The Shining

Part Five. Matters of Life and Death Chapter 54. Tony


Darkness and hallways. He was wandering through darkness and hallways that were like those which lay within the body of the hotel but were somehow different. The silkpapered walls stretched up and up, and even when he craned his neck, Danny could not see the ceiling. It was lost in dimness. All the doors were locked, and they also rose up to dimness. Below the peepholes (in these giant doors they were the size of gunsights), tiny skulls and crossbones had been bolted to each door instead of room numbers.
And somewhere, Tony was calling him.
There was a pounding noise, one be knew well, and hoarse shouts, faint with distance. He could not make out word for word, but he knew the text well enough by now. He had heard it before, in dreams and awake.
He paused, a little boy not yet three years out of diapers, and tried to decide where he was, where he might be. There was fear, but it was a fear he could live with. He had been afraid every day for two months now, to a degree that ranged from dull disquiet to outright, mind-bending terror. This he could live with. But he wanted to know why Tony had come, why he was making the sound of his name in this hall that was neither a part of real things nor of the dreamland where Tony sometimes showed him things. Why, where-
Far down the giant hallway, almost as tiny as Danny himself, was a dark figure. Tony.
"Where am I?" he called softly to Tony.
"Sleeping," Tony said. "Sleeping in your mommy and daddy's bedroom." There was sadness in Tony's voice.
"Danny," Tony said. "Your mother is going to be badly hurt. Perhaps killed. Mr. Hallorann, too,"
He cried it out in a distant grief, a terror that seemed damped by these dreamy, dreary surroundings. Nonetheless, death images came to him: dead frog plastered to the turnpike like a grisly stamp; Daddy's broken watch lying on top of a box of junk to be thrown out; gravestones with a dead person under every one; dead jay by the telephone pole; the cold junk Mommy scraped off the plates and down the dark maw of the garbage disposal.
Yet he could not equate these simple symbols with the shifting complex reality of his mother; she satisfied his childish definition of eternity. She had been when he was not. She would continue to be when he was not again. He could accept the possibility of his own death, he had dealt with that since the encounter in Room 217.
But not hers.
Not Daddy's.
Not ever.
He began to struggle, and the darkness and the hallway began to waver. Tony's form became chimerical, indistinct.
"Don't!" Tony called. "Don't, Danny, don't do that!"
"She's not going to be dead! She's not!"
"Then you have to help her. Danny... you're in a place deep down in your own mind. The place where I am. I'm a part of you, Danny."
"You're Tony. You're not me. I want my mommy... I want my mommy... "
"I didn't bring you here, Danny. You brought yourself. Because you knew."
"You've always known," Tony continued, and he began to walk closer. For the first time, Tony began to walk closer. "You're deep down in yourself in a place where nothing comes through. We're alone here for a little while, Danny. This is an Overlook where no one can ever come. No clocks work here. None of the keys fit them and they can never be wound up. The doors have never been opened and no one has ever stayed in the rooms. But you can't stay long. Because it's coming."
"It..." Danny whispered fearfully, and as he did so the irregular pounding noise seemed to grow closer, louder. His terror, cool and distant a moment ago, became a more immediate thing. Now the words could be made out. Hoarse, huckstering; they were uttered in a coarse imitation of his father's voice, but it wasn't Daddy. He knew that now. He knew
(You brought yourself. Because you knew.)
"Oh Tony, is it my daddy?" Danny screamed. "Is it my daddy that's coming to get me?"
Tony didn't answer. But Danny didn't need an answer. He knew. A long and nightmarish masquerade party went on here, and had gone on for years. Little by little a force bad accrued, as secret and silent as interest in a bank account. Force, presence, shape, they were all only words and none of them mattered. It wore many masks, but it was all one. Now, somewhere, it was coming for him. It was hiding behind Daddy's face, it was imitating Daddy's voice, it was wearing Daddy's clothes.
But it was not his daddy.
It was not his daddy.
"I've got to help them!" he cried.
And now Tony stood directly in front of him, and looking at Tony was like looking into a magic mirror and seeing himself in ten years, the eyes widely spaced and very dark, the chin firm, the mouth handsomely molded. The hair was light blond like his mother's, and yet the stamp on his features was that of his father, as if Tony-as if the Daniel Anthony Torrance that would someday be-was a halfling caught between father and son, a ghost of both, a fusion.
"You have to try to help," Tony said. "But your father... be's with the hotel now, Danny. It's where he wants to be. It wants you too, because it's very greedy."
Tony walked past him, into the shadows,
"Wait!" Danny cried. "What can I-"
"He's close now," Tony said, still walking away. "You'll have to run... hide... keep away from him. Keep away."
"Tony, I can'tl"
"But you've already started," Tony said. "You will remember what your father forgot."
He was gone.
And from somewhere near his father's voice came, coldly wheedling: "Danny? You can come out, doc. Just a little spanking, that's all. Take it like a man and it will be all over. We don't need her, doc. Just you and me, right? When we get this little... spanking... behind us, it will be just you and me."
Danny ran.
Behind him, the thing's temper broke through the shambling charade of normality.
"Come here, you little shitl Right nowl"
Down a long hall, panting and gasping. Around a corner. Up a flight of stairs. And as he went, the walls that had been so high and remote began to come down; the rug which had only been a blur beneath his feet took on the familiar black and blue pattern, sinuously woven together; the doors became numbered again and behind them the parties that were all one went on and on, populated by generations of guests. The air seemed to be shimmering around him, the blows of the mallet against the walls echoing and re-echoing. He seemed to be bursting through some thin placental womb from sleep to
the rug outside the Presidential Suite on the third floor; lying near him in a bloody heap were the bodies of two men dressed in suits and narrow ties. They had been taken out by shotgun blasts and now they began to stir in front of him and get up.
He drew in breath to scream but didn't.
They faded before his ga ze like old photographs and were gone.
But below him, the faint sound of the mallet against the walls went on and on, drifting up through the elevator shaft and the stairwell. The controlling force of the Overlook, in the shape of his father, blundering around on the first floor.
A door opened with a thin screeing sound behind him.
A decayed woman in a rotten silk gown pranced out, her yellowed and splitting fingers dressed with verdigris-caked rings. Heavy-bodied wasps crawled sluggishly over her face.
"Come in," she whispered to him, grinning with black lips. "Come in and we will daance the taaaango..."
"False face!" he hissed. "Not real!" She drew back from him in alarm, and in the act of drawing back she faded and was gone.
"Where are you?" it screamed, but the voice was still only in his head. He could still hear the thing that was wearing Jack's face down on the first floor... and something else.
The high, whining sound of an approaching motor.
Danny's breath stopped in his throat with a little gasp. Was it just another face of the hotel, another illusion? Or was it Dick? He wanted-wanted desperately-to believe it was Dick, but he didn't dare take the chance.
He retreated down the main corridor, and then took one of the offshoots, his feet whispering on the nap of the carpet. Locked doors frowned down at him as they had done in the dreams, the visions, only now he was in the world of real things, where the game was played for keeps.
He turned to the right and came to a halt, his heart thudding heavily in his chest. Heat was blowing around his ankles. From the registers, of course. This must have been Daddy's day to heat the west wing and
(You will remember what your father forgot.)
What was it? He almost knew. Something that might save him and Mommy? But Tony had said he would have to do it himself. What was it?
He sank down against the wall, trying desperately to think. It was so hard... the hotel kept trying to get into his head... the image of that dark and slumped form swinging the mallet from side to side, gouging the wallpaper... sending out puffs of plaster dust.
"Help me," he muttered. "Tony, help me."
And suddenly he became aware that the hotel had grown deathly silent. The whining sound of the motor had stopped
(must not have been real)
and the sounds of the party had stopped and there was only the wind, howling and whooping endlessly.
The elevator whirred into sudden life.
It was coming up.
And Danny knew who-what-was in it.
He bolted to his feet, eyes staring wildly. Panic clutched around his heart. Why had Tony sent him to the third floor? He was trapped up here. All the doors were locked.
The attic!
There was an attic, he knew. He had come up here with daddy the day he had salted the rattraps around up there. He hadn't allowed Danny to come up with him because of the rats. He was afraid Danny might be bitten. But the trapdoor which led to the attic was set into the ceiling of the last short corridor in this wing. There was a pole leaning against the wall. Daddy had pushed the trapdoor open with the pole, there had been a ratcheting whir of counterweights as the door went up and a ladder had swung down. If he could get up there and pull the ladder after him...
Somewhere in the maze of corridors behind him, the elevator came to a stop. There was a metallic, rattling crash as the gate was thrown back. And then a voice-not in his head now but terribly real-called out: "Danny? Danny, come here a minute, will you? You've done something wrong and I want you to come and take your medicine like a man. Danny? Danny!"
Obedience was so strongly ingrained in him that he actually took two automatic steps toward the sound of that voice before stopping. His hands curled into fists at his sides.
(Not real! False face! I know what you are! Take off your mask!)
"Danny!" it roared. "Come here, you pup! Come here and take it like a man!" A loud, hollow boom as the mallet struck the wall. When the voice roared out his name again it had changed location. It had come closer.
In the world of real things, the hunt was beginning.
Danny ran. Feet silent on the heavy carpet, he ran past the closed doors, past the silk figured wallpaper, past the fire extinguisher bolted to the corner of the wall. He hesitated, and then plunged down the final corridor. Nothing at the end but a bolted door, and nowhere left to run.
But the pole was still there, still leaning against the wall where Daddy had left it.
Danny snatched it up. He craned his neck to stare up at the trapdoor. There was a hook on the end of the pole and you had to catch it on a ring set into the trapdoor. You bad to-
There was a brand-new Yale padlock dangling from the trapdoor. The lock Jack Torrance had clipped around the hasp after laying his traps, just in case his son should take the notion into his head to go exploring up there someday.
Locked. Terror swept him.
Behind him it was coming, blundering and staggering past the Presidential Suite, the mallet whistling viciously through the air.
Danny backed up against the last closed door and waited for it.