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ripped off by the trees when the plane came down. The important thing
was that someone knew he was here. As they drove toward the town of
Everett, the old man began talking about the strangers that had inquired
after Nick earlier in the day.
"... Nope, I says to the big feller, ain't seen a soul on foot all day,
'ceptin' o'course, Jimmy Dilson, goin' down t'Willer Creek, t'fish. That
seemed t'satisfy them so they lit out."
"Notice what kind of car they drove, Andy?" Nick asked.
"Yep. Gave 'em gas. They was drivin' a Chevrolet. Looked to be a '56 or
a '57; black, it was. Blacker'n th' inside of a coal bin, with th'
shiniest chrome y'ever saw."
"Sounds like them," Nick told him, enlarging the lie. "One of them short
and the other medium?"
"Not exactly. The one did all the talkin' had a funny accent. Anyways,
he was about six feet, three or four, and heavy. Goodlookin', with
blond hair. The other guy was about your build, with sandy hair. Never
talked, that guy."
"They're the ones," Nick lied and shook a cigarette from a half empty
pack. "Thanks for not giving me away."
Andy nodded, lapsing into silence, while Nick concentrated on coming
home to a strange woman, and the two men who had been asking after him.
For some reason, he got the feeling that Beth Danson was his wife and he
accepted it that way. She couldn't be his sister ... besides, a man his
age would be married, in all likelihood. He wondered vaguely how she
would welcome him, but cast the thought aside. He'd know soon enough.
As they approached Everett, in the gathering twilight, Andy turned to
"Where d'ye want off, son?"
"Weisman Drive. Know it?"
"Yep. We're almost there. Suburban area, just north of town. Y'got
"Yes." Nick grinned inwardly. That is, he thought, I hope she's a
friend. Hell, I don't know whether she hates my guts, or loves me ...
but she's the only one that can help. A frightening gloom fell over him
Andy lapsed again into silence and the sound of the motor became loud.
Nick continued to ponder the strange men and the woman he was coming
home to, but it was like bashing his head against a wall. He could
remember nothing. And, through his thoughts, the memory of the dream
returned to him. It was the most vivid dream he had ever had, almost as
though it was real.
Abruptly Andy brought the car to a stop before a sign that read,
"Weisman Drive." Nick thanked him and climbed out onto the road. The old
man waved and the car spat cinders as it roared back onto the highway,
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