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Pet Samatary, Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (1)

Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (1)

CHAPTER NINE

Ellie came to him the next day, looking troubled. Louis was working on a model in his tiny study. This one was a 1917 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost; 680 pieces, over fifty moving parts. It was nearly done, and he could almost imagine the liveried chauffeur, direct descendant of eighteenth and nineteenth century English coachmen, sitting imperially behind the wheel.

He had been model-crazy since his tenth year. He had begun with a First World War Spad that his Uncle Carl had bought him, had worked his way through most of the Revell airplanes, and had moved on to bigger and better things in his teens and twenties. There had been a boats-in-bottles phase and a war-machines phase and even a phase in which he had built guns so realistic it was hard to believe they wouldn't fire when you pulled the trigger – Colts and Winchesters and Lugers, even a Buntline Special. Over the last five years or so it had been the big cruise-ships. A model of the Lusitania and one of the Titanic sat on his shelves at his University office, and the Andrea Doria, completed just before they left Chicago, was currently cruising the mantelpiece in their living room. Now he had moved on to classic cars, and if previous patterns held true, he supposed it would be four or five years before the urge to do something new struck him. Rachel looked on this, his only real hobby, with a wifely indulgence that held, he supposed, some elements of contempt; even after ten years of marriage she probably thought he would grow out of it. Perhaps some of this attitude came from her father, who believed just as much now as at the time Louis and Rachel had married that he had gotten an asshole for a son-in-law.

Maybe, he thought, Rachel is right. Maybe I'll just wake up one morning at the age of thirty-seven, put all these models up in the attic, and take up hang-gliding.

Meanwhile, Ellie looked serious.

Far away, drifting in the clear air, he could hear that perfect Sunday morning sound of churchbells calling worshippers.

‘Hi dad,' she said.

‘Hello, pumpkin. Wass happenin'?'

‘Oh, nothing,' she said, but her face said differently; her face said that plenty was up, and none of it was so hot, thank you very much. Her hair was freshly washed and fell loose to her shoulders. In this light it was still more blonde than the brown it was inevitably becoming. She was wearing a dress, and it occurred to Louis that his daughter almost always put on a dress on Sundays, although they did not attend church. ‘What are you building?'

Carefully gluing on a mudguard, he told her. ‘Look at this,' he said, carefully handing her a hubcap. ‘See those linked R's? That's a nice detail, huh? If we fly back to Shytown for Thanksgiving and we get on an L-1011, you look out at the jet engines and you'll see those same R's.'

‘Hubcap, big deal.' She handed it back.

‘Please,' he said. ‘If you own a Rolls-Royce, you call that a wheel covering. If you're rich enough to own a Rolls, you can strut a little. When I make my second million, I'm going to buy myself one. Rolls-Royce Corniche. Then when Gage gets carsick, he can throw up on to real leather.' And just by the way, Ellie, what's on your mind? But it didn't work that way with Ellie. You didn't ask things right out. She was wary of giving too much of herself away. It was a trait Louis admired.

‘Are we rich, Daddy?'

‘No,' he said, ‘but we're not going to starve, either.'

‘Michael Burns at school says all doctors are rich.'

‘Well, you tell Michael Burns at school that lots of doctors get rich, but it takes twenty years … and you don't get rich running a University infirmary. You get rich being a specialist. A gynecologist or a pediatrist or a neurologist. They get rich quicker. For utility infielders like me it takes longer.'

‘Then why don't you be a specialist, Daddy?'

Louis thought of his models again, and the way he had one day just not wanted to build any more warplanes, the way he had likewise gotten tired of Tiger Tanks and gun emplacements, the way he had come to believe (almost overnight, it seemed in retrospect) that building boats in bottles was pretty dumb; and then he thought of what it would be like to spend your whole life inspecting children's feet for hammertoe or putting on the thin Latex gloves so you could grope along some woman's vaginal canal with one educated finger, feeling for bumps and/or lesions.

‘I just wouldn't like it,' he said.

Church came into the office, paused, inspected the situation with his bright green eyes. He leaped silently on to the windowsill and appeared to go to sleep.

Ellie glanced at him and frowned, which struck Louis as exceedingly odd. Usually Ellie looked at Church with an expression of love so soppy it was almost painful. She began to walk around the office, looking at various models, and in a voice that was nearly casual, she said: ‘Boy, there were a lot of graves up in the Pet Sematary, weren't there?'

Ah, here's the nub, Louis thought, but did not look around; after examining his instructions, he began putting the carriage-lamps on the Rolls.

‘There were,' he said. ‘Better than a hundred, I'd say.'

‘Daddy, why don't pets live as long as people?'

‘Well, some animals do live about as long,' he said, ‘and some live much longer. Elephants live a very long time, and there are some sea turtles so old that people really don't know how old they are … or maybe they do, and they just can't believe it.'

Ellie dismissed these simply enough. ‘Elephants and sea turtles aren't pets. Pets don't live very long at all. Michael Burns says that every year a dog lives, it's like nine of our years.'

‘Seven,' Louis corrected automatically. ‘I see what you're getting at, honey, and there's some truth to it. A dog who lives to be twelve is an old dog. See, there's this thing called metabolism, and what metabolism seems to do is tell time. Oh, it does other stuff, too – some people can eat a lot and stay thin because of their metabolism, like your mother. Other people – me, for instance – just can't eat as much without getting fat. Our metabolisms are different, that's all. But what metabolism seems to do most of all is to serve living things as a kind of body-clock. Dogs have a fairly rapid metabolism. The metabolism of human beings is much slower. We live to be about seventy-two, most of us. And believe me, seventy-two years is a very long time.'

Because Ellie looked really worried, he hoped he sounded more sincere than he actually felt. He was thirty-five, and it seemed to him that those years had passed as quickly and ephemerally as a momentary draft under a door. ‘Sea turtles, now, have an even slower metabo—'

‘What about cats?' Ellie asked, and looked at Church again.

‘Well, cats live as long as dogs,' he said, ‘mostly, anyway.' This was a lie, and he knew it. Cats lived violent lives and often died bloody deaths, always just below the usual range of human sight. Here was Church, dozing in the sun (or appearing to), Church who slept peacefully on his daughter's bed every night, Church who had been so cute as a kitten, all tangled up in a ball of string. And yet Louis had seen him torture a bird with a broken wing, his green eyes sparkling with curiosity and – yes, Louis would have sworn it – cold delight; Church who brought Rachel his infrequent kills to be admired: a mouse, a bug, and once a large rat, probably caught in the alley between their apartment house and the next. The rat had been so bloody and gore-flecked that Rachel, then in her sixth month with Gage, had had to run into the bathroom and vomit. Violent lives, violent deaths. A dog got them and ripped them open instead of just chasing them like the bumbling, easily-fooled dogs in the TV cartoons, or another tom got them, or a poisoned bait, or a passing car. Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire.

But those were maybe not things to tell your five-year-old daughter, who was for the first time examining the facts of death.

‘I mean,' he said, ‘Church is only three now, and you're five. He might still be alive when you're fifteen, a sophomore in high school. And that's a long time away.'

‘It doesn't seem long to me,' Ellie said, and now her voice trembled. ‘Not long at all.'

Louis gave up the pretense of working on his model and gestured for her to come. She sat on his lap and he was again struck by her beauty, which was emphasized now by her emotional upset. She was dark-skinned, almost Levantine. Tony Benton, one of the doctors he had worked with in Chicago, used to call her the Indian princess.

‘Honey,' he said, ‘if it was up to me, I'd let Church live to be a hundred. But I don't make the rules.'

‘Who does?' she asked, and then, with infinite scorn: ‘God, I suppose.'

Louis stifled the urge to laugh. It was too serious.

‘God or somebody,' he said. ‘Clocks run down, that's all I know. There are no guarantees, babe.'

‘I don't want Church to be like all those dead pets!' she burst out, suddenly tearful and furious. ‘I don't want Church to ever be dead! He's my cat! He's not God's cat! Let God have his own cat! Let God have all the damn old cats He wants, and kill them all! Church is mine!'

There were footsteps across the kitchen, and Rachel looked in, startled. Ellie was now weeping against Louis's chest. The horror had been articulated; it was out; its face had been drawn and could be regarded. Now, even if it could not be changed, it could at least be wept over.

‘Ellie,' he said, rocking her. ‘Ellie, Ellie, Church isn't dead; he's right over there, sleeping.'

‘But he could be,' she wept. ‘He could be, any time.'

He held her and rocked her, believing, rightly or wrongly, that Ellie wept for the very intractability of death, its imperviousness to argument or to a little girl's tears; that she wept over its cruel unpredictability; and that she wept because of the human being's wonderful, deadly ability to translate symbols into conclusions that were either fine and noble or blackly terrifying. If all those animals had died and been buried, then Church could die

any time!

and be buried; and if that could happen to Church, it could happen to her mother, her father, her baby brother. To herself. Death was a vague idea; the Pet Sematary was real. In the texture of those rude markers were truths which even a child's hands could feel.

It would be easy to lie at this point, the way he had lied earlier about the life-expectancy of tom cats. But a lie would be remembered later and perhaps finally totted up on the report-card all children hand in to themselves on their parents. His own mother had told him such a lie, an innocuous one about women finding babies in the dewy grass when they really wanted them, and innocuous as the lie had been, Louis had never forgiven himself for believing it – or his mother for telling it.

‘Honey,' he said, ‘it happens. It's a part of life.'


Part One: The Pet Sematary - Chapter 9 (1) Primera parte: The Pet Sematary - Capítulo 9 (1)

CHAPTER NINE CAPÍTULO NUEVE

Ellie came to him the next day, looking troubled. Ellie se acercó a él al día siguiente, luciendo preocupada. Louis was working on a model in his tiny study. Louis estaba trabajando en un modelo en su pequeño estudio. This one was a 1917 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost; 680 pieces, over fifty moving parts. Este era un Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost de 1917; 680 piezas, más de cincuenta piezas móviles. It was nearly done, and he could almost imagine the liveried chauffeur, direct descendant of eighteenth and nineteenth century English coachmen, sitting imperially behind the wheel. Casi había terminado, y casi podía imaginarse al chófer de librea, descendiente directo de los cocheros ingleses de los siglos XVIII y XIX, sentado imperialmente al volante.

He had been model-crazy since his tenth year. Había estado loco por las modelos desde los diez años. He had begun with a First World War Spad that his Uncle Carl had bought him, had worked his way through most of the Revell airplanes, and had moved on to bigger and better things in his teens and twenties. Había comenzado con un Spad de la Primera Guerra Mundial que le había comprado su tío Carl, se había abierto camino con la mayoría de los aviones de Revell y había pasado a cosas más grandes y mejores en su adolescencia y veinte años. There had been a boats-in-bottles phase and a war-machines phase and even a phase in which he had built guns so realistic it was hard to believe they wouldn't fire when you pulled the trigger – Colts and Winchesters and Lugers, even a Buntline Special. Había habido una fase de botes en botellas y una fase de máquinas de guerra e incluso una fase en la que había construido armas tan realistas que era difícil creer que no dispararían cuando apretabas el gatillo: Colts, Winchesters y Lugers, incluso un Buntline especial. Over the last five years or so it had been the big cruise-ships. Durante los últimos cinco años, más o menos, habían sido los grandes cruceros. A model of the Lusitania and one of the Titanic sat on his shelves at his University office, and the Andrea Doria, completed just before they left Chicago, was currently cruising the mantelpiece in their living room. Un modelo del Lusitania y uno del Titanic se encontraban en los estantes de su oficina de la Universidad, y el Andrea Doria, terminado justo antes de que salieran de Chicago, estaba actualmente cruzando la repisa de la chimenea en su sala de estar. Now he had moved on to classic cars, and if previous patterns held true, he supposed it would be four or five years before the urge to do something new struck him. Ahora se había pasado a los autos clásicos, y si los patrones anteriores eran ciertos, supuso que pasarían cuatro o cinco años antes de que lo golpeara la necesidad de hacer algo nuevo. Rachel looked on this, his only real hobby, with a wifely indulgence that held, he supposed, some elements of contempt; even after ten years of marriage she probably thought he would grow out of it. Rachel miraba esto, su única afición real, con una indulgencia de esposa que, supuso, contenía algunos elementos de desprecio; incluso después de diez años de matrimonio, probablemente pensó que él lo superaría con el tiempo. Perhaps some of this attitude came from her father, who believed just as much now as at the time Louis and Rachel had married that he had gotten an asshole for a son-in-law. Tal vez parte de esta actitud provenía de su padre, quien creía tanto ahora como en el momento en que Louis y Rachel se casaron, que él había conseguido a un gilipollas por yerno.

Maybe, he thought, Rachel is right. Tal vez, pensó, Rachel tiene razón. Maybe I'll just wake up one morning at the age of thirty-seven, put all these models up in the attic, and take up hang-gliding. Tal vez me despierte una mañana a la edad de treinta y siete años, guarde todos estos modelos en el ático y me dedique a volar en ala delta.

Meanwhile, Ellie looked serious. Mientras tanto, Ellie se veía seria.

Far away, drifting in the clear air, he could hear that perfect Sunday morning sound of churchbells calling worshippers. A lo lejos, flotando en el aire puro, podía oír el sonido perfecto de las campanas de las iglesias que llamaban a los feligreses los domingos por la mañana.

‘Hi dad,' she said. 'Hola papá', dijo ella.

‘Hello, pumpkin. 'Hola, calabaza. Wass happenin'?' ¿Estaba pasando?

‘Oh, nothing,' she said, but her face said differently; her face said that plenty was up, and none of it was so hot, thank you very much. 'Oh, nada', dijo, pero su rostro decía de otra manera; su rostro decía que había mucho, y nada de eso estaba tan caliente, muchas gracias. Her hair was freshly washed and fell loose to her shoulders. Su cabello estaba recién lavado y caía suelto sobre sus hombros. In this light it was still more blonde than the brown it was inevitably becoming. Bajo esta luz, aún era más rubio que el castaño en el que inevitablemente se estaba convirtiendo. She was wearing a dress, and it occurred to Louis that his daughter almost always put on a dress on Sundays, although they did not attend church. Llevaba un vestido, ya Louis se le ocurrió que su hija casi siempre se ponía un vestido los domingos, aunque no asistían a la iglesia. ‘What are you building?' '¿Qué estás construyendo?'

Carefully gluing on a mudguard, he told her. Pegando cuidadosamente un guardabarros, le dijo. ‘Look at this,' he said, carefully handing her a hubcap. —Mira esto —dijo, entregándole con cuidado un tapacubos. ‘See those linked R's? ¿Ves esas R enlazadas? That's a nice detail, huh? Eso es un buen detalle, ¿eh? If we fly back to Shytown for Thanksgiving and we get on an L-1011, you look out at the jet engines and you'll see those same R's.' Si volamos de regreso a Shytown para el Día de Acción de Gracias y nos subimos a un L-1011, miras los motores a reacción y verás esas mismas R's.

‘Hubcap, big deal.' She handed it back. Tapacubos, gran cosa. Ella se lo devolvió.

‘Please,' he said. "Por favor", dijo. ‘If you own a Rolls-Royce, you call that a wheel covering. 'Si tienes un Rolls-Royce, lo llamas cubierta de rueda. If you're rich enough to own a Rolls, you can strut a little. Si eres lo suficientemente rico como para tener un Rolls, puedes presumir un poco. When I make my second million, I'm going to buy myself one. Cuando gane mi segundo millón, me compraré uno. Rolls-Royce Corniche. Rolls-Royce Corniche. Then when Gage gets carsick, he can throw up on to real leather.' And just by the way, Ellie, what's on your mind? Luego, cuando Gage se marea, puede vomitar sobre cuero auténtico. Y por cierto, Ellie, ¿qué tienes en mente? But it didn't work that way with Ellie. Pero no funcionó así con Ellie. You didn't ask things right out. No preguntaste las cosas directamente. She was wary of giving too much of herself away. Tenía miedo de dar demasiado de sí misma. It was a trait Louis admired. Era un rasgo que Louis admiraba.

‘Are we rich, Daddy?' ¿Somos ricos, papá?

‘No,' he said, ‘but we're not going to starve, either.' 'No', dijo, 'pero tampoco nos vamos a morir de hambre'.

‘Michael Burns at school says all doctors are rich.' 'Michael Burns en la escuela dice que todos los doctores son ricos.'

‘Well, you tell Michael Burns at school that lots of doctors get rich, but it takes twenty years … and you don't get rich running a University infirmary. 'Bueno, dile a Michael Burns en la escuela que muchos médicos se hacen ricos, pero lleva veinte años... y tú no te haces rico dirigiendo una enfermería universitaria. You get rich being a specialist. Te haces rico siendo un especialista. A gynecologist or a pediatrist or a neurologist. Un ginecólogo o un pediatra o un neurólogo. They get rich quicker. Se enriquecen más rápido. For utility infielders like me it takes longer.' Para los jugadores de cuadro utilitarios como yo, toma más tiempo.'

‘Then why don't you be a specialist, Daddy?' 'Entonces, ¿por qué no eres un especialista, papá?'

Louis thought of his models again, and the way he had one day just not wanted to build any more warplanes, the way he had likewise gotten tired of Tiger Tanks and gun emplacements, the way he had come to believe (almost overnight, it seemed in retrospect) that building boats in bottles was pretty dumb; and then he thought of what it would be like to spend your whole life inspecting children's feet for hammertoe or putting on the thin Latex gloves so you could grope along some woman's vaginal canal with one educated finger, feeling for bumps and/or lesions. Louis volvió a pensar en sus modelos, y en la forma en que un día simplemente no quería construir más aviones de guerra, la forma en que también se cansó de los Tiger Tanks y los emplazamientos de armas, la forma en que había llegado a creer (casi de la noche a la mañana, parecía en retrospectiva) que construir barcos en botellas era bastante tonto; y luego pensó en cómo sería pasarse la vida entera inspeccionando los pies de los niños en busca de dedos en martillo o poniéndose los delgados guantes de látex para poder tantear el canal vaginal de alguna mujer con un dedo educado, buscando bultos y/o lesiones.

‘I just wouldn't like it,' he said. "Simplemente no me gustaría", dijo.

Church came into the office, paused, inspected the situation with his bright green eyes. Church entró en la oficina, se detuvo, inspeccionó la situación con sus brillantes ojos verdes. He leaped silently on to the windowsill and appeared to go to sleep. Saltó en silencio al alféizar de la ventana y pareció dormirse.

Ellie glanced at him and frowned, which struck Louis as exceedingly odd. Ellie lo miró y frunció el ceño, lo que le pareció sumamente extraño a Louis. Usually Ellie looked at Church with an expression of love so soppy it was almost painful. Por lo general, Ellie miraba a Church con una expresión de amor tan sentimental que era casi dolorosa. She began to walk around the office, looking at various models, and in a voice that was nearly casual, she said: ‘Boy, there were a lot of graves up in the Pet Sematary, weren't there?' Empezó a caminar por la oficina, mirando varios modelos, y con una voz que era casi casual, dijo: 'Vaya, había muchas tumbas en Pet Sematary, ¿no?'

Ah, here's the nub, Louis thought, but did not look around; after examining his instructions, he began putting the carriage-lamps on the Rolls. Ah, aquí está el nudo, pensó Louis, pero no miró a su alrededor; después de examinar sus instrucciones, comenzó a encender las luces del carruaje en los Rolls.

‘There were,' he said. —Hubo —dijo—. ‘Better than a hundred, I'd say.' Mejor que cien, diría yo.

‘Daddy, why don't pets live as long as people?' 'Papá, ¿por qué las mascotas no viven tanto como las personas?'

‘Well, some animals do live about as long,' he said, ‘and some live much longer. 'Bueno, algunos animales viven tanto tiempo', dijo, 'y algunos viven mucho más. Elephants live a very long time, and there are some sea turtles so old that people really don't know how old they are … or maybe they do, and they just can't believe it.' Los elefantes viven mucho tiempo, y hay algunas tortugas marinas tan viejas que la gente realmente no sabe cuántos años tienen... o tal vez sí, y simplemente no pueden creerlo.'

Ellie dismissed these simply enough. Ellie los descartó con bastante sencillez. ‘Elephants and sea turtles aren't pets. Los elefantes y las tortugas marinas no son mascotas. Pets don't live very long at all. Las mascotas no viven mucho tiempo en absoluto. Michael Burns says that every year a dog lives, it's like nine of our years.' Michael Burns dice que cada año que vive un perro, son como nueve de nuestros años.

‘Seven,' Louis corrected automatically. —Siete —corrigió Louis automáticamente—. ‘I see what you're getting at, honey, and there's some truth to it. Ya veo a lo que te refieres, cariño, y hay algo de verdad en ello. A dog who lives to be twelve is an old dog. Un perro que vive hasta los doce años es un perro viejo. See, there's this thing called metabolism, and what metabolism seems to do is tell time. Mira, existe una cosa llamada metabolismo, y lo que parece hacer el metabolismo es dar la hora. Oh, it does other stuff, too – some people can eat a lot and stay thin because of their metabolism, like your mother. Oh, también hace otras cosas: algunas personas pueden comer mucho y mantenerse delgadas debido a su metabolismo, como tu madre. Other people – me, for instance – just can't eat as much without getting fat. Otras personas, como yo, por ejemplo, simplemente no pueden comer tanto sin engordar. Our metabolisms are different, that's all. Nuestros metabolismos son diferentes, eso es todo. But what metabolism seems to do most of all is to serve living things as a kind of body-clock. Pero lo que más parece hacer el metabolismo es servir a los seres vivos como una especie de reloj corporal. Dogs have a fairly rapid metabolism. Los perros tienen un metabolismo bastante rápido. The metabolism of human beings is much slower. El metabolismo de los seres humanos es mucho más lento. We live to be about seventy-two, most of us. Vivimos hasta los setenta y dos años, la mayoría de nosotros. And believe me, seventy-two years is a very long time.' Y créame, setenta y dos años es mucho tiempo.

Because Ellie looked really worried, he hoped he sounded more sincere than he actually felt. Como Ellie parecía realmente preocupada, esperaba sonar más sincero de lo que realmente se sentía. He was thirty-five, and it seemed to him that those years had passed as quickly and ephemerally as a momentary draft under a door. Tenía treinta y cinco años y le parecía que esos años habían pasado tan rápido y efímeramente como una corriente de aire momentánea debajo de una puerta. ‘Sea turtles, now, have an even slower metabo—' Las tortugas marinas, ahora, tienen un metabo...

‘What about cats?' Ellie asked, and looked at Church again. '¿Qué pasa con los gatos?' preguntó Ellie, y volvió a mirar a Church.

‘Well, cats live as long as dogs,' he said, ‘mostly, anyway.' This was a lie, and he knew it. 'Bueno, los gatos viven tanto como los perros', dijo, 'casi siempre, de todos modos'. Esto era una mentira, y él lo sabía. Cats lived violent lives and often died bloody deaths, always just below the usual range of human sight. Los gatos vivían vidas violentas y, a menudo, tenían muertes sangrientas, siempre justo por debajo del rango habitual de la vista humana. Here was Church, dozing in the sun (or appearing to), Church who slept peacefully on his daughter's bed every night, Church who had been so cute as a kitten, all tangled up in a ball of string. Aquí estaba Church, dormitando al sol (o pareciendo hacerlo), Church que dormía pacíficamente en la cama de su hija todas las noches, Church que había sido tan lindo como un gatito, todo enredado en un ovillo de hilo. And yet Louis had seen him torture a bird with a broken wing, his green eyes sparkling with curiosity and – yes, Louis would have sworn it – cold delight; Church who brought Rachel his infrequent kills to be admired: a mouse, a bug, and once a large rat, probably caught in the alley between their apartment house and the next. Y, sin embargo, Louis lo había visto torturar a un pájaro con un ala rota, sus ojos verdes brillaban con curiosidad y, sí, Louis lo habría jurado, frío deleite; Church, quien trajo a Rachel sus raras muertes para ser admiradas: un ratón, un insecto y una vez una rata grande, probablemente atrapados en el callejón entre su edificio de apartamentos y el siguiente. The rat had been so bloody and gore-flecked that Rachel, then in her sixth month with Gage, had had to run into the bathroom and vomit. La rata estaba tan ensangrentada y llena de sangre que Rachel, entonces en su sexto mes con Gage, tuvo que correr al baño y vomitar. Violent lives, violent deaths. Vidas violentas, muertes violentas. A dog got them and ripped them open instead of just chasing them like the bumbling, easily-fooled dogs in the TV cartoons, or another tom got them, or a poisoned bait, or a passing car. Un perro los atrapó y los desgarró en lugar de simplemente perseguirlos como los perros torpes y fáciles de engañar en los dibujos animados de televisión, u otro tom los atrapó, o un cebo envenenado, o un auto que pasaba. Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. Los gatos eran los gánsteres del mundo animal, vivían fuera de la ley y, a menudo, morían allí. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire. Hubo muchos de ellos que nunca envejecieron junto al fuego.

But those were maybe not things to tell your five-year-old daughter, who was for the first time examining the facts of death. Pero tal vez esas no eran cosas para decirle a su hija de cinco años, que estaba examinando por primera vez los hechos de la muerte.

‘I mean,' he said, ‘Church is only three now, and you're five. 'Quiero decir', dijo, 'La iglesia tiene solo tres años ahora, y tú tienes cinco. He might still be alive when you're fifteen, a sophomore in high school. Puede que todavía esté vivo cuando tengas quince años, un estudiante de segundo año en la escuela secundaria. And that's a long time away.' Y eso está muy lejos.

‘It doesn't seem long to me,' Ellie said, and now her voice trembled. —No me parece mucho tiempo —dijo Ellie, y ahora su voz temblaba. ‘Not long at all.' 'No tan largo.'

Louis gave up the pretense of working on his model and gestured for her to come. Louis dejó de fingir que estaba trabajando en su modelo y le hizo un gesto para que se acercara. She sat on his lap and he was again struck by her beauty, which was emphasized now by her emotional upset. Ella se sentó en su regazo y volvió a quedar impresionado por su belleza, que ahora se destacaba por su trastorno emocional. She was dark-skinned, almost Levantine. Era de piel oscura, casi levantina. Tony Benton, one of the doctors he had worked with in Chicago, used to call her the Indian princess. Tony Benton, uno de los médicos con los que había trabajado en Chicago, solía llamarla la princesa india.

‘Honey,' he said, ‘if it was up to me, I'd let Church live to be a hundred. —Cariño —dijo—, si fuera por mí, dejaría que Church viviera hasta los cien años. But I don't make the rules.' Pero yo no hago las reglas.

‘Who does?' she asked, and then, with infinite scorn: ‘God, I suppose.' '¿Que hace?' preguntó, y luego, con infinito desdén: 'Dios, supongo.'

Louis stifled the urge to laugh. Louis reprimió las ganas de reír. It was too serious. Era demasiado serio.

‘God or somebody,' he said. 'Dios o alguien', dijo. ‘Clocks run down, that's all I know. Los relojes se han atrasado, eso es todo lo que sé. There are no guarantees, babe.' No hay garantías, cariño.

‘I don't want Church to be like all those dead pets!' she burst out, suddenly tearful and furious. ¡No quiero que Church sea como todas esas mascotas muertas! estalló, repentinamente llorosa y furiosa. ‘I don't want Church to ever be dead! ¡No quiero que Church muera jamás! He's my cat! ¡Él es mi gato! He's not God's cat! ¡Él no es el gato de Dios! Let God have his own cat! ¡Que Dios tenga su propio gato! Let God have all the damn old cats He wants, and kill them all! ¡Que Dios se quede con todos los malditos gatos viejos que quiera y los mate a todos! Church is mine!' ¡La iglesia es mía!

There were footsteps across the kitchen, and Rachel looked in, startled. Se oyeron pasos en la cocina y Rachel miró dentro, sobresaltada. Ellie was now weeping against Louis's chest. Ellie ahora estaba llorando contra el pecho de Louis. The horror had been articulated; it was out; its face had been drawn and could be regarded. El horror había sido articulado; estaba fuera; su cara había sido dibujada y podía ser contemplada. Now, even if it could not be changed, it could at least be wept over. Ahora, incluso si no se pudiera cambiar, al menos se podría llorar.

‘Ellie,' he said, rocking her. ‘Ellie, Ellie, Church isn't dead; he's right over there, sleeping.' 'Ellie, Ellie, Church no está muerta; está justo allí, durmiendo.

‘But he could be,' she wept. —Pero podría serlo —sollozó—. ‘He could be, any time.' Podría serlo en cualquier momento.

He held her and rocked her, believing, rightly or wrongly, that Ellie wept for the very intractability of death, its imperviousness to argument or to a little girl's tears; that she wept over its cruel unpredictability; and that she wept because of the human being's wonderful, deadly ability to translate symbols into conclusions that were either fine and noble or blackly terrifying. La abrazó y la meció, creyendo, con razón o sin ella, que Ellie lloraba por lo intratable mismo de la muerte, su insensibilidad a las discusiones oa las lágrimas de una niña; que lloró por su cruel imprevisibilidad; y que lloró por la maravillosa y mortal habilidad del ser humano para traducir símbolos en conclusiones que eran finas y nobles o terriblemente aterradoras. If all those animals had died and been buried, then Church could die Si todos esos animales hubieran muerto y sido enterrados, entonces Church podría morir.

any time! ¡cualquier momento!

and be buried; and if that could happen to Church, it could happen to her mother, her father, her baby brother. y ser enterrado; y si eso le pudo pasar a Church, le podría pasar a su madre, a su padre, a su hermanito. To herself. A ella misma. Death was a vague idea; the Pet Sematary was real. La muerte era una idea vaga; Pet Sematary era real. In the texture of those rude markers were truths which even a child's hands could feel. En la textura de esos toscos marcadores había verdades que incluso las manos de un niño podían sentir.

It would be easy to lie at this point, the way he had lied earlier about the life-expectancy of tom cats. Sería fácil mentir en este punto, como había mentido antes sobre la esperanza de vida de los gatos machos. But a lie would be remembered later and perhaps finally totted up on the report-card all children hand in to themselves on their parents. Pero una mentira se recordaría más tarde y tal vez finalmente se anotaría en la boleta de calificaciones que todos los niños se entregan a sí mismos sobre sus padres. His own mother had told him such a lie, an innocuous one about women finding babies in the dewy grass when they really wanted them, and innocuous as the lie had been, Louis had never forgiven himself for believing it – or his mother for telling it. Su propia madre le había dicho una mentira así, una inocua sobre mujeres que encuentran bebés en la hierba cubierta de rocío cuando realmente los querían, y aunque la mentira había sido inocua, Louis nunca se había perdonado a sí mismo por creerla, ni a su madre por contarla. .

‘Honey,' he said, ‘it happens. 'Cariño', dijo, 'sucede. It's a part of life.' Es parte de la vida.