Chapter 14; In Which We Learn That It Is Sometimes Wise to Be Afraid of the Dark
The chapter doesn’t start very well for either Samuel or his mom. The dad wants a divorce and his beloved car. And he doesn’t believe his son about the gates.
The conversation between mom and dad doesn’t spark the important previous conversation with not-Mrs. Abernathy, so Mrs. Johnson (what is her first name?!) still hasn’t recalled the sense of danger associated with the demon.
I hope Samuel gets to chat with his mates from school soon. The boy hero needs allies. Quickly.
It was Boswell who first sensed the coming of the Darkness.
Lucky he has Boswell. If not for his trusty sidekick, Samuel might have been…you know, and then where would the story be with no-one to prevent “The Great Malevolence” from gaining entry to our world.
The Darkness obviously has only one target as it seems to dismiss Boswell for a time. Even when Boswell barks at it from the top of the stairs, it only seems to speed up a little. It doesn’t realise the little dachshund’s potential.
…the Darkness poured under the door, moving swiftly toward where Samuel lay. It found the leg of the bed and climbed it like a snake, winding its way round the wood before sliding across the blankets. Boswell could smell it now. It reeked of old clothes, and stagnant water, and dead things. It did not shine like oil, even though it moved with the same relentless viscosity. It was absence made solid, nothingness given form and purpose.
This has got to be my favourite description so far – “It was absence made solid, nothingness given form and purpose.”
Malevolent and creepy, with no room for even mistaking this thing for something fluffy or friendly.
It has no intention of sliding up towards Samuel and just licking his face. Unless it’s saliva is made of acid, that is.
Boswell, being an intelligent member of the canine species, also knows its malicious intent and quickly grabs a hold of the Darkness. The ensuing struggle, thankfully, wakes our human hero, and a tug-o-war begins.
Boswell and Samuel pull the Darkness between them, Boswell obeying his master’s every command as if Samuel is barking instead of speaking.
The boy’s solution to the nasty situation is rather ingenious and I wonder if demons have ever been told about the “blue goldfish”.
Breathing heavily, Samuel leaned back against the sink.
“I’m never using that toilet again,” he said to Boswell…
Yeah, I don’t blame him. It could come back up the toilet while he was using it and drag him into the sewers. Not an enticing prospect.
…and something fled away into Stoker Lane.
Before it disappeared, Samuel and Boswell caught a glimpse of it.
It looked like a woman.
In fact, it looked very much like Mrs. Abernathy.
Subdued at breakfast; an understandable reaction, as is Samuel’s precaution with his toilet. Of course his mom is going to notice, but she’s got her own problems and a slightly murky memory issue to deal with.
All this frightens Samuel, but being the hero, he’s not going to succumb.
Just as his determination to stop the evil demon that is the not-Mrs. Abernathy kicks back in, Samuel spies a report on the small portable telly featuring the LHC and a scientist type person.
Samuel knew what it was: the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. He had watched a documentary about it earlier in the year and, although he hadn’t understood everything that had been discussed, he thought it all sounded like fascinating stuff.
Yet more evidence pointing to a “too smart for his own good” child. We need more of his ilk in the world.
Professor Stefan is the scientist type person in the report on the t.v., trying to explain in layman’s terms what the blue blazes is going on at the LHC. Although he mentions the particle of energy that “flew off”, he doesn’t mention, wisely perhaps, about the code mysteriously re-writing itself and wormhole theories.
He does mention the time and date of the incident: Seven thirty P.M. on October 28.
It might be a coincidence, of course, but for the first time Samuel sensed that there could be someone out there who might be prepared to listen to him.
Samuel then composes a great “Ask an Expert” message for the CERN guys to read and mull over.
Great for an eleven year old in dire need of an ally.
…he thought it was important to attract CERN’s attention and, if nothing else, the mention of demons and Hell was likely to make his message stand out.
Thanks to the author, Samuel not only has the power of reason but also the good sense to use a spell checker before sending off such an important message. Smart boy indeed.
Now to some home grown assistance. Remember Samuel thinking that his friends might be of help? He arranges to meet them at the local pie shop known as Pete’s Pies, even though Pete is no more and son Nigel runs it in his stead. From the description of the aforementioned pies, makes me wish Samuel would call me to meet him there too. I’m a sucker for a decent pie and the apple-and-raspberry sounds mouth-watering even at 11.30pm.
What is then quickly described is Samuel’s closet friends. Tom Hobbes and Maria Mayer. I can see why the three get along as Tom’s the weird kind of easy going (unless cricket is involved) and Maria wants to be a scientist. I’ve already decided, from their short introductions, that although they may think their mutual friend is slightly potty, they’ll (hopefully?) agree to help.
After a brief exchange in which Tom exclaims that his friend is barmy, a predictable reaction, they at least agree to go the Abernathy’s house. A start at least. Although I’m a little worried it might put more parents at risk.
While this pre-adolescent exchange is going on, a technician at CERN presents Professor Hilbert with Samuel’s “Ask an Expert” message, complete with the drawing of the blue spiral he saw on the night in question.
The author doesn’t say, but I get the impression the technician is very nervous.