Lewis was there the night they switched on those tubes, fed the signal through the relays and the amplifiers, fed it to that huge antenna.
He felt the current passing through the ground under his feet, crackling through the air around him.
The hair on his arms had stood on end.
The bones in his body had tingled.
“I…” He shook his head, searched for words. “What does this have to do with curing my brother’s wife?”
“All the same,” Leedskalnin said. He walked to the wall and slapped the rock. “Energy here. Energy here.” He punched his chest. “No difference. Once you understand…” and he went off again on an explanation that made no sense, that was not an explanation at all. Perhaps sensing he had lost his audience, the little man stopped abruptly. “Forgive me,” he said, standing up. “This is all talking, and anyone can talk. I will show you that I am more than just talk.”
Leedskalnin scurried to the nearest wall and peered through a small hole in the rock that apparently was designed for that purpose.
“Gone,” he said. “Good. I can show you.”
“Those guys in the car were watching you?” Lewis asked.
“People are interested to know how I do such things.”
“Government perhaps. Such power is not for all to have. The tsar’s police hurt my father, as I told you. I face similar dangers.”
“Well, there isn’t a tsar here in America,” Lewis said.
“People are the same no matter where in the world. Good and bad.”
Eccentric, heartbroken, lonely, and apparently a little paranoid too, Lewis thought. His face must have betrayed his thoughts, because Leedskalnin said, “You saw them too, the men in the car, so you know I’m not imagining.”
“That’s true,” Lewis conceded.
“Always someone is watching. Maybe government. Sometimes just curious neighbors.”
Leedskalnin walked to the second tarp and pulled it aside.
The tarp had hidden some kind of strange machine.
It looked like a type of generator. There was an armature at the center, wound at least two inches thick with copper wire—maybe not copper, maybe some kind of alloy. Three metal rods, bright silver, tapering to a point, rose off a triangular faceplate fastened just above the armature.
Leedskalnin bent down, pulled on something, pressed on something else, and all at once, Lewis heard a low-pitched humming, barely audible.
Lewis couldn’t see any wires coming from the machine. “Where’s that drawing power from?”
“Where indeed,” Leedskalnin said, and again flashed his impish smile.
The armature began to spin, slowly at first, then faster. Much, much faster, till the individual wires disappeared into a blur. The tips of the three rods began to glow—yellow at first, then shading toward pink.
Lewis looked at the glow, and for the second time that day wanted to run away from Edward Leedskalnin and his Coral Castle as fast as he could. This time, though, that feeling had less to do with the man and more to do with the sensation he felt looking at the strange machine, at the armature as it turned, at the metal rods as they shone.
He realized he was in the presence of power that didn’t hew to the laws of physics—power not entirely of this world.
Leedskalnin knelt next to the machine and gingerly moved the three rods so that they all pointed in the same direction—toward the huge coral stone Leedskalnin had called the obelisk.
“Now,” the little man said, “please watch.”
The glow at the tip of each rod brightened. Grew stronger. Expanded.
Lewis blinked to make sure of what he was seeing. When he was sure, he blinked again.
He couldn’t find his voice. And even if he could find it, he didn’t know what to say.