“People who don’t have schizophrenia are given hallucinogens to see how their brains react.”


“This is a matter of public record, buddy. Attend a psychiatrists’ convention someday. I have.”

“But you said it’s legal.”

“It’s legal,” Teddy said. “So was eugenics research.”

“But if it’s legal, we can’t do anything about it.”

Teddy leaned into the slab. “No argument. I’m not here to arrest anyone just yet. I was sent to gather information. That’s all.” “Wait a minute—sent? Clrist, Teddy, how fucking deep are we here?”

Teddy sighed, looked over at him. “Deep.”

“Back up.” Chuck held up a hand. “From the top. How’d you get involved in all this?”

“It started with Laeddis. A year ago,” Teddy said. “I went to Shattuck under the pretense of wanting to interview him. I made up a bullshit story about how a known associate of his was wanted on a federal warrant and I thought Laeddis could shed some light on his whereabouts.  Thing was, Laeddis wasn’t there. He’d been transferred to Ashecliffe. I call over here, but they claim to have no record of him.” “And?”

“And that gets me curious. I make some phone calls to some of the psych hospitals in town and everyone is aware of Ashecliffe but no one wants to talk about it. I talk to the warden at Renton Hospital for the Criminally Insane. I’d met him a couple times before and I say, ‘Bobby, what’s the big deal? It’s a hospital and it’s a prison, no different from your place,’ and he shakes his head. He says, ‘Teddy, that place is something else entirely. Something classified. Black bag. Don’t go out there.’ “ “But you do,” Chuck said. “And I get assigned to go with you.” “That wasn’t part of the plan,” Teddy said. “Agent in charge tells me I have to take a partner, I take a partner.”

“So you’ve just been waiting for an excuse to come out here?” “Pretty much,” Teddy said. “And, hell, I couldn’t bet it would ever happen. I mean, even if there was a patient break, I didn’t know if I’d be in town when it happened. Or if someone else would be assigned to it. Or, hell, a million ‘ifs.’ I got lucky.”

“Lucky? Fuck.”


“It’s not luck, boss. Luck doesn’t work that way. The world doesn’t work that way. You think you just happened to get assigned to his detail?”

“Sure. Sounds a little crazy, but—“

“When you first called Ashecliffe about Laeddis, did you ID yourself?”

“Of course.”

“Well then—“

“Chuck, it was a full year ago.”

“So? You don’t think they keep tabs? Particularly in the case of a patient they claim to have no record of?”

“Again—twelve months ago.”

“Teddy, Jesus.” Chuck lowered his voice, placed the flats of his palms on the slab, took a long breath. “Let’s say they are doing some bad shit here. What if they’ve been onto you since before you ever stepped foot on this island? What if they brought you here?” “Oh, bullshit.”

“Bullshit? Where’s Rachel Solando? Where’s one shred of evidence that she ever existed? We’ve been shown a picture of a woman and a file anyone could have fabricated.”

“But, Chuck—even if they made her up, even if they staged this whole thing, there’s still no way they could have predicted that I would be assigned to the case.”

“You’ve made inquiries, Teddy. You’ve looked into this place, asked around. They got an electrified fence around a septic processing facility. They got a ward inside a fort. They got under a hundred patients in a facility that could hold three hundred. This place is fucking scary, Teddy. No other hospital wants to talk about it, and that doesn’t tell you something? You got a chief of staff with OSS ties, funding from a slush fund created by HUAC. Everything about this place screams ‘government ops.’ And you’re surprised by the possibility that instead of you looking at them for the past year, they’ve been looking at you?” ‘ “How many times do I have to say it, Chuck: how could they know I’d be assigned to Rachel Solando’s case?”

“Are you fucking thick?”

Teddy straightened, looked down at Chuck.

Chuck held up a hand. “Sorry, sorry. I’m nervous, okay?”


“All I’m saying, boss, is that they knew you’d jump at any excuse to come here. Your wife’s killer is here. All they had to do was pretend someone escaped. And then they knew you’d pole-vault your way across that harbor if you had to.”

The door ripped free of its sole hinge and smashed back into the doorway, and they watched it hammer the stone and then lift into the air and shoot out above the graveyard and disappear in the sky.  Both of them stared at the doorway, and then Chuck said, “We both saw that, right?”

“They’re using human beings as guinea pigs,” Teddy said.

“Doesn’t that bother you?”

“It terrifies me, Teddy. But how do you know this? You say you were sent to gather information. Who sent you?”

“In our first meeting with Cawley, you heard him ask about the senator?”


“Senator Hurly, Democrat, New Hampshire. Heads up a subcommittee on public funding for mental health affairs. He saw what kind of money was being funneled to this place, and he didn’t like it. Now, I’d come across a guy named George Noyce. Noyce spent time here.  In Ward C. He was off the island two weeks when he walked into a bar in Attleboro and began stabbing people. Strangers. In jail, he starts talking about dragons in Ward C. His lawyer wants to claim insanity. If ever there was a case for it, it’s this guy. He’s bonkers’aBut Noyce fires his lawyer, goes in front of the judge, and pleads gusty, pretty much begs to be sent to a prison, any prison, just not a hospital.  Takes him about a year in prison, but his mind starts coming back, and eventually, he starts telling stories about Ashecliffe. Stories that sound crazy, but the senator thinks they’re maybe not as crazy as everyone else assumes.”

Chuck sat up on the slab and lit a cigarette, smoked it for a bit as he considered Teddy.

“But how’d the senator know to find you and how’d you both manage to find Noyce?”

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