Darkest Fear Page 65

“But we come along,” Kimberly Green said.

“Yes.”

There was an empty space, a sudden stillness that Myron didn’t like.

“Is Jeremy alive or dead?” Myron asked.

“Truth?” Stan said. “I don’t know.”

38

Eric Ford drove with Kimberly Green riding shotgun and Myron and Stan in the backseat. Several cars’ worth of agents followed them. So too did the press. Nothing they could do about that.

“My mother died in 1977,” Stan said. “Cancer. My father was already unwell. The one thing in his life that mattered to him—the one good thing—was my mother. He loved her very much.”

The time on the car clock read nearly 4:03 A.M. Stan told them where to turn off Route 15. A sign read DINGSMAN BRIDGE. They were heading into Pennsylvania.

“Whatever sanity was still there, my mother’s death stripped away. He watched her suffer. Doctors tried everything—used all their technological advances—but it only made her suffer more. That’s when my father started with the strength of the mind. If only my mother hadn’t relied on technology, he thought. If only she used her mind instead. If only she’d seen its limitless potential. Technology killed her, he said. It gave her false hope. It stopped her from using the one thing that could save her—the limitless human brain.”

No one had a comment.

“We had a summerhouse out here. It was beautiful. Fifteen acres of land, walking distance to a lake. My father used to take me hunting and fishing. But I haven’t been out here in years. Haven’t even thought about the place. He took my mother out here to die. Then he buried her in the woods. See, it’s where her suffering finally ended.”

The obvious question hung in the air, unasked: And who else’s?

Myron would later remember nothing about the drive. No buildings, no landmarks, no trees. Outside his window was total night, the black folding over black, eyes squeezed shut in the darkest of rooms. He sat back and waited.

Stan told them to stop at the foot of a wooded area. More crickets sounded. The other cars pulled up alongside them. Feds got out and started combing the area. Beams from powerful flashlights revealed uneven earth. Myron ignored them. He swallowed and ran. Stan ran with him.

Before morning broke, the federal officers would find graves. They’d find the father of three children, the female college student, and the young newlyweds.

But for now, Myron and Stan kept running. Branches whipped Myron’s face. He tripped over a root, curled into a roll, stood back up, kept running. They spotted the small house, barely visible in the faint moonlight. There were no lights on inside, no hint of life. Myron did not bother trying the knob this time. He took it full on, crashing the door down. More darkness. He heard a cry, turned, fumbled for the light switch, flipped it up.

Jeremy was there.

He was chained to a wall—dirty and terrified and still very much alive.

Myron felt his knees buckle, but he fought them and stayed upright. He ran to the boy. The boy stretched out his arms. Myron embraced him and felt his heart fall and shatter. Jeremy was crying. Myron lifted his hand and stroked the boy’s hair and shushed him. Like his father. Like his father had done to him countless times. A sudden, beautiful warmth streamed through his veins, tingling his fingers and toes, and for a moment, Myron thought that maybe he understood what his father felt. Myron had always cherished being on the son side of the hug, but now, for just the most fleeting of moments, he experienced something so much stronger—the intensity and overwhelming depth of being on the other side—that it shook every part of him.

“You’re okay,” Myron said to him, cupping the boy’s head. “It’s over now.”

But it wasn’t.

An ambulance came. Jeremy was put inside. Myron called Dr. Karen Singh. She didn’t mind being woken at five in the morning. He told her everything.

“Wow,” Karen Singh said when he finished.

“Yes.”

“We’ll get someone to harvest the marrow right away. I’ll start prepping Jeremy in the afternoon.”

“You mean with chemo.”

“Yes,” she said. “You done good, Myron. Either way, you should be proud.”

“Either way?”

“Come by my office tomorrow afternoon.”

Myron felt a thumping in his chest. “What’s up?”

“The paternity test,” she said. “The results should be in by then.”

Jeremy was on his way to the hospital. Myron wandered back outside. The feds were digging. The news vans were there. Stan Gibbs watched the mounds of earth grow, his face now beyond emotion. No sound, not even the crickets now, except for shovel hitting dirt. Myron’s knee was acting up. He felt bone-weary. He wanted to find Emily. He wanted to go to the hospital. He wanted to know the results of that test and then he wanted to know what he was going to do with them.

He climbed back up the hill toward the car. More media. Someone called out to him. He ignored them. There were more federal officers working in silence. Myron walked past them. He didn’t have the heart to hear what they’d found. Not just yet.

When he reached the top of the landing—when he saw Kimberly Green and the lifeless expression on her face—his heart took one more plummet.

He took another step. “Greg?” he said.

She shook her head, her eyes hazy and unfocused. “They shouldn’t have left him alone,” she said. “They should have watched him. Even after a careful search. You can never search too carefully.”

“Search who?”

“Edwin Gibbs.”

Myron was sure he’d heard wrong. “What about him?”

“They just found him,” she said, having trouble with the words. “He committed suicide in his cell.”

39

Karen Singh summed it up for them: You can’t get bone marrow from a dead man. Emily did not collapse when she heard the news. She took the blow without blinking and immediately segued to the next step. She was on a calmer plane now, somewhere just outside panic.

“We have incredible access to the media right now,” Emily said. They were sitting in Karen Singh’s hospital office. “We’ll make pleas. We’ll set up bone marrow drives. The NBA will help. We’ll get players to make appearances.”

Myron nodded, but the enthusiasm wasn’t there. Dr. Singh mimicked his motion.

“When will you have the paternity results?” Emily asked.

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