Agent Cooper stands in darkness, the crumpled body of the woman he knows as Laura Palmer lying in a quivering heap on the asphalt drive in front of him. The lights of Twin Peaks have gone out. Only the stars shine overhead, and their cold light does little to warm the icy sense of dread Coop tries repeatedly to bring under his expert control.
“Laura,” Coop says, gently prodding the girl’s—no, middle-aged woman’s—shoulder. “Laura, wake up. You’ve done it. It’s over.”
Coop isn’t sure why he’s saying this, but it strikes him as true on a deep, instinctual level he’s not sure he’s felt before. No stranger to trusting intuition, Coop senses a profound recess of his being that lies beneath even the intuitive abilities he has mastered so thoroughly.
Laura’s eyelids flutter. Her lips move as if to speak, but no words emerge. The scream she released seems to have drained her utterly. Coop tries in vain to prop her body up, but his own limbs feel weak and lifeless. Coop is struggling to put his arms around Laura’s shoulders when he hears the familiar sound of static—as if the air around the two of them were being forced apart by invisible fingers.
The Fireman appears before Coop, almost as if condensing out of the emptiness and gloom. The aura effused by the giant’s presence feels all the more unworldly, given the surrounding city’s lack of artificial light.
“The evil has left, Agent Cooper,” says the Fireman. “Laura has banished it. Now she must rejoin the spirits of goodness and decency in the White Lodge until such time as her soul is called upon again.”
Coop swallows back a sense of longing and of loss at the prospect of never seeing the woman he loves so dearly ever again. Laura’s body begins to shimmer, and Coop can’t help but gasp as the feeling of her physical form begins to elude his grasp.
“What should I do?” Coop asks, his voice sounding surprisingly frail in his own ears.
“You know what you must do.”
The Fireman nods behind Coop. Coop turns but sees nothing. Slowly, the double-yellow, dividing line of a highway begins to appear before him. Coop is surprised to find that his hands are gripping the steering wheel of an unfamiliar car. The Mercedes-Benz logo gives him some clue as to the vehicle’s make. In the passenger’s seat beside him, a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair stares absentmindedly into the darkness.
“Diane?” Coop asks.
The woman turns and frowns at him. “No. It’s Alice. Don’t you remember? Are you okay, Fred?”
Coop returns his gaze to the double-yellow line visible through the car’s clouded windshield.
“I don’t know,” Coop says, his voice distant and unsteady. “I feel…lost.”
The woman—Alice—flashes him a knowing smile and returns her gaze out the window. “I know what you mean.”
Coop shakes his head slowly, feeling a heavy confusion descend upon him, as if someone had thrown a weighted cloak around his shoulders. “No,” Coop says. “No, I don’t think you do.”
TO BE CONTINUED
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