The Long Walk

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Overview

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as 'The Long Walk.' If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as 'The Long Walk.' If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

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The Long Walk

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Overview

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as 'The Long Walk.' If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as 'The Long Walk.' If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A master storyteller." - Houston Chronicle
"An illusionist extraordinaire." - Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Ray Garraty--along with 99 other teen boys--has entered the Long Walk, a grueling march at four miles per hour that continues until only one person is standing. The losers receive bullets to the head. As the march progresses, the numbers dwindle, the challenges of continued marching increase, and the senselessness wears on the participants' state of mind. King (writing as his alter ego, Richard Bachman) delivers another psychologically dark tale with commentary on society, teenage life, and cultural entertainment that is still poignant decades after its original publication. Kirby Heyborne's skills shine in the narrative passages, which he executes with a good mixture of rhythm and emphasis. Heyborne's light and youthful-sounding voice exudes the needed attitude of the mostly male adolescent characters. However, some of his character voices for the teens feel created just for the sole purpose of clearly distinguishing them, rather than matching voice organically to personality. His female voices lack substance, but since there are so few of them, listeners will not be too distracted. A Signet paperback. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451196712
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 55,240
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen King

Stephen King, the world's bestselling novelist, was educated at the University of Maine at Orono. He lives with his wife, the novelist Tabitha King, and their children in Bangor, Maine.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Bachman
      Stephen A. King
      Stephen Edwin King
    2. Hometown:
      Bangor, Maine
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portland, Maine
    1. Education:
      B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
    2. Website:

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

 

Part One - STARTING OUT

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

 

Part Two - GOING DOWN THE ROAD

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

 

Part Three - THE RABBIT

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Only death can keep you from the finish line—in the ultimate competition of the all-too-near future. . . .

THE LONG WALK

Every year, on the first day of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as “The Long Walk.” Among this year’s chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: that warnings are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. That after three warnings . . . you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk—the one that survives. . . .

WORKS BY STEPHEN KING NOVELS

Carrie
’Salem’s Lot
The Shining
The Stand
The Dead Zone
Firestarter
Cujo
THE DARK TOWER I:
The Gunslinger
Christine
Pet Sematary
Cycle of the Werewolf
The Talisman
(with Peter Straub)
It
Eyes of the Dragon
Misery

The Tommyknockers
THE DARK TOWER II:
The Drawing
of the Three
THE DARK TOWER III:
The Waste Lands
The Dark Half
Needful Things
Gerald’s Game
Dolores Claiborne
Insomnia
Rose Madder
Desperation
The Green Mile
THE DARK TOWER IV:
Wizard and Glass
Bag of Bones

 

 

AS RICHARD BACHMAN
Rage
The Long Walk
Roadwork
The Running Man
Thinner
The Regulators

 

 

COLLECTIONS
Night Shift
Different Seasons
Skeleton Crew
Four Past Midnight
Nightmares and
Dreamscapes

 

NONFICTION
Danse Macabre

SCREENPLAYS
Creepshow
Cat’s Eye
Silver Bullet
Maximum Overdrive
Pet Sematary
Golden Years
Sleepwalkers
The Stand
The Shining

SIGNET
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England

First printing, July 1979
First printing (with King introduction), April 1999

ISBN: 9781101138182

Copyright © Richard Bachman, 1979 Introduction copyright © Stephen King, 1996

All rights reserved

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint an excerpt from ”Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan. © 1965 Warner Bros. Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT QUANTITY DISCOUNTS WHEN USED TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES. FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO PREMIUM MARKETING DIVISION, PENGUIN PUTNAM INC., 375 HUDSON STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10014.

The Importance of Being Bachman by Stephen King

This is my second introduction to the so-called Bachman Books—a phrase which has come to mean (in my mind, at least) the first few novels published with the Richard Bachman name, the ones which appeared as unheralded paperback originals under the Signet imprint. My first introduction wasn’t very good; to me it reads like a textbook case of author obfuscation. But that is not surprising. When it was written, Bachman’s alter ego (me, in other words) wasn’t in what I’d call a contemplative or analytical mood; I was, in fact, feeling robbed. Bachman was never created as a short-term alias; he was supposed to be there for the long haul, and when my name came out in connection with his, I was surprised, upset, and pissed off. That’s not a state conducive to good essay-writing. This time I may do a little better.

Probably the most important thing I can say about Richard Bachman is that he became real. Not entirely, of course (he said with a nervous smile); I am not writing this in a delusive state. Except . . . well . . . maybe I am. Delusion is, after all, something writers of fiction try to encourage in their readers, at least during the time that the book or story is open before them, and the writer is hardly immune from this state of . . . what shall I call it? How does “directed delusion” sound?

At any rate, Richard Bachman began his career not as a delusion but as a sheltered place where I could publish a few early works which I felt readers might like. Then he began to grow and come alive, as the creatures of a writer’s imagination so frequently do. I began to imagine his life as a dairy farmer . . . his wife, the beautiful Claudia Inez Bachman . . . his solitary New Hampshire mornings, spent milking the cows, getting in the wood, and thinking about his stories . . . his evenings spent writing, always with a glass of whiskey beside his Olivetti typewriter. I once knew a writer who would say his current story or novel was “putting on weight” if it was going well. In much the same way, my pen-name began to put on weight.

Then, when his cover was blown, Richard Bachman died. I made light of this in the few interviews I felt required to give on the subject, saying that he’d died of cancer of the pseudonym, but it was actually shock that killed him: the realization that sometimes people just won’t let you alone. To put it in more fulsome (but not at all inaccurate) terms, Bachman was the vampire side of my existence, killed by the sunlight of disclosure. My feelings about all this were confused enough (and fertile enough) to bring on a book (a Stephen King book, that is), The Dark Half. It was about a writer whose pseudonym, George Stark, actually comes to life. It’s a novel my wife has always detested, perhaps because, for Thad Beaumont, the dream of being a writer overwhelms the reality of being a man; for Thad, delusive thinking overtakes rationality completely, with horrific consequences.

I didn’t have that problem, though. Really. I put Bachman aside, and although I was sorry that he had to die, I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt some relief as well.

The books in this omnibus were written by a young man who was angry, energetic, and deeply infatuated with the art and craft of writing. They weren’t written as Bachman books per se (Bachman hadn’t been invented yet, after all), but in a Bachman state of mind: low rage, sexual frustration, crazy good humor, and simmering despair. Ben Richards, the scrawny, pre-tubercular protagonist of The Running Man (he is about as far from the Arnold Schwarzenegger character in the movie as you can get), crashes his hijacked plane into the Network Games skyscraper, killing himself but taking hundreds (maybe thousands) of Free-Vee executives with him; this is the Richard Bachman version of a happy ending. The conclusions of the other Bachman novels are even more grim. Stephen King has always understood that the good guys don’t always win (see Cujo, Pet Sematary, and—perhaps—Christine), but he has also understood that mostly they do. Every day, in real life, the good guys win. Mostly these victories go unheralded (MAN ARRIVES HOME SAFE FROM WORK YET AGAIN wouldn’t sell many papers), but they are nonetheless real for all that . . . and fiction should reflect reality.

And yet . . .

In the first draft of The Dark Half, I had Thad Beaumont quote Donald E. Westlake, a very funny writer who has penned a series of very grim crime novels under the name Richard Stark. Once asked to explain the dichotomy between Westlake and Stark, the writer in question said, “I write Westlake stories on sunny days. When it rains, I’m Stark.” I don’t think that made it into the final version of The Dark Half, but I have always loved it (and related to it, as it has become fashionable to say). Bachman—a fictional creation who became more real to me with each published book which bore his byline—was a rainy-day sort of guy if ever there was one.

The good folks mostly win, courage usually triumphs over fear, the family dog hardly ever contracts rabies: these are things I knew at twenty-five, and things I still know now, at the age of 25 X 2. But I know something else as well: there’s a place in most of us where the rain is pretty much constant, the shadows are always long, and the woods are full of monsters. It is good to have a voice in which the terrors of such a place can be articulated and its geography partially described, without denying the sunshine and clarity that fill so much of our ordinary lives.

In Thinner, Bachman spoke for the first time on his own—it was the only one of the early Bachman novels that had his name on the first draft instead of mine—and it struck me as really unfair that, just as he was starting to talk with his own voice, he should have been mistaken for me. And a mistake was just what it felt like, because by then Bachman had become a kind of id for me; he said the things I couldn’t, and the thought of him out there on his New Hampshire dairy farm—not a best-selling writer who gets his name in some stupid Forbes list of entertainers too rich for their own good or his face on the Today show or doing cameos in movies—quietly writing his books gave him permission to think in ways I could not think and speak in ways I could not speak. And then these news stories came out saying “Bachman is really King,” and there was no one—not even me—to defend the dead man, or to point out the obvious: that King was also really Bachman, at least some of the time.

Unfair I thought then and unfair I think now, but sometimes life bites you a little, that’s all. I determined to put Bachman out of my thoughts and my life, and so I did, for a number of years. Then, while I was writing a novel (a Stephen King novel) called Desperation, Richard Bachman suddenly appeared in my life again.

I was working on a Wang dedicated word processor at that time; it looked like the visiphone in an old Flash Gordon serial. This was paired with a marginally more state-of-the-art laser printer, and from time to time, when an idea occurred to me, I would write down a phrase or a putative title on a scrap of paper and Scotch-tape it to the side of the printer. As I neared the three-quarter mark on Desperation, I had a scrap with a single word printed on it: REGULATORS. I had had a great idea for a novel, something that had to do with toys, guns, TV, and suburbia. I didn’t know if I would ever write it—lots of those “printer notes” never came to anything—but it was certainly cool to think about.

Then, one rainy day (a Richard Stark sort of day), as I was pulling into my driveway, I had an idea. I don’t know where it came from; it was totally unconnected to any of the trivia tumbling through my head at the time. The idea was to take the characters from Desperation and put them into The Regulators . In some cases, I thought, they could play the same people; in others, they would change; in neither case would they do the same things or react in the same ways, because the different stories would dictate different courses of action. It would be, I thought, like the members of a repertory company acting in two different plays.

Then an even more exciting idea struck me. If I could use the rep company concept with the characters, I could use it with the plot itself as well—I could stack a good many of the Desperation elements in a brand-new configuration, and create a kind of mirror world. I knew even before setting out that plenty of critics would call this twinning a stunt . . . and they would not be wrong, exactly. But, I thought, it could be a good stunt. Maybe even an illuminating stunt, one which showcased the muscularity and versatility of story, its all but limitless ability to adapt a few basic elements into endlessly pleasing variations, its prankish charm.

But the two books couldn’t sound exactly the same, and they couldn’t mean the same, any more than an Edward Albee play and one by William Inge can sound and mean the same, even if they are performed on successive nights by the same company of actors. How could I possibly create a different voice?

At first I thought I couldn’t, and that it would be best to consign the idea to the Rube Goldberg bin I keep in the bottom of my mind—the one marked INTERESTING BUT UNWORKABLE CONTRAPTIONS. Then it occurred to me that I had had the answer all along: Richard Bachman could write The Regulators. His voice sounded superficially the same as mine, but underneath there was a world of difference—all the difference between sunshine and rain, let us say. And his view of people was always different from mine, simultaneously funnier and more cold-hearted (Bart Dawes in Roadwork, my favorite of the early Bachman books, is an excellent example).

Of course Bachman was dead, I had announced that myself, but death is actually a minor problem for a novelist—just ask Paul Sheldon, who brought Misery Chastain back for Annie Wilkes, or Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought Sherlock Holmes back from Reichenbach Falls when fans all over the British Empire clamored for him. I didn’t actually bring Richard Bachman back from the dead, anyway; I just visualized a box of neglected manuscripts in his basement, with The Regulators on top. Then I transcribed the book Bachman had already written.

That transcription was a little tougher . . . but it was also immensely exhilarating. It was wonderful to hear Bachman’s voice again, and what I had hoped might happen did happen: a book rolled out that was a kind of fraternal twin to the one I had written under my own name (and the two books were quite literally written back-to-back, the King book finished on one day and the Bachman book commenced on the very next). They were no more alike than King and Bachman themselves. Desperation is about God; The Regulators is about TV. I guess that makes them both about higher powers, but very different ones just the same.

The importance of being Bachman was always the importance of finding a good voice and a valid point of view that were a little different from my own. Not really different; I am not schizo enough to believe that. But I do believe that there are tricks all of us use to change our perspectives and our perceptions—to see ourselves new by dressing up in different clothes and doing our hair in different styles—and that such tricks can be very useful, a way of revitalizing and refreshing old strategies for living life, observing life, and creating art. None of these comments are intended to suggest that I have done anything great in the Bachman books, and they are surely not made as arguments for artistic merit. But I love what I do too much to want to go stale if I can help it. Bachman has been one way in which I have tried to refresh my craft, and to keep from being too comfy and well-padded.

These early books show some progression of the Bachman persona, I hope, and I hope they also show the essence of that persona. Dark-toned, despairing even when he is laughing (despairing most when he’s laughing, in fact), Richard Bachman isn’t a fellow I’d want to be all the time, even if he were still alive . . . but it’s good to have that option, that window on the world, polarized though it may be. Still, as the reader works his or her way through these stories, he/she may discover that Dick Bachman has one thing in common with Thad Beaumont’s alter ego, George Stark: he’s not a very nice guy.

And I wonder if there are any other good manuscripts, at or near completion, in that box found by the widowed Mrs. Bachman in the cellar of their New Hampshire farmhouse.

Sometimes I wonder about that a lot.

 

—Stephen King

Lovell, Maine
April 16, 1996

This is for Jim Bishop and Burt Hatlen and Ted Holmes.

“To me the Universe was all void of Life, or Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on, in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O vast, gloomy, solitary Golgotha, and Mill of Death! Why was the Living banished thither companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God?”

—Thomas Carlyle

 

“I would encourage every American to walk as often as possible. It’s more than healthy; it’s fun.”

—John F. Kennedy (1962)

 

“The pump don’t work ’Cause the vandals took the handle.”

—Bob Dylan

Part One

STARTING OUT

Chapter 1

“Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars.
George, who are our first contestants?
George . . .? Are you there, George?”

—Groucho Marx You Bet Your Life

 

 

 

 

An old blue Ford pulled into the guarded parking lot that morning, looking like a small, tired dog after a hard run. One of the guards, an expressionless young man in a khaki uniform and a Sam Browne belt, asked to see the blue plastic ID card. The boy in the back seat handed it to his mother. His mother handed it to the guard. The guard took it to a computer terminal that looked strange and out of place in the rural stillness. The computer terminal ate the card and flashed this on its screen:

GARRATY RAYMOND DAVIS
RD 1 POWNAL MAINE
ANDROSCOGGIN COUNTY
ID NUMBER 49-801-89
OK-OK-OK

The guard punched another button and all of this disappeared, leaving the terminal screen smooth and green and blank again. He waved them forward.

“Don’t they give the card back?” Mrs. Garraty asked. “Don’t they—”

“No, Mom,” Garraty said patiently.

“Well, I don’t like it,” she said, pulling forward into an empty space. She had been saying it ever since they set out in the dark of two in the morning. She had been moaning it, actually.

“Don’t worry,” he said without hearing himself. He was occupied with looking and with his own confusion of anticipation and fear. He was out of the car almost before the engine’s last asthmatic wheeze—a tall, well-built boy wearing a faded army fatigue jacket against the eight o’clock spring chill.

His mother was also tall, but too thin. Her breasts were almost nonexistent: token nubs. Her eyes were wandering and unsure, somehow shocked. Her face was an invalid’s face. Her iron-colored hair had gone awry under the complication of clips that was supposed to hold it in place. Her dress hung badly on her body as if she had recently lost a lot of weight.

“Ray,” she said in that whispery conspirator’s voice that he had come to dread. “Ray, listen—”

He ducked his head and pretended to tuck in his shirt. One of the guards was eating C rations from a can and reading a comic book. Garraty watched the guard eating and reading and thought for the ten thousandth time: It’s all real. And now, at last, the thought began to swing some weight.

“There’s still time to change your mind—”

The fear and anticipation cranked up a notch.

“No, there’s no time for that,” he said. “The backout date was yesterday.”

Still in that low conspirator’s voice that he hated: “They’d understand, I know they would. The Major—”

“The Major would—” Garraty began, and saw his mother wince. “You know what the Major would do, Mom.”

Another car had finished the small ritual at the gate and had parked. A boy with dark hair got out. His parents followed and for a moment the three of them stood in conference like worried baseball players. He, like some of the other boys, was wearing a light packsack. Garraty wondered if he hadn’t been a little stupid not to bring one himself.

“You won’t change your mind?”

It was guilt, guilt taking the face of anxiety. Although he was only sixteen, Ray Garraty knew something about guilt. She felt that she had been too dry, too tired, or maybe just too taken up with her older sorrows to halt her son’s madness in its seedling stage—to halt it before the cumbersome machinery of the State with its guards in khaki and its computer terminals had taken over, binding himself more tightly to its insensate self with each passing day, until yesterday, when the lid had come down with a final bang.

He put a hand on her shoulder. “This is my idea, Mom. I know it wasn’t yours. I—” He glanced around. No one was paying the slightest attention to them. “I love you, but this way is best, one way or the other.”

“It’s not,” she said, now verging on tears. “Ray, it’s not, if your father was here, he’d put a stop to—”

“Well, he’s not, is he?” He was brutal, hoping to stave off her tears . . . what if they had to drag her off? He had heard that sometimes that happened. The thought made him feel cold. In a softer voice he said, “Let it go now, Mom. Okay?” He forced a grin. “Okay,” he answered for her.

Her chin was still trembling, but she nodded. Not all right, but too late. There was nothing anyone could do.

A light wind soughed through the pines. The sky was pure blue. The road was just ahead and the simple stone post that marked the border between America and Canada. Suddenly his anticipation was greater than his fear, and he wanted to get going, get the show on the road.

“I made these. You can take them, can’t you? They’re not too heavy, are they?” She thrust a foil-wrapped package of cookies at him.

“Yeah.” He took them and then clutched her awkwardly, trying to give her what she needed to have. He kissed her cheek. Her skin was like old silk. For a moment he could have cried himself. Then he thought of the smiling, mustachioed face of the Major and stepped back, stuffing the cookies into the pocket of his fatigue jacket.

“G’bye, Mom.”

“Goodbye, Ray. Be a good boy.”

She stood there for a moment and he had a sense of her being very light, as if even the light puffs of breeze blowing this morning might send her sailing away like a dandelion gone to seed. Then she got back into the car and started the engine. Garraty stood there. She raised her hand and waved. The tears were flowing now. He could see them. He waved back and then as she pulled out he just stood there with his arms at his sides, conscious of how fine and brave and alone he must look. But when the car had passed back through the gate, forlornness struck him and he was only a sixteen-year-old boy again, alone in a strange place.

He turned back toward the road. The other boy, the dark-haired one, was watching his folks pull out. He had a bad scar along one cheek. Garraty walked over to him and said hello.

The dark-haired boy gave him a glance. “Hi.”

“I’m Ray Garraty,” he said, feeling mildly like an asshole.

“I’m Peter McVries.”

“You are ready?” Garraty asked.

McVries shrugged. “I feel jumpy. That’s the worst.”

Garraty nodded.

The two of them walked toward the road and the stone marker. Behind them, other cars were pulling out. A woman began screaming abruptly. Unconsciously, Garraty and McVries drew closer together. Neither of them looked back. Ahead of them was the road, wide and black.

“That composition surface will be hot by noon,” McVries said abruptly. “I’m going to stick to the shoulder.”

Garraty nodded. McVries looked at him thoughtfully.

“What do you weigh?”

“Hundred and sixty.”

“I’m one-sixty-seven. They say the heavier guys get tired quicker, but I think I’m in pretty good shape.”

To Garraty, Peter McVries looked rather more than that—he looked awesomely fit. He wondered who they were that said the heavier guys got tired quicker, almost asked, and decided not to. The Walk was one of those things that existed on apocrypha, talismans, legend.

McVries sat down in the shade near a couple of other boys, and after a moment, Garraty sat beside him. McVries seemed to have dismissed him entirely. Garraty looked at his watch. It was five after eight. Fifty-five minutes to go. Impatience and anticipation came back, and he did his best to squash them, telling himself to enjoy sitting while he could.

All of the boys were sitting. Sitting in groups and sitting alone; one boy had climbed onto the lowest branch of a pine overlooking the road and was eating what looked like a jelly sandwich. He was skinny and blond, wearing purple pants and a blue chambray shirt under an old green zip sweater with holes in the elbows. Garraty wondered if the skinny ones would last or burn out quickly.

The boys he and McVries had sat down next to were talking.

“I’m not hurrying,” one of them said. “Why should I? If I get warned, so what? You just adjust, that’s all. Adjustment is the key word here. Remember where you heard that first.”

He looked around and discovered Garraty and McVries.

“More lambs to the slaughter. Hank Olson’s the name. Walking is my game.” He said this with no trace of a smile at all.

Garraty offered his own name. McVries spoke his own absently, still looking off toward the road.

“I’m Art Baker,” the other said quietly. He spoke with a very slight Southern accent. The four of them shook hands all around.

There was a moment’s silence, and McVries said, “Kind of scary, isn’t it?”

They all nodded except Hank Olson, who shrugged and grinned. Garraty watched the boy in the pine tree finish his sandwich, ball up the waxed paper it had been in, and toss it onto the soft shoulder. He’ll burn out early, he decided. That made him feel a little better.

“You see that spot right by the marker post?” Olson said suddenly.

They all looked. The breeze made moving shadow-patterns across the road. Garraty didn’t know if he saw anything or not.

“That’s from the Long Walk the year before last,” Olson said with grim satisfaction. “Kid was so scared he just froze up at nine o’clock.”

They considered the horror of it silently.

“Just couldn’t move. He took his three warnings and then at 9:02 AM they gave him his ticket. Right there by the starting post.”

Garraty wondered if his own legs would freeze. He didn’t think so, but it was a thing you wouldn’t know for sure until the time came, and it was a terrible thought. He wondered why Hank Olson wanted to bring up such a terrible thing.

Suddenly Art Baker sat up straight. “Here he comes.”

A dun-colored jeep drove up to the stone marker and stopped. It was followed by a strange, tread-equipped vehicle that moved much more slowly. There were toy-sized radar dishes mounted on the front and back of this halftrack. Two soldiers lounged on its upper deck, and Garraty felt a chill in his belly when he looked at them. They were carrying army-type heavy-caliber carbine rifles.

Some of the boys got up, but Garraty did not. Neither did Olson or Baker, and after his initial look, McVries seemed to have fallen back into his own thoughts. The skinny kid in the pine tree was swinging his feet idly.

The Major got out of the jeep. He was a tall, straight man with a deep desert tan that went well with his simple khakis. A pistol was strapped to his Sam Browne belt, and he was wearing reflector sunglasses. It was rumored that the Major’s eyes were extremely light-sensitive, and he was never seen in public without his sunglasses.

“Sit down, boys,” he said. “Keep Hint Thirteen in mind.” Hint Thirteen was “Conserve energy whenever possible.”

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 496 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Unbelievable!

    The Long Walk is the story of 100 boys who must complete an unimaginable long walk to obtain a prize; a prize that everyone desires. This book is a masterpiece. Stephen King does such a great job relating the characters with the reader. Whenever a likable character or friend to Garraty (protagonist) dies, you feel as if you have lost a good friend. King's creativness is really hit home in this book. From the very beginning, you do not want to stop reading because you want to know many answers. Throughout the book, King reveals those answers and sometimes they're a bit shocking. The end is great. This book is wonderful and any Stephen King fan will love it. The only flaw with the book is the language. You cannot read a page without curse words. This isn't too big of a deal and doesn't take away from the book. If you are looking for a thrilling and exciting read, this is the one.

    40 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    FELT ROBBED OF MY TIME

    Now this book I admit was good reading. I kept reading and reading and reading. Pretty predictible. Then it seems like the writer got tired and just did not feel like closing the story. POW!!! Just dropped you. I ended up with a cheated feeling and angry that I wasted my time reading.

    18 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Sticks with you...

    This is the first Stephen King novel I've read, but not the last if the rest are as good as this one. I actually cried when two of the boys died--that is how deeply you get involved in this story. The characters are well developed and the story is unique. This is a must-read for any book enthusiast. It's heartbreaking, touching and sometimes painful to read, but well worth the time and discomfort. I still haven't gotten this story out of my mind. Definitely one of my favorites....

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    The longest ethical walk

    The Long walk by Stephen King, is a disturbing report of a contest, in which the losers pay with their lives. The Long Walk consists of one hundred walkers. Only the elite of those who registered, were entered into the contest. The prize being literally anything that the winner would ever desire, plus a monetary prize of millions of dollars. Throughout the story the reader watches the main character develop mentally, while he watches those around him die. Unlike most authors, King develops his characters through their experiences, as opposed to just describing them. This gives the reader a better feel of the personality of the individuals in the novel. This kind of understanding of characters makes the story much more enjoyable. The morbidity of this story evolves even the reader. A new understanding of the brutality transpiring within the military is reached through the novel. King¿s depiction of this military sponsored escapade, showed his respect for military obedience, and lack of respect for their morals. He shows them to be robots to the commands of the `beloved general.¿ Of course the soldiers were respected, until peers started dying. Most people respect the authority of the military. The military has an excess of power, and lacks the ethics to back the authority, implies King through this book. The only alternate novel by King that is as thought provoking as this is The Rage. It is another shorter novel, This novel is remarkably illuminating. Never had I imagined that my life could be changed by a book. This book convinced me that my previous beliefs were wrong. This fiction forced me to revise all of my moral beliefs, for it makes one realize all of the death and destruction going on in the world. I would instantly reccomend this book to anyone wishing for something different, and eye opening.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Do not waste your time.

    I know Stephen King is out there with his story lines but this was a horrible book. I read it and was waiting for the plot line to become clear and it didnt. I read the last chapter twice to see if I missed something but NOPE....I re-read the last page over and over, and kept pushing the next page button on my NOOK, to see if there was some more, but NOPE....it was one of the worst SK. books I have ever read. This will also be my last SK, book I ever buy or read. All done, all set with nonsense. There was no plot to this book what so ever. Thanks, Linda T PS. wish there was a space for -minus stars....

    9 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2011

    To those who did not get the end.

    The psychological roller-coaster not withsranding nor the character development and twisted plot. I think most of the responses on here are absurd. This book is fantastic. No action? It's a book. If there is not enough action for you, you either- have no imagination or, need to stick to your xbox and, leave the reading to someone else.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    What a shocker!!!!

    In general the book was fantastic. It was full of suspense, humor, and a little scary but the ending gets u really pissed off..... i knew that the ending was not great before i read it but the book was really good.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Has stayed with me. I reccomend.

    I normally write reviews a few days after i have read the book, so i know what has stuck with me, and if it even warrants a review. Now, looking back three or so days later, i can trully tell you that this is a good one!

    King wrote this as Bachman, which i've come to notoce is his "cloudy day" type of personality. This book is dark in its own way, and scary in that you hate to watch characters die even though its self explanitory that only one muat live at the end.

    This book has really impactd me. I find muself womdering if im walking four miles an hour (the mandatory speed for which i really hope you read about) and analyzing the paims in my feet to see how much longer i could walk.

    In conclusion, i really hope you read this. Its very well written, and im quite sure you will ne thinking about it long after you have finished reading. After all, isnt that what a book is for? To take you away from this world?

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2000

    Excellent book

    The Long Walk is an excellent book. It has got a very simple story line, but very descriptive. I don't recommend it to the youngen's because it has got descriptive violence and sexual content, but i do recommend it to many adults. It is definitely a suspensful book, and don't read it if you plan to put it down

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    True Stephen King

    This book is the best book i got so far and will always stay with me it just kept pulling me in

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Ger Great book

    Couldn't put it down

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Ending+Disappoints

    Great+story%2C+but+the+ending+was+so+disappointing+it+overshadowed+all+that+was+so+fantastic+about+the+rest.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2000

    Great Book, a must read for anyone any age!!!

    This book had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. You know everything and nothing at the same time. King/Bachman had me laughing, gagging, and crying all at the same time. The only downside is the end, a little confusing and disappointhing

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 1999

    Great

    The Long Walk is an incredibly good book. Once I started reading I couldn't stop.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is my favorite Stephen King book. I've read it four times n

    This is my favorite Stephen King book. I've read it four times now and there is no other book I've read more than twice. It's set in a futuristic world. 100 boys are in a contest where there is one winner, the boy who can walk the furthest. Each boy is given a warning each time he goes below 4 MPH. After three warnings, he's out of the contest in a very ferocious manner. It's not just about the contest, though. The book is extremely existential. You get to see what different boys go through when facing almost certain death. Some will die at peace. Some will die scared or angry. Some will die out of their mind. I recently found out this was the first book King wrote (not published, but wrote). It's has a sort of raw quality to it that a lot  of his books don't have. That's not to say he's not great afterward, because he obviously is. This one just seems to come more from the heart.. I'll probably read it several more times before I die.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    '' The Long Walk" is a action packed and thrilling novel wr

    '' The Long Walk" is a action packed and thrilling novel written by Stephen King. The book is about a marathon that is in the future and is completely unnormal then ordinary marathons. The marathon is a race to the death, were everyone needs to walk in order to survive, anyone who doesn't walk gets shot and killed and it will all get narrowed down to one winner who will have the gift of a wish. I really liked this book because it was action packed and yet thrilling. Every page was filled with dialogue and action. The main character of this book is Ray Garraty. Ray and everyone else competing in the walk were incredibly Stupid to compete in the walk. They were basically walking into there own grave. If i was Ray i would rather sit at home and deal with my life. But the prize is pretty good. A wish of anything you wanted. This book is good for people who like thrillers and action books. But be careful , it contains alot of curse word so it isn't recomended for young children. The lesson in this story i think is that you can achieve anything as long as you try.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    JP

    First stephen King book I ever read. This book made me a King fan, and I have never turned back. Worth every penny awesome book. This book should be more expensive It's pure gold

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Awesome!

    This is typical King. The title hides nothing it is about a long walk. I got so into this book that i could almost feel what the Characters were feeling. I loved it! Definitely recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Horribe

    Should round up sll copieds and make the terrorists in gitmo read this. Holy crap! His worst book everr

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    Terrible

    A waste of time and money on this one. King was really reaching to write something.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 496 Customer Reviews

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