From the Stickely-style foyer table under a print of Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak, I grabbed a pair of wraparound sunglasses.
With my hand on the hammered-copper doorknob, I turned to Orson once more. "We'll be all right."
In fact I didn't know quite how we could go on without my father. He was our link to the world of light and to the people of the day.
More than that, he loved me as no one left on earth could love me, as only a parent could love a damaged child. He understood me as perhaps no one would ever understand me again.
"We'll be all right," I repeated.
The dog regarded me solemnly and chuffed once, almost pityingly, as if he knew I was lying.
I opened the front door, and as I went outside, I put on the wraparound sunglasses. The special lenses were totally UV-proof.
My eyes are my point of greatest vulnerability. I can take no risk whatsoever with them.
Sasha's green Ford Explorer was in the driveway, with the engine running, and she was behind the wheel.
I closed the house door and locked it. Orson had made no attempt to slip out at my heels.
A breeze had sprung up from the west: an onshore flow with the faint, astringent scent of the sea. The leaves of the oaks whispered as if transmitting secrets branch to branch.
My chest grew so tight that my lungs felt constricted, as was always the case when I was required to venture outside in the daylight. This symptom was entirely psychological but nonetheless affecting.
Going down the porch steps and along the flagstone walk to the driveway, I felt weighed down. Perhaps this was how a deep-sea diver might feel in a pressure suit with a kingdom of water overhead.
Copyright © 1998 Dean Koontz.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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