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Under the Dome(5)
Author: Stephen King

He yanked her against his body. He was baking, as if with a high fever. She could feel his heartbeat: quick-quick, running away with itself.

'You lying bitch!' he screamed directly into her ear. It sent a spike of pain deep into her head. She screamed herself, but the sound seemed faint and inconsequential compared to his. Then his arms were wrapped around her waist and she was being propelled down the hall at a manic speed, nothing but her toes touching the carpet. Something went through her mind about being the hood ornament on a runaway car, and then they were in the kitchen, which was filled with brilliant sunshine.

Junior screamed again. This time not with rage but pain.


The light was killing him, it was frying his howling brains, but he didn't let it stop him. Too late for that now.

He ran her straight into the Formica-topped kitchen table without slowing. It struck her in the stomach, then slid and slammed into the wall. The sugar bowl and the salt and pepper went flying. Her breath escaped her in a big woofing sound. Holding her around the waist with one hand and by the wet snaggles of her hair with the other, Junior whirled her and threw her against the Coldspot. She struck it with a bang that knocked off most of the fridge; magnets. Her face was dared and paper-pale. Now she was bleeding from her nose as well as her lower lip. The blood was brilliant against her white skin. He saw her eyes shift toward the butcher block filled with knives on the counter, and when she tried to rise, he brought his knee into the center of her face, hard. There was a muffled crunching sound, as if someone had dropped a big piece of china - a platter, maybe - in another room.

It's what I should have done to Dale Barbara, he thought, ard stepped back with the heels of his palms pressed against his throbbing temples. Tears from his watering eyes spilled down his cheeks. He had bitten his tongue badly - blood was streaming down his chin and pattering on the floor - but Junior wasn't aware of it. The pain in his head was too intense.

Angie lay facedown among the fridge magnets. The largest said WHAT GOES IN YOUR MOUTH TODAY SHOWS UP ON YOUR ASS TOMORROW. He thought she was out, but all at once she began to shiver all over. Her fingers trembled as it' she were preparing to play something complex on the piano. (Only instrument this bitch ever played is the skinflute, he thought.) Then her legs began to crash up and down, and her arms followed suit. Now Angie looked like she was trying to swim away from him. She was having a goddam seizure.

'Stop it!' he shouted. Then, as she voided herself: 'Step it! Stop doing that, you bitch!'

He dropped on his knees, one on each side of her head, which was now bobbing up and down. Her forehead repeatedly smacked the tile, like one of those camel jockeys saluting Allah.

'Stop it! Fucking stop it!'

She began to make a growling noise. It was surprisingly loud. Christ, what if someone heard her? What if he got caught here? This wouldn't be like explaining to his father why he'd left school (a thing Junior had not as yet been able to bring himself to do). This time it would be worse than having his monthly allowance cut by seventy-five percent because of that goddam fight with the cook - the fight this useless bitch had instigated. This time Big Jim Rennie wouldn't be able to talk Chief Perkins and the local fuzznuts around. This could be -

A picture of Shawshank State Prison's brooding green walls suddenly popped into his mind. He couldn't go there, he had his whole life ahead of him. But he would. Even if he shut her up now, he would. Because she'd talk later. And her face - which looked a lot worse than Barbie's had after the fight in the parking lot - would talk for her.

Unless he shut her up completely.

Junior seized her by the hair and helped her wham her head against the tiles. He was hoping it would knock her out so he could finish doing... well, - whatever... but the seizure only intensified. She began beating her feet against the Coldspot, and the rest of the magnets came down in a shower.

He let go of her hair and seized her by the throat. Said, 'I'm sorry, Ange, it wasn't supposed to happen like this.' But he wasn't sorry. He was only scared and in pain and convinced that her struggles in this horribly bright kitchen would never end. His fingers were already getting tired. Who knew it was so hard to choke a person?

Somewhere, far off to the south, there was a boom. As if someone had fired a very large gun. Junior paid no attention. What Junior did was redouble his grip, and at last Angie's struggles began to weaken. Somewhere much closer by - in the house, on this floor - a low chiming began. He looked up, eyes wide, at first sure it was the doorbell. Someone had heard the ruckus and the cops were here. His head was exploding, it felt like he had sprained all his fingers, and it had all been for nothing. A terrible picture flitted through his mind: Junior Rennie being escorted into the Castle County courthouse for arraignment with some cop's sportcoat over his head.

Then he recognized the sound. It was the same chiming his own computer made when the electricity went out and it had to switch over to battery power.

Bing... Bing... Bing...

Room service, send me up a room, he thought, and went on choking. She was still now but he kept at it for another minute with his head turned to one side, trying to avoid the smell of her shit. How like her to leave such a nasty going-away present! How like them all! Women! Women and their breeding-farms! Nothing but anthills covered with hair! And they said men were the problem!


He was standing over her bloody, beshitted, and undoubtedly dead body, wondering what to do next, when there was another distant boom from the south. Not a gun; much too big. An explosion. Maybe Chuck Thompson's fancy little airplane had crashed after all. It wasn't impossible; on a day when you set out just to shout at someone - read them the riot act a little, no more than that - and?he ended up making you kill her, anything was possible.

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