Home > Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower #6)(9)

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower #6)(9)
Author: Stephen King

Eddie was about to ask Henchick again what the old man expected to happen, but before he could, the bob began to sway back and forth in modest arcs.

"I'm not doing that," Eddie said. "At least, I don't think I am. It must be the wind."

"I don't think it can be," Callahan said. "There are no flukes to - "

"Hush!" Cantab said, and with such a forbidding look that Callahan did hush.

Eddie stood in front of the cave, with all the arroyo country and most of Calla Bryn Sturgis spread out below him. Dreaming blue-gray in the far distance was the forest through which they had come to get here - the last vestige of Mid-World, where they would never go more. The wind gusted, blowing his hair back from his forehead, and suddenly he heard a humming sound.

Except he didn't. The humming was inside the hand in front of his eyes, the one with the chain lying upon the spread fingers. It was in his arm. And most of all, in his head.

At the far end of the chain, at about the height of Eddie's right knee, the bob's swing grew more pronounced and became the arc of a pendulum. Eddie realized a strange thing: each time the bob reached the end of its swing, it grew heavier. It was like holding onto something that was being pulled by some extraordinary centrifugal force.

The arc grew longer, the bob's swings faster, the pull at the end of each swing stronger. And then -

"Eddie!" Jake called, somewhere between concern and delight. "Do you see?"

Of course he did. Now the bob was growingdim at the end of each swing. The downward pressure on his arm - the bob's weight - was rapidly growing stronger as this happened. He had to support his right arm with his left hand in order to maintain his grip, and now he was also swaying at the hips with the swing of the bob. Eddie suddenly remembered where he was - roughly seven hundred feet above the ground. This baby would shortly yank him right over the side, if it wasn't stopped. What if he couldn't get the chain off his hand?

The plumb-bob swung to the right, tracing the shape of an invisible smile in the air, gaining weight as it rose toward the end of its arc. All at once the puny piece of wood he'd lifted from its box with such ease seemed to weigh sixty, eighty, a hundred pounds. And as it paused at the end of its arc, momentarily balanced between motion and gravity, he realized he could see the East Road through it, not just clearly butmagnified. Then the Branni bob started back down again, plummeting, shedding weight. But when it started up again, this time to his left...

"Okay, I get the point!" Eddie shouted. "Get it off me, Henchick. At least make it stop!"

Henchick uttered a single word, one so guttural it sounded like something yanked from a mudflat. The bob didn't slow through a series of diminishing arcs but simply quit, again hanging beside Eddie's knee with the tip pointing at his foot. For a moment the humming in his arm and head continued. Then that also quit. When it did, the bob's disquieting sense of weight lifted. The damn thing was once more feather-light.

"Do'ee have something to say to me, Eddie of New York?" Henchick asked.

"Yeah, cry your pardon."

Henchick's teeth once more put in an appearance, gleaming briefly in the wilderness of his beard and then gone. "Thee's not entirely slow, is thee?"

"I hope not," Eddie said, and could not forbear a small sigh of relief as Henchick of the Manni lifted the fine-link silver chain from his hand.


Henchick insisted on a dry-run. Eddie understood why, but he hated all this foreplay crap. The passing time now seemed almost to be a physical thing, like a rough piece of cloth slipping beneath the palm of your hand. He kept silent, nevertheless. He'd already pissed off Henchick once, and once was enough.

The old man brought six of hisamigos (five of them looked older than God to Eddie) into the cave. He passed bobs to three of them and shell-shaped magnets to the other three. The Branni bob, almost certainly the tribe's strongest, he kept for himself.

The seven of them formed a ring at the mouth of the cave.

"Not around the door?" Roland asked.

"Not until we have to," Henchick said.

The old men joined hands, each holding a bob or a mag at the clasping point. As soon as the circle was complete, Eddie heard that humming again. It was as loud as an over-amped stereo speaker. He saw Jake raise his hands to his ears, and Roland's face tighten in a brief grimace.

Eddie looked at the door and saw it had lost that dusty, unimportant look. The hieroglyphs on it once more stood out crisply, some forgotten word that meant UNFOUND. The crystal doorknob glowed, outlining the rose carved there in lines of white light.

Could I open it now?Eddie wondered.Open it and step through? He thought not. Not yet, anyway. But he was a hell of a lot more hopeful about this process than he'd been five minutes ago.

Suddenly the voices from deep in the cave came alive, but they did so in a roaring jumble. Eddie could make out Benny Slightman the Younger screaming the wordDogan, heard his Ma telling him that now, to top off a career of losing things, he'd lost hiswife, heard some man (probably Elmer Chambers) telling Jake that Jake had gone crazy, he wasfou, he wasMonsieur Lunatique. More voices joined in, and more, and more.


Henchick nodded sharply to his colleagues. Their hands parted. When they did, the voices from below ceased in midbabble. And, Eddie was not surprised to see, the door immediately regained its look of unremarkable anonymity - it was any door you ever passed on the street without a second look.

"What in God's name wasthat? " Callahan asked, nodding toward the deeper darkness where the floor sloped down. "It wasn't like that before."

"I believe that either the quake or the loss of the magic ball has driven the cave insane," Henchick said calmly. "It doesn't matter to our business here, anyroa'. Our business is with the door." He looked at Callahan's packsack. "Once you were a wandering man."

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology