Johnny woke up about an hour later in the local hospital with a splitting headache and a certainty that trying to help people usually only got him hurt.
To be fair, though, he could understand why Angie had reacted so badly. A guy she'd never seen before had called her by her name and then asked if she knew a psycho who, at some point in the future, was going to kill her. Or try to, anyway.
'Not your smartest move.' He muttered sarcastically to himself. When he tried to turn his head, he was rewarded with a sharp dart of pain between his temples, and he groaned. How the Hell had that tree fallen on him, anyway? Talk about a freak accident. Still, it could have been worse, he supposed. Nothing seemed to be broken, at least. And he'd suffered through bad headaches before-his 'dead zone' provided him with more than enough of those.
He smiled weakly when Walt suddenly came bursting into the room. 'Can you try not getting in trouble when Sarah's trying to make dinner?' The joke didn't quite conceal the honest concern in the man's voice, and Johnny's smile became more sincere. 'Sorry, man.' He said solemnly. 'From now on, I'll avoid trees as much as I possibly can.'
Walt frowned at him, then sighed. 'You wanna tell me how you ended up under a damn tree in the first place?' He demanded. Johnny sensed his friend was in 'sheriff mode' now, so he told him the whole story-about Angie, about the vision he'd had, and about her angry reaction. 'Next thing I know, there's a tree coming at me.' He concluded.
'Where's this 'Angie' now?' Walt asked, and Johnny replied, voicing his own concern now, 'She ran away.'
Walt snorted. 'Talk about a concerned citizen.' He muttered, but Johnny wouldn't allow the sheriff to be so dismissive. 'I scared her, Walt.' He retorted urgently. 'I can't blame her for running-she thought David sent me.' 'The guy who's gonna shoot her?' Johnny nodded at Walt's question, then added, 'She's obviously terrified of this guy. And judging by what I saw in my vision, she should be.' He paused for a moment, then added, compassion evident in his voice, 'We have to find her.'
'You know, I was afraid you were gonna say that.' Thankfully, Walt sounded resigned rather than pissed. 'Now, can I ask how you expect me to find this girl when you only know her first name? What does she look like?' Johnny thought for a moment, then replied, 'She's small, maybe like five foot one, maybe two. Long black hair. Green eyes. Really, really vivid green eyes. Pretty. She was wearing a pink hooded jacket and jeans.' Walt nodded, digesting this information as Johnny gave it to him, then added, a ghost of a smile appearing on his lips, 'Sounds to me like you want me to find this girl so you can ask her out.'
Johnny pulled a face at his friend, while marvelling once again at the fact that he could call the husband of his onetime fiancee, his friend. 'Ha, ha Walt. That's good-that's real good. ' He deadpanned. 'You gonna look for her or not?'
'Alright.' Walt ceded, holding up his hands in surrender. 'I'll look for her. First, I gotta call Sarah and tell her I'm gonna be late for dinner-again.' That last emphasized word was not a dig at Johnny, but general exasperation that he often missed mealtimes with his wife and son and the psychic sympathized. Only, JJ was not Walt's son-but Johnny didn't want to start dwelling on that again, forcing his thoughts onto Angie. He hoped she was okay-and that Walt would find her on time...
Angie was trying to put as much distance between herself, Cleaves Mills and John Smith as was humanly possible. She felt terrible about the whole 'incident', but the moment that guy had said David's name, she had panicked completely-and when she panicked, she couldn't...control herself.
She hoped John Smith would be okay-but his well-being was not her problem. She couldn't let it be.
Walt, in the meantime, was trawling through Cleaves Mills in his car, perusing every corner and avenue he could see, for a pretty woman with black hair and green eyes. He considered putting an APB out on her, but the last thing he wanted was to frighten her away again. If he found her on his own, she'd be more likely to co-operate.
'Dammit, Johnny, you never make it easy for me.' He muttered, but he knew how Johnny Smith worked-he couldn't simply abandon someone in need of help. Even someone who may not even know she needed help. Truthfully, neither could Walt. If a woman was going to be shot sometime in the future, as a law enforcement officer, as a sheriff , it was his duty to prevent it, to the best of his ability.
He just wished Johnny's 'special' cases didn't keep him away from Sarah and JJ so much.
He had called Sarah to tell her he would probably be late, and why, and had felt a momentary twinge of envy and irritation at the concern in her voice when she'd asked if Johnny was ok. Well, he was only human-she'd been engaged to the guy once, and he was JJ's biological father. All things considered, a little envy and irritation on his part was hardly surprising.
The funny thing was, though, he liked Johnny. He was a good guy, affable, agreeable. It was hard not to like him. And when he had helped Walt out of a coma after that accident in the mine a couple of months ago, it had only deepened their camaraderie. A more selfish man would have been glad to step aside and let him die, would have seen the clear path to Sarah and JJ Walt's death might have facilitated...but that wasn't Johnny. And the sheriff was damn glad it wasn't.
He was so lost in his thoughts, that he'd almost passed the woman by before he caught a glimpse of a pink hooded jacket and dark hair, and he pulled up at the kerb abruptly, hoping he had the right person.
Angie took one look at the police car and felt panic set in again. Breathing deeply, urgently, reminding herself that losing it around a cop would not be an especially bright idea, she watched as the driver's window rolled down and a man's head appeared. He was handsome, outdoors-y looking, and while he appeared stern, there was also an air of, well, 'goodness' about him.
Just like that Smith guy, actually.
'Is your name Angie?' The cop asked, and she nodded dumbly, too caught off guard to lie, then suddenly, she realized why she'd been tracked down. 'This is about that guy, John Smith. Isn't it?' She said quietly. The cop replied, just as quietly, informally, 'Yeah. Yeah it is. My name is Sheriff Walt Bannerman-John told me there was some kind of incident?'
Sheriff. Angie contemplated this with growing realization. The Sheriff had referred to Smith by his christian name-did John Smith have connections? How much trouble was she in here?
'Look, Sheriff' she replied, trying to keep her voice level. 'I'm sorry about what happened, but...' She stopped when the man waved a dismissive hand at her. 'I'm not here to arrest you.' He retorted. 'What happened was an accident. But John...well, he seems to think you're in trouble. Or, you're going to be.'
'He mentioned David.' With every sentence, Angie drew a deep breath, reminding herself that this was a man of the law, and he wouldn't hurt her. But...accident? What had happened to John Smith was no accident. If this Sheriff knew just what she was capable of, she doubted he'd be so gentle with her.
Sheriff Bannerman was nodding. 'He's going to shoot you, Angie.' He said bluntly. 'You're gonna die, unless you let John help you.'
Angie staggered back at these shocking words, and she felt the atmosphere around her grow charged, and she struggled for breath, willing calm upon herself. 'Die?' She gasped. 'H-How...?'
Walt cursed himself for being so frank with the truth. When it came to Johnny's 'gift', it was often better to ease people towards the facts, instead of blurting out to a young woman obviously already shaken by previous events that she might die. Fetching a sigh, he told her, 'Look, please get in the car. I'll take you to the hospital, and John can explain everything.'
Angie's panic was momentarily forgotten at the mention of hospital, and she recalled with sickening horror what she had done to John Smith. The tree, crashing down on his prone body, the looks of confusion and accusation on those people's faces, looks she'd come to recognise only too well. 'I could have killed him.' She murmured, in a voice that sounded, to herself, unnervingly like a child's. The Sheriff's face registered only puzzlement at this statement, and Angie realized he knew nothing of her...curse. She knew the best thing for all concerned here would be to walk away, but if this man John Smith somehow knew she might be facing death, she wanted to know how and why.
Slowly, she crossed over to the passenger side of the Sheriff's car and slid easily in. As he started up the car, she said quietly, 'I hope you know what you're doing.' She fastened her seatbelt, not missing the sidelong glance he threw in her direction. 'You make yourself sound like some kind of monster.' He sounded both amused and incredulous, and Angie had to stifle a smile.
He had no idea.
When there was no reply forthcoming, the Sheriff continued, 'So...you wanna tell me about this guy David?' Angie clenched her hands into fists, but refused to let panic set in. She had already hurt one person today-she had no intention of doing a repeat performance. 'David Porter is my ex-boyfriend.' She replied finally. 'He was a pharmacist, and seemed like the perfect guy, but we'd been together about six months when I found out he was selling medication to teenagers and elderly off the books, who couldn't normally afford it, or wanted it for recreational purposes. I found all the details of his 'transactions' in this folder he had in the bedroom closet. I found it by chance, and normally I wouldn't look through David's stuff, but...I don't know. Something compelled me that night.'
'Like a sixth sense?' Angie didn't know quite what to make of the Sheriff's query, so she just shrugged and said, 'I guess. Anyway, I blew the whistle on him, and he got fired, and arrested for possession with intent. They didn't hold him for long though. David tried to tell me he was doing it for us, for our future, but then he got really angry when I couldn't seem to understand that. I got out of there pretty fast. That was about four months ago. I haven't seen him since.' By choice, she had omitted the little detail where she and David had got into a full-scale argument and when her ex had struck her, he had, for the first time, seen just what she could do when pushed far enough. She didn't think telling the Sheriff this would help her much.
Walt nodded periodically through Angie's story. Well, he could definitely see a motive for murder here. This guy had lost both his respectable job and his profitable side gig because apparently unlike him, his girlfriend had had a conscience. 'So...you just left?' He asked, and she actually grinned. 'Not only left, but gave about twenty grand he had stashed away to charity before I did.'
Walt almost gaped at her. 'Let me get this straight,' he said slowly. 'Not only did you get your pill-peddling boyfriend fired and arrested, but you also gave away what was probably his remaining drug money, to charity?' When Angie nodded, he chuckled and added, 'Jeez, lady, no wonder this guy wants to kill you!' He wished he could bite the words back, when he saw fear growing in Angie's eyes again, and he said, trying to defuse the situation, 'You gonna tell me you didn't take any money for yourself, before you took off?'
Glad of the distraction from reminders of her imminent death, Angie replied, 'I only worked in a supermarket before I left Castle Rock-that's where I was living-but I had about four hundred bucks in my savings when I had to quit my job. I've been running ever since. Running on four hundred dollars isn't easy, though.' Walt frowned. 'Castle Rock isn't all that far from Cleaves Mills.' He said. 'You really never heard of Johnny Smith?' Angie shook her head, smiling uncertainly. 'No.' She replied. 'Why, should I have? Is he a celebrity, or something?' There was something though, something John Smith had told her, before she'd gone berserk, that she couldn't quite remember now. Something important. When Walt didn't answer her question, but pulled an awkward face, she paused, then added, fear setting in again, 'Am I really going to die, Sheriff Bannerman?'
'Not if Johnny can help it.' Walt replied, as he pulled into the hospital parking lot. He stole a glance at his undoubtedly attractive, but obviously unsettled female passenger and sighed again. Angie had done the right thing, but might pay for her decision with her life if Johnny couldn't change the future. Walt also couldn't quite shake a nagging feeling that there was something about this woman that he had missed, some unknown detail he'd failed to pick up on. What had happened to Johnny had been an accident, even if it was of the 'freak' variety.
So why had Angie said she could have killed him?
'He's not mad, is he?' As they neared the reception area, Walt was jolted from his thoughts by Angie's question and he forced himself to smile. 'No, he's not mad.' He replied. 'Like I said, he wants to help.'
When they finally got close to John's room, Walt came to a stop, laying a hand briefly on her arm. 'I'll wait out here.' He told her. 'You go on in and talk to him. And listen, tell Johnny everything you told me, okay? You can trust him.'
Angie nervously stepped into Johnny's hospital room, after first tapping hesitantly on the door. He was lying in bed, and looked up as she entered, and she felt some amount of relief when he smiled-he actually looked about as nervous as she felt. 'Hey.' She said softly, suddenly feeling embarrassed as well as apprehensive. She wasn't good around strangers in general anyway, but since she was responsible for this guy being hurt-that made it worse. Thankfully, he didn't seem at all angry with her; as a matter of fact, he looked concerned. *But then, he didn't know. *'Hey.' Johnny replied in kind, his pale blue eyes boring into hers, and Angie mentally added 'uncomfortable' to her list of feelings. His gaze was so intense that she dropped hers to the floor-it was like he was looking straight through her. *Johnny recognised discomfort when he saw it, and sighed. He hadn't meant to freak her out by staring at her so much, but now, seeing her again...there was something about this woman. Something...that reminded him of himself.
'I'm sorry I scared you.' Angie looked up sharply at this unexpected statement. She could have killed this guy, and he was apologizing? She shook her head, fighting the urge to laugh at the ludicrousness of what he'd said. 'Mister Smith...' She began, only for him to hold up a hand, commanding her attention. 'Please.' He retorted. 'Call me Johnny. Everybody else does.'
She nodded reluctantly, unsure of whether she wanted to be on a first-name basis with someone she had injured, then finally said, 'Johnny', slowly, as if acclimating herself to the name, before acting completely on impulse and sticking out her hand to the figure lying on the bed. A man who seemed utterly harmless and yet, had foreseen her death. 'Angela Bartlett.' She introduced herself. 'But everybody calls me Angie.' She slowly withdrew her hand, slightly affronted, when she realized Johnny had no intention of shaking it. 'I'm sorry.' She said curtly. 'I didn't...'
'Angie, please listen.' The urgency was back in Johnny's voice, the same urgency he had expressed when he'd chased after her in the street. When he'd asked her about David. 'I need to tell you something about myself. Some time back, I was in a car accident, and I ended up in a coma for six years. When I woke up, I had...changed. When I touch someone, I can sometimes see their future, or their past. That's how I know about David, Angie. I had a vision. I saw him shoot you. But I can change the future, when I see it-there's still time.'
Well, at least she understood now why the guy didn't want to shake her hand. Seeing someone die in your head even once had to be intense. And not in a good way.
Did she believe him? Considering what she was, she had absolutely no trouble believing him. But jeez...six years? He'd lost so much time, poor guy. And then she remembered...
'At the cafe,' she murmured. 'When I walked past you, I brushed your arm. Just barely, but...that's all it takes?' *Johnny nodded, looking grim now 'That's all it takes.' He affirmed. 'That's why I was trying to warn you. I saw it happen.' He paused, then asked, 'Who is he, Angie? Do you know him well?'
So Angie told him everything, as she had with Sheriff Bannerman, about what she'd discovered, what she'd done, how she'd been trying to run ever since. 'I didn't think he'd find me, but obviously he's going to. It's weird though-David never seemed like the violent type. Still, I don't know anyone else called David who'd be that pissed off with me.'
She noticed Johnny seemed to be looking at her strangely, and then he said, 'You don't seem...awfully surprised by any of this. About me being a psychic, I mean.' Angie smiled. 'I'm not.' She replied. 'Believe me, Johnny, I'm the last person who would be surprised.' Off his look, her smile faded, and she added, 'I meant to apologise, about earlier.'
Johnny shrugged and shook his head. 'It was my fault.' He retorted. 'I scared you.' Patiently, realizing she was about to tell him the truth without ever really having intended to, Angie told him, 'No. I mean, about the tree.'
Johnny just stared at her, obviously confused now, and said, 'That was an accident, Angie. I mean, yeah, it was kind of weird, but...'
'It wasn't an accident.' Angie felt close to tears; she wasn't normally willing to tell people about her...condition, but she felt that this man who had seen her possible death deserved the truth. Taking a deep breath, she asked, 'Johnny, have you ever heard of telekinesis?'
Johnny had not foreseen how this conversation was going to progress, but even he couldn't have imagined this U-turn. 'Uh, I've heard of it.' He answered slowly. 'It's...moving things with your mind, right?'
Angie smiled at the simplicity of his response. 'That's basically it.' She nodded. 'The textbook definition is 'the ability to move energy from faster moving frequency to the physical level'. It means when the brain develops an ability to move inanimate objects through intense concentration. I'm telekinetic, Johnny. That tree didn't fall on you by accident. I made it fall. Because I got scared.'
'You...concentrated on the tree, and made it fall on me?' Johnny was not a skeptic by any means; after all, having been imbued with the ability to see a person's past or future through touch, thanks to a six-year coma, being a skeptic would be kind of hypocritical. But he couldn't help feeling that what Angie was saying sounded fantastic. Impossible.
'Not exactly.' Angie could see the doubt in Johnny's eyes and felt like kicking herself. She'd thought he of all people would understand, being psychic. Still, it was too late to turn back now. 'I've always been this way. As long as I can remember, anyway. Usually, I have to concentrate really hard to move anything, but when I get angry or scared, like I did today...I lose control, Johnny. I didn't mean to hit you with that tree, it's just...' Her eyes welled up with tears, and she added brokenly, 'I'm sorry.'
Angie took one look at the expression on Johnny's face and wiped at her eyes, trying to smile. 'You don't believe me. Do you?' *'It's not that.' It didn't seem to Johnny like she was lying, but it all sounded so incredible. 'It's just...I've never heard of someone actually being telekinetic.'
Angie smiled sadly. It looked like she was going to have to prove herself. Slowly, she looked around, searching for something, when her gaze fell on Johnny's cane, lying next to the bed. Curling her hands into fists, she summoned every shred of mental strength and willed it to move. It rattled briefly against the bedframe, then began to levitate off the ground.
Johnny wasn't sure what Angie was trying to do, and then he let out a gasp of shock, cowering against the bed, when his cane floated right in front of his face, Angie staring at it intently. 'I bet you never heard of somebody having second sight until that car accident, right?' She said gently.
As soon as Angie's gaze left the cane, it clattered harmlessly to the ground and she gave Johnny another of her sad smiles. 'I appreciate you trying to help me, Johnny.' She said. 'But believe me, you don't want to. Bad things happen around me. Bad things always happen.' Ignoring Johnny's protests, tears beginning to flow, Angie left, the door swinging shut behind her...
(NEXT: ANGIE RETURNS-AND JOHNNY GETS A SHOCKING GLIMPSE INTO HER PAST, BEFORE SHE IS REINTRODUCED TO AN OLD FRIEND. PLEASE R&R!)