Stephen King: The Long Walk: Aging Walkers

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The walkers get very old on The Long Walk

The Long Walk is like life where you friends die over time
  "Did you see Olson's ... did you see his hair? Before he bought it?"
  "What about his hair?" Baker asked.
  "It was going gray."
  "No, that's crazy," McVries said, but he suddenly sounded very scared. "No, it was dust or something."
  "It was gray," Garraty said. "It seems like we've been on this road forever. It was Olson's hair getting ... getting that way that made me think of it first, but ... maybe this is some crazy kind of immortality."

- It feels like a month has gone by in the past 5 hours, but maybe a month has actually gone by
  It was quarter of two. Nine in the morning, cool, sitting on the grass in the shade, was a month back.
  Dawn was a century away.
  Seconds seemed to telescope into hours.
  It seemed to Garraty that they had been climbing the hill for at least a month now. Yes, it had to be a month at least, and that was a conservative estimate because they had been walking for just over three years.
  To Ray Garraty it seemed the longest minute of the longest night of his entire life.

  Garraty felt old and sick.

  "The only difference is we're involved in dying right now."

  "Don't bother him," McVries said. "He's dying, don't bother him."

  "You don't know," McVries said. "You're dying and you don't know why."

  "They've all been dying, didn't you know?"

  I just would have gone on to the movies and I wouldn't be here right now, dying in such jolly company.

  Mild surprise washed over Olson's shattered old man's face.

  We're suspended in time, Garraty thought.
  Their feet moved but they did not. The cherry cigarette glows in the crowd, the occasional flashlight or flaring sparkler might have been stars, weird low constellations that marked their existence ahead and behind, narrowing into nothing both ways.

  speaking of it as if the final backout date had been years ago instead of only four days.

  It was Abraham, looking like a victim of the Bataan March. For some inconceivable reason he had shucked both his jacket and his shirt, leaving his bony chest and stacked ribcage bare.

  And McVries was caving in. Garraty was not sure when it had begun; it might have happened in a second, while his back was turned. At one moment he had still been strong (Garraty remembered the clamp of McVries's fingers on his lower arm when Baker had fallen), and now he was like an old man. It was unnerving.

  In fact, he thought with a painful twinge, McVries was the one who looked bushed.

  He looked like a world-beaten monk.

  McVries: His face was a furry skull. His hands were shaking badly. "Six since Barkovitch." He put the jar back with an old man's palsied care.

  Baker nodded. His skin was drawn tight over his cheekbones, giving him the aspect of a skull.

  George Fielder came abruptly to life. His skull-head turned slowly this way and that on his pipestem neck.

  His voice sounded cracked and cobwebby, as if it had issued from a dusty cellar.

  He had aged unbelievably; Stebbins was an old man.

  It took Garraty what seemed like hours to make his hands go through the complicated ritual of snapping the belt closed around his waist

  "Maybe I am," McVries said. He put his hands out in front of him. They were shaking very slightly.

  The face to which he referred was now haggard and gaunt, just a shadow of what it had been.

  "Yeah," McVries said. He also looked ancient and wizened.

  I think about those things, Garraty. Just lately. Like I was old and gettin' senile.

  "And no notification of which you are until the final backout date itself," McVries agreed, speaking of it as if the final backout date had been years ago instead of only four days.

  They walked on, somehow in step, although all three of them were bent forever in different shapes by the pains that pulled them.
Date Created November 9, 2018
Last Updated November 9, 2018