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SALEM'S LOT

by: Stephen King


I think it's relatively easy for people to accept something like telepathy or precognition or teleplasm because their willingness to believe doesn't cost them anything. It doesn't keep them awake nights. But the idea that the evil that men do lives after them is unsettling.

They're in those houses. Right now, in all those houses. Behind the shades. In beds and closets and cellars. Under the floors. Hiding.

I think that house might be Hubert Marsten's monument to evil, a kind of psychic sounding board. A supernatural beacon, if you like. Sitting there all these years, maybe holding the essence of Hubie's evil in its old, moldering bones.

Glynis Mayberry called Mabel Werts, said she was frightened, and asked if she could come over and spend the evening with her until her husband got back from Waterville. Mabel agreed with almost pitiful relief, and when she opened the door ten minutes later, Glynis was standing there stark naked, her purse over her arm, grinning with huge, ravenous incisors. Mabel had time to scream, but only once.

She is very lovely ... very toothsome if I may be permitted a small bon mot.

Spring is not the finest season in New England—it's too short, too uncertain, too apt to turn savage on short notice. Even so, there are April days which linger in the memory even after one has forgotten the wife's touch, or the feel of the baby's toothless mouth at the nipple.

When fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass ... it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.

In the fall, night comes like this... The sun loses its thin grip on the air first, turning it cold, making it remember that winter is coming and winter will be long. Thin clouds form, and the shadows lengthen out. They have no breadth, as summer shadows have; there are no leaves on the trees or fat clouds in the sky to make them thick. They are gaunt, mean shadows that bite the ground like teeth.

And if there are no cars or planes, and if no one's Uncle John is out in the wood lot west of town banging away at a quail or a pheasant; if the only sound is the slow beat of your own heart, you can hear another sound, and that is the sound of life winding down to its cyclic close, waiting for the first winter snow to perform last rites.

Understand death? Sure. That was when the monsters got you.

Alone. Yes, that's the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn't hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.

If a fear cannot be articulated, it can't be conquered.

Fears locked in small brains are much too large to pass through the orifice of the mouth.

The town knew about darkness. It knew about the darkness that comes on the land when rotation hides the land from the sun, and about the darkness of the human soul. These are the town's secrets, and some will later be known and some will never be known. The town keeps them all with the ultimate poker face.

Fighting him is like fighting the wind. We must seem like little bugs to him. Little bugs scurrying around for his amusement.

No one pronounced Jerusalem's Lot dead on the morning of October 6; no one knew it was. Like the bodies of the previous days, it retained every semblance of life.

They say fire purifies. Purification should count for something, don't you think?

We must go through bitter waters before we reach the sweet.

Tourists and through-travelers still passed by on Route-12, seeing nothing of the Lot but an Elks billboard and a thirty-five-mile-an-hour speed sign. Outside of town they went back up to sixty and perhaps dismissed it with a single thought: Christ, what a dead little place.

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