Killian glanced quickly over his chart. The young doctor, Michael
McBain, stood over him, as he sat on an overturned mop bucket in an
abandoned supply closet in the hospital. Killian pointed to a drug
name he didn't recognize.
"Yeah, that's a drug they use to treat ADD in kids," Michael said,
leaning over the chart. "It's been pretty controversial – a few kids
have actually died because of it. The company marketed to adults, but
it's contraindicated for a person who has had heart trouble."
Killian shook his head. He'd never had any heart problems before
leaving the mountain. Healthy as a horse he was. Living on the
mountain, he'd eaten lean meats and vegetables. He'd exercised
plenty, chopping wood and the like. He didn't have heart trouble.
"Is it possible this drug can cause a heart condition?" Killian asked.
Michael sighed and leaned against the dusty, wobbly iron shelf that
still held half-empty bottles of cleaning supplies. "Well, it has
been taken off the market in Canada. Usually, it takes a few years to
damage the heart in an adult. Like I said before, there have been
some sudden death cases in children, but …" Michael said, his voice
"But, I haven't been a child for a number of years," Killian said, his
green eyes flashing with humor. "My guess is: another drug was used
to bring on the myocardial infarction, and it's out of my system now."
Michael pulled out a long, white paper. "Actually, your EKG shows
only minimal damage to your heart for a man your age, so I'm guessing
that you didn't have a real heart attack," he said.
Another illusion. Nothing was as it seemed. Killian would have been
angry with himself for not being more suspicious during his time at
the hospital near his mountain had he not just survived a frozen hell.
He had been grateful to be alive. How could he have been expected to
look out for enemies?
"Tell me, brother, do you know the nurses around here well enough?"
Michael shrugged his shoulders. "I know some of them. Why?"
"I remember when I was a proper doctor, a god in a stark white coat; I
barely knew the nurses. I joked with them, saved lives with them, but
I didn't really know them. I always called them by the wrong names,"
Michael felt a buzz on his hip. It was his brother calling.
Michael's stomach dropped. He still hadn't quite accepted the news of
Evangeline's return. It seemed too good to be true, like she was here
on borrowed time now. He hoped nothing had happened to her.
"That was my brother. I have to go call him and tell him what's
happening with you," Michael said.
Killian felt a small blush creep up his pale cheeks. "Tell him I'm
all apologies," he said.
"Hey, man, my brother knows you were sick," Michael said, patting
Killian on the shoulder, careful to avoid the deep scratches in
Killian gave him a half smile. "And thank you, brother, for helping
get the bugs out of my skin," he said.
"No problem," Michael said, his pager buzzing more incessantly this
time. "That's John, again. I gotta go before he completely loses
Killian nodded, giving Michael permission to leave. Killian closed
his eyes, leaning forward to settle his face in his hands. In his
mind's eye, he began trying to picture the nurses from the hospital
where he and Rajani worked. Rajani had always been so good at
remembering their names. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he
believed one of the nurses from his hospital in New York had been at
the hospital near the mountain.
She had seen him and laughed at his silly jokes. She'd recognized him
and perhaps had waited to see if he would recognize her. If he had
called her name or had a flash of acknowledgment in his eyes, she
might have forgiven him or at least listened to his side of the story.
But he hadn't honored her with familiarity, and she had helped
someone try to kill him. Maybe she wanted to kill him herself, though
he couldn't imagine the motive. A forgotten name or face? It didn't
seem like something to inspire such violence.
Killian pictured the young nurses in his New York hospital, some with
cropped hair cuts, mostly brunettes, and the blondes who would
inevitably pull their long hair into some kind of ponytail or bun by
the time morning turned into afternoon. There was the rare
black-haired beauty who was easier to remember, as were any
brown-skinned nightingales in orthopedic shoes.
When Killian heard the door creak open, he didn't even look up. He
assumed it was Michael again. That was, until he heard the voice –
the strangely comforting voice of a nurse.
"I am dying for you, and you are dying for another," the overly tanned
nurse from the mountain hospital said.
She had ditched the cheap, pink lipstick and had bleached her hair
back to its original white-blond. She looked 10 years younger, but
Killian still had to search his mind desperately for her name.
Killian stood, with his hands in the air. The sudden movement
startled the nurse, but she didn't shoot. She wanted to talk first.
Killian's life was flashing before him. Rajani. Rajani.
And then, he knew, with the lightening bolt flash of realization that
gives meaning to life: the nurse's name was Lynn Jameson. They had
started their careers at the same time, the puppies of New York
Hospital, still wet behind the ears. She had always seemed like such
a sweet girl.
"It was great fortune that I found you at the mountain hospital, Dr.
Fahey. I was looking for a sign to start my real life again, and you
were it," Lynn said, finally letting her heavy Brooklyn accent loose
on the world. "I almost killed you before I could ask you what that
phrase means. I am dying for you, and you are dying for another."
"Lynn, I'm sorry," Killian said, stopping short when he saw her body
stiffen with anger.
Lynn rolled her eyes and pulled a silencer out of the left pocket of
the green hospital scrubs she'd killed another nurse to secure. She
hated false apologies and told Killian so.
He shook his head, and the sincerity in his eyes swung the pendulum in
Lynn's mind away from insanity for a moment. She screwed on the
"I've been so curious all these years. Steven told me those were
Rajani's last words," she said.
Lynn smiled. Her lips were bare. Killian almost missed the caked
pink lipstick she'd worn in the mountain hospital. It made her seem
more human somehow.
"Oh, your new friends didn't tell you. Stephen Haver …" she said.
"Dr. Haver," Killian interjected, disbelieving.
The smile evaporated from Lynn's rough-skinned mouth. She hated how
doctors couldn't bear to hear their names spoken without that insipid
title in front of it, as if the title made them superior to everyone
else. Doctor. Who gave a damn besides another doctor? Hell, she had
almost become a doctor herself. She knew more than they did anyway.
"Yes, Dr. Steven Haver. He was my creation, you know. He would still
be killing crazies and passing it off as suicide, if I hadn't come
along and showed him how to be bold," Lynn said, gesturing with the
"Why Rajani?" Killian asked, angrily stepping forward, not caring for
a moment if he lived or died.
"Not so fast, doctor, " she said, stepping backward quickly,
inadvertently bumping into the unstable iron shelf. "I don't want to
have to kill you before you have a chance to tell me what Rajani's
words meant. And for the record, I liked your wife. Steven only
chose her because she called him in on a psych consult that day.
Killian's legs weakened beneath him, and he sank, heartbroken, to the
floor. He remembered that patient. Killian had begged Rajani to take
the patient over for him. He'd had a chance to study a rare pathology
that day and needed a couple of hours in the lab. He had led Rajani
to the slaughter.
"Think of how random life is. No one can tell me someone up there
isn't playing with us," Lynn said, crouching to be eye level with
Killian. "Steven picked your wife randomly to die. You escape police
custody to go live on a mountain, near where I'm living – well,
half-living, half-waiting. Then, you come into my hospital with a
woman who is married to the man responsible for Steven's death. It's
amazing, isn't it? So clearly fated."
"Are you the one trying to kill Evangeline as well?"
Lynn shook her head. "No, but I've enjoyed watching the other work.
Your friends, they suffer so well for each other," she said. "Now, do
tell, doctor, what did your wife's last words mean?"
"Those weren't her last words," Killian said bitterly.
Todd, with a defiant gleam in his eyes, threw the picture of Killian
back in the Interpol agent's face. He laughed at the burly,
heavy-browed, buffoon in the cheap suit.
"Mr. Manning," the buffoon yelled, slamming his flat hand onto the
mottled gray Formica table. "You might want to stop laughing for a
moment. Killian Fahey is …"
Todd held his hand up. "I'm going to stop you right there. You're
wasting your time – and your very foul breath – with the threats.
You've got nothing. I know it; you know it; everybody knows it," he
"You think you're pretty clever. Don't you, Mr. Manning?"
"Yeah," Todd said, smiling. "Yeah, I do."
The buffoon lumbered over to the two-way mirror in the room and stood
in front of it, his big, puffy hands resting on his hips, just under
the overhang of excess belly. Todd immediately knew the buffoon was
setting him up so that the idiots on the other side of the mirror
could read his expressions, learn to play him somehow.
Todd looked at himself in the mirror. There was a hair out of place.
Actually, there were several hairs standing up in a ribbon of protest
often called a cowlick. His son Jack had one. He hadn't known Jack
had inherited that from him. No wonder Blair stared at them sometimes
and patted the same parts of their heads. But then, maybe it was just
"I'd like to order a steak, medium rare, with a baked potato. And, a
pasta primavera for the older lady you brought in here with me," Todd
said, leaning forward to whisper the next part. "She's got low blood
The buffoon looked at Todd in amazement. "This is not a game, Mr.
Manning. And this is not a restaurant," he said.
"Oh, it's not," Todd said, rising from his seat. "I'd better go then.
I'm getting hungry."
The Interpol agent-buffoon stood in front of the door. His hands were
on his hips again, under the cover of belly. He looked at Todd in
"You're not going anywhere, Mr. Manning. We need to know where
Killian Fahey is right now. His life is in danger."
All of the humor left Todd's face, and he stared at the buffoon with
the coldest eyes. He wasn't giving up anything. Cops were all alike:
Interpol, FBI, CIA, Llanview PD. They'd say anything to get what they
want. He'd seen it before. He'd been lied to by better buffoons than
the one standing before him now.
The agent felt a shiver from the deep freeze of Todd's intensity. And
once he had seen the slightest nod of the agent's head in obeisance,
Todd went back to smiling. He reached into his pocket and flipped the
agent a quarter.
"Bring my car around to the front, will ya?" he said, waving the
buffoon out of his way.
The Interpol stepped to the side. "You can leave if you'd like, Mr.
Manning. But you're carrying the responsibility of Fahey's life on
your shoulders. He'd be safe in our custody," he said.
Todd opened the door and looked at the agent one more time, sure that
the buffoon had nothing. If the agent had known who was after
Killian, he would have told Todd. He had no real information to
share. Still, Todd felt the weight of Killian's life on his shoulders
just the same.
John put a lead foot on the gas pedal of the black '69 Firebird
Evangeline had bought him for his birthday. She had indulged him with
the muscle car after hearing all of his teenage fantasies about it.
He'd tried to get her to let him pay for some of the costs, but she
wouldn't hear of it. Now, she had her hand on his leg, as he drove to
the hospital like a demon fleeing angels.
Evangeline had just gotten off of the phone with Todd. He was
insisting that he be allowed to keep Killian under his protection,
until the court date. Lorenzo had gotten the court session moved to
the day after tomorrow. Todd had told her of the Interpol agent's
warning, and while he didn't let on that it bothered him, Evangeline
After Evangeline had talked with Todd, she called Michael back. She'd
wanted to speak to Killian directly. She'd wanted to connect with her
friend and to tell him that he would be free soon, that the whole
world would know he hadn't killed his wife. Michael was approaching
the door when he heard voices. Someone was in the supply closet with
John had yelled out loud for Michael to stay put and to not risk going
in the closet. The person could kill him and Killian. If the person
was still talking, there was a chance for survival. And John drove on
like a bandit.
Evangeline was praying and praying that Killian would be alright. She
called on Rajani to save her husband's life like she had before, and
she made Rajani a promise that she would take care of Killian as much
as she could until she stopped taking in breath. At that instant,
Evangeline looked over to the right and watched the Llanview landscape
blur before her eyes as the car raced along. A trio of golden Monarch
butterflies suddenly came into focus for her. They were playing with
each other in the wind, and then, just as quickly, they were gone.
When John came up on the hospital, he told Evangeline he loved her.
He knew she wouldn't stay in the car, like he wanted her to do, but he
asked her to hang back some because she didn't have a weapon.
As they ran into the hospital, Evangeline reached out to the spirit
world again. This time, she called on Caitlin. "Keep him safe," she
said. "Keep John safe."