“Five of diamonds,” Teddy said.

“I’m sorry?” Hunching ever forward.

“Is that your next parlor trick?” Teddy said. “You tell me what card I’m holding. Or, no, wait—you cut a nurse in half, pull a rabbit from Dr. Cawley’s head.”

“These are not parlor tricks.”

“How about this,” Teddy said, wanting to pluck that cherry head right off those lumpy shoulders. “You teach a woman how to walk through walls, levitate over a building full of orderlies and penal staff, and float across the sea.”

Chuck said, “That’s a good one.”

Naehring allowed himself another slow blink that reminded Teddy of a house cat after it’s been fed.

“Again, your defense mechanisms are—“

“Oh, here we go.”

“—impressive. But the issue at hand—“

“The issue at hand,” Teddy said, “is that this facility suffered about

nine flagrant security breaches last night. You’ve got a missing woman

and no one’s looking for—“

“We’re looking.”


Naehring sat back, glanced over at Cawley in such a way that Teddy wondered which of them was really in charge.

Cawley caught Teddy’s look and the underside of his jaw turned slightly pink. “Dr. Naehring, among other capacities, serves as chief liaison to our board of overseers. I asked him here in that capacity tonight to address your earlier requests.”

“Which requests were those?”

Naehring stoked his pipe back to life with a cupped match. “We will not release personnel files of our clinical staff.”

“Sheehan,” Teddy said.


“You’re cock-blocking us, essentially.” “I’m not familiar with that term.”

“Consider traveling more.”

“Marshal, continue your investigation and we’ll help where we

can, but—“

“No.” ‘,

“Excuse me?” Cawley leaning forward now, all four of them with hunched shoulders and extended heads.

“No,” Teddy repeated. “This investigation is over. We’ll return to the city on the first ferry. We’ll file our reports and the matter will be turned over, I can only assume, to Hoover’s boys. But we’re out of this.” Naehring’s pipe stayed hovering in his hand. Cawley took a pull on his drink. Mahler tinkled. Somewhere in the room a clock ticked.  Outside, the rain had grown heavy.

Cawley placed his empty glass on the small table beside his chair.

“As you wish, Marshal.”

IT WAS POURING when they left Cawley’s house, therain clattering against the slate roof and the brick patio, the black roof of the waiting car. Teddy could see it slicing through the blackness in slanted sheets of silver. It was only a few steps from Cawley’s porch to the car, but they got drenched just the same, and then McPherson came around the front and hopped behind the wheel and moisture splattered the dashboard as he shook it free of his head and put the Packard in gear.  “Nice night.” His voice rose over the slapping wiper blades and the drumming rain.

Teddy looked back through the rear window, could see the blurry forms of Cawley and Naehring on the porch watching them go.  “Not fit for man or beast,” McPherson said as a thin branch, torn from its mother trunk, floated past the windshield.

Chuck said, “How long you worked here, McPherson?”

“Four years.”

“Ever had a break before?”

“Hell no.’”

“How about a breach? You know, someone gets missing for an hour or two?”

McPherson shook his he{d. “Not even that. You’d have to be, well, fucking crazy. Where can you go?”

“How about Dr. Sheehan?” Teddy said. “You know him?”

Shudder Island


“How long has he been here?”

“I think a year before me.”

“So five years.”

“Sounds right.”

“Did he work with Miss Solando much?”

“Not that I know of. Dr. Cawley was her primary psychotherapist.” “Is that common for the chief of staff to be the primary on a patient’s case?”

McPherson said, “Well...”

They waited, and the wipers continued to slap, and the dark trees bent toward them.

“It depends,” McPherson said, waving at the guard as the Packard roiled through the main gate. “Dr. Cawley does a lot of primary work with the Ward C patients, of course. And then, yeah, there are a few in the other wards whose casework he assumes.”

“Who besides Miss Solando?”

McPherson pulled up outside the male dormitory. “You don’t mind if I don’t come around to open your doors, do you? You get some sleep.  I’m sure Dr. Cawley will answer all your questions in the morning.”

“McPherson,” Teddy said as he opened his door.

McPherson looked back over the seat at him.

“You’re not very good at this,” Teddy said.

“Good at what?”

Teddy gave him a grim smile and stepped out into the rain.  THEY SHARED A room with Trey Washington and another orlerly named Bibby Luce. The room was a good size, with two sets of bunk beds and a small sitting area where Trey and Bibby were playing cards when they came in. Teddy and Chuck dried their hair with white towels from a stack someone had left for them on the top bunk, and then they pulled up chairs and joined the game.

Trey and Bibby played penny-ante, and cigarettes were deemed an acceptable substitute if anyone ran short of coins. Teddy strung all three of them along on a hand of seven-card, came away with five bucks and eighteen cigarettes on a club flush, pocketed the cigarettes, and played conservative from that point on.

Chuck turned out to be the real player, though, jovial as ever, impossible to read, amassing a pile of coins and cigarettes and eventually bills, glancing down at the end of it all as if surprised at how such a fat pile got in front of him.

Trey said, “You got yourself some of them X-ray eyes, Marshal?”

“Lucky, I guess.”

“Booshit. Motherfucker that lucky? He got hisself some voodoo working.”

Chuck said, “Maybe some motherfucker shouldn’t tug his earlobe.”


“You tug your earlobe, Mr. Washington. Every time you got less than a full house.” He pointed at Bibby. “And this motherfucker—“ All three of them burst out laughing.

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