Home > Under the Dome(8)

Under the Dome(8)
Author: Stephen King

Jack Evans was in the kitchen, whipping eggs for a noontime frittata. LCD Soundsystem was playing - 'North American Scum' - and Jack was singing; along when a small voice spoke his name from behind him. He dicin't at first recognize the voice as belonging to his wife of fourteen years; it sounded like the voice of a child. But when he turned he saw it was indeed Myra. She was standing inside the doorway, holding her right arm across her middle. She had tracked mud onto the floor, which was very unlike her. Usually she took her garden shoes off on the stoop. Her left hand, clad in a filthy gardening glove, was cradling her right hand, and red stuff was running through the muddy fingers. At first he thought Cranberry juice, but only for a second. It was blood. Jack dropped the bowl he'd been holding. It shattered on the floor.

Myra said his name again in that same tiny, trembling child-voice.

'What happened? Myra, what happened to you?'

'I had an accident,' she said, and showed him her right hand. Only there was no muddy right gardening glove to match the left one, and no right hand. Only a spouting stump. She gave him a weak smile and said 'Whoops.' Her eyes rolled up to whites. The crotch of her gardening jeans darkened as her urine let go. Then her knees also let go and she went down. The blood gushing from her raw wrist - an anatomy lesson cutaway - mixed with the eggy batter splattered across the floor.

When Jack dropped to his knees beside her, a shard from the bowl jabbed deep into his knee. He hardly noticed, although he would limp on that leg for the rest of his life. He seized her arm and squeezed. The terrible bloodgush from her wrist slowed but didn't stop. He tore his bell: free of its loops and noosed it around her lower forearm. That did the job, but he couldn't notch the belt tight; the loop was far beyond the buckle.

'Christ,' he told the empty kitchen. 'Christ.'

It was darker than it had been, he realized. The power had gone out. He could hear the computer in the study chiming its distress call. LCD Soundsystem was okay, because the little boombox on the counter was battery-powered. Not that Jack cared any longer; he'd lost his taste for techno.

So much blood. So much.

Questions about how she'd lost her hand left his mind. He had more immediate concerns. He couldn't let go of the belt-tourniquet to get to the phone; she'd start to bleed again, and she might already be close to bleeding out. She would have to go with him. He tried pulling her by her shirt, but first it yanked out of her pants and then the collar started to choke her - he heard her breathing turn harsh. So he wrapped a hand in her long brown hair and hauled her to the phone caveman style.

It was a cell, and it worked. He dialed 911 and 911 was busy.

'It can't be!' he shouted to the empty kitchen where the lights were now out (although from the boombox, the band played on). '911 cannot be f**king busy!'

He punched redial.


He sat in the kitchen with his back propped up against the counter, holding the tourniquet as tightly as he could, staring at the blood and the batter on the floor, periodically hitting redial on the phone, always getting the same stupid dah-dah-dah. Something blew up not too far distant, but he barely heard it over the music, which was really cranked (and he never heard the Seneca explosion at all). He wanted to turn the music off, but in order to reach the boombox he would have to lift Myra. Lift her or let go of the belt for two or three seconds. He didn't want to do either one. So he sat there and 'North American Scum' gave way to 'Someone Great' and 'Someone Great' gave way to 'All My Friends,' and after a few more songs, finally the CD, which was called Sound of Silver, ended. When it did, when there was silence except for police sirens in the distance and the endlessly chiming computer closer by, Jack realized that his wife was no longer breathing.

But I was going to make lunch, he thought. A nice lunch, one you wouldn't be ashamed of inviting Martha Stewart to.

Sitting against the counter, still holding the belt (opening his fingers again would prove exquisitely painful), the lower right leg of his own pants darkening with blood from his lacerated knee, Jack Evans cradled his wife's head against his chest and began to weep.


Not too far away, on an abandoned woods road not even old Clay Brassey would have remembered, a deer was foraging tender shoots at the edge of Prestile Marsh. Her neck happened to be stretched across the Motton town line, and when the Dome dropped, her head tumbled off. It was severed so neatly that the deed might have been done with a guillotine blade.

We have toured the sock-shape that is Chester's Mill and arrived back at Route 119. And, thanks to the magic of narration, not an instant has passed since the sixtyish fellow from the Toyota slammed face-first into something invisible but very hard and broke his nose. He's sitting up and staring at Dale Barbara in utter bewilderment. A seagull, probably on its daily commute from the tasty buffet at the Motton town dump to the only slightly less tasty one at the Chester's Mill landfill, drops like a stone and thumps down not three feet from the sixtyish fellow's Sea Dogs baseball cap, which he picks up, brushes off, and puts back on.

Both men look up at where the bird came from and see one more incomprehensible thing in a day that will turn out to be full of them.


Barbie's first thought was that he was looking at an afterimage from the exploding plane - the way you sometimes see a big blue floating dot after someone triggers a flash camera close to your face. Only this wasn't a dot, it wasn't blue, and instead of floating along when he looked in a different direction - in this case, at his new acquaintance - the smutch hanging in the air stayed exactly where it was.

Sea Dogs was looking up and rubbing his eyes. He seemed to have forgotten about his broken nose, swelling lips, and bleeding forehead. He got to his feet, almost losing his balance because he was craning his neck so severely.

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