Home > Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower #6)(11)

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower #6)(11)
Author: Stephen King

"We'll be as quick as we can, sure," Roland said.

"Aye, that's best," Henchick said, and put his teeth on display once more. This was a smile

(what's he not telling? something he knows or only thinks he knows?)

Roland would have occasion to think of not long hence.

"I'd leave your guns here," Henchick said. "If you try to carry them through, you may lose them."

"I'm going to try and keep mine," Jake said. "It came from the other side, so it should be all right. If it's not, I'll get another one. Somehow."

"I expect mine may travel, as well," Roland said. He'd thought about this carefully, and had decided to try and keep the big revolvers. Henchick shrugged, as if to sayAs you will.

"What about Oy, Jake?" Eddie asked.

Jake's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. Roland realized the boy hadn't considered his bumbler friend until this moment. The gunslinger reflected (not for the first time) how easy it was to forget the most basic truth about John "Jake" Chambers: he was just a kid.

"When we went todash, Oy - " Jake began.

"This ain't that, sugar," Eddie said, and when he heard Susannah's endearment coming out of his mouth, his heart gave a sad cramp. For the first time he admitted to himself that he might never see her again, any more than Jake might see Oy once they left this stinking cave.

"But..." Jake began, and then Oy gave a reproachful little bark. Jake had been squeezing him too tightly.

"We'll keep him for you, Jake," Cantab said gently. "Keep him very well, say true. There'll be folk posted here until thee comes back for thy friend and all the rest of thy goods."If you ever do was the part he was too kind to state. Roland read it in his eyes, however.

"Roland, are you sure I can't...that he can't...no. I see. Not todash this time. Okay. No."

Jake reached into the front pocket of the poncho, lifted Oy out, set him on the powdery floor of the cave. He bent down, hands planted just above his knees. Oy looked up, stretching his neck so that their faces almost touched. And Roland now saw something extraordinary: not the tears in Jake's eyes, but those that had begun to well up in Oy's. A billy-bumbler crying. It was the sort of story you might hear in a saloon as the night grew late and drunk - the faithful bumbler who wept for his departing master. You didn't believe such stories but never said so, in order to save brawling (perhaps even shooting). Yet here it was, he was seeing it, and it made Roland feel a bit like crying himself. Was it just more bumbler imitation, or did Oy really understand what was happening? Roland hoped for the former, and with all his heart.

"Oy, you have to stay with Cantab for a little while. You'll be okay. He's a pal."

"Tab!" the bumbler repeated. Tears fell from his muzzle and darkened the powdery surface where he stood in dime-sized drops. Roland found the creature's tears uniquely awful, somehow even worse than a child's might have been. "Ake!Ake! "

"No, I gotta split," Jake said, and wiped at his cheeks with the heels of his hands. He left dirty streaks like warpaint all the way up to his temples.

"No! Ake!"

"I gotta. You stay with Cantab. I'll come back for you, Oy - unless I'm dead, I'll come back." He hugged Oy again, then stood up. "Go to Cantab. That's him." Jake pointed. "Go on, now, you mind me."

"Ake! Tab!" The misery in that voice was impossible to deny. For a moment Oy stayed where he was. Then, still weeping - or imitating Jake's tears, Roland still hoped for that - the bumbler turned, trotted to Cantab, and sat between the young man's dusty shor'boots.

Eddie attempted to put an arm around Jake. Jake shook it off and stepped away from him. Eddie looked baffled. Roland kept his Watch Me face, but inside he was grimly delighted. Not thirteen yet, no, but there was no shortage of steel there.

And it was time.


"Aye. Would'ee speak a word of prayer first, Roland? To whatever God thee holds?"

"I hold to no God," Roland said. "I hold to the Tower, and won't pray to that."

Several of Henchick's'migos looked shocked at this, but the old man himself only nodded, as if he had expected no more. He looked at Callahan. "Pere?"

Callahan said, "God, Thy hand, Thy will." He sketched a cross in the air and nodded at Henchick. "If we're goin, let's go."

Henchick stepped forward, touched the Unfound Door's crystal knob, then looked at Roland. His eyes were bright. "Hear me this last time, Roland of Gilead."

"I hear you very well."

"I am Henchick of the Manni Kra Redpath-a-Sturgis. We are far-seers and far travelers. We are sailors on ka's wind. Would thee travel on that wind? Thee and thine?"

"Aye, to where it blows."

Henchick slipped the chain of the Branni bob over the back of his hand and Roland at once felt some power let loose in this chamber. It was small as yet, but it was growing. Blooming, like a rose.

"How many calls would you make?"

Roland held up the remaining fingers of his right hand. "Two. Which is to saytwim in the Eld."

"Two or twim, both the same," Henchick said. "Commala-come-two." he raised his voice. "Come, Manni! Come-commala, join your force to my force! Come and keep your promise! Come and pay our debt to these gunslingers! Help me send them on their way!Now! "


Before any of them could even begin to register the fact that ka had changed their plans, ka had worked its will on them. But at first it seemed that nothing at all would happen.

The Manni Henchick had chosen as senders - six elders, plus Cantab - formed their semicircle behind the door and around to its sides. Eddie took Cantab's hand and laced his fingers through the Manni's. One of the shell-shaped magnets kept their palms apart. Eddie could feel it vibrating like something alive. He supposed it was. Callahan took his other hand and gripped it firmly.

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