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But Nadine had never seen much of the girl after that, and Rachel Timms had been one of the few girls Nadine had ever felt really close to during her first three semesters at college. She could feel it begin to move under the balls of her fingers almost immediately, and she thought of a car with its engine idling. Whose foot, brutal and heavy, shod in an old and dusty cowboy boot, would come down on the accelerator and take her ... She stared east, but felt his presence coming from behind her, pressing heavy on her, dragging her down like weights tied to the feet of a dead woman: Flagg's dark presence, coming in steady, inexorable waves. " Rachel had had the good grace to flush at that; she had even offered a little apology. Heart beating loudly, Nadine sat down on the picnic bench and pressed her fingers lightly to two of the planchette's three sides. Who would climb in, and slam the door, and put his sun-blackened hands on the wheel? Nadine, beyond help or hope of succor, sat upright on the bench at the crest of Flagstaff Mountain in the black trench of morning, her eyes wide, that feeling of being on the border stronger than ever.They don't just run up to one of us and announce themselves, you know, and with Mother Abagail gone, there's no one place where you can count on them going after they arrive." Fran Goldsmith then seconded Glen's motion that the committee put a Census Committee on the agenda for the meeting on August 25, said committee to be responsible for keeping a roll of every Free Zone member. don't we have enough other things to worry about without hacking around with a bunch of diddly-shit bureaucracy? What other key pieces of information do we have, Glen?Larry: "I'm all for that if there's some good, practical reason for doing it. " Fran: "I can see one valid reason right now, Larry." Larry: "What's that? " It was voted 7-0 to put the Census Committee on the agenda of the next public meeting. Maybe it's just paranoia, but I could swear that there have been faces I've gotten used to seeing that just aren't around anymore. You're putting me in the position of having to advocate repression, and I think that's very unfair. How wonderful for us." Glen: "Fran, are you prepared to take the chance that someone may leave here with a key piece of information in his pocket? For the most part, aren't we just wandering around without a clue? " Fran said she'd rather have it that way than start locking people up because they didn't like the way we were running things.But there have also been people coming in by dribs and drabs, maybe as many as ten a day. " Sue Stern said that couldn't be right, because people had been standing in the back and sitting in the aisles when they couldn't get seats.So earlier today I went over to Chautauqua Park auditorium with Leo Rockway, and we counted the seats in the hall. Then we all saw what Glen was getting at, and I guess it would be appropriate to say the committee was thunderstruck.If we give our Adversary credit for even a modicum of intelligence, he'll know we wouldn't give our--operatives, I guess one could call them--any information we considered vital to his interests.He'll know that torture could do him very little good." Fran: "You mean he'll probably pat them on the head and tell them not to do it anymore?
I don't know what they are any more than you do, but I suspect one of them has to do with the next public meeting. " Glen: "I'll wait my turn." Stu: "That's baldy for you. and go back to your room." "You asked me to sit down! CHAPTER 54 Excerpts from the Minutes of the Permanent Free Zone Committee Meeting August 19, 1990 This meeting was held at the apartment of Stu Redman and Fran Goldsmith. From then until now she had never touched one of these triangular spiders made of pressed fiberboard. Somewhere the dark man was abroad in the night, and she spoke two words like an incantation to all the black spirits that had ever been-- incantation and invitation: "Tell me." And beneath her fingers, the planchette began to write.The main difference between an old drunk and an old bald college professor is the professor waits his turn before he starts talkin the ears off your head." Glen: "Thank you for those pearls of wisdom, East Texas." Fran said she could see Stu and Glen were having a wonderful time but wanted to know if they could get down to business, as all her favorite TV shows started at nine.This comment was greeted with more laughter than it probably deserved.