Last week, we learned of the Sisters of Oriza. This week, we find out just how Callahan got to Calla Bryn Sturgis and how the ka-tet plans to get back to NYC through the “unfound” door.
Our previous read, The Wind Through The Keyhole, waylaid us in a town hall as a starkblast trapped our ka-tet with freezing conditions. Roland of Gilead spent the time palavering with Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy about long ago when him and fellow gunslinger Jamie tracked down and killed the shapeshifter Skin-Man. Intertwined in the narrative, we discover that Roland’s mother Gabrielle had learned from Randall Flagg that her son would murder her, and so in a letter she’d written in advance, she absolved Roland of the deed. After the icy weather passes, the ka-tet emerges and heads along the Path of the Beam toward Thunderclap.
*Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!
We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week we discover the “unfound” door and learn of just how Father Callahan got to Calla Bryn Sturgis! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part V of Wolves of the Calla: Part Two Telling Tales, VIII: “Took's Store; The Unfound Door” – Part Two Telling Tales, IX: “The Priest's Tale Concluded”!
Part Two Telling Tales, VIII: “Took's Store; The Unfound Door” – Part Two Telling Tales, IX: “The Priest's Tale Concluded”
Just a quick refresher: the wolves are on their way, and our ka-tet are not a unified force. Roland calls them broken. Mostly because of Susannah, who isn’t aware that she has a new personality lurking within named Mia who has a baby on the way. This happened, as you remember, because Susannah got pregnant while having sex with a demon to hold open a transom that allowed Jake to cross over. Roland and Eddie know, and now Jake has seen his comrade dining on a rat like it was fine cuisine.
Jake also witnesses Mr. Slightman holding palaver with Andy the deceitful robot (my coinage) and then Slightman the Elder trekking east. Is he in cahoots with the wolves?! My money’s riding on it, gunslinger.
Jake is shaping up to be quite the telepath and becomes aware of an old gunslinger term called dan-dinh, which translates to “may I open my heart to your command.” He approaches a somewhat startled Roland, who realizes the boy has become more powerful than Alain at entering others’ noggins. Interestingly, Jake holds back on his knowledge of Slightman the Elder’s possible betrayal and lays out all he knows about Susannah. Roland asks Jake to keep an eye on Susannah in case Mia makes a run for it. What we see here is a Roland Deschain who freely admits to his younger pupil that he’s not sure exactly what to do.
Soon after their pivotal tête-à-tête, Roland tells the group he’s off to do some cave exploring.
“It’s the way back, isn’t it?” Jake said. “You think it’s the way back to New York.”
“More,” the gunslinger said. “With Black Thirteen, I think it might be the way to everywhere and everywhen.”
“Including the Dark Tower?” Eddie asked. His voice was husky, barely more than a whisper.
“I can’t say,” Roland replied, “but I believe Henchick will show me the cave, and I may know more then.”
Henchick guides Roland to the cave, high on a hill, where twenty feet inside is a door like those he had come to on the beach. The symbols above this gateway mean “unfound,” Roland translates. This is where Henchick had found Callahan passed out on the floor and rescued him five or so years prior.
Part of the cave floor drops away to a chasm where Roland is taunted by the voices of his past: his mother telling him not to shoot, his father chastising him, Walter too, and most painful of all is Cuthbert blowing Eld’s Horn just before perishing at Jericho Hill. Roland, seeing what he needs, heads back to Father Callahan’s to hear the rest of the priest’s tale, more certain than ever that this door will be their ticket to future destinations.
“They held the Hitlers at gun point, telling them to get lost even though the brothers will be slain for not finishing the hit on Callahan.”
Callahan tells how he had been hunted down by The Hitler Brothers (neo-nazi’s if you couldn’t guess), but before they could finish carving a swastika in his forehead, two anonymous men had come to his rescue. They held the Hitlers at gun point, telling them to get lost even though the brothers will be slain for not finishing the hit on Callahan. They were killed later, Callahan assumes, by the low men. And higher up the insane posse food chain—The Crimson King.
A man named Richard P. Sayre, under the auspices of The Sombra Corporation, lures Callahan to their Detroit office with the promise of a huge charitable donation to the shelter where he works. He mistakenly goes and is trapped in a room with dozens of blood-suckers looking to retaliate against the force that had been killing them for years. Father Callahan has no choice.
He doesn’t try to reason with them. There is no palaver. He just sprints down the right side of the conference room’s extravagant mahogany table. The man in the yellow shirt, suddenly alarmed, shouts “Get him! Get him!” Hands slap at his jacket—specially bought at Grand River Menswear for this auspicious occasion—but slip off. He has time to think The window won’t break, it’s made of some tough glass, anti-suicide glass, and it won’t break… and he has just time enough to call on God for the first time since Barlow forced him to take of his poisoned blood.
“Help me! Please help me!” Father Callahan cries, and runs shoulder-first into the window.
And he is helped, in a manner of speaking, by Walter! Callahan ends up in the way station, the same one where Roland first met Jake. The man in black thrusts Black Thirteen at the priest, who is whisked away to the cave just up the road from where he will open a church at Calla Bryan Sturgis.
I enjoyed the action in this section and how Callahan’s adventures are intertwined with Roland and his ka-tet. There’s no doubt now that the priest will continue in the quest for the Dark Tower. Unless he is killed by the wolves … who will be coming soon.
What did you think of this week's read? Head to the comments and start/join the conversation!
*Remember: Be careful with your comments—NO SPOILERS! We will be moderating the comments and deleting anything we feel is a spoiler, so pause before you post and make sure you're not ruining it for someone else.
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David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.