So here we go. Chapter 14, only 5 chapters left to read. Plus an epilogue which seems to be only 2 pages long, so I might just combine it with my review of the last full chapter, save some time. Anyway, the last chapter isn’t all that difficult to recap, it could be summarised in five words: Cain tried to drown Roland. Simple enough, even if it doesn’t quite convey the creepiness of a giant snake with Cain’s best clown/paedophile face.
So we open in Victor’s point of view as he visits the Carver house, where his old flame used to live. He’s going to go round back and try confronting Cain, isn’t he? Yup, that’s what he’s gone and done. What do you have to do to become a literary character, get a frontal lobotomy? So anyway, he goes round back to where the statue garden is, and a thick mist is already starting to form in there. Because of this, he’s decides to hang back and look at it for a bit, presumably until the mist gets to him rather than the other, more proactive and slightly stupider, option of charging straight in. While he’s waiting, he muses on how old he feels and how likely he is to die; again, if that’s what he thinks, why didn’t he tell one of the kids, otherwise known as the only people who actually believe him, what he knows in case the worst should happen? Anyway, he starts to make his advance, where the reader finds out that he was actually smart enough to bring a gun and a torch with him. Maybe he won’t die all that quickly then. He enters the garden, only to find that it’s empty: the pedestals are there, but the actual statues have disappeared. Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure. If that’s the case, maybe they knew Victor was out to kill them; now if I were a supernatural evil that knew when my enemy was going to try and kill me, I’d try a pre-emptive strike, targeting his home and loved ones. But maybe I’m thinking a bit too far ahead. This paragraph certainly doesn’t give me any clues, as Victor inspects the pedestals for a bit, hears a storm in the distance, then realises something that he doesn’t disclose to the audience.
We now cut to Max as he suddenly wakes up from a nightmare. Presumably into another, real life nightmare, but again I may well be getting ahead of myself. He goes outside to get some fresh air, calm down a bit and again try to figure out what the hell is going on. During his thinking, he realises that the centre of this whole situation is Jacob Fleischmann and whatever events contributed to his death. Deciding that he needs to watch the rest of Jacob’s films to figure out the missing piece in the puzzle, he goes back home. Without bothering to wake Alicia and Roland. He’s just told himself that they can’t wait until the next day for Cain to strike, and then just leaves his sister and new friend totally defenceless. Has there been some unconscious desire in Max for one or both of them to die that I somehow missed, or is he just stupid?
By the time he gets home and gets the projector working, Max has noticed that the storm seems to have gotten closer and is getting rather violent now. Anyway, he starts the tape to find that this one takes place in the corridors of the house, back when Jacob was living there. The camera goes up to what will eventually become Irina’s room, where we see the door slam open and Cain steps out. All that, I was kind of expecting, but this is the point where it turns into a bit of a mind-trip. Cain extends his hand to reveal Max’s pocket watch. Since when was time travel part of this narrative? In any case, getting past the weird factor here, the hands of the pocket watch start moving anti-clockwise, gathering speed until the mechanism can’t keep up and it catches fire. The film then has a jump cut, to where it’s facing a dressing table with a mirror, which we keep getting closer to until it’s clear who’s manning the camera. Which it turns out is Roland. That was an unexpected twist, to be quite honest. Although looking back at what we knew about Roland’s past anyway, it fits pretty much perfectly. At this point, the film sticks and Max sees Victor tapping at the window. And that’s pretty much where the chapter ends.
Well, that was a bombshell. It certainly makes sense now why Cain is back after all this time. I probably don’t need to tell you how much I loved this chapter as it simultaneously answers so many questions and ups the ante tenfold. There’s only one thing I’m still confused about: how is Max able to find exactly the right film for the occasion? I mean, if he’d found this particular film earlier in the narrative, what would that entail?