Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 2
In Louis Creed's memory that one moment always held a magical quality – partly, perhaps, because it really was magical, but mostly because the rest of the evening was so wild. In the next three hours, neither peace nor magic made an appearance.
Louis had stored the house-keys away neatly (he was a neat and methodical man, was Louis Creed) in a small manila envelope which he had labelled Ludlow House – keys received June 29th. He had stored the keys away for this trip in the Fairlane's glove compartment. He was absolutely sure of that. Now they weren't there.
While he hunted for them, growing increasingly irritated (and a little worried), Rachel hoisted Gage on to her hip and followed Eileen over to the tree in the field. He was checking under the seats for the third time when his daughter screamed and then began to cry.
‘Louis!' Rachel called. ‘She's cut herself!'
Eileen had stumbled out of the tire swing and hit a rock with her knee. The cut was shallow, but she was screaming like someone who had just lost a leg, Louis thought (a bit ungenerously). He glanced at the house across the road, where a light burned in the living room.
‘All right, Eileen,' he said. ‘That's enough. Those people over there will think someone's being murdered.'
‘But it hurrrrts!'
Louis struggled with his temper, and went silently back to the wagon. The keys were gone, but the first-aid kit was still in the glove compartment. He got it and came back. When Eileen saw it, she began to scream louder than ever.
‘No! Not the stingy stuff! I don't want the stingy stuff, Daddy! No—'
‘Eileen, it's just mecurichrome and it doesn't sing—'
‘Be a big girl,' Rachel said. ‘It's just—'
‘You want to stop that or your ass will sting,' Louis said.
‘She's tired, Lou,' Rachel said quietly.
‘Yeah, I know the feeling. Hold her leg out.'
Rachel put Gage down and held Eileen's leg, which Louis painted with mecurichrome in spite of her increasingly hysterical wails.
‘Someone just came out on the porch of that house across the street,' Rachel said. She picked Gage up. He had started to crawl away through the grass.
‘Wonderful,' Louis muttered.
‘Tired, I know.' He capped the mecurichrome and looked grimly at his daughter. ‘There. And it didn't hurt a bit. Fess up, Ellie.'
‘It does! It does hurt! It hurrr—'
His hand itched to slap her and he grabbed his leg hard.
‘Did you find the keys?' Rachel asked.
‘Not yet,' Louis said, snapping the first-aid kit closed and getting up. ‘I'll—'
Gage began to scream. He was not fussing or crying but really screaming, writhing in Rachel's arms.
‘What's wrong with him?' Rachel cried, thrusting him almost blindly at Louis. It was, he supposed, one of the advantages of having married a doctor – you could shove the kid at your husband when the kid seemed to be dying. ‘Louis! what's—'
The baby was grabbing frantically at his neck, screaming wildly. Louis flipped him over and saw an angry white knob rising on the side of Gage's neck. And there was also something on the strap of his jumper, something fuzzy, squirming weakly.
Eileen, who had been quieting, began to scream again: ‘Bee! Bee! BEEEEEE!' She jumped back, tripped over the same protruding rock on which she had already come a cropper, sat down hard, and began to cry again in mingled pain, surprise, and fear.
I'm going crazy, Louis thought wonderingly. Wheeeeee!
‘Do something, Louis! Can't you do something?'
‘Got to get the stinger out,' a voice behind them drawled. ‘That's the ticket. Get the stinger out and put some baking soda on it. Bump'll go down.' But the voice was so thick with Downeast accent that for a moment Louis's tired, confused mind refused to translate the dialect: Got t'get the stinga out 'n put some bakin' soda on't. 'T'll go daown.
He turned and saw an old man of perhaps seventy – a hale and healthy seventy – standing there on the grass. He wore a biballs over a blue chambray shirt that showed his thickly folded and wrinkled neck. His face was sunburned and he was smoking an unfiltered cigarette. As Louis looked at him, the old man pinched the cigarette out between his thumb and forefinger and pocketed it neatly. He held out his hands and smiled crookedly, a smile Louis liked at once – and he was not a man who ‘took' to people.
‘Not to tell you y'business, doc,' he said, and that was how Louis met Judson Crandall, the man who should have been his father.