The Shining by Stephen King, 1977 26 страница

something that had just been given.

(Naw, you got a flashlight, he the one with the searchlight.)

And sometimes that light, that shine, seemed like a pretty

nice thing. You could pick the horses, or like the boy had

said, you could tell your daddy where his trunk was when it

turned up missing. But that was only dressing, the sauce on

the salad, and down below there was as much bitter vetch in

that salad as there was cool cucumber. You could taste pain

and death and tears. And now the boy was stuck in that place,

and he would go. For the boy. Because, speaking to the boy,

they had only been different colors when they used their

mouths. So he would go. He would do what he could, because if

he didn't, the boy was going to die right inside his head.

But because he was human he could not help a bitter wish that

the cup had never been passed his way.

* * *

(She had started to get out and come after him.)

He had been dumping a change of clothes into an overnight bag

when the thought came to him, freezing him with the power of

the memory as it always did when he thought of it. He tried to

think of it as seldom as possible.

The maid, Delores Vickery her name was, had been hysterical.

Had said some things to the other chambermaids, and worse

still, to some of the guests. When the word got back to

Ullman, as the silly quiff should have known it would do, he

had fired her out of hand. She had come to Hallorann in tears,

not about being fired, but about the thing she had seen in

that second-floor room. She had gone into 217 to change the

towels, she said, and there had been that Mrs. Massey, lying

dead in the tub. That, of course, was impossible. Mrs. Massey

had been discreetly taken away the day before and was even

then winging her way back to New York-in the shipping hold

instead of the first class she'd been accustomed to.

Hallorann hadn't liked Delores much, but he had gone up to

look that evening. The maid was an olive-complected girl of

twenty-three who waited table near the end of the season when

things slowed down. She had a small shining, Hallorann judged,

really not more than a twinkle; a mousy-looking man and his

escort, wearing a faded cloth coat, would come in for dinner

and Delores would trade one of her tables for theirs. The

mousy little man would leave a picture of Alexander Hamilton

under his plate, bad enough for the girl who had made the

trade, but worse, Delores would crow over it. She was lazy, a

goof-off in an operation run by a man who allowed no goof-

offs. She would sit in a linen closet, reading a confession

magazine and smoking, but whenever Ullman went on one of his

unscheduled prowls (and woe to the girl he caught resting her

feet) he found her working industriously, her magazine hidden

under the sheets on a high shelf, her ashtray tucked safely

into her uniform pocket. Yeah, Hallorann thought, she'd been a

goof-off and a sloven and the other girls had resented her,

but Delores had had that little twinkle. It had always greased

the skids for her. But what she had seen in 217 had scared her

badly enough so she was more than glad to pick up the walking

papers Ullman had issued her and go.

Why had she come to him? A shine knows a shine, Hallorann

thought, grinning at the pun.

So he had gone up that night and bad let himself into the

room, which was to be reoccupied the next day. He had used the

office passkey to get in, and if Ullman had caught him with

that key, he would have joined Delores Vickery on the

unemployment line.

The shower curtain around the tub had been drawn. He had

pushed it back, but even before he did he'd had a premonition

of what he was going to see. Mrs. Massey, swollen and purple,

lay soggily in the tub, which was half-full of water. He had

stood looking. down at her, a pulse beating thickly in his

throat. There had been other things at the Overlook: a bad

dream that recurred at irregular intervals-some sort of

costume party and he was catering it in the Overlook's

ballroom and at the shout to unmask, everybody exposed faces

that were those of rotting insects-and there had been the

hedge animals. Twice, maybe three times, he had (or thought he



had) seen them move, ever so slightly. That dog would seem to

change from his sitting-up posture to a slightly crouched one,

and the lions seemed to move forward, as if menacing the

little tykes on the playground. Last year in May Ullman had

sent him up to the attic to look for the ornate set of

firetools that now stood beside the lobby fireplace. While he

had been up there the three lightbulbs strung overhead had

gone out and he had lost his way back to the trapdoor. He had

stumbled around for an unknown length of time, closer and

closer to panic, barking his shins on boxes and bumping into

things, with a stronger and stronger feeling that something

was stalking him in the dark. Some great and frightening

creature that had just oozed out of the woodwork when the

lights went out. And when he had literally stumbled over the

trapdoor's ringbolt he had hurried down as fast as he could,

leaving the trap open, sooty and disheveled, with a feeling of

disaster barely averted. Later Ullman had come down to the

kitchen personally, to inform him he had left the attic

trapdoor open and the lights burning up there. Did Hallorann

think the guests wanted to go up there and play treasure hunt?

Did he think electricity was free?

And he suspected-no, was nearly positive-that several of the

guests had seen or heard things. too. In the three years he

had been there, the Presidential Suite had been booked

nineteen times. Six of the guests who had put up there had

left the hotel early, some of them looking markedly ill. Other

guests had left other rooms with the same abruptness. One

night in August of 1974, near dusk, a man who had won the

Bronze and Silver Stars in Korea (that man now sat on the

boards of three major corporations and was said to have

personally pink-slipped a famous TV news anchorman)

unaccountably went into a fit of screaming hysterics on the

putting green. And there had been dozens of children during

Hallorann's association with the Overlook who simply refused

to go into the playground. One child had had a convulsion

while playing in the concrete rings, but Hallorann didn't know

if that could be attributed to the Overlook's deadly siren

song or not-word had gone around among the help that the

child, the only daughter of a handsome movie actor, was a

medically controlled epileptic who had simply forgotten her

medicine that day.

And so, staring down at the corpse of Mrs. Massey, he had

been frightened but not completely terrified. It was not

completely unexpected. Terror came when she opened her eyes to

disclose blank silver pupils and began to grin at him. Horror

came when

(she had started to get out and come after him.)

He had fled, heart racing, and had not felt safe even with

the door shut and locked behind him. In fact, he admitted to

himself now as he zipped the fiightbag shut, he had never felt

safe anywhere in the Overlook again.

And now the boy-calling, screaming for help.

He looked at his watch. It was 5:30 P. m. He went to the

apartment's door, remembered it would be heavy winter now in

Colorado, especially up in the mountains, and went back to his

closet. He pulled his long, sheepskin-lined overcoat out of

its polyurethane dry-cleaning bag and put it over his arm. It

was the only winter garment he owned. He turned off all the

lights and looked around. Had he forgotten anything? Yes. One

thing. He took the will out of his breast pocket and slipped

it into the margin of the dressing table mirror. With luck he

would be back to get it.

Sure, with luck.

He left the apartment, locked the door behind him, put the

key under the rush mat, and ran down the outside steps to his

converted Cadillac.

* * *

Halfway to Miami International, comfortably away from the

switchboard where Queems or Queems's toadies were known to

listen in, Hallorann stopped at a shopping center Laundromat

and called United Air Lines. Flights to Denver?

There was one due out at 6:36 P. m. Could the gentleman make

that?

Hallorann looked at his watch, which showed 6:02, and said he

could. What about vacancies on the flight?

Just let me check.

A clunking sound in his ear followed by saccharine Montavani,

which was supposed to make being on bold more pleasant. It

didn't. Hallorann danced from one foot to the other,

alternating glances between his watch and a young girl with a

sleeping baby, in a hammock on her back unloading a coin-op

Maytag. She was afraid she was going to get home later than

she planned and the roast would burn and her husband-Mark?

Mike? Matt?-would be mad.

A minute passed. Two. He had just about made up his mind to

drive ahead and take his chances when the cannedsounding voice

of the flight reservations clerk came back on. There was an

empty seat, a cancellation. It was in first class. Did that

make any difference?

No. He wanted it.

Would that be cash or credit card?

Cash, baby, cash. I've got to fly.

And the name was-?

Hallorann, two l's, two n's. Catch you later.

He hung up and hurried toward the door. The girl's simple

thought, worry for the roast, broadcast at him over and over

until be thought he would go mad. Sometimes it was like that,

for no reason at all you would catch a thought, completely

isolated, completely pure and clear... and usually completely

useless.

* * *

He almost made it.

He had the limo cranked up to eighty and the airport was

actually in sight when one of Florida's Finest pulled him

over.

Hallorann unrolled the electric window and opened his mouth

at the cop, who was flipping up pages in his citation book.

"I know," the cop said comfortingly. "It's a funeral in

Cleveland. Your father. It's a wedding in Seattle. Your

sister.

A fire in San Jose that wiped out your gramp's candy store.

Some really fine Cambodian Red just waiting in a terminal

locker in New York City. I love this piece of road just

outside the airport. Even as a kid, story hour was my favorite

part of school."

"Listen, officer, my son is-"

"The only part of the story I can never figure out until the

end," the officer said, finding the right page in his citation

book, "is the driver's-license number of the offending

motorist/storyteller and his registration informationSo be a

nice guy. Let me peek."

Hallorann looked into the cop's calm blue eyes, debated

telling his my-son-isin-critical-condition story anyway, and

decided that would make things worse. This Smokey was no

Queems. He dug out his wallet.

"Wonderful," the cop said. "Would you take them out for me,

please? I just have to see how it's all going to come out in

the end."

Silently, Hallorann took out his driver's license and his

Florida registration and gave them to the traffic cop.

"That's very good. That's so good you win a present."

"What?" Hallorann asked hopefully.

"When I finish writing down these numbers, I'm going to let

you blow up a little balloon for me."

"Oh, Jeeeesus!" Hallorann moaned. "Officer, my flight-"

"Shhhh," the traffic cop said. "Don't be naughty."

Hallorann closed his eyes.

* * *

He got to the United desk at 6:49, hoping against hope that

the flight had been delayed. He didn't even have to ask. The

departure monitor over the incoming passengers desk told the

story. Flight 901 for Denver, due out at 6:36 EST, had left at

6:40. Nine minutes before.

"Oh shit," Dick Hallorann said.

And suddenly the smell of oranges, heavy and cloying, he had

just time to reach the men's room before it came, deafening,

terrified:

(!!! COME PLEASE COME DICK PLEASE PLEASE

COME!!!)

ON THE STAIRS

One of the things they had sold to swell their liquid assets

a little before moving from Vermont to Colorado was Jack's

collection of two hundred old rock 'n' roll and r & b albums;

they had gone at the yard sale for a dollar apiece. One of

these albums, Danny's personal favorite, had been an Eddie

Cochran double-record set with four pages of bound-in liner

notes by Lenny Kaye. Wendy had often been struck by Danny's

fascination for this one particular album by a manboy who had

lived fast and died young... had died, in fact, when she

herself had only been ten years old.

Now, at quarter past seven (mountain time), as Dick Hallorann

was telling Queems about his ex-wife's white boyfriend, she

came upon Danny sitting halfway up the stairs between the

lobby and the first floor, tossing a red rubber ball from hand

to band and singing one of the songs from that album. His

voice was low and tuneless.

"So I climb one-two flight three flight four," Danny sang,

"five flight six flight seven flight more... when I get to the

top, I'm too tired to rock..."

She came around him, sat down on one of the stair risers, and

saw that his lower lip had swelled to twice its size and that

there was dried blood on his chin. Her heart took a frightened

leap in her chest, but she managed to speak neutrally.

"What happened, doc?" she asked, although she was sure she

knew. Jack had hit him. Well, of course. That came next,

didn't it? The wheels of progress; sooner or later they took

you back to where you started from.

"I called Tony," Danny said. "In the ballroom. I guess I fell

off the chair. It doesn't hurt anymore. Just feels... like my

lip's too big."

"Is that what really happened?" she asked, looking at him,

troubled.

"Daddy didn't do it," he answered. "Not today."

She gazed at him, feeling eerie. The ball traveled from one

band to the other. He had read her mind. Her son had read her

mind.

"What... what did Tony tell you, Danny?"

"It doesn't matter." His face was calm, his voice chillingly

indifferent.

"Danny-" She gripped his shoulder, harder than she had

intended. But he didn't wince, or even try to shake her off.

(Oh we are wrecking this boy. It's not just Jack, it's me

too, and maybe it's not even just us, Jack's father, my

mother, are they here too? Sure, why not? The place is lousy

with ghosts anyway, why not a couple more? Oh Lord in heaven

he's like one of those suitcases they show on TV, run over,

dropped from planes, going through factory crushers. Or a

Timex watch. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Oh Danny

I'm so sorry)

"It doesn't matter," he said again. The ball went from hand

to hand. "Tony can't come anymore. They won't let him. He's

licked."

"Who won't?"

"The people in the hotel," he said. He looked at her then,

and his eyes weren't indifferent at all. They were deep and

scared. "And the... the things in the hotel. There's all kinds

of them. The hotel is stuffed with them."

"You can see-"

"I don't want to see," he said low, and then looked back at

the rubber ball, arcing from hand to hand. "But I can hear

them sometimes, late at night. They're like the wind, all

sighing together. In the attic. The basement. The rooms. All

over. I thought it was my fault, because of the way I am. The

key. The little silver key."

"Danny, don't... don't upset yourself this way."

"But it's him too," Danny said. "It's Daddy. And it's you. It

wants all of us. It's tricking Daddy, it's fooling him, trying

to make him think it wants him the most. It wants me the most,

but it will take all of us."

"If only that snowmobile-"

"They wouldn't let him," Danny said in that same low voice.

"They made him throw part of it away into the snow. Far away.

I dreamed it. And he knows that woman really is in 217." He

looked at her with his dark, frightened eyes. "It doesn't

matter whether you believe me or not."

She slipped an arm around him.

"I believe you, Danny, tell me the truth. Is Jack... is he

going to try to hurt us?"

"They'll try to make him," Danny said. "I've been calling for

Mr. Hallorann. He said if I ever needed him to just call. And

I have been. But it's awful hard. It makes me tired. And the

worst part is I don't know if he's hearing me or not. I don't

think he can call back because it's too far for him. And I

don't know if it's too far for me or not. Tomorrow-"

"What about tomorrow?"

He shook his head. "Nothing."

"Where is he now?" she asked. "'Four daddy?"

"He's in the basement. I don't think he'll be up tonight."

She stood up suddenly. "Wait right here for me. Five

minutes."

* * *

The kitchen was cold and deserted under the overhead

fluorescent bars. She went to the rack where the carving

knives hung from their magnetized strips. She took the longest

and sharpest, wrapped it in a dish towel, and left the

kitchen, turning off the lights as she went.

* * *

Danny sat on the stairs, his eyes following the course of his

red rubber ball from hand to hand. He sang: "She lives on the

twentieth floor uptown, the elevator is broken down. So I walk

one-two flight three flight four..:'

(-Lou, Lou, skip to m' Lou-)

His singing broke off. He listened.

(-Skip to m' Lou my darlin'-)

The voice was in his head, so much a part of him, so

frighteningly close that it might have been a part of his own

thoughts. It was soft and infinitely sly. Mocking him. Seeming

to say:

(Oh yes, you'll like it here. Try it, you'll like it. Try it,

you'll liiiiike it-)

Now his ears were open and he could hear them again, the

gathering, ghosts or spirits or maybe the hotel itself, a

dreadful funhouse where all the sideshows ended in death,

where all the specially painted boogies were really alive,

where hedges walked, where a small silver key could start the

obscenity. Soft and sighing, rustling like the endless winter

wind that played under the eaves at night, the deadly lulling

wind the summer tourists never heard. It was like the

somnolent hum of summer wasps in a ground nest, sleepy,

deadly, beginning to wake up. They were ten thousand feet

high.

(Why is a raven like a writing desk? The higher the fewer, of

course! Have another cup of tea!)

It was a living sound, but not voices, not breath. A man of a

philosophical bent might have called it the sound of souls.

Dick Hallorann's Nana, who had grown up on southern roads in

the years before the turn of the century, would have called it

ha'ants. A psychic investigator might have had a long name for

it-psychic echo, psychokinesis, a telesmic sport. But to Danny

it was only the sound of the hotel, the old monster, creaking

steadily and ever more closely around them: halls that now

stretched back through time as well as distance, hungry

shadows, unquiet guests who did not rest easy.

In the darkened ballroom the clock under glass struck seven-

thirty with a single musical note.

A hoarse voice, made brutal with drink, shouted: "Unmask and

let's fuck!"

Wendy, halfway across the lobby, jerked to a standstill.

She looked at Danny on the stairs, still tossing the ball

from hand to hand. "Did you bear something?"

Danny only looked at her and continued to toss the ball from

hand to hand.

There would be little sleep for them that night, although

they slept together behind a locked door.

And in the dark, his eyes open, Danny thought:

(He wants to be one of them and live forever. That's what he

wants.)

Wendy thought:

(If I have to, I'll take him further up. If we're going to

die I'd rather do it in the mountains.)

She had left the butcher knife, still wrapped in the towel,

under the bed. She kept her hand close to it. They dozed off

and on. The hotel creaked around them. Outside snow had begun

to spit down from a sky like lead.

IN THE BASEMENT

(!!! The boiler the goddam boiler!!!)

The thought came into Jack Torrance's mind full-blown, edged

in bright, warning red. On its heels, the voice of Watson:

(If you forget it'll just creep an creep and like as not you

an your fambly wilt end up on the fuckin moon... she's rated

for two-fifty but she'd blow long before that now... I'd be

scared to come down and stand next to her at a hundred and

eighty.)

He'd been down here all night, poring over the boxes of old

records, possessed by a frantic feeling that time was getting

short and he would have to hurry. Still the vital clues, the

connections that would make everything clear, eluded him. His

fingers were yellow and grimy with crumbling old paper. And

he'd become so absorbed he hadn't checked the boiler once.

He'd dumped it the previous evening around six o'clock, when

he first came down. It was now.. .

He looked at his watch and jumped up, kicking over e stack of

old invoices.

Christ, it was quarter of five in the morning.

Behind him, the furnace kicked on. The boiler was making a

groaning, whistling sound.

He ran to it. His face, which had become thinner in the last

month or so, was now heavily shadowed with beardstubble and he

had a hollow concentration-camp look.

The boiler pressure gauge stood at two hundred and ten pounds

per square inch. He fancied he could almost see the sides of

the old patched and welded boiler heaving out with the lethal

strain.

(She creeps... I'd be scared to come down and stand next to

her at a hundred and eighty...)

Suddenly a cold and tempting inner voice spoke to him.

(Let it go. Go get Wendy and Danny and get the fuck out of

here. Let it blow sky-high.)

He could visualize the explosion. A double thunderclap that

would first rip the heart from this place, then the soul. The

boiler would go with an orangeviolet flash that would rain hot

and burning shrapnel all over the cellar. In his mind he could

see the redhot trinkets of metal careening from floor to walls

to ceiling like strange billiard balls, whistling jagged death

through the air. Some of them, surely, would whizz right

through that stone arch, light on the old papers on the other

side, and they would burn merry hell. Destroy the secrets,

burn the clues, it's a mystery no living hand will ever solve.

Then the gas explosion, a great rumbling crackle of flame, a

giant pilot light that would turn the whole center of the

hotel into a broiler. Stairs and hallways and ceilings and

rooms aflame like the castle in the last reel of a

Frankenstein movie. The flame spreading into the wings,

hurrying up the black-and-blue-twined carpets like eager

guests. The silk wallpaper charring and curling. There were no

sprinklers, only those outmoded hoses and no one to use them.

And there wasn't a fire engine in the world that could get

here before late March. Burn, baby, burn. In twelve hours

there would be nothing left but the bare bones.

The needle on the gauge had moved up to two-twelve. The

boiler was creaking and groaning like an old woman trying to

get out of bed. Hissing jets of steam had begun to play around

the edges of old patches; beads of solder had begun to sizzle.

He didn't see, he didn't hear. Frozen with his hand on the

valve that would dump off the pressure and damp the fire,

Jack's eyes glittered from their sockets like sapphires.

(It's my last chance.)

The only thing not cashed in now was the life-insurance

policy he had taken out jointly with Wendy in the summer

between his first and second years at Stovington. Forty-

thousand-dollar death benefit, double indemnity if he or she

died in a train crash, a plane crash, or a fire. Seven-come-

eleven, die the secret death and win a hundred dollars.

(A fire... eighty thousand dollars.)

They would have time to get out. Even if they were sleeping,

they would have time to get out. He believed that. And he

didn't think the hedges or anything else would try to hold

them back if the Overlook was going up in flames.

(Flames.)

The needle inside the greasy, almost opaque dial bad danced

up to two hundred and fifteen pounds per square inch.

Another memory occurred to him, a childhood memory. There had

been a wasps' nest in the lower branches of their apple tree

behind the house. One of his older brothers-he couldn't

remember which one now-had been stung while swinging in the

old tire Daddy had hung from one of the tree's lower branches.

It had been late summer, when wasps tend to be at their

ugliest.

Their father, just home from work, dressed in his whites, the

smell of beer hanging around his face in a fine mist, had

gathered all three boys, Brett, Mike, and little Jacky, and

told them he was going to get rid of the wasps.

"Now watch," he had said, smiling and staggering a little (he

hadn't been using the cane then, the collision with the milk

truck was years in the future). "Maybe you'll learn something.

My father showed me this."

He had raked a big pile of rain-dampened leaves under the

branch where the wasps' nest rested, a deadlier fruit than the

shrunken but tasty apples their tree usually produced in late

September, which was then still half a month away. He lit the

leaves. The day was clear and windless. The leaves smoldered

but didn't really burn, and they made a smell-a fragrancethat

had echoed back to him each fall when men in Saturday pants

and light Windbreakers raked leaves together and burned them.

A sweet smell with a bitter undertone, rich and evocative. The

smoldering leaves produced great rafts of smoke that drifted

up to obscure the nest.

Their father had let the leaves smolder all that afternoon,

drinking beer on the porch and dropping the empty Black Label

cans into his wife's plastic floorbucket while his two older

sons flanked him and little Jacky sat on the steps at his

feet, playing with his Bolo Bouncer and singing monotonously

over and over: "Your cheating heart... will make you weep...

your cheating heart... is gonna tell on you."

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