Page 65

Hours later, shivering in what I’ve discovered is the warmest corner of the basement, Leroy brings me food. A sandwich, water, and a few potato chips on a styrofoam plate. I wait until he’s back up the stairs before I lift the water to my lips. It’s a good sign that he’s bringing me food. Surely you don’t feed the person you are planning to kill. He is thinking, deciding what to do with me.

I stick my tongue in the water to taste it … no bitterness. I am so thirsty, I chug the glass and am out of breath by the time I set it down. I sniff the sandwich, run my fingernail across the bread. There is no butter—only a slice of bologna. I eat it. That is my first mistake—eating his food. Trusting. Leroy is smart that way. He blends in, wears you down. It is in a sandwich that he hid the pills. I should have known when I tasted butter on the bread.

WHEN I WAKE UP, I am in a white, white room. My arms are restrained. I lift my head to get a look around. There is an IV snaking into my arm, machines gently beeping. My mouth is dry, my throat swollen. A hospital. A hospital. I look for a call button, but can’t reach it with my wrists in the restraints.


The minute I speak, a pain shoots through my head. I flinch back onto the pillow and try again.


There is the sound of footsteps in the hall. Flat, boring shoes. A nurse is coming. I let my head fall back and stare up at the ceiling. Leroy. His basement. Was it the sandwich or the water? Stupid mistake. The door opens, and a young nurse walks in. She looks unsure of herself. New.

“Where am I?” I croak. She looks over her shoulder before closing the door behind her and walking over to my chart.

“The Evergreen University Hospital,” she says in a clipped voice.

“How did I get here?”

She won’t look at me. “You should talk to the doctor. He’ll be in soon.” She walks around the room, humming, and I wish that my arms were free so I could strangle her.

“You have to tell me what’s wrong with me at least! Why am I here?”

She walks to the window and closes the blinds. The room is suddenly in twilight.

“You overdosed,” she says. “Then slit your wrists.”

“Where?” I ask.

She pauses. “In the hospital parking lot.” I feel a flicker of admiration. Leroy is a lot smarter than I gave him credit for.

“Why are you restraining me?”

“The doctor will be in shortly,” she says.

And then, before I can ask any more questions, she walks briskly from the room. I let my head sink back into the pillow and chew on my lip. What has he done? What has he done?

The doctor doesn’t come right away. They feed me lunch, releasing me from my restraints long enough to allow me to spoon a brown broth into my mouth. I ask the new nurse if she can leave them off, but she shakes her head sympathetically. No one will answer my questions. The doctor’s name is Fellows; he comes to see me a few hours later, walking cautiously into my hospital room like he’s lost. He is an older man, balding, with crooked yellow teeth that remind me of Chiclets.

“Hello, Margo,” he says, staring down at me. I feel sudden panic. I can’t move; they have me here against my will and won’t tell me anything. Something bad has happened. I yank on my restraints, and I must look crazy because he takes a step away from the bed.

“Do you have any idea what happened to you?” I shake my head.

“An orderly found you in the parking lot when he came in for his shift. You were behind the wheel of your car—a Jeep?” He looks at me for affirmation, and I nod my head. How had Leroy found my car? How had he known where to look?

I close my eyes so my anger doesn’t betray me.

“There was more,” he says. “A note…”

My eyes snap open. I want to speak, but I can’t.

“Do you remember writing a suicide note, Margo?”

I shake my head. Dr. Fellows folds his lips in, like he doesn’t believe me.

“You’ll talk more about that with a doctor over at Westwick.”

“Westwick?” I say. What is that?”

“Sleep,” he says, patting my feet. “We’ll talk more later.”

A nurse comes in and puts something in my IV, and then my head is spinning. I drift.

When I wake up, Judah is sitting in his wheelchair next to my bed. I struggle to sit up.

“Judah?” I say. “What are you doing here?”

It’s then that I notice the two people standing in the corner of the room. One is a woman—overweight and pink-faced, holding a file in her hands and staring at me like she expects me to jump up and attack her. The man beside her is black, wearing simple blue scrubs. He glances at his watch twice while I watch him.

Judah looks over his shoulder at them and lowers his voice. “Margo, they’re here to take you somewhere safe.”

“Somewhere safe?” I repeat. There is something wrong with this moment. Something strangely off about the back and forth glances, the shifting of bodies from one foot to the other. I feel as if we are all perched on the edge of a moment, about to fall off.

“What’s happening? Why are you here? Why are they here?”

“You tried to kill yourself,” Judah says. “The police found my number in your phone after they found you passed out behind your car, covered in blood.” My phone? Had Leroy found that, too? I’d left it in the trunk of my Jeep, parked in the garage of the abandoned house.


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