Well, this is it, the beginning of the end. Hopefully our final battle should start around about now, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Before I start, just a recap of last chapter: Victor finally revealed the truth about Roland’s past and Alicia was kidnapped because Max didn’t think to forewarn them.
So we start off with Max finally getting to the beach hut, only to find the Orpheus has risen from its resting place at the bottom of the cliff and Roland staring at it. So Roland sets off to confront Cain and hopefully get his girlfriend back, ignoring Max’s pleas for him to stop completely. With Max tagging along behind him, presumably because he can or should.
We switch to Alicia’s point of view as she’s dragged along by Cain, who decides to shut her in the captain’s cabin, possibly to keep her out of the way. I’ll admit, the description of Cain here seems far too stereotypically evil for it to really scare that much: granted that being in the control of someone who is far stronger than you and hates you to boot, but somehow he seemed scarier when he first appeared, when he was preying on children’s vulnerabilities. In any case, Alicia’s now trapped in the captain’s cabin, which she can’t really see in since the one porthole is covered in seaweed and rust. While looking around for something to get herself out of the room with, she stumbles across something that I’m surprised Roland didn’t find himself on one of his dives: propped against the wall is the remains of the captain’s corpse. Granted, this is a big boat, but Roland’s been diving in there at least long enough to fill his beach hut with nautical paraphernalia so he must have covered a fair bit of ground in exploring, yet he never found the human corpse. A bit unlikely maybe, but I’ll let it slide. In any case, Alicia’s reaction is the standard scream in terror. Standard, but in these circumstances, totally justified.
We switch back to Roland’s point of view as he struggles to reach the ship through the stormy sea. Considering that Cain wants him dead, you’d think that Roland would be smart and take a boat, but oh well. In any case, it turns out that he can’t climb the sides of the ship and thus the only way in is through the crack in the hull that sunk the ship in the first place, which is effectively a death trap if he times it wrong. Okay, I’ll give it to Cain that he does know how to make some good obstacles.
We then switch to Victor’s point of view as he finally gets to the beach and sees the Orpheus sailing straight towards the cliff-face. He has his whole moment of darkness/despair/weakness (delete as applicable), then rushes to the beach hut just to check if Roland’s there or not. There’s a light in the hut, but this turns out to be one of the statues, which distracts him as someone knocks him out with a blow to the back of the head.
We then switch back to Max, who’s realised that he won’t be able to get to the crack in the ship before he gets too tired to move and gets pulled down by the current. At that moment, the ship crashes into the cliff-face, causing a mast to snap, with the tip landing in the water right near Max. How lucky of him. He starts to climb up it before it’s torn away by another wave, unaware that there’s someone waiting for him on deck.
Switch back to Roland again. Please let them reunite soon, it’s getting tiring switching between perspectives. Anyway, he’s gotten into the bilge safely, at which point he rushes up to deck level because there isn’t a whole lot you can do at bilge level. He gets up to the bridge where he has a great view of the cliffs moving to meet them. Anyway, he tries to steady himself for the crash, but the deck is slippery, causing him to fall. I almost wrote fail there, which would also work, but is perhaps a bit mean-spirited. In any case, he hears Alicia screaming somewhere close by. Roland to the rescue then.
Switch to Max, who’s gotten on-board the ship where, surprise surprise, Cain is waiting for him. Cain does his whole villain routine: show Max his watch, taunt him a little, crush the watch, taunt some more. Again, I’m getting less and less scared of this guy as it goes along. Anyway, Max asks the question of why continue pursuing Jacob’s life if Cain has already killed Dr Fleischmann, obviously as a diversion. To which the answer is surprisingly mundane: interest on repayment; Dr Fleischmann’s death was the interest that had accumulated on the death, but until Roland is gone, the debt is still unpaid. So basically he’s the supernatural version of a loan shark. In any case, this sets him off on a rant that is almost immediately interrupted by Roland’s voice calling out to Alicia. So much for Max’s diversion. Cain turns to make good his payment and Max decides that this would be a good time to make a run for it. Apparently he wasn’t as good with timing as he was with diversions: Cain catches him and throws him overboard. After another bout of taunting. But Max doesn’t die, as Cain apparently threw him into a patch of water next to a conveniently placed bunch of rocks which could be climbed. Seriously, you’d think that this guy would take a little more trouble with his murder attempts, but no: he passed up throwing him just a bit more either side, causing Max to either drown or become a broken bag of bones on the rocks. As it is, he’s failed to kill a 13 year old boy. Impressive. Anyway, this half-arsed attempt at murder is where the chapter ends.
Overall, a good chapter, but there are a few too many moments of carlessness/idiocy by both our protagonists and antagonist for the tension to really build enough. That said, I still don’t know how this will turn out, so I suppose that’s a good thing.