Rose Madder

 https://2aughlikecrazy.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/rose-madder/

A woman, Rose, is having trouble breathing as she sees her husband, Norman after he gets home. She’s pregnant and not having felt a pain similar to this in her life, she hoping nothing is wrong, but feeling like there might be, since it is hinted of Norman having punched her a few times in the stomach. She’s close to miscarrying and he’s on the phone, she thinking of his status as a cop, and in the process of calling an ambulance. She wants to scream in pain, but Norman didn’t allow such noise, and when he ends the call, he regards the mess around them, she showing her bloody fingers in response as he picks up the shredded paperback she’d been reading and placing blame on his temper to it, she knowing he would’ve done the same with anything she could’ve been doing, he prickly because some woman was hassling him. As he dumps the trashed novel, she starts cramping and having thoughts of loathing of him without truly registering them.

When Norman returns, he has such a look and demeanor, she thinks he means to murder her, but instead, handsome Norman approaches to pick her up, after having told the emergency dispatcher he wouldn’t, but he needing the story he gave to stick, so places her at the foot of the stairs. She begins bleeding more profusely as he checks the spot in the corner for blood, then goes to the kitchen and comes out with a sandwich and rag, cleaning up the spot in the corner. When they hear the ambulance approach, he makes certain she knows the story and then has her say what would happen if she mentioned anything else. Before he walks away to get the door, she stops him to ask why he’d done it, he looking scared for a moment, then claiming it was an accident and she’d be able to have another baby. The EMT give her something to make her sleep and she drifts into a dream where she’s running away from something she knew would catch her (Rose doesn’t seem quite strong, she wanting a baby by this numbskull). It’s told she stays in Norman’s crazy world for nine more years.

Rose spends fourteen years with him, in all, she able to ignore most of it since she usually only received four beatings per year, but the Wendy Yarrow year brought twelve, Rose having to be taken to the hospital after the miscarriage for coughing up blood, learning her lung was being poked by a broken rib, and even though the staff didn’t seem to believe her “falling” story, they only patch her up and let her go, it being 1985. Norman knew he skirted getting in trouble though, so intended to be more tactful. It’s then shared of what Rose had gone through with Norman and what finally gets her attention being a spot of blood. She debates whether to change the sheets, she wanting to save some work by moving the pillow over it, most anything to do with how she kept house being under scrutiny for a physical reprimand, he normally careful not to clock her in the face, but when his temper flared, she still having to be careful not to make a mess or be loud in any way. After one of the unruly temper flares, he gauges the damage done to her nose, gets her an ice-filled wash cloth to minimize swelling and bleeding, she noting the next morning it had done the job for the most part, with the exception of this errant drop on the sheet. Rose didn’t look forward to remaking the entire bed since Norman’s favorite spot to punch her was her back, which after fourteen years had begun to leave noticeable signs of her kidney’s being hit. She considers how if she kept allowing this, Norman could kill her, but the worst thought being he may not.

To Rose’s surprise, she began to feel rage and considered leaving, but at the same time attempting to abate the feeling and talk herself out of it for Norman being a decent provider, regardless of being a smidgen temperamental. Rose couldn’t let it go though, since not being able to stop staring at the blood, considering how her life would be after fourteen more years, the damage she could live through, she then walking out of the bedroom, grabbing her bag and struggling to open the door, then deciding to grab their ATM card even whilst her beaten side begged her not to, but the drop of blood giving her drive, then hesitating no longer, walking outside, she ready to get the hell out of there. As she passes the store, she thought of how Norman claimed to have developed his sixth sense and whether she needed to be more careful in being seen, she then noticing his car coming down the street, she thinking of a believable reason for being out, but not needing to for having scared herself needlessly, she determined to turn onto the next street so as to avoid his driving route. She walks along a residential neighborhood, she desperately needing a bathroom and was lucky to choose a home of someone who had been away for a couple of days already, relieving herself in the backyard, she lightening physically and mentally by her actions.

Rosie, as she prefers to be called, walks for almost two hours before locating a pay phone and calling a cab, she buys sunglasses and a kerchief for her hair before it comes, she requesting an ATM and bus depot, meanwhile deciding she’d return to her maiden name, only when necessary using Norman’s. When getting to the ATM, she then struggles with the amount to withdraw, she ending up going for a few bills since she may as well, she in for trouble either way by now. She makes it to the bus depot, again having to work up her motivation to continue, she entering the building and trashing the card, it being noticed and fished, after she’d moved on, and once getting to the ticket window, contemplates a name to give, she flubbing up and saying the fake name rather than where she wanted to go, feeling quite out of place for not having socialized outdoors for fourteen years. She gets her ticket, though and once on the bus and out of sight of the police station, she relaxing to the point of dozing and seems to enter the Territories, at first sight tranquil, but then sensing wild creatures, and what ends up jerking her awake is the thought of Norman’s fist coming at her, and whilst relieved to be away from him, she knew she couldn’t slip up from covering her tracks, she not certain he wouldn’t still detect her whereabouts, but ready for whatever she found ahead.

Rosie’s first few weeks were tough, but she didn’t have second thoughts, regardless of being fear-stricken. When she’d gotten to the second bus terminal, she didn’t entertain the thought of walking outside so early in the morning, thinking the worst if she did, so heads for a seat as two cops pass, she hoping they’d leave her alone until dawn broke in a few hours. At four, she gets some cereal and coffee at the cafeteria, she then spotting a customer service desk, and debating whether to ask for assistance, she deciding to go for it, and the man attentive enough to ask about her vague plans, nothing coming of it, and she asking for his opinion, he offering her his card where he wrote the address of a battered women’s shelter on the back, then giving her directions so she could go at daylight. When she walks off the bus in the morning, to continue on foot, she loses her way and the people around didn’t look friendly to ask for directions, she walking in the wrong direction for three hours, then regaining some familiarity when recognizing where she’d started. The first person she asks about directions isn’t accommodating, but at least solidifies the truth of the place being known and when seeing a shop, is told how she was sixteen to eighteen blocks away. When she finally gets to the right street, her second encounter with a citizen in regards to whether she was close to the cross street she was looking for again began badly, she learning nothing, but does eventually get there, turning the wrong way, but righting herself, and reaching the house. When buzzing the door, she is instructed to show the business card given, she finally allowed inside.

As Norman contemplates his first move to locating Rosie, she was being led to Anna, the proprietress, when first arriving, given a meal, allowed to sleep, then another meal before seeing her, whom upon getting Rosie’s name, asks for the details of how she’d left. Anna then informs Rosie how long she could stay, if needed and how Providence had led her there like in a Charles Dickens novel, then she asks about Rosie’s skills which makes her break down for not knowing or able to do much, but Anna taking it lightly and offering her a job at a partnering hotel. She assigns her a counselor to shadow, then making clear Rosie is getting the chance to free herself from Norman, officially welcoming her. Three weeks later, Norman gets a lead from the guy, Ramon, whom Rosie passes in the bus station rummaging for the bank card, he now confronting Norman in the park as he relayed how he’d been instructed to meet him out there, the man having been arrested on a drug charge and the ATM card found on him.

The man was now sensing the trouble he was in with Norman, but getting offered being let go for his help, Norman doing a fairly odd thing after noting Ramon being gay, he feeling him up and talking about how he was going to be his good buddy since being laughed about by some cops he knew and then began squeezing Ramon’s boner in a vice grip. Ramon was glad he was able to answer Norman’s questions of what window and time she was in the station, not saving himself much pain. Norman then plans his next move of tracking her on weekends until he was free, he certain he’d detect her whereabouts easily enough and how he was going to teach her a severe lesson when he did. After being away for a month Rosie was noticing her physical changes for the better, working at the Whitestone Hotel. She liked how she knew what would happen throughout her day, she taking a banana break in the room she was finishing turning down, Pam sticking her head in and scaring Rosie, but asking if she wanted to join forces on the last two rooms, she taking her up on it and treating her to coffee and pie after. Rosie is content with her current set up, but expecting soon not having Norman around will be enough, she readying for the time it’ll be her turn to vacate the shelter as she drifts to sleep at night.

The next Wednesday, Pam leaves Rosie after work for not feeling well, she denying Rosie should accompany her in preference of she going to get coffee independently. Rosie then notices her wedding band, having forgotten she could get rid of it if she chose, but after seeing Pam off, walks to the cafe, but passing it as she became distracted by her memory of the pervert whilst she’d been lost her first day in the city. A young man stops her before she mindlessly walked into a busy street, she then aware how far past the cafe she’d gone, but as she approached the coffee shop, she decides to return home instead, then noticing the pawn shop, carefully deciding to see what her ring would fetch since she had no fond memories nor reservations holding her back, instead thinking about paying for her time at Daughters and Sisters hopefully having enough for herself after. When she guesses it actually wasn’t worth much, her thoughts confirmed by the young man behind the counter, she keeps it as a reminder to not be gullible again. As she makes her way out, a picture seems to grab her attention, of a woman on a hill, which she gravitated to for the new place she was going to get.

Rosie walks back with the painting and asks the young man if he’d be willing to trade for the ring as an older man watched, and when he agrees, Rosie is ecstatic, the two men discussing the odd qualities of the painting, she thinking about when she’d be able to hang it. Then, Rosie wished to complete the transaction so she could leave, the young man agreeable and wrapping it up. The older man follows her outside, introducing himself and asking she read a couple passages from a book, she at first guarded, but after the first paragraph, curious. When she had finished, Rob was delighted with her reading, she shocked when he gave her a job offer. Meanwhile, Norman had cleaned his desk of all unnecessary trash, he having specific thoughts on black people’s abilities when it came to work ethic, which he’d learned from his pappy. His home had switched roles, it looking bomb-blasted with trash whilst is desk at work was clean as a whistle. Norman had apparently been promoted, getting a real office, his bust going perfectly, he considering how his desk being this clean would have only come about if he’d been fired.

Norman then recalls how his assumption Rosie wouldn’t go far from her childhood town had set him back, he unable to know for certain which bus she’d taken, and whilst his job had taken a turn for the better, he was obsessed with the idea it canceled out with Rosie still missing, he having been blind by thinking she wouldn’t leave, the amount she took meaning nothing, only concerned with she having taken something of his, and he owing retribution. He also thought back to the women he’d had sex with since Rosie left, one in particular not living through it, he choking her when she resembled Rosie for a moment, but not being concerned after she’d died since he’d taken care of murders committed before. He then considered if Rosie knew of this, but shrugging it off, instead going through the meticulous process of tracking her down. He enlisted help from a neighboring city’s police station on false pretenses, nothing coming of it. As he readied to move his office belongings to his new office, he gets a call from the bus cashier, he remembering the odd way Rosie had asked for a ticket, Norman now feeling the upper hand returning, and easing him.

Rosie saw Pam sitting whilst watching an overweight, but muscle-y Gert with a punk-looking Cynthia, Gert teaching her self-defense, which she did for anyone who wanted to learn, Rosie having been taught some moves she didn’t expect to use, but appreciating Gert’s kindness and interest in her mentoring. As Rosie sat with Pam and relayed her time after Pam had gone home, Gert flipped Cynthia, whom squealed upon the take-down giddily, bouncing back quickly, Pam wanting to hear more about the younger guy than giving her opinion on the painting Rosie tried to focus her on. Gert was encouraging Cynthia to help flip her in return, Cynthia exhilarated once succeeding, Anna then walking in and sobering her victory with how she had only aided Gert’s body to follow it’s own inertia. Rosie then asked her opinion of the picture when she’d shown interest, there now seven ladies staring and not saying a word until Rosie prompts a response, feeling awkward, receiving the similar opinion of it being strange. Soon, Cynthia is relating a story where she’d had a similar experience to Rosie’s in regards to a picture her mother owned, drawing her in, she not knowing what happened to the painting, but guessing her mother had trashed it. Anna then states Rosie needed to come to the office with her after she told them all about her new job offer, she admitting it may regard what Rosie had been waiting for.

Anna describes the studio Rosie would be getting being one of their better ones, Rosie overcome with happiness in moving forward. Anna then asks after how Rosie was feeling in regards to Norman attempting to locate her, Daughters and Sisters policy being to not discuss where anyone relocated to, with outsiders. Anna prompts Rosie to go through how she’d deal with the possibility he did find her, they moving on to her financial stability to maintain the apartment and her new job’s unknown stability as of yet, until she started, she not knowing, but believing it will pan out, she also knowing she had back ups on the off chance it fell through. Anna lets her know she could move in the next day if she chose and hoped she would attend the upcoming picnic, she continuing to study the painting and noting how the painter hadn’t signed it and the printing of ‘Rose Madder’ on the back seemed much newer than the picture, it looking 40 years or older.

Norman leaves by bus, the day before Rosie begins her new position, he ignoring how much her ditching him had affected him, and needing to infiltrate her mind once more, quickly. He allows himself to blind himself to the fact it was about how he hadn’t sensed her movements and less about the card theft. He attempts to track when she could’ve decided her escape and how long she planned it out. Once on the bus though, trying to sense which seat she’d have chosen, he then going over how much effort telepathy took in practice. As he traveled, he attempts to retrace her steps at the rest stops as well, he repeating his new mantra and eager in imagining he was underneath her bed so he could stab her. When arriving at the final stop, he gauges what her next step would’ve been, distracting himself for a moment with the thought some low-life could’ve killed her before he could, but then getting back on track and after doing a step-for-step of Rosie’s movements, learns the information desk man’s name, then goes to a cab where he’s taken to The Whitestone. Meanwhile, Rosie is slowly becoming overwhelmed by the actual doing of her new job, fear setting in when sitting in the recording booth. Thoughts breaking her self-worth returning as she starts talking herself out of succeeding, worse case scenarios in how she’d survive crashing on her, as well. Then, thought’s of her picture motivated her to sit down as asked, gaining courage by thinking of the woman in the picture, and once talking to allow the sound engineer to level the console, everyone looking pleased with Rosie’s speaking voice. She has one more thought of insecurity before action, but begins her lines like a champ.

When finished for the day, Rosie goes to Daughters and Sisters to update them of her day, she still riding the buzz and even agreeing to ask shop owners in her area  to post their fliers to sell tickets for the picnic and concert, also to remember to mention they weren’t gay and didn’t harbor underage runaways, a couple of the reasons sales were low. Rosie knew she wouldn’t be putting it in those terms, but would talk them up as best she could, she again reveling in being on her own.  She then thinks for a moment, in the painting, the woman’s toga’s creases had changed, but deciding she’d tricked herself, now talking aloud to her like she would a good buddy about how she sensed she had needed to prove to the director she could do the work. When she looked outside, the car she saw pull up didn’t bother her like it normally would, she then distracted by seeing more of one of the two “gods'” faces, thinking then the painting had expanded, but realizing it actually seemed more like she’d gotten a widescreen view and this helped her discovery of new statues in the picture. Rose froze when the light, rapid knocking began, she kicking herself for not locking the door and putting off buying a phone for a better deal, but does remember her groceries containing some cans, and after grabbing the largest, announces of coming.

Norman is then shown on his hotel bed smoking, back-story of when he’d started and how Rosie’s family had died, following. Norman not having felt bad for them since Rose’s father in particular had tended to ask probing questions Norman didn’t deem viable as he was no longer in charge of his daughter. Then it’s told of Norman picking up his two pack a day habit after eleven years, he planning on quelling his stress with smoke and control over his style of divorce. Norman then readied to leave, he feeling charmed in his chances of detecting Rosie, he taking the bus for anonymity and once getting out, uses his map to guide himself to Information desk man, Peter’s home. When he gets to the door, he thinks about how his plan involved the man not speaking to anyone after he was finished, so he not bothering with a face mask, and when Peter answers the door, he senses Norman was bad news, but couldn’t shut his door in time, Norman kicking it closed behind him and similarly threatening to assault him the way he had Ramon. He proceeds to locate oven mitts, then leads Peter to his cellar, Norman satisfied with his results, but needing to dispose of his shirt and mitts later.

Bill Steiner, from the pawn shop waited outside Rose’s door with flowers, she having made such an impression, he was unnerved by attempting to ask her out, and intrigued as well as smitten as he’d been before holding out the flowers as a peace-offering when she opened the door with her raised can of fruit in the air. Rosie ended up agreeing to the date out of relief for not needing to use the fruit-weapon, as he drove, she now paranoid of Norman catching her, but when seeing the warm atmosphere of the restaurant, it receding temporarily, flaring up again when her ‘Norman voice’ begins talking her out of staying, she then visualizing her picture and calming. Rosie confesses of being fine after Bill inquires, adding she was a bit afraid, which once Rosie elaborates of Bill being the second man she’s been out with, he announcing of feeling similarly, they then led to a booth. They first discussed how he’d gotten Rosie’s address, he automatically calling her Rosie to her delight, they then discussing some important topics about Rosie’s marital status and the two vowing to be up front with the other, Bill to Rosie, and the latter to herself in return to Bill. Their chat turns to lighter interests as their night progressed, thoughts of Norman only invading as Bill walked her to her door. She debates asking him in, but when doing so, is declined, he again mentioning how strongly he was affected by her. When he asks for a second date, Rosie is again flattered, but then remembers the picnic, she passing along this revelation, and he offering to drive her back before her t-shirt selling shift, which still made her first instinct to pass up the offer, but the Rose Madder picture making her want to match the imagined bravery of the figure, so instead consents and also has him agree to stay at the concert with her, Bill all for it and suggesting a coat due to chill in the morning, then leaving on a charged excitement.

After she secures the door, she notices another change in the painting, some trees now visible on one side with the statue and a pony with cart and possible other person on the other. As she readied for bed, she thought only of her date, then dreams between sleep and wakefulness about the little girl she doesn’t have and the man, Richie Bender whom had caused all the issues of 1985 in some way, then going deeper into unconsciousness. Norman was also going to sleep, only three miles from Rosie, he also thinking of Richie Bender, the reason being he the one accused of a shooting in Payless. A clerk pointed him out and gave detailed directions to his motel room where Norman and his partner found Wendy Yarrow, they physically and sexually assaulting her and Norman sustaining scratches the two claim she’d made. They close, but not locating Richie Bender’s room, their official reprimand in regards to the excessive force of her broken fingers. Norman then vows to deal with Rose and proceeds to fall asleep. As Rosie was drifting off (one thing I’m getting annoyed with being these overlapped time-frames, also happening in Firestarter), she thinks of the Wendy Yarrow case after she’d found a lawyer, on the course to making more trouble by filing a civil case. She’s discovered murdered in an obvious crime of passion, multiple stab wounds and cut bosom. When Rosie had heard the story, she puts together what had happened, she going deeper into sleep as her thoughts turn to Bill, smelling grass sleepily and thinking it was from the park, but then when thunder and crickets are heard, realizing she’d closed her window and had seen a clear night earlier.

In the late afternoon of a Wednesday, Rosie was on feeling grand as she got a cup of coffee at the cafe, a bit out of her way now, but comfortable with the spot, she reveling in knowing the fact they wanted her for the readings of the other novels in the series. Then she recalls how she’d been told by Rhoda, the director whilst she snuck a smoke in the bathroom, relaying to Rosie of Robbie planning on offering her a contract, but to watch out for herself and not sign only for gratitude, she attempting to make her realize how much talent she had, Rosie halfway believing, but also becoming annoyed by her attempt to instill caution. Rhoda then makes clear what Rosie should ask for, the number shocking her, Rhoda asking how she’d gotten such vocal control without being a singer, Rosie recalling the times she’d had to manager her breathing for pain. Rob calls to set up a lunch meeting with her, afterwards getting similar advice from Curtis, the sound guy, then thinking about her date and bright future as she finished her pastry. Meanwhile, Pam finished her shift and was heading toward the cafe, Norman waiting for the walk sign with her, she feeling an aversion due to his eyes, and Rosie promptly getting a second tea for no particular reason. Norman was looking at Pam’s butt, glancing inside the cafe she’d walked into, seeing Rosie without knowing, she resembling Rose Madder.

Pam doesn’t recognize her at first, either, but yelps when it hits her, and the two take their drinks to their old table, Rosie sharing her good news and accepting another pastry, even though she planned on keeping off the fifteen pounds she’d lost after getting to the city. Pam was still processing Rosie’s new look in shock, her face looking younger and the blonde hair apparently working on her, seeing how Rosie had copied Rose Madder’s style, and deducing Rosie having met someone, she bursting out laughing in reply. When Rosie’d walked home for her energized happiness, she remembered how she’d dreamed she and Bill were riding his bike in the scenery of the painting, she forgetting the magic word which had made them fly, but then undoing the French braid she’d given herself, she hearing a cricket, catching it, and rationalizing how this is the cricket she must’ve heard last night, her inner voice mentioning how it’d sounded like an orchestra of them, then before dumping it out the window, she realized the cricket couldn’t have hitched a ride on Bill, and when the cricket jumps, she discovers two dead ones along with a pink clover, slowly looking at the painting, the pony now seen grazing. It didn’t taker her long to start thinking the evidence she’d collected came from her picture, and whilst she knew it was a mad way to think, she believed it, the idea most likely receding if other people were present, but currently the fantastic supposition sticking.

Rosie examined the picture closely at her kitchen counter, the back where the paper had writing, crinkling more than before when she had touched it. She reached for a knife as her timid conscience urged her to stop, she hesitating a moment longer before carefully cutting it, some dead and one live cricket falling out with a dead leaf, some more clover flowers, and grass. She then continues to trace the outer edge of the backing with her knife, and with removing the paper, detects more dead insects and some gray hairs she deduced was from the pony. Rosie then thinks matter-of-factly to herself of her obvious loss of common sense once more. She decides to separate picture from frame, she probing the naked canvas until her phone’s ring scares the bejesus out of her. She picks up to hear Anna preparing to deliver some news which may or may not involve her. After hearing what she relays, Rosie hangs up before deciding whether she was going to spend her night at Daughters and Sisters, calling Bill to inform him of not being able to see him, not wanting to explain, and after hanging up, revealing her thoughts of belief it was Norman, and he’d murdered Anna’s ex, Peter. Norman was setting himself up with a mild disguise before heading to Daughters and Sisters. He remembered the aches he’d woken up with which stemmed from his fastly regretted time with Peter, it not in the paper yet, but knowing a man like Peter would be looked for soon enough, and then he seeing the paper a day later to note his thoughts  had been realized, the story covered on the front page. Norman also does his research about the Daughters and Sisters organization, learning Anna’s connection to Peter, he sensing the ladies would be quite careful now. Norman reaches the house, walking on the sidewalk across the street from it, getting a good eyeful in small doses, keeping his pace leisurely. He’s briefly noticed by Cynthia, he having to calm himself before returning her wave, he then moving along. He stays deep in thought as he walks away, soon stress-biting his finger until it bled, he then noticing a sign for fresh rolls, and the Daughters and Sisters flier.

Rosie wasn’t having a productive day at work due to her almost sleepless night, Rhoda calling an early lunch and Rosie attempting to make she and Curtis believe she’d do better at noon. When she gets to the lobby, Bill is waiting for her. She’s at first uncertain and scared, but when he confesses of being unable to do as she’d bid, she is overwhelmed with being in unknown territory, but when he gives her an opening for a hug, she takes it automatically. As they walk, she confides how happy she was he’d come to see her, she beginning to share the fear she’d had about Norman being close, but first has him buy them a couple hot dogs before getting down to the grit. After she had a bite, she has a moment to think he’d stop talking to her after this, but decides to dive in, starting with how they’d met. By the end, she’d shared Anna’s information, the police not having released the killer having bitten Peter over thirty six times, she expecting Bill to ask why she’d put up with him for so long, but instead inquiring whether she thought Norman had killed Wendy Yarrow, she thinking it possible, but then having to get back for being five minutes late. As they go, she explains her worry about Anna thinking Norman could be dealt with like any other abusive husband, and why Rosie wouldn’t go to the police like Bill had suggested, she also explaining how another women’s group had gathered intelligence on Norman, and Daughters and Sisters now knew what he looked like. The conversation winds down as they reach her building and are met by Rhoda and Curt outside. Rosie introduces them to Bill and he takes the opportunity to finalize their plans to go out Saturday, Rosie reluctantly agreeing and he walking off, Rhoda remarking on his charming looks.

On Thursday, Rosie calls Anna to make certain she hadn’t heard anything more about Norman, this being so, and relaying the remembrance for Peter happening on the same day as the picnic, then realistically explaining to Rosie about how common it was for battered women to believe their spouse capable of murder, the two moving on to other topics after. Rosie then attempts to sleep, but is distracted by the noise of a baby’s cry, thunder, crickets, and lightning, finally getting to sleep, but being woken by a bright flash and thunder, when looking at her window, seeing a real scene of the painting, her view of the street replaced. Rosie ignored her conscience as she steps into the picture-no-longer-picture. After stepping through and looking back for her bedroom, it wasn’t there, an easel and painting of Rosie in her outfit for the outing with Bill in front of her, she unnerved as she also sees the pony and a woman with it in front of her now, whilst Rose Madder still looked down at the temples. The young woman reassures the pony didn’t mean to startle her when he’d bumped his head into her, she recognizing the lady as Wendy Yarrow, now certain she was dreaming.

When she hears the baby cry for a moment again, Wendy warns Rosie not to look straight at Rose Madder after hearing her call to her, which Rosie then turns to approach, noting something odd about her hairline, Rosie unaware she was meeting her twinner, but getting the gist when she showed Rosie her scar, which she had on the opposite hand. Rose Madder then relates how she would return whatever Rosie did for her, then requesting she bring her baby to her. Rose Madder bids Rosie go to the temple, Wendy accompanying her only so far, since also having what Rose Madder had, only not as bad, yet. Wendy warns her of the bull, Erinyes whom guarded the temple which hurt Rosie’s eyes to look at, Wendy instructing her to rip two strips of her gown, using one to wrap a rock in as the rain began to fall. Wendy cuts herself and soaks a piece of cloth, then instructs Rosie on what she must do with it as she uses the second cloth to cover her wound.

Rosie is urged to walk through the temple and not to stop until through it, it unable to harm her for only containing spirits. She then relates how Rosie would get to the baby and return to Rose Madder, but to be careful of Erinyes. She walks, uncomfortably naked and cold to the temple, the statue’s face is of the perv outside the bar, when she enters, she’s still quite cold, recognizing the details inside to the church she used to attend and against Wendy’s advice, picks up a book, which smelled terrible upon opening. She walks through to the dead garden to the stream where the stepping stones lay, she considering drinking for the thirst and the possibly upside in forgetting all, but thinking of Bill keeping her moving and across, she entering a forest where the trees looked like they had shrieking faces on the trunks, finally seeing the tree in the clearing with the fruit. She collects quite a few as she’s overwhelmed by the wonderful aroma, saving herself in time, she almost licking her fingers. She then walks toward the tunnel with the word “Maze” above it, the baby’s cries now infrequent. After getting down the over 200 steps, she debates which of the four break-offs from the main tunnel she should take, bringing back her extremely loud cry she’d not used since childhood, the baby screaming and the bull hearing, moving as well, but Rosie deciding on which tunnel and starting through.

When Rosie reaches another spot where she must decide which passage to choose, it dawns on her why she had the seeds, she placing one at the next tunnel she tries, but it being a dead end, so replaces it at a different entrance. Rosie had been doing this for some time when she begins to see a heightened brightness, now having only three seeds left. Finally though, she sees the baby, she wondering whom she truly was and whom had left her there, but letting this go as she picks up the child and is readying to leave when Erinyes detects her, it taking Rosie a few moments to figure out what she must do, unwrapping the rock and tossing it away from the tunnel she needed, streaking for it (no pun intended) as Erinyes charged. Rosie makes it a bit away until Erinyes almost catches up, but Rosie continues on with no real trouble, only scaring herself when not seeing a seed she thought she’d put down at first, eventually locating it and going on. She reaches the steps and gets out with only minor aches, retracing her steps to the stones at the stream, what had previously drawn her to drink, not affecting her at all, then seeing what looked like many vultures perched on the temple, moving away as she stared and once out, being urged by Wendy to return the baby, she now hesitating, but reassured by Wendy to follow through, Rose Madder giving Rosie her armlet and stating of she and Norman divorcing, but to be careful outside her realm.

Rosie goes back to her world, sleeping and when awoken by her alarm, unable to remember why she was naked or where her terrible aches came from. She showers, only half remembering the warning of not to taste her red fingers, she thorough in cleaning them and when seeing the painting again, is surprised to see birds in the sky above the temple and the clouds gone, she not willing to pause on what else was missing and storing the painting, at least temporarily in the closet. When she’d met with Robbie, she gets her contract offer which she decides to think over, and as she goes to the studio, she realizes Rose Madder’s armlet had been missing. When she returns home, she discovers the armlet and the piece of her nightie which carried the seeds, with the three seeds still remaining within, under her bed, Rosie then reminded of Rose Madder’s promise. Before she had been transported to the supposed Territories, Norman had been lying in his bed as well, wondering how Rosie had found the balls to run, he then thinking how she was probably whoring herself out for not having experience doing anything else. When he’d woken from an odd dream-filled night, he sees Rosie walking through the temple (Rosie’s feeling of Norman watching her being closer to the truth than she wanted to admit), he thinks about what he’d do if he found her with a guy. After seeing her walk into the maze, he’s visited by Rose Madder and then wakes, thinking of how he’d keep eyes on the park and sensing Rosie wouldn’t be the only one watching out for him. As he’s in the lobby, Pam passes him again with two other maids, talking about the concert, he praising the luck he’d caught when confirming it was Pam whom knew.

Norman’s next move was in hot-wiring a car in the long-term parking of the airport, after getting the car washed, he stops at an army surplus store and purchases a taser, then goes to a barber to get his hair shaved off, afterwards having trouble recognizing himself. He then drives to a secondhand clothing shop, people staring at his head, which didn’t bother him since they wouldn’t remember his face. He buys a motorcycle jacket and plans on immediately returning to his room to sleep, before doing so though, hitting a gift shop at the Women’s Cultural Center and Museum. Once back at the hotel, he has no further motive then to get to his room for the migraine he’d built up. He falls unconscious, his headache following a ways, but then he getting deep enough to ditch the pain, and upon waking refreshed, thinks of Rosie needing to wake up to view the last sunrise she’ll ever witness. Rosie does as she’s told, waking a little after four A.M., scared Norman was in her room, she calming when seeing she was alone, looking at the armlet, not knowing where she’d come to possess it. Eventually, her thoughts turn to getting ready and once seeing Bill parked, goes down to meet him. He gives her his father’s riding jacket since her sweater was estimated not being warm enough, once getting set up with jacket and helmet, the two setting off.

Rosie gradually started with liking to loving the ride, and once getting to the lake, quite impressed with the deserted tranquility. They move the cooler, then Bill leads her to a spot where a vixen and cubs were resting, the two heading back after watching them for a bit. When Bill began setting out their spread, the amount of food brought, made Rosie giggle hysterically, he letting her know he’d wanted to be certain she’d enjoy her meal, he giving some history on his modest love life and how he’d fallen for her, then suggesting they dig in. Afterward, they sit on a rock and fool around for awhile, Bill insisting they walk it off, he not wanting to be interrupted or have it done in such an unromantic way (either a true gentleman or not having a rubber), then returning to the campsite after seeing some flowers and a woodpecker in a meadow. They get to the park on time, foreshadowing of Rosie looking back on her joy-filled moment upon seeing the sign turning into intense fear later, upon reminiscence.

Norman was currently parking the car a good distance away from any traffic which could effect his plans, then preparing the wheelchair he bought with female friendly bumper stickers and his new identity’s back story. He goes over his plan for discovering her and what he’d do when he did (some words not having been caught as the wrong one by a careless editor). Best case scenario, he’d get her after she’d arrived home, he following her, worst, if she spotted him and he ending her on the spot. When he paid his entrance fee and wheeled away, the ticket guy kept calling him back since he’d paid too much, Norman getting on himself for already bringing unwanted attention to himself. He does fairly well after, but gets nervous when not seeing Rosie at noon. Meanwhile, Gert had taken notice of him, but hadn’t placed him, yet. Norman had ridden through the grounds, making himself scarce as the women sat for lunch, his migraine returning with his continual paranoia, his knowledgeable inner voice keeping him calm and supplying a new tactic. Gert was talking herself out of thoughts of whom she’d seen being Norman, but decides to check so she didn’t continue to feel bothered. She attempts to have the ticket guy help her, but he wasn’t feeling particularly welcoming, only getting how the man he’d helped had forgotten what price to pay, she next wanting to locate the ladies she’d seen speaking with him, but none currently within sight.

Norman’s new plan involved staking out the restrooms, he letting himself out of his chair out of view of anyone. He waits for a lady to come to the bathroom by herself, it almost being one of the ladies he’d spoken with earlier, but Gert calling her back, Cynthia now being the target, he catching her before she walked in. Gert’s conversation with Lana shows how she was the first to identify Norman, whilst Cynthia was being sexually assaulted. Gert was then on her way to the restroom when she heard the threat from behind the building. She was readying to knock Norman out when he turned, she catching his face (Grendel being mentioned in regards to Norman’s look). Cynthia doesn’t move for being in shock, Norman now taunting Gert, she estimating her best move was to egg him on, and when she interrupted his constant insults and movement, he goes after her, she gets the upper hand until he is able to wriggle away after she peed on him after having needed to since confronting the ticket guy, Norman charging again, but Cynthia tripping him up. Gert goes after him once he retrieves his taser, she throwing the wheelchair at him to disarm him, Cynthia failing to warn her in time to save her from the taser’s bite, but after, he didn’t have enough time to do much more since security was approaching, he walking toward the rides. Rosie had made her way to the hospital, locating Gert where she updates her of Cynthia being tended to, unaware of the policemen’s presence until Gert introduces her to one. She’s overwhelmed for a moment, then resigns to confiding to the Lieutenant of what she knew.

Norman was struggling to get his head around what Gert had done to him as he walked, remembering his decision to flee having to do with his own pain more than the approach of people, he attempts to quiet his mind as he desperately thought about needing to end her. His mind flitted back and forth between sanity, he noticing the attention he was getting, but after turning between two amusement areas, gets a kid’s mask to cover his face with. After reaching the car again, he begins to hope Gert’s voice won’t be a fixture in his head, now. Once Norman had gotten out of the parking lot, he hears a voice from the mask confide of Rosie’s make out session, he then stating what he planned on doing to her when he found her. He remembers Pam after, and plans on getting the information he wanted this time. Rosie is accompanied by Gert as they are driven by the Lieutenant and his partner to the station, Bill following. Norman has made it back to the parking garage, he deciding on keeping the “lucky” bull mask, the next moment he’s aware, being of getting Pam back into the housekeeping room, but before he can succeed gaining any information, Pam has one helluva nasty accident, Norman finishing her off. After dropping her on a pile of sheets, he notices a key on her bracelet, takes it and looks for her locker, after searching through her purse and detecting her key card and code, he leaves.

Meanwhile, despite the detectives mellow attitudes, Rosie is scared and angry, they repeatedly having Gert go through the events, and once finished, focusing on Rosie. Norman had found himself down the street from Daughters and Sisters, he noticing he’d changed his clothes, still had the mask, but not his gun, then planning what he’d do if coming across residents (which he thinks of handling by shooting with his forgotten revolver…) or police, not thinking about the possibility of all being quiet, which it was. After speaking to Ferdinand the Bull (of whom is shown on the cover), he’s reassured, yet disappointed the ladies hadn’t been more affected by him. Once overcoming his hesitation of it possibly being a set up, he enters, no one bothering him. He looks around and discovers Anna’s office, then seeing a basket of outgoing mail, he sees a letter to Rosie, and whilst he’s reading it, hears the house alarm go off as someone comes in. Anna is then followed before she enters the house, she going over how painstaking the ceremony had been, she having only stayed for knowing her movements would be scrutinized, also not having answered her three pages, deciding to check her answering machine when she got in. She doesn’t notice anything wrong until seeing her door slightly open, and when trying the light and it doesn’t turn on, Norman catches her, biting her after closing the door.

Rosie finishes her interview and the Lieutenant again vows to get Norman, he also informing her of police cars being stationed at and around her home. As Gert was taken back to the park by a police car, Rosie and Bill planned on heading to her place. When they get there and she’s heading for the door, it doesn’t occur to her until she’d unlocked the lobby door, realizing the cop she heard coming up behind them wasn’t the one the Lieutenant had sent. Norman is shown washing off at Daughters and Sisters before his mind jumps ahead again to Rosie’s apartment, he wearing a new coat, and wondering what he’d do about the cops. Once receiving the idea from Ferdinand again, he tricks both cops by getting them to approach after faking a heart attack, taking out the elder one, then the younger, whilst the older cop stumbled off, no one having seen anything, yet. Norman manages to lead the older cop back to the car where he stuffs him in the trunk, then returns to the younger one to strangle him to death before depositing him into the passenger seat. Norman blacks out again and next notes he’d done something to the entrance light, the next time he blacks out, coming to as he’s grasping at Bill, he ready to choke him. As he’s proceeding, Rosie finds courage and strength with the armlet, throwing him off, then attempting to get Bill to her room, Norman stops them with gunshots, which helped him see where they were, then coming at them.

Rosie blocks his way temporarily, getting herself and Bill up the stairs, she even able to kick Norman back down once he’d grabbed her leg. When she gets to her door, Norman catches up and again tries strangling Bill, Rosie turning back to stop him, he biting her hand, but she breaking his jaw. When she gets them both into her apartment, she realizes she hadn’t been wearing the armlet which she thought had lent her strength, but their danger was still close, Norman ramming the door after she’d locked them inside, she pulling Bill to the closet when the painting opened up for them. Norman’s perspective is switched to during his hang up on the stairs with the “coat-tree”, all the way to when Rosie dislocated his jaw, of which he resets. When finally getting into Rosie’s room, he fires twice at the shower before seeing the way they exited. He looks to the other world, he feeling he was seeing through one eye-hole as he wore the mask, and after stepping through, still seeing through a single eye, he realizes he couldn’t remove the mask.

As Bill and she look around, he questions whether what he saw was real, but before being able to answer, Wendy calls to Rosie to bring Bill down to her, informing them how close Norman was and Rosie needing to participate in essential ways. After partially carrying Bill to her, Wendy shares of how much she’d gotten done, which Rosie only half understood, the two then helping Bill move toward the Temple, but around to the back where a similar looking tunic for Rosie hung, she hesitant in dressing, but as Norman closes in, she does as Wendy relays, Rose Madder having made the command for Rosie to fulfill. She knows the part she must play and calls for Norman, Wendy assuring them Rose Madder would handle the rest. Bill is quite confused by their knowing exchange, Rosie leaving him with Wendy as she readied to lure Norman, the two hearing her baiting statements to him, he and Wendy thinking for a moment Norman wouldn’t go through the Temple, but around it, their fears appeased when hearing sounds to prove he was inside. Next, Norman’s perspective shows his terror of being stuck with the mask on his face, but Rosie’s sweater and jacket distracting him from this, especially when hearing her call him. As he follows her voice, it’s shown he’s distracted by the statue outside looking like his father, which Bill and Wendy had been confused by his one-sided statements to, but again, Rosie distracts him, he getting the sensible voice suggesting he go back and await her return at her apartment, Norman ignoring this since anticipating the cops to come and how Rosie was speaking to him with such disrespect; His final decision made once reading the sign above the Temple.

As Norman goes through what looked like Rosie’s hometown church, he kills a bat which comes at him, and Rosie gets his attention by commenting on it, he charging at her as she stood in the dead garden. When Rosie sees him coming, she at first can’t move, but gets herself going by remembering a terrible memory, getting across the stream, but sliding back toward it after she’d made it across. When Norman sees this and her look of panic at getting near the water, he doesn’t think much of it, finding it amusing, but after seeing her make it to the crest of the incline and flip him off, he notes her concern and is careful upon crossing. He sees Rosie watching him and then is caught by the naked boy statue, Norman running to take advantage of his good luck, Rosie becomes angered by the boy’s rude questions and gets him off her by punching him, but now Norman is quite close, he brushing her tunic strap, but Rosie getting a good lead after a short while, and they again meeting at the dead tree, Norman giving her a chance to give in, but she continuing on and when next he hears her, Rosie’s voice sounds slightly different. When she reaches the entrance to the maze, Rose Madder instructs her to go partially down the steps so she didn’t have to witness what would come next, unless she truly wanted.

As Norman neared, he thought he’d heard Rosie speaking, which made him hope Gert were there to be slayed, as well. Rosie currently ached for Norman’s death to come quickly so she could move on with her life, and when Norman sets eyes on Rose Madder, he notices small differences in her body type and attitude, but considers it meant he’d have to refresh her memory of what she needed to act like, her back still turned from him. After he’d commented on the reason she’d dyed her hair and she’d stated of the brown color being the dye job, he is incensed for being opposed, but then wonders where the person she’d spoken to had gone (hopefully, not believing he’d get a rock “chunk”-ed at him). When he demands Rosie turn to him, his gun out, the mask doesn’t feel like a mask anymore and his vision is darkening as Rosie turns and he sees her blackened skin as she states of Erinyes breaking the rule of the bull having exited the maze meaning he’d be put to death. Rosie Madder turns to Norman and what he sees brings terror and shrieking, she biting him (reminding me of American Gods, a bit). Whilst this occurs, Rosie doesn’t watch, but is listening, she not moving until Rose Madder calls for her. She slowly notices the state of Norman’s body lying before her, Rose Madder planting seeds on him and then dumping his body in the maze. Rose Madder then directs her back out where Dorcas/Wendy and Bill waited, she advising Rosie to “Remember the tree”.

Rosie locates them at the top of the hill, Bill meets her to make certain she was okay, the two walking back to Dorcas, Rosie changing her clothes when prompted, then relaying Rose Madder’s message of she having something for her. Dorcas hands her a little corked bottle which Dorcas instructs Rosie to use for Bill when they returned. Afterwards, the three wait silently for Rose Madder, she walks to them in the light of the moon, Dorcas and Rosie instructing Bill to keep his gaze down and not to stop until told, Rosie going along with the idea they were dreaming when he inquires. When Rose Madder stops in front of them, Rosie states of receiving the bottle, Rose Madder then giving her Norman’s police academy ring, she commenting about if she watched Bill’s back, he would do the same for her, Rosie then looking at Rose Madder’s face, it not being the same as what Norman saw, but not wonderful either, she confiding to Rosie she should go back to her natural hair color. Rose Madder then offers her a hug and wishes they’d met sooner, as well as reminding her not to forget the tree, which Rosie asks for clarification to, but not getting an answer. She then inquires whether she was Rose Madder, but not getting confirmation of this either, Rose Madder instead urging them to return home.

Rosie takes Bill’s hands and leads him to the widening view of her apartment. Before they’d gotten through though, Rose Madder starts to lose it, wanting her armlet back, Rosie hastily throwing it near her and getting them both out. When they’d fallen back into reality, Bill noted how it must have all been real, Rosie not attesting this, but apologizing for losing the jacket he’d lent her. They then hear the injured neighbor yelling in pain, Bill off to tend to him, Rosie first calling for an ambulance, then uncorking the tiny bottle, realizing what she’d been given was a few drops of the stream at the Temple of the Bull. She puts one drop in some soda, then calls the police again so she could speak with Detective Hale, whom she informs of Norman having been there and was now gone, Hale planning on meeting her at her place, and she stating she’d wait for him, afterwards Bill coming back, and when coughing, getting him to drink the soda, Bill admitting after a few moments, of having forgotten his own and her name for a second.

As Hale got their stories, he wasn’t sure whether Rosie was withholding some detail, but after he goes over his notes of their confession, Rosie agrees with him. Later, Bill agrees to stay over and passes out quickly, Rosie taking a moment to look at her now, devoid-of-humans painting, this aiding her ability to fall asleep. She awoke them both with her nightmare, but the two moving on to a little fun-time, then much later, when Bill had gone for sustenance, Rosie put away the stream water and discovered Norman’s police academy ring, she ending up placing it with the rediscovered poison seeds, dumping all but one, which she then transfers to her purse. They learn of Anna, and Norman stays in the papers for a week, Rosie deciding to burn the picture in the incinerator and attempting to ignore her memories of Rose Madder’s words.

In October, Bill and she go to the picnic grounds again, and she accepts his proposal, she still wondering about the tree Rose Madder spoke about. After their wedding, Rosie has had to use the ‘forgetful water’ for Bill’s nightmares, the last being used on their honeymoon. In January, Rosie confirms she’s pregnant, she still remembering the tree, but Rose Madder also mentioning to add keeping her temper in check, Rosie unsettled with this thought and demanding Rose Madder leave her alone. When her little girl does arrive, she commemorates her friends instead of the wanted name, Caroline. So, Pamela Gertrude is born, Rosie wanting the middle name to be Anna, but being talked out of it by Bill. When Pamela is two, they move to the suburbs and during their finalizing what house they want, their opinions divert and they begin arguing. When Bill apologizes for raising his voice, Rosie is struggling to suppress her violent anger, which he takes as her not forgiving him, so he withdraws to the other room as she continues preparing dinner. She’s plagued by the disturbing thought of hurting Bill drastically, well into the night as she remembers Rose Madder’s words of, “I repay”.

The next few days bring obsessive awareness to her arms, face, and hands, the latter more so with the unknown idea of whatever she thought would develop would begin there. She takes up going to the batting cages where she develops her skills to the point of impressing all the men and boys with her form: both bodily and technique, who bat there; She even knocks one through the netting due to hitting the ball at such high velocity. A month after, Rosie doesn’t take Rhoda’s suggestion they end early due to Rosie’s voice losing inflection, calmly, she then having a terrible daydream of killing Rhoda, until she’s brought back to reality by Rhoda asking after her. Rosie reminds herself of the tree once more, and agrees to stop for the day, but her rage is masked with difficulty. When she dreams after falling to sleep later at night, she realizes she’d been remembering a different tree, but now knew her next move. She calls out of work the next morning and goes to the picnic grounds alone, to the fallen tree where the fox was, she burying the final seed and Norman’s ring. She dumps everything else out of her purse as well, and on her drive back, chucks the bag out her window. Years pass, Pamela is now a teenager, and Rosie no longer deals with bouts of anger, Bill having sold his bike since he felt he could no longer ride safely. Rosie and he don’t go to the picnic grounds anymore, but Rosie goes alone every year, where a new tree has grown, she believing it has quelled her rage. She worries over the day the tree will start bearing fruit, but doesn’t obsess over the thought, since no signs of people have revealed this spot to be popular, the vixen returns and watches her as she sits and sings Rosie Real.

The ending feels a bit rushed, and whilst I know Gert survived, it seemed odd she decided naming her daughter after those two women, rather than the name she wanted and the middle name to be Anna, it would still sound country, but it seemed like it would have been more true for herself. Otherwise the story moved along nicely, enough, and whilst I have read reviews not interested in the fantasy side of this story, it definitely suits King’s style, and wasn’t clunky compared to the others I’ve read of his, it only not being his strongest and could have done with a bit more fleshing out. Now I’ve read it though, I can continue on to his other Dark Tower-related books.

When We Were Orphans

London 24/Jul./1930, but starts in the Summer of 1923, where the Narrator has gone against his Aunt’s wishes to return to Shropshire, rents a flat in Kensington, and being quite happy by himself. During a stroll he meets an old school chum, James Osbourne and invites him to come by sometime. The Narrator, or Christopher Banks (as we learn later in the chapter) describes his quaint accommodations, and when Osbourne comes by one morning, Christopher is able to entertain him without it seeming he were his first guest (which he was). Osbourne compliments his room, they catching up on their classmates lives, as well as their own. Then they have an intellectual discussion about German philosophy, showing off either’s studies from different schools, Osbourne then sharing his plans for his career, unbelieving Christopher hadn’t an idea what he’d do yet. He then alluding to having an inkling and would confide further when they developed. Near noon Osbourne readies to leave, then remembering to invite Christopher to a party for a well-known man, Christopher at first not answering and then agreeing after a candid thought from Osbourne about what he was like in school bringing some bitterness. Then a flashback of the moment Osbourne must have been referring is shown, and Christopher having finally asked about Osbourne’s “well connectedness”. Christopher goes into why Osbourne’s evaluation of he being a bit of a fish out of water, bothered him, since he hadn’t felt like he stuck out at all. He didn’t make obvious his interest in private investigating crime, which was also why he didn’t share his career plans with Osbourne.

Although, it becomes clear Christopher may have been more transparent than he realized, when a birthday present from his school chums revealed a case with a magnifying glass inside. The boys fates are shared after this, both dying young, one from war, the other, illness. The only other instance of his ambitions being noted amongst classmates, being when he’d walked into the middle of a conversation about himself which a boy had broken the silence upon his entering, of he not seeming a Sherlock type. The last moment being an overheard discussion between his Aunt and her friends, she deciding she would nip his flightiness in the bud when seeing him using his over-active imagination playing a game he used to play with a boy called Akira. After, Christopher notes his discomfort by Osbourne’s words were only momentary and goes for a walk soon after, he imagining some of the people who could be at the party could possibly including some well-known detectives and fantasized they would take a paternal interest in his career. Whilst his attendance of the night’s coming party would be fruitful, not so much when regarding the anti-social habits of detectives. Instead, the “well-connected” people Osbourne referred were from the business and government-based world. Christopher was flustered with his feeling out of place, and when finally separating from Osbourne, meets an older gentleman whom offers to identify some of the people there, the man noticing Christopher’s attention being captured by a young woman, not for her beauty (oh, no), but because of certain characteristics and body language which suggested a dark underbelly, which intrigued him.

The man, whilst being thorough with names and occupations of others in the room, only provided a name for the lady, Sarah Hastings, they moving on and the man inquiring about what sort of career Christopher was aiming, after the man learns this, he attempts to advise a back up career due to how flighty dreams tend to float away. After not learning much after, Osbourne was able to shed a little more light on Sarah’s history, most recently her ending an engagement. As Christopher attended more hoity-toity functions, his list of facts of Sarah grew, she an opinionated, celebrity-seeking sort. He continued to follow her movements, until finally getting a chance to speak with her two years later. Once he’d made one headline, he felt confident enough to approach her in a hotel they’d both been occupying the dining area of, he officially introducing himself. She wasn’t particularly receptive, and he felt like a rube when leaving her, questioning whether his friends had been taking the piss when congratulating him. He did come to learn he’d been taking interest in a social way he shouldn’t concern himself with, from then on focusing on learning more about previous detectives and how they came to their own notoriety.

Christopher then mentions a chance meeting with a Colonel Chamberlain, whom he’d known when he was a boy, this occurring a couple months after Sarah had embarrassed him. They both were in a small bookstore and the man stood next to him for some time before Christopher looked up and recognized him. They chatted a bit, he noting how timid and uncomfortable Chamberlain seemed compared to his memories. When they were readying to part, Christopher offers to entertain him at a nice restaurant the next night, he having to push fairly hard for Chamberlain to agree. When they met on the designated night, Christopher does what he’d planned, aiming to impress the Colonel, the man referring to the last time they’d spent time with each other being on a ship, Christopher’s change, obvious to the way he’d been back then. Christopher flashes back to his journey from Shanghai, Chamberlain in the room as his voyage is discussed. Then his parents fates are alluded to, causing his journey to England, but he not wanting to leave since the “best detectives in Shanghai” were on the case to locate his missing parents, not thinking he’d need to be sent away in the likelihood they’d succeed. Chamberlain regards the boy’s words as a possibility, but thinks perhaps he should go anyways and his parents will decide to move with him, the Colonel listening soberly to Christopher recounting his memories. He in turn shares his own, seeming to almost say something which conveyed the odd nature of his parents going missing, but then Christopher gets caught up on how he’d been perceived, again, he only recalling one occasion he actually could’ve been a “sniveling little squirt”, but the Colonel presuming the whole voyage had been rife with these qualities.

As their night of reminiscences ended, Christopher felt insouciant toward the man, most likely due to the circumstances of their meeting, feeling only a minor amount of guilt when hearing of the Colonel’s death a year later. Then back to listing his minor encounters with Sarah, the next a few more years down the road, another high profile case under his belt, and testing a walk-by near her as he left. He plays at not caring about her reaction much, due to his busy life and only beginning to experience his notoriety, he truly making a name for himself about a year later. He claims he would’ve forgotten Sarah completely if not for bumping into Joseph Turner, whom invites him to a dinner party which he declined in attending, Joseph mentioning how Sarah had asked after him, she then discovering him after he’d heard similar stories from other friends. She accosts him in the middle of his examination of a pond, where the victim of his current case had been found in. Her reasons for being there were in relation to she knowing the family of the victim, and after talking back and forth she shares how, if Christopher succeeded in pointing out the culprit, the town would be so grateful, they’d make Christopher a legend. After this buttering up, Sarah asks to be invited to a social function as Christopher’s guest, he passive-aggressively denying her after making an excuse and then she referring to them as ‘such good friends’, apparently taking the cake since Christopher was well aware what they were and weren’t.

Christopher detected the mystery behind the death of the man murdered, he not giving much thought to Sarah’s statement of meeting him at the dinner. She living up to her word, though, Christopher entertaining her flattering small talk until being no longer amused by it, but not showing this change in attitude, instead disengaging her arm from his, she approaching him again to deny he’d ditch her in such a way, but he also living up to his actions, walking off. Only after being in the room fifteen minutes does Christopher notice Sarah had made it to the check-in area, she attempting to be allowed in. Eventually she gets her way, Christopher being sure to stay away from her whilst feeling somewhat guilty for his inaction, but after noticing a genuine smile from her, he thinks perhaps she had no hard feelings for having succeeded in her goal to attend. Christopher also had his chance to speak with the guest of honor, he finally taking a moment to ask if he’d met an Akira Yamashita during his visit to Shanghai, the diplomat confirming he hadn’t. When Sarah appeared, Christopher makes up an excuse to leave, and moves off. Later, he runs into her again on a balcony, she stating the greatness of the night she’d had, the two having a somewhat enlightening chat about Sarah’s needs and intentions for why she felt it obligatory she be present there, it stemming from discovering a man whom planned on helping the world be greater, Christopher not holding her actions against her since now having a better understanding of her, especially after she mentioned his childhood buddy Akira, throwing him off, he leaving her there, only considering momentarily to offer his accompaniment out.

Then 15/May/1931, in London, Christopher remembers an argument Akira and he had over the word ‘chip’ and Akira meaning ‘chap’, he having started his English lessons and was too proud to give in. When they next hang out together, Christopher had pretty much forgotten the argument until Akira called him chap, Christopher not pressing the issue, he stating whilst he believed he was the more intelligent of the two, Akira had more experience beyond the Settlement where they resided, Christopher not having been in the true city of Shanghai, but protected within the International colony boundaries, Akira confessing stories of his gruesome experiences. When sharing one with his mother, he didn’t like her response of disproving the tale so from then on kept them to himself, Akira acting reverentially toward his mother, he deciphering why this could be possibly having to do with a time the health inspector came to their house. When Akira came by after the inspector, the two moved indoors to Christopher’s playroom, the two halting their game when hearing his mother and the inspector raising their voices near the room. The two witnessed as Christopher’s mother defended the integrity of their loyal servants regardless of the city they came from having an outbreak of opium addiction, Akira seeming to have gotten a strong impression of his mother during this argument. Christopher then remembers his mother’s part in opposing the company they worked for over their small-minded policies. He then regards his decision to confide in Sarah about Akira no longer bothering him. Another chance meeting is related when both were invited to a mutual buddy’s lunch, it going fine until one of the ladies eventually gets everyone’s attention over giving advice about how to deal with her mother, Sarah leaving when the topic stuck, Christopher following to learn of a painful realization from Sarah about her own mother, the two then going on a double-decker bus, enjoying the ride, he not having gone before since being overwhelmed by being transported somewhere he didn’t know and getting lost by himself. They spoke of random, pleasant topics, he divulging more about Akira without meaning to, but in the end wondering if his memories of Shanghai were as exact as he thought, believing a question he originally believed was posed to the health inspector, now could have been directed at his father during a verbal dispute between his parents.

Whether this was before or after the health inspector’s visit, Christopher couldn’t remember, but he was studying in an anteroom which was used as a library, when he heard his parents arguing, he attempts to hear more, but only deciphers phrases when they forgot to keep their voices lowered. Christopher then hears the same phrase his mother used, it seeming to fit better with the other snippets more so than her argument with the inspector’s, but who knows. After this argument, it stayed cold between his parents for longer than normal, and during a chat with Akira at his home, which was uniquely mixed Japanese with Western style, Christopher posed his question to him, whom had an interesting take on the reason parents didn’t talk to each other, it connected to the child not living up to their heritage, and how the child’s part was being the glue to the family staying together, Christopher having the opportunity to speak with his Uncle Philip on the subject. He shares of Philip not being a blood relative, but a family friend whom had worked at the same company for a number of years before leaving and starting an organization to help the conditions of the Chinese sections of the city. Uncle Philip helped ease his mind a bit over his becoming more English for his parents.

The same summer, Akira was wearing down his likability by constantly bragging of Japan’s greatness compared to English, this happening more since his upcoming enrollment in a Japanese school, by the time he had to leave, Christopher not feeling bad to see him go. At least not until starting to hang out with some other English boys he would periodically chum around with and they making him feel like the odd man out when there school friends came along, Christopher the only one whom goes to a different school. He relates some important memories of the fall during Akira’s transfer, one regarding a day on one of his mother’s meetings, Uncle Philip in attendance, and when the meeting had ended, his mother and Philip staying behind to pore over some papers until his father entered (he not joining these meetings) and began conversing amiably with Philip, Christopher’s mother leaving the room looking peeved. Later, Philip offers they should go to the racecourse, and whilst nine-year-old Christopher was aware he was the sole one to decide whether he, his mother, and Philip would go, or stay with his father, he ended up being coaxed to decide to go, with his mother’s influence. Christopher then remembers an out of the ordinary mannerism uncommon to his father, he bragging about himself, once around the dinner table, the second when they were all attending a brass band playing in the park, both times essentially ignored by his mother, but Christopher made aware of another memory with an incident his father alluded to him whilst the band played, he remembering of a day when he and his mother were near his father’s study naming the vessels in pictures on the wall when his mother stopped and abruptly opened the door where they both viewed his father slouched over his desk, he speaking loudly about the being stuck there and wouldn’t be able to return to England. Other than his father’s odd speech, nothing much of interest happened during the fall or winter until Christopher received the news from a servant of Akira’s return.

Christopher learned Akira wouldn’t be returning to his new school, but would continue at his old one, which made Christopher happy. Akira refrained from speaking of his time at his new school, the two picking up where they’d left off, but Christopher witnessing a change in character when the boys were playing and Akira had noticed a tear in his kimono, he becoming withdrawn over the “bad thing” he’d caused, believing his parents would send him back to Japan, where Christopher soon learned and sensed the extent of Akira’s being singled out by school staff and students, as well as the family he had stayed with, so much so, his parents had taken him out of school in the middle of term. What also caused Akira apprehension was knowing he was the only one wanting to remain in Shanghai, his sister and parents wishing to move to Japan. The torn sleeve didn’t cause such a dire repercussion as Akira feared, but as he continued to make small mistakes during the next few months, Christopher comes to the “robbery” incident which had brought Sarah’s curiosity on their bus ride. First is explained how Akira reacted with fear toward one of his family’s longest employed servants, Ling Tien, Christopher not asking why Akira hid whenever the man passed them any longer. When they got older, Akira shared the man’s obsession with severed hands, human and ape, alike. Ling apparently having discovered how to change the hands into spiders. After this, the eight-year-old Akira would periodically dare Christopher to get closer to Ling’s room. Akira would go as far as he could and then had Christopher do the same, he not having much fun when going to Akira’s house because of this. The two finally reach Akira’s goal of entering Ling’s room when they are ten, they stealing something which the two didn’t consider the repercussions, this also being Christopher’s last year in Shanghai, unbeknownst to him, yet. On the day they finally enter the room, Akira waited for the maid to fall asleep downstairs, the boys going into the room, and Akira claiming the spiders were in a chest, the lotion on the side table, magic, the longer they lingered, the more Christopher became paranoid they’d be seen. Akira swipes the bottle, and the boys hasten out, they proceeding to test the lotion, and Akira hiding it with other treasured belongings before putting it back.

The next day when Akira came to Christopher’s house, he looked bothered, Christopher not asking, but once doing so, Akira shares of having confided in his sister of their deed, she worrying him with further claims of previous people disappearing for attempting the same, and Akira not having the guts to put the lotion back, Ling coming back in three days. Akira was visibly upset, but Christopher placates him with putting the bottle away the way they’d taken it, Akira looking relieved. They make plans to meet up the next day, late afternoon, Christopher remembering partially how his father left for work, his mother going out, and he lunching with the maid before biding his time until three. After climbing a tree higher than he ever had, he goes home to check the hour, finding his mother out front speaking with policemen, his mother relating this to him when she came in to instruct he wait for her within the library, his father not having arrived at his office. By the time his mother came in to inform him of the police searching for his father, and he may well turn up by dinner, it was too late to help Akira with returning the lotion, Christopher peeved by being waylaid and knowing Akira would be mad. Christopher’s mother had from then on showed moments of aloofness in the coming weeks and offhandedly spoke of Christopher, on the subject of his father, being “proud of what he’s done”.

The next few days Christopher contemplates what he’d say to Akira when he saw him next, finally hearing him riding his sister’s bicycle, Christopher approaching and blatantly apologizing, but couldn’t confess his father missing, instead retreating back to his home. Another few days pass, when Akira comes to call for Christopher to play, he realizing he’d heard about his father. Then Christopher remembers a chat with his mother after this in relation to the statistics his father was safe and to stay optimistic. Akira and Christopher’s imaginative game plays of detective search for Christopher’s father would ensue. He then mentions this would continue during his first days in England. Christopher, after a month finally is told what happened with Ling’s bottle, Akira owing his sister, now, he then asking if Christopher would have to go back to England, he sure his mother wouldn’t want to return without his father. Christopher also shares a memory which at first he believed had no bearing on his parents’ disappearance, but upon the recollection resurfacing, sees it in a new light, he having the motivation to continue the search himself someday, but he being too busy to take the time off. When he’d requested more information on the opium trade from his source in Shanghai, he receives a newspaper clipping with picture, he believing he recognized one of the men, remembering later the man had come to their home a few weeks after his father had gone missing. Next he heard his mother shouting insults at the man as he retreated to his car. Christopher not entirely certain the man in the picture and the one whom came to his home were the same, but his face and the events implying it was (those particular pieces of information seem more sound than Ishiguro attempts to let on, oddly). He now thinks this information would enlighten him to what happened, and where his parents were now.

Christopher then confides what his young self suspiciously supposed Uncle Philip had in common with the man whom came by, which brought into what had ended up happening to their relationship, Christopher having decided to go with his Uncle Philip one day, he having amped up his anxious watchful eye on his mother, and believing she was safe with him, the two calling for him and Uncle Philip asking if he was interested in going off to acquire an accordion, Philip’s behavior odd, but not worryingly so to Christopher, even after being told to wave to his mother a second time, and Philip’s silence on the ride. When Philip stops the carriage and explains they’d walk, Christopher realizes, especially after Philip mentions of not wanting to have him get hurt, but sounding disappointed after Christopher responded of knowing where they were, Philip dashes of, and Christopher runs for home. He discovers no on, but Mei Li, crying at Christopher’s work table, he disgusted by she not having any power to control the situation which had occurred. Christopher, now having finished putting down his recollections, considers when he does return to Shanghai, all the places Akira would show him, then thinking of the work he’d need to make up for due to his bus ride with Sarah.

London, 12/April/1937 – By this time, Christopher’s Aunt has died and left him an inheritance with which he bought a house. A Miss Givens with a young lady, Jennifer have come back from shopping, and Christopher is gladdened by a letter he’s been sent. When he does finally go down to greet them properly, Jennifer makes clear Christopher is an Uncle figure, Miss Givens playing a household role, but not the maid, whom had recently concluded working for Christopher. Soon it’s hinted Miss Givens is a guardian of Jennifer. Then Christopher goes back to explain how he’d discovered Jennifer through Osbourne three years back. Christopher was speaking with one of the guests of her charity work with orphans and mentioned Jennifer’s “situation”, after everyone was ready to leave, he informs the woman he’d like to help her, if not take her in himself (her story similar to his own). After a few meetings, Jennifer is delivered to his home, she having an opinion on the nanny to be hired for her. Jennifer also reminded Christopher of himself, she being wise beyond her years and positive in the odds of negativity ( perhaps on the lofty side for attributes to Christopher, I still feel he’s made up some nice, cool moments for himself during his childhood). Christopher then began planning a trip of indeterminate length, spurring him on being a perceived coldness he sensed from those he spoke with, a relation to a case of dead children and the inspector’s reaction to Christopher’s conclusion and support in the strength it took to work the sort of jobs they had. Another memory of a lecture and subsequent conversation between he and a clergyman he’d recently worked with about the larger issues in Shanghai outweighing much of England’s current issues. Christopher recalls many similar situations, one other involving Sarah at a wedding they’d both attended.

The wedding took place over a year previous, Christopher seeing Sir Cecil Medhurst, whom now was married to Sarah, entering the church, and after the ceremony, Sarah approaches, this having also been quite awhile since they’d spoken, she inviting him to visit with them some time. She then relating it would most likely need to happen after their trip to the Far East, later on she divulging they were going to Shanghai, Christopher seeing this as the push he required to make real his plans to go back. Christopher speaks with Miss Givens of his plans, he deciding to break the news to Jennifer himself. He reminisces his first visit with Jennifer at her new school to deliver what he’d found of her missing luggage, and only hopes his next visit won’t be too difficult for her.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Sept./1937 – Christopher relates how different Shanghai seemed due to certain customs, he being led into a hotel to watch a cabaret show recommended by his hosts. They go to their table, the walls occupied by high society resident and International guests, Christopher getting the idea he was being noticed because of those around him looking at the men seated, but he believing they were staring at him. Christopher, over the evening soon became suspicious of one of his hosts, of whom attempts to have him accept “assistants” with his work, Christopher bringing up his interest in the Yellow Snake killings, the other host not having heard of this before. Christopher then requests to speak with the informant, the one host discouraging, but responding he’d ask. Then the other host begins speaking of a welcome ceremony for his parents, everyone then becoming distracted by the gunfire outside, and after the music began, Christopher meeting Sarah. He doesn’t put together the possible double meaning of she and her husband being rescued from Shanghai.

Christopher is shown working a case all day, then goes to a club he’d become acquainted with, along with the doorman he spoke with, soon being instructed where he could locate Sarah and Sir Cecil. As he walked, he thought of how he’d believed he’d seen Akira a few nights after his arrival and hoping he’d see him again and in a way he thought would be a more meaningful beginning to their first meeting. Christopher lets it go and thinks of the case, leaving the possibility of locating Akira for later, and believing it possible to run into him once more due to Shanghai’s size. Christopher continues on to the hotel of Sarah and Cecil, but soon discovers it’s more of a casino, and believes Cecil wouldn’t bring Sarah to such a place, when finally seeing him in one of the rooms, Sarah seated in a corner. She greets him, surprised he’d found them there, she asking after his dreary day, he not having made any progress, yet (I realize now, the problem with Christopher is he constantly seems to have to correct the exact reasons of what he’s feeling when someone guesses about how he looks, it’s constant). Soon Christopher spots how drunk Cecil is, whilst gambling his money away, Sarah asking if Christopher could go find their driver outside, and once he’d done so, overhears the tail end of a conversation where Cecil is putting down Sarah for making him look bad inside, his mood getting no rosier when they reached their hotel and he’d asked a similar question of whether his young wife looked more like an escort to those within the casino. When Sarah puts him to bed, she again insists everything between she and Cecil were fine, Christopher leaving her there, but still wondering of her earlier words.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 29/Sept./1937 – Christopher was on his way to confront MacDonald, on of his hosts on getting his interview with Yellow Snake, when interrupted by Grayson, the other host about Christopher’s role in the ceremony for his parents, he leaving Grayson with encouragement for his plans so far, and then considering his current case, and how an old school acquaintance, Anthony Morgan brings the case to the forefront of his mind. A few nights after his arrival in Shanghai, he’d met up with Anthony, the two catching up, and the latter sharing his experience thus far in the city, mostly to do with his chauffeurs not being up to par. Anthony soon has Christopher accompanying him somewhere, and when Anthony made the same mistake of thinking Christopher was similar to himself in the old days, “a miserable loner” Christopher is quick to put him to rights. When they arrive at a home, Christopher realizes wherever they were going would be a small group affair, the two apparently having interrupted a Chinese family’s dinner. Christopher then realizes Anthony has taken him to his old home, he having forgotten an agreement had been made years ago in regards to his eventual return, the head of the house, an old man, ready to show him around.

Christopher met most of the rooms with no recollection, until seeing the library, it having been altered, learning the owners who had lived there, including those currently, had renovated many areas of the home. Speaking with the old man made Christopher think of some of his plans for the home, in regards to whom would take what room, his mother, Jennifer, and Mei Li, whom he’d locate and offer a place with them again, as promised. The only other relation in his old home, being of a memory of he and his mother racing in the park, Christopher getting upset for not successfully showing how much faster he’d become as a runner, his mother keeping up easily, and not noticing. The rest of his visit is glossed over with parting ways with the family amicably after more pleasant chat, it not going so smoothly with Anthony, Christopher debating possibly taking responsibility it having started with a question of whether Anthony had heard of Inspector Kung. Anthony then realizes Christopher was speaking of a man whom had drastically changed his lifestyle, and hadn’t shown reverence for his detective work through his comments. Christopher denies the man Anthony spoke of could hardly be the same, he getting defensive and implying Anthony’s head had gone soft. They part on respectful, but sober terms, Christopher not having the guts to look for Kung until further research brought up his name, and on top of this, after speaking with MacDonald about him and getting a similar response, he getting overly irritated since an interview with Yellow Snake still hadn’t been set up. McDonald, refers him to the head of police, even though they didn’t have him in custody, Christopher insisting on some move being made by MacDonald, he threatening his credibility, so the man promising to look into it, and perhaps Christopher needing to look into speaking with the French which he admitted to having potential, but deciding if MacDonald still didn’t make progress, he’d work him over once more, and with more finesse.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Oct./1937 – Christopher currently didn’t know his exact location, other than being in the French Concession. He was riding in a limo through narrow alleys, feeling foolish due to his automobile looking out of place, but he arrives at an Inn, and shown inside by a Chinese man with a single eye, going to a room and opening the door immediately after knocking. Someone was lying in a bed behind a screen, but moving when Christopher gets closer, former Inspector Kung described as emaciated, he not seeming to notice Christopher until after he’d repeated whom he was and his reasons for being there, Kung respectfully replying in English about having no tea for them, but to excuse his appearance since he planned to soon recover. Christopher agrees, and offers his compliments for once having been one of the best in his field, Kung humbled by his kindness, speaking of the difficulties of doing detective work in a seedy city like Shanghai, Kung offering Christopher a cigarette, but he declining. He then mentions how much he and his childhood friend had admired him, Kung all the more regretful for not having anything to offer his guest, Christopher reassuring him he may be able to provide a service more valuable, his memory of a particular case of a shooting in 1915. Kung acknowledges to knowing the one he mentioned and having fond memories of it being a part of his best work, Christopher mentioning how Kung had interrogated a man whom confessed to other crimes, Kung remembering this, Christopher asking about the addresses given in regards to where kidnap victims had been kept, Kung knowing and confiding nothing had been found. Christopher accepts this, but supposes the possibility of Kung not searching a house if powerful people had gotten in the way. Kung admitting this had happened with one home, but being lax on its search due to the case being worked on taking priority, Kung hesitantly inquiring about the house, Christopher supplying his opinion his parents were being kept there, he laying no blame on Kung for not attempting further inquiry, Kung then deducing Christopher must wish for him to locate the house, he attempting to conjure any details, but unsuccessful. Christopher pushes about whether Kung could remember whether the district had been in the International Settlement, unfortunately Kung not recalling, informing him sometimes he remembered much, and perhaps in a day or two he would know more.

Christopher gets back by nightfall, reviewing his notes and forgetting his uninformative visit, going to the dining room late, ready to leave after not having eaten much, when receiving a note from Sarah. At the time, he unaware it had to do with a disturbance at a Mr. Tony Keswick’s home, the note saying to meet her on the platform between the third and fourth floors. They had seen each other shortly three times after the night at the casino, the two not having the chance to mingle, but the night at Keswick’s seeming to be a significant event for the two. Christopher remembering when he’d arrived and most guests, including Sarah were locating their seats, Christopher leaving her to it, and after waiting for the proper time for across-the-room mingling, is trapped in a conversation with the lady seated next to him, by the time he’s able to see Sarah, the host is introducing the first entertainer, many guests having a turn on stage. When one particular man had reduced the room to hysterical laughing, Christopher thinks he sees Sarah laughing along, as well, until after some time, realizing she had actually been reduced to tears and crying quite hard. He walks to her table and gives her his hankie, she returning him with a grateful and quizzical look, but wipes her eyes and hazards a laugh with the rest, Christopher going back to his seat and not speaking with her until their formal goodbye when the night was over. Christopher had forgotten their exchange by this time, she turning to him when he knocks into a chair, and beckoning him closer so they could speak softly, she then confiding she was planning to go to Macao without Cecil, and was scared to go alone, asking if Christopher would join her, surprising him, but also tickling his sense of adventure which also relieved him, what with his current responsibilities building with pressure. Christopher then began to suppose she was baiting him somehow, he responding soberly about his work needing to be finished and how it’d look if he abandoned it here, Sarah attempting to have him see he shouldn’t let his project rule him, and not to wait anymore, otherwise the chance to leave would pass, and the need would be replaced with settling for less. Christopher only seeing roadblocks, what with he also having Jennifer to think about, he about to remember their last meeting, but Sarah responding with believing once they’d decided where they’d stay, she’d be sent for, Sarah convinced she could be a mother to the girl, Christopher then taking a turn in his decision and agreeing to go, she having planned how he should pack light and she would set up his transport to get him to where she’d wait for him. Christopher kisses her hand and awkwardly laughs, she taking her hand back and thanking him for agreeing, suggesting he leave before they were spotted.

Christopher had gone to sleep with plenty on his mind and upon waking the next day, had decided to get as much done as time would allow, he meeting his own expectations by lunch and noticing all of those interviewed leaving him feeling unsympathetic to the government’s current mess, since none spoken with conveyed responsibility for their actions being the wrong course. Due to this, Christopher felt he’d decided rightly and was gratified when imagining the upheaval his leaving would make. He then recalls his last conversation with Jennifer, she taking his news calmly and promising to “help” him when he returned from Japan, which made him wonder how she planned to do so, he then informed of a call from Kung for him. Kung is excited to share news which had resurfaced, he using a rejuvenating smoke to aid him, the location Christopher inquired being across from a man’s house, he sharing the details. When he gets off the call, he returns to his room to pack rather than finishing his lunch, the new information not affecting him like it normally would. He finishes early and is met by a young Chinese driver to escort him on his way.

On the ride, he flippantly asks the driver if he’s heard of Yeh Chen, the man mentioned by Kung, the driver confirming he had, Christopher letting the exchange lie there, until reaching the meeting place and asking the man to wait. He goes into the gramophone record store only seeing the Swiss worker behind the counter, he offering to play Christopher a song, he agreeing and after it’s on, gestures for him to go behind a curtained area, Sarah waiting inside. She explains (sort of) why she had three suitcases, one being dedicated to her teddy bear, then they share another kiss, longer and awkward, he then learning Cecil didn’t know any of Sarah’s plans, he setting out early for another round of fun and games. Christopher seems to become stressed over their few minutes wait, he informing her his need to speak with the driver once more, and learning Yeh Chen wasn’t living far from where they were, Christopher accepting the ride there, but the driver seeming to get confused when having to take a detour, they soon hearing gunshots, the driver then mentioning how they were no longer in the Settlement and Christopher going off on him by letting him know how much of a fool he thought the young man was, the kid getting out and walking away, Christopher going after him to apologize, attempting to have him return to the car, but when failing, tries getting the address to Yeh Chen’s, he being one of those without one. Christopher suggests directions being acceptable, the boy relenting, then pointing out a police station when asked, then returns in the car’s direction.

When going inside the station, Christopher supposed the place was mostly deserted other than the few cops who remained, one of them going to the back to share with whoever else of the reason for Christopher’s visit. The man returns to lead Christopher in back, he introduced to the Lieutenant and Captain, Christopher sharing his need of help, but would also be assisting them with his mission, as well (presumptuous). He then shares of the directions he’d been given, needing someone to show him where it was, he explaining the necessity of it being the end of a years long case in the search for his parents, the Lieutenant agreeing to lend him a few men upon their return due to the few they had to spare, Christopher conveying gratefulness, but also asking if it wouldn’t be possible to do so with a few already present for a minimal time, the Lieutenant denying this due to their inexperience, he then asking to see the directions and upon reading them, noting how whilst they were quite close, may be behind Japanese territory already, and difficult to get to, the Lieutenant then leads him to a spot he could see what he meant. They climb to the roof where the Lieutenant focuses Christopher’s attention to a length of smoke where factory workers lived, he describing how the families lived in cramped quarters, sometimes with three other families to a room, the Lieutenant showing where his men needed to be placed and how they’d keep “the warren” safe, it important to their victory. He then confides of the house Christopher wished to get to being in there, directing his gaze roughly to the roof of the building, also providing him with landmarks to help him stay on course. The Lieutenant then had to make clear how difficult Christopher’s mission would be with all the fighting going on, Christopher getting sidetracked by wanting the Lieutenant’s name so as to thank him at the upcoming ceremony for his parents, he instead having him accompany him back down to where his men had hopefully returned by now since believing the part he played being minor. When getting an update, the Lieutenant shares how his men had gotten stuck outside, Christopher asking the Lieutenant to guide him, and the man agreeing even whilst knowing the danger it brought to his mission’s success, the two setting out after he provided Christopher with a pistol.

As Christopher remembers being led by the Lieutenant, it seemed easy, but the moment was difficult, the ground hurting his footsies, and having to negotiate his way through holes in the walls, tired after only going through one, but having more to go. As he walks through areas with demolished homes, he grew angry about the men in charge of the International Settlement who had shirked their duties, the Lieutenant stopping soon after to declare they’d made it to their first landmark, the West Furnace, their second being the East and would then be close to Christopher’s destination. The Lieutenant then ushers him on so they could get out before sundown. They reach a place where they meet more soldiers defending a wall, and after the Lieutenant speaks with them, he shares with Christopher of they having gotten most of the Japanese to retreat, with the exception of a few stuck nearby. Christopher attempts to show disappointed indignation at the Lieutenant’s caution to stop where they were until the men were pacified, but the Lieutenant only states of the possibility it may not take long, then returns to the wall at the behest of a solder, gunfire breaking out, and the Lieutenant saving Christopher from getting hit by gunshots hitting the wall behind him. After the danger seemed to have passed temporarily, Christopher goes back to criticizing how the Lieutenant was running his defense, this after denying Christopher the idea of bringing the men they were with, along to where his parents were being held. Christopher then goes off on the Lieutenant for he feeling guilty by the reason they were fighting in the first place, believing the Lieutenant blamed him, but then making excuses for why he hadn’t cracked his case sooner, ending by belittling the man’s profession and intelligence (hwhat a schmuck). The Lieutenant takes this all in stride, by the end allowing if Christopher was resolute to move forward, despite the danger, it was more likely he’d be safer without him (a good idea, regardless), he then leading Christopher to a detour, by this time Christopher regretting his snotty explosion, but going along, the Lieutenant also giving him a flashlight, leaving him with the advice of waiting as long as possible before using it, claiming neutrality if he ran into soldiers, and ask the locals for directions (more than he deserves). He stops taking the Lieutenant’s advice when he doesn’t go through a certain passage for the smell, he getting stuck going further in the wrong direction. When coming across locals, he was able to get back on course, but no one could understand him so he could get a better idea of his surroundings.

Christopher comes across another group of people, children surrounding something, and when Christopher gets near enough, he recognizes Akira, unconscious and bound (a little let down with this reunion, but the upcoming moments between them are the most entertaining, at least in a comedic way, in this book). When the kids begin to gather again to prod Akira with a stick, Christopher keeps them at bay, and when Akira regains consciousness, Christopher attempts to show him whom he is, but Akira doesn’t catch it, (Christopher taking on a Bertie Wooster-like persona) Christopher seeing his finding him serendipitous, Akira then requesting to allow death to claim him, Christopher stating he isn’t close to death, only having “a rough time of it lately” (really, Christopher??), and help could be found, Akira responding with porky oaths, and attempting to spit at him again, Christopher responding by deciding getting him untied may help with his memory, but Akira vowing to kill him if he lets him loose, Christopher ignoring his threat for rationalizing the people around them would as soon kill him, and Akira needed his wounds tended before infection hit. When an old woman approaches them with a reaping hook, Christopher attempts to have her understand (in English), of Akira being good, and his friend (a woman whom doesn’t understand English). Then when it obviously fails to connect and he points his revolver at them (good plan), an old man steps forward whom speaks bloody English! (Where the fuck, fella?) He explaining why Akira was bound being for he killing an Aunt and stealing, Christopher arguing the impossibility and asking for him to confirm it was the same man they had. Meanwhile, after another attempt from Christopher to get Akira to recognize him works slowly, an argument arises in the crowd of people and Christopher again threatens them with his gun after he takes a young boy’s knife to cut Akira loose. When Christopher then has the old man translate of the group making a mistake and Akira would be helping to solve his case (pointlessly), he eventually has the man get the people to stay away, they panicking for Christopher swinging the gun around, and the two making their way out, (after a funny moment of Christopher and Akira almost falling).

As they stagger on, Christopher becomes overwhelmed with happiness for finally seeing his ole buddy and laughs giddily a few times, Akira joining in and it feeling like the old days. When Christopher gives them both a moment to rest, he checks Akira’s wounds again, but can’t tell if the bad smell was coming from them anymore or if it was caused by something he’d laid in. He attempts to clean the wounds, then gets into why he was there being to find his parents, Akira now able to help him get inside the house (like Ling Tien’s room? I wonder if one will flake out on the other…), Akira agreeing, but then making a confusing statement after admitting to knowing where the East Furnace was. Christopher catches it, as well and presumes the place he spoke was the International Settlement. They soon get back on their way though, Christopher now dealing with a cut foot from his shoe getting torn. Meanwhile, Christopher had mixed feelings about the circumstances around their meeting, wishing it had happened in gentler accommodations, they limping along until Akira hears soldiers, they closing in on the front lines, which needed to be passed in order to reach the house, but Akira then insisting they needed to rest and wait for light before continuing due to the fighting, Christopher giving in (even though he wanted to argue, more).

They stay put for awhile, until Christopher decides to move them to a safer area in their bombed shelter, Akira deciding Christopher must learn Japanese immediately in case Akira died or was unconscious, Christopher refusing anything so finite would happen, Akira then teaching him one word, since more was too difficult, they laughing over his pronunciation, and then Christopher passing out. When he wakes, dawn has broken, he accidentally waking Akira when attempting to examine him again, Akira wanting to relay a message to his child should he not make it, again Christopher refusing to accept the possibility and deciding they should move along before Akira got too deeply into a funk. The going was rougher due to both their energies being sapped overnight, and before setting out, Akira warns they must be more careful since the Chinese were near, the two seeing their handiwork involving spilled intestines. Soon after getting them to the East Furnace, Christopher leads them down the alley the Lieutenant pointed out, Akira weighing him down so much, they soon stop again, he seeing a broken sign and asking Akira what it said, he not knowing for certain for his Chinese not great, Christopher supplying the idea of it perhaps saying Yeh Chen, Akira allowing the possibility, but when Christopher begins to plan for the both of them to enter, Akira considers how many years have passed, and the fates of Christopher’s parents, the two not able to discuss anymore for a little girl emerging from the house and seeming to want them to come in, Christopher stepping forward since it seemed she was bleeding, after she goes back inside, Christopher urging Akira to come with him.

When they go through to where the girl leads them, they view many dead bodies, the little girl going to a dog, and speaking Chinese, Akira translating she wanted help for the dog, Christopher giving her encouraging words, but then going about in search of his parents until Akira warns him of soldiers nearby, Christopher losing his shit and not comprehending due to his desperate search. Akira hides in a half open spot, Christopher unable to let him know since the soldiers then entered, but he finding it hilarious, and once Akira realizing they were Japanese, makes his presence known, he not looking happy to see them or vice versa, he being led out with only a smile to Christopher as he left, he then explaining the reason he was there to the Captain, the latter commanding he leave immediately. The Japanese kept Christopher at their headquarters where he recovered from his injuries, which also gave him a fever for some weeks, but when he recovers, a Colonel speaks with him, and Christopher feels he has a clear concept of what he’d been through for his case. The Colonel was ready to lead him to the British Consulate, but Christopher had another idea involving his return to the gramophone shop, the Colonel denying this due to they being on a schedule and Christopher not able to explain why, the Colonel then passes the time by speaking of his admiration of Dickens and Thackeray, their country beautiful.

Christopher changes the subject to Akira and whether the Colonel knew his fate, he advising Christopher to let it go, but of course he not doing as requested, the Colonel sharing how Akira was quite likely in cahoots with the Chinese due to where he was found. The Colonel and he then discuss how soon the world would be battling a war. When Christopher speaks with the British consul-general, he gets to the point of needing to speak with MacDonald whilst he cleaned himself up. People came and left from the room they’d given him, a doctor most likely giving him medication to sleep, he being told of MacDonald not being found, yet. Upon waking, he goes off in search of MacDonald’s office and sees Sir Cecil, the two discussing the disappearance of Sarah and how he and others thought Christopher was connected, he there to apologize and sharing how he’d gotten word from her currently being in Macao, they being interrupted by Grayson, Christopher disheartened, but he there to show Christopher to MacDonald’s new working office. When they get to an empty office, Grayson nudges Christopher forward, closing the door behind them and making it clear Christopher wanted to speak with him (wink-wink), the interview with Yellow Snake more possible and Christopher feeling like he’s finally getting somewhere. He then relays his interview occurring the previous night, the Chinese secret police, his escort and they confronting more guards when getting to the large house, he waiting inside for a half hour, when finally being shown to a study where he is greeted by someone he knows.

Yellow Snake even shows how he’d been made to stay armed in case Christopher attempts to attack him, he knowing he owed Christopher some explanations. They start with Christopher’s father, after he gives his own opinion of what he thought happened, when asked, needing to play nice. His mother had planned to share the truth with him regarding his father when he was older, he learning where his father had gone, whom he’d been with, why he’d left, and how he’d lived his life. When Christopher asks about where his mother was, Yellow Snake again asks for what he knew, Christopher sharing how he’d thought the two were being held captive, Yellow Snake then backing up to explain a memory Christopher shares earlier, and explaining how his mother had been working to end the opium trade in China, how he didn’t have her exact location, but knew a good place to start, the man Christopher had been researching being involved. Christopher now realizes whom had his mother and the reason she had been taken, he then learning whom had been taking care of his financial needs, he about to tell what his mother endured whilst living with the drug kingpin, but Christopher having enough, Yellow Snake then confessing how he’s stayed alive so Christopher could kill him, but after refusing and having to pull away from him for his insistence, the man shares his deepest secret, he getting off in knowing his mother was essentially a sex slave since he knew he couldn’t have her and didn’t save her. Christopher ignores this and only focuses on making sure he knew everything about his mother, the man whom had her now being dead, so his search being difficult, but onward he would go, leaving Yellow Snake.

London 14/Nov./1958 – Christopher relates how a trip to Hong Kong marked his longest trip in a long time, he exhausted a couple days after arriving, the place not being as homey as Shanghai was, he dealing with joint pain and Jennifer accompanying him for needing the break. She offered having them visit Shanghai, as well, but Christopher knew the changes made to the city would be painful to him. By the third day, Christopher was off for a visit to a convent inside a manor without Jennifer joining him, as requested. When meeting a nun in an office regarding a woman called Diana, whom had been institutionalized and stranded in China for many years, and then brought to their convent, the woman leads him to where she was, so he could discover whether she was his mother. When he first sees her, the nun shares how she didn’t usually understand something unless continually repeated, she smiling at them a moment before going back to her card game. Christopher gets a moment alone with her, and when she smiles up at him again, Christopher senses a note of fear in her gaze, he telling her whom he was a few times and apologizing for locating her so late, he then trying his pet name, she recognizing it, but not him, only sharing how she’d heard he was fine, but one couldn’t know for sure with him and worrying her. Christopher then has this discussion with Jennifer regarding the rest of Diana’s life there, they currently in England and he not happy with her current living situation, she having had some type of break down at thirty-one and having had, but lost a family, she ready to take it easy and not be bothered with finding love again. Christopher being posed the same question and making him reminisce of his lost love, feeling guilty and apologizing to Jennifer for leaving her so long when she was young, but she making him realize how grateful she was for all he’d done for her. She then comes up with a compromise involving the plan of whether she were able to get another husband and have some kids, he would have to live with them in the country, he agreeing. At the same time, Christopher also thought how he’d miss London, he still being recognized, one time whilst out with the Osbournes and a lady approaching him for knowing Sarah quite well, and what had become of her and her new love. The last correspondence Christopher had of her by letter a couple of years after the war, he still second guessing whether her words of her own happiness were genuine, and after relating how regretful he’d feel if he left London, would give good thought to Jennifer’s offer.

After reading this book as sections of it had been broken from the spine (presumably done whilst it was stepped on by cretins), was oddly liberating, only since I hadn’t an attachment to it for not knowing whether I’d want it for keeps (fortunately I didn’t, Christopher not being a character I care to periodically re-encounter, I having given him the benefit of the doubt at first, but he being pompous, which makes him describing the powerful men of the International Settlement in similar terms, seeming like he truly doesn’t recognize the similarities in his own personality. Too much of an ego as well, which he would most likely state how wrong I am in describing it in such a way, blah; also, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt like seeing a main character die and not feeling let down). So, minus Christopher being a stuck-up, know-it-all, the story itself is what drove interest-level. The two main mysteries being his parents fates and his best buddy, Akira; one being more fully realized than the other. I also enjoyed the time period and locations which helped the value, but I do now see why so many people found this piece annoying, especially since Akira gets left behind, and if Christopher had found out whether or not he hadn’t made it, why he didn’t do as Akira had requested of him by going to see his family to give his last words? Oh well, I’ll give Ishiguro one more chance since it was well-written.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year Two)

 

Harry’s Uncle is woken from sleep by hooting sounds from Harry’s room, his Uncle complaining in the morning and Harry explaining Hedwig wouldn’t do so if he could let her out at night, Vernon knowing what it would mean if he allowed this. Dudley states his indifference to the subject, as well as hunger through belch form, he then requesting bacon by demanding Harry to pass the frying pan and Harry responding for Dudley to say the magic word, everyone reacting with surprise, fear, and anger, Vernon having been treating him like a ticking time bomb whom could activate at any time. Harry missed Hogwarts with an aching passion, Vernon having locked up all of Harry’s magic-related belongings, being unable to practice Quidditch or do his homework. We are then recapped of Harry’s past and physical descriptions of he and the Dursley’s, we also learn of Voldemort mysteriously losing his powers after being unable to kill Harry. Vernon then mentions again of the dinner party to come which was supposed to help him land a deal for his business in drills, Harry realizing no one seemed to remember it was his twelfth birthday. Vernon proceeds to run through the plans for the night, Harry’s job being to stay in his room and pretend to not exist. After, Vernon goes to pick up his and Dudley’s dinner-wear and Harry goes outside, missing his buddies.

We then recap Harry’s last year at Hogwarts and his run-in with Voldemort, Harry realizing he was zoning out and looking at a bush which was staring back, Dudley then appears and taunts Harry with the knowledge of he knowing it was his birthday and asking why he was gazing at a bush, which prompts Harry to make up the reason being to decide what spell was best to set it aflame, startling Dudley to trip back and after egging Harry with the start of another unkind comment, is scared when Harry makes up magic words, his Aunt setting him chores after chucking the half clean frying pan at his head with the extra threat of not being fed until his tasks were complete. Exhausted after finishing, it takes him until early evening, Harry getting a disappointing dinner and is commanded to go upstairs. After one more unfinished threat by Vernon, Harry silently enters his room to fall on his bed, but sees it being occupied by a guest.

Harry is almost startled enough to shout out, but resists, he knowing this was the creature he’d seen in the bushes. The creature formally bows, Harry noting the pillow-case he wore, he greeting the creature, and the elf in return speaking in normal-squeaky pitch, Harry sure it would be heard below, the creature stating it had been wanting to meet him. Harry tries to convey of the inconvenient timing for the visit, he being glad to meet Dobby, but attempting him to cut to the chase for his visit, Dobby unsure where to start and Harry offering Dobby a seat, which brings the elf to a loudly bawling state, Harry attempting to calm Dobby, he making light of how wizards must not have been kind to him often, Dobby almost agreeing and so having to punish himself with a few head butts into the window, Harry grabbing him and setting Dobby back on his bed, the abrupt reaction waking Hedwig, whom screeches. Upon further inquiry, Harry discovers Dobby has come without informing the wizard family he serves and would be punishing himself severely later for this transgression. Harry attempts to offer his assistance in escape for Dobby, but it’s useless, Dobby relating of his visit to Harry being to warn him not to return to Hogwarts, this after gushing over Harry’s kindness in wanting to help him. Harry attempts to learn more about the dangers Dobby hints of, but Dobby obviously has rules to which he can’t overcome in regards to the details.

Dobby hints at whom it could be, but begins beating himself again which brings Vernon to the room with more threats, and afterward Dobby confessing to having stolen Harry’s letters and would only give them back upon his word of not going back to Hogwarts. Harry refuses, so Dobby apologizes regretfully for what he was about to do, he running out of the room, Harry following quietly. Dobby releases the cream pudding in the kitchen, (unlike the movie where it lands atop the guests), Harry getting caught and made to mop up immediately. What gets the guests out of the house is a barn owl delivering a letter to the female guest’s lap, she deathly afraid of birds and fleeing out, the husband not amused. Vernon enters the kitchen with the letter, it being about the non-use of magic by minors and in front of Muggles. Vernon then goes about sequestering Harry in his room, only allowing bathroom breaks twice a day, food to be given through a door flap, and his windows barred. Harry descends into a troubled sleep, awakened by rattling bars, he seeing Ron outside his window.

Harry opens the window, unable to communicate his confusion of how Ron was there and what was happening. Ron takes over with questions of why Harry hadn’t answered his letters and then relating how his father had heard about Harry’s warning letter since he works for the Ministry of Magic, Harry attempts to convey the complexity of his situation when Ron interrupts with how easily they were going to liberate him, Harry having digressed of Ron giving a message to Hogwarts about his incarceration for him. George and Fred then help Harry get his gear, stored under the stairs, with lock picks to aid them after they wrench the bars off the window with the car, the Dursleys undisturbed by the noise, so far. Whilst Harry passed the belongings he needed within his room, Fred and George retrieved his Hogwarts trunks downstairs, all going accordingly, until Hedwig screeches for being left behind and waking Vernon whom crashes through the door and seizes Harry’s ankle, the brothers pull Harry into the car, they shooting off into the night as the Dursleys watched, Harry finally able to release Hedwig so she could fly with them, then Harry explains what he had gone through during the summer break. The boys considered Dobby’s message and honesty, Harry and Ron instantly thinking of their main enemy, Draco when provided with the idea of who could have it out for Harry. George and Fred then speak of their father having brought up Draco’s father, Lucius and his involvement with Voldemort. The twins then profiling the kinds of families who own house-elves, they being rich, and usually manor-owning.

After seeing the likelihood of Malfoy being behind Dobby’s visit, Harry questioned whether he should’ve believed Dobby. Ron then explains his concern and the lengths he’d gone to when Harry didn’t answer his letters, they then discussing Percy’s strange behavior lately and how they’d successfully swiped the car, now hoping they could return it before their mother noticed. Harry also inquired of the Department their father worked, it involving the “misuse of Muggle artifacts”. The twins share of how fascinated their father was of Muggle items, the illegality of his hoarding of non-magical items driving their mother up the wall, they almost home by this time, and it nearing dawn. Harry then lays eyes on Ron’s family home for the first time, it looking like it was held together with magic due to the angle of its standing. Ron was excusing the state of the house, but Harry returned with how great it was, the boys then discussing how they’d explain Harry’s presence when they’d sneak him in and up to the second floor, so they could go down for breakfast when the Weasley boys’ mother is seen marching right at them, she not happy for her worry, the boys not having a chance to explain, since she was still in the process of sharing what she’d witnessed of their being gone, and all which could’ve gone wrong, the threat of she bringing all this to their father’s attention when he returned from work, she then greeting Harry and inviting him in for breakfast, he nervous, but reassured by Ron, he experiencing his first wizard home. As Mrs. Weasley cooked breakfast she still muttered her disbelief and displeasure of the boys’ actions, but lost steam when George mentioned the Dursleys weren’t feeding Harry regularly, Ginny then stepping downstairs and retreating quickly when seeing Harry, Ron introducing her and how she’d been talking about him a lot during break.

After they ate, Fred attempts nonchalance of going to sleep, their mother nixing the wishful plan with chores, she offering Harry welcome to sleep, but he quite awake and curious of Ron’s de-gnoming chore. As the boys walked to the garden, Ron shows Harry a real gnome, the little fella sounding adorable with his demands to “gerroff” him. Ron then shows the simple process of de-gnoming involving a lasso motion as the boys chucked them out of the yard, making them dizzy so they wouldn’t know how to return. When they hear their father enter the house, they return, Mr. Weasley looking worn out. He begins to share what his night had consisted of when his wife accuses him with the enchanted car, he acting guilty. Mrs. Weasley gains momentum especially when he halfheartedly shows disappointment of the boys taking the car, Ron having Harry retreat with him to his room, they passing Ginny’s room on the way, she quickly shutting her door, and Ron remarking how odd her quiet, withdrawing behavior was, they reaching Ron’s room, Harry surveying his belongings and posters of Quidditch players plastered all over his walls, Ron shy about Harry’s opinion being unimpressed, but Harry blurting of his room, and his home being the best he’s experienced, Ron going flush.

We then share the other oddities Harry experiences at the Weasley house, from ghost in the attic to periodic explosions in Fred and George’s room, all of these happenings normal for the household. The main strange occurrence being how everyone treated him well: Ron’s mother overfeeding him, his father wanting him to sit by him so he could relate all kinds of Muggle appliances and government jobs: post workers, specifically. Ginny still had trouble keeping it cool when Harry was around, he kindly ignoring her clumsiness due to her severe embarrassment. One morning the boys receive letters from Hogwarts detailing the place and time they’d be going back, Harry also having the list of required textbooks, most by Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry then learns Ginny will be starting Hogwarts this year, and the group talk about how expensive Lockhart’s books were, Ron then getting a letter from Hermione about meeting up at Diagon Alley. The boys then practiced Quidditch later, Percy still keeping to himself which had Fred wondering what was going on with him. On a Wednesday they get up early, Mrs. Weasley waking them for their shopping day in Diagon Alley. Harry was offered to use the Floo powder first, but didn’t know how to go about it, Mr. Weasley becoming sidetracked upon knowing Harry’s route last year, but interrupted by Mrs. Weasley, and Fred showing him how it’s done.

When Harry does get his turn after tips from Mrs. Weasley and Ron, he still ends up in the wrong place, a strange shop, the view outside not Diagon Alley, and as Harry attempts an exit, he sees Malfoy walking in with his father, he hiding in a cabinet and viewing the two waiting for the clerk. As they stand there, Draco finds a way of complaining about Harry which his father was apparently used to, advising Draco should keep his dislike in check due to Potter’s celebrity. Then the shopkeeper appears, assuming Lucius was there to purchase, he setting him straight about his visiting to attempt to sell due to some possessions he didn’t want to be caught with if the Ministry raided his home. When Draco chimes in about a possible gift for himself, it leads to a conversation about Hermione being the reason he didn’t get good grades: teacher’s pet. As Lucius and the shop owner haggle, Draco gets unnervingly close to opening Harry’s hiding spot, but being called back, Lucius ready to leave. When they do, Harry times his moment to exit, and views his surroundings, all the shops Dark Arts related, he “hoping against hope” he’d make his way to Diagon Alley (I’m disappointed in Rowling for joining the ranks of Dan Brown to make one of her characters hope against hope).

Harry is surprised by an old witch talking to him which he’s glad to be interrupted by Hagrid, and the two easily getting to Diagon Alley whilst Harry related how he’d gotten lost and why he hadn’t responded to Hagrid’s letter, they then being spotted by Hermione. Soon the Weasleys had found him, the boys jealous of Harry having gone to Knockturn Alley, and Hagrid bowing out, having business elsewhere. Harry spills on who he’d seen whilst there, Mr. Weasley wishing to catch Malfoy with contraband and Mrs. Weasley warning him to watch himself, the group going into Gringotts where Hermione’s parents were exchanging some money for the proper currency for Hogwarts, Mr. Weasley delighted with meeting some Muggles and seeing their ten pound notes. As Hermione stayed with her parents, the Weasleys and Harry are taken to their vaults, Mrs. Weasley taking everything inside theirs and Harry embarrassed and attempting to hide the amount inside his own. Percy goes off by himself upon the group leaving the bank, Fred and George off to greet a buddy, Mrs. Weasley taking Ginny to get a secondhand robe, and Mr. Weasley inviting the Grangers for a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry, Hermione, and Ron go off window shopping, Harry buying them all ice cream, seeing Percy with his nose in a book, then going to the bookshop to discover Lockhart would be signing his autobiography, Hermione squealing with excitement.

The line out the door consisted of women Mrs. Weasley’s age, she also further up near the front of the line, Harry, Hermione, and Ron meeting her there. Harry is then spotted by Lockhart, whom saw the celebrity photo-op and jumped at the chance of getting front page coverage, plastering a smile on his face and suggesting Harry do the same, not letting him return to the Weasleys though, upon he attempting this, instead being steered by Lockhart to stay with him as he made a speech to his fans of how he was presenting his autobiography to Harry, as a gift and announcing his post as teacher of Defense of the Dark Arts. Harry then gets all of Lockhart’s collection of books, he walking off and giving them to Ginny, Malfoy then piping up how Harry must’ve enjoyed the attention, Ginny sticking up for Harry and Malfoy embarrassing her by stating how Harry had what looked like a girlfriend, Ron walking up and getting a bit of talk-back from Malfoy, as well, he ready to throw down, but Hermione and Harry stopping him. Mr. Weasley walks up and suggests the group go outside due to the crowd, before being able to, caught by Lucius whom couldn’t resist but take a dig on Weasley’s obvious struggle with financing his children’s school books and the company he kept, the Grangers also present. Mr. Weasley doesn’t take his words lightly, body-checking Lucius and knocking books on top of them both, Hagrid breaking their fight up, they leaving for the street, the Grangers heading for the pub to get to Muggle territory, the Weasleys and Harry off using the Floo powder, Harry knowing now it wasn’t his preferred traveling choice.

Summer ended in a flash to Harry, whom was having the most idyllic vacation, but he had conflicting feelings since he also loved Hogwarts, only tainting this with the thoughts of how the Dursleys would welcome him when the next vacation began. Mrs. Weasley made the children’s final evening home a memorable one with a wonderful dinner menu, the evening topped with indoor fireworks and hot cocoa before sleepy-time. Next morning the family rushed about at dawn, getting ready for the trip to the station. Mr. Weasley having magic-suped the small car to fit all luggage and comfortably seat the clan, Mrs. Weasley none the wiser. The group didn’t make it to the station quickly, since three of the siblings had to run in the house for last minute forgotten items, everyone’s frustration rising. Mr. Weasley attempted to convince his wife to allow him to fly the car with invisibility, but she refused, they making it to the station with five minutes to spare to get to their platform. Harry and Ron were last to go, and didn’t make it, the carts crashing into the wall. They get attention from many Muggles due to the resounding ruckus, but discuss their options, having missed the train. Harry didn’t have any “normal” cash, Ron wondering how his parents would return from the platform. Since the barrier remained closed, Harry suggested they wait at the car for Ron’s parents to return due to still getting stares, Ron now excited since they could use the car to follow the train to Hogwarts, his parents able to teleport themselves home.

Harry now more eager by the idea, they return to the car, shoving luggage and Hedwig quickly in, Ron starting the invisibility device and have them in the air when the cloaking fails, Ron gunning the car into the clouds. He dips them below cloud level to locate the train, Harry detecting its whereabouts and Ron noting the direction as they follow above the clouds. The longer the ride though, coupled with the heat and thirst, begins to wear down the fun, the car even whining which added to their nerves, but when darkness comes, Harry spots Hogwarts, the car crapping out whilst they were over the water, Ron maneuvering the car as well as possible, until letting go of the wheel to attempt using his wand, Harry taking after George of the Jungle when the car was aimed at a tree. Harry grabs the wheel to steer them clear, but they hit hard, Ron’s wand suffering damage along with Harry’s head, the abuse not quite over when blows to the car begin. Ron suggests fleeing, but the tree opposed this, the car starting up, allowing Ron to back the car away from the tree, the car then ejecting them and luggage out on to the lawn, before driving off, Ron shouting after it for its return, knowing his father would be angry with him, but the two walking off with their luggage to the front door, Ron noticing by peering through a window the Sorting Hat was placing new students.

Harry then notices Snape was missing from his seat, the two considering aloud whether he resigned, Snape speaking up of he being curious as to why they hadn’t been on the train. Snape then leads them indoors to his office where he shows them a newspaper stating of the car having been seen in flight. He then declaring he would be summoning those who were responsible for deciding the boys expulsion. First McGonagall arrives, Ron and Harry getting the chance to explain, Dumbledore entering after. Harry explaining to him his side, the boys safe from being expelled for now, but they needing to be aware of how serious they were of receiving it with any other troubles which could arise, both of their families being sent letter of their bad deed. Snape attempts to impress Dumbledore with the fact of the rules being broken which would support expulsion, but Dumbledore reminds Snape of the boys being in McGonagall’s house, making the decision hers, he then relaying of returning to the feast, Snape in tow, whilst McGonagall looked at the boys sternly. In the end, they each receive a detention, and wouldn’t be joining the feast, McGonagall magicking sandwiches and iced pumpkin juice to be dined upon there, before going straight to their dorm. They discuss the good fortune they had, but also needing to be careful what with the odd closing of the barrier at the station. When they arrive at the portrait for their dorm, they realize they hadn’t gotten the new term’s password, but Hermione arrives just in time.

Hermione launched into questioning where they had been and the talk of what had happened, surprised to learn they having flown to Hogwarts not being a rumor, she ending with a tone similar to McGonagall’s, so Ron cuts her off so they could learn the password, but she wouldn’t have been able to continue her questioning anyways, since as soon as the portrait had let them pass, it seemed all of Gryffindor house was waiting in the common room for them, cheering and giving kudos to Harry and Ron, only Percy looking annoyed. Ron was made aware of this by Harry, so they begin to make their way to the dorm rooms, marveling at the greetings they had received, and happy when their other roomies, Neville, Seamus, and Dean came in, still showing disbelief by their one of a kind arrival. The next morning, the boys met Hermione in the Great Hall, she still a little cold due to their bad behavior, Neville showing up to wait for owl deliveries of items he’d forgotten at home, Ron properly dreading opening the letter he’d gotten upon realizing it was a Howler, Neville urging him to get it over with since it’d be worse if he waited, Harry wanting to know what it was, but Ron instead working up courage to open it rather than answer, Harry understanding by witnessing it. After it was over, Ron was quite embarrassed, and Harry ashamed he’d helped in Mr. Weasley now having an inquiry from work for his magicking Muggle items.

Meanwhile Professor McGonagall was passing out schedules, Harry seeing their first class was Herbology, and when the trio had gone out to the Greenhouse to be met by Professor Sprout, she was accompanied by Lockhart, she seeming unusually annoyed as she instructed the students to Greenhouse three, they not having been inside the more interesting and dangerous greenhouse. As the three begin to walk with the rest of the class, Lockhart blocks Harry from joining and gives him a lecture on how he understood why he had flown the car being caused by his front page picture in the paper, Harry was shocked by how off he was, but joined his friends as Sprout spoke of the class preparing to re-pot Mandrakes, Hermione getting Gryffindor ten points for answering what they were for, as well as the next question, they then getting a demonstration of what they’d be doing, Harry surprised to see a green baby attached to the fronds of the plant, the three friends making up a third of their group, being joined by a Hufflepuff boy, Justin, as he shook their hands and offered individual knowledge of each one of them, he then speaking of Lockhart being quite impressive. The class had quite a time attempting to re-earth the little suckers, but Harry wasn’t exactly at ease in his Transfiguration class either, his previous year’s knowledge having seeped out over summer.

Harry didn’t do well, but Ron was worse off with his damaged wand, after class his mood not improving despite it being lunch, since their next class after was Defense Against the Dark Arts. When they’d finished eating and walked to the courtyard, Hermione read whilst Harry and Ron talked Quidditch until being stared down by a small boy, Colin whom finally got the nerve to ask for a signed picture when Malfoy walks up behind him to scoff. He again insults Ron to the point of getting him to draw his broken wand, but Lockhart interrupts with the nose for someone asking for signed pictures. Lockhart offers to jump in with Harry and sign it as well, Malfoy withdrawing, and everyone going off to classes. Harry is leached upon by Lockhart giving more unwelcome and off the mark advice since they were both heading for his class, Harry choosing a seat in the back before Lockhart gave out his lengthy personalized quiz, ridiculous questions relating to himself and spanning three sides of paper. Hermione was the only one to ace the quiz, she also scoring another ten points for her house. Lockhart then reveals the Cornish pixies as their study subjects, he letting them loose and they immediately having Neville in the air by his ears (memorable scene in the movie), other pixies throwing out books through the back window, and everyone taking cover, Lockhart playing it cool by instructing the class to capture them and showing them how, his spell doing nothing, so takes cover like the rest until the bell for next class rings and everyone hastily leaves, Lockhart commanding the three to handle capturing the rest before shooting out the door, himself. Ron was enraged by his ineptitude, Hermione trying to stick up for him, but Ron declaring the great deeds Lockhart spoke of in his books seemed to only be stories.

Harry now spent much time avoiding Lockhart, he not so readily able to do the same about Colin. He was pleased to make it to the weekend, the trio planning on a visit with Hagrid, but Harry was unexpectedly awakened by Oliver, the Gryffindor Captain. He found out they had practice, Oliver explaining this was a new training plan since no other team would be training this early in the season. He writes a note to Ron, then Colin runs after him with a picture he’d taken of Lockhart whom was talking about Harry, this time when asked, is bluntly rebuffed to autograph it. After Harry attempts to leave him, Colin puppy-dog’s his way after Harry, since not having seen a Quidditch game before, and only left him alone from his incessant questioning to locate a good seat whilst Harry changed. Oliver launched into a tactical speech when all were present, but few, if any were truly absorbing his words for sleepiness, George asking a smart-ass question which Oliver responds to by informing how terrible their defeat was last year, Harry feeling responsible for having been unconscious and unable to help their team to victory. The team finally gets to the field, Harry spotting Hermione and Ron in the stands, he informing them of practice only having now gotten started. Fred was first to hear a loud clicking which was coming from Colin’s constant picture-taking. Harry denies knowing him, but admits the boy is in Gryffindor when Oliver gets suspicious of what House he’s from. George then shares how Slytherin didn’t need spies since some were currently walking on to the field, Oliver going off to meet them to learn why they were there, the opposing team captain deciding there was enough space for both. The boy then hands a note written by Snape for the Slytherin team to be allowed to practice so they could train their new seeker, Draco. The team also shows the latest model of Nimbus they’d received as gifts by Draco’s father. Tensions heighten when Ron and Hermione join them and Malfoy calls her a Mudblood, everyone responding with rage, and Ron hitting himself with a wand blast when aiming at Malfoy.

Hermione and Harry decide to guide him to Hagrid’s, for being the closest, Colin getting in the way once more when attempting to get a shot of Ron belching up slugs. They had almost arrived when Lockhart was seen exiting Hagrid’s, Harry deciding to hide until he was gone. When they get inside, Ron is given a bowl since it was about waiting for the slugs to stop being regurgitated, Harry and Hermione learning how terrible a name Malfoy had used, Hagrid also taking it seriously. They discuss Lockhart, as well, his reason for visiting Hagrid being to instruct him on how to remove kelpies from a well, Hagrid then showing them what he’d been growing: humongous pumpkins for Halloween. Hagrid had obviously been helping the growth of his pumpkins illegally, since he’d been expelled from Hogwarts for unknown reasons and wasn’t supposed to use magic. After the trio return inside for lunch, McGonagall approaches Harry and Ron to give them their detention tasks, Ron polishing silverware and Harry getting stuck with Lockhart to answer his fan mail. Lunch is tainted by their news, and soon enough it’s time to do their time, Harry goes to Lockhart’s office, immediately being put to write the addresses for envelopes. Later in the night, as Harry is still writing addresses, he hears an odd voice speaking death threats, Lockhart not hearing, but surprised four hours having passed, dismissing Harry. A half hour after, Ron is back and Harry describes what he heard, Ron confused as to how it could’ve been overlooked by Lockhart.

In October, certain students and teachers visited Madame Pomfrey, the nurse for her immediate remedy for colds which left smoking ears for awhile after, Ginny among them. It would rain days at a time, but practice wasn’t postponed in these instances, so Harry was covered in mud and water, it seeming pointless due to the effortless speed the upgraded Nimbus gave to their opponents. During his walk back, Harry speaks with Nearly Headless Nick, whom was dealing with his own injustices for being denied entry into the Headless Hunt, since his head hadn’t been completely detached. Harry was in the middle of explaining his reason for being down, upon request, when Mrs. Norris makes an appearance, Harry not having time to retreat before Filch saw the mud he’d tracked through the hall, he leading Harry back the way he’d come to Filch’s office where Harry saw Fred and George’s file cabinet of mischief along with other cabinets of various students. As Harry awaited Filch to write his punishment on the official form, Filch is distracted by a loud bang from above them which gets him out of the room before finishing, he believing the poltergeist Peeves was making the ruckus, Harry not fond of the ghost, but relieved by his good timing. Harry does the honest thing though, and waits for Filch to return, he noticing a letter on his desk which seemed to be a beginner’s guide to charms. Harry quickly returns the letter to envelope when he hears Filch returning, but forgets to put it back close enough to where he found it, Filch noticing and putting the letter in his desk, Harry denies having read it, but Filch shows his anger and embarrassment, letting Harry go without reprimand, Harry taking the opportunity and dashing out. Nearly Headless Nick stops him to learn if his plan had worked, he having convinced Peeves to drop the cabinet they’d heard, Harry thanking him and wanting to assist with Nearly Headless Nick’s problem with the Headless Hunt, Nick realizing Harry could by attending his 500th death-day party and relate to the man in charge of the Hunt Admissions, Sir Patrick, of Nick’s scary magnificence, Harry agreeing even though the day coincided with Halloween.

Harry then mentions the trio’s invite, Hermione intrigued with the prospect, Ron not as impressed since he was overloaded with homework and had other unfavorable tasks to deal with. Harry then plans on sharing the letter in Filch’s office, but is distracted by Fred and George’s experiment with a fire lizard and some fireworks. When Halloween arrives, Harry is second-guessing his hasty decision to attend Nick’s death-day after seeing and hearing the festivities for the school feast, but Hermione insists on they keeping their word, walking past the Great Hall, to the dungeons. The path was lined with black candles with blue flame, Nick greeting them at the entrance and the group hearing strange music and then seeing through guests dancing and chatting. Hermione spots Moaning Myrtle, relating to the boys the trouble she’s been making in one of the girls bathrooms, it now being out of order, they instead checking out the buffet, which consisted of rotten or charred food. When they were turning to walk away, Peeves gets in their way, having overheard what Hermione had said about Myrtle, calling her over, and Hermione making nice, but Peeves egging on a disaster, Myrtle not taking Hermione’s hopeful compliment well, especially when the boys halfheartedly agree, Myrtle crying her way out as Peeves antagonizes her. Nick approaches after, the group having to lie about having a good time and he preparing for his speech, when Sir Patrick makes his lively entrance, Harry doing as Nick asked and being called out by Sir Patrick, Nick then attempting to give his speech, but being overshadowed by Patrick’s flash game of Head Hockey, the trio taking this moment to ditch, but as they return upstairs, Harry hearing the death-threatening words again and has Hermione and Ron following him up to the Great Hall, and then to the first floor, where Hermione is first to notice a message written on the wall, and Ron spotting a stiff and unmoving Mrs. Norris, Harry tentatively suggesting they should help, but unable to retreat like Ron wishes when the feast had obviously ended, students heading their way and noticing the message, Malfoy spouting of Mudbloods being next and looking exhilarated by the scene.

Filch is next to view Mrs. Norris, he horrified, and spotting Harry, believes he’d caused her death, spouting threats, but being cut off by Dumbledore, whom has Filch, Harry, Hermione, and Ron come with him to Lockhart’s office. Dumbledore starts studying Mrs. Norris along with McGonagall, and Snape, Lockhart not helping with his idle chatter of his ability to help if having been there sooner to apply the counter-curse, Harry hoping Dumbledore didn’t believe Filch’s accusation for knowing his education at Hogwarts would be over. Dumbledore though, seemed to be testing different spells on Mrs. Norris, and interrupts Lockhart sharing another story of his bright, helpful ideas when they learn Mrs. Norris wasn’t dead, only Petrified. Filch was still convinced Harry caused her fate, Harry having to defend himself even after Dumbledore shares it was far too advanced for a student. Snape piping up with asking why he hadn’t attended the Halloween feast and after not at least going in to eat, Harry struggling with a good excuse since he had led Hermione and Ron upstairs because of a voice only he heard not sounding applicable, he deciding to answer with they being sleepy, but Snape seeming dubious to they going to bed without supper. Snape then offers a punishment to Harry which would make him be forthcoming with the truth (I grew up with people of similar model), but Dumbledore, even if believing Harry wasn’t confessing all, wouldn’t punish him unless he were proven the culprit, Snape quite displeased. When Filch was ready to melt down again, Dumbledore reminds him Professor Sprout could get the ingredients necessary to make a potion to revive her, Lockhart offering to make it, but Snape stepping in with he being the Potions master, Dumbledore then allowing Harry and friends to be dismissed, they hurrying out, Harry asking if he should have been truthful and discussing what the message on the wall could mean, Ron supporting Harry’s decision and the message about a chamber sounding familiar, but the group ending it there once Ron explained what a squib was in reference to Filch, they not wanting to run into Snape in the hall, and going off to bed.

The next few days, students were still gossiping about it, Filch not helping by standing vigil at the scene of the Petrifying, the message not succumbing to cleaning. Hermione was acting oddly by reading constantly and not being receptive to conversation anymore, Harry learning why the next week when Justin, from Hufflepuff acts strangely by walking back the way he’d come rather than greeting Harry, the latter going into the library and asking Ron if he’d seen Hermione, she making herself known and seeming ready to speak with them, albeit not looking pleased at the moment. She begins by stating her frustration over the book Hogwarts: A History being unavailable and she having to leave her copy at home because of all the Lockhart books, she needing it for the bit on the Chamber of Secrets. Ron changes the subject when asking Hermione for a look at her homework, the two squabbling over it as the trio walk to their only ghost taught class. Everyone who attended was consistently bored stupid, but Hermione came up with a decent idea by asking their history lecturer about the Chamber. Professor Binns skirts the answering by replying he only entertaining (except not to the students, ha-ha) definite truths, but Hermione again interrupting with how the “legend” could be based on truth, Binns finally giving in once he saw how much interest the class was showing for once. Binns goes over the general history of Hogwarts beginnings before sharing how the legend began with Slytherin supposedly adding a hidden chamber none of the other founders knew about. After the telling, Binns reiterates its nonsense, Hermione asking of the sort of “horror within” mentioned inside the Chamber, Binns responding of it supposedly being a monster only the heir to Slytherin can control and would be the cause of expelling all unworthy students from Hogwarts. Once Binns had enough of the theories on how Slytherin could have hidden the Chamber though, he continues his mind-numbing lecture.

Harry sensed a rumor must be going around of he possibly being the Slytherin heir. When they reach the corridor where Mrs. Norris was found, Harry decides a quick looky-loo couldn’t hurt, he spotting some scorch marks, Hermione noticing a clutter of spiders fighting their way through a crack in the wall, Ron relating a story of why he hated spiders, Harry then remembering the water on the floor before, and the group then entering Moaning Myrtle’s territory after Hermione reminds them of no one likely being inside for the Out-of-Order sign, once within, noting its somber atmosphere. Hermione goes to speak with Myrtle whom doesn’t take the boys’ presence sitting down. Ha,ha. She gets more upset when she thinks they’re talking behind her back when Harry was mouthing for Hermione to ask about if Myrtle knew anything about the Chamber, etc. When Hermione does finally get the question out, Myrtle hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary the other night due to being upset over Peeves, she again getting worked up over being reminded she was dead, leaving the three wet with toilet water from her exit. The three are heading out when they’re found by Percy, he not amused at all and taking on his mother’s tone. Ron and Percy argue over how upset all this is making Ginny and they should be currently at dinner, when Percy ends the fight by taking five points from them, thinking it would be a good incentive for not getting a P.I. state of mind. When they were back in the common area, Ron was annoyed over his homework igniting by his wand, and Hermione frustrated over whom could be causing all of the trouble. Ron passive-aggressively mentions Malfoy, Harry supporting the possibility. Hermione then shares an idea which would give them the proof, it being to charm themselves into looking like Slytherin students and get Malfoy to confess without knowing. Hermione then admits getting the recipe could be difficult since the book was most likely in the Restricted Section of the library. The three then discuss how they’d manage obtaining permission, it not ending in agreement.

Lockhart stuck to reading aloud and acting out the more “exciting” scenes since live examples didn’t work out so well for him, Harry normally getting dragged in to play the minor roles. The latest call up would’ve been met with firm refusal if Harry didn’t have an ulterior motive this time, so he played along and when the bell rang to end class, Hermione, Ron, and Harry wait for everyone to leave before approaching Lockhart, Hermione asking for him to consent permission for she to be allowed access to the restricted book, Lockhart readily agreeing when she mentioned it regarding one of his books. Lockhart then offers Harry his vast knowledge on Quidditch if he so chose, essentially making it seem Harry was inept at the game, Harry not responding other than a vague growl. The three spoke of how lucky they were Lockhart hadn’t noticed the book they were after, Ron bad-mouthing Lockhart, and Hermione vehemently defending him again. They head straight to the library, Hermione having trouble letting go of the celebrity professor’s note when the librarian reaches for it, but Ron has her let it go, knowing another autograph would be a dime a dozen for Lockhart. The librarian retrieves the book for them, and they head out, trying to look nonchalant. They set up in Myrtle’s bathroom, knowing no one would bother them, the book’s illustrations and spells immediately made clear why it was only upon request. Hermione discovers the page they needed, Harry attempting optimism the artist was exaggerating the looks of pain during transformation. Hermione began listing off the items they needed, some easy to acquire, others not so much. Harry voiced his doubts on the amount of ingredients needing to be nicked, Hermione stating her views on not ever wanting to break rules, but believing uncovering the culprit threatening the Muggle-born an important issue, and if they wanted to back out she’d return the book. Ron was surprised Hermione was basically giving permission to be bad for once, and would go through with the acquisition as long as the part of the people they took wasn’t toenail related. Hermione, pleased with Ron’s decision, then calculates how long it would take to ready the elixir, it being a month, Ron complaining how terrible acts could occur in such a span, but supports the plan when Hermione gives him a scathing look, he then suggesting Harry could make this easier if he could set up a fall for Malfoy during their game the next day.

On the morning of the match,Harry thought about how Oliver would take another loss which made Harry uneasy, as well as the prospect of facing off with a team on speedster brooms. He gets up and goes to an early breakfast, seeing the other members of his team already there, everyone quiet. the student body and staff beginning to take seats on the field, Harry receiving wishes of luck from Ron and Hermione as he entered the locker room, and everyone getting ready, Oliver making his speech, talking up their team’s talent and relentless practicing, he then ordering Harry to stay on top of getting the Snitch “or die trying”. They go onto the field and the game begins, Harry quickly getting higher than the others, Malfoy mouthing off and humming-birding around on his broom. Harry then quickly maneuvering around a Bludger which barely misses him, and when George whacks it at a Slytherin, it again re-aims at Harry, this continuing to recur, Harry flying off in another direction where Fred gives it a whack, but it still going after Harry. The Slytherins were in the lead now, Fred and George sticking to Harry to swat at the Bludger. The twins finally get Oliver’s attention to call a Time-Out, they sharing why they weren’t able to back up another team mate, they believing someone had tampered with the Bludger, but Oliver knowing the Bludgers had been in a professor’s office locked up, and nothing was amiss with them before. Harry insists Oliver command George and Fred to let him deal with the Bludger himself since he didn’t have a chance getting the Snitch with them hanging about him, Oliver eventually agreeing and the game continuing. Harry shoots off, dodging the Bludger and presumably looking ridiculous whilst doing so, after awhile of this, Malfoy makes a smart remark and laughs so hard he doesn’t notice the Snitch by his ear, but Harry had, he not moving in time to dodge the Bludger, and feeling his arm break, but then lunges at Malfoy, fighting the pain, Malfoy looking scared for the quick confrontation, swerving out of the way, Harry feeling his grasp on the Snitch as he balanced on his broom, no hands, and heading for the earth, close to unconsciousness, but realizing Gryffindor had won before passing out, awaking on the ground with Lockhart above him, he moaning and protesting loudly, Lockhart conveying his conviction on fixing Harry’s arm, Harry firmly stating his not wanting this, and shouting at Colin of not needing “photographic memories”Eduardoof this moment, but after Lockhart did his worst, Harry didn’t feel his arm anymore, and Colin was on a picture-taking rampage. When Harry looks, he slowly understands his bones weren’t there anymore, Lockhart playing it off like this sometimes occurred, Ron and Hermione taking him to Madam Pomfrey’s hospital wing, she enraged by they not having come to her as soon as it happened, the growing back of bones taking more time, and painful, he having to stay the night, and Hermione still sticking up for Lockhart’s mistake. When Pomfrey leaves, Ron brings up the look on Malfoy’s face when Harry had caught the Snitch, Harry saying they’d have to remember to ask him how he set up the Bludger in response to Hermione wondering this out loud. Then the Gryffindor team busted in with refreshments and good times to drown out Harry’s upcoming pain when Pomfrey kicks everyone out so Harry can go through his pain alone. Harry awakens in the night, startled by what he thought was the splintering pain in his arm, until he realized Dobby was sponging his forehead and looking upset. Dobby then not only admits his disappointment in Harry getting to school, but also being the cause for the train station barrier locking them out, Dobby surprised Harry had still been able to get to Hogwarts. Harry angrily threatens Dobby with physical violence unless he left, but Dobby made clear this was a usual occurrence in his day, Harry losing some steam for Dobby’s unfortunate appearance. Harry then asks why he wore a pillowcase, Dobby explaining the terms of his enslavement, and then revealing he being the culprit of the Bludger, Harry’s anger renewed. Dobby attempts to explain the reason for he trying to get Harry sent home being due to the hope Harry brought to Dobby’s kind, but then lets loose with mention of the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby immediately reprimanding himself. Harry attempts to coax Dobby into divulging who had opened the Chamber, Dobby unable to, and only repeating Harry should leave for the extreme danger. Dobby is interrupted by noises outside, Dumbledore and McGonagall carrying a statue to a bed, McGonagall fetches Pomfrey whom was surprised and asking what had happened, Dumbledore announcing it was a second attack, the boy presumably attempting to sneak up to see Harry, and Harry getting a glimpse of Colin, McGonagall having various questions of what could be happening, and whether Colin had captured his attacker with a snapshot, but when Dumbledore checks, the film is destroyed, Dumbledore relating of this being a sign the Chamber was open again and how this could be.

Sunday morning, Harry’s awakened by bright sunlight, his arm not flexible, but all bones accounted for, he noticing Colin’s bed was blocked by curtains, Pomfrey bringing his breakfast and testing his arm’s mobility. He was allowed to leave when he was finished eating, Harry going off to Gryffindor Tower, but his buddies unfound, disappointed they didn’t seem to care about how he was, but also wanting to share what he’d learned about Colin and Dobby. Harry runs into Percy coming out of the library seeming to have a lighter step than recently apprised. Percy mentions the points Harry had gotten for his win, the latter then inquiring if he’d seen the duo, Percy responding to the negative and hoping they weren’t hanging about anymore girls restrooms, Harry making light of this and going straight to Myrtle’s spot, immediately hearing his friends chattering in a stall, and upon announcing himself, still surprising them, and once entering the stall, viewing they had a cauldron set over the toilet, a waterproof fire inside, Hermione’s forté, he also finally able to answer about his arm being in working order. Hermione shares how they’d heard their hiding spot was being uncovered so figured they’d better get a move on with the potion, Harry also sharing his story about Dobby, the group now even more curious about the Chamber and Malfoy’s possible relation to its opening.

By Monday the school had heard of Colin’s state, people more cautious, Ginny shaken since she sat by him in one of her classes, and Neville buying charms to ward away danger. After, during the second week of December, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were signing the sheet to stay at school for the holidays, seeing and suspicious of Malfoy also being on the list, they thinking it’d be an apt time to implement the potion and also swipe the remaining ingredients from Snape’s office, Harry not looking forward to the adventure. Hermione first to suggest a plan where they would supply a diversion so one of them could get into Snape’s office, Harry and Ron looking apprehensive, since Hermione then adds she needed to be the one to pillage since the boys already were so close to severe punishment, Harry thinking about the difficulty this raised when it came to intentional acts of havoc in Snape’s presence, but when the day arrived, Harry awaited Hermione’s signal nervously, when it comes, readying a firework to drop inside Malfoy’s lackey, Goyle’s cauldron, making his target, and the potion covering most of the class, Hermione in and out with no problem, Snape addressing all who had been hit, then vowing to expel the trouble-maker if ever discovered. Harry certain Snape knew he was guilty, Ron attempting to ease his mind with the thought of Snape unable to prove it, and they watched Hermione complete their potion when class let out, it now going to be two weeks before they could test it.

A week goes by when a flyer for a Dueling Club was posted, many students excited to check it out, the trio deciding to go, as well. Hermione wondered whom the instructor would be, they getting double the fun when Lockhart and Snape step forward. Lockhart begins with how Snape would assist him before class began, he allowing Snape knowing “a tiny little bit” about dueling, the demonstration starting. Lockhart gave a play by play until Snape’s first spell left his mouth, leaving Lockhart in a heap at the wall. Lockhart recovers and explains how transparent Snape’s choice had been and allowed him to go through with it so the students would see what it could do (It’s so sad I have family this bumpkin-like *sigh*), Snape not taking kindly to this, so Lockhart and he begin setting up couples of students to practice, Snape reaching Ron, Harry, and Hermione first and pairing Harry, of course with Malfoy, whilst the other two got forgettable students. When everyone began, Lockhart had unleashed mayhem by having all the students start at once, everyone taking down the other, Harry and Malfoy among them, Lockhart stopping all vocally, but Snape allowing this by disarming everyone’s spells, Hermione last since her partner had taken to physical combat, Harry struggling to help Hermione get out of a headlock with a Slytherin girl. Lockhart had picked two students to demonstrate how to block hostile fire, but Snape vetoes by offering the better choice of Malfoy and Harry, Snape instructing Malfoy, but Harry having the moron show him what to do, he gesturing with his wand seemingly in a meaningless way, so when Malfoy fired, Harry did nothing, but watch as a snake exploded from the tip of the wand, Snape offering to get rid of it, but Lockhart stepping in, he only angering it, and it turning to another student, Harry then yelling for it to leave the boy, Justin alone, he upset about it, and storming out. Ron urges Harry to get down and leads him out as students whispered and Snape looked intrigued, Hermione and Ron sharing what the name of a snake-talker was, and Harry sharing his first experience doing it, thinking others must have the gift, as well, Ron explaining the rarity of it, and this being bad news. Once Ron mentions how Harry seemed to be urging the snake to do its worst, Harry explains what he had said and didn’t even know he was speaking Parseltongue, Hermione divulging how it seemed Harry was somehow related to Slytherin and it would be difficult to prove otherwise.

Harry was having difficulty sleeping because of how little he knew of his father’s family. He then decides he’d explain to Justin when he saw him in class the next day, but class was canceled due to a blizzard, and Hermione urged him to go locate him if it was vital, so Harry goes, checking the library, he seeing some Hufflepuffs from the canceled class and was ready to ask them where Justin was when he began overhearing parts of their conversation and stayed out of sight in the Invisibility Section (ha-ha, Rowling), he learning the boy speaking, Ernie had advised Justin to stay in their dormitory if Harry was after him, Ernie hard-pressed to believe Harry was a good snake-talking wizard. Harry heard all he could take after Ernie began supposing what had happened with his run-in with Voldemort, and made his presence known, pretty mad, but asking after Justin, he sort of explaining what happened in the Dueling Club, but getting more angered the longer Ernie made excuses in support of Harry being a dark wizard, Harry leaving and running into Hagrid, whom was on business to ask permission to charm the hen coop so no more chickens could be attacked by an unknown creature, Harry then playing off why he was upset and instead going off to retrieve his books for his next class, a darkened corridor robbed of light because of a windowpane and wind getting through, a torch going out, Harry tripping over Justin, and seeing Nearly Headless Nick with the same shocked, expression, also immobile, Harry now debating whether to get someone to help or flee, knowing what people would think. Peeves then turns up and plays with Harry until he notices the bodies, belting out a wallop of an alarm, classes emptying, McGonagall restoring order, and Ernie again, literally this time, pointing the finger at Harry, McGonagall putting a stop to it, as well as Peeves’ wonderful little song about the trouble, Ernie fanning Nick presumably to the hospital wing and McGonagall escorting Harry to a hidden passage where he soon guesses Dumbledore stays.

When they reach the top, McGonagall knocks at the door, the two entering, then McGonagall advising Harry stay where he was, he viewing the place as quite interesting (Q.I. shout out! Harry…Daniel Radcliffe is a fan, too), and would’ve been happy to take a closer look if he didn’t believe he was about to be kicked out of school. Harry caught sight of the Sorting Hat and learns a bit more of the Hat’s insight on the choice of Gryffindor over Slytherin, he taking it off before he hears anymore due to not wanting to discover the reasons why he would’ve excelled in Slytherin, the puss, but then he hears a noise and discovers a sick looking bird, what startles him is when it goes up in flames. Dumbledore details the bird’s breed, Fawkes rising from the ashes, Harry temporarily side-tracked by this before being brought back to reality by the steady gaze of Dumbledore, before either can proceed though, Hagrid bursts in with his dead rooster, and immediately speaks on Harry’s behalf about the boy found having no connection to Harry since he’d been speaking with him so recently beforehand, he not allowing Dumbledore a word until he rose his voice to state they having the same opinion, Hagrid feeling foolish and returning to wait outside the room. Dumbledore inquires whether Harry had anything to admit, he going over all the troubling thoughts he’d had since the start of school, and declining anything was pressing. Next is the reactions to everyone to Nearly Headless Nick’s condition, most people leaving for the holiday, Harry content with this since being a pariah. Fred and George had fun clearing hallways on Harry’s behalf which didn’t amuse Percy or Ginny, she not liking the dark humor. Ron mentions how Malfoy not being pleased with Fred and George’s jokes was due to his jealousy for Harry getting the credit, which Hermione then changes the subject to the Polyjuice being almost ready for use.

The Weasley’s, Harry, and Hermione were able to mess about with a game called Exploding Snap, only Percy above joining in. Then on Christmas morning, Hermione wakes the boys with presents and the good news of the potion being done, they trying it out when evening came. Harry then gets a visit from Hedwig with a package consisting of a toothpick and note inquiring if he could stay through Summer, as well, by, guess who? Harry also receives fudge from Hagrid, a Quidditch book from Ron, an eagle feather quill from Hermione, and a hand-knit sweater and plum cake from Mrs. Weasley, her card bringing back guilt about the car, which hadn’t returned from the woods. Fortunately, Christmas dinner eased any anxiety they would’ve had in relation to using the Polyjuice. Dumbledore starting the group in singing carols, Percy’s badge being changed to read “Pinhead”, and Harry not bothered by Malfoy attempting to put down his sweater, since boy, did they have plans for him. Hermione started the planning after third-dessert, what with needing Crabbe and Goyle items, plus a way to keep them preoccupied, she seeming to have set them up what with already having sleep potion-laden chocolate cakes ready for the Neanderthal team to discover, she planning on using hair left by the Slytherin girl during her close proximity in Dueling Club. Ron was unsure how much this plan had a chance for success, but first part of acquiring hair had gone well, Harry and Ron booking it to Myrtle’s, Hermione nervously going over the instructions, they each taking their potions to separate stalls for size-changing reasons, then all drinking at the same time.

Harry’s transformation definitely wasn’t a sleigh ride, he and Ron ready to go, but Hermione insisting she couldn’t join, the boys going off and having difficulty locating the Slytherin common room. They go down some dungeon steps, eventually running into Percy, Ron speaking to him familiarly, and Percy responding by demanding they get to their common room, Harry glad to see Malfoy approach them, he also asking why Percy was down there, Percy taking offense, again, the three walking around the corner, and Malfoy gossiping about how Percy had been snooping around a lot, Malfoy thinking he was trying to catch the Slytherin heir by himself, he then saying the password to the Slytherin common room where he motioned for Harry and Ron to sit whilst he got the item his father had sent which he thought was hilarious, he coming back with an article about Ron’s father and how he’d been fined for bewitching the car, and Lucius having asked for Mr. Weasley to resign. After Malfoy gives his own opinion about the Weasley’s, he moves on to Dumbledore and how he’d have to catch the cause of the trouble soon or he’d get fired, he making fun of Colin at his expense, and then leaving no doubt he didn’t know whom was doing these deeds or opened the Chamber, only knowing how long ago it had last been opened, and hoping for a Muggle death like last time, he happily mentioning Hermione being victim. He then also reveals where his father had hid all their Dark Arts memorabilia, Ron making a noise of surprise and Harry noticing how he was changing, the two dashing out with Ron giving the excuse of an upset stomach, they returning to Myrtle’s. Ron was planning on sending word to his father about the one piece of good news, he then rapping on Hermione’s stall to share the details, but she didn’t want to come out, Myrtle sounding way too gleeful, and when she does finally show her furry face, the boys urge her to go to the hospital wing.

Hermione is sequestered in the hospital wing for some weeks, when students return to realize she’s missing, they think she’d been another victim, Pomfrey soon having to put a curtain around her bed since she didn’t need to be embarrassed by her fuzz face every time someone decided to rubberneck, during these days Ron and Harry come to visit each night to drop off homework, she asking if any progress had been made, no reports available, Ron spotting a book under her pillow, and reading the inscription by Lockhart, to Ron’s distaste, Pomfrey then interrupting with medicine, and the boys leave, hearing a loud angry voice sounding like Filch, the boys wait to hear more, and when he’d gone, they view a flood at Myrtle’s bathroom, they investigating, Myrtle sounding more upset than usual, she explaining of a book having been thrown at her, she directing them where it was in the bathroom, Harry ready to retrieve it when Ron discourages him for all the horror stories he’d heard from his father of worst case scenarios. Harry feigns he wouldn’t, but grabs it, learning it was T.M. Riddle’s diary from fifty years ago, Ron recognizing the name for the student having been honored for good deeds, and when looking inside, was disappointed when discovering no entries, but still keeping it. Hermione was released in February, Harry showing her the journal and sharing the same speculation of timing between the Chamber being opened and the age of the journal, Hermione then attempts a spell and using a Revealer as her last resort, neither working. Harry meanwhile, couldn’t place why he felt a connection to Riddle, the three looking at his awards in the trophy room the next break, only learning he’d been a Head boy, Prefect, and had a Magical Merit medal. As the weather became brighter, no more attacks had happened and the Mandrakes would soon be ready for stewing, but Harry was still getting accusing looks from Ernie, and Lockhart explains to McGonagall his imagined role in stopping the attacks as class let out. He also hints of a “moral-booster” to be revealed later, and on the 14th of Feb., as Harry was making his way quickly to breakfast a bit late for not sleeping well due to a late Quidditch practice, was met by the confusing sight of big, pink flowers, and confetti-shaped hearts, Ron looking nauseous and Hermione amused.

Lockhart greets the room with a “Happy Valentine’s”, and promises more surprises, McGonagall and Snape not looking overjoyed by the decorations. The other “gift” Lockhart had planned, walked in with harps and wings, he introducing his Valentine card-giving dwarves making deliveries for the rest of the day, Harry getting trapped by one whilst walking to his next class, to his shame, and as Harry attempts to escape when the dwarf grabs his bag to make him stay, it rips, all of his school items falling out. The dwarf then sang the telegram, Malfoy one of those to hear it, Percy attempting to help get the group of students to keep moving to class, Malfoy spotting Riddle’s diary and believing it was Harry’s, but before he could take a look, Harry disengages the book from Malfoy’s grasp with a spell, Percy now having to report it. When Harry and Ron had gotten to their Charms class, Harry detects how everything but the diary had been ink-soaked, Ron too preoccupied with his wand oozing big, purple bubbles. When evening came, Harry retires early to examine the diary, as well as escape hearing the Valentine tune sung at him by Fred and George. Harry then tests the diary with an inkblot, it getting sucked into it and disappearing, he then writing a greeting with his name, it also being sucked in, and a reply coming from Tom Riddle, asking how he’d gotten his diary.

As Harry continued with this chat, Riddle revealed how his diary held dark memories about Hogwarts, Harry learning more about the first time the Chamber was opened and why Riddle had received his medal, Harry then informing of the Chamber’s reopening and when asking whom had opened it the first time, Riddle offers to show Harry the memory, the book flipping to June 13th, and as a picture formed like watching a movie, Harry is thrust into the scene of Dumbledore’s office, Harry apologizing to the man sitting at the desk for bursting in, but he taking no notice, allowing a knocker at the door to enter, Riddle coming in and sitting, Dippet regarding Riddle’s letter he’d written in hopes of staying at Hogwarts over Summer, since he lived in a children’s home, he sharing some of his origin. Dippet states it may have been possible if not for the attacks, they still not knowing who is causing it. After Riddle was dismissed, Harry follows, he sensing Riddle had made a decision, rushing off, and running into Dumbledore whom advised him to get to his dorm, Riddle continuing on to the dungeons, and going to the room Harry had his Potions class, Riddle waiting for what seemed an hour to Harry, then hearing someone in the corridor. Riddle following quietly, then going around the corner where Harry struggles to identify Hagrid attempting to coax, what they soon learn, is a large spider into a box, Riddle informing Hagrid he’d have to report it, then trying to kill it with a spell, but Hagrid overpowering him, Harry then returned to his room, Ron coming in, asking what was wrong when he saw Harry’s face, and he confiding whom he believed had opened the Chamber the first time.

Due to the three knowing Hagrid’s penchant for unusual and dangerous pets, they didn’t put it past him wanting to reign in the ginormous spider, but Harry also was aware Hagrid wouldn’t want to cause any innocent’s death. After sharing the story of what he’d seen repetitively, he became tired of having the same conversations about it, Hermione attempting to reason of Riddle potentially getting the facts confused, but Harry reminding them they knew Hagrid had been kicked out for some reason. Hermione being the one to suggest they go to Hagrid to see if he corroborates the story. They decide to wait the awkward exchange until another attack was made, but four months down the road, all was quiet, the song Peeves had made up getting old, even Ernie becoming cordial, and in March, Sprout happy some of the Mandrakes were quite close to maturity. Then, during Easter holiday, the second years were given the list of choices for classes during their third year, Hermione checking off everything, Harry getting advice from Percy to choose according to his strengths, but Harry not feeling certain about anything other than Quidditch, so follows Ron’s lead, taking the same classes. Quidditch practice resumed nightly, but Harry was confident with their ability to win against Hufflepuff. As he goes toward the dorms, Neville looks frantic about showing Harry what had happened to his belongings, everything strewn about, Ron noting someone was searching for something, and Harry realizing Riddle’s diary was taken, and when they share the news with Hermione in the common room, they contemplate whom among the Gryffindor’s would want it.

The next morning, Harry sat with his Quidditch team wondering if he was in the room with the thief, he not wanting to report the theft like Hermione suggested due to the delicate details involved. As Harry returned from breakfast to gather his Quidditch equipment with Ron and Hermione, he yelled when hearing the voice speaking death threats again, Hermione coming to a realization and dashing to the library, Ron reminding him of the time, and Harry retrieving his gear, getting ready for the match as everyone was taking seats and warming up on the field, McGonagall with a megaphone, then announces of they cancelling the match, amid boos, and everyone returning to their common rooms where the Heads of Houses would dictate further instructions. McGonagall then had Harry follow her, she not turning Ron away when he tagged along, they being led to the hospital wing to discover Hermione and a Ravenclaw girl, the next victims, a mirror found with them, the boys confessing nothing, and McGonagall escorting them back with plans on speaking with the rest of the Gryffindors. She lists the new rules and earlier hours to be spent in common rooms, hoping anyone with information will come forward, otherwise the school would be closed, she visibly upset. When she exits, everyone was disgruntled by the news, Harry announcing to Ron it was time to go to Hagrid. Harry determines his Invisibility Cloak would need to be utilized, they having to navigate through corridors busier with staff and prefects patrolling in pairs, Harry and Ron making it to Hagrid’s door undetected.

When the door opened with Hagrid aiming a crossbow at them, Harry inquires about it, he dodging an answer and setting up tea, but becoming visibly to be parting at the seams when serving them boiling water with no teabags, a knock interrupting them, Harry and Ron moving to a corner of the room, back under the cloak, Dumbledore entering with Ron’s father’s boss, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, Hagrid collapsing in a chair, and Dumbledore backing Hagrid up on his innocence, but Fudge insisting Hagrid had to be detained, if found innocent, released, regardless Fudge needing to show some action being done, Hagrid worriedly asking if he’d be taken to Azkaban, but an answer not given for another knock at the door, Lucius Malfoy entering, Fang and Hagrid bristling at his presence, but Lucius there with a suspension for Dumbledore, Fudge protesting due to the timing, Hagrid making the oath Dumbledore would be the only one capable to stop whatever the monster is if it began taking lives, but Dumbledore acquiescing to the suspension without a fight, only noting those who favored him would make it seem like he hadn’t left, and Dumbledore saying something else which seemed aimed at Harry and Ron, Hagrid doing the same with his advice to follow the spiders, everyone exiting, Hagrid also loudly stating someone would need to feed Fang, Ron mentioning how their dark days would soon be darker without Dumbledore.

Even though Summer was settling in, the school was thrust into a feeling of unease, Ron and Harry now no longer able to visit Hermione since it was banned for the thought of the attacker returning for them. Dumbledore’s presence, as well as Hagrid’s were severely missed, Malfoy again using his fat mouth to talk loudly about his thoughts of Dumbledore and Hermione in Potions. When they’d gone to Herbology, Harry received an apology from Ernie, Ron and Harry noticing the spiders again, the gaggle heading for the Forbidden Forest, the two discussing it on their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ron had reservations, but Harry gave him the positive sides of the forest being the centaurs and unicorns, Lockhart rushing in like he was providing sunshine and rainbows, the usual attitude of the teachers being subdued. Lockhart then states how the grim looks were unnecessary since believing Hagrid was guilty, this annoying the two, Ron consenting to go for Hermione after sitting through his nonsense. The boys had to wait well past midnight before the common room emptied, they retrieving Fang, leaving the cloak at Hagrid’s since it was dark enough in the forest, and Harry soon spotting two spiders leading them into the forest and eventually off the path.

They walk for at least a half hour as the denseness of their trek thickens, until Fang barks, scaring the boys, but something big ahead of them. After a little time passes, lights turn on at them, startling them again until Ron realizes it’s his father’s car gone native. After Ron approaches it, and sees what the car was illuminating behind Harry, his unbridled fear was plain on his face, Harry, Ron, and Fang all picked up and carried deeper into the forest. When they enter a clearing, Harry sees an army of gigantic spiders, they dropping them to await Aragog, and Harry recovering his voice to share they knew Hagrid, as Aragog commands their deaths when learning it wasn’t Hagrid, himself. Aragog thought the trouble with the Chamber had resolved years ago, once Harry related Hagrid’s trouble, Harry also learning how Hagrid had gotten and cared for Aragog. When Harry suggests he and Ron would leave them alone now, since Aragog refused to confide what the monster was, Aragog denies the idea, but the boys saved by the car, it leaving them at the edge of the forest, retreating back to whence it came. Ron is sick, and Fang’s under his doggy covers when Harry gets his cloak, one upside to their trip was in knowing now Hagrid wasn’t responsible for the Chamber opening. Later, Harry realizes whom the girl which had been killed all those years ago could be.

Whilst Harry and Ron waited for the right time to go see Myrtle, a shock of exams still coming up leaves their whole Transfiguration class in irritated grumbles. Good news was coming though, when McGonagall shares of the Mandrakes ready for plucking, so they may soon know more on the monster and or the one who opened the Chamber. Then an encounter with Ginny, whom was searching for the courage to share something which seemed to have frightened her, gets scared off by Percy, asking for her seat, he waving off the news she could’ve been about to share as something he’d hoped she’d keep to herself (the boys alluding to Percy wanking). Then Harry and Ron get their moment to see Myrtle when convincing Lockhart they were fine to walk the rest of the way to their next class, they home free until McGonagall runs into them, Harry making a quick excuse of they wanting to see Hermione, McGonagall surprisingly receptive. So instead of going to Myrtle, they go see Hermione, Harry noticing she was gripping a piece of paper in her hand, when reading it, he understanding why he’d been hearing the voice, also learning what defeated the creature. The two lay out all the missing pieces, they going to the teachers lounge with plans to confess what they’d found, but when hearing a message from McGonagall informing the students to return to their dorms, and teachers to the break room, Harry decides they’d hide in the closet, hear what was going on, and then share their news.

When the teachers arrive, they learn the monster took a student, a new message left, and the one taken, Ginny. Lockhart pops in, missing all this, but Snape mentions how it was his moment to shine, all the teachers having something to say about his boastful and arrogant comments, Lockhart off to his office to ‘ready’ himself, then McGonagall noting the Head of Houses should instruct the students on preparations to go home the next day, in the afternoon. Everyone was silent and solemn, the Weasleys the most, Ron suggesting they go to Lockhart in the evening and share with him what they knew. They catch Lockhart mid-flurry of packing up, the two getting more angry when he finally admits to stealing the credit of all the true stories he wrote about. When he was ready to leave and planning on using a Memory Charm on the boys, Harry disarms him and commands him to join them in their next move. They go to Myrtle’s, she gladly sharing her death story, and where she saw the eyes. Upon closer inspection, Harry sees a snake symbol, he able to speak Parceltongue for the moment necessary to open it, Lockhart unsuccessfully excusing himself, the two allowing him to go first, they all landing deep below the school. As they walked further, Harry sees what ends up being a giant snake skin, Lockhart then lunging at Ron, taking his wand to attempt his memory spell, it backfiring so hard the ceiling collapses and separates Ron and Lockhart from Harry. Ron decides to move rocks whilst Harry attempted to locate Ginny. He gets to another daunting blocked passage with two snakes with emerald eyes adorning it, Harry speaking snake once more to get it open, he nervously entering.

More serpent carvings within the room, plus the dimness of the place made it difficult to see the “monster” or Ginny, the place not giving off any defining sounds other than his footsteps, when he got further into the space, he sees Ginny at the feet of a statue depicting a wizard. When Harry shakes her to see if she’ll wake, it doesn’t work, and Riddle voices the reality, Harry seeing a fuzzy-around-the-edges body. Tom then points to the diary as the reason he was there, Harry upon lifting Ginny talks of they needing to leave before the basilisk came, Riddle replying it wouldn’t until summoned, Harry then looking for his wand, noticing Riddle had it, but still not putting together why Tom wouldn’t hand it to him. Riddle having been waiting to speak with Harry for some time, he sharing of how tolerant he’d been in biding his time with Ginny, how he’d set up Hagrid, Dumbledore not trusting him from the beginning, and wanting to know how Harry defeated Voldemort, Riddle finally revealing his connection. Then once Harry denies Tom being greatest wizard in relation to Dumbledore’s talent, Fawkes appears with the Sorting Hat, Harry’s courage bolstered, whilst Riddle was amused by the seemingly unthreatening additions, he instead allowing Harry to confess how he could have defeated Voldemort. Harry shares what he’d learned the year before about the part his mother played in his survival, as well as the state of Voldemort, Riddle then deciding to see what Harry could do to defend himself only with Fawkes and the Hat, Tom calling for the basilisk. Harry shuts his eyes and attempts to run, but realizes after hearing the snake, but not being harmed by it, Fawkes had distracted it, plucking it’s eyes so Harry had a chance to survive. Riddle commands the snake to focus on Harry, the basilisk swinging the Hat with its tail as it turned for him, Harry puts it on, gets conked on the head with a sword inside the hat, and on the snake’s second thrust forward, Harry stabs it good, but also gets punctured. Riddle is certain Harry will die, but doesn’t “remember” what tears of a phoenix can do, he watching as Fawkes heals Harry, then deciding this way was better. Fawkes drops the diary right into his lap, Harry using the tooth to pierce the book, successfully having Tom disappear, he retrieving the sword, Ginny coming-to soon after, confessing her part and worrying about expulsion, he guiding her out. Ron had made a large enough space for the two to get through, they postponing explanations for when they fully exited the Chamber, Fawkes being their way back up the tunnel. The bird then leading them to McGonagall’s office.

Inside, the four viewed Mr. and Mrs. Weasley with Dumbledore and McGonagall, Mrs. Weasley overcome with emotion and asking how they’d saved Ginny. Harry begins with the voices he’d heard, he attempting to avoid any mention of Ginny’s manipulated part of the Chamber, to spare her any repercussions, but Dumbledore saves him from implicating her, by announcing his knowledge of she being taken over, but not uncovering how until Harry supplies with whom the diary belonged, Ginny admitting how she’d found it in one of her school books. Dumbledore then sends Ginny to the hospital wing, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley accompanying her, he then sending McGonagall to alert the kitchen staff for a feast in celebration of the danger being over, he dealing with the boys on all their rule-breaking, he giving the impression of the severity of the issue, and instead awarding their house points as well as awards for assisting the school, and once learning Lockhart had charmed himself, he has Ron show Lockhart to the infirmary so he could speak with Harry. Dumbledore states his idea of why Harry had similarities with Tom Riddle, but also the reason why he belonged in the House he chose, the sword he’d pulled from the Sorting Hat not appearing if he didn’t belong to Gryffindor House. Harry was on his way out, having been advised to go to the feast when Lucius Malfoy burst in with a bandaged Dobby following. Lucius demanded to know why Dumbledore was back, he being made aware of the members of the board having confessed of being threatened to put Dumbledore out, Dobby meanwhile, was signalling Harry, which he finally understands, and asks Lucius about when he’d slipped the diary to Ginny in the bookshop, they not able to prove it, but Dumbledore warning what would happen if Mr. Weasley discovered one of his family with a Riddle possession again, and being able to connect it to Lucius, the man leaving with Dobby, and Harry figuring a way to help the elf (it being slightly different from the film), he taking his sock off and stuffing the diary into it, and when Lucius disgustedly throws the sock down and commands Dobby to follow, Dobby states of his freedom in disbelief, since catching the sock he’d thrown away, he then protecting Harry when Lucius goes after him, Harry making Dobby promise to not save him again. At the early morning (three am-ish) feast, Hagrid shows up, McGonagall announces the cancellation of exams, to Hermione’s newly awakened horror, and of Lockhart leaving to regain his memory. When the school year ends and Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny are on the Hogwarts express, Harry remembers the secret Percy had made Ginny not speak of, she confiding he’d been snogging with the Hufflepuff girl whom had been Petrified with Hermione, Fred and George promising they wouldn’t make fun of big bro (yeah, yeah, sure, sure) Harry giving Ron and Hermione his phone number, they going through the barrier to begin their vacations once more.

I notice how many offices of professors the boys were taken to in this one, it not being a necessarily interesting fact, only something I noticed upon review of my notes. Definitely read through quickly enough what with cycling four other books in the process, as well as my lengthy blawg entries, still enjoying the story, though so I’ll immediately begin the third!

Bone Vol. 6: Old Man’s Cave

For the fifth volume. We discover Fone climbing a tree to get bearings as to where they were in the woods, Smiley waiting below. They’d been lost for days already and Fone still wasn’t familiar with the area, meanwhile Smiley is having trouble watching for Fone’s climb down due to a groundhog getting mad at Smiley for stepping on his home’s entrance, Fone having a moment to break his handhold and falling directly onto the groundhog. Ted the bug then finds Smiley as he’s trying to extricate Fone from his fall into the groundhog’s hole (ha ha) and Fone is as happy to see Ted, as well. The groundhog then overhears their happy reunion and who Fone was, getting scared since the rumor was Fone had killed Kingdok, he retreating inside, Ted then catching the Bones up on what had been going on, Fone getting angry with Phoney and they both being led by Ted back to where the village was.

We see Phoney in cover of the trees spying Thorn helping a family escape the burning village, meeting the rest in the brush before two groups of rat creatures approach from two sides of the clearing and everyone hiding in the darkness of the trees hoping not to be seen. The two rat creature group leaders speak of the news about Kingdok, one group leader not knowing the most recent news being of his death. The two group leaders then digress into another language which gives Wendell time to threaten Phoney for being the one with the star mentioned by the rat creatures and wanting to give him hell for getting them in this mess, Phoney cowering and knowing his words bore truth. Thorn then divulges she understood the language the two groups were speaking in, not knowing how but then giving orders as to where to take the new family and getting Wendell and a couple others to do what they had already done before, everyone having their tasks and Phoney surprised Thorn believed in his innocence. When Thorn and company get back, they don’t see the town, she making it clear they were in it already. Wendell gets newly enraged at the thought of everyone’s home being obliterated and chasing imaginary dragons because of Phoney, Thorn having to come to his rescue yet again, but not succeeding so Phoney lets out with Thorn’s secret which at first they have trouble believing.

Thorn then tries to get everyone’s attention on a trail she wanted to follow, with or without the group which she believed may lead to the other Bones. Jon, one of the group then encounters a note Thorn had written to Fone Bone and discovered it wasn’t in the place she left it, Lucius most likely having put it in the known spot for trading messages, the group, other than Thorn and Phoney deciding to check Gran’ma Ben’s farm in the morning. The two then go off in search of Fone, but the men in the group notice hooded figures, the Stick-Eaters heading towards them. When Thorn acknowledges them, one confides a message from her grandmother and where she wished Thorn to meet her, Thorn than asks what they know of Fone and they recount the latest news as to his whereabouts, she still struggling with what to do first, deciding she’ll make her final decision in the morning. We then see a dream Thorn has which shows her looking like Snow White and speaking to her younger looking grandmother who urges her to cut the vines around her, younger Lucius advises her to disobey, another young grandmother coming from behind Thorn, but not being able to see her. The younger “evil” grandmother tries to take Thorn’s sword and Thorn wakens clutching Fone’s spiked club, she walking off into the darkness.

The four left in Thorn’s group, being deserted by her during the night, end up walking in the dark trying to uncover Old Man’s Cave. The biggest in their group is still steaming about Phoney’s trouble-making ways and is about to take it out on him again when Wendell tries to hold him back, enforcing Thorn’s order to leave him alone. Gran’ma Ben soon shows up and enquires where Thorn is, stopping the two from fighting amongst themselves. They escort them back to the cave, Lucius going after Thorn. We then see where Fone and Smiley have gotten to, they soon finding themselves amongst rat creatures and when they begin threatening them with death, Thorn comes out to defend them, but upon seeing the club she brandished and giving to Fone, they truly show fear and run off for believing they were the ones to kill Kingdok. After greeting each other warmly, Thorn then figures out which direction will take them to Old Man’s Cave, then promptly heads in the opposite direction, believing they can’t be helped by anyone there, looking for shelter instead. We then see the Hooded One speaking with the Lord of the Locusts who was concerned with his interest in the one who bears the star, the Lord of the Locusts making it clear if the Hooded One’s idea failed, he’d pay for it.

We then see the Bones and Thorn spitting cherry pits at each other in the tree hollow and they getting so loud as to bring Ted back to inform them to keep it down for having to try and keep them hidden. Thorn then shares their plans to confront and over-power the Hooded One, Ted then voicing his opinion they should be going to Old Man’s Cave. Thorn still denying this to be a suitable plan and the three discussing what more is known of the Hooded One and where the Lord of the Locusts came from. Thorn then confides why the Lord of the Locusts was showing such interest in herself and Phoney and how it will aid his release from bondage, going on to confess why she doesn’t trust Gran’ma Ben at the moment and it having to do with the knowledge of a nursemaid Thorn had come to realize didn’t exist. We then see Roque Ja confronting whomever is in his presence, it turning out to be the Hooded One asking for a favor, Roque Ja turning him down before he can continue, taunting him with how he probably wouldn’t have been able to get the information from Kingdok who is now lacking an important appendage needed to speak, he coming out from the darkness as well and the Hooded One having to hold him back.

The Hooded One goes on to mention needing Roque Ja’s help in capturing the Bones once more and what state he wished the princess to be in, he accepting once he gets an agreed upon reward for his efforts. Then we see Phoney being wakened by Jon, he revealing how long Phoney’s been asleep since he’d been ill and now they all residing in Old Man’s Cave. Jon explains some of the cave’s history and Gran’ma Ben comes to see Phoney as well, he realizing her status and thinking he’s going to pay for his bad behavior, she agreeing to judge him lightly. Gran’ma Ben then takes Phoney to a part of the cave which shows drawings on the walls implying the beginning which started with a dragon queen and how the Lord of the Locusts became involved, including an ancestor of Gran’ma Ben’s and in extension, Thorn. Phoney then learns what role the rat creatures believed he would be playing in all of this, Lucius interrupting by coming to update how he hadn’t found Thorn due to her excellent training from the dragons and how they were getting boxed in by the Hooded One and rat creatures setting up camps around them. Gran’ma Ben then defends Phoney from getting decked by Lucius since he was only worried about the well-being of his cousins and when Lucius departs, he asks Gran’ma Ben who the Hooded One was, she not knowing either, but being able to clarify what would occur if he succeeded in releasing the Lord of the Locusts, the outcome not a good one.

Fone and Smiley meanwhile, are gathering water at the barn to prepare for a bath whilst Thorn was within, looking through her grandmother’s belongings. They continue to discuss what the next item of business will be for their group, they not knowing and figuring Thorn would be the leader. Thorn meanwhile is hearing their conversation and interjects what her plan is and reveals why she hadn’t told them until then. Fone puts in his two cents and Thorn expands on why she doesn’t want to go to Old Man’s Cave, but then Fone with Smiley’s help, convinces her it’s the best idea for now and they head in the same direction instead. Lucius is then shone giving command to the group following him in order to keep the rat creatures from completely surrounding Old Man’s Cave. Lucius then sees a woman who introduces herself as Briar and we learn who she’s related to, he in denial it could be her and Jonathan overseeing their conversation from within the woods, also noticing rat creatures approaching. Jonathan then shouts of their closing in and Lucius breaks away from Briar to help defend the cave. We skip to where Gran’ma Ben is updated on what was happening outside the cave, the scout not learning much and then continuing conversation with Phoney in relation to his soul and as she’s explaining she again gets the “gitchy” feeling and Phoney feels a rumbling around them. When they get outdoors they see the place where the Lord of the Locusts is trapped has a dust cloud rising up around it and then Gran’ma Ben learns of what’s happened to Lucius, he coming to inform what had happened to them, she hoping Thorn is alright. Then Roque Ja comes out from behind Gran’ma Ben’s farmhouse sniffing around and seemingly stalking Thorn and co.

Lucius reports back to Gran’ma Ben of who he’d seen as the Hooded One to which she has trouble believing for the one mentioned was thought to be dead, after only seeming to feel pity for her. Gran’ma Ben goes on to share no one else coming to help them and they would most likely be fighting among their own, alone. Wendell then walks up demanding for Phoney to be given to them since he’s the one the rat creatures are looking for and being in this mess because of him. Gran’ma Ben tries to appeal to Wendell and those with him they shouldn’t hand over the one thing they were after if they believed it would help release the Lord of the Locusts, but whilst they were being held off, Phoney takes off and so Gran’ma Ben spreads everyone out looking for him so he doesn’t get caught by the enemies and lose the war inadvertently because of his absence, she going off in search of him on her own and being seen by Roque Ja. Gran’ma Ben notices Phoney and stops him before he made matters worse, Lucius coming up behind the two and Roque Ja looking ready to act, Lucius warning her and Roque Ja pouncing, getting Gran’ma Ben, Lucius jumping on him and the three falling off the cliff. Gran’ma Ben starts by punching the lion though, showing her strength isn’t only rumors, Phoney continuing his ditching of them.

Roque Ja ignores them after and mentions his targets being Phoney and “the princess”, we then seeing Phoney run straight into Fone, Thorn and Smiley walking close behind. Phoney explain how he’d been to Old Man’s Cave and it not being safe anymore and then of Gran’ma Ben’s run in with Roque Ja, which makes Thorn want to go and defend her, Phoney and Fone trying to stop her, but not getting far since Roque Ja had followed Phoney and swatted Thorn out of the way. Fone gets swatted down some boulders and Roque Ja picks up Thorn and Phoney to finish his mission, Smiley trying to get Fone to wake up, but he’s gone into his dreams and sees the Red Dragon there stating for him to wake up and of Thorn’s condition, needing him to follow her. After the Red Dragon conveys how he won’t be able to go with him, Fone wakes and Smiley tells him which direction they’d gone, the two running after Roque Ja.

We then see Gran’ma Ben tending to Lucius who had been hurt, but advising her to make haste for Roque Ja so she can try and divert the lion from succeeding in catching Thorn or Phoney, he assuring her he’ll be going back to Old Man’s Cave and so Gran’ma Ben follows their trail. Smiley and Fone are then shown running over some rocks to where they witness Kingdok, some rat creatures and the Hooded One, Phoney having been bound on a flat stone, the Hooded One remarking how he may have evaded them for some time, but he was caught now and his mystic powers must not be as strong as he thought, Phoney denying knowing anything about this and admitting it was a big misunderstanding and refusing to take part in the Hooded One’s ritual to release the Lord of the Locusts, but she warning Phoney if he didn’t help her willingly she’d accept him as a sacrifice, Bone trying to reason with her, but the Hooded One then showing how the foretelling of Phoney’s coming had been known, an obvious sign, appearing through the thick smoke behind her.

Phoney then realizes what they’d seen and how Fone would definitely be mad if he knew, Fone and Smiley putting two and two together and the balloon shaped like one of the Bones being the cause of them being run out of Boneville. Gran’ma Ben then tries to stop the Hooded One from continuing the sacrifice, after Bone had tried to explain what the balloon had been for and the message beneath, it having a banner at the bottom which was ripped, partially. Gran’ma Ben then speaks of the mistake the Hooded One had made and how the balloon wasn’t the one needed to free the Lord of Locusts but Thorn, who the Hooded One said was dead. Kingdok then goes on to berate how the Hooded One had disgraced his people with the mistake made and then we see what happens to the Hooded One due to the incompetence allowed to play out. Fone goes to Thorn and gives her the necklace the dragon had given him whilst he’d been unconscious, meanwhile locusts having covered her, but when he gives her the necklace, she awakens and Gran’ma Ben and the Bones all try to make sure she can walk so they can escape the area due to it’s instability. Thorn stops only for a moment to put up her hood, giving the impression they haven’t quite saved her yet and this volume ending. I won’t like pausing in the story, but there’s a side-story to be read: Rose, but this volume and the whole series so far is definitely worth the effort.

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.

Heavy Metal – Stick-Eater Prologue

The prologue starts with Smiley serving a hooded figure, but is stopped by Mr. Down, covering the pipe-smoking hooded guy’s tab, Smiley heading back to the kitchen. Then someone scoffs at Mr. Down’s display, accusing the hooded figure of working with the dragons. Wendell, the one doing the complaining, is asked by Lucius if he’s got a problem with whom he sells beer to, he, not making a fuss anymore, but saying to himself he’ll be buying from Smiley from now on, which is more humorous since they’ve got a bet going between them as to who will sell the most beer between, Smiley and Lucius.

The Island of Doctor Moreau

The introduction may well be a part of the story which tells of the ship which crashes onto an island in the beginning of the year in 1888. An Edward Prendick, the uncle of the one writing the introduction is picked up by another small ship. His story was so wild it made him seem mad and couldn’t remember anything before escaping the Lady Vain, the ship which crashed. The following story was apparently found among his possessions by his nephew. The coordinates recorded proved it led to an island uninhabited and with only a few odd animals residing there. We then discover the Lady Vain began her journey in Africa along with the Captain John Davies and a variety of animals aboard, missing for eleven months until his uncle reappeared where the ship had crashed, the beginning of the tale being his uncle’s recollection.

Prendick first gives a more updated look into what the rumors before had put forth; all men on the dinghy who survived the Lady Vain, had perished, which he clarifies is untrue since he survived, also there were actually only three who made it to the dinghy. Then he describes what happened to a man whom tried to reach the dinghy, not making it back above water, which in his opinion was better for both sides, for not having enough supplies to keep four men alive. They stayed without water upon the little dinghy for eight days, soon having crazed thoughts, when Helmar voiced an idea to the others. Helmar’s idea, whilst agreed upon now had to be acted on, which needed the four to draw “straws” to see who would be the “lucky” one. The strongest sailor aboard had the “honor”, but was stubborn against agreeing, attacking Helmar, the both falling overboard. Not long after a schooner passes by and takes him aboard where they give him some drink and he meets a man he only recalls the eyes of, believing he was having a nightmare, until seeing him again.

Next Prendick is aware, is of the man taking his vitals in a small room, the both staring at the other during this process. The man asks Prendick if he’s alright, he replying to the affirmative, his eyes questioning. The man proceeds to inform him of how he’d been found, stating the captain of the ship they were currently on and how the man, himself was a passenger as well from one of the places the ship had stopped. Noise keeps coming from above them, with Prendick soon hearing someone else insisting on whomever is growling to “desist”. The man who’s been tending to him goes on to mention how he’d injected him and had also recently given him a substance which had made him feel stronger, if not tasting to the consistency of blood. He also found out he’d been senseless for almost two days. He then learns he’ll soon be fed and meanwhile the man wanted to know how he’d been stranded on the little boat by himself, not getting an answer for being distracted with the howling dogs outside and sounding like he was violently responding to whomever he was talking with, who in turn, didn’t sound as if he was speaking intelligibly.

When Prendick returns, the man enquires again, to spur him on with his story, he starting with his name and line of studies, the man seeming interested, but veering his conversation back to the boat, soon satisfied with Prendick’s answer, talking of the city they both knew and then looking in on the cook who was in charge of Prendick’s meal. When the man is on his way out, Prendick inquires of the growling sound, but the man withdraws without answering, returning with his meal and Prendick distracted by his hunger, not questioning again. When he recovers enough to walk around and go above-deck, we learn of the man who’d been nursing him was called Montgomery and lends him some of his clothes to wear for his own were thrown overboard, but Montgomery’s frame was larger and so the clothes loosely fitted. Prendick asks where they were headed and Montgomery supplies the captain plans on going to Hawaii, but will first stop at the island Montgomery resides, once he finished dressing, they both leave the cabin.

On their way out, Prendick is confronted by the strange looking man he’d heard Montgomery talking with earlier, noticing his odd behavior and movements. When Prendick had beheld his face though, it was grotesque and familiar to the point of confusion as to where he could have possibly seen him before. He continues on, seeing some caged animals, then seeing the black-faced man being followed by a red-haired man, he giving him a blow which knocks him over and upsets the muzzled dogs around him, satisfying himself. Montgomery addresses the man as captain, and complains to how he’s treating the black-faced man, him being a guest on-board, the captain disregards his statement, going on to express his regret in ever agreeing to take him or his animals onto his ship, continuing with threats to the black-faced man if he comes a fore ship again, Montgomery seeming to get into a state of a dangerous mood. Prendick tries to defuse the situation, taking the verbal abuse upon himself and being reminded of his unpaid passage on the ship, but at least dispersed the possibility of a quarrel.

Prendick continues to wonder of what Montgomery is all about and why he had all those strange animals with him, especially as he notices how the second-mate also seems sullen to be friendly with him. They were now within a distance of Montgomery’s island and were continuing their voyage closer as Prendick and he discuss London. Prendick was also going to thank the man for saving him, which Montgomery declines with words it was purely chance he was even moved to doing so at all, soon hinting at how he’d become separated from his home of London eleven years previously. He then decides to say no more, which Prendick doesn’t push, since he isn’t curious, soon noticing Montgomery’s attendant once more, leaning nearby and Prendick becoming spooked by his oddly illumined eyes. After, Montgomery suggests turning in, which they both do, going to their cabins. Prendick is awoken by shouts and the throwing of objects, then notices the change of direction of the ship and a wave going over his port-hole. Dressing to investigate further, he goes to deck and is blocked by the captain, who is “throwing” all the animals and soon Prendick, as well, overboard. After thinking Montgomery would be able to accommodate him and being wrong, he begins to despair and once upon the little dinghy, was set adrift, too hungry to feel optimism at his isolation yet again.

When Prendick had calmed, his situation changed as well, Montgomery, once they were setting to leave for the island, made it so Prendick’s dinghy could be towed along with them, due to Prendick’s drifting aimlessly. When Prendick began to stare at the other men who were with Montgomery, he had a feeling of disgust instinctively, not knowing why and as they got closer to the beach another strange person awaited them to help dock them to the shore. When Prendick steps on land, a grey-haired man becomes more interested in him once he uncovers Prendick has gone to university and studied with a man of high repute. Montgomery then asks for Prendick’s help to get some rabbits ashore and once this is done is given some food to revitalize his weakness as they go to the house.

Prendick follows the llama to its enclosure and this is where the grey-bearded man and Montgomery decide where their “uninvited guest” will stay, knowing he’s a man of science, but not knowing if he can be brought into their confidence, they decide, and Prendick agrees to whatever it is they land on, being he’d stay in a room of Montgomery’s. Prendick is shown to the room, with the only other door locked for convenience and then upon Montgomery leaving the room we hear the name Moreau for the first time, being called by Montgomery, which Prendick seems to recognize, but forgetting where he’d heard it before. Prendick continues to ponder about the attendants with their odd voices and speech when Montgomery’s attendant comes in with refreshments and getting a closer look at him, reminds Prendick of where he’d heard of Moreau before, which was in a pamphlet to do with horrific research with animals, having his laboratory closed and being no longer able to work in London. Prendick then figures out the reason for the animals would be for operating upon, also having smelled antiseptic, but still not sure what reason there could be for this.

Later, Montgomery brings another meal, informing Prendick he’ll lunch with him, but Moreau would have to take a rain-check. Once Prendick mentions his recognizing the name, Montgomery confirms if he knew the name in some way, he’ll most likely be able to deduce some of the secrets they’ve kept from him. Prendick then goes straight into asking about Montgomery’s attendant and why he looks the way he does, Montgomery not realizing it was so obvious the attendant had odd attributes. Montgomery doesn’t confirm or deny anything, but also not giving any indication he realized the strangeness of the attendant, Prendick not wanting to call him out on his trying to deceive him, so they finish their meal, whilst listening to the operation of the puma in the other room, hearing its screams. The loud pain of the puma continues and Prendick soon leaves the house in search of more quiet accommodations.

Prendick makes his way into the strange tree-bespeckled forest behind the home. He locates a comfortable place to rest and begins to meditate, wanting to think more on the oddness of Montgomery’s man, but unable to for the tranquility of the environment easing his mind. After a small amount of time dozing, he notices a man drinking from the nearby stream and walking like an animal. When Prendick moves to get a better view, he’s heard by the man, who slinks off back the way he’d come, the both staring at each other for a prolonged period before and whilst his retreating. Prendick’s calm state now being ruined by this meeting, he starts to comfort himself with the idea the man most likely wasn’t a savage since he’d been wearing nice enough clothing and drifts to other thoughts. Prendick makes his way across the stream in the opposite direction of noises which sounded like the puma. Prendick notices an odd looking fungus and then a torn apart rabbit and thinks of the strange man he’d witnessed earlier. He then decides to head back to the house when he sees three human figures in a clearing. One being female, this group was only adorned with loincloths and had disturbing facial structures.

Prendick wasn’t noticed and believed it was because one of the men was speaking to the others, soon all three are chanting and getting charged up. Prendick decides to make a calculated exit away from the trio, coming to the conclusion of though they were human, they seemed to have hog-like attributes. When Prendick believes he can move more quickly, he then notices the man he’d seen at the stream was following him. Prendick faces the fear of confrontation and approaches him, asking who he was, but only receiving a non-related answer as the man moves away from him. He then decides to leave him be since night was falling and he’d rather be back at the house with the noisy puma than stuck in the dark forest. Soon though, Prendick begins hearing and feeling as if he’s still being stalked, but unsure of whether he’s being paranoid, realizes this distraction of listening for the noise of pursuit had turned him around, but also begins noticing the crash of waves. Though now being definitely followed, Prendick arms himself with a rock and makes a run for the area of the house, the creature following him now seeming to have dark intentions. Prendick, having the opportunity to defend himself and making good a blow to the body which falls face down in the water, he then hearing his name being called, goes into the house.

Prendick gets closer and hears Montgomery shouting for him from his room and when Prendick responds, Montgomery mentions how they’d remembered to check on him only half an hour earlier and couldn’t believe he’d gone exploring without informing them, now concluding he must’ve met some of the “curiosities” in the woods. Prendick insists on knowing what kind of creature had been chasing him, despite Montgomery’s deflective answers and being supplied with the name of the creature, which doesn’t contain much of an explanation and after Montgomery offers a sedative to help Prendick sleep, which he willingly accepts, he next waking well into the day. He partakes of the food he observes on the table in his room and Montgomery checks on him only long enough to relay he was quite busy and leaves him, Prendick noticing he’d forgotten to lock the door and also after recognizing a human was this time groaning and crying nearby, prompts him to go out into the normally locked yard and sees a brief as well as confusing sight before being thrust back into his room by Moreau. After hearing a broken conversation between Moreau and Montgomery, Prendick figures he’s in more danger than he considered.

Prendick is now putting together, with the fact he’d seen a human being the subject of Moreau’s experiments, the creatures he’d been running into must be apart of Moreau’s pastime, as well. Prendick makes a feeble weapon from a bit of chair and when he goes to the door and discovers Montgomery coming to lock him in, runs toward him swinging his non-threatening weapon and running around a side of the house, Montgomery yelling and chasing after him, seeming to be trying to explain. Prendick runs off in a right angle from where he previously explored, noticing he was no longer being followed and resting in “shelter of a cane brake”. After some time he hears Montgomery shouting his name faraway northward of him, which sets him into figuring out his next course of action. Realizing his pathetic weapon against the firearms of Montgomery and Moreau had the baring of uselessness he then notices his hunger, recognizing the futility of his trying to escape, but once hearing the sound of baying, sets off towards the noise of the sea.

After crossing some thorny brambles and across a stream, Prendick waits an hour to be certain of no more pursuit, thinking of the lengths he’d go to in taking his own life rather than giving up, believing he’d go through with it at the moment if he weren’t so curious to reveal how this weird situation would play out, then he sees “a black face watching” him. Prendick recognizes him from the day they docked. The creature soon tries to speak to him and then Prendick figures out he’s confiding in him how they’d met, he agreeing. The creature notices the number of fingers on his hand, which Prendick doesn’t know why he’d be so interested about as of yet, but distinguishing not all Beast People have all their fingers. Prendick then asks where he could get food, the creature leading him to the “huts”. Prendick tries to ask questions to help him learn more of the creature and the island, but doesn’t get much further than knowing the creature had been on the island for three fingers time, not giving a clues as to whether it was months or years, so Prendick gives up, realizing the creature seemed bored and leads him to where the creature called home, it smelling like an ill kept “monkey’s cage.”

When they’d arrived, Prendick is startled by another mutilated being, in similarity of action to a sloth, his guide having disappeared for a moment, giving him a chance to appraise his surroundings, the creature reappearing to beckon him into a lean-to where another creature awaited to meet him, Prendick for a moment thinks of fleeing, but decides to follow through with his “adventure”. Prendick enters and takes the coconut given him by his guide, trying to act calm whilst feeling dread. The guide soon is excited to make it known Prendick is a man, exactly like he, being told to be silent by another voice not seen. The voice enquires whether Prendick will be staying which he confirms, then being told he’ll have to learn the “Law”; it being a simple one if one’s not a baby or animal then proceeding to chant more requirements of etiquette. Prendick is fighting not to laugh or show disgust, copying the group, then chanting another bit of mysterious bunch of rules about whomever they follow. After this, his guide mentions how Prendick also has five fingers like himself, bringing the creature Prendick couldn’t see clearly forward enough to get a look and feels his talon-hoof, horrifying Prendick more, also seeing his face was hard to identify most any features.

After, Prendick is witness to a repetitive confirmation of the creatures being forced to deny their animal instincts, all the whilst Prendick bewildered, but trying to match the group’s fervor of the litany. It’s interrupted when some of the group go outside and Prendick hears a yelp from a stag-hound, still inside the hut. When he does finally go outside to see what the excitement was about, he sees Moreau come out from the trees. Prendick estimates his best route of escape, but when Moreau cries for the creatures to catch him, Prendick still has a few seconds before they realize they are meant to stop him, but soon Prendick does have to fight back to make his way out and when he gets to a steep slope and hears his pursuers following, he also believes he hears Montgomery, who was with Moreau, shouting for him to run for his life. He gets away a bit further before falling down a precipice and minimally injuring himself, hoping he’ll run in to the sea in the direction he chose so as to have a proper way of drowning himself if necessity called for it. Prendick discovers a stream which was boiling hot, but also detects the ocean, as well, now not feeling so desperate as to end his life, but also realizing he’s unequivocally on his own, for not being able to trust the Beast People.

Prendick makes his way down to the beach noticing the small crustaceans who moved out of the way as he walked along. When he reached the shore he then considered how he’d be able to circle around to go back to the main house where Montgomery and Moreau stayed to locate a weapon of some kind whilst they were out, considering this a good possibility and began walking in the direction he believed it would be. After walking a short time he sees Montgomery and Moreau, plus some others break through the foliage on to the beach far ahead of him, stopping him in his tracks. When the group sees him, they advance in his direction, pushing him to the only area they weren’t blocking him from, into the ocean. Montgomery gets close enough first to ask him what he’s doing. Prendick threatens he’s going to drown himself, Montgomery then asking why, Moreau having come close enough to hear, as well. Prendick explains he refuses to be tortured by them, knowing they would eventually try to experiment on him and not wanting to be turned into one of the Beast People. Prendick goes on, soon speaking to the Beast People themselves about how they are perceived by Moreau and Montgomery, now they trying to drown Prendick out so the Beast People wouldn’t be able to hear the possibilities of revolt Prendick tried to make them realize. Moreau then forces his peace in, expressing to Prendick he can say what he wishes after, he consenting. Moreau continues with bad, schoolboy Latin, trying to get his point across and convince Prendick to come ashore so he can explain more thoroughly and if Prendick does go any further in the water he will be eaten by sharks. They come to an agreement involving Prendick having two of their revolvers, with them going towards the trees and waiting at what Prendick might deem a safe distance to come in from the water, after a short time of quibbling about how it would be done and getting a few more answers to Prendick’s questions being given in relation to why they had chased him so relentlessly, Prendick follows them and they go back to their compound.

When Prendick and Moreau had taken sustenance, Moreau begins to explain, but not before making clear he would thereafter be done explaining himself and Prendick could threaten suicide for whatever reason with no batting of the eye from Moreau, even if it did put him out in some way. After he had made Prendick confirm the creature he’d heard in the adjoining room was a puma, he explained the nature of his work, without Montgomery since Prendick didn’t want to be stuck in a confined room with the both of them. Moreau assures Prendick how the creatures he’d met had not been human, but only had experimental surgery done on them. Moreau also mentions how these surgeries were done in more barbaric ways in the past with dwarves and how Siamese twins could also be included, then relating how Victor Hugo wrote of it in, The Man Who Laughs. Moreau then goes on how one could theoretically transplant tissue, blood or reconstruct the limbs of the animal, he claiming to be the first in taking part in these surgeries, but then says others have applied this technique as a last resort and without being medically trained, unlike himself. When Prendick points out the creatures were able to speak, Moreau regards most animals, with the allowance of the surgeries, could be taught to speak. Moreau also answers why he’d chosen to model the animals new forms to humans, he claiming it was purely by happenstance, also revealing he’d tried other forms.

Prendick voices how he still doesn’t understand why he had to go to all this trouble and how he can defend his reasons for putting the creatures through pain, Moreau believing Prendick to be a materialist due to their differing viewpoints on the idea, trusting Prendick’s empathy being a part of his relating to animal instincts, viz. sin. Moreau proves his point by stabbing himself in a part of his thigh which doesn’t feel pain and explains why humans a different concept of pain, ending with how pain and pleasure is felt by humans as opposed to animals. Moreau also divulges how he no longer felt empathy, wanting only to understand the malleability of the human reaction. He then goes on to list a couple of his creations which didn’t turn out well or last long in the living after he’d changed them. Then he had his first minor success with a gorilla whom he’d eventually introduced to the Kanakas who lived in the huts on the island and were intimidated by Moreau’s pastime, but when they realized the changed gorilla wasn’t a threat, they began to teach it more human knowledge until one day a couple of the Kanakas were teasing the gorilla-man and it’s first nature came out and it climbed into a tree, where Moreau saw them and berated the gorilla-man for reacting so. We then learn what had happened to the Kanakas who were no longer living on the island and how the last of them was killed by another creation of Moreau’s, a creature unfinished and taking whatever life it ran into. Now Moreau is unrelenting in his goal of making a creature as close to human as possible, believing the puma to be his breakthrough. He also mentions how the creatures he’s turned loose are released from his efforts due to their not living up to his ideal of humanity for them, but how Montgomery has taken some interest in a few and even getting them to work for them. The other creatures though, Moreau realizes they’ve made some fashion of a religion or law, but doesn’t see it as a viable human characteristic. They end their conversation for sleep soon after and Prendick is exhausted by all he’s learned, locking his room and soon sleeping.

Prendick awakens early to check his room to be sure he was locked in from every possible entrance than he is brought breakfast by a creature now known as M’ling, Montgomery following after, Moreau being too busy with the puma to join them. Prendick asks about the Beast People’s inability to harm both Moreau and Montgomery, it being a part of Moreau’s surgery and hypnotism they are unable to go against the teachings they try so hard to uphold. Prendick then learns more about the characteristics of the island which moves on to how many of Moreau’s creations currently inhabited the modest surroundings which is followed by a slightly more detailed account of the creatures attributes, not being able to go too far into depiction since every creature varied in its body type, but also due to Prendick’s lack of practice and eye for the process.

Prendick then describes of being a scattered writer and losing his point, moving on to Montgomery showing him where he’d run through the boiling waters the day before. They then begin to run into the larger of Moreau’s creatures, catching a small one which was similar to a rabbit, Prendick noting it could fit into a park of society to replace the rabbits who dwelt there. They then saw the Satyr and Apeman who both passed and regarded Montgomery with respect as they strolled by, Montgomery commanding them they needed to start respecting Prendick the same, the two conversed with each other remembering how he’d acted unlike either Montgomery or Moreau the day before when he’d been chased by them into the ocean, but Montgomery maintains they must do so irrespectively, the two creatures then considering Prendick had five-fingers like the Apeman, Montgomery and Prendick moving on until Montgomery notices a torn apart rabbit, being disturbed by this sight Prendick offers he’d seen a similar sight when he’d arrived on the island and was followed by a creature whom sucked water. Montgomery continues to be affected by this knowledge and decides to confess to Moreau of what they’d seen, coupled with the remembering of teaching their servant how to skin a rabbit for Montgomery’s meal, Moreau takes this news seriously and thinks of a way to prove the creature he believed had done it could be shown as evident.

At noon Prendick, Montgomery, Moreau, and M’ling  go into the forest so they could have a meeting amongst the Beast People, Moreau blowing upon a horn to call them. As the large group of creatures joined where the four were standing, they grovelling their way closer, Moreau notes four were missing and were late in coming to them, the Leopard Man trying to sneak up behind Moreau, but when they arrive, Moreau makes them all speak the Law until reaching the one he wanted to speak of, halting their chant. All the creatures chanted what happens to who breaks the Law, which was to “go back to the House of Pain”, so the Leopard Man, who Moreau knew was the culprit, leapt up and attacked Moreau which ended with Moreau firing his gun. The Leopard Man escapes, running off with everyone pursuing him, it becoming a longer chase as Moreau deduces the Leopard Man had begun running on all fours. As they get closer in capturing the Leopard Man, Prendick realizes and begins to pity the Leopard Man’s situation, he knowing he’ll be going back to a place of torture if captured and Prendick knowing the poor creature was following his animal instincts and so Prendick puts him out of his misery. When Moreau sees this he commands the other Beast People to carry the body to the sea, Prendick apologizing for his hastiness, but actually not feeling badly at all. Prendick concludes his fear for the Beast People then turned into a fear of Moreau due to his inexplicable reasoning for continuing to do his “work”. Prendick then considers elaborating more on the subject.

Prendick had stayed for around two months before all he could feel toward Moreau’s experiments were negative in nature. By this point he also had a falling out with Montgomery due to his affinity for the Beast People and then we hear of a terrible catastrophe which tainted his viewpoint of his environs. Prendick describes the circumstances before the calamity started, he divulging of it being early in the morning and being awoken by a trio of Beast People transporting wood. Moreau then comes out and greets Prendick on his way to his “torture room” and after entering, hearing the puma start to scream again. Not long after, Prendick is confronted with a terrible sight as the puma came straight at him and during his fall, breaks his arm, staying collapsed as Moreau doesn’t stop to help him, but hurries after the puma which was quickly escaping. Montgomery then comes out at first not noticing Prendick being hurt, since he’d found a way to gain his footing again, but soon realizes how Prendick is holding his arm, then binding it and leaving a revolver for Prendick since he planned on going after Moreau in case he needed his help. Prendick is left at the enclosure until late in the day when Montgomery returns, too out of breath to describe what has happened so far, asking for a drink. When he’d caught his breath he began to relay his story of not discovering Moreau, but a trail of blood up until reaching rocky ground, then being joined up by M’ling and soon after seeing a couple of Beast People acting oddly, then deciding to check the huts. Upon reaching them he sees two Swine People who had blood-stained mouths and acting charged up after which they attacked Montgomery, he shooting one and M’ling taking down the other. After running into one more Beast person, they both head back to the enclosure, Prendick asking what this meant and Montgomery not being able to answer.

When Montgomery continued to do nothing constructive, Prendick convinces him after they’ve eaten, to go and look for Moreau again since he wouldn’t have stayed missing this long without some kind of tragedy befalling him. As they begin walking through the forest M’ling is first to hear others approaching and when the other two stop, they all hear what they’re saying, but Montgomery interrupts them and so the group quiets and the three show themselves. Montgomery is also first to ask if what they were saying was true, no one speaking at first for guilt, but then confirming their words, asking Prendick’s group if the Law would still be valid. Prendick then takes over by confirming it would be and the belief they thought Moreau was dead a mistake, making them believe he was elsewhere and still watched over them. The Beast People were then told to lead them to Moreau’s body and upon seeing it, they are helped to bring the body back to the enclosure and Montgomery with Prendick, put the rest of his experiments out of their miseries, M’ling going off with the Beast People.

After the dirty work was complete, they washed off and sat down in Prendick’s room to figure out what they would do next, Prendick realizing how deeply ingrained with Moreau’s philosophies Montgomery was. Prendick tried to come up with a way of dealing with Moreau’s body, what would become of the both of them and what they would do about the rest of the Beast People, Montgomery getting exasperated and demanding Prendick have a drink, he declining, Montgomery drinking alone and wondering what he would do with his life, feeling he was an outcast amongst “normal” society by this time. Montgomery then remembered how well M’ling treated him and decided he wanted to give him a drink, Prendick trying to stop him since M’ling was still an animal, but Montgomery had become ornery and loud, deciding to do what he wanted. Montgomery goes out, calling for M’ling and when he comes with some others, Montgomery gives him the bottle and jogs off, the others following, soon he leading them in an insulting song against Prendick.

After this, Prendick retreats back indoors and begins contemplating what he’ll do next. He comes up with a plan for himself, believing it was too late to save Montgomery, then after an hour he hears Montgomery and company making noise outside near the beach. He doesn’t give this notice and continues searching for items he would need for his sail the next day, but then he hears a gunshot go off with a ruckus of voices before, he deciding to investigate. What Prendick had been hearing was a massacre with Montgomery in the middle of it, a few of the Beast People being victims, as well and the rest running off when Prendick is seen. Montgomery is badly injured, Prendick making him comfortable before checking on another Beast creature which Prendick had to put down. He then realizes the enclosure was on fire and he had caused it, noticing also his only way off the island was gone along with any useful items he was planning on taking with him from inside the house. As dawn approached and any survivors of this unseen attack died, a few Beast People come out of the woods and approach Prendick, not seeming friendly.

Prendick masks his fear of their coming by using Moreau’s way of dealing with the Beast People, making them bow to him and reminding them of the Law. Once Prendick realized they would listen to him, he commanded them to take the bodies and dispose of them by sea, which they did, Prendick then being approached by a Hyena-Swine Man. He tries to command this Beast Man to bow down as well, but the Hyena-Swine asks why he should, so Prendick shoots to kill, but misses and the Beast Man runs off, Prendick not wanting to risk another shot and missing again. He dismisses the Beast People and wanders off to think of what he will do now he had no safe place to rest. Prendick continues to contemplate his fate, wandering back across the beach when he’s approached by a lone Beast creature he’d commanded over earlier, but was so paranoid of it turning on him, draws his weapon until he is certain the creature won’t attack, but demanding the beast leave him alone, he resisting Prendick’s request at first, until Prendick threatens to throw a stone at him, finally leaving him. As the day grew hotter, Prendick approaches some Beast people basking in the sun on the beach, expressing to them of his hunger, one of them responding their was some food in the huts, Prendick goes off and eats some of the fruit, then erecting a small barricade which would serve noisily enough to allow Prendick enough time to defend himself if need be, then drowsing sleepily after being up twenty-four and some odd hours.

When Prendick awakes, he hears Beast People outside and his barricade gone, but his gun still in his possession. He then realizes there is something lying next to him and reacts repulsively until he figures out it’s the creature he’d turned away the day before, also figuring if this creature was acting so loyal to him, then he’d be safe enough amongst the other creatures. The Dog creature seemed satisfied Prendick planned on killing all the others who no longer believed there to be a master and Prendick confirms this whilst also relating to him whomever he chose to be spared, would be, but the Dog creature seemed happy they’d all be punished in general. When they exit the hut and walk among the Beast People, the Ape Man chittering of the House of Pain being gone and the Master no longer there, as well, Prendick startles them all by revealing of their being wrong of this, the Master being unseen and the House of Pain returning, so all of those who didn’t abide the Law would regret it. He continues to confirm these “facts” as the Beast People aired their doubts, soon convincing many of it being true and the others at least to be wary of it’s truth. All then leave, heading towards the ravine as the sun fell which began Prendick’s next ten months among the Beast People, some warming up to him whilst others going about their business, Prendick consistently being careful of the Hyena-Swine sneak-attacking him, also sensing he’d gone mad with blood-lust and was impossible to catch for scenting Prendick’s approach to his lair.

Then as time passed, the Beast People begin losing their Human-isms and reverting to their animalistic state. Prendick found himself then spending more alone time at the site of the burnt down enclosure of Moreau’s, it being safest if he wanted the Beast People to stay away from him. Then as more time passed, the Beast People’s surgeries began wearing off in small ways, showing more signs of their animal side, but not fully ever being “normal”, since two animals were blended together and even Prendick began looking oddly and still maintained the hyper-alertness in his eyes even after escaping the island. As the year passed, Prendick would see few ships sailing by, but when he did, had a bonfire ready to light, but most of those who passed were aware of the island’s reputation for volcanic eruptions so ignored Prendick’s sign of life and when Prendick then was ready to try and make a raft, realized he had no rope or anything similar to bind wood together, feeling clumsy, but since healed felt dismayed at his impuissance. At one point he succeeds in putting something together, but it falls apart before he can set it off at sea, he feeling quite down about his short-comings as a carpenter.

One day, the sloth creature had woken Prendick, well past being able to speak by this point, it makes noises implying for Prendick to follow him and when reaching the trees notices the Swine-Hyena had killed his Dog creature and was still reveling in the flesh. When the creature noticed him and didn’t run in fear, but only growled with threat, Prendick whips out his gun, the creature springing at him as he fires, Prendick succeeding with his aim this time, but also aware if the Swine-Hyena was confident to attack him, more would come. Now the Beast creatures had fully lost their Humanity, Prendick considered how he would’ve gotten rid of them, but he didn’t have enough cartridges for his guns and didn’t want to set all his luck on traps. Prendick then tries to make another raft, but realizes he had no way of transporting water on it until he had a day of rapture. He sees a sail and immediately sets his fire, not knowing until the next day whether the little ship had seen him, but then realizing they were getting closer, even though the ship seemed to shift oddly in opposition to the wind. Prendick tries to get their attention, but is ignored, the schooner getting closer to shore, then Prendick realizes why he wasn’t noticed, the two men inside being no longer of this world. He dumps the bodies and some of the Beast creatures come to figure out what he’s up to. Prendick boards the little boat and aims it toward a different area of the island so he could fill the barrel within with water, catches some rabbits and gathers some fruit for his trip.

Prendick stays at sea three days and nights, reflecting on all he’d gone through and not missing the company of men. He is found on the third day by a decent sized vessel and when he tries to relate his story to the Captain and first-mate, being met with signs of he being crazy, he from then on keeps his story to himself, feeling as ostracized as he’d felt on the island with the Beast People. He also maintained a fear of people soon reverting to an animal state, but a mental specialist who’d known Moreau helped Prendick with these thoughts. He then mentions after his fear would come and go, he knowing people weren’t going to regress into an animal, but after wanting to live in a place of solitude. After a short sojourn in the city of England, he finally escapes the oppressiveness by locating a spot in the country, studying and experimenting in chemistry and studying astronomy on clear nights, Prendick feeling a peace of mind and ends his narrative. An oddly satisfying read; dark, but exciting.