“You’re disturbed,” I said sharply.
“That’s what they tell me,” Jamie said with a wink. “So, no role-play?”
“None,” Noah said.
“Then I want in.”
“Fine,” Noah said. “But for God’s sake, shut up.” He pushed open the door, and the three of us found ourselves in Dr. Kells’s lair.
“What are you looking for?” I asked Jamie as Noah pushed the door closed behind us.
“My file,” Jamie said, as if it was obvious. Then he cocked his head at me. “You?”
“Seems as though we have a similar agenda,” Noah lied.
Jamie moved gingerly in the dark room. He sat on the edge of Dr. Kells’s desk. “Who’d you pay off?”
“Wayne,” Noah said.
Jamie nodded sagely. “He seemed like the type.”
“There’s very little money can’t buy,” Noah said, as his eyes roamed over a tall file cabinet in the corner.
“Ain’t that the truth,” Jamie said. “Have you broken into the room without a keypad yet?”
I looked over at him. “What room?”
Jamie shook his head. “What kind of juvenile delinquent are you, Mara?” he asked. “I tried picking it,” he said to Noah, “but no luck. If we could get our hands on the master key and a bar of soap and a lighter, Noah, we could make a copy of it.”
Noah didn’t respond—he was already gently opening drawers. Jamie and I took the hint and followed his lead.
My eyes scanned the hanging file folders for names, but all I saw were numbers. Years, maybe? I withdrew one of the manila folders and opened it.
Financial records of some kind. Huh. I put the folder back.
We worked in the dark room in silence for a while, with nothing but the sound of drawers and folders opening and closing in the background. It would have been so much easier with some light, but under the circumstances, that probably wouldn’t have been wise.
“Bingo,” Jamie said, startling me. “They’re organized chronologically.” He held up three files in his hands. “Dyer,” he said, and handed me mine. “Shaw,” he said, placing Noah’s into his hand. “And Roth.” He hugged the last file close to his chest.
I looked down at mine. If only that was what I really wanted. Noah took Dr. Kells’s chair and flashed a lazy smile at me, pretending to go along with this. I moved to sit on his lap.
“Get a meadow,” Jamie muttered.
I grinned and Noah smiled and neither of us moved. He opened his file, but I just stared at mine. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to know what it said, but considering I might not get another chance—
Screw it. I flipped it open. On the first page were my stats. What I was interested in was on the second page:
The patient admits to having past and present thoughts of harming herself or others, as well as to experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. The patient did not hesitate to describe the circumstances that led to her episode at the Metro Dade Police Department. Her thoughts were organized and coherent. The patient admits to having specific phobias, namely of blood, needles, and heights. She denied having specific obsessions or compulsions. She admitted to having problems concentrating.
Hallucinations and nightmares appear to be stress and fear induced. Patient also experiences extreme insomnia and panic attacks. She has had recurring thoughts and incidents of self-harm (see records attached) and according to the patient and her family, suffers from extreme guilt, possibly stemming from her dual trauma; a sexual assault on the night of the PTSD event (building collapse) and the PTSD event itself. Patient was the sole survivor of a collapse in which her best friend, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s sister died. Patient claims that the boyfriend assaulted her, and she is preoccupied with the delusion that he is still alive. The patient has a psychiatric history of hearing voices that others can’t and exhibits paranoid ideation. Patient exhibits social avoidance: has a demonstrable lack of close friends or relationships other than with first-degree relatives, though she appears to be friendly with male patient J. Roth. Heightened animosity observed between the patient and female patient P. Reynard. Absence of flat affect. Possible indications of heightened superstition, magical thinking, and preoccupations with paranormal phenomena lead to probability of:
PTSD with possible co-occurring Mood Disorder (Bipolar: Severe with Psychotic Features)
Schizophreniform Disorder (1-6 months in duration)
Schizophrenia (if symptoms persist until eighteen years of age) as distinguished from Delusional Disorder.
Will continue to observe before final diagnosis.
I heard Noah’s voice close to my ear. I half-turned in his lap. Noah brushed my cheek with his thumb. I was shocked to feel that it was wet.
I’d been crying.
“I’m okay,” I said in a strangled voice. I cleared my throat. “I’m fine.”
He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “Whatever it says in there, it isn’t you.”
Yes, it was. “You haven’t read it,” I said, looking away from him. Jamie was preoccupied with his own file. He was quiet.
Noah traced a pattern with his finger on my side, under my ribs and over my T-shirt as he held me on his lap. “Do you want me to?”
I wasn’t sure. “I’m not sure,” I said. Noah watched me go through so much, and he was still here. But seeing it on paper like this, seeing what everyone else thought . . .
“Do you want to read mine?” Noah asked. His voice was low but warm.
I couldn’t lie; I did. And the fact that he was willing to show me meant something. I felt strangely nervous as Noah handed me the folder. I opened it to the first page.
PATIENT NAME: Noah Elliot Simon Shaw
The patient presented as a healthy teenage male of above average height and lean, muscular body build. He appeared somewhat older than his stated age. Rapport was not easily established. Patient was not matter-of-fact or helpful.
Patient has an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, hostile, and aggressive behavior toward authority figures and peers, according to family and educators. Atypically, it has not affected the patient’s performance in school, where the patient has maintained a perfect GPA. Patient demonstrates neither hyperactivity nor anxiety but has engaged in multiple violent confrontations with others. Parents have reported several callous-unemotional traits and patient has rated highly on all three sub-scales. However, parents state that the patient has never exhibited any cruelty to animals and is in fact an exceptional caregiver to them, demonstrating a particular facility with feral and dangerous animals at his stepmother’s veterinary practice, negating Antisocial Personality Disorder and other sociopathic types as potential diagnoses. Both the patient’s father and the school have reported the patient’s intentional destruction and vandalism of property in the past, however, as well as deceitful behavior (lying) and flouting of social norms. School restrictions are repeatedly ignored and punishments are demonstrably ineffective. Stepmother reported past incidences of alcohol and drug abuse, but nothing in recent history.