Sweet Clover

The Killers

The headlight-beams of his car kept slashing up the road ahead of them like ploughshares, seeming to cast aside its topsoil of darkness, reveal its borax-like white fill, and spill that out all over the roadway.  Then behind them the livid furrows would heal again into immediate darkness.

It seemed hours they’d been driving like this, in silence yet acutely aware of one another. Trees went by, dimly lit up from below, along their trunks, by the passing reflection of their headlight-wash, into a sort of ghostly incandescence.  Then at times there weren’t any trees, they fell back, and a plushy black evenness took their place—fields or meadows, she supposed—that smelled sweeter. Clover. It was beautiful country around here; too beautiful for anyone to be in such a hell of suffering in the midst of it.

Roads branched off at times, too, but they never took them. They kept to this wide, straight one they were on.

– Cornell Woolrich, I Married A Dead Man (1948)

One Comment

  1. Well, Woolrich was one of the greatest writers in the form, probably every bit as significant (and certainly as prolific) as Hammett, Gardner and Chandler. I remember his “Black Alibi” as the source for Val Lewton’s THE LEOPARD MAN and his novel THE BRIDE WORE BLACK was filmed by Francois Truffaut.

    As to the descriptive writing you show case here from I MARRIED A DEAD MAN this is simply magnificent.

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