Книга The Dead Zone. Содержание - CHAPTER TWELVE

“Forbid all you want, I'm going,” Johnny said. He began to dress. His face wore that expression of distant preoccupation that Sam associated with his trances. The nurse gawped.

“Nurse, you might as well go back to your station,” Sam said.

She backed to the door, stood there for a moment, and then left. Reluctantly.

“Johnny,” Sam said. He got up, went to him, and put a hand on his shoulder. “You didn't do it.”

Johnny shook the hand off. “I did it, all right,” he said. “She was watching me when it happened. “He began to button the shirt.

“You urged her to take her medicine and she stopped.”

Johnny looked at Weizak for a moment and then went back to buttoning his shirt.

“If it hadn't happened tonight, it would have happened tomorrow, next week, next month…

“Or next year. Or in ten years.

“No. It would not have been ten years. or even one. And you know it. Why are you so anxious to pin this tail on yourself? Because of that smug reporter? Is it maybe an inverted kind of self-pity? An urge to believe that you have been cursed?”

Johnny's face twisted. “She was watching me when it happened. Don't you get that? Are you so fucking soft you don't get that?”

“She was planning a strenuous trip, all the way to California and back, you told me that yourself. A symposium of some kind. A highly emotional sort of thing, from what you have said. Yes? Yes. It would almost certainly have happened then. A stroke is not lightning from a blue sky, Johnny.”

Johnny buttoned the jeans and then sat down as if the act of dressing had tired him out too much to do more. His feet were still bare. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, you may be right.”

“Sense! He sees sense! Thank the Lord!”

“But I still have to go, Sam.”

Weizak threw up his hands. “And do what? She is in the hands of her doctors and her God. That is the situation. Better than anyone else, you must understand.”

“My dad will need me,” Johnny said softly. “I understand that, too.”

“How will you go? It's nearly midnight.”

“By bus. I'll grab a cab over to Peter's Candlelighter. The Greyhounds still stop there, don't they?”

“You don't have to do that,” Sam said.

Johnny was groping under the chair for his shoes and not finding them, Sam got them from under the bed and handed them to him.

“I'll drive you down.”

Johnny looked up at him. “You'd do that?”

“If you'll take a mild tranquilizer, yes.

“But your wife… “He realized in a confused sort of way that the only concrete thing he knew about Weizak's personal life was that his mother was living in California.

“I am divorced,” Weizak said. “A doctor has to be out at all hours of the night… unless he is a pediatrist or a dermatologist, nub? My wife saw the bed as half-empty rather than half-full. So she filled it with a variety of men.

“I'm sorry,” Johnny said, embarrassed.

“You spend far too much time being sorry, John. “Sam's face was gentle, but his eyes were stern. “Put on your shoes.”



Hospital to hospital, Johnny thought dreamily, flying gently along on the small blue pill he had taken just be-fore he and Sam left the EMMC and climbed into Sam's “75 El Dorado. Hospital to hospital, person to person, station to station.

In a queer, secret way, he enjoyed the trip-it was his first time out of the hospital in almost five years. The night was clear, the Milky Way sprawled across the sky in an unwinding clockspring of light, a half-moon followed them over the dark tree line as they fled south through Palmyra, Newport, Pittsfield, Benton, Clinton. The car whispered along in near total silence. Low music, Haydn, issued from the four speakers of the stereo tape player.

Came to one hospital in the Cleaves Mills Rescue Squad ambulance, went to another in a Cadillac, he thought. He didn't let it bother him. It was just enough to ride, to float along on the track, to let the problem of his mother, his new ability, and the people who wanted to pry into his soul (He asked for it… just don't touch me, huh?) rest in a temporary limbo. Weizak didn't talk. Occasionally he hummed snatches of the music.

Johnny watched the stars. He watched the turnpike, nearly deserted this late. It unrolled ceaselessly in front of them. They went through the tollgate at Augusta and Weizak took a time-and-toll ticket. Then they went on again-Gardener, Sabbatus, Lewiston.

Nearly five years, longer than some convicted murderers spend in the slam.

He slept.


“Johnny,” his mother said in his dream. “Johnny, make me better, make me well. “She was in a beggar's rags. She was crawling toward him over cobblestones. Her face was white. Thin blood ran from her knees. White lice squirmed in her thin hair. She held shaking hands out to him. “It's the power of God working in you,” she said. “It's a great responsibility, Johnny. A great trust. You must be worthy.”

He took her hands, closed his own over them, and said, “Spirits, depart from this woman.”

She stood up. “Healed!” she cried in a voice that was filled with a strange and terrible triumph. “Healed! My son has healed me! His work is great upon the earth!”

He tried to protest, to tell her that he didn't want to do great works, or heal, or speak in tongues, to divine the future, or find those things that had been lost. He tried to tell her, but his tongue wouldn't obey the command of his brain. Then she was past him, striding off down the cobbled street, her posture cringing and servile but somehow arrogant at the same time; her voice belled like a clarion: “Saved! Savior! Saved! Savior!”

And to his horror he saw that there had been thousands of others behind her, maybe millions, all of them maimed or deformed or in terror. The stout lady reporter was there, needing to know who the Democrats would nominate for the presidency in 1976; there was a death-eyed farmer in biballs with a picture of his son, a smiling young man in Air Force blues, who had been reported MIA over Hanoi in 1972, he needed to know if his son was dead or alive; a young woman who looked like Sarah with tears on her smooth cheeks, holding up a baby with a hydrocephalic head on which blue veins were traced like runes of doom; an old man with his fingers turned into clubs by arthritis; others. They stretched for miles, they would wait patiently, they would kill him with their mute, bludgeoning need.

“Saved!” His mother's voice carried back imperatively. “Savior! Saved! Saved!”

He tried to tell them that he could neither heal nor save, but before he could open his mouth to make the denial, the first had laid hands on him and was shaking him.

The shaking was real enough. It was Weizak's hand on his arm. Bright orange light filled the car, turning the interior as bright as day it was nightmare light, turning Sam's kind face into the face of a hobgoblin. For a moment he thought the nightmare was still going on and then he saw the light was coming from parking-lot lamps. They had changed those, too, apparently, while he was in his coma. From hard white to a weird orange that lay on the skin like paint.

“Where are we?” he asked thickly.

“The hospital,” Sam said. “Cumberland General.”

“Oh. All right.”

He sat up. The dream seemed to slide off him in fragments, still littering the floor of his mind like something broken and not yet swept up.

“Are you ready to go in?”

“Yes,” Johnny said.

They crossed the parking lot amid the soft creak of summer crickets in the woods. Fireflies stitched through the darkness. The image of his mother was very much on him-but not so much that he was unable to enjoy the soft and fragrant smell of the night and the feel of the faint breeze against his skin. There was time to enjoy the health of the night, and the feeling of health coming inside him. In the context of why he was here, the thought seemed almost obscene-but only almost. And it wouldn't go away.

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