Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Fleabee frowned. ‘The Three what?’ she asked.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Back to the rat sitcom, but with a mysterious edge to proceedings as Klakkweena and Alf mutter darkly about forbidden this and secret that and ‘them that was here before Him’. I don’t think the identity of ‘them’ escapes any of us here on this project, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what the Raith Sidhe make of Fleabee. As in Audrey’s time, that particular cult is very much alive and thriving down in the Deptford sewers, even if any and all cultish doings have to be undertaken on the sly.
Speaking (quietly) of Hobbery business, did I just spy the name ‘Fletch’ in this chapter? On their way out, do Klakkwenna and Fleabee, in fact, pass Hagnakker, Fletch’s wife? Would that maybe be the very same, the self-same, the one and only Fletch who would be gorily slain in sacrifice upon the altar of Bauchan by One-Eyed Jake in a certain very memorable scene in The Dark Portal? There’s a special irony to Hagnakker’s suspicion over Klakkweena’s doings, considering her very own other half will later end up bleeding out in the name of the Mighty Three.
Lastly, Matt pointed out the creativity in the illustrations for this book last chapter, and I have to agree. We’ve got one-off character portraits, double-page spreads, vertical ladders scurrying up the side of the text, and, at the end of this chapter, a lovely footer of Fleabee among the tires; gazing up toward the moon, far above at the top of the opposite page. I’m not sure if the empty space between those two illustrations was intentional, but I hope it was, because it really does give the impression of a vast night’s sky.
Matt’s Thoughts: I will confess, the first time I read this, I did think all the rats were a bit two-dimensional. But rereading it now, I can see that there is something under the surface. I wouldn’t call it kindness. They’re not that sort of people. But family loyalty and caring for your bloodline, that sort of thing.
That was probably more a part of their lives before Jupiter came along. So in that moment when Klakkweena and Alf are discussing the most likely demise of Fleabee, this line really hits home: ‘Having been brought up under Jupiter’s harsh regime, neither of them could admit to what they really felt.’