Stephen King: The Dead Zone
By the time he graduated from college, John Smith had forgotten all about the bad fall he
took on the ice that January day in 1953. In fact, he would have been hard put to
remember it by the time he graduated from grammar school. And his mother and father
never knew about it at all.
They were skating on a cleared patch of Runaround Pond in Durham. The bigger boys
were playing hockey with old taped sticks and using a couple of potato baskets for goals.
The little kids were just farting around the way little kids have done since time
immemorial - their ankles bowing comically in and out, their breath puffing in the frosty
twenty-degree air. At one corner of the cleared ice two rubber tires burned sootily, and a
few parents sat nearby, watching their children. The age of the snowmobile was still
distant and winter fun still consisted of exercising your body rather than a gasoline
Johnny had walked down from his house, just over the Pownal line, with his skates hung
over his shoulder. At six, he was a pretty fair skater. Not good enough to join in the big
kids' hockey games yet, but able to skate rings around most of the other first graders, who
were always pinwheeling their arms for balance or sprawling on their butts.
Now he skated slowly around the outer edge of the clear patch, wishing he could go
backward like Timmy Benedix, listening to the ice thud and crackle mysteriously under
the snow cover farther out, also listening to the shouts of the hockey players, the rumble
of a pulp truck crossing the bridge on its way to U.S. Gypsum in Lisbon Falls, the
murmur of conversation from the adults. He was very glad to be alive on that cold, fair
winter day. Nothing was wrong with him, nothing troubled his mind, he wanted nothing
... except to be able to skate backward, like Timmy Benedix.