“I can’t,” Teddy said, and the words came out cracked and too high and he could feel screams welling in the center of his chest.  Noyce leaned back as far as he could and still maintain his grip on the bars and he cocked his head so that the ear rested on his shoulder.  “Then you’ll never leave this island.”

Teddy said nothing.

And Noyce sighed as if what he was about to say bored him to the point of falling asleep on his feet. “He was transferred out of Ward C.  If he’s not in Ward A, there’s only one place he can be.”

He waited until Teddy got it.

“The lighthouse,” Teddy said.

Noyce nodded, and the final match went out.

For a full minute Teddy stood there, staring into the dark, and then

he heard the bedsprings again as Noyce lay down.

He turned to go.


He stopped, his back to the bars, and waited.

“God help you.”

TURNING TO WALK back°through the cell block, he found A1 waiting

for him. He stood in the center of the granite corridor and fixed Teddy in a lazy gaze and Teddy said, “You get your guy?” M fell into step beside him. “Sure did. Slippery bastard, but in here there’s only so far you can go before you run out of room.” They walked up the cell block, keeping to the center, and Teddy could hear Noyce asking if he’d ever been alone here. How long, he wondered, had M been watching him? He thought back through his three days here, tried to find a single instance in which he’d been entirely alone. Even using the bathroom, he was using staff facilities, a man at the next stall or waiting just outside the door.

But, no, he and Chuck had gone out on the island alone several times...

He and Chuck.

What exactly did he know about Chuck? He pictured his face for a moment, could see him on the ferry, looking off at the ocean...  Great guy, instantly likeable, had a natural ease with people, the kind of guy you wanted to be around. From Seattle. Recently transferred. Hell of a poker player. Hated his father—the one thing that didn’t seem to jibe with the rest of him. There was something rise off too, something buried in the back of Teddy’s brain, something... What was it?  Awkward. That was the word. But, no, there was nothing awkward about Chuck. He was smooth incarnate. Slick as shit through a goose, to use an expression Teddy’s father had been fond of. No, there was nothing remotely awkward about the man. But wasn’t there? Hadn’t there been one blip in time when Chuck had been clumsy in his movements?  Yes. Teddy was sure the moment had happened. But he couldn’t remember the specifics. Not right now. Not here.  And, anyway, the whole idea was ridiculous. He trusted Chuck.

Chuck had broken into Cawley’s desk, after all.

Did you see him do it?

Chuck, right now, was risking his career to get to Laeddis’s file. :

How do you know?

They’d reached the door and A1 said, “Just go back to the stairwell and follow those steps up. You’ll find the roof easy enough.” “Thanks.”

Teddy waited, not opening the door just yet, wanting to see how long A1 would hang around.

But A1 just nodded and walked back into the cell block and Teddy felt vindicated. Of course they weren’t watching him. As far as A1 knew, Teddy was just another orderly. Noyce was paranoid.  Understandably so—who wouldn’t be in Noyce’s shoes?---but paranoid, just. the same.

A1 kept walking and Teddy turned the knob of the door and opened it, and there were no orderlies or guards waiting on the landing.

He was alone. Completely alone. Unwatched. And he let the door

close behind him and turned to go down the stairs and saw Chuck

standing at the curve where they’d run into Baker and Vingis. He

pinched his cigarette and took hard, quick hits off it and looked up at Teddy as he came down the steps, and turned and started moving fast.  “I thought we were meeting in the hall.”

“They’re here,” Chuck said as Teddy caught up to him and they turned into the vast hall.


“The warden and Cawley. Just keep moving. We gotta fly.”

“They see you?”

“I don’t know. I was coming out of the records room two floors up. I see them down the other end of the hall. Cawley’s head turns and I go right through the exit door into the stairwell.”

“So, they probably didn’t give it a second thought.”

Chuck was practically jogging. “An orderly in a rain slicker and a ranger’s hat coming out of the records room on the admin’ floor? Oh, I’m sure we’re fine.” ‘ The lights went on above them in a series of liquid cracks that sounded like bones breaking underwater. Electric charges hummed in the air and were followed by an explosion of yells and catcalls and wailing. The building seemed to rise up around them for a moment and then settle back down again. Alarm bells pealed throughout the stone floors and walls.

“Power’s back. How nice,” Chuck said and turned into the stairwell.  They went down the stairs as four guards came running up, and they shouldered the wall to let them pass.

The guard at the card table was still there, on the phone, looking up with slightly glazed eyes as they descended, and then his eyes cleared and he said “Wait a sec” into the phone, and then to them as they cleared the last step, “Hey, you two, hold on a minute.”

A crowd was milling around in the foyer---orderlies, guards, two

manacled patients splattered in mud—and Teddy and Chuck moved

right into them, sidestepped a guy backing up from the coffee table, swinging his cup carelessly toward Chuck’s chest.

And the guard said, “Hey! You two! Hey!”

They didn’t break stride and Teddy saw faces looking around, just now hearing the guard’s voice, wondering who he was calling to.  Another second or two, those same faces would hone in on him and Chuck.

“I said, ‘Hold up!’ “

Teddy hit the door chest high with his hand.

It didn’t budge.


He noticed the brass knob, another pineapple like the one in Cawley’s house, and he gripped it, found it slick with rain.

“I need to talk to you!” ‘

Teddy turned the knob and pushed the door open and two gua:ds were coming up the steps. Teddy pivoted and held the door open as Chuck passed through and the guard on the left gave him a nod of thanks. He and his partner passed through and Teddy let go of the door and they walked down the steps.

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