Danny and Ralphie don't come home, so the Glicks figure out something is wrong and call the Petries. Then they start searching in the woods.
Danny appears before they start and tells his dad that something bad happened, though he can't figure out what. He doesn't know what happened to Ralphie.
In the morning, Parkins Gillespie organizes a search of the woods, but nothing is found.
Five days on, there's still no Ralphie, and Danny Glick collapses upstairs. They take him to the hospital, where he's diagnosed with shock.
The hospital can't figure out what's wrong. Marjorie jumps to the conclusion that it's leukemia and faints.
The Glick family really has a rough time of it in this book. You end up wishing they'd just all get turned into vampires already so they didn't have to be so miserable. (And in fact Mrs. Glick does seem much cheerier when she's a vampire. Good for her.)
Ben helped with the search party for Ralphie. He gets home and finds Susan Norton bustling around the kitchen to cook him something. The other men are ogling her not all that surreptitiously.
Susan comes to talk to Ben, who tells her that he thinks Ralphie's dead. Of course he is—it's that sort of book.
Ben's eyes are drawn to the Marsten House. Having somebody look at the Marsten House is King's default this-is-the-end-of-the-section-and-yes-you're-still-in-a-horror-novel gesture. If you'd bring the vampires out already you wouldn't have to keep showing us the Marsten House, Steve!
It's over to Larry Crockett, and some stuff about his finances. He's very rich, in part because he got into mobile homes early and in part because he's a sneaky guy with a head for figures.
Crockett's still worried about Straker… but not worried enough, as it turns out.
Straker calls on the phone and tells Crockett that his movers are to put a bunch of boxes in the new store and take one to the Marsten basement.
What could that very important, large box going to the Marsten House be? Shmoop wonders; yes, Shmoop does.
Straker also tells Crockett to have his movers get Yale padlocks and lock up everything when they leave.
Two guys named Royal Snow (nothing to do with Frozen) and Hank Peters do the moving in the evening.
The box has no custom stamp, and there's something that feels wrong about it. Wrong wrong wrong. What, oh what could it be?
The guys put the antiques in the shop, then carry the evil horrible what could it be box out to the Marsten House.
The guys are completely freaked out by the house, by the box, and by having to carry it into the basement. The horror… the horror.
The guys are just about to leave when they realize they haven't put the padlocks on. They put them on the front and back, and then they flip a coin to find out who's going to go down and put the key ring on the table in the cellar.
Hank loses, and down he goes.
Hank sees something that might be jeans and a shirt; then there's a sound behind him, and he runs for it. The truck pulls out.
Perhaps you're asking yourself, why couldn't the incredibly competent and businesslike Straker clean up after his murder sacrifice, especially when he knew people were coming to deliver packages? This is known in the horror business as a "plot hole." There are others. But if you're going to believe in vampires, why not in vampires who can't afford good help?
Anyway, Hank goes to Crockett to tell him he saw kid's clothes in the Marsten basement and that maybe they're Ralphie's.
Crockett proves he is really and truly a horrible person by bribing Hank and threatening to reveal that he's cheating on his wife with Jackie Talbott, a waitress at Dell's. Crockett also threatens to reveal Hank's dishonorable discharge from the army.
Just to be clear again, Crockett is threatening to ruin Hank if he reports evidence about a murdered child to the police. You deserve to be a vampire, Crockett, you jerk.
Straker goes to the store and buys meat. The guys at the store chatter in a cute small-town way.
Parkins Gillespie comes out to talk to Ben Mears. He pretends he wants Ben to autograph a book for his wife, but his wife's dead, and he doesn't care about the book. He's pumping Ben about Ralphie's death. The two spar like they're on a detective show.
Parkins can't really clear Ben entirely but doesn't seem to think he actually did it. If it were Agatha Christie, Ben would be the one who'd done it. But King's not Agatha Christie, so it's vampires instead.
There's more investigating, this time of Straker. Straker and Gillespie spar. Gillespie doesn't find out anything, really.
Parkins gets back to the station and calls the FBI to check on Ben and Straker and Barlow. He thinks they may all be connected (though of course they're not, because this isn't an Agatha Christie novel.)
There's a short section here about the telephone wires; folks are gossiping about Ben and Straker and Barlow.
Danny Glick's hospital report concludes that he's getting better and should be released.
A nurse finds Danny, looking healthy, out of bed and dead. He'll be back, though.