Quick recap: last chapter continued Victor’s story about what he knew about Cain. Presumably this chapter will at least start to explain why everything Cain-related seems to be flaring up all of a sudden. Just one thing before I start: you remember in chapter 1’s review I waxed lyrical about how cool the pocket watch sounds? My edition of the book has little illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, with chapter 11’s being the watch. Frankly, I’m disappointed; perhaps the illustrator wasn’t feeling particularly inventive that day, but here the watch looks really unimpressive. Although I suppose my vision of sections of exposed clockwork might have been a bit ambitious considering the size of the pictures. Oh well, having argued myself into a corner, let’s go on.
So Victor has just finished his (in my opinion) gripping story. After which Max checks his watch. A bit of an odd thing to do, but okay. Maybe there’s a time theme this chapter or something. Outside, a storm is brewing, so Max and Alicia decide that now would be a good time to head home. Now, it might just be me, but after hearing that story, I’d be more than a little reluctant to go back there in all honesty. When they’re about to leave Max, Alicia and Roland have a group discussion as to whether they believe Victor or not. Considering the weird stuff that’s been going on and the fact that all of them were eager to hear what could be happening, it seems a bit odd for doubt to creep in now. So as he cycles along, Max tries to add what Victor told them to his own experiences with the statue garden and the house in general, eventually coming to the conclusion that there’s something that Victor is still hiding. So he decides to continue investigating by looking through Jacob Fleischmann’s films, which makes sense.
Max gets back to the house to find that Alicia and Roland beat him there and that Roland is about to head back to the lighthouse to keep his grandfather company. Why do I see this going horribly wrong? Just as he’s about to go, Roland also brings up the possibility of diving down to the Orpheus again the next morning. Why do I see that going even more horribly wrong? So Roland cycles off and Max is sent upstairs to change. On the way up, Max realises that he hasn’t seen Irina’s cat since the day she went into the coma, but shrugs it off as no great loss. Surely he must have made some sort of connection, considering that he and Alicia have been the ones consistently saying that the cat is really creepy.
So a bit later, Max and Alicia are downstairs waiting for a call from their parents at the hospital. A call that never comes. Hmm, eerie. After assuring Alicia that everything’s probably okay, Max goes to raid the shed for Jacob’s films.
So, first film that’s put on is the camera focusing on a clock face. Weird, didn’t realise you really got avant-garde 7 year olds. The hands begin to move anti-clockwise, gathering speed as it goes, and the camera back up to see that the clock is hanging from a chain suspended from the hand of a statue. Ah, oh dear. So Jacob moves amongst the statues, stopping and focusing on each of their faces as he goes past them. Still fairly eerie, but nothing really alarming yet. Eventually the camera gets to Cain’s statue in the middle, where Max notices a detail about the statue that wasn’t there before: a cat sitting at Cain’s feet. At this moment, Max finally makes the connection between Irina’s cat and Cain’s cat. So the camera pans up and focuses on the statue’s face like all the others. Max is just about to change the film when he notices something in the last few frames: the statue’s face is moving, just a tiny bit. Excuse me while I retreat to my happy corner and cower a bit. My urge to cower has just increased considering the expression that Cain’s statue has pulled. It smiled, showing sharp teeth. A bit overused, but it really works well here. So thoroughly creeped out, Max goes to bed instead of watching a few more films to try and figure out anything else, thus ending this chapter.
Another well-written chapter, with the saving grace being that film at the end. It’s perhaps a bit clichéd, the whole inanimate object moving thing, but it’s one of those clichés that, written well, never seems to get old.