“You’re full of shit,” Teddy said.

“How would I know?”

Teddy ticked off the evidence on his trembling fingers:

“I’ve been eating your food, drinking your coffee, smoking your cigarettes. Hell, I took three ‘aspirin’ from you the morning I arrived.  Then you drugged me the other night. You were sitting there when I woke up. I haven’t been the same since. That’s where all this started.  That night, after my migraine. What’d you give me?”

Cawley leaned back. He grimaced as if he were swallowing acid and looked off at the window.

“I’m running out of time,” he whispered.

“What’s that?”

“Time,” he said softly. “I was given four days. I’m almost out.” “So let me go. I’ll go back to Boston, file a complaint with the marshals’ office, but don’t worry—with all your powerful friends I’m ure it won’t amount to much.”


Cawley said, “No, Andrew. I’m almost out of friends. I’ve been fighting a battle here for eight years and the scales have tipped in the other side’s favor. I’m going to lose. Lose my position, lose my funding.  I swore before the entire board of overseers that I could construct the most extravagant role-playing experiment psychiatry has ever seen and it would save you. It would bring you back. But if I was wrong?” His eyes widened and he pushed his hand up into his chin, as if he were trying to pop his jaw back into place. He dropped the hand, looked across the table at Teddy. “Don’t you understand, Andrew? If you fail, I fail. If I fail, it’s all over.”

“Gee,.” Teddy said, “that’s too bad.”

Outside, some gulls cawed. Teddy could smell the salt and the sun and the damp, briny sand.

Cawley said, “Let’s try this another way—do you think it’s a coincidence that Rachel Solando, a figment of your own imagination by the way, would have the same letters in her name as your dead wife and the same history of killing her children?”

Teddy stood and the shakes rocked his arms from the shoulders on down. “My wife did not kill her kids. We never had kids.” “You never had kids?” Cawley walked over to the wall.

“We never had kids, you stupid fuck.”

“Oh, okay.” Cawley pulled down another sheet.

On the wall behind it—a crime-scene diagram, photographs of a lake, photographs of three dead children. And then the names, written in the same tall block letters:




Teddy dropped his eyes and stared at his hands; they jumped as if they were no longer attached to him. If he could step on them, he would.

“Your children, Andrew. Are you going to stand there and deny they ever lived? Are you?”

Teddy pointed across the room at him with his jerking hand.  “Those are Rachel Solando’s children. That is the crime-scene diagram of Rachel Solando’s lake house.”

“That’s your house. You went there because the doctors suggested it for your wife. You remember? After she accidentally set your previous apartment on fire? Get her out of the city, they said, give her a more bucolic setting. Maybe she’d get better.”

“She wasn’t ill.”

“She was insane, Andrew.”

“Stop fucking calling me that. She was not insane.”

“Your wife was clinically depressed. She was diagnosed as manic depressive. She was—“ “She was not,” Teddy said.

“She was suicidal. She hurt the children. You refused to see it. You thought she was weak. You told yourself sanity was a choice, and all she had to do was remember her responsibilities. To you. To the children.  You drank, and your drinking got worse. You floated into your own shell. You stayed away from home. You ignored all the signs. You ignored what the teachers told you, the parish priest, her own family.” “My wife was not insane!”

“And why? Because you were embarrassed.”

“My wife was not—“

“The only reason she ever saw a psychiatrist was because she tried to commit suicide and ended up in the hospital. Even you couldn’t control that. And they told you she was a danger to herself. They’old you—“ , “We never saw any psychiatrists!”

“—she was a danger to the children. You were warned time and time again.”

“We never had children. We talked about it, but she couldn’t get pregnant.” Christ! His head felt like someone was beating glass into it with a rolling pin.

“Come over here,” Cawley said. “Really. Come up close and look at the names on these crime-scene photos. You’ll be interested to know—“ “You can fake those. You can make up your own.”

“You dream. You dream all the time. You can’t stop dreaming,

Andrew. You’ve told me about them. Have you had any lately with the

two boys and the little girl? Huh? Has the little girl taken you to your

headstone? You’re ‘a bad sailor,’ Andrew. You know what that means?

It means you’re a bad father. You didn’t navigate for them, Andrew.  You didn’t save them. You want to talk about the logs? Huh? Come over here and look at them. Tell me they’re not the children from your dreams.”


“Then look. Come here and look.”

“You drug me, you kill my partner, you say he never existed.  You’re going to lock me up here because I know what you’re doing. I know about the experiments. I know what you’re giving schizophrenics, your liberal use of lobotomies, your utter disregard for the Nuremberg Code. I am fucking onto you, Doctor.”

“You are?” Cawley leaned against the wall and folded his arms.  “Please, educate me. You’ve had the run of the place the last four days. You’ve gained access to every corner of this facility. Where are the Nazi doctors? Where are the satanic ORs?”

He walked back over to the table and consulted his notes for a moment:

“Do you still believe we’re brainwashing patients, Andrew? Implementing some decades-long experiment to create—what did you call them once? Oh, here it is—ghost soldiers? Assassins?” He chuckled.  “I mean, 1 have to give you credit, Andrew---even in these days of rampant paranoia, your fantasies take the cake.”

Teddy pointed a quaking finger at him. “You are an experimental

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