“That is not Will,” Brydie said without moving as soon as she heard the car door shut, “an’ you know it! I don’t know how he’s doin’ this, but dead people do not come back to life! It just plain ain’t possible!“
Yet as she spoke the words she could swear she was watching Will himself pace the road side, biting down on his pipe stem with Cowan’s perfect white teeth, brows furrowed deep in a trademark expression that was his alone.
Suddenly Danny wheeled around in his seat. “Who says it ain’t possible ?” He demanded. “Hell – it ain’t possible that I don’t have no goddam
(he punched the back of his seat with his fist)
birth certificate! It ain’t possible that I’ve never been to
school! It ain’t possible that we got here as
stowaways! It ain’t possible that Will had a brother who was
rich! It ain’t possible that Will’s rich brother turned out to be a
bloody psycho! An’ it sure as hell ain’t possible that the two of you are my own goddam
PARENTS! But now I’m supposed to believe all this, except the part where Will’s come back ? Horseshit!” He pointed out the window, jabbing his finger hard in the air. “THAT IS WILLl!”
“Okay,” Brydie said simply, stunned at his sudden ferocity. “Okay. I didn’t mean it. I’ll stop. I promise.”
She would stop – but Danny would not.
For the second time since the motel room, he shut his eyes tight against the world, and kept them that way. Like he’d disappeared inside himself, and wasn’t coming back.
Fifteen seconds, he sat frozen with the world shut out. Thirty. Forty-five.
“Danny, knock it off! Right now! I mean it, you open your eyes!” As a toddler he’d held his breath until he turned blue and passed out. Once he’d even given himself a seizure.
(God, and he wasn’t even a teenager yet. One more year, and she’d have that to deal with. She’d been so confident in her copper ring method of birth control, and now here she was with a moody adolescent to show for it.)
“I said stop it! Danny!” She shook him by the shoulders, but he didn’t budge.
Back home she would have smacked him silly for acting like this. And right now she had half a mind to do it again. Very well might have, if not for Will….
No, goddammit, she chided herself, that is not Will!
God. Cowan was such an expert bullshitter, he was even pulling her into it.
Of course Danny wanted Will back. Needed him, needed to believe this cruel lie. And when it came right down to it, did she really have the right to deny him this? It wasn’t like he had anything else to cling to.
“Well,” she said, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t hear any false note in her voice, “I do suppose it’s possible. Just a bit much to swallow, is all.”
Danny slowly opened his eyes. For first one minute and then two, they stared unseeing, vacant as the dead.
“It’s a bit much,” he agreed when he regained his sight and voice, “but you heard him talk. You saw his face.”
“Yes,” she pretended – or thought she was pretending, hoped she was pretending – to agree. “I did. An’ he certainly does look an’ sound like Will.”
“I just hope his leg ain’t hurtin’ him too bad, ” Danny observed as he gazed out the window. “He’s startin’ to limp.”