Доступ к книге ограничен фрагменом по требованию правообладателя.
“He’s a good man, McPherson. Eager.”
“For?” Teddy said, taking a seat in front of the desk.
Cawley’s smile morphed again, curling up one side of his face and freezing there for a moment. “I’m sorry?”
“He’s eager,” Teddy said. “But for what?”
Cawley sat behind the teak desk, spread his arms. “For the work. A moral fusion between law and order and clinical care. Just half a century ago, even less in some cases, the thinking on the kind of patients we deal with here was that they should, at best, be shackled and left in their own filth and waste. They were systematically beaten, as if that could drive the psychosis out. We demonized them. We tortured them. Spread them on racks, yes. Drove screws into their brains. Even drowned them on occasion.”
“And now?” Chuck said.
“Now we treat them. Morally. We try to heal, to cure. And if that fails, we at least provide them with a measure of calm in their lives.”
“And their victims?” Teddy said.
Cawley raised his eyebrows, waiting.
“These are all violent offenders,” Teddy said. “Right?”
Cawley nodded. “Quite violent, actually.”
“So they’ve hurt people,” Teddy said. “Murdered them in many cases.”
“Oh, in most.”
“So why does their sense of calm matter in relation to their victims’?”
Cawley said, “Because my job is to treat them, not their victims. I can’t help their victims. It’s the nature of any life’s work that it have limits. That’s mine. I can only concern myself with my patients.” He smiled. “Did the senator explain the situation?”
Teddy and Chuck shot each other glances as they sat.
Teddy said, “We don’t know anything about a senator, Doctor. We were assigned by the state field office.”
Cawley propped his elbows on a green desk blotter and clasped his hands together, placed his chin on top of them, and stared at them over the rim of his glasses.
“My mistake, then. So what have you been told?”
“We know a female prisoner is missing.” Teddy placed his notebook on his knee, flipped the pages. “A Rachel Solando.”
“Patient.” Cawley gave them a dead smile.
“Patient,” Teddy said. “I apologize. We understand she escaped within the last twenty-four hours.”
Cawley’s nod was a small tilt of his chin and hands. “Last night. Sometime between ten and midnight.”
“And she still hasn’t been found,” Chuck said.
“Correct, Marshal…” He held up an apologetic hand.
“Aule,” Chuck said.
Cawley’s face narrowed over his hands and Teddy noticed drops of water spit against the window behind him. He couldn’t tell whether they were from the sky or the sea.
“And your first name is Charles?” Cawley said.
“Yeah,” Chuck said.
“I’d take you for a Charles,” Cawley said, “but not necessarily an Aule.”
“That’s fortunate, I guess.”
“We don’t choose our names,” Chuck said. “So it’s nice when someone thinks that one of them, at least, fits.”
“Who chose yours?” Cawley said.
Chuck shrugged. “Who’s to tell? We’d have to go back twenty generations.”
Chuck leaned forward in his chair. “Excuse me?”
“You’re Greek,” Cawley said. “Or Armenian. Which?”
“So Aule was…”
Cawley turned his slim gaze on Teddy. “And yourself?”
“Daniels?” Teddy said. “Tenth-generation Irish.” He gave Cawley a small grin. “And, yeah, I can trace it back, Doctor.”
“But your given first name? Theodore?”
Cawley leaned his chair back, his hands falling free of his chin. He tapped a letter opener against the desk edge, the sound as soft and persistent as snow falling on a roof.
“My wife,” he said, “is named Margaret. Yet no one ever calls her that except me. Some of her oldest friends call her Margo, which makes a certain amount of sense, but everyone else calls her Peggy. I’ve never understood that.”
“How you get Peggy from Margaret. And yet it’s quite common. Or how you get Teddy from Edward. There’s no p in Margaret and no t in Edward.”
Teddy shrugged. “Your first name?”
“Anyone ever call you Jack?”
He shook his head. “Most people just call me Doctor.”
The water spit lightly against the window, and Cawley seemed to review their conversation in his head, his eyes gone shiny and distant, and then Chuck said, “Is Miss Solando considered dangerous?”
“All our patients have shown a proclivity for violence,” Cawley said. “It’s why they’re here. Men and women. Rachel Solando was a war widow. She drowned her three children in the lake behind her house. Took them out there one by one and held their heads under until they died. Then she brought them back into the house and arranged them around the kitchen table and ate a meal there before a neighbor dropped by.”
“She kill the neighbor?” Chuck asked.
Cawley’s eyebrows rose, and he gave a small sigh. “No. Invited him to sit and have breakfast with them. He declined, naturally, and called the police. Rachel still believes the children are alive, waiting for her. It might explain why she’s tried to escape.”
“To return home,” Teddy said.
“And where’s that?” Chuck asked.
“A small town in the Berkshires. Roughly a hundred fifty miles from here.” With a tilt of his head, Cawley indicated the window behind him. “To swim that way, you don’t reach land for eleven miles. To swim north, you don’t reach land until Newfoundland.”
Teddy said, “And you’ve searched the grounds.”
Cawley took a few seconds to answer, played with a silver bust of a horse on the corner of his desk. “The warden and his men and a detail of orderlies spent the night and a good part of the morning scouring the island and every building in the institution. Not a trace. What’s even more disturbing is that we can’t tell how she got out of her room. It was locked from the outside and its sole window was barred. We’ve found no indication that the locks were tampered with.” He took his eyes off the horse and glanced at Teddy and Chuck. “It’s as if she evaporated straight through the walls.”
Teddy jotted “evaporated” in his notebook. “And you are sure that she was in that room at lights-out.”
Cawley moved his hand back from the horse and pressed the call button on his intercom. “Nurse Marino?”
“Please tell Mr. Ganton to come in.”
“Right away, Doctor.”
There was a small table near the window with a pitcher of water and four glasses on top. Cawley went to it and filled three of the glasses. He placed one in front of Teddy and one in front of Chuck, took his own back behind the desk with him.
Teddy said, “You wouldn’t have some aspirin around here, would you?”
Cawley gave him a small smile. “I think we could scare some up.” He rummaged in his desk drawer, came out with a bottle of Bayer. “Two or three?”
“Three would be nice.” Teddy could feel the ache behind his eye begin to pulse.
Cawley handed them across the desk and Teddy tossed them in his mouth, chased them with the water.
“Prone to headaches, Marshal?”
Teddy said, “Prone to seasickness, unfortunately.”
Cawley nodded. “Ah. Dehydrated.”
Teddy nodded and Cawley opened a walnut cigarette box, held it open to Teddy and Chuck. Teddy took one. Chuck shook his head and produced his own pack, and all three of them lit up as Cawley lifted the window open behind him.
He sat back down and handed a photograph across the desk—a young woman, beautiful, her face blemished by dark rings under the eyes, rings as dark as her black hair. The eyes themselves were too wide, as if something hot were prodding them from inside her head. Whatever she saw beyond that camera lens, beyond the photographer, beyond anything in the known world probably—wasn’t fit to be seen.
There was something uncomfortably familiar about her, and then Teddy made the connection—a young boy he’d seen in the camps who wouldn’t eat the food they gave him. He sat against a wall in the April sun with that same look in his eyes until his eyelids closed and eventually they added him to the pile at the train station.
Chuck unleashed a low whistle. “My God.”
Cawley took a drag on his cigarette. “Are you reacting to her apparent beauty or her apparent madness?”
“Both,” Chuck said.
Those eyes, Teddy thought. Even frozen in time, they howled. You wanted to climb inside the picture and say, “No, no, no. It’s okay. Sssh.” You wanted to hold her until the shakes stopped, tell her that everything would be all right.
The office door opened and a tall Negro with thick flecks of gray in his hair entered wearing the white-on-white uniform of an orderly.
“Mr. Ganton,” Cawley said, “these are the gentlemen I told you about—Marshals Aule and Daniels.”
Teddy and Chuck stood and shook Ganton’s hand, Teddy getting a strong whiff of fear from the man, as if he wasn’t quite comfortable shaking hands with the law, maybe had a pending warrant or two against him back in the world.
Доступ к книге ограничен фрагменом по требованию правообладателя.