With an endless mottled side

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Senior Member
What does with an endless mottled side mean ?
Amanda looked at her. The light was cruel, and Lisey remembered with a real and total sense of shock that Manda would be sixty in the fall; Sixty! In that moment Lisey found herself thinking about the thing that had haunted her husband on so many sleepless nights –the thing the Woodbodys of the world would never know about, not if she had her way. Something with an endless mottled side, something seen best by cancer patients looking into tumblers from which all the painkiller had been emptied; there will be no more until morning.

Source: Lisey's story but Stephen King

Thank you
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Wow - it sure sounds scary, whatever it is. What is the "something" that haunted Lisa's husband, that she kept secret, that is somehow like what cancer patients visualize? What is this imaginary thing? And why does it seem to have one side that is endless, and mottled?

    I'll be darned if I know. I guess a person can imagine almost anything. And a fiction writer can have his character imagine almost anything.

    My guess is that it does not actually make any sense; it is just creepy, scary images. Is Stephen King trying to scare the reader?


    American English
    It makes one wonder if cocaine is meant.

    I am also confused, though, as to the writing.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think the 'something with an endless mottled side' is likely to be an image of death as a coiling snake, or some other monster. Or, perhaps it is eternity represented in the form of a snake as an endless circle or infinity symbol:

    That is, I doubt that refers to anything known or specific in the story, but represents the kind of horror people may feel when thinking of death as an eternal absence.

    Added: A snake with its tail in its mouth is a common way to represent eternity. Of course, this does not guarantee that Steven King had it in mind here.
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