Page 23 of Hawkes Harbor

"So what if he is? I ha

ven't been livin' so soft I can't handle that fop of an Orangeman. Now, let's dig out the money box, Jamie, and I'll be on my merry way."

Jamie found himself backing up. He'd always had a hard time, taking a swing at Kell—he had to be very mad or drunk. And now he was only scared....

It slowed his reflexes—Kell swiftly backhanded him, then pulled out his Luger.

"You wouldn't kill me, Kellen." Jamie wiped the blood from his mouth, looked at it, and shuddered.

"Of course not, Jamie, but I will hurt you a bit. Unpleasant thought, but you and I have seen unpleasant before.

"Where is it, Jamie? You know me, lad, I will shoot you. Just a toe to begin with, just to let you know I mean business."

Jamie almost passed out from fear—but Kell had no way of knowing what had been done to him, couldn't realize this was any different from their old roughhousing.

And Kell was perfectly capable of doing what he said, if he thought he smelled money.

"Back in my room," Jamie choked out. There were a few coins set out, Jamie was supposed to broker them tomorrow. Maybe Kell would take them and go—quickly. "I'll get them for you."

"How very kind of you—but I believe I can find the way."

"Kell!" Jamie grabbed at his arm. "Don't! I gotta tell you something. He's a v-v-vampire, Grenville Hawkes—you know, one of the living dead."

Kell looked at Jamie, puzzled and amused.

"I knew you came off the booze too quick and sudden. So you're seein' vampires, lad? Quite original."

"I'm telling you! He's dead! But he walks at night! He's evil, Kell, more dangerous than anything you've seen! And he'll be here any minute!"

"You think you could bullshit me? And with such a cockamamie story as that? Reduced to sniffin' household cleaners, are you, lad?" Kell shook off his clutching hand. "Never mind, Jamie, I'll find them myself."

Kell turned, but his jaunty step halted midstride. "Good evening, Mr. Hawkes—"

I won't remember this, Jamie thought, flattened against the wall. He should have known what Kell would think, seeing him with money. It was what he would have thought himself—they thought a lot alike, sometimes, he and Kellen....

So that was what it looked like, Jamie thought, detached. The unholy, perverted mock embrace ... how fast the Thing could move...

The expression of terror, sheer ghastly terror—Jamie must have looked like that.

Jamie slid downward to the floor. He closed his eyes but could still hear the rasping noise.... He knew what it felt like, those fangs of icy steel deep in your throat, the frantic grasping at one more breath, just one more ... please ... just one ... the cold draining of your life force, blood ...

I won't remember this, Jamie thought, whenever I think of Kell— I'll think of the first time he bought me a drink, the time he got me out of jail.... He taught me how to judge a jewel, a whiskey, a forgery ... how to roll a joint... what to order in a Bangkok whorehouse, or in a Monte Carlo restaurant... Kell, he had a friend or a leverage in every port, often they were the same....

Jamie heard the body hit the floor. It was just a corpse, he'd seen those before, it wasn't Kell... that voice still echoed somewhere, that great heart still beat on...

"Stake him."

Jamie looked up. The dark and depthless eyes ... a cold finger brushed his forehead.

"Stake him or he will rise and be as I am."

Jamie crawled robotlike across the floor, gathered his hammer and a board.

No, he'd always remember something else—

The cathouse bar in Singapore. Kell making up verses to "What Can You Do with a Drunken Sailor," each one filthier and funnier than the one before. Jamie and the little Aussie hooker had to hold each other up, they were laughing so hard, the whole place roaring...

The deadly duel at poker in Paris, Kell never lost his cool—they'd been rich for a while after, Kellen always shared.

The night in that Liverpool pub—he'd recited most of Macbeth, four in the morning and you could hear a pin drop—Jamie wasn't the only one with nightmares after....

Greeting the Burmese pirates. Like he was inviting them to tea...

They'd froze and sweltered, lived high and starved ... argued over women, money, weather.... They had laughed an awful lot.... Aw, geez, Kell... couldn't you listen to me, just this once...?

He placed the jagged edge of board, somehow knowing where— lifted the hammer high above ... He must have brought it down.... He felt something give, in his head, the first strand of a fraying mind snapping....

No, he'd always think of Kell like he had this noon, when he first heard he was leaving town....

Out to sea somewhere, planning his next caper...he'd make other friends, Kell had a gift for that, but would remember Jamie fondly.... The shark and pirates would always be his favorite story....

Jamie dropped the blood-soaked hammer. Crawled until he hit the wall... His eyes still shut, tears streaming, he hummed the best he could ... what can you do with a drunken sailor....

Aw, geez, Kell, he thought. Kellen...

Garvey's Hardware Store Hawkes Harbor, Delaware April 1968

"These ain't the right candles," Jamie said. He'd opened the box to make sure. He'd gone over his list three times to make sure he had everything right; only on the third time did he think to open one carton of candles.

"Now, Jamie," Mr. Garvey said, "these are exactly the same candles Mr. Hawkes has been using since he moved into Hawkes Hall."

"No, they ain't. They're yellow, see? They gotta be white. All the candles gotta be white."

Jamie showed one to Mr. Garvey. It shook in his hand.

Mr. Garvey paused. He was color-blind himself, he knew he couldn't tell the difference. He checked the carton, SEA SUN. Mr. Hawkes always used sea caps. Jamie was right.

"Well, it looks like they shipped us the wrong order. Can't Mr. Hawkes use these until we can get what he wants?"

He'll have to, Mr. Garvey thought, unless he wants to sit in the dark. It still amazed the whole town that a man with the money Grenville Hawkes obviously had would live in a house with no heat, no electricity, and only partial plumbing.

"He's not going to like this," Jamie said, agitated. "This is going to piss him off. Those candles are supposed to be white. You got any off-white, like ivory ones? He might not mind ivory as much."

"No, we're out of ivory, as well, Jamie. Just tell him the factory made an error. It wasn't your fault, I'm sure he won't blame you," Mr. Garvey soothed. Last week a mistake in the order upset Jamie so badly, Mr. Garvey thought for a minute he was going to sit down on the floor and cry.

"Think so?" Jamie asked worriedly.

"Sure."

Mr. Garvey sometimes wondered what they'd done to poor Jamie, off in those mental hospitals. He'd certainly come back changed.

Mr. Garvey had seen him change once before—when Kellen Quinn and Jamie Sommers first came to Hawkes Harbor, Jamie had been pegged as a thief, a bully, and petty hoodlum. He had caught Jamie trying to steal tackle out of this very store.

Then Kellen Quinn left in a sudden hurry—run out of town by the mayor, people said—and Jamie, who was by then working for Grenville Hawkes, was a changed man.

Quiet where he'd been boisterous, soft-spoken and polite where he'd been loudmouthed and rude; the story was he was trying to reform, and Grenville Hawkes was giving him that chance.

Still, there was an intense watchfulness to Jamie in those days; quiet though he was, nothing seemed to slip by him. He'd had a nervous edge under the quiet, like a man in a dangerous situation who couldn't afford slipups.

Then came the shooting. Katie Roddendem had been kidnapped. It seemed so clear he was guilty.... Most people believed it to this day.

And when Jamie came out of the coma induced by three bullets in his body, he was mad as a hatter, crazy, poor guy, and spent months in one hospital after another.

And now that he'd been released from Terrace View Asylum (there hadn't been enough evid

ence to charge him with the kidnapping), he was changed again.

Maybe at one of those places they'd clipped his brain with an ice pick or whatever it was they did to crazy people; Jamie, nervous, unstable, sometimes incoherent, seemed unable to think logically anymore. Most people thought Grenville Hawkes was a saint to give him a home again. No matter how handy Jamie was, few people could have put up with him.

"Okay, Jamie, just tell Mr. Hawkes we're sorry and the new order is on the way. You've got everything now."

Jamie looked over the list one more time. "I'm going to have to come back for the shovel. Mr. Hawkes took the car and I'm walkin'. I can't carry these sacks and the shovel, too."

He almost sounded like he was rehearsing his excuse.

"All right, Jamie, it's right here whenever you want it, marked paid for. You seem to go through a lot of shovels up at the Hawkes Hall."

Jamie went white. "W-w-w-we're p-p-puttin' in a garden."

He gathered up his two sacks of supplies and left.

Poor nutcase, thought Mr. Garvey. It wasn't even the right time of year to put in a garden. He, for one, didn't believe Jamie had ever kidnapped anyone.

Out on the street, Jamie glanced toward the bank. Grenville had gone to Baltimore this morning but had said he would stop by the bank on the way home.

It would be nice to have a ride. But there was no sign of the black Mercedes.

But there was Katie ... she looked so pretty, the way the sunlight caught her hair ... if she looked this way he'd wave, no, his hands were full... he saw that Mitch was with her, they got into his truck. Jamie sighed and turned away.

Jamie saw the first of the kids, the ones on bicycles, and his stomach turned to ice.

He had meant to be well beyond the school before it let out. If only he hadn't counted everything three times over... if they'd had the right candles...

Jamie took a breath. He'd have to keep going now. If he tried to hide in the Coffee Shoppe until all the kids were gone, he'd be out on the road at twilight.

Of the two dreads, the kids seemed the least horrible. He kept his eyes ahead and kept walking.

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