Chapter 24

Susan Grey's knees felt wobbly. She continued to stare at her name written in Bruce's familiar scrawl.

"Look at the other side," Jennifer said in a hollow voice.

Susan turned the envelope over:


She fell heavily onto the couch, her eyes still glued on the envelope.

"Another suicide note?"

"I don't know."


"Come with me, Tommy," Jennifer said, steering the child away.

"Let's go into the kitchen."

Left alone, Susan flipped the envelope back over.


Her name was written by her dead husband in large block letters. The familiar penmanship raked across her heart. She could look at pictures of Bruce, listen to him talk on a cassette, even watch him on a video tape. But there was something so personal about handwriting, something so individual, so eerie, that she had to look away for a moment.

She pushed back her long brown hair and fumbled open the envelope.

Several pages of plain white paper slipped out and fell to the floor.

She reached down, picked them up, and unfolded them. As her eyes traveled down the lines of written text, they widened:

Dear Susan, If you are reading this letter, it means that my suspicions were correct. For much of the past two weeks I was hoping that I was merely paranoid or even a full-fledged nutcase. I wanted to be everything but right. I even hesitate in sending you this letter because like it or not, I have put you in danger. Someone will kill to get their hands on this package. Someone has already killed twice (and now that I am dead, three times) because of what has been occurring in the clinic.

I wish I could give you some sound advice about what to do with the contents of this letter, but I can't. I probably should have gone to the NIH or to the media and showed them what I had, but I was afraid of the results. I thought I could handle it on my own.

Evidently, I was wrong. But if I had gone to the media and exposed the truth, I would have played into the hands of our enemies, the bigots who want to take away all AIDS financing. Now, it is your choice to make.

Where did it suddenly go wrong? I don't know. When did I first become suspicious? That too is a tough question to answer. I think it was after the first murder, the murder of Scott Trian, but more likely, it was after Bill Whitherson was killed in a similar fashion. The timing of the murders seemed such a strange coincidence to me. Harvey and Eric did not see it that way.

They feared that someone was targeting our cured patients. But I saw something else unusual the recent deterioration of both Trian and Whitherson. We had all assumed that they were suffering from SRI side effects, but what if that wasn't so? Whatever was wrong with Scott and Bill had still been in its infancy, but what if it was somehow AIDS-related?

Now that they were both dead and buried, there was no way to check. I asked Harvey about the possibility, but he just shrugged it off, which was not like him. I tried to press the issue, but the more I did, the more hostile Harvey became.

"Whose side are you on anyway?" he would ask.

"If you think the cure isn't working, go re-test Krutzer, Leander, and Singer."

I did. I was relieved to see that they were all still HFV negative.

But then again, they had not been treated as long as Trian or Whitherson. That bothered me. I was going to confront Harvey again but decided against it.

He was all worked up over the latest round of proposed budget cuts. The members of the medical budget committee were preparing to pounce upon us like so many vultures on a wounded animal. The competition for funds is incredible. We spend more time agonizing over budget cuts than on curing patients a shame but that is reality.

I decided to sneak behind Harvey's back and draw blood from Riccardo Martino (you will find his chart enclosed in the packet). Then I had his blood tested.

When the results of his Western blot and ELISA came back, I wanted to scream. Martino was HFV positive.

He had ADDS. I panicked and ran toward Harvey's office to tell him the awful news. But something made me stop. Harvey's blind dedication has always intimidated me, but for the first time I was actually afraid of him.

Our funding was about to be cut off, and I knew Harvey would do anything to keep us operating. But how far had he gone?

I walked into his office calmly and asked him when he planned on testing Martino again. He informed me that a result should be ready tomorrrow. I, of course, did not sleep that night. When I awoke in the morning, I sprinted into the lab, checked Martino's code number, and looked at the blood sample for myself. Imagine my surprise to find both the Western blot and ELISA test showed that Martino was HIV negative, not positive.

How could it be? Had one of the tests been wrong? Did SRI work? Was it a permanent cure or merely a temporary one? And how did the murders of Scott Trian and Bill Whitherson fit in? Were the murders a plot to destroy the clinic? A terrible coincidence? Or was there something else going on?

On the other hand, I had tested Krutzer, Leander, and Singer myself, and they were all cured. There was no question about it. So what exactly was I afraid Harvey had done? Tampered with some patients and not others? That would make no sense. Besides, Winston O'Connor ran most of the tests. Sometimes Eric. Very rarely did Harvey do any lab work.

It took me a while, Susan, but eventually I figured out what he was up to. The proof of Harvey's crimes is in this packet.

My plane is landing so I will have to wrap this up now.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I do not know what will happen once I land. For that reason I will save the long explanations and give you some specific instructions. Enclosed are my private journals on each patient. I picked up the blood samples from our storage house in Bangkok. As per the clinic's rules, all tested specimens were packaged after each test by either Eric Blake or Winston O'Connor. You will notice that there are two blood samples for each patient, labeled A and B. Sample A was taken from the patient when he was admitted (hence HFV positive). Sample B was taken when he was cured (hence HFV negative). Have someone you can trust run DMA tests on the two blood samples. When they don't match, it will become clear what has been done.

The plane is on the ground now. I do not know if Harvey is acting alone or with some help. I cannot imagine he slaughtered Trian and Whitherson on his own so I assume he has accomplices. I am sure that he is on to me. So tonight I will hide someplace.

Tomorrow morning I will confront him in the clinic where I know there will be a lot of witnesses and I will be safe. Since you are reading this letter, I guess I screwed up someplace. Know that I love you, Susan, and I am sorry for all the pain I caused. Please let Tommy know that his father will always love him and somehow I will always be with him.

Good- bye, Susan.

Bruce She did not move. She just sat for a very long time. There was no need to reread the note.

"Susanr She turned toward her sister.

"Bruce mentioned a package." "I mailed it to Harvey yesterday. He thought it might be important."

Susan sat up.

"Does anyone else know about this?"

"Just Sara. She's with Harvey now."

"I'm really sorry, Sara," Harvey said, moving the gun from his left hand into his right.

"I never wanted to hurt you."

Sara stared at him with a mixture of disbelief and horror.



"You murdered your own patients?"

"Not murdered," he corrected.

"Sacrificed. I'm not a monster, Sara."

She glanced at the still body behind her.

"Tell that to Eric." He smiled his weary smile.

"You don't understand." She said nothing.

"It was an impossible struggle from the beginning," he continued.

"Powerful people tried to squash us. You can't imagine what we went through to get the initial funding for this place."

Her voice, when it finally came, sounded hollow.

"You killed your own patients?"

"They were already dying."

"From what?"



"I thought they were cured."

"No." He smiled sadly.

"Please, Sara, you have known me for a long time. I am not an evil man. I want you to understand before... "Before, what?"

"I'm sorry. I wish there was another way, but there isn't. As soon as Jennifer told you about the package, the decision was out of my hands.

"I'll have no problem convincing her that Brace's package had nothing to do with the Gay Slasher. But you would have insisted on the DNA tests."

"You're going to kill me." It was not a question.

"You will have to be sacrificed, yes."

"And you're going to kill our baby."

He winced.

"I wish I didn't have to. You see, Sara, AIDS is a disease unlike any other. One minute the world is focused on it. The next, no one cares.

I needed a way to maintain focus."

"SRI doesn't work, does it? It never did. It was all a lie." "It worked perfectly in the animal tests," he said.

"Even the PDA agreed with that. The problem is we have not been able to get it to work on humans. But it's just a matter of time until "

"Then Michael is doomed."

He shook his head.

"I'm so close, Sara, so damn close. All I needed was a little more time to perfect the formula. But our grant was not going to be extended. Sanders and his fellow conspirators would have seen to that.

Our funds were about to be cut off. I needed something, Sara. Some way of keeping the funds."

"So you faked a cure?" "It was easy really," he said.

"I was the one who drew the blood from Trian, Whitherson, and Martino.

All I had to do was switch test tubes replace their blood specimens with someone's who was HIV negative. It went perfectly."

"Then why did you murder them?" "Because they were dying," he said.

"SRI had managed to put the HIV into a sort of remission for a while, but eventually the treatment accelerated their deterioration. I could only dismiss their worsening condition as a drug side effect for so long. I had to get rid of the evidence. The AIDS virus would have killed them anyway in another month or two."

"So you had them murdered."

He shook his head.

"I didn't have George 'murder' anybody.

I had him speed up the inevitable."

"I can't believe this."

"I did it for them, Sara, not for me."

"For them?" she repeated incredulously.

"You took away their last precious months of life for them?"

"I did not want them to die in vain. I wanted their deaths to mean something, to benefit the AIDS movement."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

His eyes gleamed now.

"The publicity, Sara. The media doesn't focus very long on medical developments, but throw in a Gay Slasher and whammo, you have nationwide press. Look at the News Flash report. Parker spent more time on the serial killings than on the AIDS cure. The murders stirred up the masses in a way even Sanders would have been proud of.

Record- setting donations have been flooding in since the show aired, not just because we are on the verge of finding a cure, but because people are outraged by the slashings."

Sara gripped her cane tightly.

"You crazy bastard."

"No, Sara, I am rational. I am looking at it on a cost-benefit basis.

Trian, Whitherson, and Martino were going to die awful, painful deaths from AIDS. Instead, they were killed painlessly while helping the development of a cure."

"You call mutilation and torture merciful?"

His smile evaporated.

"That was never supposed to happen," he said quickly.

"That was George's doing. As soon as I found out about it, I put a stop to it. It was a mistake."

"And what about Bruce and Janice? More 'mistakes'?"

"I never wanted to hurt them. Bruce stumbled onto the truth.

He had to be silenced. And George killed Janice when she spotted him near Michael's room. They were both accidents. I mourn for them more than anyone. I can't sleep at night because of what happened to them.

But I have to shut my eyes to my pain. When I think of the goal, Sara, when I think of the possibility of curing AIDS, I realize how insignificant a few lives are. I'm not talking about saving hundreds of lives here. I'm talking about saving thousands, perhaps millions, of people."

Her harsh glare did not waver.

"So they were expendable?"

"I know it sounds cruel, but it's true."

"The end justifies the means?"

"When the end is something as important as an AIDS vaccine, of course the end justifies the means. Wouldn't you sacrifice one person to save a thousand? If you could go back in time, wouldn't you murder Hitler rather than let him kill six million Jews?"

"Don't compare innocent victims with Hitler."

"That's not the point and you know it. I am talking about life-and-death realities here. Sometimes the innocent must suffer, it's a fact of life. But if we can stamp out AIDS, isn't it a small price to pay? Wouldn't any good person be willing to sacrifice his life to save thousands of others?"

"Why did you kill Bradley Jenkins? He wasn't one of your cured patients."

"But he was dying and frankly speaking I was terrified of how his father would react if he died while under my treatment. It could have been disastrous for the clinic."

"And that's why you 'sacrificed' him?" "Not just that." Harvey paused and took a deep breath. He tried to renew his smile, but it never reached his eyes.

"Bradley was the third gay man murdered by the Gay Slasher, remember?

The first two, Scott Trian and Bill Whitherson, were ignored by the media for the most part. Why? Because no one cared. Trian and Whitherson were nothing but a couple of unknown faggots.

Ten Trians and Whithersons would have to die before the media really paid attention. But once the Gay Slasher killed the son of a United States senator, once Bradley's bloody body had been found behind a gay bar, then the media became outraged. You're a reporter, Sara. Think about it. When did the media become interested in the case? Not until Bradley was murdered. Then the sympathy began to build. All I had to do was let the world know about the connection to the clinic."

"That's where I came into the picture."


"And I fell for your bullshit hook, line, and sinker."

"You helped me finance the clinic."

"So why did you kill Eric?"

"Eric too became suspicious. Worse, he got proof from the blood sample he took from Michael. I tried to reason with him.

I tried to explain why we had to do all this. But Eric wouldn't listen. He had already put a call in to Markey and was going to tell him everything. I had to stop him before Markey called him back."

Sara shook her head in confusion.

"What does Michael's blood have to do with any of this?"

Harvey moved toward Sara. He grabbed a stool, sat down heavily, and turned toward her.

"It's simple," he said.

"Michael does not have AIDS."

Her heart constricted in her chest. She could barely breathe.


"Role reversal, Sara. Think about it a second. In order to make it look like Trian, Whitherson, and Martino were cured, I switched their HIV-positive blood with healthy blood. In Michael's case I did the opposite I exchanged his healthy, HIV-negative blood with someone's who was HIV-positive. He was diagnosed with AIDS, but he never had it."

"But what about his symptoms? What about the stomach pain and the jaundice?"

"Oh, Michael does have hepatitis," he said.

"Do you know how easy it is to give someone hepatitis? All you do is jab him with a contaminated needle. Remember when he came to see me when he had the flu a few months back? The flu shot I gave him came from a contaminated needle..."

"You sick son of a bitch..."

"Then all I had to do was wait for the symptoms to crop up.

If they didn't that happens sometimes I would have found some other way to make him think he was sick with something that could preclude AIDS.

And even though Michael was neither gay nor a drug user, his blood transfusion in the Bahamas gave me the excuse to test him without raising too many eyebrows."

His words bombarded her from every direction, but there was no way to fend off the blows.

"How could you?" she screamed.

"What was the point. Why "

" did I pretend Michael has AIDS?" he finished for her.

"Isn't it obvious?"

Her vocal cords would not work. She could only shake her head.

"Do you remember when we first diagnosed Michael as being HIV positive?" he asked.

"I told Michael that he had a responsibility to go public. I told him that he could make the disease real to the millions of people who ignored the threat because they saw AIDS as just a gay disease. A healthy, handsome, popular basketball star like Michael could bring it out in the open, focus the world's attention on this tragedy like no one before him. To the world he is a fairy-tale prince. To me, he was Rock Hudson and Ryan White rolled into one. He could educate the world. His name alone could finance my research for years."

She gripped the cane ever tighter, her rage mounting.

"He was your friend."

"But don't you see? I was right, Sara. Michael accomplished all of that and more. The fact that he was straight and married to the beautiful and famous Sara Lowell made it all the better even though Sanders tried to take some shine off the apple by dragging out Michael's stepdad."

"You callous bastard," she shouted.

"Then what? Were you going to 'cure' him and make yourself a godamn hero?"

"Not me," he said.

"Never me. It was all for the clinic. It was all in pursuit of finding an AIDS cure."

"How could you?" she hissed.

"Michael loved you."

Harvey looked at her strangely.

"And I love him. I would rather have torn off my own limbs than hurt Michael, you know that. But what good would it have done? I needed someone like Michael. And think about it, Sara: what was the big sacrifice?

He never had AIDS. Hepatitis caught early is not very dangerous.

His life was never in any real danger. Yes, he would have been out of basketball for a while, but so what? He was on his last legs anyway.

And even if he wasn't, it was such a small price to pay for so much good."

"You're insane."

"You're not listening to me."

"I don't want to listen to you. I want to rip your eyes out of your head. I want to crush your skull with my cane."

He raised the gun.


"My father was right about you."


"You are just like him only worse. Blinded by your passion.

I don't want to hear any more about how you murdered people and turned lives upside down. I want to know where my husband is."

His face clouded over.

"I never planned on having George kidnap Michael. I thought I could keep him as a patient at the clinic for a month or two and then make him an out-patient so that he would lead a fairly normal life. In a year or so, when the AIDS vaccine became a reality, I would take an HIV test and declare him cured. But someone got in the way."


"Sanders and his co-conspirators."

"What do they have to do with Michael?"

"After the Newsflash broadcast, Markey visited me in the clinic, remember? The government wanted proof that SRI worked. So they came up with the idea of making Michael a test case and monitoring his progress from the very beginning.

Remember how upset I was? I screamed about how the government was trying to stall my progress. But in truth "

"You were afraid they would learn you were a fraud."

He nodded.

"All they had to do was run one HIV test on Michael and all my work would have collapsed around my head.

And worse, Markey was sending in his men the next day. What choice did I have? I had to get rid of Michael. So I had George kidnap him."

"Where is he now?"

He did not answer the question. Instead, he stared down at his gun.

"I have to kill you, Sara. I'm sorry."

"What is your plan this time, Harvey? How are you going to explain away my death? Or Eric's?"

"It won't be very difficult. Eric killed you because you discovered the truth about him. Then he ran away. Disappeared."

"What truth?"

"That Eric was the man behind the Gay Slasher plot. First, I'll blow the lid off Sanders' conspiracy. Cassandra will be so outraged by your murder that I am sure she will cooperate. From there it won't be any problem to convince the media that Eric worked for the conspiracy. The media will eat it up, make it sound like the Goliath right-wing government was picking on the little David clinic. The money will come pouring in."

Harvey cocked the gun's hammer.

"The police will search for Eric. They may even find him wherever I dump him, I don't know.

If they do, everyone will figure his co-conspirators murdered him to keep him quiet. The media loves that kind of stuff."

Sara stared at him with a look that was nearly palpable.

"You'll never be able to tie the conspirators to the murders."

"I don't have to. The speculation will be enough."

"Max will figure you out."

"You give him too much credit, Sara. All the evidence is gone.

I killed Martino with the cyanide injection. The blood samples in Bruce's package have been destroyed. There's nothing left to tie me to the murders... except you."

A million questions ran through her mind, but the same one kept surfacing.

"Where is Michael?"

Harvey stepped toward her.

"When I found out that Lieutenant Bernstein knew about George, I realized that it was just a matter of time before he got caught. I had to cut my losses.

So I told George to burn down the storage house in Bangkok something else I could blame on the right-wing conspiracy."

His smile was back, his eyes bright and maniacal.

"Don't you see the irony, Sara? Everyone thinks that the patients were murdered by fascists who wanted to stop me from proving there was an AIDS cure. But actually, it was the opposite the murders made it impossible to prove that there was no cure."

Sara's eyes bore into his.

"What happened to Michael?"

Once again the smile left his face. He lowered his gaze.

"He's dead, Sara. George killed him. I begged him not to, but he hung up on " There was a sudden knock on the lab door.

"Dr. Riker?"

A nurse.

Harvey turned to Sara, his face suddenly panicked.

"If you call out, I will kill her too."

The nurse knocked again.

"Dr. Riker?"

"I'm in the middle of an experiment," he said, his voice cracking.

"Is it important?"

"Yes, Doctor."

"Hold on a minute."

He turned back to Sara. Her big green eyes were tear-filled now. There was no longer confusion or horror in them just devastation and pure hatred.

"Get in the refrigeration room," he whispered.

"You killed Michael."

He glanced at the gun and then back at Sara.

"Don't make me kill the nurse too."

She knew it was no idle threat.

"Drop the cane on the floor and move back. Now."

With her eyes still on him, she dropped the cane and slowly backed up into the refrigeration room. Her foot bumped into something and she realized with revulsion that it was Eric Blake's body.

"The room is soundproof so I wouldn't try screaming," he said.

"Please don't bring any more innocent people into this.

Enough have died."

The cold closed in around Sara as Harvey shut the refrigerator door and locked it with a padlock. Then he moved across the room, unlocked the lab door, and stepped into the hallway, closing the door behind him.

"What is it?" he asked the nurse.

"It's Michael Silverman," the nurse said excitedly.

"He's here."


"He just arrived from Bangkok."

The sirens blasted.

"Drive faster, Willie."

"Jesus, Twitch, I can't drive through cars."

"Then drive on the sidewalk."

"Here." Willie handed him a pencil.


"Suck on your pacifier and tell me what's going on."

"I was an idiot, that's what's going on." Max tossed the pencil on the car floor.

"I spent so much time trying to figure out who wanted to destroy the clinic that I couldn't see what was so obvious."


"The murders were helping the clinic, not hurting it."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Willie asked.

"I just got the test results. Riccardo Martino was HIV positive.

Krutzer, Leander, and Singer were HIV negative."

"Speak English."

"Martino had AIDS. The other three don't." "I thought Martino was cured by this miracle drug."

"SRI is not a miracle drug. It doesn't work. Harvey Riker faked the whole thing."

"The head of the clinic?"

Max nodded.

"At first I thought it might be his assistant, Eric Blake."

"So what changed your mind?"

"Something that happened the night Michael was kidnapped.

Sara was about to go home for the night when she bumped into Eric Blake. He was heading upstairs to run an errand. Sara volunteered to do it for him, and he let her."


"If Eric Blake was behind the kidnapping, he would have never let Sara go back upstairs. He would have insisted on running the errand himself."

"Let me get this straight this Riker guy faked like he had a cure?"

"Right." "But he didn't run all the tests. I thought you said the other docs ran blood tests too."

"They did. But look at the rotation. Our three murder victims were Trian, Whitherson, and Martino. All three were admitted by Bruce Grey.

That meant that Bruce Grey took a blood test, concluded that they had the AIDS virus, and admitted them.

Then Riker took over. He was the one who drew the blood that was used to determine if they were cured. He must have sent the lab someone else's blood someone who never even had AIDS.

Naturally, when the lab tested this blood, it came back negative.

Ergo, they were 'cured'. A 'miracle'."

"But I still don't get it, Twitch. Didn't Bruce Grey do the later tests with some of the patients? And didn't you just say the three guys Dr. Zry tested were all cured?"

Max smiled.

"Krutzer, Leander, and Singer weren't cured," he said, "because they never had AIDS in the first place."


"All three were admitted by Harvey Riker. So what did he do? He switched the blood samples right in the beginning except this time he switched their HIV negative blood for the blood of someone who had AIDS."

"Mother fucker," Willie exclaimed.

"So it looked like they had AIDS when they never did?"

"Right. Then Harvey probably infected them with a few mild flu viruses to make it look like they were really sick. When the time came, Bruce Grey performed the blood tests. Since they never had AIDS in the first place, their tests came back negative.

Ergo, they were 'cured'."

"Unfuckinbelievable. When did you start putting it together?"

"When George Camron was raving about being paid late. I didn't pay much attention at the time, but then I got to thinking why was he paid all of a sudden? How did his boss get his hands on money so fast? Then I remembered my original question who benefits? Who got the good press? Who put pressure on his foes to keep financing them?"

"The clinic."

Max nodded.

"And all the donations solicited from Newsflash went directly to the clinic."

"Riker used the money to pay off Camron?" "Some of it. Camron also said he never killed Martino. So I got to thinking who had the best opportunity to kill Riccardo Martino? Riker claimed to be the last guy who saw him alive.

He probably injected him with cyanide a few minutes before O'Connor knocked him over the head."

"You got a motive for all of this?" Max thought for a minute.

"It's an unselfish, albeit warped, one Riker thought he could cure AIDS. He tried desperately to keep his clinic financed, but after their first year he must have realized that he needed something big or their grant would get cut off. That's when he decided to fake the cure. But he also knew that Trian, Whitherson, and Martino would never stand up to close scrutiny and eventually they would die. So he had to find other patients who could stand up to any test. He had to find patients who would be legitimately HIV negative when tested by the government. That's when he brought in Krutzer, Leander, and Singer."

Willie swerved around a van.

"It's a nice little theory, Twitch.

Have any evidence?"

"I will. Riker's one problem was the storage house in Bangkok.

All lab material was immediately packaged by either Eric Blake or Winston CXConnor and sent to Bangkok for safekeeping. If Riker had tried to divert it, it would have looked suspicious. But Riker really wasn't worried about it anyway. He figured he could always have the storage house destroyed if anybody got too close to the truth."

"Which is what he tried to do, except you nailed Camron first."

Max nodded.

"Colonel Ts men are guarding the building twenty-four hours a day. When we test the stored blood specimens, it will prove that the blood taken upon admittance could not possibly belong to the same person as the blood taken when they were supposed to be cured. That's one reason Riker wanted the safehouse in Bangkok. It was far away and yet it was George Camron's hometown. Markey and the government would have a lot of trouble finding it. If they really tried, Riker could always have George destroy it."

"Case solved."

"I hope."

"Do you think Riker knows you're on to him?"

"I doubt it."

"So calm down. We're almost there."

"You don't understand."


Max leaned down and picked up the pencil.

"Sara is alone with him."

It was so cold.

Sara wrapped her arms around herself but it did no good.

The frigid air cut through her skin to the bone. She looked down, coughing. Eric's body was in a twisted, fetal position. His eyes were closed, a bullet wound in his throat. She wondered how Michael had died. Had he been tortured or had it been quick and painless? She fought back tears and tried to think clearly.

For the sake of their unborn child, she had to find a way out of this.

She tried the door, but it would not budge. Her cough had become relentless, racking her body with powerful jerks. She could feel the cold settle into the bottom of her lungs. She wondered if it was an infection. Her lips trembled. She felt weak, drained. She hunched her body into a small ball, her eyes darting about the small room.

There were shelves filled with various codes. One test tube said 87m332. Another read 98k003. The beakers were labeled Naoh, So2, H2So4, Hspo Hd and CHd3.

Michael. Her poor, beautiful Michael. Dead. How? Why?

The room was tiny. The walls and ceiling seemed to be closing in around her. Sara curled herself into a tighter ball, lowered her head, and sobbed gently. She had never known such loneliness, such despair.

The cold grew unbearable. Her fingers became numb. She felt herself grow weaker and weaker. She tried to concentrate on a Blue Oyster Cult song in a bizarre attempt to keep herself awake:

"All our times have come, Here but now they're gone Seasons don't fear the Reaper, Nor do the wind, nor the sun, nor the rain, We can be like they are..."

But she felt herself slipping away.

Hold on, Sara. Hold on.

But it was no good. Harvey was coming back soon and then it would be over. Her Michael was dead. He had joined the Reaper and in the end, so would she.

Her eyes began to close.