Read an Excerpt
By S. E. Hinton
A TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOK Copyright © 2004 S. E. Hinton
All right reserved.
Chapter One Terrace View Asylum, Delaware January 1967
"So, Jamie, you've had a few weeks to adjust to Terrace View. How do you like it so far?"
Dr. McDevitt looked at the young man seated in front of his desk. A small, well-built young man who might have been handsome had it not been for his gauntness, the listlessness of his posture, the shadows around his shifting eyes.
He kept wringing his hands together.
"It's okay," Jamie answered, not looking up.
Dr. McDevitt wasn't insulted at Jamie's shrug, implying a well-run sanitarium wasn't any better than that state institutional hellhole, Eastern State, where he'd been for the last few months. Right now the young man probably couldn't tell one place from another. After all, he only recently could remember his name. And the brutal way he had been transferred here ... Dr. McDevitt was sure it had set his progress back for weeks.
"Grenville Hawkes asked that you be placed here. Do you remember Grenville Hawkes?"
Jamie shook his head.
"You used to work for him-he wanted to make sure you received the best treatment. Do you remember working for Grenville Hawkes, back in Hawkes Harbor?"
Dr. McDevitt thought he discerned a small flinch in Jamie's posture, but there was no change in tone, as he said, "No."
Dr. McDevitt glanced across the scanty medical report. Some doctor from Eastern State, who forgot to sign his name, had made a note that this was one of the worst cases of depression he'd ever tried to treat-it was no doubt a major cause of the amnesia. In the beginning, the patient would wake having no memory of the day before, would literally forget his own name by afternoon. Some memory of his early life was now returning, the report stated.
Not much to go on, but Eastern State was a place of housing, not treatment.
Dr. McDevitt wished he had more background. Jamie had been transferred here abruptly, at the insistence of Louisa Kahne. Her grandfather Johnas Kahne had founded and still technically ruled Terrace View. (The commonly held view, and joke, was that the esteemed Dr. Kahne wanted to make sure his progeny had a place to live; and out of all his swarm of eccentric descendants, this granddaughter was perhaps the most likely candidate.)
"Money is no problem," Louisa had insisted when she called demanding a room. "A favor for a friend of mine, Grenville Hawkes. Jamie'll be arriving some day this week. Yes, yes, I know, you're not accustomed to patients from the criminally insane ward at Eastern State, but crazy is crazy, after all."
No other instructions. Only a short note, and the deposit from Grenville Hawkes, followed in the mail.
Dr. McDevitt had decided to treat him on his own. There were no other instructions, recommendations. Apparently his benefactors were content if he'd just sit here, abandoned like some stray dropped off at a shelter. Jamie had seemed to respond to Dr. McDevitt well and from the first....
Dr. McDevitt still remembered the horrible beginning of Jamie Sommers's stay at Terrace View. It had gone to his heart when the young man turned to him.
"Dr. McDevitt, the new patient's here. James Sommers."
"Is Miss Kahne showing him to his room?"
"No, Miss Kahne's not with him. He's in a police car. He won't get out. And the officer is getting threatening."
Dr. McDevitt ran outside with Nurse Whiting. Yes, it was a police car. And an officer trying to talk sports with Lee. The attendant looked grim. No one without compassion was allowed to work at Terrace View.
"Hey, you want to get this nutcase outta my patrol car?" was the officer's greeting to the doctor. "I can't get Nurse Nancy here to help haul him."
Dr. McDevitt went to the car. The back doors were open, no one visible. He leaned in. Jamie Sommers was seated on the floor, head down. Dear God, they'd put him in a straitjacket. There were shackles on his ankles. There was no mention of violence on his hospital record.
"Mr. Sommers," he said.
Jamie slowly raised his head. Young, thin, unshaven, dirty. And madness in his eyes.
"If you'll let me help you out, I'll remove your restraints. I'm sure they must be painful."
The man was still recovering from some very serious physical injuries. Louisa had attempted to gloss over that fact, but Jamie's medical records had preceded his arrival.
"Captain Harvard?" Jamie said uncertainly. He looked puzzled, hopeful.
"May I help you?"
"Sure," Jamie said. It was the last time he spoke for several days.
He was improving, now. He slept on his bed, not under it. He startled far too easily, but jumped, no longer screamed. Still suffered from night terrors. He was terrified of most of the attendants (Eastern State could take credit for a lot of that, the doctor suspected) but let Nurse Whiting trim his hair. He was settled enough in his new surroundings for a first session.
Dr. McDevitt looked over the report once more.
Interesting case, a kind they rarely got at Terrace View. A criminal, apparently (Dr. McDevitt had a copy of Jamie's police record as well as his medical reports), shot during a suspected kidnapping.
Dr. McDevitt winced as he read about the three bullets being surgically removed-God knew what kind of treatment Jamie'd received after leaving Hawkes Harbor Hospital for Eastern State. The doctor had heard stories about the infirmary there.
"Well, Jamie, my records show you are twenty-five years of age?"
"Raised in St. Catherine's Orphanage, Bronx, attended Billingsworth High, Bronx, three years in the navy ..."
Dr. McDevitt paused-but Jamie didn't confirm any of it. Eastern State had suggested Jamie's memory of his early life was returning, but Jamie had given no indication of this other than knowing his name.
He watched with interest as Jamie's eyes went to the window. Dr. McDevitt had chosen this time of day for the interview with reason.
Jamie shifted in his chair, looked around for a clock, gripped his hands together, wiped them on his pants.
Twenty-five. Dr. McDevitt would have guessed him slightly older-sun had burned lines into his face, pain had stamped dark circles under his eyes.
"Did you like the navy?"
"Liked getting my third mate's papers. They're real handy."
"It gives no reason for your early discharge."
"I got sick of taking orders."
"There's no report of any discipline problem on your previous hospital record."
"Don't want no trouble." Jamie slumped down again. His eyes went back to the window. He swallowed.
"You know what time it is?" he asked.
"Sixish. Your former employer, Mr. Hawkes, gave us a glowing report, and assured us he still believed you innocent of any wrongdoing."
Jamie looked confused.
"I'm referring to your ... mishap with the Hawkes Harbor police."
"I didn't hurt anybody." Jamie's voice rose. "I know he shot me, but he didn't need to, I wasn't hurting anybody."
"It's all right, Jamie," Dr. McDevitt said. "All criminal charges have been dropped."
There had been no evidence with which to charge him.
In fact, when the doctor looked at the report, his first thought was to wonder why the lawman had thought it worthwhile to gun down an unarmed man on a mere suspicion.
Must have been a slow day in Hawkes Harbor.
"You don't remember the shooting? Or what led up to it?"
"I remember waking up after." Jamie rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand.
That was on the report-prone to severe mood swings, cried easily, bouts of hysteria ...
"It really hurt," he explained. He looked at the windows. "It's getting dark. Usually, I get a pill about now ..."
"Of course. In just a moment."
The medical report emphasized the patient's extreme distress at twilight-unless heavily sedated he would not sleep at all at night. And even then, was subject to violent nightmares. And all that had certainly been borne out during these first few weeks at Terrace View.
"That's an interesting scar you have there."
"W-w-what?" Jamie went white. He clamped his left hand over his throat. "There ain't nothin' there."
"I mean the one that looks like a burn? From your shoulder down to your elbow."
Jamie pushed up the short sleeve of his white T-shirt to look, exposing a tattoo of a well-endowed mermaid on his bicep. And to Dr. McDevitt's total surprise, Jamie laughed.
"Hey, that? Shark got me. Got another scar at the same time. From my ass to the back of my knee."
"A shark bit you?"
"Hell no, my arm would be gone if it'd bit me. It was a twelve-foot tiger. No, it just rubbed me good. Maybe it was a lady shark, like Kell said ... they got hide worse than sandpaper. Took all the skin right off."
"And you find this shark attack humorous?"
"Well, the pirates thought it was funny, that's the important thing. And I thought ol' Kell was going to bust a gut laughing. Said he'd never seen anyone swim so fast."
Dr. McDevitt sighed. There had been no mention in his records of these fantasies....
"The pirates?" he inquired.
"Yeah, we were in the Andamans, smuggling rubies out of Burma...." Seeing the doctor's puzzled look, Jamie added politely, "The Andaman Sea, south of the Bay of Bengal-west of Bangkok? East of Sri Lanka?"
He appeared to be slightly shocked at the doctor's lack of geography. Then he looked at the window. The sunlight had disappeared.
"I think maybe I better get a pill-"
He jumped up and paced.
"Sharks got real dead eyes," he said rapidly. "You ever see one up close? Got dead eyes, you're kinda surprised they're breathin'.... I seen dead eyes, though, burnin' like fires of hell.... Oh God, it's getting dark ... don't let it be dark...."
Dr. McDevitt took a deep breath. He was witnessing what he'd only been told of before-Jamie's hysteria at sunset.
"There's nothing to be afraid of in the dark," he soothed.
"The hell there ain't!" Jamie was rapidly losing control. He looked around wildly, as if for an escape. "Bad stuff happens when it's dark. God, what's gonna happen now? Now what? God," he cried, "it's too late. It's dark. It's already dark."
Dr. McDevitt pushed a button on his intercom, called for an orderly and an injection. As rapidly as Jamie's hysteria was escalating, a pill would take too long.
"What bad stuff, Jamie?"
"You know. I can't stop it!" He paced, his eyes wild and empty. "I can't do nothin' about it! I'm too tired." His voice trailed off into a sob. "I'm too tired ..."
"Jamie," said the doctor, "you're going to need an injection now. I'm going to try not to be late with your medication again."
"Don't hurt me." Jamie gripped the back of his chair. "Please."
Lee advanced with the hypodermic; Jamie offered no resistance.
The orderly left, and Jamie slumped back into his chair.
His eyes gradually dulled as the tranquilizers took effect. His breathing returned to normal.
Something nagged at the doctor's memory. Yes, here it was in the police record-Jamie's deportation from three countries. Suspected of smuggling. Could any of this story be true? He shuffled through the papers, found a worn and well-stamped passport.
"Hey," Jamie said. "That's m-m-mine."
"Of course it is, Jamie. We're just keeping it for you. You can have it back."
"Okay," he muttered. "But don't lose it. I never lost a passport. Kell said I was the only person he knew who never lost a passport.... You know, Kell had a U.S. passport, but he wasn't a citizen ... he was Irish. But he had a couple. Knew where to get good fakes."
"So, Jamie, sometime will you tell me about your shark attack and the Burmese pirates?"
"Yeah. Wish Kell was here, though. He could tell a story. We had drinks on the house every time...." Jamie's voice trailed off drowsily.
Dr. McDevitt called for an orderly, and Jamie left docilely for his room. The doctor made a note. He must always schedule Jamie's sessions in the mornings. It would probably be a while before he was weaned from the strong evening sedation.
Once the young man had gone, the doctor couldn't help glancing at the darkened window. Interesting story, yet how much of what he said was true? The doctor suddenly looked away, wondering what the dark could contain that could terrify a man who had faced Burmese pirates. Who laughed at sharks.
* * *
Andaman Sea March 1964
"Well, Jamie, if you don't hurry and get that engine started, we'll cook."
"I'm working as fast as I can. It's hard to breathe down here. Anyway, you want it done right, don'tchya?"
Jamie came up from the engine room. He was dripping sweat. He was wearing only a pair of cotton draw-string pants, but they were soaked and clinging to him and he seriously considered taking them off, too. It was easily 100 degrees, and a bright sun reflecting off the clear water, the white sand of the beach and cove, added to the heat.
He could use a swim anyway. First, a cigarette.
Jamie sat down at the table under the boat's awning and tapped a cigarette out of the package that lay there.
"Whoever thought this tub was a pleasure boat didn't know what pleasure was," he remarked.
It was a nice little one-cabin cruiser, or had been once. Fifteen years and a lot of rough use had changed it considerably.
"Well now, Jamie, we can be buyin' our own yachts, now, can't we? This tub got us out of Rangoon, and it'll get us to Sri Lanka. That's all that's needed."
Kellen Quinn sat idly in the seat behind the wheel. Other than constantly adding up how much money they'd have waiting for them in Bangkok, there wasn't much else he could do at this point.
Jamie picked up a water jug and took a small, careful swallow. Neither he nor Kell mentioned the fact they were starting to watch the water supply.
"You can fix it, can't you, lad?"
"Yeah. Don't worry." He rubbed at the gold stubble on his chin. It showed up glittering against his tan. His normally dark blond hair was striped gold with sun and salt; his hazel eyes looked almost yellow in his tanned face.
Jamie Sommers was twenty-one years old and he was very, very rich, if he could get to some place where he could spend his money.
"It's a good thing I got those spare plugs." Jamie had insisted on a few parts, once he got a look at the boat that was supposed to get them to Sri Lanka. Parts were harder to find on the black market than rubies, but rubies weren't going to run a boat.
Buy a yacht. Now there was a good idea. Jamie put the dangerous escape from Rangoon out of his mind, letting it wander to how to spend his money.
He'd been thinking along the lines of week-long drunks and very pretty ladies-adding a yacht to that mix was a good idea.
He picked up the worn leather bag that lay on the table. Very carefully-Kell had fits about the pearls getting scratched, but there sure hadn't been time to do any fancy packaging-he slid the contents onto the table.
Pearls. Jade. Rubies.
After two years, it was apparent General NeWin's socialist government wasn't working; most people thought sooner or later it would collapse. Meanwhile, the black market in Burma was a trader's market, medicine, cooking pots, even soap more valuable than pretty stones-
A score waiting to happen for a thinking man like Kellen Quinn, an acting man like Jamie Sommers.
"This one's mine, right?" Jamie held up an 8-carat, teardrop ruby. He liked the rubies the best. Pearls and jade were pale next to rubies. Kell had taught him how to judge jewels-the clarity and color to this one was breathtaking. This one was a keeper. He wasn't going to "translate" it into cash. It made him feel good just to look at it. Yeah, he was keeping this one.
"I told you after you downed that armed guard, whichever one you want."
Kell watched Jamie hold the stone up to the sun. In truth, Kell was the more amenable to this because, as valuable as it was, the ruby was not the rarest of the gems. Several of the very old jade pieces were worth twice as much. And the artifacts-the poor kid showed no interest at all in the artifacts, and they were worth more than the rest together.
Excerpted from Hawkes Harbor by S. E. Hinton Copyright © 2004 by S. E. Hinton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.