Home > Under the Dome(14)

Under the Dome(14)
Author: Stephen King

Barbie turned to Sea Dogs and said: 'You interested in taking a little hike? You on your side, me on mine? See how far tiis thing goes?'

'And get away from here before yonder gasbag arrives?' Gendron had also seen the oncoming Hummer. 'My friend, you're on. East or west?'


They went west, toward Route 117, and they didn't find the end of the barrier, but they saw the wonders it had created wher. it came down. Tree branches had been sheared off, creating pathways to the sky where previously there had been none. Stumps had been cut in half. And there were feathered corpses everywhere.

'Lotta dead birds,' Gendron said. He resettled his cap on his head with hands that trembled slightly. His face was pale. 'Never seen so many'

'Are you all right?' Barbie asked.

'Physically? Yeah, I think so. Mentally, I feel like I've lost my frickin mind. How about you?'

'Same,' Barbie said.

Two miles west of 119, they came to God Creek Road and the body of Bob Roux, lying beside his still-idling tractor. Barb le moved instinctively toward the downed man and once again bumped the barrier... although this time he remembered at the last second and slowed in time to keep from bloodying his nose again.

Gendron knelt and touched the farmer's grotesquely cocked neck. 'Dead.'

'What's that littered all around him? Those white scraps?'

Gendron picked up the largest piece. 'I think it's one of those computer-music doohickies. Musta broke when he hit the...' He gestured in front of him. 'The you-know.'

From the direction of town a whooping began, hoarser and louder than the town whistle had been.

Gendron glanced toward it briefly. 'Fire siren,' he said. 'Much good it'll do.'

'FD's coming from Castle Rock,' Barbie said. 'I hear them.'

'Yeah? Your ears are better'n mine, then. Tell me your name again, friend.'

'Dale Barbara. Barbie to my friends.'

'Well, Barbie, what now?'

'Go on, I guess. We can't do anything for this guy.'

'Nope, can't even call anyone,' Gendron said gloomily. 'Not with my cell back there. Guess you don't have one?'

Barbie did, but he had left it behind in his now-vacated apartment, along with some socks, shirts, jeans, and underwear. He'd lit out for the territories with nothing but the clothes on his back, because there was nothing from Chester's Mill he wanted to carry with him. Except a few good memories, and for those he didn't need a suitcase or even a knapsack.

All this was too complicated to explain to a stranger, so he just shook his head.

There was an old blanket draped over the seat of the Deere. Gendron shut the tractor off, took the blanket, and covered the body.

'I hope he was listenin to somethin he liked when it happened,' Gendron said.

'Yeah,' Barbie said.

'Come on. Let's get to the end of this whatever-it-is. I want to shake your hand. Might even break down and give you a hug.'


Shortly after discovering Roux's body - they were now very close to the wreck on 117, although neither of them knew it - they came to a little stream. The two men stood there for a moment, each on his own side of the barrier, looking in wonder and silence.

At last Gendron said, 'Holy jumped-up God.'

'What does it look like from your side?' Barbie asked. All he could see on his was the water rising and spreading into the undergrowth. It was as if the stream had encountered an invisible dam.

'I don't know how to describe it. I never seen anything quite like it.' Gendron paused, scratching both cheeks, drawing his already long; face down so he looked a little like the screamer in that Edvard Munch painting. 'Yes I have. Once. Sorta. When I brought home a couple of goldfish for my daughter's sixth birthday. Or maybe she was seven that year. I brought em home from the pet store in a plastic bag, and that's what this looks like - water in the bottom of a plastic bag. Only flat instead of saggin down. The water piles up against that... thing, then trickles off both ways on your side.'

'Is none going through at all?'

Gendron bent down, his hands on his knees, and squinted. 'Yeah, some appears to go through. But not very much, just a trckle. And none of the crap the water's carrying. You know, sticks and leaves and such.'

They pushed on, Gendron on his side and Barbie on his. As yet, neither of them were thinking in terms of inside and outside. It didn't occur to them that the barrier might not have an end.


Then they came to Route 117, where there had been another nasty accident - two cars and at least two fatals that Barbie could be sure of. There was another, he thought, slumped behind the wheel of an old Chevrolet that had been mostly demolished. Only this time there was also a survivor, sitting beside a smashed-up Mercedes-Benz with her head lowered. Paul Gendron rushed to her, while Barbie could only stand and watch. The woman saw Gendron and struggled to rise.

'No, ma'am, not at all, you don't want to do that,' he said.

'I think I'm fine,' she said. 'Just... you know, shaken up.' For some reason this made her laugh, although her face was puffy with tears.

At that moment another car appeared, a slowpoke driven by an old fellow who was leading a parade of three or four other no doubt impatient drivers. He saw the accident and stopped. The cars behind him did, too.

Elsa Andrews was on her feet now, and with-it enough to ask what would become the question of the day: 'What did we hit? It wasn't the other car, Nora went around the other car.'

Gendron answered with complete honesty. 'Dunno, ma'am.'

'Ask her if she has a cell phone,' Barbie said. Then he called to the gathering spectators. 'Hey! Who's got a cell phone?'

'I do, mister,' a woman said, but before she could say more, they all heard an approaching whup-whup-whup sound. It was a helicopter.

Barbie and Gendron exchanged a stricken glance.

The copter was blue and white, flying low. It was angling toward the pillar of smoke marking the crashed pulp-truck on 119, but the air was perfectly clear, with that almost magnifying effec; that the best days in northern New England seem to have, and Barbie could easily read the big blue 13 on its side. And see the CBS eve logo. It was a news chopper, out of Portland. It must already have been in the area, Barbie thought. And it was a perfect day to get some juicy crash footage for the six o'clock news.

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