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 continues his attempt to drag the body to hiding, being hampered both by the vicar and his new, crossbow-wielding recruits, and by a new police presence in the area, consisting of an Inspector, constables, and the Great Detective snooping around. Holmes seems particularly interested in the Good Doctor, and Snuff is happy that Jack isn’t a point of focus…yet.
He has to halt in his dragging for rest and recuperation and the day starts to close with him still far from the river and having to hide the body again in order to go into the city with Jack.
They find London a busy place. Not only are the police out in force but the players of the game appear to have chosen this night to party and many of them are in a state of inebriation. The Great Detective is also on the watch, disguised as a street vendor although Snuff quickly sniffs him out. All the noise and bluster and attention makes Jack’s activities more difficult to pull off. He has a successful hunt for wet ‘materials’ but is almost captured, and only evades the police with the aid of Larry Talbot who provides them with an opportune bolthole…and something with which to contain the blood.
So, one last party as the game grows near, with players letting their hair down. The long day ends with Snuff, exhausted, dragging the dead policeman a wee bit closer to the river. This is turning into a Herculean effort and shows us the lengths Snuff will go to to protect his master. He truly is a good boy, even if he is blind to the fact that his master is clearly a monster. Or maybe he’s not really blind. Is Snuff as reliable a narrator as we’ve been believing so far, or is he perhaps hiding something in his telling of the tale? I’m beginning to suspect the latter, although Zelazny has done such a good job of making us like Snuff it would be a bitter pill to have to swallow.
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.