“It took all of five seconds, sir,” Ganton said. “No door on the closet. I look there, I look under the bed, and I shut the door. No place she could have been hiding. Room’s small.”
“Against the wall, though?” Teddy said. “To the right or the left of the door?”
“Nah.” Ganton shook his head, and for the first time Teddy thought he glimpsed anger, a sense of primal resentment behin& the downcast eyes and the “Yes, sirs” and “No, sirs.”
“It’s unlikely,” Cawley said to Teddy. “I see your point, MarsHal, but once you see the room, you’ll understand that Mr. Ganton would have been hard-pressed to miss the patient if she were standing anywhere within its four walls.”
“That’s right,” Ganton said, staring openly at Teddy now, and Teddy could see the man carried a furious pride in his work ethic that Teddy, by questioning, had managed to insult.
“Thank you, Mr. Ganton,” Cawley said. “That’ll be all for now.” Ganton rose, his eyes lingering on Teddy for another few seconds, and then he said, “Thank you, Doctor,” and left the room. They .were quiet for a minute, finishing their cigarettes and then stubbing them out in the ashtrays before Chuck said; “I think we should see the room now, Doctor.”
“Of course,” Cawley said and came out from behind his desk, a ring of keys in his hand the size of a hubcap. “Follow me.” IT WAS A tiny room with the door opening inward and to the right, the door cut from steel and the hinges well greased so that it swung hard against the wall on the right. To their left was a short length of wall and then a small wooden closet with a few smocks and drawstring pants hanging on plastic hangers.
“There goes that theory,” Teddy admitted.
Cawley nodded. “There would have been no place for her to hide from anyone standing in this doorway.”
“Well, the ceiling,” Chuck said, and all three of them looked up and even Cawley managed a smile.
Cawley closed the door behind them and Teddy felt the immediate sense of imprisonment in his spine. They might call it a room, but it was a cell. The window hovering behind the slim bed was barred. A small dresser sat against the right wall, and the floor and walls were a white institutional cement. With three of them in the room, there was barely space to move without bumping limbs.
Teddy said, “Who else would have access to the room?” “At that time of night? Very few would have any reason to be in the ward.”
“Sure,” Teddy said. “But who would have access?”
“The orderlies, of course.” ooctors. Chuck said.
“Well, nurses,” Cawley said.
“Doctors don’t have keys for this room?” Teddy asked. “They do,” Cawley said with just a hint of annoyance. “But by ten o’clock, the doctors have signed out for the night.”
“And turned in their keys?”
“And there’s a record of that?” Teddy said.
“I don’t follow.”
Chuck said, “They have to sign in and out for the keys, Doctor— that’s what we’re wondering.”
“And we could check last night’s sign-in log,” Teddy said.
“Yes, yes. Of course.”
“And that would be kept in the cage we saw on the first floor,” Chuck said. “The one with the guard inside of it and the wall of keys behind him?”
Cawley gave him a quick nod.
“And the personnel files,” Teddy said, “of the medical staff and the orderlies and the guards. We’ll need access to those.”
Cawley peered at him as if Teddy’s face were sprouting blackflies.
“A woman disappears from a locked room, Doctor? She escapes onto a tiny island and no one can find her? I have to at least conider that she had help.”
“We’ll see,” Cawley said.
“Yes, Marshal. I’ll have to speak with the warden and some of the other staff. We’ll make a determination of your request based on—“ “Doctor,” Teddy said, “it wasn’t a request. We’re here by order of the government. This is a federal facility from which a dangerous prisoner—“ “Patient.”
“A dangerous patient,” Teddy said, keeping his voice as even as possible, “has escaped. If you refuse to aid two U.S. marshals, Doctor, i.n the apprehension of that patient you are, unfortunately—
Chuck said, “Obstructing justice, Doctor.”
Cawley looked at Chuck as if he’d been expecting grief from Teddy, but Chuck hadn’t been on his radar.
“Yes, well,” he said, his voice stripped of life, “all I can say is that I will do all that I can to accommodate your request.”
Teddy and Chuck exchanged a small glance, went back to looking at the bare room. Cawley probably wasn’t used to questions that continued after he’d shown displeasure with them, so they gave him a minute to catch his breath.
Teddy looked in the tiny closet, saw three white smocks, two pairs of white shoes. “How many shoes are the patients given?”
“She left this room barefoot?”
“Yes.” He fixed the tie under his lab coat and then pointed at a large sheet of paper lying on the bed. “We found that behind the dresser. We don’t know what it means. We were hoping someone could tell us.”
Teddy lifted the sheet of paper, turned it over to see that the other side was a hospital eye chart, the letters shrinking and descending in a pyramid. He turned it back over and held it up for Chuck:
THE LAW OF 4
I AM 47
THEY WERE 80
+YOU ARE 3
WE ARE 4
WHO IS 67?
Teddy didn’t even like holding it. The edges of the paper tingled against his fingers.
Chuck said, “Fuck if I know.”
Cawley stepped up beside them. “Quite similar to our clinical conclusion.”
“We are three,” Teddy said.
Chuck peered at the paper. “Huh?”
“We could be the three,” Teddy said. “The three of us right now, standing in this room.”
Chuck shook his head. “How’s she going to predict that?”
Teddy shrugged. “It’s a reach.”
Cawley said, “It is, and yet Rachel is quite brilliant in her games. Her delusions—particularly the one that allows her to believe her three children are still alive—are conceived on a very delicate but intricate architecture. To sustain the structure, she employs an elaborate narrative thread to her life that is completely fictitious.” Chuck turned his head slowly, looked at Cawley. “I’d need, a degree to understand that, Doctor.”