“But that kind of ability, that kind of knowledge is—“ “Years off,” she agreed. “Oh, yes. This is a decades-long process, Marshal. Where they’ve begun is much the same place the Soviets have—brainwashing. Deprivation experiments. Much like the Nazis experimented on Jews to see the effect of hot and cold extremes and apply those results to help the soldiers of the Reich. But, don’t you see, Marshal? A half century from now, people in the know will look back and say this”—she struck the dirt floor with her index finger—“this is where it all began. The Nazis used Jews. The Soviets used prisoners in their own gulags. Here, in America, we tested patients on Shutter Island.”

Teddy said nothing. No words occurred to him.

She looked back at the fire. “They can’t let you leave. You know that, don’t you?”

“I’m a federal marshal,” Teddy said. “How are they going to stop me ?”

That elicited a gleeful grin and a clap of her hands. “I was an esteemed psychiatrist from a respected family. I once thought that would be enough. I hate to inform you of this, but it wasn’t. Let me ask you—any past traumas ;n your me.

“Who doesn’t have those?”

“Ah, yes. But we’re not taking about generalities, other people.  We’re talking about particulars. You. Do you have psychological weaknesses that they could exploit? Is there an event or events in your past that could be considered predicating factors to your losing your sanity? So that when they commit you here, and they will, your friends and colleagues will say, ‘Of course. He cracked. Finally. And who wouldn’t? It was the war that did it to him. And losing his mother—or what have you—like that.’ Hmm?”

Teddy said, “That could be said about anyone.”

“Well, that’s the point. Don’t you see? Yes, it could be said about anyone, but they’re going to say it about you. How’s your head?” “My head?”

She chewed on her lower lip and nodded several times. “The block atop your neck, yes. How is it? Any funny dreams lately?” “Sure.”


“I’m prone to migraines.”

“Jesus. You’re not.”

“I am.”

“Have you taken pill since you’ve come here, even aspirin?”

“Feeling just a bit off, maybe? Not a hundred percent yourself?

Oh, it’s no big deal, you say, you just feel a little punkish. Maybe your

brain isn’t making connections quite as fast as normal. But you haven’t been sleeping well, you say. A strange bed, a strange place, a ston.

You say these things to yourself. Yes?”

Teddy nodded.

“And you’ve eaten in the cafeteria, I assume. Drank the coffee they’ve given you. Tell me, at least, that you’ve been smoking your own cigarettes.”

“My partner’s,” Teddy admitted.

“Never took one from a doctor or an orderly?”

Teddy could feel the cigarettes he’d won in poker that night nestled in his shirt pocket. He remembered smoking one of Cawley’s the day they’d arrived, how it had tasted sweeter than other tobaccos he’d had in his life.

She could see the answer in his face.

“It takes an average of three to four days for neuroleptic narcotics

to reach workable levels in the bloodstream. During that time, you’d

barely notice their effects. Sometimes, patients have seizures. Seizures can often be dismissed as migraines, particularly if the patient has a migraine history. These seizures are rare, in any event. Usually, the only noticeable effects are that the patient—“ “Stop calling me a patient.”

“—dreams with an increased vividness and for longer sections of time, the dreams often stringing together and piggybacking off one another until they come to resemble a novel written by Picasso. The other noticeable effect is that the patient feels just a bit, oh, foggy. His thoughts are a wee bit less accessible. But he hasn’t been sleeping well, all those dreams you know, and so he can be forgiven for feeling a bit sluggish. And no, Marshal, I wasn’t calling you a ‘patient.’ Not yet. I was speaking rhetorically.”

“If I avoid all food, cigarettes, coffee, pills, how much damage could already be done?”

She pulled her hair back off her face and twisted it into a knot behind her head. “A lot, I’m afraid.”

“Let’s say I can’t get off this island until tomorrow. Let’s say the drugs have begun to take effect. How will I know?”

“The most obvious indicators will be a dry mouth coupled para doxically with a drool impulse and, oh yes, palsy. You’ll notice small tremors. They begin where your wrist meets your thumb and they usually ride along that thumb for a while before they own your hands.” Own.

Teddy said, “What else?”

“Sensitivity to light, left-brain headaches, words begin to stick.

You’ll stutter more.”

Teddy could hear the ocean outside, the tide coming in, smashing against the rocks.

“What goes on in the lighthouse?” he said.

She hugged herself and leaned toward the fire. “Surgery.”

“Surgery? They can do surgery in the hospital.”

“Brain surgery.”

Teddy said, “They can do that there too.”

She stared into the flames. “Exploratory surgery. Not the ‘Let’s open-the-skull-and-fix-that’ kind. No. The ‘Let’s-open-the-skull-and see-what-happens-if-we-pull-on-this’ kind. The illegal kind, Marshal.  Learned-it-from-the-Nazis kind.” She smiled at him. “That’s where they try to build their ghosts.”

“Who knows about this? On the island, I mean?”

“About the lighthouse?”

“Yes, the lighthouse.”


“Come on. The orderlies, the nurses?”

She held Teddy’s eyes through the flame, and hers were stead3/and clear.

“Everyone,” she repeated.

HE DIDN’T REMEMBER falling asleep, but he must have, because she was shaking him.

She said, “You have to go. They think I’m dead. They think I drowned. If they come looking for you, they could find me. I’m sorry.  But you have to go.”

He stood and rubbed his cheeks just below his eyes.

“There’s a road,” she said. “Just east of the top of this cliff. Follow it and it winds down to the west. It’ll take you out behind the old como mander’s mansion after about an hour’s walk.”

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