Geralds Game - By Stephen King

This book is dedicated, with love and admiration, to six good women:

Margaret Spruce Morehouse

Catherine Spruce Graves

Stephanie Spruce Leonard

Anne Spruce Labree

Tabitha Spruce King

Marcella Spruce

(Sadie) gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the contemptuous hatred she put into her answer.

"You men! You filthy dirty pigs! You're all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!"

- W. Somerset Maugham, "Rain"


Jessie could hear the back door banging lightly, randomly, in the October breeze blowing around the house. The jamb always swelled in the fall and you really had to give the door a yank to shut it. This time they had forgotten. She thought of telling Gerald to go back and shut the door before they got too involved or that banging would drive her nuts. Then she thought how ridiculous that would be, given the current circumstances. It would ruin the whole mood.

What mood?

A good question, that. And as Gerald turned the hollow barrel of the key in the second lock, as she heard the minute click from above her left ear, she realized that, for her at least, the mood wasn't worth preserving. That was why she had noted the unlatched door in the first place, of course. For her, the sexual turn-on of the bondage games hadn't lasted long.

The same could not be said of Gerald, however. He was wearing only a pair of Jockey shorts now, and she didn't have to look as high as his face to see that his interest continued unabated.

This is stupid, she thought, but stupid wasn't the whole story, either. It was also a little scary. She didn't like to admit it, but there it was.

"Gerald, why don't we just forget this?"

He hesitated for a moment, frowning a little, then went on across the room to the dresser which stood to the left of the bathroom door. His face cleared as he went. She watched him from where she lay on the bed, her arms raised and splayed out, making her look a little like Fay Wray chained up and waiting for the great ape in King Kong. Her wrists had been secured to the mahogany bed-posts with two sets of handcuffs. The chains gave each hand about six inches" worth of movement. Not much.

He put the keys on top of the bureau-two minute clicks, her ears seemed in exceptionally fine working order for a Wednesday afternoon-and then turned back to her. Over his head, sunripples from the lake danced and wavered on the bedroom's high white ceiling.

"What do you say? This has lost a lot of its charm for me." Andit never had that much to begin with, she did not add.

He grinned. He had a heavy, pink-skinned face below a narrow widow's peak of hair as black as a crow's wing, and that grin of his had always done something to her that she didn't much care for. She couldn't quite put her finger on what that something was, but-

Oh, sure you can. It makes him look stupid. You can practically seehis IQ going down ten points for every inch that grin spreads. At itsmaximum width, your killer corporate lawyer of a husband looks like ajanitor on work-release from the local mental institution.

That was cruel, but not entirely inaccurate. But how did you tell your husband of almost twenty years that every time he grinned he looked as if he were suffering from light mental retardation? The answer was simple, of course: you didn't. His smile was a different matter entirely. He had a lovely smile-she guessed it was that smile, so warm and good-humored, which had persuaded her to go out with him in the first place. It had reminded her of her father's smile when he told his family amusing things about his day as he sipped a before-dinner gin and tonic.

This wasn't the smile, though. This was the grin-a version of it he seemed to save just for these sessions. She had an idea that to Gerald, who was on the inside of it, the grin felt wolfish. Piratical, maybe. From her angle, however, lying here with her arms raised above her head and nothing on but a pair of bikini panties, it only looked stupid. No... retarded. He was, after all, no devil-may-care adventurer like the ones in the men's magazines over which he had spent the furious ejaculations of his lonely, overweight puberty; he was an attorney with a pink, too-large face spreading below a widow's peak which was narrowing relentlessly toward