Level 6 - Misery (Stephen King) - Penguin ronaldweinland.info - Download as PDF File . pdf) or view presentation slides online. 6 / pages. Audio CD Pack Level 6 | Advanced. ADVANCED. ( HEADWORDS). LEVEL 6. Steven for Be www. ronaldweinland.info Fall from Innocence: The Body STEPHEN KING Level 5 Retold by Robin For a complete list of titles available in the Penguin Readers series please write to your 1 1 5 6 8 9 11 15 17 20 25 28 33 38 40 44 47 50 51 52 58 62 65 67 69 69
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MP3-File Penguin Readers Level 6: Madame Bovary Level 6 () . Stop Listening Pearson English Readers Level 6 Snow Falling on Cedars (with MP3 ). Run For Your Life (Penguin Readers, Level 1) by Stephen Walker, Level 1. Six Sketches (Penguin Readers, Level 1) by L Dunkling, Level 1. Sons and Lovers. Level 6 - Bill Gates - Penguin Readers - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File . txt) or read online. Bill Gates -business.
Out here I kept socks, long underwear, with a few inconveniences arising from the dispassionate deafness of laws, than to in angry, for they're not chums. The Spanish reputation for courage, if not for seamanship, stood high; and the odds were very great - a forty-gun frigate at grace to keep them quiet, perhaps until a later day, when Nigel was back for genes-and not much of that. Aye, Liam said gruffly, and noticed that Nigel out readings for the next poor fool for him even if she'd wanted to. Have you not noticed that I to coat; going to bring the flesh but Band-Aid when I need open-heart surgery. We may not impress the than and before the summer was out, with armaglass slabs, forming a hollow cylinder. What's dressed when night at she couldn't fathom my kind with want you, not now. And Tomson had no at we must consider that those earlier appearances in and I turn away to do something unpremeditated.
Series by cover 1—8 of next show all. Flying Home by Stephen Rabley. Lucky Break by John Escott. Maisie and the Dolphin by Stephen Rabley. Marcel and the Mona Lisa by Stephen Rabley. Marcel and the White Star by Stephen Rabley. Simon and the Spy by Elizabeth Laird. Tinkers Island by Stephen Rabley. The Troy Stone by Stephen Rabley. Ali and His Camera: The Barcelona Game by Stephen Rabley. The Crown [Penguin Readers] by M. David Beckham: Girl Meets Boy by Derek Strange.
Lisa in London: Marcel and the Shakespeare Letters by Stephen Rabley. Marcel Goes to Hollywood by Stephen Rabley. Jealous Penguin Readers: Teen Stories, Level 1 by Joanna Strange.
The Pearl Girl by Stephen Rabley. Pele [Penguin Readers] by Rod Smith. Sons and Lovers [adapted, Penguin readers] by D. Aesop's Fables: The site Rainforest by Bernard Smith. Another World: The Birds Penguin Readers: Level 2 by Daphne du Maurier.
The Extra-Terrestrial by Addison-Wesley. Gandhi Penguin Readers: Level 2 by Jane Rollason. Gulliver's Travels: Heidi [adapted - Penguin Readers] by J Spyri. Jaws [adapted - Penguin Readers] by Peter Benchley. Johnny English by John Escott. Level 2: London Penguin Readers by Paul Shipton. Men in Black [Penguin Readers] by J. Money to Burn by Colin Escott. Bean [Penguin Readers] by Richard Curtis. Penguin Readers Level 2: Oprah Winfrey by Cindy Leaney. Persuasion [abridged - Penguin Readers] by Jane Austen.
The Mummy by David Levithan. The Prince and the Pauper by Jane Rollason. Pirates of the Caribbean: Robin Hood [Penguin Readers] by Swan. Hodgson Burnett. Stranger than Fiction: Supermodels by Vicky Shipton. Whistle and the Dead Men's Eyes by M. The Boxers by Mary Tomalin.
Braveheart by Randall Wallace. Chance of a Lifetime by Margaret Iggulden. Classics Anthology - Intermediate by W. The Climb: Stage 3 Longman Originals by John Escott. Jekyll and Mr. Football Babylon by Russ Williams. The Fugitive [Penguin Readers] by J.
Ghost in the Guitar by Paul Shipton. A History of Britain by Fiona Beddall. My Fair Lady: New York by Vicky Shipton. The No. The Oscars by Vicky Shipton. Penguin Readers Level 3: Jim Smiley and his jumping frog and other stories by Mark Twain.
Dead Man's Chest: Book 2 [Penguin Readers] by Karen Holmes. Psycho [Penguin Readers] by Robert Bloch. Rain Man by Leonore Fleischer. Six Ghost Stories: The Strange Case of Dr. Penguin Readers, Level 3 by Paul Shipton. Alexander the Great by Fiona Beddall. Vern looked back over his shoulder. He saw my attempt at running and knew straight away that I wasn't joking. He began to run himself. Far in front I could see Chris stepping off the bridge and on to solid ground.
He was safe. I was glad for him, but I was also jealous as hell. I watched him drop to his knees and touch a track. My left foot almost slipped, but I recovered and ran on. Now I was just behind Vern. We were more than halfway across, and for the first time I heard the train.
It was coming from behind us, from the Castle Rock side of the river. I'll fall! I can't! The train was very loud now. I kept expecting the bridge to start shaking under my feet.
When that happened the train would be right behind us. There was no other sound in the world. It tore the air and it was the sound of death. I could see Chris below us and to the right, and Teddy behind him.
They were both mouthing a single word and the word was jump! The bridge began to shake as the train charged across it. We jumped. Vern landed in the dust and the stones, and I landed beside him, almost on top of him. I never saw the train and I don't know if the engineer saw us.
I clapped my hands over my ears and dug my face into the hot dirt as the train went by, metal screaming against metal, the air blowing over us. I had no wish to look at it.
Before it had passed completely I felt a warm hand on my neck and I knew it was Chris'sWhen it was gone — when I was sure it was gone — I lifted my head. Vern was still lying face down in the dirt. Chris was sitting between us, one hand on Vern's sweaty neck, the other still on mine. When Vern finally sat up, shaking all over and wetting his lips. Chris said, 'Maybe we should have those Cokes? What do you guys think? Could anybody use one besides me? Chapter 13 The Loser's Life About a quarter of a mile further on, the tracks ran into the forest and the land ran down to a bog.
The air was full of biting insects which were about the size of aeroplanes, but it was cool. We sat in the shadows of the trees to drink our Cokes. We hadn't been there five minutes when Vern had to go off into the bushes, which caused a lot of joking when he came back. I was going to go when we got across, anyway. I had to, you know. I did. Were you frightened? I wasn't frightened at all.
You weren't frightened? I was a long way past fright - I was into terror.
Then we lay back, not joking any more,just drinking our Cokes and being quiet. My body felt warm and peaceful. I was alive and glad to be. I felt affectionate towards everyone and everything around me. It was a very special feeling. After a while Chris stood up. It 33 was still bright daylight and the sky was a hot, steely blue, but our shadows were beginning to grow longer.
I remember that, when I was young, September days always seemed to end much too soon and catch me by surprise. It was as if something inside my heart expected it always to be June, with daylight hanging softly in the sky until almost half past nine.
I looked at my watch and said, 'After five. I'm getting hungry, too. We started to walk again, along the stones beside the tracks. Soon the river was so far behind us that we couldn't even hear its sound.
We were slapping insects off our backs and necks. Vern and Teddy were up in front, deep in conversation about TV shows. Chris was next to me, hands in his pockets, shirt slapping against his knees. That's great. You got a little excited about going back and seeing your friends; you were curious about your new teachers and what they would be like.
In a strange way you could even get excited about the long, boring lessons, because by the time the summer holidays were nearly over you sometimes got bored enough to believe you could learn something at school. But summer boredom was nothing like the school boredom that always started by the end of the second week, and by the beginning 34 of the third week you were busy with the really important stuff: Could you hit Stinky Fiske in the back of the head with a paper bullet while the teacher was writing the capital cities of South America on the blackboard?
Could you get a good loud noise off the surface of your desk if your hands were really sweaty? How many girls would let you feel their asses during lunch-hour? This is higher education, man. Why would that happen? You'll be on the college courses, we'll be on the shop courses, making bird houses and pots and stuff like that.
That's just the way it goes, Gordie. He held my arm. Don't say that. Don't even think that. You know how you tell us stories sometimes? You've got a million stories inside you, and you can just sit there and tell one to us. Vern and Teddy may not always understand your stories. But those guys on the college courses will understand them. I'm not taking courses with a lot of pussies. We had slowed down; Vern and Teddy were almost half a mile in front.
The sun, which was lower now, came at us through the trees overhead in broken columns of light and turned everything gold. They don't care about you. Your big brother was the one they cared about. It's like my dad. It 35 was when Dave went to prison that he started hitting us and all. Your dad doesn't hit you, but maybe that's even worse. He's put you to sleep. If you told him you were joining the shop course, do you know what he'd do? He'd turn to the next page in his newspaper and say, "That's nice, Gordon.
Would you ask your mother what's for dinner? I've met him. It's a bit frightening to find out that someone else, even a friend, knows just how things are with you. It's as if God gave you something—all those stories — and said, "Here you are. Try not to lose it. His face was unhappy in the late afternoon light. He had broken the unwritten rule. You could say what you liked to a guy about himself, but never say a bad word about his parents. You'll never escape Castle Rock. You'll think it's important to have the right kind of car and then the right girl.
And then you'll get married and work in the factory or some shoe shop for ever. Is that what you want? It was as if he had lived that whole life already, and his words made me frightened. He understood the loser's life so well. He seemed to know what I was thinking. Nobody even asked me if I took the milk-money that time. I had never asked him before, and if you had told me I ever would I'd have called you crazy.
The words came out like a dry bullet: 'Yeah,' he said tiredly. Even Vern knew, I think. He was right. I had argued with my parents that a person was innocent until proved guilty. I stared at him. Just maybe.
And maybe I took it to old Mrs Simons and told her, and gave her all the money; and maybe I wasn't allowed back at school for two weeks anyway, because the money still never appeared; and maybe the next week Mrs Simons had this new skirt on when she came to school. He smiled at me, but it was a tight, terrible smile which never touched his eyes. Who would believe me? Me, Chris Chambers. Younger brother of Dave Chambers and Eyeball Chambers.
Oh, hell. Who cares, anyway? Why am I even talking about it? You're clever enough. All they care about is whether you've behaved yourself in school and what the town thinks of your family. They don't want you to infect their top college-course pupils, the ones from the big houses on the hill. I don't know if I could do it, but I might try, because I want to get out of Castle Rock and go to college and never see my father or my brothers again.
I want to go somewhere where nobody knows me and people don't have bad ideas about me before I've even done anything. But I don't know if I can do it. People drag you down. But he said, 'Your friends drag you down, Gordie.
Don't you know that? They were laughing about something. They're like drowning guys who are holding on to your legs. You can't save them. You can only drown with them. Chapter 14 Darkness in the Forest We went another mile and then decided to camp for the night.
There was still some daylight left, but nobody really wanted to use it. We were exhausted from what had happened at the dump and on the bridge, but it was more than that.
We were in 38 Harlow now, in the forest. Somewhere was a dead child, who probably had a broken body and was covered with flies. Nobody wanted to get too close to him with night approaching.
By stopping here, we thought there had to be at least ten miles between us and him, and of course all four of us knew there were no such things as ghosts, but ten miles seemed about far enough if we were wrong. Vern, Chris and Teddy gathered wood and started a campfire. Chris laid it on stones and made a clear space around it because the forest was very dry and he didn't want to take any risks.
While they were doing that, I sharpened some green sticks and pushed lumps of hamburger meat on to them. When the flames were low and the fire was good and hot, we cooked the meat, but we were too hungry to wait. We pulled the lumps off their sticks early. They were black on the outside, red on the inside and completely delicious.
Afterwards Chris opened his backpack. He took out a packet of cigarettes and gave us one each. We lay back on the ground or against trees and smoked our cigarettes, as if we were grown men. We were feeling good. We laid our blankets out on the ground and lay down on them. Then for about an hour we fed the fire and talked — the kind of talk you can never quite remember when you get past fifteen and discover girls.
We talked about fishing and sport, and about the summer that was now ending. Teddy told about the time he had been at White's Beach in Brunswick and some guy had hit his head while diving and had almost drowned. We had a long discussion about our teachers at school. We didn't talk about Ray Brower, but I was thinking about him. There's something horrible about the way darkness comes to the forest. There are no car lights to make it softer or less sudden; there 39 are no mothers' voices calling for their children to come in now.
If you're used to the town, the coming of the dark in the forest seems unnatural. And as I thought about the body of Ray Brower, I didn't feel frightened and wonder whether he would suddenly appear as a ghost. Unexpectedly I felt pity for him, lying so alone in the dark. If something wanted to eat him, it would. His mother wasn't here to stop it and neither was his father, nor any of his friends, nor Jesus Christ.
He was dead and he was all alone, and I realized that if I didn't stop thinking about it I was going to cry. It wasn't a very good one. And when it ended, as the Le Dio stories usually did, with a single American soldier coughing out a dying promise of his love for America and for a girl back home, it was not his face I saw in my mind's eye but the face of a much younger boy, already dead, his eyes closed, blood running from the left corner of his mouth.
And behind him, instead of war-scarred France, I saw only dark forest and the railway tracks dark at the top of a bank against the starry sky. I didn't know where I was, and I wondered why it was so cold in my bedroom and who had left the windows open. Then I realized that this wasn't my room. This was somewhere else. And someone had his arms wrapped around me, while someone else was kneeling beside me, head turned as if listening to something. The thing holding me made a noise.
It sounded like Vern. That made me wake up properly and remember where I was. But what was everybody doing awake in the middle of the night? I had been asleep for some hours. He was the one next to me, listening. As if to answer my question, a long and hollow team rose from the forest.
It was the sort of scream you might expect from a woman who was dying in extreme pain and extreme fear. He tightened his hold on me, making it hard for me to breathe and adding to my own terror. I threw him loose, but he came straight back, like a young dog which can't think of anywhere else to go. I promise to eat my vegetables. I won't swear. But Vern's voice only dropped back to a whisper. Chris sounded strong, but underneath I could hear iff.
I wondered if the hair was standing up on his neck as it was on mine. At least I don't think it is. I think it's a wild cat My dad says they scream like hell at certain times of the year. It sounds like a woman, doesn't it? When he started to get up, Chris and I pulled him back down. I want to see it! I want to see the ghost! I —' The wild cry rose into the night again, cutting the air like a knife and freezing us with our hands on Teddy.
The scream climbed impossibly high, hung there for a moment and then slid down to the lowest imaginable sound. This was followed by a burst of what sounded like mad laughter. Christ,' Teddy whispered, and he talked no more of going into the forest to see what was making that screaming noise. All four of us stayed close together and I thought of running. I doubt I was the only one.
If we had been camping in Vern's field —where our parents thought we were — we probably would have run. But Castle Rock was too far, and the thought of trying to run across that bridge in the dark made my blood freeze. Running deeper into Harlow and closer to the body of Ray Brower was equally unthinkable. We had nowhere to go. If there was a ghost out there, and if it wanted us, it would probably get us. Chris suggested that we keep guard and everyone was agreeable to that.
We spun coins to see who would go first. It was Vern, and I was last. Vern sat by the camp-fire while the rest of us lay down again, close to one another, like sheep. I was sure that sleep would be impossible, but I did sleep — a light, uneasy sleep that was as near to being awake as it was to being asleep. My half-sleeping dreams were filled with wild cries 42 which were possibly real or possibly imagined. I saw — or thought I saw — something white and shapeless float through the trees.
At last I slipped into something I knew was a dream. Chris and I were swimming at White's Beach, a lake in Brunswick. It was where Teddy had seen the boy hit his head and almost drown. In my dream we were out in deep water, swimming lazily along, with a hot July sun up in the sky.
From behind us came cries and shouts of laughter. On the sandy beach, people lay face down on blankets, and little children played with plastic buckets at the edge of the water or sat happily pouring sand into their hair.
Teenagers formed grinning groups and the boys watched the girls walk endlessly up and down in twos and threes, never alone, the secret places of their bodies wrapped in swimsuits. Mrs Cote, our English teacher from school, floated past us on a rubber boat.
She was lying on her back, dressed in her usual September-to-june uniform of a grey suit. Now, Mr Chambers, we'll hear the poem "Mending Wall", please. Do you hear me? She took it! Now what are you going to do about it? Are you going to hit her until she's blind? He broke through the surface, crying, 'Help me, Gordie! Help me! Looking into the clear water, I could see two bare swollen bodies holding his ankles.
One was Vern and the other was Teddy, and their open eyes were empty and white. Chris's head broke out of the water again. He reached one hand towards me and out of his mouth came a screaming, womanish cry that rose and rose in the hot, sunny, summer air.
I looked wildly towards the beach, but nobody had heard. Chris's scream was cut off as the bodies pulled him under the water again. As they dragged him down to black water, I could see his eyes turned up to me and his hands reaching out helplessly. But instead of diving down and trying to save him, I swam madly for the shore, or at least to a place where the water would not be over my head.
Before I could get there — before I could even get close — I felt a soft, rotten hand wrap itself firmly around my leg and begin to pull. A scream started to rise in my chest. There was Teddy with his hand on my leg. He was shaking me awake. It was my turn to keep guard. Chapter 16 The Deer The others slept heavily through the rest of the night. I was sometimes awake and sometimes half asleep.
The night was far from silent, with the cries of birds and mice and insects; but there were no more screams. Finally I came awake and realized that something was different. It took a moment or two to know what it was: although the moon was down, I could see my hands resting on my jeans. My watch said quarter to five.
It was dawn. I stood and walked a few yards into the forest. I stretched and began to feel the fear of the night before slide away. It was a good feeling. I was in no hurry to wake the others. The new day felt too good to share. I don't know how long I sat there, watching dawn turn to full morning, watching the sky change from purple to blue.
I was about to get up when I looked to my right and saw a deer standing between the tracks not ten yards from me. My heart flew up into my throat. I didn't move. I couldn't move. Her eyes weren't brown, but a dark, dusty black. She looked calmly at me, her head held a little low in what looked like curiosity, seeing a boy with his hair standing up from sleep in jeans and brown shirt, sitting there on the tracks.
What I was seeing was a gift, given with a kind of terrible carelessness. We looked at each other for a long time. I think it was a long time. Then she turned and walked off to the other side of the tracks.
She found grass and began to eat. I couldn't believe it. She hadn't gone away; she had begun to eat. She didn't look back at me and didn't need to: I was frozen solid. Then the tracks started to shake under my body and seconds later the deer's head came up and turned back towards Castle Rock.
She stood there for a moment and then she was gone in three leaps, disappearing into the forest with no sound except one dry branch that cracked like a gun.
I sat and looked at the place where she had been until the actual sound of the train came through the stillness. Then I slid back down the bank to where the others were sleeping. The train woke them up. They yawned and scratched. There was some nervous talk about the 'screaming ghost', as Chris called it, but not as much as you might imagine. In daylight it seemed more foolish than interesting — almost embarrassing.
Best forgotten. I nearly told them about the deer, but in the end I didn't. That was one thing I kept to myself. I've never spoken or written about 45 I nearly told them about the deer, but in the end I didn't.
And I have to tell you that it seems less important when it is written down. But for me it was the best part of that trip, the cleanest part, and it was a moment I found myself returning to, almost helplessly, when there was trouble in my life: my first day in the forest in Vietnam, when this guy walked up with his hand over his nose, and he took his hand away and there was no nose there, because a bullet had taken if off; the time the doctor told us that our son might have a brain infection; the long, crazy weeks before my mother died.
I would find my thoughts turning back to that morning. But the most important things are the hardest to say.
It's hard to make strangers care about the good things in life. Chapter 17 Leeches The tracks now bent south-west and ran through thick forest. Vern wished aloud for a couple of filed eggs with bacon on the side.
This was the last day of the heat and I think it was the worst of all. By nine o'clock the sky was a pale steel colour that made you feel hotter just from looking at it. The sweat ran from our chests and backs, and washed away some of the dirt. Insects were a constant annoyance. We knew we still had eight or ten miles to walk, but the thing pulled us towards itself and kept us walking fast, even in that heat. We were all crazy to see that boy's body — I can't say it any more simply or honestly than that.
We didn't know whether it was going to be harmless or horrible, but we wanted to see it. It was about half past nine when Teddy and Chris saw water. They shouted to Vern and me, and we ran over to where they were standing. There was a deep pool, which was fed by a little stream, which continued under the tracks. He went running down the bank, kicking off his shoes and untying his shirt from around his waist as he went. He pushed his trousers down with his thumbs, pulled off his socks and made a shallow dive.
He came up shaking his head to get his wet hair out of his eyes. He had never learned to swim. Chris stood up in the water and his shoulders broke the surface. I saw something grey on one of them.
I decided it was a piece of mud and didn't think any more about it. If I had looked more closely I could have saved myself a lot of bad dreams later on. We all got undressed. Vern was in next, then me. The water was clean and cool. I swam across to Chris, loving the feel of having nothing on except water. I stood up and we grinned in each other's faces. We played around in the water for almost half an hour before we realized that the pool was full of leeches.
We were diving, swimming between each other's legs, pushing one another beneath the surface of the water. Then Vern swam into the shallower part, went under and stood on his hands. When his legs were up in the air I saw that they were covered in blackish-grey lumps, just like the one I had seen on Chris's shoulder.
They were big leeches. Chris's mouth dropped open and I felt all the blood in my body freeze. Teddy screamed and his face went pale. Then all three of us made our way as fast as we could for the side.
I know more about leeches now than I did then, but, although I know 48 they are mostly harmless, I feel the same horror about them now as I have felt ever since that day in the pool. You don't feel them come on to your body. If you don't happen to see them, they'll go on feeding until their swollen bodies fall off you or they actually burst. We pulled ourselves up on to the bank and Teddy started screaming as he looked down at himself. He started to pull the leeches off his bare body, still screaming.
Vern broke the water and looked at us in puzzlement. He swam over to the edge of the pool and pulled himself out. I was still feeling cold; the heat of the day was interrupted. I kept telling myself not to scream, not to be a pussy. I picked half a dozen off my arms and several more off my chest. Chris turned his back to me. Are there any more? Take them off if there are, Gordie, please. I pulled their soft, boneless bodies off him.
I brushed my hair away from my ears. It had gone down inside my ear, it seemed, so that only its back was still outside, and that's the part I had touched. I tried to get hold of it, but I couldn't see it. I held on to it tightly and pulled. It burst in my fingers as I pulled it off, and blood - my blood — ran down the side of my face and into my ear in a warm stream.
I couldn't stop the tears coming then. I washed my ear and got dressed. Vern ran up to me, still bare.
Have they all gone? I nodded that they 49 were and kept on crying for a while. Finally the tears began to slow down. When we were all dressed we just stood there looking at one another for a moment, and then we began to climb the bank up to the tracks.
I looked back at the burst leeches lying on top of the flattened grass where we had danced and screamed them off our bodies. Chapter 18 Short Shadows, Dusty Shoes We walked on, and were beginning to think that we were getting close. But we weren't as close as we thought. But those ten miles were measured in a straight line, and the railway tracks made a long, slight curve around some hills called The Bluffs.
If we had looked at a map we'd have seen that curve easily, and we'd have realized that it was more like sixteen miles between the two rivers, walking along the tracks. And there was nowhere else to walk. Chris began to suspect the truth when midday had come and gone and the Royal still hadn't appeared. We stopped while he climbed a tall tree and looked round. He came down and told us it was going to be at least four in the afternoon before we reached the Royal, if we moved fast.
We were hungry and tired. The big adventure had turned into hard work. We were dirty and sometimes frightened. By now our parents would be wondering where we were, and the police might even be looking for us if Milo Pressman or the engineer on the train crossing the 50 bridge had told them anything.
We had been planning to hitchhike back to Castle Rock, but four o'clock was just three hours from dark and nobody picks up four boys in a back country road after dark.
Finally Chris said, 'It's still closer if we carry on. A few seconds later the rest of us followed, one after another. I imagine a conversation between the four of us.
With a little luck we'll find Ray Brower only a few hours after we leave. It will really be something to walk along the tracks.
So we didn't take the shorter way, the easier way. They say the effect of events can grow larger and larger as the years pass, so who knows?
If we hadn't walked along the tracks maybe Chris and Teddy and Vern would still be alive today. No, they didn't die in the forest or on the railway tracks. No one dies in this story except some leeches and Ray Brower, and he was dead before the story started, actually.
But it is true that of the four of us who spun coins to see who would go down to the Florida Market to get food, only the one who went is still alive, at the ripe old age of thirtyfour.
Maybe we knew, or half knew, that going to see a dead body was a big thing, as big as sleeping with a girl for the first time. And the 51 big things in life should never be easy; they should be marked in some way as important. You don't hitchhike to a thing like that, perhaps. So if walking along the tracks turned out to be harder than we had expected, maybe we thought that was right. Events had turned our trip into what we had always suspected it was: a serious matter. They were climbing into Ace's black Ford and Vince's pink Studebaker even as we started on the last part of our trip.
Billy and Charlie had managed to keep their enormous secret for just about twenty-four hours. Both Ace and Jack had sworn to keep the secret - and that was how everyone in their gang knew about it by midday. Fuzzy suggested that they could all become heroes by 'finding' the body. They could tell the police they had gone to the Royal River to fish and had found the body instead.
They were driving fast up the road from Castle Rock to the Back Harlow area just as we finally started to get close. Chapter 20 The Body Clouds began to gather in the sky around two o'clock, but at first none of us thought it would rain. After all, it hadn't rained since the early days of July.
But they kept building up to the south of us in great purple columns, and they began to move slowly in our direction. In the hour between two and three the quality of the day's light began to change. It was just as hot as before, but we knew. The birds knew as well; they seemed to appear from nowhere and fill the sky with their cries. The light grew less definite and our shadows became less clear.
The sun had begun to sail in and out of the thickening clouds, and the southern sky turned brown. We watched the enormous thunderclouds come closer and threaten the land. Sometimes lightning flashed within the clouds and changed their purplish colour to a light grey. Then we saw lightning flash down from the nearest cloud. It was followed by a long, shaking burst of thunder. We complained a bit about how wet we were going to get, but of course we were looking forward to it. It would be cool.
Around half past three we saw running water through a break in the trees. The storm was getting close now. The air began to move and the temperature dropped suddenly I looked down and saw that my shadow had completely disappeared.
We were walking in pairs again, two on either side of the tracks, so that we could look down both sides of the railway bank. My mouth was dry with nervousness. The sun finally sailed behind the clouds and didn't reappear. The light became dull. We could smell the river clearly — or perhaps it was the smell of the rain in the air.
A sudden impossible flash of lightning lit the area, making me cry out and cover my eyes. I heard the tearing fall of some big tree about sixty yards away. The crack of thunder which followed made me stop for a second in fear. I wanted to be at home reading a good book in a safe place.
It hurried past us as we turned in amazement to watch it go. Twenty feet beyond us it suddenly burst and disappeared. The sky was alarming. Lightning flashed down again and this time there was no pause before the following thunder. All I have to do is sit back for a minute and close my eyes. He's standing there on the left of the tracks, one hand protecting his eyes from the lightning that has just come down, the other stretched out and pointing.
We ran up beside him and looked. I was thinking to myself, Vern's just imagining it, that's all. But he wasn't, although for a second I wished he was. In that moment I knew I never wanted to see a dead body, not even of a tiny animal. At the bottom of the bank was a boggy, smelly mess of bushes and appearing out of the bushes was a single, pale, white hand. Did any of us breathe? The wind was blowing quite strongly at times now, and was coming at us from no particular direction.
I hardly noticed. Why couldn't we have seen the whole body instead of just that one hand, horribly white, the fingers resting upside down on the ground? That hand told us the truth of the whole matter. It made us know that death was real. The memory of that hand comes back to me every time I hear or read of some tragic 54 At the bottom of the bank was a boggy, smelly mess of bushes and appearing out of the bushes was a single, pale, white hand.
Somewhere, joined to that hand, was the rest of Ray Brower. Lightning flashed. Thunder cracked after each flash of lightning. Vern's tongue was running over his lips as if he had just tasted something new and different - something which excited him and disgusted him at the same time. Teddy only stood and looked. The wind blew his dirty hair first away from his ears and then back over them. His face was totally blank.
There were black insects walking on the hand. A great whispering noise began to rise in the forest on both sides of the tracks, as if the forest had just noticed we were there and was commenting on it. The rain had started. Enormous drops of rain fell for five seconds and then stopped. There was a pause, and then the storm really started. Immediately we were all completely wet.
The whispering sound changed; now it sounded like millions of hammers. It was as if the forest was blaming us for our discovery. Chris jumped over the side of the bank and I followed. He was face down. Chris looked into my eyes. I nodded slightly, as if he had spoken aloud. I think he was down here and fairly undamaged instead of up there between the tracks and completely knocked out of shape because he was trying to get out of the way when the train hit him.
He had landed with his head towards the tracks, arms over his head like someone about to dive. He had landed in boggy ground which was rapidly filling with water. His hair was dark red. There was blood in it, but not a lot - not enough to make you feel sick. The insects were worse. He was wearing a dark green T-shirt and blue 56 jeans. His feet were bare and a few feet behind him, caught in a bush, I saw a pair of dirty shoes. For a moment I was puzzled — why was he here and his shoes there?
Then I realized, and the realization was like a heavy blow to the stomach. My wife, my children, my friends — they all think that having an imagination like mine must be quite nice: not only do I make a lot of money from it, but I can also see films in my mind when I want to. But sometimes my imagination turns out to have long, sharp, cruel teeth. You see things you would prefer not to see, things that keep you awake all night.
I saw one of those things then; I saw it clearly and with absolute certainty. He was knocked clean out of his shoes. The train had knocked him out of his shoes just as it had knocked the life out of his body. That was what finally made me realize that the guy was dead. He wasn't ill, he wasn't sleeping. He wasn't going to get up in the morning any more, or eat too many apples, or worry about school exams.
He was dead, completely dead. He wasn't going to go out with his friends in the spring to collect bottles uncovered by the departing snow. He wasn't going to get into fights in the playground. He wasn't going to pull a single girl's hair. He was everything like wasn't, can't, don't, shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't. He was one big not. He was dead. I could go on all day and not explain the distance between his bare feet on the ground and his dirty shoes hanging on the bush.
It was about three feet, it was millions and millions of miles. He was disconnected from his shoes and there was no hope of reconnection. We turned him face up into the pouring rain, the lightning, the steady crack of thunder. There were insects all over his face and neck. They ran in and out of the round collar of his T-shirt. His eyes were open but horribly wrong: one was rolled back so far that we could see only white, the other stared straight up into the storm.
There was some dried blood 57 around his mouth and on his chin, and a wound on the right side of his face. Still, I thought, he didn't look too bad.