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Photo by Pauline Smith.

I’m currently reading The Shining for the first time. After not having read any Stephen King in years, I’m impressed anew by his ability to evoke psychological horror. The characters’ private thoughts are revealed so organically and believably that they seem to creep their way into your own mind as you read, making madness and psychic ability seem uncomfortably plausible and real.

The book also contains many unsettling point-of-view shocks that are novel to those of us who are already familiar with the movie. For example, below is a short excerpt that includes a scary scene tragically not depicted in the film. Too bad, because I think Kubrick could’ve really slayed this one.

The overhead was still on. Jack crossed to the bunk setup, and as he glanced at the table beside it, his skin crawled into goose flesh. The short hairs on his neck prickled and tried to stand erect. 

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Photo by azraviolet 9.

He could hardly see the nest through the clear Pyrex bowl. The inside of the glass was crawling with wasps. It was hard to tell how many. Fifty at least. Maybe a hundred.

His heart thudding slowly in his chest, he took his pictures and then set the camera down to wait for them to develop. He wiped his lips with the palm of his hand. One thought played over and over in his mind, echoing with (You lost your temper. You lost your temper. You lost your temper.) an almost superstitious dread.

They had come back. He had killed the wasps but they had come back.”

–Stephen King

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Photo by Huub Zeeman.

6 thoughts on “Wasps’ Nest

  1. So glad I’m not the only one who loves this scene. This whole book is one of my favorites (much to my husband’s confusion, I like to read it when staying in hotels) but that scene has always been nightmare fuel for me. HATE wasps.

    1. I’m right there with ya re: the wasp hatred. Also, when I started reading the book, I was staying in a hotel!! It was too much for me to handle though. 😉

    1. I remember finding “It” hidden in my mom’s nightstand when I was little…I read one paragraph that mentioned crickets and was scarred for life. I definitely need to pick it up again!

  2. Yeah, SK has a special way of NOT overdoing it. he always does just enough, like the Goldie Locks syndrome, “just right”. i don’t think people understand “just enough” sometimes, too much overdoing it. Salem’s Lot, is a pretty lovely read as well.

    i have a few wasps nest that i actually found & painted before displaying them in old Victorian glass domes, they’re very intriguing looking structures, but as for the insects themselves…ughhh… : (

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