[For the October 8th highlight, click here.]
As Jack and Snuff attend to their ingredient-gathering night business, the Great Detective steps out of the London fog and asks Jack for a light for his pipe. Really, though, the detective has staged the encounter in order to scrutinize Jack (“As a watchdog,” Snuff comments, “I could appreciate the mode of total attentiveness [the Great Detective] assumed”). The Sherlock Holmes figure, who perhaps is investigating the recent killings, departs with a warning to take care. As master and familiar continue on, Snuff senses that they are being followed (yet can’t verify a stalker). A nearby voice calls out from the darkness, but as Jack reaches defensively for his concealed knife, the stranger turns out to be only Larry Talbot on a late night walk of his own. It’s the chapter-saturating nocturnal ambiance, the overall sense of lurking threat, that stands out the most on October 9th. Perhaps the feelings of unease, Snuff considers, are to be expected, given the time of year and the daunting (yet still unspecified) task at hand: “It may well be that our mere progress through October was in itself sufficient to produce anxiety. Things, of course would continue to worsen before they got better–if they were ever to get better again.” Intimations of some autumnal apocalypse have begun to creep into Zelazny’s October-spanning narrative.