Bone Vol. 3: Eye of the Storm

For the second volume. This one begins with Fone reenacting a scene from Moby Dick, which is overseen by Miz ‘Possum who is bewildered by the display. Fone stops reading, even though Miz ‘Possum was curious to hear more, but she had stopped by to check up on everyone. They apprise her where they’d been sleeping whilst the roof is getting fixed and then she enquires about Phoney Bone and how he’s being handled since his little cow race mischief. Miz ‘Possum leaves after to get back to her kids and Fone Bone learns Thorn is up for watch duty, offering to sit up with her, but she doesn’t mind the alone time for being free of the dreams she’s been having. On the walk back they run into Smiley and he shares Phoney’s new plan of raising enough goods to get them out of debt and back home, seeing what he had in mind set Thorn’s belief Phoney’s adjusted to his new life well, back into perspective.

Then it’s night and we see some rat creatures are paranoid of someone nearby, especially the one which hasn’t been checking for four days. Once he confirms there’s no one about they settle with the thought Kingdok won’t detect them. Then one hears something again and requests the other to look, realizing Kingdok has only then found them. Kingdok isn’t going to kill them though, but has brought them a bag of rabbits, giving them words of encouragement and leaving, to their extreme relief. Then we see the farm-house and Thorn has drifted off, having another dream. First she’s quite young and practicing the flute, then she’s older and a hooded figure asks her to approach, when the hood is slid up, it’s Fone, which is when she wakes and tries to speak with Fone who’s dreaming, quite asleep.

We then see what Fone’s dreaming of, being a Moby Dick inspired one, with he and Phoney chasing the white whale, which turns out to be Smiley. Phoney still tries to catch him, though and in so doing, Fone goes overboard, but before, noticing a coffin on the ship, which had gone overboard with him. As he climbs atop the coffin, he sees the Red Dragon cresting a wave and then Fone wakes up to discover it’s late in the day and no one is inside. When he looks around outside, there isn’t anyone about out there, but Ted who makes small talk about Fone’s terrible love poetry, who then relates what the group is up to and realizing it’s break time, Fone decides to work on the new poem he’s been writing for Thorn. As he’s making headway on the poem, Thorn walks up asking about what he’s up to and after playing it off, she inquires as to whether he remembered what he’d dreamed of.

After Fone imparts what he remembers, she lets him know she’d had a dream with him, but possibly not him in it as well, making him bashful and picking her flowers, but she having left already and the Red Dragon walking up after, plays it like they’re for him, unbeknownst to Fone, but once he turning around and realizing who he’s now talking to, confides his dream, which the dragon is unsurprised to hear about, revealing they’d both had an “intruder” in their dreams and leaving him. Fone is irritated by the dragon’s parting nickname and goes back to writing his poem when Smiley and Phoney walk up and Phoney decides to intrude on what Fone’s been writing. Phoney then makes sure to differentiate how Fone’s been acting to how they’ve been acting toward Gran’ma Ben and Thorn to how he’s been offering his time like a slave, but upon hearing the “dinner” bell, go off running to the house, but to be disappointed when the bell Gran’ma Ben had rung was for them to make the dinner, not eat it. Once they realize they’ve got to kill some chickens and prepare them for cooking though, they begin to look quite shocked and dizzy at the task.

After, Lucius wakes up the boys to do some work for him since it’s his turn to make use of their manual labor, to all of their, especially Phoney Bone’s loud bemoaning. Fone soon determines he can either choose to stay with Gran’ma Ben and Thorn or go with his cousins, he of course opting to stick around with Thorn; and Gran’ma Ben, of course. So whilst the boys and Lucius get on their way to Barrelhaven, Thorn and Fone start on some chores and a project Thorn wanted to begin. Meanwhile on the road, Smiley tries to get Lucius to open up on his personal life, finally getting him to speak about an almost fiancée which didn’t become anything more. Then Lucius realizes someone is following them so they make precautions by lightning the cart and making Smiley ride the cow in case they had to make a quick escape. As Lucius and the boys are wary of the mysterious follower, Thorn is scaring bone with the back story behind ghost circles before the storm hits, they retreating to the barn. When they get comfortable in the barn, Thorn instigates conversation about the dreams they’ve been having. As this is happening Lucius and the Bones path is blocked by a falling tree and Smiley makes them realize the rat creatures are following and getting closer. Lucius asks them what they’ve come for and they ask for the star-chested Bone, Lucius then yelling for Smiley to go and get help from the town, but he having his own plan which gives them an action-packed diversion, ending with them going straight over a cliff.

They land safely, but quite a bit more wetly, since they’ve now been reached by the storm. We then skip back to Fone confessing to Thorn of his dream and the Dragon’s response which seemed odd, since he hadn’t told him the details of his dream involving him. They continue to figure out the meaning of both their dreams and Fone lands on how Gran’ma Ben is the one whom seems to know the most, before she interrupts them. She doesn’t say a word, though, giving the air of being straightforwardly mad. Fone then decides they should go after her to expose what she knows, Thorn shocked by the whole experience. After Fone goes out of the barn, Thorn recovers and shows him she’d headed into the woods, Fone becoming certain they’d get lost and should turn back for it being too dark, but Thorn believes she can follow and they soon see Gran’ma Ben up ahead of them. They confront her, with she not divulging any answers other than they should get back to the barn, but they both stand firm in learning more. Gran’ma Ben seemed to be going after the Dragon since he had made an oath not to invade Thorn’s dreams somehow and Gran’ma Ben is continuing to try and get the both of them to return to the barn when a loud crack brings the rat creatures coming towards them to Gran’ma Ben’s attention.

Then we follow Phoney and Co. walking in the woods, Smiley shouting cowboy phrases as they go, for some reason and Phoney promising idle threats as Smiley asks the usual question reserved for children on long road trips. Soon Smiley’s pointing the finger back at Phoney for feeling he’s so smart and reminding him his smarts didn’t do much for him at the cow race. Phoney soon has Lucius defending his business acumen, as well when Lucius notifies him of how he’ll be looking forward to working him like a horse through the summer and soon after Lucius is baiting Phoney to bet he wouldn’t be able to run his bar better than he can; the stakes being higher than before. They reach the bar after they make their bet and some customers are waiting inside when go in, some still ready to give Phoney a beating for rigging the race. Lucius steps in to remind them the bets had already been settled for them and they’re going to have to get used to the Bones being there for having to work there for a while, trying to ease the tension with a round of beers for them on the house also informing the Bone’s they’re going to have to win the customers over if he’s going to win their bet.

Then we see Thorn, Gran’ma Ben and Fone making their way down a steep decline, with Gran’ma Ben motioning for quiet. They climb a ways down and then Gran’ma Ben instructs Bone to have a look around behind some trees. Gran’ma Ben knows the rat creatures probably know where they are at the moment and is still mad at them for following her, but they both try to remind her they were only worried she’d pick a fight with the dragon. They continue to argue until Gran’ma Ben believes she hears the rat creature nearby and gets everyone to crouch. Gran’ma Ben sees one rat creature and warns them to stay back and hidden whilst she approaches, believing the one to be a scout. Fone then thinks he hears a noise Thorn doesn’t hear at all, thinking they should follow or do something at all, Fone only deciding to stare in the direction Gran’ma Ben had gone. They watch and agree to go after her in five seconds if she doesn’t return, but they don’t have to go anywhere since she comes back to update them of there being many rat creatures about the area and how they won’t be able to get back to the farm and they will have to run from them.

When Fone enquires what the scream was he’d heard, Gran’ma Ben says she’d disposed of the scouting rat creature and they should leave before any others noticed. They start climbing and Bone sees a rat creature chasing them, another getting closer to Thorn and Gran’ma Ben punching it in the face, grabbing all and running full tilt with Bone shouting for the dragon before Gran’ma Ben covers his mouth and they are hunkered down under a tree. When lightning strikes, we see rat creatures everywhere behind the tree in the open area. Then as a rat creature gets near them, Fone sees the dragon and the rat creatures disappearing, Fone apprising Gran’ma Ben of what happens. Gran’ma Ben then looks like she might do something about the dragon’s presence, but then warns Bone the dragon may not be there when he calls, he not coming when she’d needed at one point. As they begin their trek back, Fone mentions to Thorn they should show the map they’d discovered to Gran’ma Ben, ending the chapter; these issues only get better as I go.

Gran’ma Ben is mending the fence near their home as we watch from the rat creature’s perspective, they trying to listen to what’s being said. Fone and Thorn are about to confess to Gran’ma Ben about what’s on their minds when she interrupts by letting Fone know she owes Fone an apology for how she’d been acting towards him. After she regards her bad behavior Thorn brings up what they’d been wanting to show her. First he accidentally shows her a poem and then gets to the real thing they wanted to show her, being the map. Thorn admits she drew it after Gran’ma noticed it’s simplistic sketch-style, hushing her due to the forest’s many ears. We then see two rat creatures looking out from a dark area of the forest, one sending the other away. Meanwhile Gran’ma gets them back to the farmhouse and indoors. Once inside Gran’ma Ben asks Bone where he’d found the map and after mentioning how they were chased away by locusts, Gran’ma talks to herself which makes Thorn protest her not divulging everything to them. After sending Fone to get her water, Gran’ma Ben considers where to begin, Thorn suggesting they start with her dreams. Gran’ma Ben proceeds to relate leaving Thorn with the dragons to detect a safe place where no one knew them and the latter gets upset for being deceived as the former tries to justify what she’d done.

Gran’ma Ben goes on to explain why they had been at war with the rat creatures the first time and how there had been disagreement to those who had taken over the valley, ending with the rat creatures retreat, Fone then asking why it was necessary to hide Thorn, then revealing her ancestry. Thorn is then spurred by Fone to mention the dream she’d had of being handed over to the dragons. Gran’ma Ben fills in the blanks which young Thorn couldn’t remember even in her dream, like who was among the hooded figures and what had happened after they’d been attacked. After sharing the tale, Gran’ma Ben reveals if the locusts are back, then war will soon follow and she hadn’t done her duty which was to protect Thorn. We then follow the rat creatures as they gather their ranks, one huge one, Kingdok speaking to the Hooded One of Thorn’s true station in life, the Hooded One expressing of already being privy to this information and how Kingdok isn’t doing his job as leader of the rat creatures as well as he believed, the Hooded One leaving him there to enter the swarm of locusts which appear in the sky and dropping him onto a bridge then entering a cave tunnel to speak with another creature of unknown appearance, but turning out to be the Lord of Locust. The Hooded One asks what he should do about the “star-chested one”, he now being told to wait their instruction, the Hooded One believing they should prepare against the Red Dragon, but the Lord of Locust ends their conversation, also ending the chapter.

Next we see Lucius is getting the attention of the patrons in the bar, stating of a contest and knowing everyone had a grudge against the Bones, but needing everyone to stay civil since they still had to work off what they owed Lucius, who also kept them in check as to how much blame they should take on themselves as well as the Bones. Lucius then gets into the details of the contest which involves Phoney up against Lucius in who can run the bar better, making a red line to divide the bar and letting the patrons decide who wins. When the contest starts, Lucius is obviously favored, which gets Smiley questioning how they’ll win, coming up with some wild ideas, making Phoney realize their terrible fate. Meanwhile, Thorn is still coming to terms with the truth of her dreams. Fone tries to get Thorn to remember what happens once she’s with the dragons which she still can’t see clearly. Fone asks if Gran’ma Ben has anyone to help protect them, she thinking not since the Lord of the Locust is back. Soon after Thorn leaves them to lie down in the barn, Fone making sure she’s alright and leaving her to rest. Then we see what kind of plan the Bones have come up with at the bar. Phoney realizes the futility of the plan and goes over to Lucius to see if he can figure out why they’re all over there, other than for the obvious reason, when he gets over there though, he begins to see everyone going over to their side of the bar, Lucius now wondering what’s going on. When Phoney figures out what Smiley had done and stops him, it angers the patrons again and they’re ready to beat Phoney up again. Smiley then wishes loudly for Fone’s dragon to help them, getting one of the patron’s to confirm his words.

We then see the patron insisting on knowing what Smiley had meant, he repeating himself and everyone surprised Fone would have a dragon in his power. They start to ask too many questions after and Lucius puts a stop to it. The townsfolk don’t give up easily though, so Phoney has to stick up for his cousins by spouting their “dragon problems” are theirs alone and nothing to do with he and his cousins. Then Jonathan, a young man is told to convey what he’d seen in the forest since Lucius was unwilling to let any of them off the hook for even believing dragons existed. Phoney then fans the flame of their fears by considering if there’s one dragon about, there must be more. After the townspeople work themselves up to take action, they ask Phoney what they should do, he figuring they need to hire a dragon exterminator and they in luck since he was exactly what they needed. Then to rub in what Phoney had cooking up, he imparts to Lucius after he asked him what he had up his sleeve and how this would be how he’d win their bet, Phoney hints to everyone they needed something to whet their whistles before getting down to business, the first round would be on the house and after everyone would have to get their own tabs, all the patrons going along with Phoney’s clever ruse.

Lucius is about to put a stop to it when a hooded figure walks through the door, he noticing a medallion around his neck. Lucius approaches the man and asks him if he required lodgings for the night, the man confiding in him he had news from the south and Lucius replying for him to wait outside. Then we see how Fone is doing, Ted asking how he was and then sharing with him how he’d been to see Lucius and his cousins and how they were up to the usual mischief then asking what was going on with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, Fone letting him in on some vague details, but Ted surprising him by filling in the blanks, he then going on to inquire where Gran’ma Ben was for having an important message to deliver, then going off to the house to speak with her. Fone is next called on by Gran’ma Ben herself to get his knapsack and meet her in the barn. We see Gran’ma Ben relating to Thorn to get up for receiving news the action had changed in the south and they’d have to leave because a large number of rat creatures would be heading their way. Gran’ma Ben goes back into the house to get their food supply and a cloak for Thorn, revealing to them how to uncover a secret door under the straw Thorn was lying on and to get the trunk within. When Gran’ma Ben asks for Bone’s knapsack after opening the trunk and puts in a concealed object, advising him to keep good care of it. She then straps on her old sword, handing the shield to Fone, then making sure everyone was ready to go before heading out the door, ending the book. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

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Skeleton Crew – The Mist

A nice introduction before getting into the one story I planned on reading from this collection, The Mist. It starts by mentioning how in New England there were a series of violent thunderstorms narrated by the main character. Dave, the narrator mentions his family by name since they had been at their lake house at the time the storms had occurred. We don’t learn Dave’s name until someone addresses him, but in any case he is  the first to realize the storms were only getting started and mentions it to Steff, his wife. Dave’s son, Billy is the first to see the cyclone within a dangerous distance to them, Dave corralling everyone indoors. As they all retreat inside, Dave watches the lake begin to look like the ocean with the waves and whitecaps. As he realizes how horribly injured his family could get where they were standing, he moves them into the kitchen as the telephone begins to ring. He then orders Steff to go downstairs, trying to get Billy to go with his mother whilst he looked for candles. After he locates the candles, he also retreats downstairs into a guest room to wait out the storm. When they begin to hear a calm, they go upstairs to check and see it’s begun to lull, but would pick up again an hour later.

We then get background to how oddly the weather had been the last few weeks, in general and the excuses people had come up with for them. When the second storm hit, it wasn’t as brutal as the first, but finished taking down many trees the first storm had weakened, one of them falling on the roof, scaring Billy, but Dave reassuring him the roof was strong enough to hold it. Then later in the night, the third storm hits, being a tough one. After this point we learn Dave’s name, he deciding it being best they go back downstairs, Steff now overwhelmed by the storm’s violence. By this time Billy had gone to sleep and Steff was worried about the picture window they’d heard get smashed, Dave rationalizing the insurance will cover the damage done and after Steff had drifted to sleep, checked the damage and confirmed his thoughts of needing repairs for the living room, then going to sleep in the guest bed with the two.

The next morning Billy sees the damage outside, some power lines coming down in the storm are close to where he’s standing, Dave stops him from getting any closer suggesting they walk down the driveway. They see four trees had fallen there, one being quite old and large. Soon Billy goes down to the lake, getting tired of moving branches into the woods, Dave going into the garage to get the electric chainsaw. Steff comes out to relay how much she’d gotten cleaned up inside and what damage had occurred outside when Billy comes running back to show Dave the damage done to the boathouse, scaring Steff because of the live wires still sparking nearby and ready to make him go inside, but Dave calms her and directs Billy a different way down so he can show him what he’d found. Then we are told about another townie, Mrs. Carmody who liked to reminisce about all the historical myths about the place and owned an antiquary where Steff liked to shop every once in a while, but also was one of the many which got taken in by her stories. Dave remembers hearing the story himself from another townie with a shop, an older gentleman by the name of Bill Giosti, after we get the back-story on him, David invites Steff down to take a look at the damage at the boathouse which she isn’t interested in, but agrees to, knowing their son would be happy to show them both.

When they get down there and see his description is fairly accurate, David asks Billy to fish out the flag which had gotten in the water, surveying the damage to the boathouse which could have been avoided if not for the man responsible in having the dead tree which had fallen, cut down. Then Billy notices the other side of the lake is hidden by a thick oddly straight-moving mist, even Steff is surprised there would be a fog-bank on the lake. David assuring her and suggesting she make the grocery list she’d planned on writing for him. Meanwhile Dave and Billy lay out the flag and Billy shares how he’d learned having the flag on the ground is a “lectercute”-able offense. Billy then goes to visit some neighbors, Dave warning him about steering clear of any other live wires and to stay out of their neighbors way. After Billy leaves, Dave is looking at the mist again and how it seemed to have come closer, also how it was unaffected by the oppositely blowing wind and how extremely white it was, noticing no rainbow reflected off of it. He then hears his next-door neighbor, Brenton Norton trying to start up his electric chainsaw with no luck, which gave Dave some satisfaction. He then notices the damaged property Norton was trying to cut, even more glad he’d be dealing with damage of his own, he heading back to his own project in the drive. Later on Billy comes with the list and a beer for Dave, going back to give his mother the answer to her question and with the acceptance of being able to accompany his father to town, with his mother as well if everyone agreed.

Dave then sees a CMP truck coming up the road, which quelled his worry of trees blocking the road. After Billy comes by with another note, Norton is next to make his presence known to Dave, they not having left off on kind terms, he wondering what brought him over. He discovers it’s to do with his chainsaw and also learns his T-bird had been damaged, wanting to borrow his car to go to town for supplies, Dave offering him a ride after sharing they’d also be going to town. Then Dave checks on where the mist was, since it had warmed up since the last time he’d checked and noticed it had gotten closer. They still get ready to leave, Dave giving Steff one more chance to come with them, but not wanting to with how pervy Norton was acting. We then become privy this is the last time Dave will see his wife. On their way to town Dave and Norton had to move another tree out of their path, reminding Dave of the Ents of The Lord of the Rings, which was brought to his mind because his son wanted to help too, but he was worried he’d get poked in the eye with the effort, it being an old tree. Now they were in the truck and getting on their way, Dave had a chance to get Billy to check the radio stations which usually came in and weren’t at the moment, possibly caused by being on the other side of the fog. When they reach town, they head for the grocery store, it being quite busy. Dave sees Mrs. Carmody talking with some women, everyone seeming to have their little groups in the parking lot, speaking to one another. Dave gets lucky pulling in to a spot to park near the front and sends Billy with Norton inside to start on the list whilst he searches for a pay phone to call Steff.

Unfortunately the line seemed to be dead, so he didn’t get the chance to speak with her and so makes his way into the market. He eventually happens upon the two in an aisle and sees Norton checking the list, when Norton sees him, he brings his attention to the state of the lines at the check-out, they being so long as to go out of sight and with only two lanes open with only the use of pocket calculators to tally everything up. Dave decides he’ll wait in the line whilst Norton got the rest of his belongings, thinking of how worried he was about Steff and wondering whether it would’ve made a difference if they’d decided to go back then or if it would have been too late already. Billy is first to notice the two soldiers in the decently large line and also what with the lack of certain product, they had to make due with some generic, if not completely chemically based substitutes of bologna and bacon.

The only item left on the list was a bottle of wine and as Dave gets it and then passes the storage area, he hears the generator and deduces its capabilities and what it was powering in the grocery store. When he gets back to the line, which has grown longer Dave and Norton make idle chit-chat, which ends shortly, due to their legal dispute making the situation a bit difficult in making nice for long. Billy seemed to get apprehensive for a moment as they waited in line, but it passed and they slowly got closer to the front. They then hear the passing of police sirens after which they hear the fire alarm go off. Norton thinks it’s for a fire which might be on Kansas Road, but then a teenager comes in to inform them all about how the fog has come down the road and they should take a look, some do and go out the door.

When someone comes back in asking for a camera, more people go out to have a look, which gets Mrs. Carmody, who’s also in line to voice her opinion of erring on the side of caution. Then a man comes in with a bloody nose shouting about another man getting taken by the fog and hearing his screams. This is when people slowly begin to panic, either heading for the doors out or going toward the window to look, some leaving with their unpaid groceries. The mist is described as making the town seem darker and the sun looking like an eclipse between clouds. As they became engulfed in the mist, the sky is lost and only white can be seen, a woman’s scream is what finally sends people running for the door and out, which the checker of the place is yelling at people to refrain from taking the items in their arms, but some beyond the realm of listening, others tossing their items down as they leave. Norton begins heading for the door as well, until Dave grabs him and voices his opinion to not follow the others. After Norton questions him, they all hear another scream which continues as the sound gets those near the door back inside. One man still goes out, seemingly to rescue the one who had been screaming for such a prolonged amount of time and Dave feels he’d been the only one to see something pull the man outside, into the fog more deeply.

After, Norton seemed more ready to get out of there again, trying to convince Dave to go with him when the building is shaken and bottles begin to fall. When the noise stops Norton changes his tune again trying to get the people inside to stay there until the fog dissipates, which everyone is at odds in deciding. One woman becomes adamant in going though, after confessing her children being home alone and hoping someone would walk her, no one volunteering and she going off into the fog alone with the insult of hoping they’ll all go to hell. Billy then loses it, becoming uncontrollably upset and shrieking for his mother, Dave leading him to the back of the store to try and calm him. When Billy does compose himself enough to confirm the fog wasn’t a normal one, he then doses off into a deep sleep.

Dave then goes in search of something to cover Billy with, whilst he dosed in the back, looking in the front and noticing Norton trying to work his word magic on the people who would listen. Dave makes his way behind the big double doors reserved for crew, noticing the pungent smell of diesel, deciding to investigate and deducing the exhaust pipe was possibly blocked off on the outside and so resolved to turn the generator off, but upon doing so is left in almost complete darkness and getting spooked by his unexpected blindness, falling and feeling like a fool. After taking a moment to calm his nerves he detects the line of light which could be seen through the double doors, but before making for it, notices a disturbing sound which panicked him to that of a four-year-old, finally making him run for the double doors, then running into a few guys who were coming to look into why the lights had turned off, first asking why Dave looked so spooked, but after learning this and not wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt what with already dealing with a terrible situation, other than for Ollie, he then divulging why he turned off the generator and the others ready to turn it on again.

After the bag boy hands Dave, among others a flashlight, Dave decides to take it for not having found a blanket for Billy yet, one of the others with them conceding to Dave’s judgement in turning the generator off due to the smell. Some of the men are testing the generator themselves as the bag boy gets closer to the loading door, Dave expressing to him to consider differently, but the boy has a different plan in mind, which involved the men turning the generator on long enough for him to open the loading door a bit and go out to clear whatever was plugging the exhaust pipe. Ollie is now dubious to the bag boy’s idea, another man volunteering and Ollie trying to get them to understand no one should try to embark on this plan, soon those wanting to try it arguing as to who it should be, Dave getting them to be quiet enough to consider reason and after not getting it, becoming frustrated and more scared for the situation they were in. The men and boy go on with the plan regardless of the naysayers and Dave still is speaking of how odd it seems they would go so far to restart a generator which doesn’t matter to anyone in the long run, but wouldn’t help the woman home earlier, getting threats of violence in return. The bag boy begins looking scared now and ready to call off his dumb plan, with Dave and Ollie’s support in doing so, when the two men turn the generator on and they all proceed with their plan.

When the door goes up they see the fog everywhere and feel the chill in the air, as they turn the generator off, they then see the tentacle near the loading platform and see it get the bag boy around the ankle. Everyone retreats, but the bag boy puts up a valiant fight and is holding tight trying to get anyone to help him, Dave stepping forward, but with not much luck and soon calling for the others to help, no one responding. After struggling for a while longer, Dave soon thinks of his son and lets the bag boy go, realizing what the tentacles were now doing to him. Dave gets back inside and notices the two men near the generator are staring at the mess of tentacles outside the door in a hypnotic daze, Dave tries to get their attention, but only succeeds with one and he being too busy apologizing and making excuses to why he didn’t believe Dave to turn the generator on again. Ollie taking it upon himself to do it, all the while the bag boy still hanging on to the door, but Ollie can’t reach the button for the other tentacles being in the way, Dave then locates a broom handle to push the button with, this also being the moment the bag boy gives up his struggle and loses his grip on the door, being pulled into the mist. A piece of a tentacle is cut off on the door’s return into it’s closed position.

Dave then starts walloping one of the big-mouthed men because they’d gotten the teenager killed, after awhile Ollie trying to stop him. When Dave calms down, they stop the generator again and start back out to the front of the store, Dave acquiring a rug for Billy. As Dave and Ollie were getting ready to join the others, Dave pulls Ollie back to convince him they’ll be needing to update the others about what they’d seen, Ollie being worried about a panic, but Dave considers most of the people present wanted to leave for having someone at their homes waiting for them. Ollie continues to ask what could possibly be attached to all of the tentacles and questioning what the mist is to allow such a creature to even be slithering along, unable to get a definitive answer. Dave covers Billy with the closest thing he’s found to a blanket, noticing Jim and Myron, the moronic duo standing outside the double doors. Dave then breaks the news to them of needing to advise the others of something about what’s occurred which they readily agreed to after also being told they wouldn’t get the finger pointed at them for having sent the bag boy to his death. Ollie then brings up the possibility of the tentacles getting in for what the store was made of; it not being of impregnable quality.

As the others are drinking their dread away, Dave goes off to see what Norton is up to, being a conversation with another man called Bud Brown at the front of the store near a register. Norton, upon being greeted reacts in a way he’s noticed the amount of time Dave had been gone, Bud Brown-nosing about the men drinking beer in the back of the store, Dave ignoring him to pull Norton aside, but not before Bud stating they would be put to a stop with conviction in his visage. Dave then tries to proceed in explaining to Norton what had happened, but not before almost getting explosive giggles and then remembering the man which had come back out of the mist in hysterics, deciding first to ask what had happened to him, which was after being revived, he was then led to the manager’s office to stay since he’d been upsetting some of the women. Dave then had trouble getting Norton to listen since Norton seemed to be caught up with the job security of one of the men who was drinking in the back, but Dave holds back his temper due to knowing Norton’s usefulness in breaking the terrible news to everyone else. Unfortunately, Norton couldn’t bring himself to come to terms with this reality, even after Dave gets the other men to verify the goings-on, Norton thinking they’d either gone mad or were trying to prank him, not even entertaining the idea of seeing the proof of the tentacle still in the back room.

Norton then rationalizes Dave and the townies were only looking after themselves and didn’t care about anyone from out-of-town, bringing in their court-room dispute as his only validation. From frustration and trying to get Norton to understand how serious he was, Dave threatens to whack him a few, which Norton takes as he showing he’d be willing to beat up someone the age of his father, but Dave gets support by Jim, believing he lacked humanity anyways. Instead, Dave tries to level with him and get him to go into the back room with him to see the evidence, Norton still resisting and Dave deciding he’ll get him in there even if he has to force him. Norton starts to put up a real fuss once he’s getting physically brought closer to the double doors, then trying to scream and plead for help from anyone, most staring, until Bud Brown tries to stop them, Ollie speaking up to defend Dave once Bud starts to try and give Ollie crap for “drinking on the job”. Soon though, Ollie had gotten the other people in the store to gather and prefaced Dave’s testimony about the monster outdoors, Norton still putting his two-cents of denial in; the prick. Bud Brown then tries to support Norton’s view, lightening the mood of the others in the crowd until Mrs. Carmody then brings everyone back down to their unfortunate reality, but bringing it to Doomsday-style talk, Ollie then having to reign her back in. By then though, Dave suggests they go into the back room rather than argue the point, Bud Brown finally agreeing after still arrogantly hanging onto the fact the back room is off limits to customers. Bud Brown is then shown and convinced of the tentacles being real and then wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible, the tentacles outside still being heard, he then concluding the chapter by speaking to the onlookers outside the double-doors of the extent of the situation they were in.

The next few hours has everyone coming to terms with the news, Norton being a part of a group of ten unwilling to bend on their inability to accepting the fantastically horrifying truth and upon being confronted by Ollie to go around to the back where there were recyclable items and to bring one back in to prove he’d done it, Ollie rewarding him the highest of courtesies, which Norton couldn’t give a comeback to since Ollie interrupted him with more sobering confessions, not getting Norton to stop his tirade, but getting some others who weren’t sure of the truth to start making a leap due to the look in Ollie’s eyes. Norton’s diminished group goes off as far as they can from the others and upon passing Billy, one of them awakens him, Dave going over to try and put him back down, but Billy having enough and instead had gone back and saw the spot-light was now on Mrs. Carmody. She still only stating of their imminent deaths until being prompted by one to actually give a suggestion which made her come out with giving a “blood sacrifice” which brought one man out to smack her in the face, presumably for seeming so smug and about to say more. It doesn’t shut her up for long unfortunately, she ending her speech with the foretelling of someone else being killed by the time night fell.

After calm was found, some of the group began talking of the exits and how well they were reinforced, one man coming up with an idea which Dave silently considered to be useless, but harmless and good for morale, being to pile some lawn-food and fertilizer like sand bags against any seemingly weak entrance, some getting behind this idea. Then the same man asks whether anyone has a fire-arm, one woman packing some heat and also divulging of not ever having used it but once on a firing range, they then learning whom can shoot, it being Ollie. Then the crowd began to figure out other make-shift weapons, they all sounding weak if one hadn’t seen the tentacles as Ollie and Dave had. The man with all the good ideas, Dan Miller, catches their aside and gets them alone to speak with them, coming up with another good plan, at least good enough to possibly be a distraction to the tentacles. A couple hours after they’d implemented the bags of fertilizer and what not, they’d posted watchmen at certain spots along with the make-shift torches. Soon Dave has a shift as a sentry with Billy and his son fire-balled multiple unanswerable questions until finally crying and Dave being unable to comfort him in the way he most likely needed: a motherly one. Billy then recognizes a woman whom used to babysit for him and she offers to watch Billy until Dave’s shift is over, both he and Billy agreeing it would be nice, then later someone is arguing about trying to go out, Norton getting loud and trying to get everyone to make room to let them through. One man is still trying to reason with Norton to stop and try to calm down, but he’s gotten it into his head to leave, with only a few others joining him one leaving in the middle of the others protesting.

Dave then gives Norton a package of clothesline, hoping he’d tie it around his waist and then attach it something outside to at least prove he’d gotten to a certain distance, Norton refusing, but one of the others agreeing. When they go out, everything seems to be going smoothly until Dave reaches halfway through the clothesline, soon hearing confirmation to some of the people’s fates. The man whom worked at the grocery since Dave’s preteens was the one to grill up some chicken for everyone in the store, Billy refusing to eat other than going to get a peach upon Dave’s suggestion. Meanwhile the woman who used to babysit Billy requests to watch him for Dave for having something to focus on and being able to stay strong for him. As Mrs. Turman, Billy’s caretaker at the moment had him doing crafts at the back of the store now, Ollie approached Dave with some unsettling news of noticing movement outside and not being the only one. A half hour after, another of the sentries sees something attach itself to the glass and ravingly screams, retreating to the back as others either had gone further back themselves or closer to see what had spooked him, the creature being impish and having suckers to hang onto the glass with and also not being alone, more appearing in varying sizes acting like houseflies, but much more creepy in appearance, being bigger. Dave is the only one to notice another flying creature snatch one of the smaller ones up and eat it, scaring him to the point of he not knowing whether or not he had screamed. Then the situation starts to rev up to panic-mode, people running to the back and at one point trampling an old woman, Dave and Ollie then seeing one man get knocked by one of the plant-food bags as some of the impish bugs began to work their way through cracks in the window. One of them gets in and people see the man whom had fallen was now being perched on by the bug whilst being slowly consumed.

To be clear, the details with which King describes this horror is of perfect pitch and doesn’t reveal much more than necessary, it grabs the reader at the right time and swings one through like the movie should have. Now to get back into it, another of the men does succeed in getting the creature aflame and subsequently burning it to death, but it does bring more terror from everyone regardless of this minor success. Bud Brown brings Dave’s attention to another of the creatures having entered through the cracked window, but before he can do anything an older wiry woman Raid’s the creature which works quite well in ending the creature’s life. Later on, they began re-enforcing some of the barriers with heavier crates filled with fruit, realizing the bird-creatures or the impish ones would have more trouble getting through those, but still not having anything strong enough to keep out the tentacled creature.

People slept fitfully, including Dave, later on we discover he’s noticing an uncomfortable attraction to the woman whom had the gun, Amanda, believing it was most likely caused by the situation they were in, but the feeling not waning. To distract himself, we are told of what career he tried and failed at, then moving on to what had made him his money. Ollie comes to collect Dave, needing to show him something terrible in the back room, being the two soldiers noticed earlier hanging off the ceiling. They consider how the two had hung themselves whilst having their hands tied behind their backs, then Ollie tries to convince Dave to help him hide their bodies, which he succeeds in doing eventually once they figure the Arrowhead Project could have something to do with the fog. When Dave gets back out to where Billy is asleep, Amanda has gone and Mrs. Turman has taken her place staying with Billy, they both still sleeping. Amanda turns up again, though to ask whether Dave would like to go to the office, since it had a lock and no one was currently in it, confronting him about noticing the look he’d had whilst watching her. They do something about it, as well, Dave then joining Dan Miller for a moment upon request, he bringing up some valid points as to what their long term plans involved since they couldn’t stay in the market forever. Dave realized he had a good point, but the man also didn’t have a son to look after.

Dan then brings him to the window to consider why they hadn’t heard any cars getting smashed up when the large creatures had come, theorizing some had either only then disappeared or somehow been “vaporized” during the large crash they’d heard in the market, thinking perhaps the area they inhabited had been separated from the rest of the town since they’d also stopped hearing the town whistle at the same time. Dan also brings up how the pharmacy, which is only next door was also open and why no one from there hadn’t tried to get to the market, wanting to put together a group to go see what happened, then moving on to Mrs. Carmody and how she’s starting to get a following of ladies already and if they stay another night, the possibility of more people considering her strange ideas of sacrificing someone, giving him another reason to leave before anything drastic happens. Dave is then convinced in trying out his drug store expedition idea, planning on getting together again in an hour. Dave informs both Amanda and Mrs. Turman of his plans, then spending some time with Billy before he had to go, he giving him the news last which doesn’t go over well with him. Dave then notices Myron has gone to be with Mrs. Carmody’s other followers, reminding him why he’s going out in to possible danger.

Dave is on his way to leave when Amanda approaches him looking miffed until Dave shares Dan’s theory about Mrs. Carmody, which she accepts and is sure Dave will look out for himself and split if there’s any sign of trouble. Seven people are in the group to go search for the Pharmacy with Dan and Dave. Before leaving, Dan makes an announcement of their plans which included locating medicine for the woman whom got trampled in the bug infestation. After it’s known what they planned to do, Mrs. Carmody opens her fat mouth again and spouts threats of death for anyone who ventures out of the market, but also for those who stayed inside due to the one’s who leave would lead the monsters right to them; Damn woman covers all the bases. Mrs. Carmody is heightening the fervor when someone throws some canned produce at her, successfully getting her to be silent. The moment of paranoia she tried to cause dissipates and the group get on their way, then as Dave begins to lose sight of the two at the forefront, being Ollie and Dan, he begins to think about how close to twenty feet the two must already be when Dan screams an oath and as Dave begins to see what had scared him, he realizes what must have happened to the people in the Pharmacy. King immediately lets the reader know why the people in the market had made it through the night with their lives and the ones in the Pharmacy hadn’t.

Dave would have turned back at this point if he hadn’t promised his son some comics, so goes in after Dan, notices some on the floor at his feet almost immediately and then one of the others begins to examine something black on the floor which Dave then comes to the realization of what had gotten the people in the Pharmacy, advising everyone to get out, then hearing screams coming from outside. Another man was trying to defend himself near the telephone booth, but was wrapped around the leg by a cable looking rope, the man is eventually gotten out of his dire situation, but then Dan gets caught up among hanging threads, like an insect, but frees himself minus a part of his shirt. More of the hanging strings began to fall around them, everyone retreating back to the market. The man who’d been caught at the leg had passed out and another man was lost to the strings, Dave helping Ollie carry the one man, now unconscious. Dan is then caught by one of the strings as well, Dave then sees what was using the strings to catch them. Ollie uses the gun finally and hits the monster, he then confessing to Dave he can let the injured man go, since he was no longer alive. Then they see Dan has been caught again by another of the monster’s and the only woman in their group sprays it with a can of Black Flag, which makes the monster retreat, but not in time to save Dan. Before the three enter the market once more, Dave spears one of the creature’s, javelin-style and once they’ve gotten inside, they describe to everyone what they’d confronted.

After Dave sleeps, he’s approached by the old man who’d offered to grab his shotgun in his truck, speaking of the trouble Mrs. Carmody was brewing and needing to put a stop to it. Unfortunately there was already an altercation between Bud Brown and Myron over Mrs. Carmody’s nonsense so an easy way of dissolving the group seemed improbable. Dave begins to consider the creatures and how they took out their prey, then deciding he needed to speak with Ollie about it. When he finds him and also hears Mrs. Carmody’s rantings, he brings to Ollie’s attention his plan of escape for at least half a dozen of them which he seemed dubious would work, but after Dave figures what others he’d take and where they’d go, Ollie is convinced and they plan an early start the next morning.

By night, Mrs. Carmody had gotten even more followers and by four-fifteen in the morning, Ollie wakes Dave who in succession wakens Amanda and Mrs. Turman to let them in on the plan, both agreeing to come, as well as the woman whom had ventured out with Dave and Ollie before. As Mrs. Carmody is doing her crazy sermonizing still, Ollie is planning out who will sit where in the car when Mrs. Carmody makes her presence known and asks where they thought they were going, dissolving their plan due to her followers blocking both exits and she smashing their rations of food, shouting of sacrifice needing to come from their group. After some of Mrs. Carmody’s followers try to do her bidding, Ollie fires a shot which stops everyone in their tracks, making her followers scatter and leaving Mrs. Carmody to collapse to the floor. Dave and his group then make their way out as planned, but without any food. When Ollie reaches Dave’s car and gets the doors open, he meets his demise by another unknown creature, then Mrs. Turman is taken leaving Amanda and Mrs. Reppler the only others to make it to the car, the old man turning back after seeing what was happening.

Dave then retrieves Amanda’s gun and after letting the car idle awhile, they begin to head back to where Dave’s home is, which doesn’t work out completely as planned, since he’d only been able to get past two of the obstacles in his drive and still had a quarter of a mile to travel, stopping for a while to see if he could figure a way around it, not being successful and coming to terms with having to move on. Well on their way out of town, they come across a couple different creatures, one so tall they couldn’t see the body of it. Dave then mentions how he’s been journaling their progress up to then and describes its end to be Albert Hitchcock-ian. The difference between the movie and story is mostly in the ending since it stayed faithful mostly throughout (recently having seen the black and white version), but whilst it was hilariously evil how they ended the movie, I definitely prefer the story. I enjoyed this read, it was thrilling and whilst not too scary, kept one wondering what could happen next and it will be fun to see the correlation between The Dark Tower series and the next I read which is UR.

The Jeeves Omnibus

Since this contains collections I’ve already read in The World of Jeeves, the latest story at the beginning of this volume is where I’ll begin. Although I do note, though the stories are the same, the beginnings and titles vary to accommodate the order they are to be read in this volume, which I found a bit odd and confusing, but do plan on reading them eventually, until then though I’ll be posting only the first.

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves has us see Bertie in an exceptionally good mood at having Jeeves return from a sojourn at his Aunt Dahlia’s, helping with a party she’d hosted. Jeeves then reminds Bertie of his visit to Totleigh Towers with Sir Watkyn Bassett, which was still quite fresh to Bertie, being the time he’d tried to steal back a cow-creamer with his Aunt Dahlia. Then I come to the part which shows this is another story shown in the TV series. Bertie then receives a phone call from his aunt and inquires why she had invited Mr. Bassett to dinner with them, which she explains it having to do with taking his Uncle Tom’s mind off of being taxed, believing it would show him there are worse possibilities to have to deal with. His aunt goes on to tell how Bassett had been showing off a new item he’d bought for his collection, his Uncle being properly perplexed by the item since he’d had his eye on it, as well. His aunt makes a date to have lunch with Bertie the day after the next and they end the call. Bertie tells Jeeves of their plans asking about the newly attained item, a black statuette “thing”, but when hearing it was a long story takes a rain-check for thinking he’ll be late to his date. Jeeves than gives some signs Bertie’s day is about to take a turn, it involving the choice of his hat, Bertie ready to stick up for himself and making his way out the door.

Bertie then divulges whom his date is and they’re meeting at the Ritz, she being Emerald Stoker, the daughter of Pop Stoker who had kidnapped Bertie on his yacht to threaten him into marrying his older daughter, Pauline. Bertie goes on to tell how everything had ended up for Pauline which were of happy tidings. We then learn it’s through Pauline whom Bertie meets her younger sister, she coming from America where she was studying painting. Bertie describes her physical attributes and tells of her kindly nature and when he sees her tells his concerns on how Jeeves had tried to insult Bertie’s taste in head-wear, knowing she’d be sympathetic. She relates to Jeeves of he sounding like her father, who could do with a bit of practice in keeping his opinions to himself every once in a while, Bertie then invites her to a musical she couldn’t attend due to a conflicting schedule. She then tells Bertie she’d be away for a month, he being impressed her hosts could stand her for so long, not having had the same experience himself. He then discovers he is quite familiar with her hosts, they living in Totleigh Towers and having the surname of Bassett.

When Emerald realizes he knows them, she tries to get him to tell her more about them, Bertie than deciding to air on the side of truth, she only having met Mrs. Bassett, they then commiserate on what they both thought of her, after he tells of the other Bassett’s. After describing Sir Watkyn Bassett, Madeline’s father as a bigger stinker then Emerald’s, she informs Bertie of how her father sees him, which doesn’t include being of sound mind. Bertie isn’t too bruised by this confession though, he going on to tell of the curate, Reverend “Stinker” Pinker at a neighboring village being the only positive receiver on Bertie’s scale of good people, then remembering to mention Gussie, whom she’d met before and seemed smitten with, despite knowing his engagement to Madeline. After Bertie and she part ways, Bertie has a funny way of revealing how he had gotten a bad feeling and should be careful in getting hooked by anything relating to Totleigh Towers. Bertie then goes to the Drones Club to sit and smoke, bothered by the thought of Totleigh Towers, when he’s approached by a waiter with information about a man wishing to speak with him and waiting outside the Club, it being Rev. Pinker, surprising Bertie with visible spasm. Bertie then tells the waiter to let him in and sees Pinker approach happily, tripping as he came over.

Bertie describes Pinker’s enviable ability to play rugby and how he’s engaged to Stiffy Byng who couldn’t intimidate him with all her wild plans for having played the sport so long as to have knocked all the fear out of him. Bertie then describes Pinker’s doppelgänger would be Roderick Spode, Pinker being the gentler of the two by far. Bertie then notices Pinker seemed to have something weighing on his mind and begins to question after their mutual acquaintances, everyone seeming to be “fine”. Bertie then tries asking after the promised vicarage Pinker had been waiting on which got him to talking a bit more freely, the subject of which being up in the air. Then Bertie figures there is something more on Pinker’s mind, which upon discovering he wanted Bertie to go stay at Totleigh Towers for Stiffy needed him there for a plan she wished to involve him in. Bertie reminded him how Sir Watkyn felt about him and Pinker mentioned he could ask Madeline to invite him, Bertie well aware of this, but going on to tell how he wouldn’t want to get involved in any of Stiffy’s plans if he could help it, staying strong and Pinker leaving, deflated of spirit. Bertie then attests to his inability to turn away from a friend in need, but due to his guardian angel keeping his safe in the knowledge to stay away from Totleigh Towers to comfort him, went home with nary a guilt-trip, seeing Gussie Fink-Nottle hanging out of a cab. He had gone to Bertie’s to tell him of his aunt’s wish to be hosted for lunch by Bertie which Bertie confirmed and then invited Gussie in for some orange juice which he had to decline for going to Totleigh Towers, Bertie then stating how he’ll be seeing Emerald Stoker again, for they were going to the same place, after which Bertie is told Gussie was no longer in love with Madeline and was fully interested in Emerald Stoker, whom he hadn’t gotten the name of when he’d met her at the party they were at and speaking of newts, again surprising Bertie with the new development between he and Madeline.

Bertie goes on to mention he was as revolted by Emerald Stoker as Spode was to him, but if he was required to marry the girl he would have no choice but to comply. We then learn Gussie would profess his love to Emerald if it weren’t for his lack of nerve which is why he enlisted Bertie to speak his love for him to the proper channels, it not being understood whom Bertie was referring to and so Madeline then tries to comfort Bertie with the knowledge her heart belongs to Gussie, but if anything should go wrong there, he would be next in line for her affections, which of course he didn’t require, after figuring this out he goes to Jeeves to tell him of what he’s heard from Gussie being terrible news for his bachelorhood. Bertie then blatantly speaks of getting Jeeves to work his brain on a plan to fix the situation also revealing how other than Totleigh Towers being a gut shaking thought when considering going back, he tells of Stiffy wanting him to do something for her, which of course doesn’t bode well. Jeeves suggests Bertie should get an invitation to Totleigh Towers and decline Stiffy’s plans for him outright, Bertie agreeing reluctantly for the idea of having to return to the Towers, but knowing it to be the only course of action.

Stinker was correct in his assumption Madeline would extend an invitation to him, so Bertie then sent a telegram to his Aunt Dahlia to decline his invitation in giving her lunch which she quickly called him about. His aunt didn’t take the news easily, asking where he could possibly go, only being known to come to hers to eat the heavenly food of Anatole’s, her cook. Bertie tells her where his point of arrival would be aimed, to her disbelief and then acceptance of his being an ass far surpassing her considerable expectations, to which Bertie could understand her perspective to and deciding to explain himself further. After he’d done so, his Aunt Dahlia sees his point more clearly, but continues he should be careful for Bassett had his eye on stealing Jeeves from him which catches Bertie off guard, his aunt not understanding why due to this being Bassett’s nature, abruptly hanging up for being told the time spent. Bertie then goes on his way to Totleigh Towers, he and Jeeves arriving shy of five in the evening and Bertie walks in mid-tea-time, Madeline greeting him. Bertie then tells of Madeline’s extreme beauty, but it being trumped by her verging on “baby talk” sentimental personality.

Then Bertie notices Stinker is present, he being surprised and probably happy Bertie had decided to come, which Bertie was ready to quash upon first chance, he resolving to stay strong and unrelenting to Stiffy’s plans for him. Then Stinker is called away to see Sir Watkyn and Madeline takes time alone to confront Bertie in her “secret romance” denied sort of way, confiding in Bertie they can be nothing but friends and wouldn’t being near her torture him, being unable to deny him invitation, confirming her love for Gussie. Bertie then believes everything must be fine between she and Gussie since she seemed unaffected by what Gussie had confided in Bertie. Madeline continues after, though confessing to Bertie she felt so badly for him which upset her to the point of uncontrollable tears, Bertie patting her head awkwardly and aware he should be careful to take his and away before getting stuck in the action, his plan not working out for the mechanical action of his hand, then noticing Spode had entered, asking what had happened, Madeline saying it was nothing and leaving to compose herself, also leaving Bertie to be regarded attentively by Spode.

Bertie tries offering snacks to Spode, he declining each attempt and stating he was debating whether or not to impart physical harm to Bertie’s neck area, he being a fan of the latter. Spode continues to confront Bertie on his presumptuousness to invite himself over and how he would be remiss if he thought he could turn Madeline’s head from Gussie. Bertie tries to explain his side since he wanted nothing to do with this line of consideration, but is interrupted by Spode not finished speaking his side. Spode then makes it clear, but not through words what would happen if Bertie continued to try and avail himself to Madeline in the way it seemed before Madeline reenters the room. She then leads Bertie out to show him his room, Spode giving Bertie one last word of warning and then the two running into Madeline’s father. Sir Watkyn, upon noticing Bertie didn’t seem to take it well, for being surprised at Bertie’s presence and also being told how long he was expected to stay from Madeline, he going off for a drink at the prospect. When dinner is called, Bertie tries to make thoughtful conversation, but doesn’t get far for the room seeming to be in a drab mood after which he decides to retreat to his room for the remainder of the night, believing any more time with the bunch wouldn’t do anyone any good.

Bertie then mentions how he’d been thinking during dinner what had happened with Emerald Stoker. He brings the point up with Jeeves who isn’t miffed by the thought soon having Bertie relay what he believed Madeline’s earlier words were conveying to him, which was she and Gussie were perfectly happy together still, Jeeves then bringing the happy thought to an end. Jeeves had found out from Gussie Madeline had decided he would become a vegetarian since the poet Shelley believed this to be best, but when Jeeves goes on to tell the cook had felt so sorry for Gussie’s position when Jeeves had told her this, she’d leave some edibles in the kitchen for him after all had retired for the night, Bertie thought this could relieve the tension between the two love-birds. Bertie felt so grateful to this unnamed cook, he asks Jeeves what the good soul’s name was, he being surprised to hear the name Stoker pass his lips, Bertie then wondering if it was a coincidence. Gussie then runs into Bertie, he laying his problems out for Bertie’s sympathy and then comes out with the truth of the situation about Emerald, who is the cook of Totleigh Towers now. Bertie then gets the story as to why and how this happened, he agreeing her reaction to staying quiet about it the right course of action. Gussie then departs with the happy thoughts of steak and kidney pie to come.

Bertie dozes off whilst reading a book, but when waking is baffled by a feeling he figures out slowly is hunger. He then decides, after realizing he knew the route to the kitchen, he should go and locate some food, knowing Emerald Stoker had left some steak and kidney pie about. On his journey to the kitchen, he runs into a body, which does his heart a jump-start and is ready to take down the possible burglar, when he realizes whom he actually ran into. After conversing with the shrimp-like Gussie for a mo., Bertie continues on his way to the kitchen, but not before running and toppling a Grandfather clock on the way, which gets Sir Watkyn’s attention, as Bertie soon sees when the lights get turned on by the man, his dressing gown more aversive than his attitude toward Bertie. Sir Watkyn is the first to speak and Bertie takes a moment to come up with a more respectable reason of being out and about at such an early hour, being for a book, which Sir Watkyn responds to with a caustic air. He then goes on to regard the Grandfather clock, rubbing in how Bertie could have avoided possibly breaking it by turning on a light, Bertie then fleeing off the ground once hearing growls from Bartholomew, the Aberdeen terrier, cutting Sir Watkyn’s insulting flow of speech, turning to speaking to Bartholomew in a tone of dismissal, which the pooch didn’t take kindly to, so shows his distaste by displaying some threatening moves toward Sir Watkyn, which gets him onto the same chest as Bertie, in possibly a quicker space of time. Sir Watkyn tries to stop Bertie from revealing his similar story which had happened to him with a swan a while back, so they sit in silence for a bit before Stiffy comes walking in, wondering what the two were doing perched on the chest.

After Bertie describes the hilarity of difference in heights between Stiffy and Stinker, she enquires again as to why he and her Uncle were sitting atop the chest, Bertie making light of the situation and laughing at how he and Stinker seemed to be sharing the lack of grace Bertie had shown when he’d knocked into the Grandfather clock. Stiffy not sharing his humor and asking for explanation as to why they were atop the chest, again. Sir Watkyn taking over the explaining due to her usage of “buzzard” and the two of them in the same breath, Stiffy then dismissing and defending her pup and suggesting Sir Watkyn go to bed which he agrees would be the first on his list of to-do items, but for the dog still giving them a dirty look, Stiffy then getting the “darling” to turn tail and prowl another part of the house. Sir Watkyn then away’s to bed and Stiffy utilizes the perfect moment to give Bertie the 4-1-1 on her plan for him which involved the ugly statuette Sir Watkyn had acquired, sitting on the dinner table and how much he’d been able to weasel the item from the man who sold it to him. Stiffy also mentioning of a previous plan which had gone awry, she then preceding to her point, Bertie trying to see her plan for him before she gets it out, but being off the mark, she describing to him the plan was for him to nick the statuette so Plank, the seller could get a better sum from a different buyer, Travers being the one she had in mind, who Sir Watkyn had been confessing his dirty scheme upon Plank. Bertie swiftly declines, but Stiffy ready with blackmail told Bertie if he didn’t reconsider, she’d have to tell Madeline of Gussie going against their “agreement” of him becoming a vegetarian. Bertie then decides he must agree to do her illegal bidding and she moves along, a much happier and safe-from-arrest conspirator-to-crime.

Bertie goes to his room and has a light and nightmare-filled sleep, until relating to Jeeves the happenings of the night before and feeling utterly stuck in his role as thief for Stiffy. Jeeves, looking almost like he were going to smile, then confiding in Bertie how he would have trouble stealing the statuette now for it being removed from out of the open to an enclosed collection room after Spode had spoken with Sir Watkyn about Bertie’s conversational topic being suspicious, thus Bertie being able to safely return to his stance of declining being able to go through with Stiffy’s tactless plan. After Jeeves explains to Bertie how it could be explained to Stiffy, Bertie suggests Jeeves tell her for he being able to do so in such an easy and acceptable way, Jeeves then informing Bertie where she was currently which was dealing with Stinker who was having problems with the idea of being in charge of the children of the town at the school “treat” the next day. Bertie persists Jeeves make himself impossible to deny a few words with Stiffy and he goes to relate his wonderful news, at least for Bertie’s sake, but upon his return we observe his plan and relief unfounded since Stiffy had acquired a copy of the key to the collection room and would have Bertie go through with his part, as planned, Jeeves then offering Bertie a restorative drink, he letting Bertie know the easiest way to expose Plank since he’d not seen him before, Bertie making a trip to the post office to uncover his whereabouts, which was easier than it would be today. Bertie then goes to meet the old man, who invites him in readily enough and Bertie gets some background history of the old man’s school days playing rugby and Bertie revealing he hadn’t played the sport, surprising the man. After a few other mislaid responses from Bertie, he identifies this is Plank and he was expecting a reporter and after Bertie shows him the statuette he’d sold to Sir Watkyn and how Bertie was about to ask for a fiver, Plank was ready to call the coppers, but is interrupted by Jeeves stepping through his french window to speak on Bertie’s behalf.

Bertie then goes on to narrate warmly of how Jeeves had the tendency to appear at the most opportune moments to save him from terrible outcomes. Jeeves proceeds to impersonate a policeman and declares Bertie a man of interest and how he’d tried to swindle other people the same way, even giving him an appropriate handle to go along with the story, taking Bertie and the stolen statuette to Sir Watkyn to confess once being done there, Plank going along with it and hoping Bertie will be properly punished for his would-be and already done crimes. When Bertie regains some ability to speak and enquires of Jeeves how he’d come to be there, Jeeves then explaining what he’d learned from Sir Watkyn and how he’d been hoping to intercept Bertie before he spoke with Plank, then stating, per Bertie’s request, what had been explained to Stiffy by Sir Watkyn, the results being he’d told Bertie’s Uncle Tom a lie in order to make him feel inferior to Sir Watkyn’s good fortune in his acquisition. Bertie then realizes Sir Watkyn’s terrible sense of satisfaction he must have gotten from this and gives Jeeves his warmest regards in coming to his rescue. Jeeves then lets Bertie in on Plank’s heritage as well as interests and before Bertie could drive off to relieve himself of the statuette upon Stiffy, Jeeves tells him of how it would be best for all if Bertie let Jeeves return it for how Sir Watkyn was out for Bertie’s blood, we soon getting the proof upon Bertie’s return, to his optimistically innocent surprise.

Sir Watkyn implements his search with no results which favored his declaration of stolen goods and when Stiffy shows up and decides to insult the man for the seemingly stupid idea Bertie was the culprit, going on to tell him to look in his locked collection room, upon he doing so, realizing Bertie’s innocence and giving a humble apology, but upon the conclusion of this mess, Bertie gets thrust with another difficult situation in relation to Madeline, who is annoyed with Gussie again with how he reacted to one of her flighty statements in regards to nature and then going off on her about Sir Roderick, she revealing to Bertie, upon his hypothetical questioning, being if she’d found out Gussie, on top of which, had strayed from his forced vegetarian diet, she would drop him like a hot-cake.

The next morning Bertie is seen being a husk of his former self with the dose of reality Madeline gives him and realizing how serious of a rupture Madeline and Gussie were dealing with when Jeeves comes to bring Bertie his cup of tea. Bertie gets right into relating the issues between the not-so-love-y lovebirds and due to the strain and learning the school treat was the same afternoon, Bertie decides he’s going to skip it and take lunch with his Uncle Tom instead, he wanting Jeeves to accompany, but discovering he’ll be helping with the tea at the school treat. Bertie has a reinvigorating luncheon with his Uncle and goes back to Totleigh in renewed spirit which inspires the optimism Gussie will get back into his love-induced ways through eating meats once he’s able to go back to London and everything will fix itself since women usually get obsessed with something and then drop it once giving it a thorough try most of the time. Jeeves locates Bertie when he arrives, offering a refreshing drink and relating to Bertie his making off unscathed at the tea tent, Sir Watkyn and Gussie not being so lucky. Gussie then walks in to borrow some cigarettes from Bertie, Jeeves having gone to prepare Bertie’s drink, Gussie confiding he was planning on walking with Emerald Stoker, which Bertie couldn’t help but feel the warning alarms in his actions also learning Stinker was looking for him. Bertie then discusses this with Jeeves and realizes Stiffy was baffled by Sir Watkyn’s idea Stinker might not be able to handle his own vicarage due to not being able to keep the children in order at the treat. Sensing all of these variables troublesome, Bertie is about to suggest retreat out of Totleigh when Roderick Spode bursts in and Bertie must regard why he’s decided to barge in on him, responding with grace and acceptance.

Sir Roderick enquires whether Bertie knew where Gussie was and since Bertie believed Spode had no good reason knowing the whole truth, tells him he doesn’t due to having been out with family and returned, inquiring if Jeeves knew, but he already having left the room. Sir Roderick then states why he’s looking for Gussie and it having to do with breaking a valuable vertebrae, Bertie wondering why he’s consistently looking to break these parts of Bertie and now Gussie. Spode divulging his reasons since he believed Bertie held the same emotion, it being for the love of Madeline, Spode revealing to him Gussie having been found kissing the cook, he moving off and leaving Bertie devoid of life for a moment before hunting for Gussie, his decision of going in the opposite direction of Spode working sparklingly and put a light under his nose to halloo to Gussie for how calm he was currently. Gussie continues to stay along this temperament, regardless of what Bertie tells him, firstly mentioning his kiss with Emerald, Gussie enchanted and pleased with himself for having done so, he mentioning how she’d aided him with his bitten leg and then given him a package of sandwiches, comparing how Madeline had reacted to his bite, it being unfavorable.

Gussie then mentions how he planned on marrying Emerald, Bertie trying to dissuade him by mentioning how her father was, but realizing after it wouldn’t matter since the man’s character couldn’t be as bad as Bassett. Bertie is then called over by Stiffy and Stinker and so leaves Gussie for the moment, promising to resume their discussion quite soon and informing the two S’s of how he’d heard about their situation through Jeeves and how terrible it must be, Bertie then asking whether there was something he could do, Stiffy mentioning there was and to stay away from Bassett until he cooled due to Bertie’s penchant of setting the man off. Bertie was a bit affronted by the idea he would go in search of Bassett’s company, confirming he’d gladly keep his distance then stating he was returning to speak with Gussie which reminded Stiffy of something she’d then remembered to mention to Gussie as well, calling him over and describing Spode’s blood-thirsty search for him to which Gussie reproachfully wondered why Bertie hadn’t told him, which of course Bertie states he’d forgotten to mention, but Gussie would do better to away like a rabbit from a wolf, which Gussie didn’t fail to do, but unfortunately in the direction Spode was approaching from, running into him.

They both pause to get their bearings which gives Spode the necessary time to catch Gussie before continuing his mad dash away. Gussie’s glasses fall with being shaken so thoroughly by Spode, Bertie wanting to be able to alleviate the situation for his childhood chum somehow. Stiffy also had the same thoughts in mind for Stinker, who mulled over his options deciding to start with a verbal hold to his actions, but upon noticing no change in Spode’s grip on Gussie, tries putting a hand on his shoulder, soon tugging at him, Spode finally loosening his hold only to squarely hit Stinker in the middle of his face to which Stinker is seen realizing his high position as curate fade as he showed Spode what he was made of, leaving him realizing his position, newly prostrate on the ground. The scene seemed to have made Gussie withdraw into a dazed state which Bertie promptly surfaces him from by informing him to move along before Spode regains his senses and after a certain amount of distance is made suggests he ask to borrow Stiffy’s car so as to stay properly out of reach of Spode, Gussie agreeing, but instead of making haste, goes to visit Emerald, Gussie and he both describing their experience. Spode not being far behind and running in to them in the middle of this when he resumes his grip on Gussie and gives Emerald the opportunity to be the second person to come to his rescue, she armed with a china basin, which puts Spode down for the second time. Then Madeline turns up which Emerald moves quickly to avoid being seen and Gussie takes the fall for Spode’s unconsciousness, Madeline making it clear she wasn’t feeling any love toward Gussie anymore and so he takes the opportunity to eat a ham sandwich; Wonderful. Bertie then bows out hastily and quietly, seeing Jeeves coming back from the vet with Stiffy’s dog, he relating what has gone on and for the first time, Jeeves not having a way out for Bertie at the moment, so Bertie goes off in search of a drink which leads him to Sir Watkyn even though he’d promised not to mingle, but he needed a snifter and has a couple before Stiffy walks in, visibly annoyed he was there, as well, but it not stopping her informing Sir Watkyn even though he was looking forward to dinner, he wouldn’t be getting it for the cook having eloped with Gussie.

Bertie then describes how he’d constantly been mystified by how one person can be happy and the other sad about the same news, but found himself in the situation with he feeling terrible and Sir Watkyn being on the moon once hearing of Gussie and Emerald eloping. Bertie then learns through Stiffy’s chat with Sir Watkyn Gussie had not only borrowed her car for the cause, but had gone to his Aunt Dahlia’s to leave Emerald so he could go on to London to get a license from the Arch Bishop in approval to the betrothal, this taking him a bit off-guard. Stiffy then decides to try and cast her line of getting Stinker the vicarage he’d been denied due to Sir Watkyn’s elated mood, which worked out well, he consenting happily and then going after his daughter to possibly console her newly becoming single once more. Stiffy was in mid-rejoicing of her good luck for Stinker when Bertie brings to her attention after her long-winded optimism paused for a moment, she should probably get Sir Watkyn’s agreement in writing, she being thrown in to paranoia and rushing to have it done, Bertie being left alone a moment before Jeeves enters to tell him of a phone call for him.

Bertie goes off to take the call with dread at the idea it could be his Aunt Dahlia since he believed he may have done something to upset her, but happens upon her in a pleasant mood, wondering why “Fink-bottle” is at her door with his fiancée, Bertie explaining, long-windedly he had no idea Fink-Nottle had planned to go and visit her, she not waiting for the end of his long explanation, but confessing to him she was pleased about seeing the girl due to her ability to cook since Anatole had gone to bed, ill. His Aunt Dahlia then asking about what was happening with himself and Madeline, he hoping there would be nothing to report, she then getting to the point of her call, the fact she wanted to get him to buy the black statuette off of Sir Watkyn for her husband also putting out the idea he could make it easier by stealing it, but gave him a cap if he did decide to see if Sir Watkyn would sell it. Bertie contemplating this until Spode enters the room.

Bertie greets Spode too familiarly in the hopes of sounding natural, but only getting glared at for the effort, Spode then tells Bertie how he’d been searching for him and getting on his nerves with the repetitive “eh’s” and “oh’s”. Sir Watkyn then comes in looking deflated from his high of Madeline unhitched, now having decided Bertie would marry her, Bertie taking it well since he knew this is what she’d do and Sir Roderick then deciding he would have to speak with Madeline with the hope of talking her out of it. When he leaves, Bertie is saved from conversation with Sir Watkyn since Stiffy and Stinker were walking in.

Bertie pitied the two for still on their upswing of good news by Sir Watkyn, they being unaware of what his feelings seemed to show after being told about how Stinker had defended himself against Sir Roderick. Stiffy greeting Sir Watkyn and leading in to the idea of putting their agreement on paper, which he swiftly gets to his side of where they now stood, it being not so close to the promised vicarage. Stiffy at first doesn’t get what he’s not aiming to do, but then protests, Stinker trying to get his thoughts out for explanation which Sir Watkyn didn’t seem to be helping, his statements of what Stinker sounded like when he tried making Stinker stutter; ha-ha. Stiffy comes to his rescue, explaining why he’d popped Sir Roderick, it being in defense of Gussie. Sir Watkyn, considering this still didn’t change his mind about the vicarage, which Stiffy claimed would haunt him for the underestimation of “the power of a woman”, stalking out of the room. Sir Watkyn then gets news of a constable coming by to tell him of the identity of the egg-thrower, motivating Sir Watkyn out of the room to meet the constable. Stinker than asking Bertie what he thought Stiffy had meant with her foreboding words, Bertie not knowing, but how he would’ve handled it if it were aimed at him, then noticing through a window Plank was waiting outside. Bertie goes into stealth-mode and hunkers behind a sofa whilst stating to Stinker to keep it quiet with the minimal explanation of not wanting to be seen, before Plank is led into the room.

Plank makes idle conversation with Stinker until Sir Watkyn enters, speaking of their not having dinner at home this night and getting the suggestion of needing to go to the pub and if he were in West Africa how he’d have the option of sitting in with the Chief for supper, Sir Watkyn not seeing how this was helpful, at all. When Sir Watkyn withdraws to reconvene with Madeline in their conversation with her terrible choice of a new husband, Plank inquires after Pinker, Stinker making it clear he was one and the same, Plank offering him a vicarage and Stinker readily accepting. Plank goes on making conversation and Stinker tells him how he was getting married to Stiffy, Plank recognizing all the surnames mentioned and having a story about similarly named fellows he’d been on safari with, he concluding with happy endings for the chaps which weren’t all that happy. Bertie meanwhile is feeling quite back-stabbed by Jeeves when Plank tells Stinker of how he’d learned of his being a prop-forward and when all leave, Jeeves enters with a tray as Bertie stretches out from his uncomfortable position behind the sofa.

Bertie tries to stay grave when speaking with Jeeves posing an impossible way to answer his question of why Jeeves would send Plank to Totleigh Towers. Jeeves appeases Bertie’s hard feelings for being put into such an uncomfortable position, he having to hide behind the sofa and all, Bertie then remembering to tell Jeeves of his impending marriage and for Jeeves to put his noggin to the grind. Stiffy then walks in and looking quite morose, Bertie springs the news of Stinker’s good luck, she unbelieving at first and then deciding to rub it in ole Sir Watkyn’s face, then showing what she’d nicked from Sir Watkyn once more and wanting Bertie to return the item since she’d gotten the good news of Plank helping Stinker with a vicarage.

Jeeves takes over the task and Bertie is left in the room figuring an exit through the window to be best, but soon learns it won’t work since the dog, Bartholomew had set up camp outside, Madeline walking in and Bertie taking refuge behind the sofa once more to hopefully wait out her consoling herself with folk tunes (which Bertie had no fondness for) whilst playing on the piano. Spode then walks in and confronts Madeline about her terrible decision to marry Bertie albeit the lack of love she felt for him, thinking he had the dumb look of love for her, Sir Roderick deciding to come right out with his true feelings toward her. Meanwhile Bertie had to stay hidden through this and the blaspheming of his name, Sir Roderick trying to get Madeline to understand how superficial and idiotic Bertie was, as well as a thief, finally leaving the room to verify his story with Sir Watkyn all in order to get Madeline to agree to his proposal.

Jeeves then enters the room to confirm Sir Roderick’s story and after Sir Watkyn, with Plank and Sir Roderick re-entering for a drink and to tell Madeline of the truth of Bertie’s sticky fingers and the proof of his black statuette. Madeline then finally agrees to Sir Roderick’s proposal and after leaving with Sir Roderick who had something to privately discuss with her, Sir Watkyn and Plank have drinks in celebration with Plank finally discovering Bertie who finally makes his presence realized with a sneeze, ending his quiet hide-out and Sir Watkyn calling for his butler to call for the police chief who was still in his home having a drink in the kitchen so he could press charges against Bertie.

Bertie gets his walk with the Iron Arm of the Law and spends a night in a jail cell all to himself, once morning dawning, making a list to be certain he’d done everything he’d meant to and coming to the conclusion he’d made out fairly well, then getting a visit from Stiffy. She being quite remorseful to his plight, but Bertie stopping her from her point of view for having been saved from marrying Madeline, whom he had no hard feelings toward, not wanting to be married in general and then the Police Chief comes back to inform them Bertie had been let off the hook by Sir Watkyn in he wasn’t pressing charges. Stiffy was then about to invite Bertie to stick around and stay with Stinker, but Bertie was ready to leg it back home, she disappointed in his lack of backbone, in her eyes. Jeeves then pulls up in the car and once driving, tells Bertie of how he’d stimulated his release by Sir Watkyn, it being a condition Jeeves take employment with him, temporarily, Bertie surprised senseless by this notion and then realizing what Jeeves had done for him and offering him anything he desired in return, it being his beloved Alpine hat, which he was reluctant to part with, but upon weeding out the reasons, decided it was suitable. A good story and strong ending, as Jeeves and Wooster stories tend.

 

Shade’s Children

I read this book, I believe, in junior high. It’s one of those novels which sucks one into the story and doesn’t let go until the end and then leaving the reader wanting more. It’s about a group of kids, set in the future, when all the adults are gone. Poof, gone; Plus this set of teenagers are trying to survive in a world run by machines when at 12 years old one might as well kiss life goodbye because by that age one is old enough to become a drone of some kind or food.

So there’s a rogue group who are trying to change things and Gold Eye, the main character is rescued by them and starts going along on missions where he learns more about life, love and growing up.

I really enjoyed this book and if readers have previously liked any of Nix’s other works this one should be added to the list. As well as if one starts on this: I started with this book, it will be appreciated and the addiction to his work most likely will continue. After reading this, whilst also reading The Seventh Tower series (also very good) check out my review for The Abhorsen Chronicles.