The Shining

Part Two. Closing Day Chapter 11. The Shining


There were four bags in a pile just outside the door. Three of them were giant, battered old suitcases covered with black imitation alligator hide. The last was an oversized zipper bag with a faded tartan skin.
"Guess you can handle that one, can't you?" Hallorann asked him. He picked up two of the big cases in one hand and hoisted the other under his arm.
"Sure," Danny said. He got a grip on it with both hands and followed the cook down the porch steps, trying manfully not to grunt and give away how heavy it was.
A sharp and cutting fall wind had come up since they had arrived; it whistled across the parking lot, making Danny wince his eyes down to slits as he carried the zipper bag in front of him, bumping on his knees. A few errant aspen leaves rattled and turned across the now mostly deserted asphalt, making Danny think momentarily of that night last week when he had wakened out of his nightmare and had heard-or thought he heard, at least-Tony telling him not to go.
Hallorann set his bags down by the trunk of a beige Plymouth Fury. "This ain't much car," he confided to Danny, "just a rental job. My Bessie's on the other end. She's a car. 1950 Cadillac, and does she run sweet? I'll tell the world. I keep her in Florida because she's too old for all this mountain climbing. You need a hand with that?"
"No, sir," Danny said. He managed to carry it the last ten or twelve steps without grunting and set it down with a large sigh of relief.
"Good boy," Hallorann said. He produced a large key ring from the pocket of his blue serge jacket and unlocked the trunk. As he lifted the bags in he said: "You shine on, boy. Harder than anyone I ever met in my life. And I'm sixty years old this January."
"You got a knack," Hallorann said, turning to him. "Me, I've always called it shining. That's what my grandmother called it, too. She had it. We used to sit in the kitchen when I was a boy no older than you and have long talks without even openin our mouths."
Hallorann smiled at Danny's openmouthed, almost hungry expression and said, "Come on up and sit in the car with me for a few minutes. Want to talk to you." He slammed the trunk.
In the lobby of the Overlook, Wendy Torrance saw her son get into the passenger side of Hallorann's car as the big black cook slid in behind the wheel. A sharp pang of fear struck her and she opened her mouth to tell Jack that Hallorann had not been lying about taking their son to Florida-there was a kidnaping afoot. But they were only sitting there. She could barely see the small silhouette of her son's head, turned attentively toward Hallorann's big one. Even at this distance that small head had a set to it that she recognizedit was the way her son looked when there was something on the TV that particularly fascinated him, or when he and his father were playing old maid or idiot cribbage. Jack, who was still looking around for Ullman, hadn't noticed. Wendy kept silent, watching Hallorann's car nervously, wondering what they could possibly be talking about that would make Danny cock -his head that way.
In the car Hallorann was saying: "Get you kinda lonely, thinkin you were the only one?"
Danny, who had been frightened as well as lonely sometimes, nodded. "Am I the only one you ever met?" he asked.
Hallorann laughed and shook his head. "No, child, no. But you shine the hardest."
"Are there lots, then?"
"No," Hallorann said, "but you do run across them. A lot of folks, they got a little bit of shine to them. They don't oven know it. But they always seem to show up with flowers when their wives are feelin blue with the monthlies, they do good on school tests they don't even study for, they got a good idea how people are feelin as soon as they walk into a room. I come across fifty or sixty like that. But maybe only a dozen, countin my gram, that knew they was shinin."
"Wow," Danny said, and thought about it. Then: "Do you know Mrs. Brant?"
"Her?" Hallorann asked scornfully. "She don't shine. Just sends her supper back two-three times every night."
"I know she doesn't," Danny said earnestly. "But do you know the man in the gray uniform that gets the cars?"
"Mike? Sure, I know Mike. What about him?"
"Mr. Hallorann, why would she want his pants?"
"What are you talking about, boy?"
"Well, when she was watching him, she was thinking she would sure like to get into his pants and I just wondered why-"
But he got no further. Hallorann had thrown his head back, and rich, dark laughter issued from his chest, rolling around in the car like cannonfire. The seat shook with the force of it. Danny smiled, puzzled, and at last the storm subsided by fits and starts. Hallorann produced a large silk handkerchief from his breast pocket like a white flag of surrender and wiped his streaming eyes.
"Boy," he said, still snorting a little, "you are gonna know everything there is to know about the human condition before you make ten. I dunno if to envy you or not."
"But Mrs. Brant-"
"You never mind her," he said. "And don't go askin your mom, either. You'd only upset her, dig what I'm sayin?"
"Yes, sir," Danny said. He dug it perfectly well. He had upset his mother that way in the past.
"That Mrs. Brant is just a dirty old woman with an itch, that's all you have to know." He looked at Danny speculatively. "How hard can you hit, doc?"
"Give me a blast. Think at me. I want to know if you got as much as I think you do."
"What do you want me to think?"
"Anything. Just think it hard."
"Okay," Danny said. He considered it for a moment, then gathered his concentration and flung it out at Hallorann. He had never done anything precisely like this before, and at the last instant some instinctive part of him rose up and blunted some of the thought's raw force-he didn't want to hurt Mr. Hallorann. Still the thought arrowed out of him with a force he never would have believed. It went like a Nolan Ryan fastball with a little extra on it.
(Gee I hope I don't hurt him)
And the thought was:
(!!! HI, DICK!!!)
Hallorann winced and jerked bac kward on the seat. His teeth came together with a hard click, drawing blood from his lower lip in a thin trickle. His hands flew up involuntarily from his lap to the level of his chest and then settled back again. For a moment his eyelids fluttered limply, with no conscious control, and Danny was frightened.
"Mr. Hallorann? Dick? Are you okay?"
"I don't know," Hallorann said, and laughed weakly. "I honest to God don't. My God, boy, you're a pistol."
"I'm sorry," Danny said, more alarmed. "Should I get my daddy? I'll run and get him."
"No, here I come. I'm okay, Danny. You just sit right there. I feel a little scrambled, that's all."
"I didn't go as hard as I could," Danny confessed. "I was scared to, at the last minute."
"Probably my good luck you did... my brains would be leakin out my ears." He saw the alarm on Danny's face and smiled. "No harm done. What did it feel like to you?"
"Like I was Nolan Ryan throwing a fastball," he replied promptly.
"You like baseball, do you?" Hallorann was rubbing his temples gingerly.
"Daddy and me like the Angels," Danny said. "The Red Sox in the American League East and the Angels in the West. We saw the Red Sox against Cincinnati in the World Series. I was a lot littler then. And Daddy was..." Danny's face went dark and troubled.
"Was what, Dan?"
"I forget," Danny said. He started to put his thumb in his mouth to suck it, but that was a baby trick. He put his hand back in his lap.
"Can you tell what your mom and dad are thinking, Danny?" Hallorann was watching him closely.
"Most times, if I want to. But usually I don't try."
"Why not?"
"Well..." he paused a moment, troubled. "It would be like peeking into the bedroom and watching while they're doing the thing that makes babies. Do you know that thing?"
"I have had acquaintance with it," Hallorann said gravely.
"They wouldn't like that. And they wouldn't like me peeking at their thinks. It would be dirty."
"I see."
"But I know how they're feeling," Danny said. "I can't help that. I know how you're feeling, too. I hurt you. I'm sorry."
"It's just a headache. I've had hangovers that were worse. Can you read other people, Danny?"
"I can't read yet at all," Danny said, "except a few words. But Daddy's going to teach me this winter. My daddy used to teach reading and writing in a big school. Mostly writing, but he knows reading, too."
"I mean, can you tell what anybody is thinking?"
Danny thought about it.
"I can if it's loud," he said finally. "Like Mrs. Brant and the pants. Or like once, when me and Mommy were in this big store to get me some shoes, there was this big kid looking at radios, and he was thinking about taking one without buying it. Then he'd think, what if I get caught? Then he'd think, I really want it. Then he'd think about getting caught again. He was making himself sick about it, and he was making me sick. Mommy was talking to the man who sells the shoes so I went over and said, `Kid, don't take that radio. Go away. ' And he got really scared. He went away fast."
Hallorann was grinning broadly. "I bet he did. Can you do anything else, Danny? Is it only thoughts and feelings, or is there more?"
Cautiously: "Is there more for you?"
"Sometimes," Hallorann said. "Not often. Sometimes... sometimes there are dreams. Do you dream, Danny?"
"Sometimes," Danny said, "I dream when I'm awake. After Tony comes." His thumb wanted to go into his mouth again. He had never told anyone but Mommy and Daddy about Tony. He made his thumb-sucking hand go back into his lap.
"Who's Tony?"
And suddenly Danny had one of those flashes of understanding that frightened him most of all; it was like a sudden glimpse of some incomprehensible machine that might be safe or might be deadly dangerous. He was too young to know which. He was too young to understand.
"What's wrong?" he cried. "You're asking me all this because you're worried, aren't you? Why are you worried about me? Why are you worried about us?"
Hallorann put his large dark hands on the small boy's shoulders. "Stop," he said. It's probably nothin. But if it is somethin... well, you've got a large thing in your head, Danny. You'll have to do a lot of growin yet before you catch up to it, I guess. You got to be brave about it."
"But I don't understand thingsl" Danny burst out. "I do but I don't! People... they feel things and I feel them, but I don't know what I'm feeling!" He looked down at his lap wretchedly. "I wish I could read. Sometimes Tony shows me signs and I can hardly read any of them."
"Who's Tony?" Hallorann asked again.
"Mommy and Daddy call him my `invisible playmate,"' Danny said, reciting the words carefully. "But he's really real. At least, I think he is. Sometimes, when I try real hard to understand things, he comes. He says, 'Danny, I want to show you something. ' And it's like I pass out. Only... there are dreams, like you said." He looked at Hallorann and swallowed. "They used to be nice. But now... I can't remember the word for dreams that scare you and make you cry."
"Nightmares?" Hallorann asked.
"Yes. That's right. Nightmares."
"About this place? About the Overlook?"
Danny looked down at his thumb-sucking hand again. "Yes," he whispered. Then he spoke shrilly, looking up into Hallorann's face: "But I can't tell my daddy, and you can't, either! He has to have this job because it's the only one Uncle Al could get for him and he has to finish his play or he might start doing the Bad Thing again and I know what that is, it's getting drunk, that's what it is, it's when he used to always be drunk and that was a Bad Thing to do!" He stopped, on the verge of tears.
"Shh," Hallorann said, and pulled Danny's face against the rough serge of his jacket. It smelled faintly of mothballs. "That's all right, son. And if that thumb likes your mouth, let it go where it wants." But his face was troubled.
He said: "What you got, son, I call it shinin on, the Bible calls it having visions, and there's scientists that call it precognition. I've read up on it, son. I've studied on it. They all mean seeing the future. Do you understand that?"
Danny nodded against Hallorann's coat.
"I remember the strongest shine I ever had that way... I'm not liable to forget. It was 1955. I was still in the Army then, stationed overseas in West Germany. It was an hour before supper, and I was standin by the sink, givin one of the KPs hell for takin too much of the potato along with the peel. I says, 'Here, lemme show you how that's done. ' He held out the potato and the peeler and then the whole kitchen was gone. Bang, just like that. You say you see this guy Tony before... before you have dreams?"
Danny nodded.
Hallorann put an arm around him. "With me it's smellin oranges. All that afternoon I'd been smellin them and thinkin nothin of it, because they were on the menu for that nightwe had thirty crates of Valencias. Everybody in the damn kitchen was smellin oranges that night.
"For a minute it was like I had just passed out. And then I heard an explosion and saw flames. There were people screaming. Sirens. And I heard this hissin noise that could only be steam. Then it seemed like I got a little closer to whatever it was and I saw a railroad car off the tracks and laying on its side with Georgia aced South Carolina Railroad written on it, and I knew like a flash that my brother Carl was on that train and it jumped the tracks and Carl was dead. Just like that. Then it was gone and here's this scared, stupid little KP in front of me, still holdin out that potato and the peeler. He says, 'Are you okay, Sarge?' And I says, `No. My brother's just been killed down in Georgia' And when I finally got my momma on the overseas telephone, she told me how it was.
"But see, boy, I already knew how it was."
He shook his head slowly, as if dismissing the memory, and looked down at the wide-eyed boy.
"But the thing you got to remember, my boy, is this: Those things don't always come true. I remember just four years ago I had a job cookin at a boys' camp up in Maine on Long Lake. So I am sittin by the boarding gate at Logan Airport in Boston, just waiting to get on my flight, and I start to smell oranges. For the first time in maybe five years. So I say to myself, 'My God, what's comin on this crazy late show now?' and I got down to the bathroom and sat on one of the toilets to be private. I never did black out, but I started to get this feelin, stronger and stronger, that my plane was gonna crash. Then the feeling went away, and the smell of oranges, and I knew it was over. I went back to the Delta Airlines desk and changed my flight to one three hours later. And do you know what happened?"
"What?" Danny whispered.
"Nothin!" Hallorann said, and laughed. He was relieved to see the boy smile a little, too. "Not one single thingl That old plane landed right on time and without a single bump or bruise. So you see... sometimes those feelins don't come to anything."
"Oh," Danny said.
"Or you take the race track. I go a lot, and I usually do pretty well. I stand by the rail when they go by the starting gate, and sometimes I get a little shine about this horse or that one. Usually those feelins help me get real well. I always tell myself that someday I'm gonna get three at once on three long shots and make enough on the trifecta to retire early. It ain't happened yet. But there's plenty of times I've come home from the track on shank's mare instead of in a taxicab with my wallet swollen up. Nobody shines on all the time, except maybe for God up in heaven."
"Yes, sir," Danny said, thinking of the time almost a year ago when Tony had showed him a new baby lying in a crib at their house in Stovington. He had been very excited about that, and had waited, knowing that it took time, but there had been no new baby.
"Now you listen," Hallorann said, and took both of Danny's hands in his own. "I've had some bad dreams here, and I've had some bad feelins. I've worked here two seasons now and maybe a dozen times I've had... well, nightmares. And maybe half a dozen times I've thought I've seen things. No, I won't say what. It ain't for a little boy like you. Just nasty things. Once it had something to do with those damn hedges clipped to look like animals. Another time there was a maid, Delores Vickery her name was, and she had a little shine to her, but I don't think she knew it. Mr. Ullman fired her... do you know what that is, doc?"
"Yes, sir," Danny said candidly, "my daddy got fired from his teaching job and that's why we're in Colorado, I guess."
"Well, Ullman fired her on account of her saying she'd seen something in one of the rooms where... well, where a bad thing happened. That was in Room 217, and I want you to promise me you won't go in there, Danny. Not all winter. Steer right clear."
"All right," Danny said. "Did the lady-the maiden-did she ask you to go look?"
"Yes, she did. And there was a bad thing there. But... I don't think it was a bad thing that could hurt anyone, Danny, that's what I'm tryin to say. People who shine can sometimes see things that are gonna happen, and I think sometimes they can see things that did happen. But they're just like pictures in a book. Did you ever see a picture in a book that scared you, Danny?"
"Yes," he said, thinking of the story of Bluebeard and the picture where Bluebeard's new wife opens the door and sees all the heads.
"But you knew it couldn't hurt you, didn't you?"
"Ye-ess..." Danny said, a little dubious.
"Well, that's how it is in this hotel. I don't know why, but it seems that all the bad things that ever happened here, there's little pieces of those things still layin around like fingernail clippins or the boogers that somebody nasty just wiped under a chair. I don't know why it should just be here, there's bad goings-on in just about every hotel in the world, I guess, and I've worked in a lot of them and had no trouble. Only here. But Danny, I don't think those things can hurt anybody." He emphasized each word in the sentence with a mild shake of the boy's shoulders. "So if you should see something, in a hallway or a room or outside by those hedges... just look the other way and when you look back, it'll be gone. Are you diggin me?"
"Yes," Danny said. He felt much better, soothed. He got up on his knees, kissed Hallorann's cheek, and gave him a big hard hug. Hallorann hugged him back.
When he released the boy he asked: "Your folks, they don't shine, do they?"
"No, I don't think so."
"I tried them like I did you," Hallorann said. "Your momma jumped the tiniest bit. I think all mothers shine a little, you know, at least until their kids grow up enough to watch out for themselves. Your dad..."
Hallorann paused momentarily. He had probed at the boy's father and he just didn't know. It wasn't like meeting someone who had the shine, or someone who definitely did not. Poking at Danny's father had been... strange, as if Jack Torrance had something-something-that he was hiding. Or something he was holding in so deeply submerged in himself that it was impossible to get to.
"I don't think he shines at all," Hallorann finished. "So you don't worry about them. You just take care of you. I don't think there's anything here that can hurt you. So just be cool, okay?"
"Danny! Hey, doc!"
Danny looked around. "That's Mom. She wants me. I have to go."
"I know you do," Hallorann said. "You have a good time here, Danny. Best you can, anyway."
"I will. Thanks, Mr. Hallorann. I feel a lot better."
The smiling thought came in his mind:
(Dick, to my friends) (Yes, Dick, okay)
Their eyes met, and Dick Hallorann winked.
Danny scrambled across the seat of the car and opened the passenger side door. As he was getting out, Hallorann said, "Danny?"
"If there Is trouble... you give a call. A big loud holler like the one you gave a few minutes ago. I might hear you even way down in Florida. And if I do, I'll come on the run."
"Okay," Danny said, and smiled.
"You take care, big boy."
"I will."
Danny slammed the door and ran across the parking lot toward the porch, where Wendy stood holding her elbows against the chill wind. Hallorann watched, the big grin slowly fading.
I don't think there's anything here that can hurt you.
I don't think.
But what if he was wrong? He had known that this was his last season at the Overlook ever since he had seen that thing in the bathtub of Room 217. It had been worse than any picture in any book, and from here the boy running to his mother looked so small...
I don't think-
His eyes drifted down to the topiary animals.
Abruptly he started the car and put it in gear and drove away, trying not to look back. And of course he did, and of course the porch was empty. They had gone back inside. It was as if the Overlook had swallowed them.