THE NEWS REPORTER WAS telling a story about the miraculous recovery of all
the still living patients at every hospital in Iowa, who all had suddenly
recovered from the Jordan Effect without any doctor's care.
It took a few weeks for special workers to find the remains of all those
who hadn't recovered in time. Experts who examined Sandra said it was most
likely a suicide, but they couldn't find a cause of death. It appeared
that she had simply stopped living.
The news reporter was now covering a story about a young boy who had been
locked in an attic by his parents. The boy started talking about how he'd
gone without food or water for five days, when Shawn put his hand on
Pheobe's shoulder. "Let's go," he said.
Without showing any apparent emotion, Pheobe nodded and turned off the
television. She'd been different since they'd killed Sandra. She often
told Shawn about how she would go outside and concentrate very hard, hoping
something magical would happen, but nothing ever did.
Sometimes, at night she would wake up screaming. Shawn would rush into her
room to see what was wrong, and Pheobe would sob that the entire world was
different, and that she saw things again the way she'd seen them before.
Shawn never knew what she was talking about.
Shawn had changed, too. The first night, they'd gone home and he'd locked
himself in his room, crying and mourning Sandra. In the morning, he'd told
himself that the woman he'd loved had never really existed; everything he'd
loved was an act performed by the real Sandra.
Shawn knew this realization would never be enough. He would probably
always be in love with his idea of Sandra, and eventually he would have to
face that- but he wasn't ready quite yet.
As for Pheobe, Shawn knew they had to find someone who understood what had
happened and who wouldn't laugh when Shawn told him or her that magic was a
real thing. Shawn wondered how many people like that there were in the
Those things could wait, however. Worrying about them wouldn't accomplish
anything, especially when neither he nor Pheobe had any clue as to how to
fix their strange situation.
Shawn walked to his car and climbed into the driver's seat. Pheobe
silently sat on the passenger side and watched the scenery slide passed.
She was either very interested in what she saw, or she was concentrating so
hard on something else, she wasn't aware of her surroundings. Shawn chose
not to interrupt her.
It was a short drive to the hospital, and once they arrived, Pheobe exited
the car in the same distracted manner in which she'd entered it. She
stared straight ahead at the brick wall of the hospital as she and Shawn
At the front desk, she stared at a poster showing the early stages of
cancer while Shawn talked to the receptionist. She gave him directions to
his mother's room, and the siblings walked side-by-side to the place.
Shawn's mother was awake when they entered. She seemed healthy, and Shawn
knew she could come home if she wanted, but the doctors wanted to keep her
to examine her for signs of relapse. None of the patients had relapsed
after a recovery from the Jordan Effect yet, but the doctors wanted to be
"Good morning, Mom," Shawn said. He smiled sweetly and kissed his mother
on the cheek while Pheobe stood in the doorway and stared at the opened
"Good morning, children," replied his mother. "It's so good of you to come
visit me while I'm sick and in the hospital." She didn't appear to notice
Pheobe's condition, and if she did, she didn't mention it.
"I would have brought you flowers, but the doctors don't want anyone to
bring in anything that might influence the patient's recovery," Shawn
confessed. On the news it had been explained to the public that until more
was known about the Jordan Effect, patients should not receive flowers,
cards, or chocolates, because a patient's mental state could be affected
and it would provide "unknown variables."
"That's OK," said Shawn's mother. "I don't need flowers. You know, the
doctors say that if things keep improving the way they are, I can go home
in a few days."
"I'll be waiting for the call," Shawn said, sure that nothing could prevent
her recovery now. He looked both ways and leaned forward. "Do you
remember anything that you did after you got sick?" he asked hesitantly.
His mother crinkled her nose, thinking hard. Finally, she said, "It was
all like a dream. Some things are very clear in my mind, but other things
seem to blur together, and there's no sense of time. I can't remember some
of the things I know happened, and other details seem to be obvious to me,
but I couldn't tell you when everything took place for the life of me."
A nurse knocked on the door, interrupting the two. She smiled with
embarrassment and said, "I'm sorry. I'm afraid you'll have to leave now,
visiting hours are over."
Shawn nodded. "Good bye, mother," he said. "I'll see you tomorrow." They
quickly exchanged their good byes, and Shawn left the room. Pheobe
silently followed him into the hall.
While they walked, Pheobe said something that surprised Shawn to great
extent. "She'll be fine," Pheobe said, quietly but clearly. "I could see
it, she'll recover completely and everything will be fine."
Pheobe didn't realize how much meaning the statement held for Shawn. True,
he was worried about his mother, but what he really heard when Pheobe said
this was that she had used her newfound powers, and they hadn't hurt her.
Even more importantly, Pheobe had done so and told Shawn about it. Once
she'd recovered from the shock of all that had happened, she would become a
talkative and happy teenage girl again, and she, too, would be fine.