A Night in the Lonesome October —
All is not what it seems…
In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.
Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.
And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.
While Jack is off collecting Mandrake root, Snuff finds they have a visitor. Greymalk, a cat, is either friend or foe, the distinction not yet being clear. Greymalk is the companion of Jill, another player in the ongoing game leading up to Halloween. She brings news that other players are gathering, their familiars also in play and checking up on each other.
The interplay between Snuff and Greymalk hints of what’s to come as Zelazny masterfully begins to allude to the bigger world beyond Jack’s house. We have now established there are players who are human, mostly, and there are familiars who are animal, mostly, and can communicate with each other. The nature of the game is still hidden from us, but the ‘things’ in Jack’s house know something is up, and are getting restless.
Two days and two very short chapters in and the tension is building already. Halloween can’t come quickly enough.
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than thirty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.
He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, Crossroad Press and Severed Press, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines.
He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company.
When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.
The Green & the Black —
A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.
They find the remains of a mining operation, and a journal and papers detailing the extent of the miners’ activities. But there is something else on the site, something older than the miners, as old as the rock itself.
Soon the archaeologists are coming under assault, from a strange infection that spreads like wildfire through mind and body, one that doctors seem powerless to define let alone control.
The survivors only have one option. They must return to the mine, and face what waits for them, down in the deep dark places, where the green meets the black.