Warning: Contains Spoilers!
From every broken window and every splintered door, dazzling shafts of radiance blazed into the night.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: What a suspenseful, disturbing chapter. I definitely see the ghost (sorry) of M.R. James in Peter Stokes’s journey from anger to confusion to fear as he explores the unnaturally lit ruin. The moment he went toward that light, we all knew he was charging to his doom, but I wonder if any of us, even knowing the nefarious ways of Mr Jarvis, guessed what a truly nightmarish doom that would be.
Well! Now we know that Belial’s favourite shapes are those his victims dread the most, and that ‘he who is without worth’ appears to be growing in strength. Frankly, I’d rather have remained in the dark.
Matt’s Thoughts: I must say, this chapter definitely took me into James Herbert territory – creepy buildings, walking corpses. I’m not sure how the 11-year-olds that first read this book coped with it, because even I found it creepy.
Also, what more brilliant device in the middle of a blackout than to have light be the drawcard of Belial? In any other horror story, light is the good thing and it’s darkness that we worry about. But it’s the light that is the problem here. Nice reversal!
Meanwhile, all of this subtly hints at the real-life horror that was WWII. The fate of Billy is a reminder of the fate of many, many young sons where the looms of fate wove that they wouldn’t come home ever again.