Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 5
By nine o'clock the movers were gone. Ellie and Gage, both exhausted, were sleeping in their new rooms, Gage in his crib, Ellie on a mattress on the floor surrounded by a foothill of boxes: her billions of Crayolas, whole, broken and blunted, her Sesame Street posters, her picture books, her clothes, and heaven knew what else. And of course Church was with her, also sleeping and growling rustily in the back of his throat. That just about seemed the closest the big tom could come to purring.
Rachel had prowled the house restlessly with Gage in her arms earlier, second-guessing the places where Louis had told the movers to leave things, getting them to rearrange, change, restack. Louis had not lost their check; it was still in his breast pocket, along with the five ten-dollar bills he had put aside for a tip. When the van was finally emptied, he handed both the check and the cash over, nodded at their thanks, signed the bill of receipt and stood on the porch, watching them head back to their big truck. He supposed they would probably lay over in Bangor and have a few beers to lay the dust. A couple of beers would go down well right now. That made him think of Jud Crandall again.
He and Rachel sat at the kitchen table, and he saw the circles under her eyes. ‘You,' he said, ‘go to bed.'
‘Doctor's orders?' she asked, smiling a little.
‘Okay,' she said, standing. ‘I'm beat. And Gage is apt to be up in the night. You coming?'
He hesitated. ‘I don't think so, just yet. That old fella across the street—'
‘Road. You call it a road, out in the country. Or if you're Judson Crandall, I guess you call it a rud.'
‘Okay, across the rud. He invited me over for a beer. I think I'm going to take him up on it. I'm tired, but I'm too jived-up to sleep.'
Rachel smiled. ‘You'll end up getting Norma Crandall to tell you where it hurts and what kind of mattress she sleeps on.'
Louis laughed, thinking how funny – funny and scary – it was, the way wives could read their husbands' minds after a while.
‘He was here when we needed him,' he said. ‘I can do him a favor, I guess.'
He shrugged, unwilling and unsure how to tell her that he had taken a liking to Crandall on short notice. ‘How's his wife?'
‘Very sweet,' Rachel said. ‘Gage sat on her lap. I was surprised, because he's had a hard day and you know he doesn't take very well to new people on short notice under the best of circumstances. And she had a dolly she let Eileen play with.'
‘How bad would you say her arthritis is?'
‘In a wheel chair?'
‘No … but she walks very slowly, and her fingers …' Rachel held her own slim fingers up and hooked them into claws to demonstrate. Louis nodded. ‘Anyway, don't be late, Lou. I get the creeps in strange houses.'
‘It won't be strange for long,' Louis said, and kissed her.