Though forcefully severed by the MRI machine from the minds he had inhabited, Charley’s power is undiminished. Incited by the abrupt separation, he immediately sets about reextending himself much more than before. In short order, he encompasses every patient and employee at Denton Regional Hospital, as well as their families.
Though happily and easily spreading his mind without any apparent limit—and discovering that he can join with animals, even insects, as easily as humans—Charley decides that he must try to understand more about his power after the vulnerability demonstrated by the MRI.
He decides to enlist his neurologist, Dr. Weintraub, to take the lead in exploring how his power works. At Ellen’s request, Charley promises never to take over Dr. Weintraub—nor Michael, who is also “recruited” to help him. In light of this promise, to ensure cooperation from these people who are to remain separate from him, Charley possesses the neurologist’s wife and children and threatens them with death and worse at their own or each other’s hands if the neurologist or Michael should act against him.
While Dr. Weintraub bristles under the threat to his family, he, Michael, and Ellen must try to find a way to cure or stop Charley, fearful of discovery by a deranged mind who could inhabit any person or animal they encounter. If they cannot cure Charley—who continues to do terrible things to those he controls, considering them disposable parts of his own being—could they stop him by killing him? Or would the loss of his original body be no more inconvenient than the loss of so many others he kills for the ecstasy such death gives him?
Is there any hope of stopping whatever Charley has become, or will he encompass the entire world without anyone other than these three even knowing of the danger?