A pretty average day. The New York Times crossword and the writing group. I wrote this:
The man in black couldn’t sing a note, which is how Julie says you know he couldn’t be the devil. Lucifer, she tells Jack, was the angel of all music. He was also the father of all lies, Jack wants to say, but doesn’t. He has his own reasons for not believing what the townspeople have said about the man, the rumors that have started to spread, and he doesn’t need to argue the point with his sister. The devil can go get his own damn advocate.
Jack’s locked the man up, of course. As sheriff, and after what happened last night at Grady’s, how could he not? But running the man’s prints and sending his photo up to county is one thing; putting stock in what some of the survivors have claimed is another. He opened fire, that much is clear. Jack took the guns off the man himself, emptied the antique things into evidence, and saw first-hand the bloody handiwork they’d done. Eight dead, at last count, and Bill Grady himself still touch and go, a bullet busting ribcage, piercing lung, and then lodging itself in the empty wall above the bar.
That’s where Jack found it this morning, digging it out of the plaster and wood with a penknife. Not that there’ll be much call for matching ballistics, or that they’ll even be able to do it here, on site. The bullet and guns will be shipped, along with the man himself if Jack has anything to say about it, downstate. And the bullets will be a match, there’s little doubt of that in Jack’s mind. Homemade, from the look of the slug sitting bagged on his desk, and the guns themselves at least a century old. Amazing they didn’t just explode in the man’s face.
No, they’ll send the man down to county to be arraigned. If Judge Keach tries to give Jack any grief over that, he’ll just tell her some of the stories he’s been starting to hear, the crazy talk that’s sprung up in the wake of last night’s bloodbath. Blood on his hands or not, the man deserves a fair trial, and that’s not going to happen in a town that’s half-convinced he’s the devil himself.
“Have you even listened to him sing?” Julie asks. Like Jack needs this now, like he needs even more crazy, this time from his sister. “Can’t sing a note, worst I’ve ever heard. And that’s not the voice of the Morningstar.”
He really doesn’t need this. Of course Jack’s heard the man sing. It’s loud and off-key and hasn’t stopped for more than hour since last night. Nothing Jack can recognize, but that’s for the county psychiatrists to puzzle out.
The whole thing pretty clearly was influenced by this week’s Western-themed Doctor Who. (“Anachronistic electricity, keep-out signs, aggressive stares — has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?”)