Q. What is your address?
A. I got a room over the pool hall. That's where I work. I mop the floors, vacuum the tables, work on the machines-pinball machines, you know.
Q. Where were you on the night of May twenty-seventh at 10.30 P.M., Mr Quillan?
A. Well . . . actually, I was in a detention cell at the police station. I get paid on Thursdays, see. And I always go out and get bombed. I go out to The Cavalier, drink some Schlitz, play a little poker out back. But I get mean when I drink. Feels Eke the Roller Derby's going on in my head. Bummer, hub? Once I conked a guy over the head with a chair and
Q. Was it your habit to go to the police station when you felt these fits of temper coming on?
A. Yeah. Big Otis, he's a friend of mine.
Q. Are you referring to Sheriff Otis Doyle of this county?
A. Yeah. He told me to pop in any time I started feeling mean. The night before the prom, a bunch of us guys were in the back room down at The Cavalier playing stud poker and I got to thinking Fast Marcel Dubay was cheating. I would have known better sober - a Frenchman's idea of pullin' a fast one is to look at his own cards - but that got me going. I'd had a couple of beers, you know, so I folded my hand and went on down to the station. Plessy was catching, and he locked me right up in Holding Cell number 1. Plessy's a good boy. I knew his mom, but that was many years ago.
Q. Mr Quillan, do you suppose we could discuss the night of the twenty-seventh? 10:30 P.M.?
A. Ain't we?
Q. I devoutly hope so. Continue.
A. Well, Plessy locked me up around quarter to two on Friday morning, and I popped right Off to sleep. Passed out, you might say. Woke up around four o'clock the next afternoon, took three Alka-Seltzers, and went back to sleep. I got a knack, that way. I can sleep until my hangover's all gone. Big Otis says I should find out how I do it and take out a patent. He says I could save the world a lot of pain.
Q. I'm sure you could, Mr Quillan. Now when did you wake up again?
A. Around ten o'clock on Friday night. I was pretty hungry, so I decided to go get some chow down at the diner.
Q. They left you all alone in an open cell?
A. Sure. I'm a fantastic guy when I'm sober. In fact, one time
Q. Just tell the committee what happened when you left the cell.
A. The fire whistle went of, that's what happened. Scared the beJesus out of me. I ain't heard that whistle at night since the Viet Nam war ended. So I ran upstairs and sonofabitch, there's no one in the office. I say to myself, hot damn, Plessy's gonna get it for this. There's always supposed to be somebody catching, in case there's a callin. So I went over to the window and looked out.
Q. Could the school be seen from that window?
A. Yeah. People were running around and yelling. And that's when I saw Carrie White.
Q. Had you ever seen Carrie White before?
Q. Then how did you know it was she?
A. That's hard to explain.
Q. Could you see her clearly?
A. She was standing under a street light, by the fire hydrant on the corner of Main and Spring.
Q. Did something happen?
A. I guess to Christ. The whole top of the hydrant exploded of three different ways. Left, right, and straight up to heaven.
Q. What time did this ... uh ... malfunction occur?
A. Around twenty to eleven. Couldn't have been no later.
Q. What happened then?
A. She started downtown. Mister, she looked awful. She was wearing some kind of party dress, what was left of it, and she was all wet from that hydrant and covered with blood. She looked like she just crawled out of a car accident. But she was grinning. I never saw such a grin. It was like a death's head. And she kept looking at her hands and rubbing them on her dress, trying to get the blood off and thinking she'd never get it off and how she was going to pour blood on the whole town and make them pay. It was awful stuff
Q. How would you have any idea what she was thinking?
A. I don't know. I can't explain.
Q. For the remainder of your testimony, I wish you would stick to what you saw, Mr Quillan.
A. Okay. There was a hydrant on the corner of Grass Plaza, and that one went, too. I could see that one better. The big lug nuts on the sides were unscrewing themselves. I saw that happening. It blew, just like the other one. And she was happy. She was saying to herself, that'll give 'em a shower, that'll ... whoops, sorry. The fire trucks started to go by then, and I lost track of her. The new pumper pulled up to the school and they started on those hydrants and saw they wasn't going to get no water. Chief Burton was hollering at them, and that's when the school exploded. Je-sus.
Q. Did you leave the police station?
A. Yeah. I wanted to find Plessy and tell him about that crazy broad and the fire hydrants. I glanced over at Teddy's Amoco, and I seen something that made my blood run cold. All six gas pumps was off their hooks. Teddy Duchamp's been dead since 1968, God love him but his boy locked those pumps up every night just like Teddy himself used to do. Every one of them Yale padlocks was hanging busted by their hasps. The nozzles were laying on the tarmac, and the automatic feeds was set on every one. Gas was pouring out on to the sidewalk and into the street. Holy mother of God, when I seen that, my balls drew right up. Then I saw this gay running along with a lighted cigarette.
Q. What did you do?
A. Hollered at him. Something like Hey! Watch that cigarette! Hey, don't, that's gas! He never heard me. Fire wrens and the town whistle and cars rip-assing up and down the street, I don't wonder. I saw he was going to pitch it, so I started to duck back inside.
Q. What happened next?
A. Next? Why, next thing, the Devil came to Chamberlain ...
When the buckets fell, she was at first only aware of a loud, metallic clang cutting through the music, and then she was deluged in warmth and wetness. She closed her eyes instinctively. There was a grunt from beside her, and in the part of her mind that had come so recently awake, she sensed brief pain.
The music came to a crashing, discordant halt, a few voices hanging on after it like broken strings, and in the sudden deadness of anticipation, filling the gap between event and realization, like doom, she beard someone say quite clearly:
'My God, that's blood.'
A moment later, as if to ram the truth of it home, to make it utterly and exactly clear, someone screamed.
Carrie sat with her eyes closed and felt the black bulge of terror rising in her mind. Momma had been right, after all. They had taken her again gulled her again, made her the butt again. The horror of it should have been monotonous, but it was not; they had gotten her up here, up here in front of the whole school, and had repeated the shower-room scene ... only the voice had said
(my god that's blood)
something too awful to be contemplated. If she opened her eyes and it was true, oh, what then? What then?
Someone began to laugh, a solitary, affrightened hyena sound, and she did open her eyes, opened them to see who it was and it was true, the final nightmare, she was red and dripping with it, they had drenched her in the very secretness of blood, in front of all of them and her thought
(oh...i ... COVERED- with it)
was coloured a ghastly purple with her revulsion and her shame. She could smell herself and it was the stink of blood. the awful wet, coppery smell. In a flickering kaleidoscope of images she saw the blood running thickly down her naked thighs, hear the constant beating of the shower on the tiles, felt the soft patter of tampons and napkins against her skin as voices exhorted her to plug it UP, tasted the plump, fulsome bitterness of horror. They had finally given her the shower they wanted.
A second voice joined the first, and was followed by a third - girl's soprano giggle - a fourth, a fifth, six, a dozen, all of them, all laughing. Vic Mooney was laughing. She could see him. His face was utterly frozen, shocked, but that laughter issued forth just the same.
She sat quite still, letting the noise wash over her like surf They were still all beautiful and there was still enchantment and wonder, but she had crossed a line and now the fairy tale was green with corruption and evil. In this one she would bite a poison apple, be attacked by trolls, be eaten by tigers.
They were laughing at her again.
And suddenly it broke. The horrible realization of how badly she had been cheated came over her, and a horrible, soundless cry
(they're LOOKING at me)
tried to come out of her. She put her hands over her face to hide it and staggered out of the chair. Her only thought was to run, to get out of the light, to let the darkness have her and hide her.
But it was like trying to run through molasses. Her traitor mind had slowed time to a crawl; it was as if God had switched the whole scene from 78 rpm to 33 1/3. Even the laughter seemed to have deepened and slowed to a sinister bass rumble.
Her feet tangled in each other, and she almost fell of the edge of the stage. She recovered herself, bent down, and hopped down to the floor. The grinding laughter swelled louder. It was like rocks rubbing together.
She wanted not to see, but she did see; the lights were too bright and she could see all their faces. Their mouths, ,their teeth, their eyes. She could see her own gorestreaked hands in front of her face.
Miss Desjardin was running toward her, and Miss Desjardin's face was filled with lying compassion. Carrie could we beneath the surface to where the real Miss Geer was giggling and chuckling with rancid old-maid ribaldry. Miss Desjardin's mouth opened and her voice issued forth, horrible and slow and deep:
'Let me help you, dear. Oh I am so sor-'
She struck out at her
and Miss Desjardin went flying to rattle off the wall at the side of the stage and fall into a heap.
Carrie ran. She ran through the middle of them. Her hands were to her face but she could see through the prison of her fingers, could see them, how they were, beautiful, wrapped in light, swathed in the bright, angelic robes of Acceptance. The shined shoes, the clear faces, the careful beauty-parlour hairdos, the glittery gowns. They stepped back from her as if she was plague, but they kept laughing, then, a foot was stuck slyly out
(o yes that comes next o yes)
and she fell over on her hands and knew and began to crawl, to crawl along the floor with her blood-clotted hair hanging in her face, crawling like St Paul on the Damascus Road, whose eyes had been blinded by the light. Next someone would kick her ass.
But no one did and then she was scrabbling to her feet again. Things began to speed up. She was out through the door, out into the lobby, then flying down the stairs that she and Tommy had swept up so grandly two hours ago.
(tommy's dead full price paid full price for bringing a plague into the place of light)
She went down them in great, awkward leaps, with the sound of the laughter flapping around her like black birds.
She fled across the school's wide front lawn, losing both of her prom slippers and fleeing barefoot The closely cut school lawn was like velvet, lightly dusted with dewfall, and the laughter was behind her. She began to calm slightly.
Then her feet did tangle and she fell at full length out by the flagpole. She lay quiescent, breathing raggedly, her hot face buried in the cool grass. The tears of shame began to flow, as hot and as heavy as that first flow of menstrual blood had been. They had beaten her, bested her, once and for all time. It was over.
She would pick herself up very soon now, and sneak home by the back streets, keeping to the shadows in case someone came looking for her, find Momma, admit she had been wrong
(! NO !)
The steel in her- and there was a great deal of it suddenly rose up and cried the word out strongly. The closet? The endless, wandering prayers? The tracts and the cross and only the mechanical bird in the Black Forest cuckoo clock to mark off the rest of the hours and days and years and decades of her life?
Suddenly, as if a videotape machine had been turned on in her mind, she saw Miss Desjardin running toward her, and saw her thrown out of her way like a rag doll as she used her mind on her, without even consciously thinking of it.
She rolled over on her back, eyes staring wildly at the stars from her painted face. She was forgetting
(! THE POWER !)
It was time to teach them a lesson. Time to show them a thing or two. She giggled hysterically. It was one of Momma's pet phrases.
(momma coming home putting her purse down eyeglasses flashing well i guess i showed that elt a thing or two at the shop today)
There was the sprinkler system. She could turn it on, turn it on easily. She giggled again and got up, began to walk barefoot back toward the lobby doors. Turn on the sprinkler system and close all the doors. Look in and let them see her looking in, watching and laughing while the shower ruined their dresses and their hairdos and took the shine off their shoes. Her only regret was that it couldn't be blood.
The lobby was empty. She paused halfway up the stairs and FLEX, the doors all slammed shut under the concentrated force she directed at them the pneumatic door-closers snapping of. She heard some of them scream and it was music, sweet soul music.
For a moment nothing changed and then she could feel them pushing against the doors, wanting them to open. The pressure was negligible. They were trapped
and the word echoed intoxicatingly in her mind. They were under her thumb, in her power. Power! What a word that was!
She went the rest of the way up and looked in and George Dawson was smashed up against the glass, struggling, pushing, his face distorted with effort. There were others behind him, and they all looked like fish in an aquarium.
She glanced up and yes, there were the sprinkler pipes, with their tiny nozzles like metal daisies. The pipes went through small holes in the green cinderblock wall. There were a great many inside, she remembered. Fire laws, or something.
Fire laws. In a flash her mind recalled
(black thick cords like snakes)
the power cords strung all over the stage. They were out of the audience's sight, hidden by the footlights, but she had had to step carefully over them to get to the throne. Tommy had been holding her arm.
(fire and water)
She reached up with her mind, felt the pipes, traced them Cold; full of water. She tasted iron in her mouth, cold wet metal, the taste of water drank from the nozzle of a garden hose.
For a moment nothing happened. Then they began to back away from the doors, looking around. She walked to the small oblong of glass in the middle door and looked inside.
It was raining in the gym.
Carrie began to smile.
She hadn't gotten all of them, only some. But she found that by looking up at the sprinkler system with her eyes, she could trace its course more easily with her mind. She began to turn on more of the nozzles, and more. Yet it wasn't enough. They weren't crying yet, so it wasn't enough
(hurt them then hurt them)
There was a boy up on the stage by Tommy, gesturing wildly and shouting something. As she watched, he climbed down and ran toward the rock band's equipment. He caught hold one of the microphone stands and was transfixed. Carrie watched, amazed, as his body went through a nearly motionless dance of electricity. His feet shuffled in the water, his hair stood up in spikes, and his mouth jerked open, like the mouth of a fish. He looked funny. She began to laugh.
(by christ then let them all look funny)
And in a sudden, blind thrust, she yanked at all the power she could feel.