[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.It toppled into the opening and caught on the edges.It hung there, its wood creaking and cracking, then its back snapped and the pieces tumbled out of sight.Jack stared at the hole.Had it grown in size, or did it just seem that way? He watched the rope ladder twisting and gyrating in the downdraft.He didn’t remember that wooden tread sitting on the edge before.hadn’t it been further back?Alarmed, he clamped the nails between his lips and jammed the screwdriver through one of the chain links.He twisted the link, using both hands and putting all his weight and strength behind it.He pushed till he thought he might pop a vein in his head, but the weld held fast.He heard a scraping sound and looked up.The desk was sliding toward the hole.It stopped after moving a foot or so, but the tools and the two remaining crystals atop it kept rolling.The crystals hit the floor and shattered.The amber shards slid and tumbled across the concrete with the tools and disappeared into the hole.And still the wind increased.a full-fledged gale now, blasting down those steps.The wheelchair kept wanting to roll away but Jack had the front of his sneaker hooked through the spokes of one of the wheels.He shoved the screwdriver into his jeans pocket and began trying to pick the lock with one of the nails.He didn’t know if it was possible.Hiatts made serious cuffs.Even if he’d had his pick set, the gale buffeting his arms and body would have made the job a tough go.But with a lousy nail.He looked up to see plastic containers of liquid detergent topple off the shelf above the washer and dryer and slide into the hole.Jack jumped and dropped the paneling nail as the door at the top of the steps slammed explosively.A piece of molding flew down the steps and wind screamed around the edges of the door.Jack felt like screaming too as the air pressure plummeted, driving spikes of pain through his eardrums.He lost the other nails as he shouted and worked his jaw to relieve the pressure.Nothing was working.Just when he thought his ears were going to burst, the high, pint-sized cellar windows shattered, hurling bright daggers through the air and into the sucking maw in the floor.Jack realized he’d be stew meat now if one of those windows had been behind him.But at least the air howling through the small openings relieved the negative pressure and the pain in his ears.The card table and folding chairs fell away from the wall and slid into the hole.Now the desk was moving again, and this time it didn’t stop.It skated across the concrete, straight for the hole, and over the edge.But it didn’t go down.It hung up in the opening, canted at an angle with the lip of its top caught on the rim.“Bit off more that you can chew?” Jack said.Maybe there was some hope yet.The sucking air shrieked around the desk, bucking it back and forth until the top groaned and popped loose.It angled up and snapped in half with a bang as it and the rest of the desk tumbled from view.And oh Christ, the hole was definitely bigger now.The more it swallowed, the bigger it seemed to grow.The tread that had been on the edge was out of sight now.Only four more treads remained between Jack and the sucking maw.He was reaching for Canfield’s tool kit again when he heard the whine of the air around the door atop the steps change in pitch.He felt the wind grow against his back again.He looked up and saw the door slowly moving back.Fingers appeared, curled around the edge, white-knuckled with the strain of fighting the gale.Finally with a violent lurch the door swung all the way back on its hinges and a tall, ungainly figure appeared in the opening.“Lew!” Jack shouted.“Jeez, am I glad to see you!”“Jack?” Lew said as he clumped down the steps, clinging to the banister and the wall to brace himself against the wind at his back.“What’s—?”He stopped and gaped at the partially denuded cellar, then lurched down to the floor.“Where’s Melanie?”“She left.Look, Lew—”“Left?” he said, his face screwing up as he stared at the hole.“You mean she went back.back down there?”“Yeah [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]