The Last Night of October written and illustrated by Greg Chapman, 102 pages published by Bad Moon Books.
Overall Score: 5/5
“His existence was one of silent dread; a slow, steady tick of days until that last night of October. It was his every thought, every beat of his tired, old heart.”
Then, two boys disobeying their parents and braving the worst storm in ages to honor a night made for children, to honor an annual tradition.
Now, one wheelchair bound old man, ravaged by emphysema, starring down and dreading the shadows of past tragic choices, on the anniversary of their making. Haunted by the promise of a promised visitor, the only child who will knock on his door this night, and every Halloween night passed, facing his memories cold and alone.
But tonight is different. This night Gerald is not alone and truths need to be revealed.
“‘Oh, God – was that the boy?’
‘Yes – he’s crying’ Gerald said.
‘Crying – why would he be crying?’
Gerald looked right into Kelli’s eyes. ‘Because he knows how the story ends.'”
“The Last Night of October” is a quick and hypnotizing Halloween yarn. Greg Chapman (author of Torment & The Noctuary) is a talented scribe and he does a fantastic job here. Providing rich imagery, thick tension and heartache throughout. He had me hanging on every word of this tale, illustrating and craftily weaving both the dark sense and youthful spirit of my favorite season. I could see the snow covered ground, I could hear the heavy knocks on the door.
I was invigorated by young Gerald’s youthful sense of invulnerability and I was empathetic to elderly Gerald’s living a lifetime of regret. But then, the shuffle…
This novella solidifies the fact that I need to delve further into Mr. Chapman’s catalogue as I truly enjoyed every moment of “The Last Night of October”. It’s great anytime read and a perfect addition to my list of annual seasonal reads. Fit snugly between Norman Partridge’s “Dark Harvest” & Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”. I will definitely be revisiting this. When the nights are murky, the wind is bellowing and the candle’s flame is flickering, I will answer the knock at the door. Check it out.
Zakk is a big dumb animal.