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.
Snuff and Jack have a visitor, a large dark-haired man by the name of Larry Talbot who introduces himself as a new neighbor. He seems polite and well-mannered but there’s a strange scent about him that Snuff can’t identify. While Jack and the new man chat over tea Snuff has to scurry upstairs as the ‘thing’ in the wardrobe is making an escape. We learn it has leathery wings, reinforcing my earlier thought that the ‘thing’s are trapped demons. Snuff manages to battle it back into its pen but, being a dog, has trouble latching the door. Jack arrives in the nick of time to close it in. Talbot remarks on how Snuff is a good ‘closer of doors’, and drops a none- too-subtle hint that he himself is a closer, and that he believes that he and Jack are on the same side. That might be true, but nobody is really showing their hand yet and there is no indication of what needs to be opened or closed, or why.
When Talbot leaves, Snuff follows and adds the man’s house to his mental map which is coming along nicely now that he also knows the location of the Count. He is prevented from adding more detail to it by news that the two occultists have broken the unsaid rules of the game and have made an attempt on the life of Greymalk. Snuff rushes to save her from the well into which she’d been thrown, and is thanked for his help. Is this the beginning of an alliance? Time will tell.
So already we have Jack the Ripper, the Wolfman, Dracula, Doctor Frankenstein, Rasputin, Holmes and Watson and various occultists, witches and familiars, all congregated in a small patch of countryside, all preparing for what is obviously a ritual at Halloween, and all apparently aligned as either openers or closers. Who else will be along to do the Monster Mash?
Today there was also one of the best lines in the book. When asking questions about Talbot, one of the other familiars says to Snuff “Perhaps he’s his own best friend.” A lovely joke just thrown in among many witticisms and knowing references to older works. This book is a marvel.
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.