“How naughty and daring of you. All that and you lied to our parents about the reason for your New York visit? I’m impressed.”
“Well, I did visit a college here.” Daniel grinned. “So, it’s not completely false.”
Jamie looked up. “A half-truth is a whole lie, my mother says.”
“He’s right, you know,” I chimed in.
“Guess I’m a rebel, then.”
“But wait,” Stella said. “What if the access code changes?”
“Then I’m screwed.”
“We’re screwed,” I said. “We can’t leave here without this stuff. There might be something here that will help us find Noah.”
Daniel nodded. “We should go through what I’ve found so far, and then one of us should start making a list of what we still need. We won’t be able to go through everything, but if we’re asking the right questions, maybe eventually we’ll hit on the right answers.”
“You can be our Gandalf,” I said, remembering our conversation from weeks ago, and smiling.
“I’m only a year older than you. But I’ll take it as a compliment, if you let me be Dumbledore instead.”
“If you insist.” I shrugged. “But Dumbledore is more dead.”
“Point,” Daniel acknowledged.
“You’re neither, actually.” Jamie looked up from a file he was reading. “You’re a muggle—”
“Which makes you Giles.”
Daniel considered it for a moment. “I’ll take it.”
“Good. Now, Mara?” Jamie batted his eyelashes and handed me a stack of files. “Get reading.”
Stella and Daniel roamed the stacks and made their list, coming back periodically to dump file folders bursting with paper onto the drafting table. Jamie and I sat in that dim room, crouched and hunched over hundreds, thousands of pages of records, emails, transcripts, everything. I sucked down the information until I was saturated with it, until my fingers were sore from paper cuts and my brain sloshed with mostly irrelevant details. I seemed to have gotten the pile of crap containing the most mundane bits of Kells’s early life—notes from her kindergarten teacher, her fourth-grade science project, et cetera. I idly wondered why they—whoever they were—bothered collecting this shit, but the truth was, I didn’t really care. I was hungry for answers, starving for them, and they were here, somewhere under this roof, and I would find them.
“Mara,” Jamie said quietly. “Come look at this.”
Or they would find me.
Jamie handed me a thick file folder, already opened. “Don’t lose my place.”
I glanced down at the pages. Medical records, they looked like. There were hospital admissions, discharges, prescriptions, and more records of visits to—
“The Obstetrics and Gynecology Department,” I said aloud, and rechecked the name at the top of the page.
Kells, Deborah S.
“?‘Patient conceived intrauterine pregnancy. Patient experienced miscarriage. Required termination.’?”
“I counted six miscarriages in there so far,” Jamie said. “Then I skipped ahead. She was diagnosed with idiopathic infertility—they didn’t know what was causing it.”
“So . . .”
Jamie shrugged. “I don’t know what it means exactly. We need more.”
I looked at the dates of the records—1991, 1992, 1993. And that was just in this folder.
“Should we skip ahead?” Jamie asked.
“I want to know how she ended up working at Horizons.”
Jamie was right. Without fully realizing it, we’d been reading her file to find the answer to just one question: Why? Why had she brought us there? Why had she tortured us? If there was a reason, it wouldn’t be in her kindergarten records. We needed to find out how she’d found out about Horizons in the first place. And who had recruited her.
Jamie rifled through some of the other folders and picked up small little envelopes with discs in them. “CDs?” He turned them over. “No. DVDs,” he said. “?‘DSK Interviews 11-3-1999, 10-2-1999, 09-2-1999 . . . What the . . . ?”
“DSK,” I said. “Deborah Susan Kells.”
Jamie raised an eyebrow. “Right. How far do you think these go back?”
I dipped my hands into the file folder Jamie had found them in. There were dozens. “To ’98, I think.”
Jamie stood and looked in another folder. “There’s ’96 and ’97 in here.”
We kept looking through folder after folder and eventually realized that the earliest DVDs were from 1994, beginning not long after the medical records ended.
“I’m kind of dying to watch these,” I said.
“They’re set at around the same time every month—some kind of experiment, maybe?” That would fit with what we knew about her. Maybe Dr. Kells’s first test subject had been herself.
“We should bring them with us.”
“All of them?”
I gestured to the room. “Well, we can’t watch them here.”
Jamie stood and opened the door, then turned to me. “Should we go look for more?”
We should. “I want to see how many there are. And if there are any from this year.” She might have talked about us. She might have talked about me.
Just as we gathered up some of the files and left the stuffy little room, we ran into Daniel and Stella.
Daniel took a dramatic step back. “What’s up?”
“We found something,” I said, and then Jamie began to talk.
WOW,” DANIEL SAID AS HE walked into the brownstone. “What does your aunt do?”
“Teacher,” Jamie said. “She made intelligent real estate decisions.”
“That she did.”
“I’m hungry,” Stella announced. “Anyone else?”
“Starving,” I said, realizing it just then. We hadn’t eaten anything the whole day.
“Should we order in?” she asked.
Daniel shook his head.“The less attention we attract, the better.”
He was right, so we managed to scrounge together a meal out of the junk we’d bought at the bodega down the street. Daniel divvied up the file folders between us and, taskmaster that he was, told us to get reading. But I wanted to watch the videos first.