Summary: Finding herself locked in a soundproof room by a madman, coed Tanner tries every means of freeing herself, causing her terrifying captor to lock her in a coffin-shaped box that offers a slim chance for escape–or eternal imprisonment.
Cover description: The boring reprint cover. There’s an actual grey-ish coffin against a dark background. A gold badge is stamped over the front with Nightmare Hall in white letters across a red ribbon over the center, The Coffin above it and Diane Hoh below it in red letters. The badge and font are designed to look worn out, scratched in places.
We open with a prologue, and a prologue in first person POV. That doesn’t usually end well for us. Bad guy POV to kick things off? I sincerely hope so.
Fingers crossed this is more fun than I’m led to believe.
[Jude: Hi guys. Jude here, commenting for the first time on a Nightmare Hall recap. I’ve owned a copy of The Coffin ever since high school when I was able to find it in a used bookstore located in Wildwood, New Jersey. Here’s the original summary:
He comes out of nowhere. He locks Tanner in a soundproof room with no way out. No contact with the outside world except for him.
And when she “misbehaves” he shuts her in a box shaped like a coffin.
No one knows she is missing. And she has only one chance to save herself.
If she fails, Tanner will be locked in the coffin… forever.
[Jude: It just happens I tried to reread The Coffin a few weeks ago, after considering asking Wing if I could recap this one myself. Well, as you can see I never even got around to asking her. I’ve been spending more time working on my original fiction, admittedly. I own pretty much all of the latter Nightmare Hall books from #19 to #29, with the exception of #22: The Vampire’s Kiss. Wing thanks for letting me squeeze a few comments in this before it went up.]
Our first person POV is often locked into a dark, narrow space, and they always feel like there’s not enough air when it happens. There’s no room to move or turn or lie down in this space, barely even room to sit down with their legs pressed to their stomach. There is no light, and there is little sound.
They’re not the only person who is put into this space, which stinks of human panic. They’ve learned not to trust anyone, not ever again.
Soon, it will be payback time, as soon as they get out of this coffin.
Well damn, this kicks off with an actual murder in chapter one! I’m already coming around to this book. Our victim is Maeve, a broad, solid woman with graying hair and bright clothing who loves to sing as loud as she can even though she can’t carry a tune.
She’s cleaning her sink, singing along with a country song, and doesn’t hear someone creep in through the back door, doesn’t notice the danger coming for her until someone strangles her from behind. The killer then drags her away to hide the body.
This is a strong start to the book! Actual deaths are always a bonus around here, of course, but even more than that, the tension in this chapter is great. We get a good feel for Maeve in only a few pages, and her death feels like a true loss even though we barely know her. She’s bright and loud and larger than life. She loves life, she sings loudly even if she’s terrible at it, she wears wild patterns because they make her happy, she takes the time to marvel at the hummingbirds outside her window — she feels like a real person. We can do nothing to save her while she lives her life, enjoys her morning, and all we can do is watch death come for her.
In the kitchen, a soft, smooth voice on the radio sang seductively about a lovers’ tryst on a stormy summer night.
But this time, the voice sang alone.
The off-key but enthusiastic voice of middle-aged woman who loved bright colors and bangle bracelets and hoop earrings and hummingbirds and who had never in her life deliberately hurt another human being, had been silenced.
Fuck, I love this chapter ending.
(I’m ignoring the fact that this is really two prologues in a row, and the second one is much, much better than the first.)
Over to the main storyline! Tanner Leo is our main character. Her father is headed to Hawaii, leaving her alone in their house, and her friends really want her to throw a party. Especially Sandy Trotter.
Sandy immediately fucks up when she teases Tanner about her father abandoning her. Not funny because he really did abandon his wife and daughter when Tanner was eight.
Jodie Lawson, Tanner’s best friend, calls Sandy on it, but Sandy doesn’t really see the point.
(Jodie’s real name is Joellen, which I keep reading as Jolene, and now I have several different covers in my head.
Here’s my fave: Jolene But It’s Gay.
Everything’s better with queer girls. And werewolves. Obviously.)
Her father’s only been gone an hour, and Sandy is determined that the party will start immediately, even though Tanner’s not really ready for that. Charlie Cochran backs her up, and she’s grateful he’s always there when she needs him.
Tanner isn’t really comfortable around her father, and his obsessive personality looms over her even now that he’s gone. She only moved to live with him in Twin Falls in order to get a free education. He’s a psychiatrist, sees private patients, and teaches at Salem University.
Her mother also encouraged her to go live with her dad for awhile so she could pop “off to the Orient for a much-needed and well-deserved vacation.”
The fucking Orient? Jesus.
Also, we have not one but TWO parents fucking off somewhere else and neither location is in Europe. I’m amazed!
…the fucking Orient. Goddamn, Hoh.
With Dr Leo off to Hawaii, Tanner will live alone for awhile but for Silly, the housekeeper, who is around during the day.
The house itself is lovely, but living with Dr Leo is horrible, and Tanner has been looking forward to a break.
(Dr Leo sounds terrible, only caring about her grades, not speaking at dinner, demanding things be exactly as he wants them all the time, but one of Tanner’s examples is that he wants the trillions of books in his library organized in alphabetical order by author. Tanner, there is not a goddamn thing wrong with that. Don’t make me stop adoring you.)
Tanner can’t wait to mess up the house now that he’s gone, but she refuses to go near the music room, and wants to go so far as to lock it and give Silly the key until Dr Leo returns.
Even Tanner admits it’s a beautiful room, turquoise wall-to-wall carpeting, antique furniture, stone fireplace, rare musical manuscripts carefully preserved, and all sorts of instruments: grand piano, saxophone, violin, cello, trumpet, and xylophone. Dr Leo, of course, plays all of them very well. Tanner, meanwhile, only plays violin. He’s furious that she didn’t take more lessons, but he also didn’t pay enough in child support for them to be able to afford it.
Look, as much as you checked out as a father, I’m surprised they managed violin lessons in the first place.
(Wing’s take on those instruments: used to play the piano very well, could play around with the saxophone because I played the clarinet, struggle a lot with the violin but inherited my mother’s, never tried the cello, cannot manage the embouchure required for a trumpet believe me I tried, and managed well enough at the xylophone.)
[Jude’s take on those instruments: Besides a recorder in elementary school, I’ve never gone near another instrument and probably have no musical capability. That said, Leo’s music room makes me think of the conservatory from Luigi’s Mansion.]
[Wing: Oh, right, the recorder! We started on that for a bit in elementary school. I loved it. Excellent Luigi’s Mansion reference.]
Tanner loves playing in the Salem University orchestra but refuses to go into the music room. Why? As yet unclear. Has he locked her in there? Is it haunted? Who knows.
Vince Kirk comes to join them. Vince and Dr Leo don’t get along; Dr Leo gave Vince his first F in a psych 101 class, and Vince holds a grudge.
His roommate, Philip Zanuck, follows right after him. He helped Tanner a lot when she first came to campus, showed her around, was super friendly. She might have dated him if she hadn’t met Charlie so quickly.
(Aside, I really enjoy all these names. Tanner is my favorite, but Zanuck is also great, and Vince Kirk works well together.)
Apparently all of campus is talking about the party Tanner is sure to throw now that Dr Leo is out of the picture. No one seems to like Dr Leo because he’s rude to everyone. Still, how the fuck big is this school? How is everyone gossiping about this one girl and her potential party?
Sloane Currier soon interrupts their party planning, and promises his newest cds if they invite him. Tanner’s not a fan. He’s too rich and too much a show-off. Jodie thinks he’s overcompensating because he’s a bad student, but Tanner’s cutting him no slack. As she shouldn’t! He sounds like a conceited dick, and I’m with Tanner.
She’s particularly annoyed when Sloane starts bad-mouthing Dr Leo. Tanner may complain about him, but she lives with him and he’s her father. Everyone else better step the fuck off.
…again, I’m with Tanner here, even for family members I don’t like. (Dove’s not around right now to comment on this, so I’ll say that it’s different when it comes to abusive familial relationships. No loyalty deserved there at all. [Jude: Agreed, Wing. Hard fucking agreed. On both accounts.].)
Tanner tells them all that she’ll have a party when she’s damn good and ready and takes off with Charlie, headed first to the library to do some research and then home to mess it up a little.
She loves Salem, but every time she walks across campus, she longs to live in one of the dorms, where they are messy and loud and friendly and filled with energy. They’re chaotic and wonderful, just like her life with her mother, and she misses that sort of noise around her.
Damn, Tanner, I feel for you, and I kind of adore you right now. We’re only 9% into the book, but Hoh, so far I’m real impressed. (But for that “the Orient” thing, wtf.)
She’s never nervous walking across campus even at night, even though she’s heard the stories about things happening around campus, about Nightmare Hall.
[Jude: Ah Graveyard Hill-I MEAN, Nightmare Hall. What is your fucking deal. Are you the reason Salem University is Murder U or not?] [Wing: We do not get nearly enough Nightmare Hall murders and monsters for a series named Nightmare Hall.]
The house is empty when she gets home, even though Silly normally stays a little later on Tuesdays. Tanner’s surprised by how lonely she feels. She’s still glad her father’s gone, but she wishes Silly was around, Silly didn’t wait for them to gossip and hang out.
… Tanner, she’s your father’s housekeeper. She’s not there to be your friend. I think you might be expecting a lot of her.
For that matter, why the fuck does Dr Leo need a daily housekeeper? Even with just the two of them there, surely they don’t need Silly to clean the entire house every day? She does cook for them, but still. It’s weird.
[Jude: With how meticulous and obsessed with order Dr. Leo is said to be, I’m not surprised he would hire someone to keep his house spotless every day while he’s at work. I’m surprised I’ve never imagined him looking like Tony Shaloub when I’ve reread this book. Either that or he’s a rich, entitled asshole who thinks he’s too good to clean his own house.]
Tanner really looks up to Silly, thinks she’s incredibly brave. Her husband died long ago, her two children are embarrassed that she’s a housekeeper and don’t speak to her very often. Silly swears she has a happy life with her church and her friends, but Tanner wonders if she’s not lonely sometimes.
She decides to ask Silly if she’ll stay a night or two so the house won’t be so quiet. When she goes to get Silly’s number off the bulletin board by the fridge, she sees that a quarter of a beautiful chocolate layer cake is missing.
Strange, because Silly doesn’t eat sweets. They hurt her teeth.
There’s a note, but all it says is: Ice cream in freezer. Help yourself. Mavis.
It’s a weird note, Tanner thinks. Nothing about dinner, nothing about leaving early, nothing about celebrating their freedom like they’ve been talking about for so long. Finally, Tanner never calls Silly Mavis, and she thinks that signing it that way is strange.
I’m unsure if the last one is actually weird or not. If she goes by Silly all the time with almost everyone, then sure, it would make sense for her to sign her nickname. She may just sign with Mavis no matter what.
Tanner decides that Silly must have decided it was worth it to have the cake, immediately had teeth issue, and rushed off to the dentist before he left for the day.
Logical enough, except that Tanner doesn’t find a prepared dinner in the fridge. She doesn’t mind cooking for herself, she took care of a lot of things when she lived with her flighty, fun mother, but it’s weird that Silly didn’t make something. It was very unlike her.
[Jude: With Tanner’s father being so uptight and unpleasant, and her mother being considered flighty, than I’m also not surprised Tanner would try to bond with an adult figure who is nurturing, responsible, but also fun.]
She decides that she’ll spend hours on the phone that night, talking to Charlie, Jodie, and Sandy. If she lived in a dorm, she wouldn’t be so lonely and uncomfortable, and she wouldn’t need to be on the phone all the time, but here she is.
And then she trips over Silly’s purse.
This is harder to logic away. Tanner calls Silly at home, but there’s not an answer. Finds the dentist’s number in her purse, but Silly hasn’t been to the dentist that day, and in fact hasn’t been in for her annual checkup.
Tanner tries to convince herself that Silly met up with some friends and isn’t worried about not having her purse, even though that’s a real stretch. She doesn’t consider calling the police or anything, which I find a little odd. She’s a white woman (I’m pretty sure) in an affluent neighborhood. I can see her jumping to that right away.
Though, she did grow up with a flighty mother, so maybe she’s leery about bringing in authority figures. And I think calling the cops is often a bad idea most of the time anyway.
Still, it’s weird to me that she doesn’t consider calling anyone else.
After she finishes her sandwich, she hears a sound like the front door closing. She checks the security camera feed (every room has those screens except her bedroom, which I’m sure will not at all become important later), but the yard is empty.
Instead of going to look, she goes back to cleaning up from dinner. Then she hears someone bumping into something, maybe the small phone table in the hall, and starts to worry that she didn’t lock the front door.
She calls out for Silly, someone tells her that they’re not silly and knocks her out.
Tanner wakes up to pure and utter silence. She’s annoyed, suddenly, that Silly isn’t there when she needs her. Rude, Tanner. She’s probably in danger herself, and also, you’re a grown ass adult, she’s not paid to baby-sit you.
That annoyance carries her all the way conscious again, and she finds herself in the music room, which is completely soundproof. And she’s not alone.
A man sits opposite her, lounging on a sofa. He wears a green plaid flannel shirt and wrinkled and stained khaki pants. She can’t see his face because it’s hidden behind a grotesque Halloween mask of an old man.
She’s furious that he’s cowardly enough to hide behind a mask. She struggles trying to figure out what to do. She’s never considered how she’d react to someone breaking into her home.
He orders her to ignore the ringing phone and relax. He’ll tell her when she can talk.
She hates the room enough that she can’t stay silent even for fear of angering him, and demands he take what he wants and let her out of the room.
Except he’s not there to take anything, at least not instruments and manuscripts.
This throws her, because if he’s not there to steal anything, why is he there. He tells her that she’s not going anywhere, she’s going to live in the music room, which isn’t such a bad room. He’s seen much worse. He’s locked her in it, he’ll bring her food sometimes, when he feels like it, but this is where she’ll live now.
No mention of, say, a bathroom, though.
She tells him that her father doesn’t have enough money to pay any ransom (…which I actually doubt), but he tells her she’s not worth anything, all he wants is satisfaction.
[Jude: With how tightfisted Leo seems to be, I’ll bet Tanner expects even he wouldn’t pay a ransom for his own kid.]
He’s going to leave her alone and maybe he’ll remember to bring her food. She swears her friends will find her, which even if you believe that is maybe not something you want to point out to your kidnapper.
But lo, he’s thought of that and forces her to write that she’s going to join her mother “in the Orient.” (Fucking hell, Hoh.) She’ll send postcards and see them next fall.
Tanner swears that they won’t believe that note, and again I say, if you think that, DON’T TELL YOUR KIDNAPPER.
He thinks they will believe it but even if they don’t, the note is in her handwriting, the police won’t believe there’s a problem, and no one knows how to get ahold of her mother to confirm the story.
She then decides that Silly will save her when she comes to clean in the morning, but as if he can read her mind, he tells her that Silly had a little accident and won’t be in for awhile.
Shocking, Tanner. Silly left when she normally wouldn’t, wrote a strange note, and for some reason left her purse behind, and yet you convinced yourself all was in order.
Charlie calls Jodie and Sandy looking for Tanner because she hasn’t answered the phone all evening. Sandy blows off Charlie’s worry, but Jodie is more understanding. Sandy doesn’t want to get dressed again to go out, tells Jodie that Tanner’s always okay in the end, and goes to bed.
Over with Charlie and his uneasiness, even though he doesn’t usually feel uneasy. He grew up with four brothers and knows how to handle whatever happens. Tanner constantly shakes his sturdy self, though. He loves her in ways he’s never loved anyone before, and he doesn’t even want to try to sleep without talking to her, not when he’s so worried about her.
Left alone in the music room, Tanner tries to figure out why her father is being targeted, who the intruder is, and how she ended up here like this when her day was previously so good.
She worries about Silly, too, and is determined to escape the room in order to check on Silly and make sure she’s okay.
The weight of the situation keeps sinking in on her. She can’t go get food when she wants, can’t go wash her face or brush her teeth when she wants (or piss! or shit! Lean into it, Hoh, if you’re going to mention the bathroom at all), can’t get socks for her cold feet. She’s trapped, and she has no control.
Hope hits her when she sees Charlie rushing up to the house. Of course, she can’t get his attention from the soundproof room, and as she watches, he finds and reads the note the intruder made her write.
He reads it over and over, until she’s certain he’ll know she didn’t really write it, but then he leaves.
Tanner collapses and cries for awhile, but refuses to let the intruder see her like that if she can at all help it. She cleans up as best she can in the small powder room, which has at least a sink and possibly a toilet too, though it doesn’t say. Perhaps Hoh anticipated my ranting. Excellent work, if so.
She tries to sleep away the rest of the night, but she can only doze fitfully. Near sunrise, the intruder comes back to visit. He brings in wooden boards and a tool kit. She can’t figure out what he’s making, but the boards are taller than he is, too long to use for a fire.
He is, of course, making a coffin. Tanner doesn’t figure that out quite as fast as readers do, but then again, she doesn’t know the title of the book.
It takes him a few hours, and Silly doesn’t show up during it at all. Tanner worries that maybe he was right and Silly really did have an accident. Maybe she burned her arm on the oven, slipped on a wet floor, cut her hand … Tanner. TANNER.
[Jude: It’s amazing, all the little lies we’ll try to tell ourselves when things are horribly, horribly wrong.]
He knocked you out by hitting you on the back of the head. You’re already worried that Silly will show up while he has the hammer because he wouldn’t hesitate to hurt her. He didn’t watch the house and see Silly’s convenient accident.
He fucking did it! You’re smarter than this!
Once the coffin is done, he tells her it’s her time out booth. If she does what he says, she’ll be fine, but if she causes any trouble at all, she’ll be disciplined and go into the coffin.
She snaps at him that she’ll never go inside it and he can’t make her and, of course, he promptly shoves her straight into it.
I can’t actually blame you, fear and anger and exhaustion and hunger can lead to a lack of control, but mouthing off to him is a really bad idea and you knew that about twenty seconds ago. Honey. I worry about your chances for survival.
Meanwhile, Charlie hasn’t slept all night, too worried about Tanner and too confused by the note he found. He knows it’s her handwriting, but he can’t believe she wrote this, can’t believe she would be afraid of staying alone when she’d been so happy for it before and has never been afraid of anything, and can’t believe that she would take off like this.
Tanner loves Salem and college and campus. There’s no way she would leave it.
And she certainly wouldn’t leave without telling him goodbye.
Jodie agrees that Tanner would never do this when Charlie takes her the note. Sandy says it’s possible Tanner did end up afraid because the house is big and the housekeeper doesn’t spend the night.
Charlie realizes that Silly will be able to tell them what’s going on, but he doesn’t know her real name to find her, only that Tanner calls her Silly. He tries to track it down, but it’s too early to get ahold of college administration, who apparently hires the staff for the professors.
That makes very little fucking sense.
While they wait for the admin office to open, they meet up with Philip and Vince. Vince isn’t as convinced that she didn’t write it. She hated living with her father and everyone knew it, so this would be the perfect chance to run away without him trying to stop her.
Not that he necessarily would try to stop her, Jodie points out.
They argue a little, but Charlie puts his foot down. There’s no way she was leaving, and they have to figure out what’s really going on.
Vince does know Tanner’s housekeeper, though, because one of Silly’s friends, Sunshine Mooney (holy shit, that name, I love it), is the housemother of Vince’s girlfriend’s sorority house.
[Jude: The name makes me think of this song.]
Of course, Silly doesn’t answer the phone when Charlie calls. From a pay phone. Oh the nostalgia. [Jude: BECAUSE IT WAS THE 90S, YOU SEE!]
Next the whole group of them head to Tanner’s house, but no one answers the door there, either, and they can’t see anything when they look in each window they can reach.
Tanner’s still inside the brand-new coffin, terrified and desperate. She struggles to breathe, the smell of fresh-cut wood gives her a headache, and she can barely move.
She tries to convince herself this is only a terrible nightmare. She must have sat down on her bed for a moment while she was looking for Silly and accidentally fallen asleep. It’s a horrible, creepy, awful nightmare, but it isn’t real, and she’ll wake up and be fine!
Before she can wake herself up, the bad guy returns and rambles about how effective a coffin is for disciplining wayward youth. A soft word from society for wild, unruly creatures, he says. As if they’re going the wrong direction. As if the people in charge know the right direction.
They don’t. He’s certain of that.
He calls the coffin The Booth and tells her that if other people were in the house, they’d kick it and yell things so the person inside can never get any sleep even though that’s the only way to make time pass faster.
He lets her out of The Booth, tells her he can call her Sigmund. Her mother used to call her father that when she was annoyed. Tanner asks if he means Freud; he says simply Sigmund and takes her to the kitchen.
She has four minutes to eat a bowl of ice cream and to serve him one, too. Though she’s incredibly hungry, the chance for escape immediately becomes far more important than food, and Tanner starts trying to figure a way out.
He tells her it’s her favorite ice cream, strawberry ripple, and that makes Tanner feel even more uneasy, because how does he know? When she asks, he stutters a little but tells her that he saw the note Silly left and checked the freezer. Curiosity, you know.
Except Tanner took the note with her after she read it, so … how does he know?
She finally realizes that Silly didn’t write the goddamn note. She never would have signed it Mavis, as Tanner flat out thought before. He didn’t come into the house after Tanner got home. He was there earlier. He might have been there the entire time.
Tanner then asks him how he knows strawberry ripple is her favorite. He says he didn’t, Silly bought it, he just looked into the freezer, but Tanner knows that’s not true. Silly didn’t write the note, therefore Silly didn’t buy the ice cream.
(Honestly, a bit of a stretch there, but I’ll roll with it.)
He wrote the note and he bought the ice cream. He was trying to get her to go to the freezer on the back porch.
She asks him if he saw Silly the day before, if she was sick or something because she didn’t show up today.
He told you that she had an “accident,” and you know he was in the house before you were. Please connect the fucking dots. I like you so damn much as a character, but this feels needlessly obtuse.
Anxiety swamps her, and she doesn’t want to go anywhere near the porch. Sigmund won’t let her refuse, though, and she, of course, finds Silly in the freezer, though Tanner puts up a damn good fight. Refuses to open it, refuses to get closer, makes him work for the torture he wants to do to her.
Even though she knows almost immediately that arguing is a bad idea. Even though The Booth looms.
She sees Silly, and she faints.
Jody and Charlie are the only ones who want to go to the police. No one else sees any point to it. There’s a note, Tanner signed it herself, they all recognize her handwriting, the police won’t do a damn thing.
They probably aren’t wrong, to be honest.
Charlie decides he won’t show them the note. It’s not evidence until they know there’s a crime, after all. I like your determination and skewed logic, kid.
Sloane suggests that Dr Leo actually ordered her to come to Hawaii when he had second thoughts about leaving her alone in the house, but she was too embarrassed for her friends to know that she followed his orders and so she lied in her note.
Which is the biggest, convoluted load of bullshit yet.
Sloane has it in for Dr Leo, because Dr Leo once reported him for cheating. Only his rich alumnus daddy kept him from being expelled.
Fucking rich men get away with everything. [Jude: I’d say Eat The Rich but they probably taste awful. Make the Rich eat each other.]
When Charlie and Jodie talk to campus security, the officer tells them that they can’t do anything for seventy-two hours.
Two things here: One, hasn’t that been shown to be a fiction-only restriction? Two, why the fuck did you go to the campus police? If you’re going to involve law enforcement at all, the campus police are the last people I’d go to about a missing person. They tend to not be able to do anything about anything!
Even Jodie abandons Charlie to go to class, but he is determined to keep looking. He decides that Tanner would not have left without calling him first and therefore she must still be in the house. If she’s in the house and she isn’t answering the doorbell, there’s a reason. Maybe she fell asleep in the soundproof music room. Even though she hates that room, so why would she spend the night? Maybe to prove to herself she could. Charlie thinks that’s very like Tanner.
I really like what we’ve seen of Tanner and Charlie’s relationship. They seem to know each other well, and Charlie is utterly determined to make sure she’s okay. In other books, including some of Hoh’s other books, this could come across as stalkerish and creepy, but it doesn’t feel like that to me, not here.
There’s something to the writing, the fairly solid characterization of Tanner in a short amount of time, the way their relationship is presented, that makes it work for me.
…yes, I’m braced for Charlie to somehow be involved in this mess and his point of view sections a flat-out lie, but that’s really more of a Stine thing to do than Hoh, or at least that’s the impression I remember having. [Jude: Charlie is really Tanner’s split personality! No wait I’m thinking of FEAR Hall-HOLY SHIT WHY DID I NEVER CONCEIVE OF A FEAR HALL/NIGHTMARE HALL CROSSOVER UNTIL THIS VERY MOMENT WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME, WING?]
Before Charlie can reach Tanner’s house, a motorcycle hops onto the sidewalk and sideswipes him into a fence, leaving him barely conscious and with a broken arm.
Nice. This is an excellent way to have Charlie be sincerely worried about her and determined to find her and also be taken out of the story so that he doesn’t rescue Tanner too soon and doesn’t end up dead like Silly.
And of course Sigmund is on top of things like this, ready to do a hit and run. Of course.
So far, about halfway into it, I like this book a lot.
Tanner wakes back in the music room, alone again. She can’t remember what happened between standing in the kitchen and waking up on the couch.
While she ponders this missing time, she sees action in the surveillance camera over the front yard. There’s an ambulance, a police car, and a crowd of people gathered at the picket fence, and a section of the fence is missing.
She watches it for a moment, shaken and not thinking straight, then realizes that people outside means she needs to be trying to get their attention. Somehow. It’s daytime, so she can’t turn a lamp off and on to get attention. No one can hear anything. The windows are too tall for her to pound on or move around in front of.
But she can throw a lamp. They are small but heavy brass. She throws the first one, but it doesn’t break the window. When it hits the floor, the bulb breaks, spreading splinters of glass across the carpet.
Next she tries a heavy crystal candy dish. There’s a cracking sound when it hits the window, but the window still doesn’t break, and the dish cracks into four even chunks when it hits the floor.
Also, I’m damn impressed that she’s managed to hit the window so solidly while throwing heavy things. The windows are very high from the floor, and she’s malnourished and weak and scared. And a complete badass, apparently.
She notices that she knows some of the people in the crowd outside. Her friends. But no Charlie.
Seeing her friends right there but so far away drives her wild, so she screams and jumps, but it, of course, does nothing.
Then she figures out that Charlie is the one who was hit.
Her screams don’t bring her any more attention, nor does her frantically pounding on the front wall. All she manages to do is cut her feet on the broken class. She leaves blood across the carpet when she finally retreats into the middle of the room.
Charlie’s hurt, her friends are gone, her feet are wounded, and she’s trapped all alone.
Turns out, Charlie’s injuries aren’t that bad: clean fracture in his arms, cuts and bruises. Still, he has to spend the night in the infirmary so they can watch for signs of concussion or other hidden injuries.
He knows there’s something he needs to tell his friends, but he’s groggy from the medication. Tells them he was on the sidewalk and there was a motorcycle and Tanner — and then he passes out.
Philip doesn’t believe him at first, but the campus cop confirms it. All the marks are on the sidewalk, not on the road. The bike came right up after him.
Jodie is now certain that something’s wrong with Tanner. Why else would Charlie have been deliberately run down? He was snooping and now he’s been (temporarily) stopped.
Sandy doesn’t believe, or doesn’t want to believe, that Charlie was run over on purpose. Jodie gets real sarcastic over the likelihood that this is all a coincidence, and, honestly, I don’t blame her. She’s already worried about Tanner and now this?
[Jude: Sandy you really need to get the fuck over yourself at this point.]
Yes, I know correlation isn’t causation, but I’d still be skeptical over what’s happening. I know my people and who would and would not randomly take off without a word, and if one of the ones disappeared who wouldn’t, I’d be worried, too, no matter what anyone else was telling me.
Jodie tries to cut Sandy some slack. Sandy’s anxious all the time, sometimes even has to take medication so she can concentrate, and she hates to think that something bad is actually happening.
Vince suggests they contact Tanner’s dad. That way they’ll have good news when Charlie wakes up again.
And the admin office actually gives them Dr Leo’s number in Hawaii. Damn, there’s some lack of respect for privacy up in here.
They have to use Sloane’s credit card to make the call, but Dr Leo isn’t in his hotel. He’s not even on the island where he’s staying, he’s off on another island, and he won’t be back until the next day.
Island hopping is a thing, but damn, that’s mighty convenient.
Jodie thinks that Charlie had a plan. He was going to fake a break-in at the house so the police would check it out. Jodie thinks that’s a great idea, and they should do it immediately. The police will investigate then, and that’s the only way they’ll get the cops to do anything before the 72 hours are up.
Sandy warns her that she’ll get caught and arrested and thrown out of school at the very least and quite likely put in jail. Jodie is determined, though. If she gets caught, she’ll throw herself on their mercy and tell them she’s worried sick about Tanner. Surely they’ll cut her some slack.
Oh, Jodie, you’re lucky you’re a white girl.
Sloane then warns her that if she’s right and Charlie was run over because he was investigating, she’s in danger too.
Easy fix for that: they should all come with her. Safety in numbers.
Sandy refuses immediately, unsurprisingly. Vince wants to let the police handle it even though, as Jodie points out, they’re not actually doing a damn thing.
She’s near tears, worried and furious, and storms away, snapping that she’s going to class. And her friends are fucking idiots because they actually fucking believe her.
Tanner has no idea how long she’s been trapped in the music room. She feels like a mess, sweaty and dirty, eyes swollen from crying, feet aching and streaked with blood. She wants a bath, and clean clothes, and Charlie, and her friends.
She’s terrified that Charlie was badly hurt, maybe even killed. She wishes she’d been in the music room when it happened. She might have seen the entire thing then. But she had been in the kitchen, or if she’d been in the music room, it was while she was unconscious.
She still can’t remember what she was doing in the kitchen, why Sigmund had let her out of the music room. She’s terribly hungry, so she couldn’t have eaten (though, it’s been long enough you could be hungry again, honey), but why else would she have been in the kitchen. Why can’t she remember. It haunts her.
When she thinks about it hard enough, she remembers seeing the bright, colorful pattern, something she recognized from one of Silly’s outfit.
Then immediately wishes she hadn’t remembered, because she saw Silly’s plump, freckled wrist in the freezer. Tanner sobs and mourns and is horrified and terrified and trapped.
Sigmund is capable of killing, and he’s coming back.
And this isn’t random. Sigmund knows her father. If his anger is at Dr Leo, it’s even less fair that Silly, Tanner, and now even Charlie have been caught in the crossfire.
Anger comes for her next. She works herself into a rage when Sigmund comes into the room.
She confronts him immediately. Calls him insane, the craziest patient her father ever had.
This infuriates him, calls her a liar, swears he’s not crazy and he never was. She’s just like her father, lying about him.
She tells him if he wants to prove himself sane, he’ll let her go. He can’t do that, though, not until her dad knows what’s going on. He doesn’t want money, he wants satisfaction, wants Dr Leo to know that he’s in control instead of Dr Leo being in control. Dr Leo said he needed someone else to control him, sent him to be controlled, and now Sigmund is trying to prove him wrong.
… not doing such a great job of it, dude.
Tanner tells him this, too, that all he’s doing is proving her father right.
She decides to try to humor him, but before she can really get into it, he notices the mess she made with the glass and the blood. Tanner thinks he looks and sounds just like her father, enough that it’s creepy.
He promptly throws her inside the Booth, and tells her that it’s for her own good. There are rules for a reason, and she has to follow them like everyone else. If she takes her punishment like a man, her character will be better for it.
Tanner doesn’t figure it out until later, but he’s clearly parroting something other people have told him, and probably many a time.
She listens to him clean up the room, thinks about what he said. Figures out that it sounds like something someone would say at a private school or a summer camp or a mental hospital. She knows of institutions like that, ones which might us something like the Booth for difficult cases.
Yes, because torture is by far the best way to treat people with mental illness, you motherfuckers.
He lets her out after not too long, a couple hours at most, but she’s subdued. Even that little amount of time in there makes her worry she’ll lose her mind because of the terror and horror of being trapped in such a dark, tight place.
Still, when he tells her that if she breaks another rule, she’s going back in, she sullenly mutters that she doesn’t even know the rules.
No throwing stuff at the windows.
… that’s it?
I suppose a broader one can be extrapolated, don’t make any mess, but you’d think he’d have a far stricter, more detailed list, considering everything else he’s said and done.
He goes to make her a sandwich, leaves her free of the Booth when he does.
While he’s gone, she sees a figure stealthily creeping up to the house. Jodie, because of course she didn’t believe the note. But Charlie didn’t, either, and got hurt for it.
Now she’s worried about Jodie, but also knows that Jodie is smart and clever, more than the rest of them.
But why is she alone? Why aren’t their friends with her? Their friends would never have let her go alone.
Tanner, honey, but for Charlie and Jodie, you need some better fucking friends.
Sigmund returns with a very plain sandwich, and she is determined not to look up at the screen and give anything away. He tells her to hurry, he doesn’t want to stay too long, people notice and start asking questions.
To which Tanner promptly starts asking questions. Not nearly as subdued as she acted before. I’d say she’s trying to distract him from whatever Jodie is doing, but that’s not really what it looks like or even needed.
She asks why he’s wearing the ugly mask. It’s not like he could possibly be someone she knows. He snarks that maybe he doesn’t want her describing him to a police artist. That gives her hope that he’ll let her live after all, but then he says maybe she does know him. She needs to eat, he’s late already.
Late for what, she wonders, but knows better to ask.
He says he’ll leave her out of the Booth while he’s gone, but if she moves a single thing, she’ll be in there the rest of the night. She tells him she’s just going to get some sleep, but then glances at the screen.
I’d call her an idiot, but it is really fucking difficult to intentionally not look at something. The moment you think that you shouldn’t, it suddenly becomes a huge deal and all you want to do is stare.
She can’t tell if he noticed or not. He acts like he hasn’t, but who knows.
The second he’s out of the room, she checks the screen. Jodie’s still out there, and Tanner is relieved. Except then the back door is unlocked and Jodie easily walks in. She thinks maybe Sigmund didn’t notice and it’s been unlocked this entire time.
She doesn’t think what I would immediately think, which is that he did notice Jodie, unlocked the back door to put her off guard, and is lying in wait.
Tanner tries to get Jodie’s attention, but her feet are too cut up to kick the door and her hands are too swollen to hit it hard. Still, after a long time, someone slips a piece of paper under the door. It’s in Jodie’s handwriting and it asks if Tanner is in there.
Tanner is thrilled. She’s going to be saved.
Uh huh. Because there’s certainly not a killer around with a history of forcing someone to write a note and then hurting them or killing them.
Over to Jodie in the backyard, before she came inside. She hid behind a tree until she heard someone leave the house through the side door by the driveway. She sees enough of the figure to know it isn’t Tanner or her father.
She plans to break a window if all the doors are locked, but the back door isn’t. She’s surprised, but it’s just another sign that Tanner didn’t run off to either parent. She never would have left a door open.
Nothing looks out of place in the back porch or the kitchen, except for a little bit of fabric hanging from the freezer, and she starts to wonder if maybe Tanner is just sick, too sick to even call a doctor.
She goes upstairs to check Tanner’s room, but it is empty, the bed neatly made, and Jodie starts to finally believe that maybe the note isn’t a joke.
Though no, it can’t be. Tanner absolutely would not have left without saying something. She thinks to check the clothes, and finds nothing missing. If Tanner left, she took nothing with her.
Charlie was right. Jodie was right. Something’s wrong.
Downstairs, Jodie hears the faintest sound and traces it to the music room. She knows Tanner hates it, and why, and that if you were trapped inside, someone outside the room probably wouldn’t be able to hear you.
Honestly, I’m surprised she heard as much as she did.
She slips the note under the door, and we’re back to where we were.
Tanner struggles to find anything to write with or write on. Erm, why not make a mark on the note Jodie just fucking slipped to you? The hell is this, Hoh? There’s nothing logical about her not using the same damn paper.
Finally she pushes a piece of paper towel through, and Jodie is absolutely thrilled to have found her.
If they both press against the door, they can just barely hear each other speak. Tanner tells Jodie that some guy has the key. Jodie frantically starts looking for another key, but there’s not some easy key rack to search.
(We don’t have one key rack, either. Ostrich has a spot where he keeps his keys, and I have a spot where I keep my keys, but they’re not together, and they’re not easily organized.
When she doesn’t find a key, Jodie starts looking for a hammer and a screwdriver or putty knife, something to help her break into the music room.
And then someone turns up behind her.
Tanner realizes something is wrong when Jodie never comes back. She screams and sobs, until she hears the key in the lock, then she hurries to hide the tape dispenser and heavy metal ruler in the Booth and settles on the couch, trying to look calm.
Sigmund is furious when he storms into the room. Demands to know how she managed to contact Jodie. She promises that she didn’t, begs to know what he did with her. He refuses to believe that she didn’t do anything, tells her that she’s just like everyone else, unwilling to accept responsibility for her own actions. There are consequences, she has to learn them, and he’s going to teach her that.
She begs for him not to put her back in the Booth, fights him with all she’s worth, but he locks her inside, tells her that he’s going to leave her there all night.
At first she despairs, but then thinks that Jodie would tell her to get up off her ass and start trying to help herself. She’s worried about what Sigmund will do if he catches her, but then decides that he’s going to kill her anything, she has nothing to lose.
Despite the pain in her abused hands and feet, she works to remove the nails using the ruler. It takes her two hours to remove two nails, and she starts to feel completely overwhelmed again.
She rages and screams and eventually slumps to the bottom of the Booth and falls asleep.
Charlie’s not asleep over in his hospital room. Instead, he’s trying to get ahold of Dr Leo. He gets nowhere, of course, and only ends up getting himself in trouble with the nurse because he’s not following doctor’s orders.
Sandy calls him to see if he knows where Jodie is. She’s worried, because they talked Jodie out of visiting Tanner’s house but no one has seen her since.
You really fucking believed that she gave up on her big plan? You fucking fools.
Charlie tells her she needs to find Jodie. They don’t need another person going missing.
Charlie tries to leave the hospital, but the nurse says he can’t, under doctor’s orders, and gives him a shot to put him back to sleep.
He tells her to go to the police, but she won’t because it hasn’t been 72 hours yet. She won’t go check at Tanner’s house, either. No way Jodie would go there alone.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
Do you know your fucking friends at all?
God, Sandy is a shitty, shitty friend. I understand that she has anxiety, but holy shit, what the fuck is wrong with you?
She whines that she feels sick, like she’s coming down with a cold, but she’ll call around to all of Jodie’s friends and then the police if she can’t track her down.
Charlie tries to stay awake, but he can’t, the medication drags him down. Tanner and Jodie are in trouble and no one, not even their so-called friend Sandy, is going to do anything about it.
He apologizes to Tanner as the meds drag him down.
Tanner wakes up and forces herself to go back to work trying to escape even though she’s exhausted. She’s even more tired of being afraid.
She’s only a dozen nails in before she hears the door to the music room open. She doesn’t think Sigmund will notice the work she’s done.
Tanner wants to walk around to get her blood moving again, but her feet hurt too much and she can only sit on the sofa. She asks about Jodie, and he tells her that if she’s not okay, there’s nothing Tanner can do, and if she is okay, she doesn’t need Tanner worrying about her, so she’d better just shut up.
Tanner’s feet don’t look good. The cuts are puffy and red, yellow liquid oozing out of them. [Jude: This is one of the few parts I clearly remembered all these years, the description of Tanner’s wounds being infected and gross.] [Wing: Understandably! It’s a visceral description.] Infected, she tells Sigmund, and asks for first aid supplies.
He tells her that it’s her fault she’s injured. They argue over how he’s treating her, and he says he’ll bring her food, at least. He brings her a peanut butter sandwich and a wet paper towel to clean her feet. She does the best she can, but it’s not nearly enough.
She picks at him, and he tells her a little about his treatment. He had trouble adjusting to Salem, a school counselor sent him to Dr Leo, and Dr Leo shipped him off to a residential treatment center.
Tanner tells him that she doesn’t much like her father but he is good at what he does, and he seems to have been right about Sigmund. He’s gotten violent and her father probably knew he would.
She shouts in his face, he says he wants to kill her, but he can’t, not yet. He hasn’t reached Dr Leo yet, and her father needs to know what’s going on, how he’s lost control of the situation, before Sigmund does anything else to her.
She promises not to tell anyone about him if he lets her go, but of course he’s having none of that.
Tanner doesn’t protest when he locks her back inside the Booth. She wants to save all her energy to try to get back out of it once she’s inside. Before he leaves, he tells her that they’re almost done, the police will have to get involved soon and he doesn’t plan to be caught, so he’ll see her again soon.
Charlie doesn’t wake up until almost noon, and immediately starts worrying about Tanner and Jodie. He’s still not allowed to leave the hospital, not until the doctor discharges him, and the doctor hasn’t arrived yet. Plus the police are waiting to talk to him.
He’s eager to talk to them, tells them that he knows the hit and run was about Tanner and his investigation. He thinks she’s still in the house and something is wrong, something has stopped her from calling anyone, and now Jodie’s missing, too.
The cops, of course, are skeptical. Blame it on his concussion or on being dumped.
Super useful there, asshole.
Charlie calls around to his friends hoping that someone has found Tanner and Jodie, but nope. Sandy’s gotten frantic, though. Fucking finally. Charlie orders Sloane to meet him at the frat house so they can go to Tanner’s together.
Before he leaves the hospital, he finally gets ahold of Dr Leo. Instead of telling him that Tanner is missing, he lies that he needs to get ahold of Tanner’s mother to ask her about a potential birthday present for Tanner.
Charlie, you are a fucking idiot. At least you’re trying to help, so I’ll cut you a little slack, and you’ve been through a bad time of things, so you get some more, but holy fucking shit is that a terrible story. [Jude: Has anything else worked at this point, though? So far the one other person willing to believe and do something about Tanner’s disappearance has vanished too. And everything we’ve been told of Leo is that he’d more than likely be skeptical about his daughter being missing.]
Before he hangs up, Charlie asks if there’s someone on campus who might have it in for him. Dr Leo actually laughs because he’s probably the most disliked teacher on campus. Charlie pushes, asks about someone who might have made threats.
Dr Leo tells him about one student who was hospitalized because he was utterly full of rage. He’s back at Salem now because his insurance ran out and he had to leave the hospital. Dr Leo was against the release, but he also wasn’t going to pay for the treatment, so they booted the patient.
[Jude: This absolutely reminds me of a short Batman arc where someone was going around Gotham City, inspired by an unauthorized Batman comic, murdering people and claiming he was Batman. Apparently he’d been institutionalized because he murdered his parents and first tried to blame it on the Joker, before he admitted to killing them because he thought they were criminals and had to be punished. The real Batman narrowed his investigation down and it led him to a psychiatrist. The doctor indirectly admitted that she knew who the killer was and said nothing about it. Batman called her on her inaction, and she defended herself saying she was afraid they would blame her, because she said he was okay to be released because his insurance ran out. Interestingly, when the doctor tried to blame Batman for “inspiring” the killer and all the other villains in Gotham, Batman calmly responded “If I never existed, men like him would find another reason to do what they do.” Which I think is a perfect argument against all the lazy writers and fake geeks who try to say Batman and other superheroes make their own villains.
OOP here I forgot we’re talking about Nightmare Hall.]
When Charlie asks for the student’s name, Dr Leo gives it to him because “I suppose that wouldn’t be breaking confidentiality. I’m sure there are other students on campus who are aware he was hospitalized. Those things aren’t exactly kept a secret on a college campus.”
Jesus fucking christ, Dr Leo, that doesn’t mean a god damn thing. You absolutely are breaking doctor-patient confidentiality, you fuckhead.
He tells Charlie the name, but of course we don’t get to know it yet. Dr Leo wants to know if there’s been vandalism or if something happened to Tanner, and he actually sounds worried.
Charlie. fucking. lies. to. him.
What the ever loving fuck. He might be able to get the cops to do something, he might have other resources, what the ever loving fuck do you think you’re doing? You were mostly being smart, if impetuous! What happened!
Hoh, I know we’re on a rush to the end, but come on, don’t fuck this up now.
Meanwhile, the cop actually has taken Charlie seriously. Two girls not being where they are supposed to be isn’t to be taken lightly. He doesn’t hold much stock in the 72-hour rule, either, because if someone’s missing, the trail can go real cold in that amount of time.
First of all, I don’t actually believe 72 hours is actually a rule people follow (at least when it comes to missing white people). Second, what the fuck are you doing? Not telling Charlie you’ll do anything, not letting dispatch know what you’re doing? The fuck is this.
He decides to drive past the Leo house. Dr Leo helped treat his wife one time and didn’t charm them very much for it because cops get paid so little in a small town. Fair enough, but I still think you’re being weird about this.
Nothing looks like it’s been disturbed outside, but he decides to check inside anyway. Because … that’s … legal. Sure. And he has a skeleton key he can use if he must.
The back door is unlocked still, and the cop finds that very weird. Everything is quiet inside, and he finds nothing, hears nothing. The only room he doesn’t check is the music room because the door is locked. He doesn’t check the fabric hanging out of the freezer, either, because that’s totally a normal thing to have hanging out of a freezer.
Nothing unusual at the house, he decides, not even the tall, stocky young man who walks past him and waves.
Tanner is completely unaware that the cop is in the house, of course. She keeps working on breaking out of the Booth. She’s in constant pain, exhausted, gross and dirty and sweaty and a mess, but determined not to stop. Even if he catches her doing it, even if she can’t escape, at least she won’t give up without a fight.
I fucking love you and your drive to live, Tanner. You’re a complete badass.
She finally manages to get the back off and escape the Booth. This is only the first step of her wild, desperate hope of a plan.
Over at the frat house, Charlie has a message from the police wanting him to come down to the station. He’s torn between going to see what kind of news they have and going back to Tanner’s house. Only Sloane is around, sullen about going with him. There was no answer at Sandy’s place.
Charlie says they have to go to the police station and he wants Sloane to go with him because they’re going to Tanner’s house right after.
They have to wait a long time at the police station, and when Charlie finally gets to talk to the desk sergeant, he learns that Cleary, the one he’s supposed to meet, isn’t even in town at the moment.
Charlie realizes he’s a fool and runs out even as the sergeant is trying to talk to him.
Tanner carefully puts the back on the Booth again and hides in the empty woodbox by the fireplace when she hears Sigmund unlock the door. She can smell the pizza he brought, and the smell of it overwhelms her.
She listens hard as he goes to the Booth. When he opens it, she slips out of the woodbox, jamming the tape dispenser in place so the lid won’t slam, and hits him from behind, knocking him into the Booth and locking him inside.
She knows she’s not safe yet, though, not when the back is so loose. She tries hard to knock it over. She doesn’t manage to do so until he starts beating at the back wall, tipping it off balance, and then it finally topples over onto its back.
She’s elated, races for the door — and realizes she’s still trapped, because the door is locked and he has the only key.
He starts kicking at the floor, and she knows he’ll break through sooner rather than later. He’ll come out feet first, and she’ll have only a second to grab the keys from his pocket.
The key gets stuck, they both scream, and she finally rips it free.
She manages to unlock the door and leap into the hallway, but before she closes the door behind her, he pulls off the mask and she finally sees his face. He showed her around campus in August, and she thought he had kind eyes, then. He made friends with her, and her friends.
Philip fucking Zanuck.
He runs at the door before she shakes herself free of her shock, but she manages to get it shut and locked.
When someone starts pounding at the front door, she knows without looking that it is Charlie, come to save her.
But she already saved herself.
Yeah you fucking did!
[Jude: This was also the only other part which stuck with me all these years, of Tanner’s captor breaking out of the Booth and screaming at her, saying she didn’t know what it was like being caged like an animal. And Tanner defiantly screaming back “YES, I DO!” I just couldn’t remember who it was, but during my recent attempt to reread, I figured it had to be either Sloane or Phillip.]
Epilogue time! Tanner gets treated for her infected feet, Jodie was tied up and gagged in the basement but not killed, and all their friends have gathered around them in the infirmary to talk about Philip until Tanner wants them to shut up about it.
Sandy says he seemed so normal. She thought psychos looked a certain way and always talked to themselves. Charlie tells her he’s sick and you can’t always tell when you look at someone.
Fuck you, Sandy, you fucking jackass. You’re a terrible friend, and you are considered one of those fucking psychos you judge so hard.
Dr Leo is coming home early, and Tanner is surprised enough that she might actually keep living in the house with him. After all, the worst already happened, so she has nothing to worry about.
And maybe, just maybe, she’ll convince him to turn the music room into a family room and they can have a little party.
Tanner, darling, I love you and your ferocious will to live, but that was nowhere near the worst thing that could have happened to you. I am glad that you refuse to turn your father into a hero just because he was actually worried about you and is coming home early. It’s good that he does and is, but he’s still a shitty father.
Keep Charlie and Jodie close and tell the rest of your so-called friends to fuck the fuck off. They’re terrible.
I really fucking loved this book. Tanner is an excellent protagonist, and even though this is very much a crazy = dangerous in a lot of ways, it’s also an indictment of the dangers in certain abusive types of treatment of mental illness.
Even though there’s a lot of repetition in this (Sigmund shows up, they argue, he leaves, Tanner worries and tries to escape), it holds energy and excitement all the way through. It’s a fun story and a good read. Reminds me why Hoh is one of my favorites of the Point Horror authors.
[Jude: I think all I can add to this right now is the fake summary for The Coffin I saved from wikipedia so many years ago.
19: ”The Coffin”- Emily takes a course on undertaking for fun, but begins to fear an antique coffin housed in the school’s basement.
And Wing thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on this. I’m looking forward to commenting on Deadly Visions next. Maybe by then I’ll find a cheap enough copy of The Vampire’s Kiss.]