‘Tell me again why you were here, Stephen,’ said Walker.
The kid’s preppy clothes were grubby, shirt cuff button missing. His knuckles were scuffed bloody, one cheek purpled by a bruise the size of an egg.
‘I said.’ Stephen sniffed, wiped his nose on his sleeve. ‘Everyone comes to Cedar Pond in the summer. We hang out.’
‘Yeah.’ Walker crossed his arms, leaned against the squad car. ‘I came here when I was your age. Swam. Smoked some blow. Were you guys smoking , Stephen?’
The kid’s head dipped, eyes on the ground.
‘Man, we used to get up to some stuff.’ Walker crouched beside the boy who winced as he took his hand. ‘Never ended up with knuckles like that though.’ He stared into the terrified eyes, then past him, across the wide glassy black of the lake. ‘My girlfriend never went missing either. Where is she? Where’s Jennifer?’
I know the trees in the picture aren’t pines, but something about the area – and the dark tales surrounding Clinton Road – reminded me of ‘In the pines’ also called ‘Where did you sleep last night?’ I was familiar with the Nirvana Unplugged version and Kurt Cobain’s screaming last chorus (always makes my hair stand on end – in a good way) but I only today listened to an early Lead Belly recording. Equally magical.