The Shining

Part Five. Matters of Life and Death Chapter 55. That Which Was Forgotten


Wendy came to a little at a time, the grayness draining away, pain replacing it: her back, her leg, her side... she didn't think she would be able to move. Even her fingers hurt, and at first she didn't know why.
(The razor blade, that's why.)
Her blond hair, now dank and matted, hung in her eyes. She brushed it away and her ribs stabbed inside, making her groan. Now she saw a field of blue and white mattress, spotted with blood. Her blood, or maybe Jack's. Either way it was still fresh. She hadn't been out long. And that was important because-
It was the insectile, buzzing sound of the motor that she remembered first. For a moment she fixed stupidly on the memory, and then in a single vertiginous and nauseating swoop, her mind seemed to pan back, showing her everything at once.
Hallorann. It must have been Hallorann. Why else would Jack have left so suddenly, without finishing it..., without finishing her?
Because he was no longer at leisure. He had to find Danny quickly and... and do it before Hallorann could put a stop to it.
Or had it happened already?
She could hear the whine of the elevator rising up the shaft.
(No God please no the blood the blood's still fresh don't let it have happened already)
Somehow she was able to find her feet and stagger through the bedroom and across the ruins of the living room to the shattered front door. She pushed it open and made it out into the hall.
"Danny!" she cried, wincing at the pain in her chest. "Mr. Hallorann! Is anybody there? Anybody?"
The elevator had been running again and now it came to a stop. She heard the metallic crash of the gate being thrown back and then thought she heard a speaking voice. It might have been her imagination. The wind was too loud to really be able to tell.
Leaning against the wall, she made her way up to the corner of the short hallway. She was about to turn the corner when the scream froze her, floating down the stairwell and the elevator shaft:
"Danny! Come here, you pup! Come here aced take it like a man!"
Jack. On the second or third floor. Looking for Danny.
She got around the corner, stumbled, almost fell. Her breath caught in her throat. Something
huddled against the wall about a quarter of the way down from the stairwell. She began to hurry faster, wincing every time her weight came down on her hurt leg. It was a man, she saw, and as she drew closer, she understood the meaning of that buzzing motor.
It was Mr. Hallorann. He had come after all.
She eased to her knees beside him, offering up an incoherent prayer that he was not dead. His nose was bleeding, and a terrible gout of blood had spilled out of his mouth. The side of his face was a puffed purple bruise. But he was breathing, thank God for that. It was coming in long, harsh draws that shook his whole frame.
Looking at him more closely, Wendy's eyes widened. One arm of the parka he was wearing was blackened and singed. One side of it had been ripped open. There was blood in his hair and a shallow but ugly scratch down the back of his neck.
(My God, what's happened to him?)
"Danny!" the hoarse, petulant voice roared from above them. "Get out here, goddammit!"
There was no time to wonder about it now. She began to shake him, her face twisting at the flare of agony in her ribs. Her side felt hot and massive and swollen.
(What if they're poking my lung whenever I move?)
There was no help for that, either. If Jack found Danny, he would kill him, beat him to death with that mallet as he had tried to do to her.
So she shook Hallorann, and then began to slap the unbruised side of his face lightly.
"Wake up," she said. "Mr. Hallorann, you've got to wake up. Please... please..."
From overhead, the restless booming sounds of the mallet as Jack Torrance looked for his son.
Danny stood with his back against the door, looking at the right angle where the hallways joined. The steady, irregular booming sound of the mallet against the walls grew louder. The thing that was after him screamed and howled and cursed. Dream and reality had joined together without a seam.
It came around the corner.
In a way, what Danny felt was relief. It was not his father. The mask of face and body had been ripped and shredded and made into a bad joke. It was not his daddy, not this Saturday Night Shock Show horror with its rolling eyes and hunched and hulking shoulders and blood-drenched shirt. It was not his daddy.
"Now, by God," it breathed. It wiped its lips with a shaking hand. "Now you'll find out who is the boss around here. You'll see. It's not you they want. It's me. Me. Me!"
It slashed out with the scarred hammer, its double head now shapeless and splintered with countless impacts. It struck the wall, cutting a circle in the silk paper. Plaster dust puffed out. It began to grin.
"Let's see you pull any of your fancy tricks now," it muttered. "I wasn't born yesterday, you know. Didn't just fall off the hay truck, by God. I'm going to do my fatherly duty by you, boy."
Danny said: "You're not my daddy."
It stopped. For a moment it actually looked uncertain, as if not sure who or what it was. Then it began to walk again. The hammer whistled out, struck a door panel and made it boom hollowly.
"You're a liar," it said. "Who else would I be? I have the two birthmarks, I have the cupped navel, even the pecker, my boy. Ask your mother."
"You're a mask," Danny said. "Just a false face. The only reason the hotel needs to use you is that you aren't as dead as the others. But when it's done with you, you won't be anything at all. You don't scare me."
"I'll scare you!" it howled. The mallet whistled fiercely down, smashing into the rug between Danny's feet. Danny didn't flinch. "You lied about me! You connived with her! You plotted against me! And you cheated! You copied that final exam!" The eyes glared out at him from beneath the furred brows. There was an expression of lunatic cunning in them. "I'll find it, too. It's down in the basement somewhere. I'll find it. They promised me I could look all I want." It raised the mallet again.
"Yes, they promise," Danny said, "but they lie." The mallet hesitated at the top of its swing.
Hallorann had begun to come around, but Wendy had stopped patting his cheeks. A moment ago the words You cheated! You copied that final exam! had floated down through the elevator shaft, dim, barely audible over the wind. From somewhere deep in the west wing. She was nearly convinced they were on the third floor and that Jack-whatever had taken possession of Jack-had found Danny. There was nothing she or Hallorann could do now.
"Oh doc," she murmured. Tears blurred her eyes.
"Son of a bitch broke my jaw," Hallorann muttered thickly, "and my head..." He worked to sit up. His right eye was purpling rapidly and swelling shut. Still, he saw Wendy.
"Missus Torrance-"
"Shhhh," she said.
"Where is the boy, Missus Torrance?"
"On the third floor," she said. "With his father."
"They lie," Danny said again. Something had gone through his mind, flashing like a meteor, too quick, too bright to catch and hold. Only the tail of the thought remained.
(it's down in the basement somewhere)
(you will remember what your father forgot)
"You... you shouldn't speak that way to your father," it said hoarsely. The mallet trembled, came down. "You'll only make things worse for yourself. Your... your punishment. Worse." It staggered drunkenly and stared at him with maudlin selfpity that began to turn to hate. The mallet began to rise again.
"You're not my daddy," Danny told it again. "And if there's a little bit of my daddy left inside you, he knows they lie here. Everything is a lie and a cheat. Like the loaded dice my daddy got for my Christmas stocking last Christmas, like the presents they put in the store windows and my daddy says there's nothing in them, no presents, they're just empty boxes. Just for show, my daddy says. You're it, not my daddy. You're the hotel. And when you get what you want, you won't give my daddy anything because you're selfish. And my daddy knows that. You had to make him drink the Bad Stuff. That's the only way you could get him, you lying false face."
"Liar! Liar!" The words came in a thin shriek. The mallet wavered wildly in the air.
"Go on and hit me. But you'll never get what you want from me."
The face in front of him changed. It was hard to say how; there was no melting or merging of the features. The body trembled slightly, and then the bloody hands opened like broken claws. The mallet fell from them and thumped to the rug. That was all. But suddenly his daddy was there, looking at him in mortal agony, and a sorrow so great that Danny's heart flamed within his chest. The mouth drew down in a quivering bow.
"Doc," Jack Torrance said. "Run away. Quick. And remember how much I love you."
"No," Danny said.
"Oh Danny, for God's sake-"
"No," Danny said. He took one of his father's bloody hands and kissed it. "It's almost over."
Hallorann got to his feet by propping his back against the wall and pushing himself up. He and Wendy stared at each other like nightmare survivors from a bombed hospital.
"We got to get up there," he said. "We have to help him."
Her haunted eyes stared into his from her chalk-pale face., "It's too late," Wendy said. "Now he can only help himself."
A minute passed, then two. Three. And they heard it above them, screaming, not in anger or triumph now, but in mortal terror.
"Dear God," Hallorann whispered. "What's happening?"
"I don't know," she said.
"Has it killed him?"
"I don't know."
The elevator clashed into life and began to descend with the screaming, raving thing penned up inside.
Danny stood without moving. There was no place he could run where the Overlook was not. He recognized it suddenly, fully, painlessly. For the first time in his life he had an adult thought, an adult feeling, the essence of his experience in this bad place-a sorrowful distillation:
(Mommy and Daddy can't help me and I'm alone.)
"Go away," he said to the bloody stranger in front of him. "Go on. Get out of here."
It bent over, exposing the knife handle in its back. Its hands closed around the mallet again, but instead of aiming at Danny, it reversed the handle, aiming the hard side of the roque mallet at its own face.
Understanding rushed through Danny.
Then the mallet began to rise and descend, destroying the last of Jack Torrance's image. The thing in the hall danced an eerie, shuffling polka, the beat counterpointed by the hideous sound of the mallet head striking again and again. Blood splattered across the wallpaper. Shards of bone leaped into the air like broken piano keys. It was impossible to say just how long it went on. But when it turned its attention back to Danny, his father was gone forever. What remained of the face became a strange, shifting composite, many faces mixed imperfectly into one. Danny saw the woman in 217; the dogman; the hungry boything that had been in the concrete ring.
"Masks off, then," it whispered. "No more interruptions."
The mallet rose for the final time. A ticking sound filled Danny's ears.
"Anything else to say?" it inquired. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to run? A game of tag, perhaps? All we have is time, you know. An eternity of time. Or shall we end it? Might as well. After all, we're missing the party."
It grinned with broken-toothed greed.
And it came to him. What his father had forgotten.
Sudden triumph filled his face; the thing saw it and hesitated, puzzled.
"The boiler!" Danny screamed. "It hasn't been dumped since this morning! It's going up! It's going to explode!"
An expression of grotesque terror and dawning realization swept across the broken features of the thing in front of him. The mallet dropped from its fisted hands and bounced harmlessly on the black and blue rug.
"The boiler!" it cried. "Oh no! That can't be allowed! Certainly not! No! You goddamned little pup! Certainly not! Oh, oh, oh-"
"It is!" Danny cried back at it fiercely. He began to shufe and shake his fists at the ruined thing before him. "Any minute now! I know it! The boiler, Daddy forgot the boiler! And you forgot it, tool"
"No, oh no, it mustn't, it can't, you dirty little boy, I'll make you take your medicine, I'll make you take every drop, oh no, oh no-"
It suddenly turned tail and began to shamble away. For a moment its shadow bobbed on the wall, waxing and waning. It trailed cries behind itself like wornout party streamers.
Moments later the elevator crashed into life.
Suddenly the shining was on him
(mommy mr. hallorann dick to my friends together alive they're alive got to get out it's going to blow going to blow sky-high)
like a fierce and glaring sunrise and he ran. One foot kicked the bloody, misshapen roque mallet aside. He didn't notice.
Crying, he ran for the stairs.
They bad to get out.