Our Ka-Tet Roland, Susannah and Eddie have moved from the western sea and into the woods where they encounter a giant cyborg bear named Shardik. He is one of the six guardians of the “beams” that hold the world together. They decide to follow the beam towards Mid-World towards the Tower.
Since killing the man responsible for the death of Jake Chambers and the injury of Susannah, Jack Mort; Roland had inadvertently changed the history of himself and Jake. Both begin to suffer from a form of schizophrenia due to the time shift; Roland in Mid-world and Jake in his New York 1977. Because of this time shift, Jake was never killed and “pushed” into Mid-world and never met Roland.
After Roland burns the jawbone of Walter, it is revealed to Eddie that he must carve a key that will open the door to Jake’s New York 1977, so that Jake can be “drawn” from his world to join their ka-tet.
In Jake’s world, he has a nervous breakdown and leaves his school and buys a children’s book called “Charlie the Choo-Choo” from a used book store. He then finds a key in a vacant lot that is littered with junk and he sees a single red rose growing in the middle of it.
Jake takes the key to a reputed haunted house on Dutch Hill and after almost losing his life, he uses the key to open a door into Mid-World where he ends up in a “speaking ring.” Susannah has sex with the demon from the speaking ring in order to stop it from attacking her husband, Eddie.
The leader of one of the warring factions kidnaps Jake. His name is the Tick Tock Man. Jake shoots the Tick Tock Man and the ka-tet is once again reunited. They jump on a sentient talking monorail to escape the coming destruction of Lud.
Their final destination? Death or Topeka, Kansas?