And back again for another chapter. Considering last chapter’s hints that something might happen to Victor in the night, I’m expecting some exciting stuff to happen this chapter.
So we start this chapter where we left off last chapter, with Max in his room reading to try and distract himself from Cain, just a few hours later. He hears Roland and Alicia get back home, although they don’t immediately part ways again. They don’t do that until after midnight, which is probably a bad idea for Roland. In any case, Alicia doesn’t disturb Max but goes straight to bed. This is probably one of those paragraphs where it could have been shortened a bit, but it isn’t as obvious as some of the others, which is nice.
The next morning, Max sets off early to get to the bakery in order to avoid Alicia’s version of cooking. While at the bakery, he’s asked about Irina’s condition as this seems to be one of those towns where everyone knows everybody. He gets back and barges into Alicia’s room and they start to eat breakfast. This was yet another unnecessary paragraph. Why bore me with details of their everyday lives? You’ve shown me walking, face-melting statues and you now expect me to be content with mundane daily routine?
Oh well, let’s move on. We presumably skip them cycling, because the next paragraph starts at the beach where Roland is standing next to a boat. On the prow, he’s painted on the boat’s new name: Orpheus II. That’s a bad sign. Last time I checked, in the world of novels naming something after a dead/cursed item mentioned earlier in the book, that new thing will almost inevitably turn out the same way. He might as well have called it Titanic. So it turns out Roland managed to get it from a fisherman who was going to use it as firewood. He intends to use it to get far enough out that they can use his underwater windows (boxes with glass at one end really) to see the original Orpheus without having to dive down. So they lay anchor, have a look through the windows and Alicia and Roland decide to do some actual diving. Kinda subverting the point of the windows…oh well.
So this paragraph switches to Roland’s point of view as he guides Alicia along as they dive. It’s all rather romantic as he appreciates being able to share this place with friends, at least until they decide to go back to the boat. As they’re swimming back, Roland notices a dark shape swimming beneath them; he eventually sees what looks like a giant snake that is rising to meet them. Well that went wrong quicker that I anticipated it would. In short, they manage to get Alicia back in the boat, but the creature wraps itself around Roland and pulls him beneath the surface. And it’s moments like this that remind me why I hate swimming in the open ocean.
My fear of the ocean is magnified by this paragraph, which is very short and sweet. In it, Roland realises that the creature is more liquid than solid, but then is distracted by the face of Cain (as if I needed to tell you) as it shows its row of long sharp teeth. He then loses that sight as he’s dragged into the hull of the ship. This is pretty much the part where part of my begins to think that Roland’s going to die. And I rather liked him too. I would say it’s the curse of the dead favourite characters, but for some reason I don’t actually have a favourite in this. It’s an odd feeling.
So Max starts preparing to dive in an attempt to rescue Roland, even though he barely knows how to dive. I’m sorry, but surely Victor has seen this, considering the amount of time that he spends looking out for signs of Cain. Maybe he’ll have a Big Damn Hero moment later in the chapter. As of this moment, we have Max. Goody. So he dives down and reacts fairly badly to the pressure and the temperature down there, which makes sense seeing as most people sort of work up to that point instead of doing it all at once. Anyway, he can see some sort of light down there which he assumes is where Roland is being dragged. So he goes down into the hold, following the light and finds Roland and Cain in one of the rooms in the hold. There’s a stand-off of sorts when Roland goes limp and Max grabs him to bring up to the surface, but it has to be said that Cain doesn’t seem all that bothered at letting them get away. I mean Max only has to hit him once and he vanishes. Anyway, they get to the surface where Roland is dragged into the boat and given the kiss of life. It all gets rather emotional as Max rows them back to shore.
So they get Roland to his little cabin where he falls asleep whilst Max is tending to some cuts that Alicia got while they were getting Roland in the boat. There are some emotional exchanges then they both fall asleep as well.
Another chapter that was slow to start, but ended up being excellent. I thought that the fact that Cain’s threat is now more than just standing around grinning at them was really well timed, but I thought the actual confrontation bit between Max and Cain was a little disappointing.