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 is disturbed by something at the window. It is the Count’s bat familiar, in some distress. The cause soon becomes clear. The local vicar, having had a ‘vision’ of evildoers preparing for a terrifying ritual at Halloween, and aware of strange blood losses among his parishioners, has gone on the rampage with a crossbow and stakes. The vicar tries to force an entry to Jack’s house but is easily rebuffed.
Snuff and the bat form a pact to tell the other familiars in the game, friend or foe, to be wary of this new menace.
The idea of the big ritual is now coming more to the fore, and it seems the players, no matter which side they are on, are also, in some cases, willing to protect each other. Zelazny’s tightly woven plot, much like Snuff’s mental map of the players’ positions, is coming together nicely now. There’s a definite rhythm to this story, one that is building in tempo with each passing chapter. Things seem to be pointing towards some big event coming along soon even before the final ritual. It took some mental strength today not to rush on to the next page.
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.