[For the October 23rd highlight, click here.]
On this night in Zelazny’s novel, “all hell breaks loose.” During a bout of sublimely foul weather (“no normal storm but a manifestation of magical attack”), a long-foreshadowed event finally occurs: the various Things trapped at Jack and Snuff’s residence break free of their respective prisons. The closer and his familiar leap into action, and an epic battle ensues. Jack and Snuff succeed in slaying the would-be escapees, but at some cost, since the hoped-for advantage from keeping the Things in the first place has now been lost (“Under the proper constraints,” Snuff explains, “they had been intended as the bodyguard for our retreat, should one be necessary, following the events of the final night, after which they would have had their freedom in some isolated locale, obtaining the opportunity to add to the world’s folklore of a darker nature.”). The ensuing problem of what to do with the soon-to-be-rotting bodies of the monstrosities delivers the highlight of the night. As midnight chimes and enables Snuff to speak aloud, he proposes: “I say we take them over to Owen’s place and stuff them into some of his wicker baskets. Then we haul them up into the big oak tree, set fire to them, and run like hell.” This “great Halloween gag” (“even if it is a little early”) sets the stage for October’s final week, which promises to be filled with dark mischief.