|Author||L. J. Smith|
|Published on|| 1994 (first published) |
2010 (republished as omnibus edition)
|Published by|| Pocket Books (1994 edition) |
Simon Pulse (2010 edition)
|The Hunter||The Kill|
The Chase is the second book in The Forbidden Game trilogy, written by the author L. J. Smith, published originally in 1994. It continues the story of Jenny Thornton and her struggles against the malevolent Shadow Man, Julian, who has loved her since childhood and uses dangerous, supernatural games to gain Jenny for himself.
Having survived the events of the first game, Jenny and her friends try to return to normal life, but this is made difficult due to personal changes all have undergone, Tom's new aloofness, and suspicions from others regarding what had really happened to their friend Summer.
Things are made more complicated when Julian, whom Jenny had tried to imprison forever under a magical restraint, is freed and offers Jenny a new game to allow her to break free of her sacrificial promise to be his eternal consort.
"Why is her boyfriend Tom avoiding her - while other boys pursue her as never before? Jenny Thornton has changed. So have her friends. Because of Julian, the Shadow Man, who has returned to terrorize them with a new game, a hunting game, Lambs and Monsters. They're the lambs, to be stalked, pounced upon, and lost to the Shadow World forevermore. The monsters are the Lurker, a ghostly wolf, and the Creeper, a phantom snake. One by one, Jenny's friends disappear, leaving behind only a paper doll - and a riddle with clues about who will be next . . . Jenny must find Julian's hidden base and save her friends before it is too late. But how can she resist the predatory prince of darkness who has returned to make her his own?"
Aftermath of the GameEdit
Directly following the events of The Hunter, Jenny, Tom, Dee, Audrey, Michael and Zach go to the police and attempt to explain their side of the story. Predictably, they are not believed, even accused of taking drugs, although, upon hearing the story, Dee's grandmother Aba feels they are telling the truth. However, she warns the group with an old folktale that they in fact should keep the truth hidden for now, leading the teens to revise their story to explain Summer's disappearance. They are released from police custody, and begin to seek out the game, in case Julian might accidentally be freed from the closet Jenny had trapped him inside.
At school, Jenny is confronted by a girl, Angela Seecombe, a former friend of P.C. Serrani, one of the young men who had followed Jenny to the More Games store and had stolen the ruined game from her with his comrade, Scott "Slug" Martell. Angela accuses Jenny of having murdered Summer and framed P.C. for it, but when Jenny tries to ask the girl for more information, she is kicked in the shin and Angela quickly flees. As Jenny leaves the girl's bathroom, she picks up a pay phone nearby, but only hears white noise over the receiver that she cannot understand, though it unnerves her.
Jenny retrieves the others, whom she has not been able to meet with for two weeks, due to the mystery of Summer's disappearance; she is unable to locate Tom however. Once gathered, Jenny explains the incident with Angela to them, and believes that she might be in possession of the stolen game. However, Zach protests, asking what Jenny intends to do should Slug and P.C. be inside the game, as he would equate destroying the game with them still inside as murder. Angered, Jenny tells him to leave, noting how much her personality has changed since defeating Julian. As lunch ends, Audrey pushes Jenny into accepting a senior prom invitation from a fellow student, despite Jenny's insistence of having a boyfriend; she ultimately declines the offer, although admitting Tom's abrupt absence from Jenny's life.
In truth, Tom has been watching Jenny all the while, despite not wanting to go near her, as he has realized his previously unjust behavior towards her and feels that he no longer deserves her, as she is strong enough without him. Furthermore, Tom is intimidated by Julian's power, beauty, and influence on Jenny. However, he also vows to protect his girlfriend from Julian should he return.
Lambs and MonstersEdit
Jenny participates in handing out flyers for the missing Summer, Slug and P.C., believing it to be an expedient method of finding the game. A psychic arrives at the center set up to find the missing teens, who realizes that Jenny and the others have communed with the Shadow Men. She tells Jenny they have given her a message for Jenny, "Vanished", but the group writes off the psychic as false.
The group splits up, with Jenny and Audrey heading for the neighborhood P.C. had lived, hoping to find his friend Angela. Jenny recalls coming to the area and finding the More Games store, which is still there, although it is now a simple, normal wall mural. Disturbed, they leave and go to other neighborhoods, handing out flyers; secretly Jenny and Audrey also ask children to keep an eye out for the white game box. They come upon a group of children, including Summer's younger brother Cam, playing a new game. The children explain that the game is called "Lambs and Monsters"; one child is designated the Monster and must chase the others, labeled Lambs. The Monster will tag the Lambs, bringing them to his base. However, if a Lamb finds the base, they can release all of the Lambs that had been captured. If all the Lambs are captured, however, the Monster will then "eat" them. The children also agree to help search for Angela.
As the two end their search for the night, Jenny suddenly senses something stalking her and Audrey. She urges her friend to speed up, and Audrey herself eventually confirms the feeling of being chased. However, as they get to the car and frantically try to get in, realizing their pursuant has caught up, Jenny is knocked down by Tom, who had been tailing what was following them. Fortunately, the three soon see a dog across from them, believing that to be what had been following them.
Jenny returns home with Tom, angrily questioning his distance from her. However, although silently confirming Jenny's suspicions that he is intimidated by Julian, Tom himself asks if Jenny still remembers the Shadow Man. Although Jenny cannot bring herself to admit that she does still think of Julian, the two nearly reconcile, but an ill-timed song on Tom's car radio causes friction once again. When Tom retreats, Jenny threatens to break up with him for his coldness to her. He however does not try to stop her from doing so.
Jenny tries to find comfort with her parents, but they still refuse to believe her story, even implying Zach had made it up and had something to do with Summer's disappearance. Furious, Jenny retreats to her room; the phone rings, and she again hears the white noise, which now sounds more like the word "Vanished", drawn out in a hiss, and recognizes the voice as male before the call ends. To Jenny's concern, nobody else had heard the phone ring.
Feeling the strange metamorphosis that has come over her due to Julian, during the night Jenny decides to bathe in the family pool in an attempt to symbolically purify herself of the Shadow Man's influence, reminiscing on the events of her childhood when Julian first met her. She then returns to her room to sleep but, at 3:35 in the morning, Jenny receives another phone call, and realizes the voice on the other end is not hissing out "vanished", but the word "Famished".
Jenny reports the calls to her friends, but they attempt to rationalize them, believing them to either be the psychic they'd met or exhaustion from their efforts. Audrey also relates the story about the dog, with Michael deducing that Jenny's fears are a form of psychological associated "modeling" - her senses being fooled into believing something that isn't true. Somewhat convinced, Jenny then tells them about what had happened with Tom; they all react with shock at the news. Audrey decides to try to get Tom's attention by having Jenny go to the senior prom with the classmate from earlier, Brian Dettlinger. Seeing no other option, Jenny reluctantly agrees, with Audrey reasoning that in contrast to Julian, Brian was mortal and could be more readily competed with.
In computer class afterwards, Jenny's computer becomes frozen, the "J" key sticking and causing an unbroken line of the letter to appear against a vivid blue screen. Terrified, Jenny does all she can to make it stop, including removing the keyboard and shutting off the main power switch for the computer. However, the Js remain and keep going onscreen until finally, a blackout of the room shuts the machine and all the other computers down. Subsequently, Jenny hears hissing and senses something rapidly undulating towards her. In horror, she screams and tries to beat the thing off when it gets close to her, only to look down and see the cord for the keyboard against her legs.
All the same, Jenny refuses to believe it was real, now convinced of Michael's modeling theory. She calls Michael that night to tell him what had happened, but Michael mentally revokes his assessment of the incidents being a product of Jenny's mind, as now he himself, as well as the others, have been getting the dark sensation of being watched and followed, especially at night. In addition, Dee, Audrey and Zach all have eerie experiences of figures in their rooms as they attempt to sleep: something licking Audrey, a figure leaning out of Dee's wall, and a hunting trophy nearly falling on Zach. However, the next day, Michael continues to deny the reality of what is happening to them.
Dee also reports the body of a student, Gordie Wilson, being found in Santa Ana; having overheard this, Tom goes to investigate the area where the body had been found. Looking around, he finds a patch of strange, tar-like blood, which he scrapes up a sample of.
The Paper HouseEdit
Cam goes to Jenny Friday afternoon, having found Angela, and leads her and Dee to the girl's house. At first, Angela threatens to call the police, but stops when Jenny suspects she knows that she had been the last person to see P.C. the morning the game was stolen. As Dee enters the house, Angela, convinced of Jenny's pain, leads them to a locked shed at the back of the house, insisting it is where P.C. had gone. Tearfully, Angela reveals that the two young men had brought the game to the shed, P.C. awakening Angela that morning to obtain the key. However, they never came back outside again, Angela only finding the dropped key (which she notes P.C. would never have done) and the white game box with the paper house, though the sorrowful girl admits to leaving the game where it was.
Jenny enters the shed and discovers the remains of the Victorian paper house, which now looks as though it has exploded from the inside, while nearby the rune Uruz, the symbol used to bring the game to life, is embedded on the concrete floor, though it now resembles a "J". After remorsefully telling Angela that P.C. may in fact be dead, to her horror, Jenny also notices that her ring, the promise ring that bound her to Julian, is missing. Julian is now free.
The group convenes to discuss Jenny's discovery and what they must do to prepare for Julian, who will undoubtedly be coming for vengeance against them. Tom, who has joined them, also reveals that the Creeper and Lurker, Julian's subordinates, have been released along with the Shadow Man. The group intends to stay at Tom's house to plan but, when Audrey reveals that she and Jenny will be attending prom that day, the stricken Tom leaves, to Jenny's further anguish.
She attempts to cancel, but is pressured by Audrey and by her own reluctance to disappoint the innocent Brian. Wearing a golden dress Tom would dislike seeing her in, due to it being short and enhancing her beauty, Jenny and Audrey go to the prom with their dates. However, while there, Jenny is whisked away from Brian by a masked guest and brought to a balcony overlooking the beach. When Jenny hears her mysterious partner hiss the word "Famished", and notices his snowy-white hair, she realizes that she has been dancing with none other than Julian himself.
Horrified, Jenny breaks away from him, as Julian makes a remark about the yellow roses she's wearing as a corsage representing unfaithfulness. However, he contradicts Jenny's assessment of him wanting to kill her for abandoning him, kissing her and insisting he still loves her in spite of that. Jenny is ashamed of her continuing attraction to him, but feels she cannot resist.
Julian returns her promise ring and reminds her of her vow to be with him, but noting her unwillingness, he offers her a chance to get out of the betrothal, proposing they play a new game. When Jenny accepts, she is frightened to learn that Julian intends this new game to include everyone from the last game, in retaliation for aiding in his capture, informing Jenny he will be coming after them one after another, "starting with Little Red Riding-Hood". He briefly kisses and holds her, revealing that the new game is Lambs and Monsters, before vanishing.
Red Riding-Hood, Snarks, and BoojumsEdit
Jenny realizes that the Red Riding Hood comment had been a clue to whom he would first go for: Audrey, who has auburn red hair. Spotting her friend on the beach outside, Jenny tries to shout a warning, but is forced to watch helplessly as the Lurker begins chasing Audrey down, attacking her date and trying to herd the girl into a black hole that has suddenly appeared in the sand. Luckily, at the last moment, Tom tackles Audrey out of the way and stabs the Lurker, who leaps into the hole and escapes, the dark vortex vanishing. Jenny rushes to them, embracing Tom, who then goes to see if Audrey's escort, Eric, had survived. Eric is stunned but alive, and Audrey shows gratitude to Tom for saving her.
Departing the prom after informing the front desk of the hotel that Eric is on the beach, and leaving a note for Brian, Jenny and the others meet at Michael's house, where Jenny relays the details of the new game to them all. She again offers to stop the game by suggesting surrendering herself to Julian, but the others, even Tom, angrily protest it, even as Zach points out that they have no choice with Jenny having already agreed to play.
Dee deduces that Julian's games are of differing varieties, with the last one being a racing-type game, and the current one being a hunting-gathering game, one of the oldest types. The group also states that the base, wherever it may be, is not in the Shadow World itself, giving them an actual chance to get to it, and that Julian will bring them there using the black hole the Lurker had tried to drive Audrey to earlier. Michael mentions a story about someone disappearing, believing the the black holes are "void spaces", and that Julian has control over where the appear, his base being located in a place between worlds, like the More Games store.
While opening boxes of Cracker Jacks, Jenny finds a small poetry book as a prize in hers, containing a strange poem. The group figures out it is a clue from Julian, especially as the male figure of the poem book is changes to a "she". However, as they struggle to decipher the clue, upon entering the kitchen alone, Audrey disappears in the middle of singing, leaving behind only a faint green ring on the floor and the paper doll of Audrey's image from the previous game.
Jenny vows to find and rescue Audrey, the others stunned at how she disappeared so rapidly and in silence. They spend the night at Michael's house, deciding to keep each other in sight; Tom and Jenny again nearly reconcile but it is ruined once more, this time when Tom is made aware of the promise ring, now stuck on Jenny's finger.
The next day, the group goes around to collect clothes for staying with Michael until they can figure out the location of Julian's base. When Zach brings them to his house to collect his art books, he shows Jenny a new artwork he is interested in, a painting by the Belgian artist Magritte, which focuses on perceived reality. Jenny comes to understand the impact of the last game with Julian: after seeing an actual "imaginary" world, Zack's own perception of imagination being a haven has become tainted. Jenny comforts Zach but, to the group's shock, Zach's father Bill forces him to remain at home for not telling them about staying with Michael the previous night, separating Jenny's cousin from the others.
During the night, Jenny dreams of Julian, who appears in Michael's living room. When he suggests they go into another room to speak, Jenny is wary, but Julian promises not to capture her as he did Audrey. Jenny follows him but demands he remove the ring. Julian, rather than do so, merely takes Jenny's hand and draws her to him, stating that he intends to kiss her "until [she] faints". However, she remains resistant to him, insisting she can't love him unless she were as evil as he is, but Julian disagrees, believing that their being polar opposites in alignment is what makes them perfect for each other. Julian presents her with another book of poetry, and hints to her about the next intended victim having to do with "image[...]as opposed to reality".
Julian returns Jenny to the living room, where she awakens, the book beside her, and reads a line about Magritte. Remembering the picture shown to her by her cousin, she shouts to awaken the others, aware that Julian's next target is Zach. Meanwhile, as he tries to sleep, Zach is awakened by a brushing against him, in truth the Creeper. At first escaping the ethereal snake's grip, Zach goes to his garage studio, only to find the Creeper awaiting him. In spite of his horror, Zach is fascinated at the strange reality of the creature, and attempts to photograph it, allowing for his abduction. Jenny and the others rush to Zach's home, but arrive too late, finding only his corresponding paper doll left in the garage.
Little Miss MuffetEdit
The group decides to visit Dee's grandmother Aba for advice and solace. Aba welcomes them, giving them breakfast, after which Dee and the others explain what has been happening. When they finish, Aba tells them a story, which she feels Jenny must hear, about a boy who had been murdered by an evil djinn, Iblis, and how Iblis had offered to restore the boy to life if his parents could cross three rivers - one of fire, one of water, and one of serpents. The parents balk, but the boy's beloved manages, despite the dangers, to get to the boy's body and save him. Jenny concludes that the tale alludes to the formidable strength of love in the face of certain danger. As they go, Aba remarks that she feels Jenny will succeed, although she adds, almost inaudibly, that there might be a "cost".
The group returns to Michael's, but some time later Michael is asked to move Audrey's car; Dee, eating cottage cheese, accompanies him. While they are gone, Jenny notices, in spite of the warm day, one of the windows is glazed with frost. Letters, written by an unseen hand, appear across the iced glass, writing out the famous nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet" as Jenny watches, too terrified to speak. As the third line of the rhyme comes into view, Jenny realizes the next target is Dee, who had been previously eating "curds and whey" (cottage cheese), and had gone down to help move Audrey's car, an Alpha Spider.
In the car garage, as Dee and Michael park Audrey's car, Dee notices the unusual semi-darkness in this part of the garage, just as the lights around them go out. Finally seeing the Lurker emerging from the backseat of the car, Dee shoves Michael out of the car, then speeds it up, throwing the phantom wolf backwards. Leaping from the car, Dee watches it crash, but to her chagrin the Lurker emerges unharmed and gives chase. Dee, thrilled at the thought of battling "a four-legged opponent", shouts taunts back at the Lurker. However, racing to the stairwell of the garage, she had not counted on the Creeper also appearing behind her, sandwiching Dee between the two unearthly beasts.
By the time Jenny, Michael and Tom reach the stairwell, all they find remaining of Dee is her paper doll.
"Paddle Your Own Canoe"Edit
While having his ankle bandaged by Jenny, Michael despairs, feeling that Julian is not being fair enough with his clues, and concerned that eventually the suspicions of their families at to their true location will be aroused. However, Jenny points out that there's nothing they can really do.
That night, Jenny dreams of Julian again; she is brought to a white room, consisting of only a table, with a realistic model of Jenny's neighborhood on top. Julian holds a miniature wolf over it, hinting that this may be how he sends the Lurker and Creeper where he wishes, though he puts it down when Jenny arrives. She demands a clearer hint from him; Julian is somewhat put out by Jenny's assessment of him not being "sporting", hinting that he could send the Lurker after others, such as the young Cam. He also admits to having had Gordie Wilson killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that Slug and P.C. are indeed dead. Jenny also inquires whether Julian had introduced the Lambs and Monsters game to the children, but he only states that hunting games themselves are ancient and do not need his influence to be present in the lives of children.
Jenny, refusing to listen to his assessment of hunting and killing being a part of life, demands the hint again, to which Julian agrees, stating that her friends are being held "behind a door"; one she has been through and yet never has. In return, Julian requests a kiss, which she provides, though she does so stiffly and without much response. Moved by the kiss regardless, Julian again asks Jenny to surrender, and upon her angry rejection, he reminds her of his skill and provides her with the silver rose he had given her while acting as the Erlking in Audrey's nightmare; around the rose is a slip of paper, the next clue.
Awakening, Jenny unwraps the paper from the rose's stem, finding the French words "Pas de lieu Rhone que nous". Although Michael finds a French-English dictionary, the phrase makes no sense. The three take turns sleeping and keeping watch, although Michael is notably nervous, believing that as Audrey speaks French, the clue means he is the next target.
As Jenny reviews the line again, while Tom sleeps, she realizes the words do make sense, but in English: phonetically, the words say "Paddle your own canoe". Jenny is initially thrilled, feeling that with all of them there and not in the rain outside, believing the hint has to do with water. However she is soon proved wrong when, noticing the blankets not stirring, the sorrowful Michael reveals that Tom is gone, having left for the area where Gordie Wilson was found in an attempt to find the base or at least kill the Creeper and the Lurker. He had promised Michael not to tell her and to keep her inside, but the frantic Jenny, remembering that Gordie's body had been in a "creek bed", goes with Michael to find him.
Tom heads into the mountains, hoping to kill at least one of the phantasmal creatures to protect Jenny and give her a better chance, having learned earlier that the Creeper and the Lurker can bleed and be harmed. He steals a gun from Zach's father and continues on, believing the two beasts use the creek bed as a den when not being sent out by Julian. Finding the creatures, Tom is nearly ambushed by the Creeper, but manages to successfully shoot and kill both serpent and wolf. Unfortunately, Tom is swept away in a flash flood directly afterwards, unable to escape due to the Creeper's corpse on top of him. Jenny and Michael reach the sight of the flood, but arrive too late, only finding Tom's paper doll floating along the current in a small paper boat.
The paper boat holds the next clue, a short riddle: "What gets bigger the more you take away from it?", the answer to which is a hole. Knowing Jenny will be captured last, Michael becomes frightened and mildly hysterical. Despite this, from things Julian has been telling her in her dreams, Jenny is beginning to piece together the true location of the base, although she is still not able to figure out where it is. When she attempts to leave the room, Michael, terrified, begs her to stay near him, admitting he needs to use the restroom. Although doubtful, Jenny agrees to go with him, standing outside the bathroom door and insisting he is safe.
However, once inside, Michael comments about the toilet itself resembling a hole and, after some minutes Jenny calls to him . . . and receives no answer. Opening the door, she sees only a flushing toilet and Michael's paper doll sitting on the toilet seat.
Jenny is now alone in Michael's apartment, left with the paper dolls of her friends. She tries to think of the clues Julian has given, and begins to realize that the base is indeed a halfway place, like the More Games store, and forms an idea as to where it is. Julian, unseen, provides Jenny with a final clue, a riddle, the answer to which is a shadow; Jenny understands this to mean that a shadow, the Shadow Man Julian, is coming to get her himself. As Jenny solves the riddle, the lights of the apartment go out.
Jenny rushes out of the apartment and drives off in Michael's car, all the while lights, even streetlights, going off right behind her. The car engine dies, and Jenny abandons the vehicle, racing towards Zach's house; behind her the sidewalk lamps begin to go out. Finding the front door locked, Jenny enters through the side door and calls for her aunt and uncle, to no avail.
Jenny continues running through the house towards the garage, as the house lights all go out around her. However, just as she reaches Zach's studio, she runs right into Julian, blocking the door and not intending on letting her make it to his base. Holding her, Julian opens up a portal, intending to fall through with Jenny to his base, but Jenny manages to shove him into it, the vortex closing behind him. Freed, she races into the garage and finds the base: a portrait taken by Zach depicting the school's cafeteria, from which protrudes a doorknob. Although Julian reappears and blacks out the flashlight she had been holding, Jenny lets herself into the photograph and finds the others, alive and unharmed, within the portrait.
Embracing Tom, who has thawed to Jenny, she tearfully speaks with them all, Dee mentioning proudly that she knew Jenny would free them. The only door visible is the one Jenny came through; the rest of her friends had come through Julian's vortex, a particularly large one in the ceiling of the photograph's cafeteria, and were provided with food and a bathroom. The group could not escape through the ceiling's portal as it is too high and causes those near it to become lightheaded. The teens all laugh joyously when Jenny describes pushing Julian into one of his own vortexes.
Escaping The BaseEdit
Jenny demands Julian release them now that she has found the base. Appearing before the exit door, Julian agrees, although all of them sense a menacing air to him. As he steps away from the door, he disappears as a circle of fire erupts around the group, virtually preventing them from leaving. However, Jenny recalls Julian's words about image and reality, and tells the others that the fire is only a realistic illusion; if Julian had caused an actual fire, it would have been considered cheating and Julian had earlier claimed he never cheats.
The others do no believe her, thinking she is in shock, but Jenny is furiously adamant and decides to walk through on her own. Tom, having a change of heart, goes with her, and they walk together through the flames. Jenny's hypothesis is proven correct; despite the heat and realism of the fire, with Tom to hold onto her, Jenny finds the mental strength to make it through the ring, the two of them landing safely in Zach's garage. The fire additionally provides Jenny with the purification she had earlier sought, with Julian's ring falling off of her hand at last.
Jenny and Tom reconcile; Tom had not believed her theory but went with her for Jenny's sake and to stay by her. However, in spite of their joy and declarations of love, they discover the fire is real enough in that it is burning the photograph with the others still inside. Tom and Jenny go back for them, and the group begins to cross the ring, linking hands to stay together and quickly get out of the burning portrait.
"Come On A Treasure Hunt" . . .Edit
Unfortunately, as the group races through the fire, Zach stumbles and falls; Jenny tries to go back for him, but is dragged out of the portrait. Seeing her distress, Tom goes back in to save Zach, promising to return as the picture goes up in flames. As the group watches in horror, the fire reaches the exit door and the portrait burns to a blackened ruin, with neither Tom nor Zach emerging.
As they all watch, glowing, calligraphic words appear on the remains, a message from Julian, stating that he now has Zach and Tom in his possession and, if they want the boys back, they must "come on a treasure hunt. But remember: If you lose, there's the Devil to pay".
Now beyond her fear, in response, Jenny vehemently accepts Julian's new challenge, determined to save her cousin and boyfriend from the Shadow Man.
Notes and TriviaEdit
- After Uruz in the last game, Julian introduces a new rune: Perthro, the rune of gambling and fair play. This is another rune derived from the Elder Futhark, shaped like a crude drawing of a tipped dice cup.
- The author referenced by Michael who'd written the story of the disappearing boy, Ambrose Bierce, is also the author of the famous short story An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge, which has been made into both movies and television episodes several times. The story that Michael refers to specifically is known as Charles Ashmore's Trail. Interestingly, like the character of the short story, Bierce himself disappeared without a trace at age 71 while touring the southern United States. He was never heard from again. Many people still believe he had become lost within another dimension.
- The poem found by Jenny in the Cracker Jacks is a line from the famous poem, The Hunting of the Snark, by Lewis Caroll, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.
- Zach shows Jenny a photograph by the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte, who was famous for his artworks challenging common perceptions of life and reality. The artwork Zach shows her is a real painting, titled "The Treachery of Images" and featuring a pipe under which is written the French phrase "Ceci n'est-pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe).
- In the Islamic religion, Iblis is synonymous with the Judeo-Christian Satan, although in Islam he is a djinn rather than a fallen angel, and his downfall, though caused from pride, was precipitated when he refused to acknowledge Adam, the first human, as his superior. This act led to his rebellion against God.
- The clue about Dee, the Little Miss Muffet rhyme, corresponds with Dee's actions and what she was eating before she was captured: cottage cheese, which is made from cheese curds.
- The French clue Julian provides, "Pas de lieu Rhone que nous", as the characters note, does not make grammatical sense in French, roughly translating to "No place Rhone that we".