The October Game. Рассказ Рэя Брэдбери

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1948


He put the gun back into the bureau drawer and shut the drawer.

No, not that way. Louise wouldn't suffer. It was very important that this thing have, above all duration. Duration through imagination. How to prolong the suffering? How, first of all, to bring it about? Well.

The man standing before the bedroom mirror carefully fitted his cuff-links together. He paused long enough to hear the children run by switftly on the street below, outside this warm two-storey house, like so many grey mice the children, like so many leaves.

By the sound of the children you knew the calendar day. By their screams you knew what evening it was. You knew it was very late in the year. October. The last day of October, with white bone masks and cut pumpkins and the smell of dropped candle wax.

No. Things hadn't been right for some time. October didn't help any. If anything it made things worse. He adjusted his black bow-tie. If this were spring, he nodded slowly, quietly, emotionlessly, at his image in the mirror, then there might be a chance. But tonight all the world was burning down into ruin. There was no green spring, none of the freshness, none of the promise.

There was a soft running in the hall. "That's Marion", he told himself. "My'little one". All eight quiet years of her. Never a word. Just her luminous grey eyes and her wondering little mouth. His daughter had been in and out all evening, trying on various masks, asking him which was most terrifying, most horrible. They had both finally decided on the skeleton mask. It was 'just awful!' It would 'scare the beans' from people!

Again he caught the long look of thought and deliberation he gave himself in the mirror. He had never liked October. Ever since he first lay in the autumn leaves before his granmother's house many years ago and heard the wind and sway the empty trees. It has made him cry, without a reason. And a little of that sadness returned each year to him. It always went away with spring. But, it was different tonight. There was a feeling of autumn coming to last a million years. There would be no spring.

He had been crying quietly all evening. It did not show, not a vesitge of it, on his face. It was all hidden somewhere and it wouldn't stop.

The rich syrupy smell of sweets filled the bustling house. Louise had laid out apples in new skins of toffee; there were vast bowls of punch fresh-mixed, stringed apples in each door, scooped, vented pumpkins peering triangularly from each cold window. There was a water tub in the centre of the living room, waiting, with a sack of apples nearby, for dunking to begin. All that was needed was the catalyst, the impouring of children, to start the apples bobbing, the srtinged apples to penduluming in the crowded doors, the sweets to vanish, the halls to echo with fright or delight, it was all the same.

Now, the house was silent with preparation. And just a little more than that.

Louise had managed to be in every other room save the room he was in today. It was her very fine way of intimating, Oh look Mich, see how busy I am! So busy that when you walk into a room I'm in there's always something I need to do in another room! Just see how I dash about!

For a while he had played a little game with her, a nasty childish game. When she was in the kitchen then he came to the kitchen saying, 'I need a glass of water.' After a moment, he standing, drinking water, she like a crystal witch over the caramel brew bubbling like a prehistoric mudpot on the stove, she said, 'Oh, I must light the pumpkins!' and she rushed to the living room to make the pumpkins smile with light. He came after, smiling, 'I must get my pipe.' 'Oh, the cider!' she had cried, running to the dining room. 'I'll check the cider,' he had said. But when he tried following she ran to the bathroom and locked the door.

He stood outside the bathroom door, laughing strangely and senselessly, his pipe gone cold in his mouth, and then, tired of the game, but stubborn, he waited another five minutes. There was not a sound from the bath. And lest she enjoy in any way knowing that he waited outside, irritated, he suddenly jerked about and walked upstairs, whistling merrily.

At the top of the stairs he had waited. Finally he had heard the bathroom door unlatch and she had come out and life below-stairs and resumed, as life in a jungle must resume once a terror has passed on away and the antelope return to their spring.

Now, as he finished his bow-tie and put his dark coat there was a mouse-rustle in the hall. Marion appeared in the door, all skeletons in her disguise.

'How do I look, Papa?'

'Fine!'

From under the mask, blonde hair showed. From the skull sockets small blue eyes smiled. He sighed. Marion and Louise, the two silent denouncers of his virility, his dark power. What alchemy had there been in Louise that took the dark of a dark man and bleached the dark brown eyes and black hair and washed and bleached the ingrown baby all during the period before birth until the child was born, Marion, blonde, blue-eyed, ruddy-cheeked? Sometimes he suspected that Louise had conceived the child as an idea, completely asexual, an immaculate conception of contemptuous mind and cell. As a firm rebuke to him she had produced a child in her own image, and, to top it, she had somehow fixed the doctor so he shook his head and said, 'Sorry, Mr Wilder, your wife will never have another child. This is the last one.' 'And I wanted a boy,' Mich had said eight years ago.

He almost bent to take hold of Marion now, in her skull mask. He felt an inexplicable rush of pity for her, because she had never had a father's love, only the crushing, holding love of a loveless mother. But most of all he pitied himself, that somehow he had not made the most of a bad birth, enjoyed his daughter for herself, regardless of her not being dark and a son and like himself. Somewhere he had missed out. Other things being equal, he would have loved the child. But Louise hadn't wanted a child, anyway, in the first place. She had been frightened of the idea of birth. He had forced the child on her, and from that night, all through the year until the agony of the birth itself, Louise had lived in another part of the house. She had expected to die with the forced child. It had been very easy for Louise to hate this husband who so wanted a son that he gave his only wife over to the mortuary.

But - Louise had lived. And in truimph! Her eyes, the day he came to the hospital, were cold. I'm alive they said. And I have a blonde daughter! Just look! And when he had put out a hand to touch, the mother had turned away to conspire with her new pink daughter-child - away from that dark forcing murderer. It had all been so beautifully ironic. His selfishness deserved it.

But now it was October again. There had been other Octobers and when he thought of the long winter he had been filled with horror year after year to think of the endless months mortared into the house by an insane fall of snow, trapped with a woman and child, neither of whom loved him, for months on end. During the eight years there had been respites. In spring and summer you got out, walked, picknicked; these were desperate solutions to the desperate problem of a hated man.

But, in winter, the hikes and picnics and escapes fell away with leaves. Life, like a tree, stood empty, the fruit picked, the sap run to earth. Yes, you invited people in, but people were hard to get in winter with blizzards and all. Once he had been clever enough to save for a Florida trip. They had gone south. He had walked in the open.

But now, the eighth winter coming, he knew things were finally at an end. He simply could not wear this one through. There was an acid walled off in him that slowly had eaten through tissue and bone over the years, and now, tonight, it would reach the wild explosive in him and all would be over!

There was a mad ringing of the bell below. In the hall, Louise went to see. Marion, without a word, ran down to greet the first arrivals. There were shouts and hilarity.

He walked to the top of the stairs.

Louise was below, taking cloaks. She was tall and slender and blonde to the point of whiteness, laughing down upon the new children.

He hesitated. What was all this? The years? The boredom of living? Where had it gone wrong? Certainly not with the birth of the child alone. But it had been a symbol of all their tensions, he imagined. His jealousies and his business failures and all the rotten rest of it. Why didn't he just turn, pack a suitcase, and leave? No. Not without hurting Louise as much as she had hurt him. It was simple as that. Divorce wouldn't hurt her at all. It would simply be an end to numb indecision. If he thought divorce would give her pleasure in any way he would stay married the rest of his life to her, for damned spite. No he must hurt her. Figure some way, perhaps, to take Marion away from her, legally. Yes. That was it. That would hurt most of all. To take Marion.

'Hello down there!' He descended the stairs beaming.

Louise didn't look up.

'Hi, Mr Wilder!'

The children shouted, waved, as he came down.

By ten o'clock the doorbell had stopped ringing, the apples were bitten from stringed doors, the pink faces were wiped dry from the apple bobbling, napkins were smeared with toffee and punch, and he, the husband, with pleasant efficiency had taken over. He took the party right out of Louise's hands. He ran about talking to the twenty children and the twelve parents who had come and were happy with the special spiked cider he had fixed them. He supervised pin the tail on the donkey, spin the bottle, musical chairs, and all the rest, amid fits of shouting laughter. Then, in the triangular-eyed pumpkin shine, all house lights out, he cried, 'Hush! Follow me!' tiptoeing towards the cellar.

The parents, on the outer periphery of the costumed riot, commented to each other, nodding at the clever husband, speaking to the lucky wife. How well he got on with children, they said.

The children, crowded after the husband, squealing.

'The cellar!' he cried. 'The tomb of the witch!'

More squealing. He made a mock shiver. 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here!'

The parents chuckled.

One by one the children slid down a slide which Mich had fixed up from lengths of table-section, into the dark cellar. He hissed and shouted ghastly utterances after them. A wonderful wailing filled dark pumpkin-lighted house. Everybody talked at once. Everybody but Marion. She had gone through all the party with a minimum of sound or talk; it was all inside her, all the excitement and joy. What a little troll, he thought. With a shut mouth and shiny eyes she had watched her own party, like so many serpentines thrown before her.

Now, the parents. With laughing reluctance they slid down the short incline, uproarious, while little Marion stood by, always wanting to see it all, to be last. Louise went down without help. He moved to aid her, but she was gone even before he bent.

The upper house was empty and silent in the candle-shine. Marion stood by the slide. 'Here we go,' he said, and picked her up.

They sat in a vast circle in the cellar. Warmth came from the distant bulk of the furnace. The chairs stood in a long line along each wall, twenty squealing children, twelve rustling relatives, alternatively spaced, with Louise down at the far end, Mich up at this end, near the stairs. He peered but saw nothing. They had all grouped to their chairs, catch-as-you-can in the blackness. The entire programme from here on was to be enacted in the dark, he as Mr Interlocutor. There was a child scampering, a smell of damp cement, and the sound of the wind out in the October stars.

'Now!' cried the husband in the dark cellar. 'Quiet!'

Everybody settled.

The room was black black. Not a light, not a shine, not a glint of an eye.

A scraping of crockery, a metal rattle.

'The witch is dead,' intoned the husband.

'Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,' said the children.

'The witch is dead, she has been killed, and here is the knife she was killed with.' He handed over the knife. It was passed from hand to hand, down and around the circle, with chuckles and little odd cries and comments from the adults.

'The witch is dead, and this is her head,' whispered the husband, and handed an item to the nearest person.

'Oh, I know how this game is played,' some child cried, happily, in the dark. 'He gets some old chicken innards from the icebox and hands them around and says, "These are her innards!" And he makes a clay head and passes it for her head, and passes a soup bone for her arm. And he takes a marble and says, "This is her eye!" And he takes some corn and says, "This is her teeth!" And he takes a sack of plum pudding and gives that and says, "This is her stomach!&" I know how this is played!'

'Hush, you'll spoil everything,' some girl said.

'The witch came to harm, and this is her arm,' said Mich.

'Eeeeeeeeeeee!'

The items were passed and passed, like hot potatoes, around the cirle. Some children screamed, wouldn't touch them. Some ran from their chairs to stand in the centre of the cellar until the grisly items had passed.

'Aw, it's only chicken insides,' scoffed a boy. 'Come back, Helen!'

Shot from hand to hand, with small scream after scream, the items went down, down, to be followed by another and another.

'The witch cut apart, and this is her heart,' said the husband.

Six or seven items moving at once through the laughing, trembling dark.

Louise spoke up. 'Marion, don't be afraid; it's only play."

Marion didn't say anything.

'Marion?, asked Louise. 'Are you afraid?'

Marion didn't speak.

'She's all right,' said the husband. 'She's not afraid.'

On and on the passing, the screams, the hilarity.

The autumn wind sighed about the house. And he, the husband stood at the head of the dark cellar, intoning the words, handing out the items.

'Marion?' asked Louise again, from far across the cellar.

Everybody was talking.

'Marion?' called Louise.

Everybody quieted.

'Marion, answer me, are you afraid?'

Marion didn't answer.

The husband stood there, at the bottom of the cellar steps.

Louise called 'Marion, are you there?'

No answer. The room was silent.

'Where's Marion?' called Louise.

'She was here', said a boy.

'Maybe she's upstairs.'

'Marion!'

No answer. It was quiet.

Louise cried out, 'Marion, Marion!'

'Turn on the lights,' said one of the adults.

The items stopped passing. The children and adults sat with the witch's items in their hands.

'No.' Louise gasped. There was a scraping of her chair, wildly, in the dark. 'No. Don't turn on the lights, oh, God, God, God, don't turn them on, please, don't turn on the lights, don't!.Louise was shrieking now. The entire cellar froze with the scream.

Nobody moved.

Everyone sat in the dark cellar, suspended in the suddenly frozen task of this October game; the wind blew outside, banging the house, the smell of pumpkins and apples filled the room with the smell of the objects in their fingers while one boy cried, 'I'll go upstairs and look!' and he ran upstairs hopefully and out around the house, four times around the house, calling, 'Marion, Marion, Marion!' over and over and at last coming slowly down the stairs into the waiting breathing cellar and saying to the darkenss, 'I can't find her.'

Then ...... some idiot turned on the lights.

Комментарии

Кристина, 1 февраля 2018

Автор же пишет в начале, что герой хотел убить жену, но решил, что нужна месть посильнее. И что даже развод это слишком просто, он хочет уничтожить жену. И что простой розыгрыш на две минуты уничтожит ее? Нет. Зачем тогда нас подводили к этому моменту? Это был бы бессмысленный рассказ. Тут Рэй показал, что может писать ужасы! Эдакие страшные истории, которые мы теперь сами можем рассказывать под видом страшилок на ночь)

Vision trick, 7 мая 2017

По-моему очевидно, что он убил дочь. Мэрион не хотела,чтобы включали свет, потому что догодалась, что произошло. Пока было темно,можно было оставаться с иллюзией,что ничего не случилось,причём не только ей, но и остальным. А когда свет врубили, всем стало понятно,что это никакая уже не игра

Ондатер, 24 октября 2016

Да не убивал он дочь, в самом начале есть подсказка "Это Мэрион, — сказал он себе. — Моя малышка. Восемь молчаливых годков. Без единого слова. Только сияющие серые глаза и любопытный маленький ротик"

Ната, 16 октября 2016

"Маленькая Мэрион стояла рядом, как всегда, желая посмотреть до конца, быть последней", "Мэрион стояла у спуска в погреб" - это когда все спускались. Папочка решил поиздеваться над женой, сделав вид, что убил дочь.

Не верю, что ему удалось довести жену до смерти. Вот до истерики - определённо. То есть в здравом уме она бы поняла, что муж не мог убить дочь (банально хотя бы потому, что времени не хватило), но сказалась атмосфера ужасов.

В тексте постоянно подчёркивается, что Мэрион почти ничего не говорит (в том числе и до праздника). Возможно, у девочки аутизм или какие-то подобные психологические проблемы, и папашка этим воспользовался.

Хотя меня до сих пор смущает то, что мать девочки в конце кричит "не включайте свет". Как-то было бы более ожидаемо, если бы она кричала "включите свет".

Юстина, 31 октября 2015

Примкну к мнению последнего комментатора. ИМХО, всё и так очевидно, нужно лишь внимательней перечитать рассказ.

imagine_sea, 9 мая 2013

кажется, этот рассказ действительно мало кто понял. концовка, что он убил дочь кажется очевидной. но рэй брэдбери не был бы рэем брэдбери, если бы не попытался нас всех перехитрить, вложить в рассказ скрытый смысл. майк никого не убивал на самом деле, просто заставил свою жену поверить в это, уже не знаю что для этого он сделал, закрыл ли своей дочке рот, усыпил ее, она сама по себе молчаливая была-это уж осталось за гранью рассказа...и ему удалось напугать свою жену до смерти. это стало ясно когда она в ужасе закричала не включайте свет. отсюда и потрясающая концовка "а потом какой то болван зажег свет"... и вся созданная иллюзия убийства и расчленения распалась...но думаю жене этот урок запомнится надолго... муж ведь хотел причинить ей много боли... думаю ему это удалось, хоть и не на продолжительное время...

Ирина, 28 февраля 2013

Только Бредбери начал запугивать и вдруг... "какой-то идиот включил свет". :-/

Ирина. , 28 февраля 2013

ну, и расчленить кого-то для этого нужно определеное количество времени и усилий. да и в темноте не с руки делать. ещё и при таком количестве людей вокруг. да и последние мысли героя отобрать ребенка через суд противоречат версии об убийстве.

MammaMia, 16 июля 2012

Я все таки не верю, что он убил свою дочь. В любом случае, он не стал бы это делать при всех. Он просто хотел напугать свою жену, чтобы она страдала, а дочка просто молчала, когда ее звали. И, как уже было сказано, специально включила свет, чтобы показать "как жалко выглядят куринные кишки и кукуруза при свете лампочки".

, 23 апреля 2012

"Да. Точно. Это ранит ее больнее всего. Отобрать у нее Мэрион."

Вот он и отобрал у Луизы дочь...

Павел, 25 октября 2011

Димка, вы удумали что-то сложное. По тексту рассказа очень многие фразы ведут к единственно верной трактовке финала. К убийству. В вашу натянутую версию они не ложатся, да и сам рассказ в таком случае превращается в пшик.

Димка, 25 октября 2011

Перечитал во второй раз....
Вот те на! Беру свои слова назад. Похоже таки расчленил дочь. o-O Святые угодники! "Октябрьская игра"..Всегда нравилось это название,когда пробегал глазами список сочинений..Такое поэтичное. Прочел рассказ - погрустнел.
Вот уж не думал что у Р.Б. столько страшилок. Выходит достаточно их. Вот и на 6 сезонов сериала насобирали подобных "Осенней игре".
А мы поклонники "Вина из одуванчиков" "Земляничного окошка" "Лекарства от меланхолии" , мы фыркнем и...Мда "Октябрьская игра" весьма своеобразна, mildly speaking.

Димка, 25 октября 2011

Вздор! Теперь то мне ясно. Лишь один комментарий верен. Рассказ этот Р.Б. никто не понял. Кроме нас с вышеупомянутым. (покзывает язык) Включила свет дочка. Лицемерный "дяволенок" которая сначала молча наблюдала за вечеринкой которую для ее друзей организовали родители, а затем когда милейший папашка (мухи не обидет) в апофеоз празнования в подвале играл с ее гостями в давно всем известную но от того не менее славную игру в расчленение, бесовка Марион, что осталась на верху включила свет. Какой конфуз! Папа в дурках! как жалко выглядят куринные кишки и кукуруза при свете лампочки.

Talvi, 1 октября 2011

"Нет, не так. Луиза не будет страдать, если умрет так просто. Она умрет, все кончится, и она не будет мучиться. Для него это было очень важно. Как продлить ее мучения? Как, начнем с этого, все проделать? Ну, ладно."

тунец, 30 апреля 2011

так убил или нет? так и не понятно

Ariesus, 25 июля 2010

Когда успел? Когда дети галдели внизу, взял, зажал рот и перезал глот, ну ещё для верноти кольнул в сердце xO Брэдбери же сам написал, что Мэрион спускалась всегда самой последней, поэтому на площадке они были одни. Как мог? Настолько ненавидел жену, что ради мести ей, перешагнул через не очень-то и сильную любовь к дочери.

А рассказ жутковатый! Это в сто раз лучше чем облитый кровью экран, всякие недоговорки и недомолвки пугают больше, чем популярная ныне порнография ужаса!

Мечта, 16 июля 2009

Прочитав рассказ я сразу поняла... Без крови тут не обошлось. Но не очень поняла почему нельзя включать свет. Но были догадки, что он дочь зарезал, но когда он успел? Почитав отзывы я в этом убедилась.
Обожаю его жуткие кровавые расказы.
Пять баллов=)

Павел, 9 июля 2009

Имхо, очевидно: убил.

Холи, 9 июля 2009

Черт,вы ничего не поняли.Он не убил Марион.Это игра.
А потом один идиот включил свет.Вам обязательно нужно включить свет.
Большинство людей не понимают книг Рэя,по коментам мне это понятно.

Sailor, 13 марта 2009

Октябрьская игра - мой любимый рассказ Брэдбери. Обычно я читаю его рассказы и не понимаю сути и лишь много позже до меня неожиданно доходит. Так например было с "Орудия радости".А в "Октябрьской игре" действительно неожиданный поворот.

Евгения, 19 августа 2008

Хорошая жуткая страшилка. Переживаемая.

Евгешка, 11 августа 2008

У Брэдбери достаточно "чернушных" рассказов, где "Эдгар По, мог бы смело претендовать на авторство" и что? Это плохо разве? Я, например, обожаю весь сборник "Воспоминания об убийстве", хотя не являюсь поклонником "Сайлент Хиллов", "Пил" и подобного жанра в принципе. Дело же в мастерстве, в том, как немногими словами и умочаниями заставить мурашки бежать по спине. Хичкок сказал как-то, что если в хорошем фильме ужасов есть отрубленная голова, то в плохом фильме с неё будет капать кровь. Так вот, Брэдбери чаще всего обходится вообще без головы.

Коля, 7 августа 2008

Мда...зарезать дочурку да еще расчленить в темноте прямо под носом у жены....
Меня тошнит....
Сайлент хилл какой-то
там ребенка живьем сжигали
блин... прям абсолютная жестокость

, 25 апреля 2008

Занесло Брэдбери

texas, 12 декабря 2007

а мне расказ не понравился...
по-моему глупый, бесполезный, слишком фантасмогоричный и жестокий...
а кроме того, Эдгар По, мог бы смело претендовать на авторство!

Виталий, 19 июля 2007

Очень хороший рассказ, правда немного жутковатый как например "Кукольник", "Огненный столп"

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