Full Dark, No Stars

ISBN-10: 1451650604
ISBN-13: 9781451650600
Edition: 2011
Authors: Stephen King
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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 5/24/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 5.30" wide x 8.10" long x 1.20" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he became a teacher. His spare time was spent writing short stories and novels. King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the first few chapters from the garbage after King had thrown them away in frustration. Three months later, he received a $2,500 advance from Doubleday Publishing for the book that went on to sell a modest 13,000 hardcover copies. That book, Carrie, was about a girl with telekinetic powers who is tormented by bullies at school. She uses her power, in turn, to torment and eventually destroy her mean-spirited classmates. When United Artists released the film version in 1976, it was a critical and commercial success. The paperback version of the book, released after the movie, went on to sell more than two-and-a-half million copies. Many of King's other horror novels have been adapted into movies, including The Shining, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Misery, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King has written the books The Running Man, The Regulators, Thinner, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and Rage. King is one of the world's most successful writers, with more than 100 million copies of his works in print. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages, and he writes new books at a rate of about one per year. In 2003, he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012 his title, The Wind Through the Keyhole made The New York Times Best Seller List. King's title's Mr. Mercedes and Revival made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014.

- 1 -
The one thing nobody asked in casual conversation, Darcy thought in the days after she found what she found in the garage, was this: How���s your marriage? They asked how was your weekend and how was your trip to Florida and how���s your health and how are the kids; they even asked how���s life been treatin you, hon? But nobody asked how���s your marriage?
Good, she would have answered the question before that night. Everything���s fine
She had been born Darcellen Madsen (Darcellen, a name only parents besotted with a freshly purchased book of baby names could love), in the year John F. Kennedy was elected President. She was raised in Freeport, Maine, back when it was a town instead of an adjunct to L.L.Bean, America���s first superstore, and half a dozen other oversized retail operations of the sort that are called �ǣoutlets�Ǡ (as if they were sewer drains rather than shopping locations). She went to Freeport High School, and then to Addison Business School, where she learned secretarial skills. She was hired by Joe Ransome Chevrolet, which by 1984, when she left the company, was the largest car dealership in Portland. She was plain, but with the help of two marginally more sophisticated girlfriends, learned enough makeup skills to make herself pretty on workdays and downright eye-catching on Friday and Saturday nights, when a bunch of them liked to go out for margaritas at The Lighthouse or Mexican Mike���s (where there was live music)
In 1982, Joe Ransome hired a Portland accounting firm to help him figure out his tax situation, which had become complicated (�ǣThe kind of problem you want to have,�Ǡ Darcy overheard him tell one of the senior salesmen). A pair of briefcase-toting men came out, one old and one young. Both wore glasses and conservative suits; both combed their short hair neatly away from their foreheads in a way that made Darcy think of the photographs in her mother���s MEMORIES OF �Ǡ54 senior yearbook, the one with the image of a boy cheerleader holding a megaphone to his mouth stamped on its faux-leather cover
The younger accountant was Bob Anderson. She got talking with him on their second day at the dealership, and in the course of their conversation, asked him if he had any hobbies. Yes, he said, he was a numismatist
He started to tell her what that was and she said, �ǣI know. My father collects Lady Liberty dimes and buffalo-head nickels. He says they���re his numismatical hobby-horse. Do you have a hobby-horse, Mr. Anderson?�Ǡ
He did: wheat pennies. His greatest hope was to some day come across a 1955 double-date, which was—
But she knew that, too. The �Ǡ55 double-date was a mistake. A valuable mistake
Young Mr. Anderson, he of the thick and carefully combed brown hair, was delighted with this answer. He asked her to call him Bob. Later, during their lunch—which they took on a bench in the sunshine behind the body shop, a tuna on rye for him and a Greek salad in a Tupperware bowl for her—he asked if she would like to go with him on Saturday to a street sale in Castle Rock. He had just rented a new apartment, he said, and was looking for an armchair. Also a TV, if someone was selling a good one at a fair price. A good one at a fair price was a phrase with which she would grow comfortably familiar in the years to come
He was as plain as she was, just another guy you���d pass on the street without noticing, and would never have makeup to make him prettier�Ǡ except that day on the bench, he did. His cheeks flushed when he asked her out, just enough to light him up a little and give him a glow
�ǠNo coin collections?�Ǡ she teased
He smiled, revealing even teeth. Small teeth, nicely cared for, and white. It never occurred to her that the thought of those teeth could make her shudder—why would it?
�ǠIf I saw a nice set of coins, of course I���d look,�Ǡ he said
�ǠEspecially wheat pennies?�Ǡ Teasing, but just a little
�ǠEspecially those. Would you like to come, Darcy?�Ǡ
She came. And she came on their wedding night, too. Not terribly often after that, but now and then. Often enough to consider herself normal and fulfilled
In 1986, Bob got a promotion. He also (with Darcy���s encouragement and help) started up a small mail-order business in collectible American coins. It was successful from the start, and in 1990, he added baseball trading cards and old movie memorabilia. He kept no stock of posters, one-sheets, or window cards, but when people queried him on such items, he could almost always find them. Actually it was Darcy who found them, using her overstuffed Rolodex in those pre-computer days to call collectors all over the country. The business never got big enough to become full-time, and that was all right. Neither of them wanted such a thing. They agreed on that as they did on the house they eventually bought in Pownal, and on the children when it came time to have them. They agreed. When they didn���t agree, they compromised. But mostly they agreed. They saw eye-to-eye
How���s your marriage?
It was good. A good marriage. Donnie was born in 1986—she quit her job to have him, and except for helping with Anderson Coins & Collectibles never held another one—and Petra was born in 1988. By then, Bob Anderson���s thick brown hair was thinning at the crown, and by 2002, the year Darcy���s Macintosh computer finally swallowed her Rolodex whole, he had a large shiny bald spot back there. He experimented with different ways of combing what was left, which only made the bald spot more conspicuous, in her opinion. And he irritated her by trying two of the magical grow-it-all-back formulas, the kind of stuff sold by shifty-looking hucksters on high cable late at night (Bob Anderson became something of a night owl as he slipped into middle age). He didn���t tell her he���d done it, but they shared a bedroom and although she wasn���t tall enough to see the top shelf of the closet unaided, she sometimes used a stool to put away his �ǣSaturday shirts,�Ǡ the tees he wore for puttering in the garden. And there they were: a bottle of liquid in the fall of 2004, a bottle of little green gel capsules a year later. She looked the names up on the Internet, and they weren���t cheap. Of course magic never is, she remembered thinking
But, irritated or not, she had held her peace about the magic potions, and also about the used Chevy Suburban he for some reason just had to buy in the same year that gas prices really started to climb. As he had held his, she supposed (as she knew, actually), when she had insisted on good summer camps for the kids, an electric guitar for Donnie (he had played for two years, long enough to get surprisingly good, and then had simply stopped), horse rentals for Petra. A successful marriage was a balancing act—that was a thing everyone knew. A successful marriage was also dependent on a high tolerance for irritation—this was a thing Darcy knew. As the Stevie Winwood song said, you had to roll widdit, baby
She rolled with it. So did he
In 2004, Donnie went off to college in Pennsylvania. In 2006, Petra went to Colby, just up the road in Waterville. By then, Darcy Madsen Anderson was forty-six years old. Bob was forty-nine, and still doing Cub Scouts with Stan Morin, a construction contractor who lived half a mile down the road. She thought her balding husband looked rather amusing in the khaki shorts and long brown socks he wore for the monthly Wildlife Hikes, but never said so. His bald spot had become well entrenched; his glasses had become bifocals; his weight had spun up from one-eighty into the two-twenty range. He had become a partner in the accounting firm—Benson and Bacon was now Benson, Bacon & Anderson. They had traded the starter home in Pownal for a more expensive one in Yarmouth. Her breasts, formerly small and firm and high (her best feature, she���d always thought; she���d never wanted to look like a Hooters waitress) were now larger, not so firm, and of course they dropped down when she took off her bra at night—what else could you expect when you were closing in on the half-century mark?—but every so often Bob would still come up behind her and cup them. Every so often there was the pleasant interlude in the upstairs bedroom overlooking their peaceful two-acre patch of land, and if he was a little quick on the draw and often left her unsatisfied, often was not always, and the satisfaction of holding him afterward, feeling his warm man���s body as he drowsed away next to her�Ǡ that satisfaction never failed. It was, she supposed, the satisfaction of knowing they were still together when so many others were not; the satisfaction of knowing that as they approached their Silver Anniversary, the course was still steady as she goes
In 2009, twenty-five years down the road from their I-do���s in a small Baptist church that no longer existed (there was now a parking lot where it had stood), Donnie and Petra threw them a surprise party at The Birches on Castle View. There were over fifty guests, champagne (the good stuff), steak tips, a four-tier cake. The honorees danced to Kenny Loggins���s �ǣFootloose,�Ǡ just as they had at their wedding. The guests applauded Bob���s breakaway move, one she had forgotten until she saw it again, and its still-airy execution gave her a pang. Well it should have; he had grown a paunch to go with the embarrassing bald spot (embarrassing to him, at least), but he was still extremely light on his feet for an accountant
But all of that was just history, the stuff of obituaries, and they were still too young to be thinking of those. It ignored the minutiae of marriage, and such ordinary mysteries, she believed (firmly believed), were the stuff that validated the partnership. The time she had eaten bad shrimp and vomited all night long, sitting on the edge of the bed with her sweaty hair clinging to the nape of her neck and tears rolling down her flushed cheeks and Bob sitting beside her, patiently holding the basin and then taking it to the bathroom, where he emptied and rinsed it after each ejection—so the smell of it wouldn���t make her even sicker, he said. He had been warming up the car to take her to the Emergency Room at six the next morning when the horrible nausea had finally begun to abate. He had called in sick at B, B & A; he���d also canceled a trip to White River so he could sit with her in case the sickness came back
That kind of thing worked both ways; one year���s sauce for the goose was next year���s sauce for the gander. She had sat with him in the waiting room at St. Stephen���s—back in �Ǡ94 or �Ǡ95, this had been—waiting for the biopsy results after he had discovered (in the shower) a suspicious lump in his left armpit. The biopsy had been negative, the diagnosis an infected lymph node. The lump had lingered for another month or so, then went away on its own
The sight of a crossword book on his knees glimpsed through the half-open bathroom door as he sat on the commode. The smell of cologne on his cheeks, which meant that the Suburban would be gone from the driveway for a day or two and his side of the bed would be empty for a night or two because he had to straighten out someone���s accounting in New Hampshire or Vermont (B, B & A now had clients in all the northern New England states). Sometimes the smell meant a trip to look at someone���s coin collection at an estate sale, because not all the numismatic buying and selling that went with their side-business could be accomplished by computer, they both understood that. The sight of his old black suitcase, the one he would never give up no matter how much she nagged, in the front hall. His slippers at the end of the bed, one always tucked into the other. The glass of water on his endtable, with the orange vitamin pill next to it, on that month���s issue of Coin & Currency Collecting . How he always said, �ǣMore room out than there is in�Ǡ after belching and �ǣLook out, gas attack!�Ǡ after he farted. His coat on the first hook in the hall. The reflection of his toothbrush in the mirror (he would still be using the same one he���d had when they got married, Darcy believed, if she didn���t regularly replace it). The way he dabbed his lips with his napkin after every second or third bite of food. The careful arrangement of camping gear (always including an extra compass) before he and Stan set out with yet another bunch of nine-year-olds on the hike up Dead Man���s Trail—a dangerous and terrifying trek that took them through the woods behind the Golden Grove Mall and came out at Weinberg���s Used Car City. The look of his nails, always short and clean. The taste of Dentyne on his breath when they kissed. These things and ten thousand others comprised the secret history of the marriage
She knew he must have his own history of her, everything from the cinnamon-flavored ChapStick she used on her lips in the winter to the smell of her shampoo when he nuzzled the back of her neck (that nuzzle didn���t come so often now, but it still came) to the click of her computer at two in the morning on those two or three nights a month when sleep for some reason jilted her
Now it was twenty-seven years, or—she had amused herself figuring this one day using the calculator function on her computer—nine thousand eight hundred and fifty-five days. Almost a quarter of a million hours and over fourteen million minutes. Of course some of that time he���d been gone on business, and she���d taken a few trips herself (the saddest to be with her parents in Minneapolis after her kid sister Brandolyn had died in a freak accident), but mostly they had been together
Did she know everything about him? Of course not. No more than he knew everything about her—how she sometimes (mostly on rainy days or on those nights when the insomnia was on her) gobbled Butterfingers or Baby Ruths, for instance, eating the candybars even after she no longer wanted them, even after she felt sick to her stomach. Or how she thought the new mailman was sort of cute. There was no knowing everything, but she felt that after twenty-seven years, they knew all the important things. It was a good marriage, one of the fifty percent or so that kept working over the long haul. She believed that in the same unquestioning way she believed that gravity would hold her to the earth when she walked down the sidewalk
Until that night in the garage
© 2010 Stephen King

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