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 wakes from a much needed long rest to find Graymalk at the door. She informs him there’s been a fire in the night; the Good Doctor’s house, and laboratory, have gone up in flames.
They go to investigate. There’s too much smoke and burned smells for Snuff to sniff out any information, but they come across Bobo, the rat, who once cornered provides them with the details. The big lumbering man, the Doctor’s ‘experiment’ trashed the place in a rage, set off the fire, and fled. Bobo doesn’t know if the Doctor and his assistant have survived.
And Bobo has a confession. He isn’t really a familiar, and the Doctor is just a Doctor, albeit one with strange experimental technique. None of them were ever players in the game; Bobo just pretended to be so that he would feel part of something, get some respect.
This new info means that Snuff’s map isn’t off because of a secret player…it’s off because he was including one player too many. He needs time to recalibrate, but time is in short supply now that the day is getting so close.
He has made another friend though; Bobo is invited along back to Jack’s house with him and Graymalk.
So the Doctor is, supposedly, out of the game. But the Big Man is still out there somewhere, a wild card lumbering about. Given his propensity for unintended mayhem I’m sure he’ll be making an appearance again, possibly on the big night itself.
There was some more masterful interplay between the familiars today, with Snuff and Graymalk showing both their animal natures and their familiar natures, and Bobo being afraid of both. I’m going to miss these characters when the story’s done, and can only hope they all survive it.
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.