The last three days

Friday was pretty uneventful, and even yesterday wasn’t terribly exciting by any real standard. It was warmer, certainly, to the point where you could wander outside in short sleeves and not feel uncomfortable — a far cry from the past few weeks we’ve had. There’s a chance of snow again in next week’s forecast, but hopefully it won’t impede my work trip to Stony Brook, which thanks to illness and weather I’ve already had to reschedule twice. And it also won’t impede my grumbling about how my parents managed to escape the worst of winter, leaving it all to me to enjoy.

Last night, I watched the 1977 horror movie The Sentinel, which is probably most notorious for casting genuinely deformed people as denizens of hell. That — spoiler warning — comes late in the film, and it’s just the one long scene, but however effective it might have been it’s also in very questionable taste. As for the rest of the movie…well, I call it a horror movie, since that seems like the obvious choice, but by the end of it I wasn’t entirely sure what it was I watching. There are parts that are ridiculously campy, some terrible acting — sadly, much of it from the film’s lead — and yet there are also parts that are really fairly creepy. Burgess Meredith is rather good in it, and Eli Wallach and Christopher Walken show up as a pair of detectives. But it’s such a weird movie, with such a strangely varied cast, even beyond Meredith, Wallach, and Walken. The trailer doesn’t really do it justice, and while I do think it was a terrible movie, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t enjoy it.

Then today I went to my writing group, and I penned/keyboarded this:

They found her outside the cabin, what was left of the old Wilson place out on the end of North Hadley Road, just half a mile from the edge of the woods and the county line. She had been left there overnight; the ME wouldn’t commit to a time of death, but preliminary tests suggested sometime between nine and ten the night before. That explained the rigor, Stock thought, and more importantly the dress. It had turned cold overnight, an unexpected frost that still hung in the morning air, but the girl was dressed for summer, her clothes a flimsy, gauzy white. Like an angel, Stock thought, and then quashed the thought down to the back of his mind. It wouldn’t help him any to start thinking like that again.

She had been strangled. Meyers thought they might get prints, but Stock wasn’t too hopeful. The body was too well staged, too precise, to expect that the perp had been that sloppy. The girl looked almost peaceful, if you ignored the bruises around her neck where the air had been cut off, ignored the too complete stillness of her body propped up against the oak tree. There was no sign of a struggle beyond all that, which suggested that she’d been killed somewhere else and moved, despite there being no other tracks but their own leading up this way. Meyers already had the sherrif’s men cordoning off a wider area, bagging anything that might look like evidence. Stock had just shrugged when the other man asked him if he’d had any theories.

The cabin was abandoned, half burned down in ’91, and nobody, least of all Red Wilson, had lived out here since then. Stock didn’t even know if Wilson still owned the property, which had stretched all the way to Potter County when he, Stock, had been a boy. But if he did, it wasn’t doing him much good these days, half-senile and bed-ridden like the man was reportedly supposed to be. Stock knew there were places that fall into disuse because nobody wants them, wants to be reminded of what happened there; there are places where darkness sets in, makes itself comfortable, sets up shop. The Wilson place had been well on its way to becoming one of those places even before the fire. The dead girl just made it clear the transformation was now complete.

“You recognize her?” Meyers asked, and Stock looked up.

“What?” he said. He tried keeping the surprise off his face. “Nah, why’d you ask that?”

“Dunno,” the other man said. “You just had one of your looks, is all.”

Can you tell I also watched a couple of True Detective episodes today as well?

That, more or less, was my weekend.