Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shades of "Sticks"

I've said it many times: geocaching takes me to some damn cool places, few of which I would otherwise discover on my own. Today, I ended up at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, and since it was such a gorgeous afternoon, it was filled to the brim with visitors.

This rather extensive park has a couple of nice trails, though—sadly—they've gone unmaintained for some time now. No money in the budget, alas. Still, the Hidden Hollow Trail and the Turkey Trot Trail offer some enjoyable hiking, and the former actually took me into an area that gave me the creeps. Whoa, you say. Okay, so it wasn't all that creepy, but by god, if it were in my book, I'd sure as hell make it creepy. I mean, I'm a horror writer, so making things creepy is my sworn, solemn duty. For one thing, though the rest of the park was loaded to the gills with muggles, there wasn't another living soul on the trails. Once I got out a good ways on the Hidden Hollow Trail, it essentially disappeared, no doubt due to little use and the torrential rains we've had over the past month or so. On my way to a cache called "The Grassy Knoll," I actually emerged at a grassy knoll, from which I could see an old house, a couple of shacks, and an ancient satellite dish out in a field.

If I'd heard the sound of a chainsaw, I would have expected to see Leatherface bearing down on me with malevolent glee. As it was, there was a strange silence there, bringing to mind the atmosphere of "Sticks," one of my favorite horror stories of all time, by my old friend, the late Karl Edward Wagner. Or perhaps "Pigeons From Hell," another favorite, by Robert E. Howard. At any rate, I had a wonderful afternoon out in the woods—despite coming out of there crawling with those little pinhead-sized ticks. I stopped counting at 30 as I pulled them off me and out of my clothes, and there must have been twice that many altogether.

Not necessarily scary, but pretty damned disgusting. Vile little bloodfuckers they are....

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