Home > Carrie(6)

Author: Stephen King

(but today o today)

Tommy Erbter, age five, was biking up the other side of the street. He was a small, intense-looking boy on a twenty-inch Schwinn with bright-red training wheels. He was humming 'Scoobie Doo, where are you?' under his breath. He saw Carrie, brightened, and stuck out his tongue.

'Hey, ol' fart-face! Ol' prayin' Carrie!'

Carrie glared at him with sudden smoking rage. The bike wobbled on its training wheels and suddenly fell over. Tommy screamed. The bike was on top of him. Carrie smiled and walked on. The sound of Tommy's wails was sweet, jangling music in her ears.

If only she could make something like that happen whenever she liked.

(just did)

She stopped dead seven houses up from her own, staring blankly at nothing. Behind her, Tommy was climbing tearfully back on to his bike, nursing a scraped knee. He yelled something at her, but she ignored it. She had been yelled at by experts.

She had been thinking:

(fall off that bike kid push you off that bike and split your rotten head)

And something had happened

Her mind had ... had ... she groped for a word. Had flexed. That was not just right, but it was very close. There had been a curious mental bending, almost like an elbow curling a dumbbell. That wasn't exactly right either, but it was all she could think of. An elbow with no strength. A weak baby muscle.


She suddenly stared fiercely at Mrs Yorraty's big picture window. She thought:

(stupid frumpty old bitch break that window)

Nothing. Mrs Yorraty's picture window glittered serenely in the fresh nine o'clock glow of morning. Another cramp gripped Carrie's belly and she walked on.

But ...

The light. And the ashtray; don't forget the ashtray.

She looked back

(old bitch hates my momma)

over her shoulder. Again it seemed that something flexed ... but very weakly. The flow of her thoughts shuddered as if there had been a sudden bubbling from a wellspring deeper inside.

The picture window seemed to ripple. Nothing more. It could have been her eyes. Could have been.

Her head began to feel tired and fuzzy, and it throbbed with the beginning of a headache. Her eyes were hot, as if she had just sat down and read the Book of Revelations straight through.

She continued to walk down the street toward the small white house with the blue shutters. The familiar hate-love-dread feeling was churning inside her. Ivy had crawled up the west side of the bungalow (they always called it the bungalow because the White house sounded like a political joke and Momma said all politicians were crooks and sinners and would eventually give the country over to the Godless Reds who would put all the believers of Jesus - even the Catholics - up against the wall), and the ivy was picturesque, she knew it was, but sometimes she hated it. Sometimes, like now, the ivy looked like a grotesque giant hand ridged with great veins which had sprung up out of the ground to grip the building. She approached it with dragging feet.

Of course, there had been the stones.

She stopped again, blinking vapidly at the day. The stones. Momma never talked about that; Carrie didn't even know if her momma still remembered the day of the stones. It was surprising that she herself still remembered it. She had been a very little girl then. How old? Three? Four? There had been the girl in the white bathing suit, and then the stones came. And things had flown in the house. Here the memory was, suddenly bright and clear. As if it had been here all along, just below the surface, waiting for a kind of mental puberty.

Waiting, maybe, for today.

From Carrie: The Black Dawn of T.K. (Esquire Magazine, September 12, 1980) by Jack Gaver:

Estelle Horan had lived in the neat San Diego suburb of Parrish for twelve years, and outwardly she is typical Mrs California: She wears bright print shifts and smoked amber sunglasses; her hair is black-streaked blonde; she drives a neat maroon Volkswagen Formula Vee with a smile decal on the petrol cap and a green-flag ecology sticker on the back window. Her husband is an executive at the Parrish branch of the Bank of America; her son and daughter are certified members of the Southern California Sun 'n Fun Crowd, burnished-brown beach creatures. There is a hibachi in the small, beautifully kept back yard, and the door chimes play a tinkly phrase from the refrain of 'Hey, Jude.'

But Mrs Horan still carries the thin, difficult soil of New England somewhere inside her, and when she talks of Carrie White her face takes on an odd, pinched look that is more like Lovecraft out of Arkham than Kerouac out of Southern Cat.

'Of course she was strange,' Estelle Horan tells me. lighting a second Virginia Slim a moment after stubbing out her first. 'The whole family was strange. Ralph was a construction worker, and people on the street said he carried a Bible and a .38 revolver to work with him every day. The Bible was for his coffee break and lunch. The .38 was in case he met Antichrist on the job, I can remember the Bible myself. The revolver ... who knows? He was a big olive-skinned man with his hair always shaved into a flattop crewcut. He always looked mean. And you didn't meet his eyes, not ever. They were so intense they actually seemed to glow. When you saw him coming you crossed the street and you never stuck out your tongue at his back, not ever. That's how spooky he was.'

She pauses, puffing clouds of cigarette smoke toward the pseudo-redwood beams that cross the ceiling. Stella Horan lived on Carlin Street until she was twenty, commuting to day classes at Lewin Business College in Motton. But she remembers the incidents of the stones very clearly.

'There are times,' she says, 'when I wonder if I might have caused it. Their back yard was next to ours, and Mrs White had put in a hedge but it hadn't grown out yet. She'd called my mother dozens of times about "the show" I was putting on in my back yard. Well, my bathing suit was perfectly decent - prudish by today's standards - nothing but a plain old one-piece Jantzen. Mrs White used to go on and on about what a scandal it was for "her baby." My mother..-. well, she tries to be polite, but her temper is so quick. I don't know what Margaret White did to finally push her over the edge - called me the Whore of Babylon, I suppose - but my mother told her our yard was our yard and I'd go out and dance the hootchie-kootchie buck naked if that was her pleasure and mine. She also told her that she was a dirty old woman with a can of worms for a mind. There was a lot more shouting, but that was the upshot of it.

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