- Belasco, Ian
- The first to die in the "Tontine". Belasco was the leader of the squad in World War II and a Puzzle Guardian, he carried a Lament Configuration that took the form of a Gun of unknown make. He had short dark hair with a short beard and moustache. Before every mission he would take the Gun, "spin the chamber, place the muzzle aginst his temple-- and pull the trigger". When, in 1945, Carr claimed it wasn't loaded Belasco put it to Carr's forehead and pulled the trigger before shooting and killing a rat. He offered the challenge to the rest of his squad who took it. Afterwards he set up the "Tontine" where by each year they would meet and take part in a game of Russian Roulette until only one 'beneficiary' was left. That night Belasco went second and shot himself in the side of the head. He was buried at the Grist Mill. After the last round in 1950 Belasco arrived to reclaim his Box and take the Narrator to Hell.
- The sixth to die in the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, Carr was a large man, with short, dark hair and a small, trimmed moustache. He laughed at Belasco, claiming he never really had a bullet in the gun that he fired at himself before eveyr mission. Belasco responded by placing it to Carr's forehead and pulling the trigger. Carr tried to attack Belasco but was restrained. "Carr was a superstitious gambler and believed in lucky rolls. He wanted to go first because he'd never gone second". He was the first to play in 1945 and looked satisfied when he survived, "as if he knew it would happen that way".In 1946 Carr lit the kerosene lamp and spun the gun which pointed at Miller. He helped the narrator to tie cinder blocks to Miller's body and drop him in the tarn. He spun the gun again in 1947 and was the fourth person to play. He had to squeeze his eyes shut and force the trigger back but started grinning when he survived... until he realised that it meant Dorn would get the bullet. In 1948 he didn't want to drive Jenning's new cadillac into the tarn as it would be "such a waste". Carr played first in 1949. In 1950 Carr once again played first and shot himself in the temple. The narrator dumped his body in the tarn.
- The third to die in the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, Dorn had curled, dark hair, a thick beard and wore round glasses. He was "the one who enjoyed dodging bullets the least" and would lay down his life for anyone. Dorn was about to pick up the gun in 1945 when Belasco took it and shot himself. In 1947 he was the fifth person to play and thus knew he had the bullet. He stared at the gun before placing it against the roof of his mouth and tugging the trigger. The blast spun him around and knocked him off his chair.
- The fourth to die in the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, Jennings had combed-back dark hairm and a small moustache. He drove Miller's Chevy into the tarn in 1946. In 1947 Jennings played second and "shrieked like a commando taking the hill when he did it". He bought a new Cadillac in 1948. That year he was the first to play and shot himself.
- The God of Hell. The Narrator saw him when Belasco led him to Hell.
- The second to die in the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, Miller had short dark hair, wore glasses and drove a Chevy. He looked after the gun and kept it in a "new leather satchel". In 1946 he was the first person to play and he placed the gun to his temple and closed his eyes. The blast splattered his brains on the wall behind him and forced his left eye from its socket so it hung down his face. His body was weighted down and dumped in the tarn along with his car.
- Narrator, Unnamed
- The winner of the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, the narrator had long, dark hair and a thick beard and moustache. He had a recurring dream of standing in the tarn with a bullet hole in his head, before sinking beneath the surface and seeing Belasco appear through the black waters. He helped restrain Carr when belasco fired the gun at his forehead. The Narrator put the bullet in the chamber and spun it in 1946 and he almost had to go first. He helped Carr tie cinder blocks to Miller's body and drop him in the tarn. When he returned to the Grist Mill in 1947 he felt like nothing had changed and "half expected Miller to walk in". He had to play first that year and was more scared than he had ever been before. The gun felt heavy to him and he became paranoid but he broke into a stupid grin after he pulled the trigger and survived. When Dorn lifted the gun, knowing he had the bullet, the full horror struck the Narrator and he wanted to tell Dorn to stop but he froze up. He watched in horror as Dorn shot himself and after that "the excitement, the perverse thrill, was gone". He continued to play as Dorn had died "for that stale maxim, 'a deal's a deal'" and he couldn't live with himself if he backed out. In 1948 he had to drive Jenning's new Cadillac into the tarn as Carr balked at it. In 1949, just as Young placed the gun to his head, the Narrator thought he saw a figure watching them from through a window. Before he could say anything Young shot himself and when he looked back the figure was gone. In 1950 Carr went first and shot himself. The Narrator won the "Tontine" and waited for Belasco outside, after dumping Carr's body. He returned the gun to Belasco though it had now turned back into the puzzle box. Belasco then led the Narrator down into the tarn where he saw the bodies of the others. Belasco took him to Hell where he saw Leviathan.
- Squad, Belasco's
- Led by Ian Belasco, the squad's members were the Narrator, Carr, Dorn, Jennings, Miller and Young. They "generally pulled scouting details" and were lucky to survive as long as they did. When they were ordered to "reconnoiter the fringe of a German outpost" no one expected to see them again but whilst away everyone else was killed by a german bomber squadron. They were committed to killing other men, at a distance or at close quarters, and they were becoming numb. The Narrator felt they had all gone a little insane when they agreed to Belasco's "Tontine". Each of the members cut themselves and mingled their blood in a ration tin from which they all drank. The game was the only thing that made them feel alive, "equal parts terror and exhilaration".
- The fifth to die in the "Tontine". A member of Belasco's squad, Young had slicked-back dark hair and large, round glasses. During the game he never said anything, he "just pointed the gun and slowly squeezed the trigger". In 1947 Young played third. In 1949 he was the second to play and shot himself. "He took longer than anyone else, three, four minutes to die".
- Belasco's squad fought in World War II here. After their commanders were killed in a German bombing raid they agreed to the "Tontine" and played the first round of the game here.
- Grist Mill, Wisconsin
- "Forty miles out in the woods down tortuous roads, mushy with mud and patches of grey snow". Next to the house was a large body of black water where there was once a stream. Inside was "a large Victorian table, with six chairs neatly arranged around it, standing in the middle of the room. Except for these, the place was empty". The Grist Mill was owned by Belasco's family and it was here that the game was played each year.
- Belasco led the Narrator here when he won the "Tontine".
- Black Water
- Also: Tarn
- Thick, black water which the Narrator referred to as "tarn". The bodies and possessions of the losers of the Tontine were sunk in it. When the Narrator won Belasco led him into and through the black water.
- A make of car. Jennings had brought one in 1948. Carr balked at driving it into the tarn after Jennings died so the Narrator had to do it.
- A make of car. Miller owned one. After Miller died in 1946 Jennings drove it into the tarn.
- See "Tontine".
- Also: Lament Configuration, Revolver
- A gun of unknown make that Belasco claimed he had bought in Naples. It was actually the Lament Configuration in another form. Belasco loaded it, spun the chamber and fired it at himself before each mission. The gun was used for the game of russian roulette after which it reverted back to its true shape. The Narrator returned it to Belasco.
- Kerosene Lamp
- The squad used this at the Grist Mill whilst playing the game. In 1946 it was lit by Carr.
- Lament Configuration
- See Gun.
- See Gun.
- Russian Roulette
- See "Tontine".
- See Tarn.
- Also: "Game", Russian Roulette
- A pact where each participant who enters into it contributes to the prize and the eventual survivor gains everything. Belasco set up the game which was russian roulette which they agreed to play each year until only one person survived. After each death the survivors gained a share of the dead man's luck and lifeforce. The winner was taken to Hell.
- World War II
- The second World War that lasted from 1939 until 1945.
||Belasco sets up the Tontine. Belasco shoots himself.
||Miller shoots himself.
Dorn shoots himself. The Narrator no longer enjoys the game.
Jennings shoots himself.
||Young shoots himself. The Narrator sees Belasco watching them.
Carr shoots himself. The Narrator wins the Tontine and Belasco takes
him to Hell.
Clive Barker's Hellraiser, Book 9: "The Tontine" by Scott Hampton, Mark Kneece, John Van Fleet & John Costanza
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