"Does he know I'm coming -- we're coming?" Josh asked, breaking the silence of the ride from Quarry Hall to the industrial parkway where the Arc Foundation's motor pool was stored and serviced.
"Sometimes it's hard to know just what George knows and doesn't know, or understand." Vincent spared his former fellow soldier a glance and shrugged as he moved into the highway exit lane. "I didn't tell him. Mostly because he can't seem to remember things like that. Anything mechanical, he remembers like it's written inside his skull. People… some of the girls, he's taken to them really well. They're his special ones and he remembers every detail."
"Girls." He closed his eyes and tipped his head back against the headrest and let out a sigh. "I know you said he's changed, but I still can't wrap my mind around the concept of him caring about anyone. Not to the point of anyone being special to him. Especially when his only use for children and pets was something to torture. The more pain, the better," he added, his voice going raspy and faint. "Women existed to be used and abused. That's just the way Snow always ways."
"He's not Snow anymore. He's George. Uncle George, to some of the girls."
"And if I mess up and call him Snow? Or refer to you as Javelin? What might happen?"
"Depends." Vincent glanced left down the road to check for oncoming traffic, then pulled out, turning right. The sign for the industrial parkway was visible maybe one hundred yards down, another right hand turn. "On an ordinary day, he might not even hear you make the slip. Or he'll be confused. If he's been having nightmares, though… sometimes when he's tired and you can tell he's in pain, the old Snow slips out in his voice, the way he looks at you. Just for a moment."
"So he's still in there, despite the damage."
"Just like the men we used to be are still there, deep down inside. The only way to keep them sleeping, keep them from coming back into our minds and souls is to keep resting on God's grace."
"Amen," Josh murmured.
"Funny thing is, George taught me how to let go, how to take it one step at a time and just keep moving, trusting that the floor won't vanish under your feet without warning."