A nice little bit of stage-setting from Peter Straub’s Shadowland. He gives you the images without saying, specifically “there’s a desk here, a candle there.” Your imagination paints in the corridor easily, given the basic set pieces–staircase, desks, firelight and the boys. You get that first day of school anxiety, too, and in the broken fuse, a sense of something already gone wrong.
Registration Day: 1958
A dark corridor, a staircase with an abrupt line of light bisecting it at one end, desks with candles dripping wax into saucers lined along a wall. A fuse had blown or a wire had died, and the janitor did not come until the next morning, when the rest of the school registered. Twenty new freshmen milled directionlessly in the long corridor, even the exceptinally suntanned faces looking pale and frightened in the candlelight.