The Shining by Stephen King
[Jack Torrance hears about his predecessor in his job at the Overlook Hotel] ‘I hired this . . . this unfortunate named Delbert Grady… He had a wife and two daughters…He killed them, Mr Torrance, and then committed suicide. He murdered the little girls with a hatchet, his wife with a shotgun, and himself the same way...’ Ullman spread his hands and looked at Jack self-righteously...
[Maintenance man Watson tells Jack more] ‘Was a ranger from the National Park that found em; the phone was out. All of em up in the west wing on the third floor, froze solid. Too bad about the little girls. Eight and six, they was. Cute as cut-buttons. Oh, that was a hell of a mess.’...
[much later, Jack meets a barman in the hotel] Jack suddenly reached out and touched the man’s shoulder. ‘Yes, sir?’
‘Pardon me, but . . . what’s your name?’
The other showed no surprise. ‘Grady, sir, Delbert Grady.’
‘But you . . . I mean that . . .’ The bartender was looking at him politely. Jack tried again, although his mouth was mushed by gin and unreality; each word felt as large as an ice cube. ‘Weren’t you once the caretaker here? When you . . . when . . .’ But he couldn’t finish. He couldn’t say it.
‘Why no, sir. I don’t believe so.’
‘But your wife . . . your daughters . . .’
‘My wife is helping in the kitchen, sir. The girls are asleep, of course. It’s much too late for them.’
‘You were the caretaker. You—’ Oh say it! ‘You killed them.’
observations: And that’s it really. Delbert Grady also claims that ‘My own girls, sir, didn’t care for the Overlook at first. One of them actually stole a pack of my matches and tried to burn it down.’ But the famous weird twins from the 1980 film of The Shining scarcely feature in the book, and in fact are clearly not twins, but sisters. In the film (always associated with Halloween for no particular reason), they play a small but terrifying role, make their memorable mark in it, and were definitely played by twins.
There is endless speculation about this on the Internet – all Stanley Kubrick’s film attract attention, and this one is particularly open to interpretation. For a particularly bizarre and detailed look at the girls, see this site. Here are two sample quotes:
These twins are universally assumed to be Grady’s daughters, but quite simply they have nothing to do with the Grady family…. The set design isn’t precisely mirrored along the central axis because there’s a connecting hallway to the left, but directly to the right of the hallway is a door with an exit sign above. This exit sign will become thematically important shortly.
Links up with: Russian sisters, Irish sisters, Boleyn sisters.
With big thanks to the mysterious CharBar who agreed to their photo being used.