Page 26 of Hawkes Harbor

"No. No one's there."

Jamie had been counting on that, having Grenville's voice in his head again, telling him what to do. He'd thought when he left Terrace View it wouldn't matter if he couldn't think straight sometimes... he'd hear that voice.

And he'd lied to Grenville, at Terrace View. Told him he was well and strong, as good as new. But he wasn't strong. Some of these things he had to do these days, the shoveling, the lifting, the brickwork in the basement, he didn't think he could get through it sometimes, and at night he'd ache all over....

Who'd need him in this condition? Broken? He'd be wandering the streets himself, invisible. Trying to think of somewhere to go, to find something to eat, passing people that he knew but they wouldn't see him... Even now, some people looked away when they saw Jamie coming ... and Jamie didn't blame them ... there were no mirrors in Hawkes Hall, and Grenville was used to doing without, but sometimes Jamie saw a reflection in a storefront and couldn't believe that slack-faced, frightened creature was Jamie Sommers.... Oh God, to be living on the sidewalks scared, with winter coming on....

"Are you feeling better?"

Jamie shook his head. "We going home?"

"No. We're going to Garvey's."

"And I have to get the shovel?"

"Yes."

"But I don't have to do the chanting?"

"No. Louisa and I decided that is too much for you."

Jamie looked at Grenville, blinking back the tears. Twice this man had changed his life. It could happen again. In the twinkling of an eye, like the nuns used to say. In the twinkling of an eye. Jamie was in his power still. And the strange thing was, the only time Jamie felt safe, secure, felt like he was where he belonged, was when he was with Grenville. Surely that was the craziest thing of all....

"Jamie, what on earth are you thinking when you look at me that way? And," Grenville warned, "do not answer, 'Well, nuthin',' in that inane tone of voice."

Jamie, his ready reply cut short, paused.

"Well, you know Dr. McDevitt asked me how I met you and I told him about that night I left Hawkes Harbor, and met you on the road, your car broke down and all, and you offered me a job when I fixed it, since I had nowhere to go."

"Yes. That's the story we agreed on."

"But when I told him, I really thought it was the truth. Like I remembered it happening that way. But it really wasn't like that, huh?"

"No. It wasn't like that."

"The nightmare, I mean, I used to think it was a nightmare, but it's not, is it? That's the way it really happened?"

"This may surprise you, Jamie, but I remember it as a nightmare, too. But if I let them, regrets could paralyze me."

Something in the calm tone of Grenville's voice comforted Jamie. Okay, so that was the way it happened, it was over, done is done. He sighed and looked out the window.

"Yeah, no use regretting. But remorse—remorse can make you atone."

Grenville looked startled at such an insight from such a source. He had thought along those lines himself. But Jamie went on, oblivious. "I was just thinkin', if I got that all mixed up, the most important thing that ever happened to me, what else? I mean, maybe nuthin' is the way I remember it."

"I'm not like Louisa, Jamie, with her harping on repressed memories. If you have exchanged horrible memories for pleasant ones, consider yourself lucky. If you don't remember all that has happened, perhaps it is for the best. I wish I could do the same."

Jamie rattled his Coke and got out to put the can in a trash basket, got back in the car.

"Are you feeling well enough to go into Garvey's now?"

The pills were kicking in. He felt it first at the back of his neck, like knots were loosening. His mind didn't feel wound up so tight.

"Grenville, I gotta tell you, if we're going to Garvey's—"

"For God's sake, Jamie, you must get the shovel! Let's hear no more about it!"

"No! No, that's not it! It's something bad, but it ain't my fault, I swear, you can ask Mr. Garvey! I-I-"

"What is it?" Grenville looked alert, vigilant. "Tell me!"

"The c-candles. They sent yellow ones. He doesn't have any white—I told it to him right, it's on the order, the factory made the mistake, you ask him!"

"The candles! Do you think I give a damn about the candles now?"

Jamie heard the tone, but not the words. He cowered, here it came ... he was getting fired for sure. He had his eyes shut tight. He didn't see perplexity, shame, and guilt mix with irritation.

In a different tone, after another minute, Grenville said, "You had it right on the order?"

"Yeah. Just ask Mr. Garvey."

"And you told him this was unacceptable, that it needs to be remedied?"

"Yeah, I said you'd be real pissed, to get it right the next time.

"You handled it correctly. Good job, Jamie. Now can we go?"

"Yeah." Jamie's shoulders were relaxing now, his mind felt calm and distant. Good job. He could think. His headache was receding.

Grenville started the car.

"Grenville, after Garvey's, after I get the shovel, could we stop by St. John's chapel?"

If all the nightmares were really memories...

"Jamie, it's getting late."

Jamie looked at the mountains to the west, where the sunlight was fading. He held his pill bottle like a rabbit's foot, in his jacket pocket.

"Won't take long. I just gotta light a candle. Say a prayer for someone's soul."

"Why and for whom do you wish to do this?"

"I don't know," Jamie said. "I can't remember."

Vacation

Hawkes Hall, Hawkes Harbor, Delaware July 1968

"Jamie! Wake up!"

Jamie couldn't tell if he was dreaming the voice or hearing it—on the chance he was dreaming he rolled over and pulled the pillow across his head.

It was Dr. Kahne's voice; it was very unlikely she'd he in his room in the middle of the night anyway.

He jumped to a sitting position when he felt a hand on his shoulder—any unexpected touch made his heart race.

"W-w-w-what?"

It was Dr. Kahne. She looked angry—Jamie tried to think what he could be guilty of now, but he'd taken an extra pill that night and his mind was foggier than usual.

"It's ten o'clock. Why aren't you up?"

Jamie still couldn't figure out why she was there, except maybe ...

"What's wrong? Somethin' happen to Grenville?" he asked fearfully.

He remembered now why he'd taken the extra pill— Grenville had gone to the city for a company dinner and was going to spend the night there—Jamie always got scared alone in Hawkes Hall.

It wasn't just the awful things that had happened there that he'd witnessed—it held years of horrible secrets, some over two hundred years old. God knows what had taken place within these walls, on these grounds.

At night, if he were alone, Jamie seemed to hear voices trying to whisper those secrets to him—

"No." Louisa Kahne looked at him impatiently. "Nothing has happened to Grenville. I need your help at the lodge. Why aren't you working?"

Jamie tried to remember. It was true he was usually up at seven.

"Grenville said I could have today off, since I worked Saturday. I can sleep late if I want. Me and..."

"I don't care what you were going to do, you're going to help me now. Get dressed. It'll only take a few hours."

"No," Jamie said. When he complained to Grenville that Dr. Kahne was always bullying him, Grenville said, "Louisa was born to bully anyone who'd let her. Stand up to her, Jamie. Show some backbone."

"I don't work for you, I work for Grenville, and he said ..."


Tags: S. E. Hinton Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com