Dean R Koontz
The second book in the Odd Thomas series
This book is for Trixie, though she will never read it. On the most difficult days at the keyboard, when I despaired, she could always make me laugh. The words good dog are inadequate in her case. She is a good heart and a kind soul, and an angel on four feet.
Unearned suffering is redemptive.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Look at those hands, Oh God, those hands toiled to raise me.
– Elvis Presley at his mother's casket
WAKING, I HEARD A WARM WIND STRUMMING THE LOOSE screen at the open window, and I thought Stormy, but it was not.
The desert air smelled faintly of roses, which were not in bloom, and of dust, which in the Mojave nourishes twelve months of the year.
Precipitation falls on the town of Pico Mundo only during our brief winter. This mild February night was not, however, sweetened by the scent of rain.
I hoped to hear the fading rumble of thunder. If a peal had awakened me, it must have been thunder in a dream.
Holding my breath, I lay listening to the silence, and felt the silence listening to me.
The nightstand clock painted glowing numbers on the gloom- 2:41 a.m.
For a moment I considered remaining in bed. But these days I do not sleep as well as I did when I was young. I am twenty-one and much older than when I was twenty.
Certain that I had company, expecting to find two Elvises watching over me, one with a cocky smile and one with sad concern, I sat up and switched on the lamp.
A single Elvis stood in a corner: a life-size cardboard figure that had been part of a theater-lobby display for Blue Hawaii. In a Hawaiian shirt and a lei, he looked self-confident and happy.