if they know that there's a student in their class who can talk to animals (Paz, though he doesn't name her).
Annie tells Jack that there's lots of people looking for him. Jack says that he knows, but he can hide well enough to evade them. He says that the Court tracks people through their food- and since he hasn't eaten, they can't find him. Annie is aghast at learning that he's starving, but Jack points out that he can't get any worse. Annie points out that it would make more sense for the Court to track them via clothing, since the Court provides all their clothes. Jack begins to suggest something (probably stripping) but Reynardine tells him not to finish his sentence if he knows what's good for him.
Jack begins to get tired from rowing. Annie floats out of her body and pushes the boat along. Jack tells her that he can see her when she does that. In Annie's vision, Jack has a white spider on his head and cobwebs on his chest and neck. He seems to be exuding a purple mist.
At the power station, Jack leads them inside and stops, as a guard robot is patrolling. Grabbing a piece of wood, Jack hits the guard's head, smashing it into a wall. Annie is horrified by the murder, but Jack snaps that the guard was just a robot.
Along a wall, Jack sticks small devices he says will notify him if anyone comes close.
They find the control room, but it's locked. Jack is about to leave to go find something to smash the door open with, but Annie floats out of her body and opens the door from the inside.
In the control room, Jack places a USB in a computer. Annie notes that the place is called an ether station, and there are more like it, further inside the court. Jack says that it collects, filters and transmits energy. Reynardine is outraged. Annie asks if Jack has the info he was looking for. Jack says that he already had it, and clicks a button marked 'Startup procedure'.
The station noisily comes to life.
Jack says that if Zimmy won't show herself, he'll have to make her come to him, and this is the perfect way to get her attention. Annie tells him that he needs help, but this is not the way to get it, and that there's something wrong with him. Reynardine tells her that they should leave Jack and run for it. A screen marked 'Dock' shows that a boat has pulled up and numerous people are disembarking. Jack is furious that 'they' got to the station so quickly and decides that they must have tracked Annie to find Jack. Annie tells him to let them come, so they can help him, but Jack shouts that he doesn't need their help, he just needs to see Zimmy again. However, the trio run for it.
As they reach Jack's 'security' devices, Jack stops them, saying he nearly forgot something. He pulls a device from his pocket and presses a button. The devices come to life and pull Reynardine's demon form from Annie's wolf toy. Annie tries to help Reynardine, but Jack tells her not to touch him. He says that he altered a binding program he found and that it will be a distraction for the Court so that Jack can go find Zimmy. Annie tries to help Reynardine again, but Jack tells her to leave him, saying that he's doing her a favour. Annie calls him insane, but Jack rebuts that she's insane, since she's protecting a being that tried to kill her. Annie argues that Reynardine is her friend. Jack gives up, tells her that she can distract the Court too, and flies out an open window. Jack pauses and turns back to Annie, who glares back. He flies off, and we see that he's covered in cobwebs.
A group of Court personnel burst in, including Shell, the other pursuer, several robots and Jones, and the chapter ends.
Characters introduced in this chapter
Notes and Trivia
- Tom's retrospective video review commentary of this chapter is summarised here.
- When Jack mentions a kid in Annie's class that can talk to animals on page Paz's ability. he makes the comic's first direct reference to
- The title of this and the next chapter is a reference to Spring-heeled Jack a mysterious murderer able to jump great hights.