by Winnie


Part 8

 Raymond Kent looked at the board members with barely disguised disgust as he folded his hands on the top of the mahogany table used in the conference room. He knew how to handle the men and women who made up the board of directors and waited until Samantha Parker took her seat across from him.


“Dr. Kent, Dr. Parker, thank you for joining us this afternoon and I hope we are able to come to an amicable decision regarding Dr. Parker’s tenure here at Shady Acres,” William Lewis said and opened the file in front of him. “Dr. Parker, have you had time to go over the complaints Dr. Kent made against you?”


“I have and they are ludicrous to say the least.”


“So you deny interfering with his patients?” Lewis asked.


“I do. The only time I deal with Dr. Kent and his patients are during group therapy sessions,” Parker explained.


“Dr. Kent, is this true?” Joanna Rideout asked.


“To some extent, but there are instances where she questions every treatment I prescribe. For instance there is a new patient I have been treating and although I have agreed to let him attend her sessions…”


“Group therapy sessions are very therapeutic for the patients, Dr. Kent.”


“I agree, Dr. Rideout, but sometimes Dr. Parker gets a little too involved in her patient’s lives,” Kent told them.


“Is this true, Dr. Parker?” Lewis asked.


“To a certain extent, but isn’t that what makes us good at what we do?” Parker asked.


“Would you elaborate on that statement, Doctor?” Paula Brady asked. She’d been a nurse at Shady Acres for nearly ten years and was also a shareholder in the facility. She’d been given a seat on the board at the suggestion of Raymond Kent and owed him a great deal.


“We are doctors, but we are also human beings and as such we must deal with our patients with human emotions. We need to care for them in the same manner in which we would like to be cared for if our roles were reversed. Dr. Kent seems to think I’m interfering with his patient, but that is not true. I am simply doing my job as a group therapist and making sure the patients get the best possible treatment available. Dr. Kent seems to think that by over medicating a patient…”


“That’s a very strong accusation, Dr. Parker,” Lewis said and saw the anger in Kent’s eyes.


“Yes, it is,” Kent snapped and stood up, bracing his hands on the desk as he spoke. “I do not over medicate my patients Dr. Parker. I simply use what is available to us in order to help them get back the lives they deserve.”


“Dr. Parker, can you substantiate your accusations?” Brady asked.


“I believe the notations on the charts and the medications the patients are given should be enough for a board of enquiry,” Parker answered.


“This is absurd! You’re angry because I brought you before the board and I refuse to listen to any more of this diatribe!” Kent snarled.


“What are you afraid of Raymond? Are you afraid the board will see exactly what I see?” Parker asked with a hint of a smile.


“There’s nothing on those charts that point to me over medicating the patients!” Kent spat.


“Then you won’t mind us going through them?” Daniel Coburn said. He’d been silent during the meeting, but there was no way he could let this go, not if it meant getting rid of the man he thought mistreated patients.


“Of course not…but…”


“Paula, have Dr. Kent’s records brought to my office this afternoon,” Lewis ordered.


“Yes, Doctor,” Paula Brady said and swallowed convulsively as Kent glared in her direction.


“Now that we’ve addressed the question of Dr. Kent’s patients I believe we should adjourn…”


“You can’t be serious!” Kent snapped. “I won’t let you get away with this. I asked for this board of enquiry to talk about Dr. Parker’s interference with my patients.”


“Perhaps Dr. Parker’s interference will help save patients from over medication at your hands,” Coburn said.


“Those charges have yet to be substantiated, Dr. Coburn,” Lewis reminded him and stood up. “Dr. Kent, we will adjourn this meeting until tomorrow at which time we shall address the concerns of Dr. Coburn and Dr. Parker. If we find those to be unsubstantiated then we will address the charges you have brought against Dr. Parker. Is everyone in agreement on this?”


“No, I am not in agreement!” Kent snapped and stood up as he placed both hands on the table in front of him. “I have been at Shady Acres longer than most of you and I will not stand by while you let this woman ruin my reputation...”


“Your reputation is not in question, Dr. Kent,” Lewis said.


“Isn't it?” Kent spat.


“Perhaps, but the answers are easy to find once we go through your patient files. Paula will assist myself and the other board members and that way you can allay the charges brought by Dr. Parker,” Lewis explained as the other filed out of the room. “Paula, make sure there is plenty of coffee and have Dr. Coburn and Dr. Rideout meet me there as soon as they are finished with afternoon rounds. Dr. Parker, see that you stay away from Dr. Kent's patients until this matter is cleared up.”


“What about group therapy sessions this afternoon and tomorrow morning?” Parker asked.


“For now Dr. Kent's patient will not attend those sessions,” Lewis explained and saw the anger on Raymond Kent's face as the man strode out of the room. “Sam, you need to be careful where he's concerned.”


“I'm always careful, William,” Parker said and walked out of the room. She made her way toward the cafeteria and found Nathan Bradley anxiously waiting for her.


“Sam, how did it go?” Nathan asked when she was seated across from him, and fought the urge to tell Parker the real reason he was at Shady Acres.


“Better than I least they haven't fired me and it looks like they'll be looking into Kent's patient files,” Parker explained.


“That's good you think Kent was stupid enough to document everything he's given his patients?”


“He's egotistical enough to do just that,” Parker offered. “Have you seen Chris since this morning's session?”


“No,” Jackson answered simply and watched as a red faced Raymond Kent strode toward them.


“Dr. Bradley, you were assigned to me, but it appears you prefer Dr. Parker's company and since I despise being talked about behind my back I find no reason for you to stay at Shady Acres.”


“Dr. Bradley was hired by the board, Ray, and since you're already under investigation I doubt they'll listen to your whining where Nathan is concerned.”


“I no longer need or want your services, Dr. Bradley, so find yourself another doctor to shadow,” Kent spat and turned away.


“Be careful, Nathan, he's not someone you want as an enemy, but he's even worse as a doctor,” Parker said. “Nathan, why don't you join me for this afternoons session and then we'll talk to the board about your tenure here?”


“Thanks, Sam, that sounds like a plan,” Jackson told her.




JD stared at the computer and rubbed his eyes tiredly. The files were hard to find, but he'd managed to get through several layers of password-protected records.


“JD, you're making the rest of us look bad,” Melissa Tandy said as she pushed back from her computer and reached for her purse. “Did you hear me, JD?”


“I'm sorry, Melissa, did you say something?”


“Yes, I said you're making the rest of us look bad.”


“What?” Dunne asked.


“You've been at your computer all morning and haven't taken a break. It's lunch time...”


“I need to finish these files.”


“They can wait until after you eat. Come on, I brought plenty and it would be a shame for it to go to waste. There's a table near the rose garden and I'm not taking no for an answer,” Tandy said.


JD knew there was no way he could keep making excuses and reluctantly shut down the files he'd been looking through. He stood up and smiled when Melissa showed him the picnic basket and he took it from her. “So, what are we having?”


“Ham and cheese with a tossed salad and raspberry vinaigrette dressing,” Tandy answered.


“Sounds great,” Dunne said as they left the office.




Josiah waited until Rafael pulled the Limo into a parking spot and exited the vehicle just as Ezra did the same from his side. He'd watched the younger man during the trip to Shady Acres and knew the conman was doing his best to keep his emotions in check. 


“Ezra, you can wait here if...”


“No, I need to be there,” Standish said and straightened to his full height before striding toward the main gate. He waited for Sanchez to catch up to him and was soon being escorted toward the secure area of the institution. He spotted JD sitting with several others beneath a large Weeping Willow, but did not acknowledge his presence.


Josiah watched the younger man closely and again wished this case was over, but if anyone could pull this off it was Ezra Standish. He'd seen Dunne and knew the younger man had seen them, but there was no way to speak with him until they met at the office when the day was over. The sound of the gate opening caught his attention and he followed the conman through it.




The concept of time had become something new for Chris Larabee as he struggled to gain control of the pain running rampant through his body. It was no longer measured by seconds and minutes, but by what part of him cried out for attention. The spasms in his lower back soon joined the screaming pain that raced along ragged nerves and ended in stabbing agony in his skull. Nausea churned through his gut and his throat burned from the bitter bile that rose up from his stomach and seeped past tightly clenched teeth.


Breathing became a chore that he was barely able to complete as his lungs felt ready to explode. His hands were fisted on the bed while the muscles in his neck corded and he fought against the nightmare images clouding his mind. He fought against the restraints,  but the movements caused only more pain as he struggled to free himself from his torment.


“God!” he screamed, but there was no answer except the grinding of his teeth as he sank toward the dark images that invaded his subconscious.        




Raymond Kent's anger had simmered to a slow boil throughout the afternoon, but he was sure he'd covered his tracks where his patients were concerned. He spotted Craig Styles near the main desk nursing station and quickly made his way over to him.


“Craig, are you busy?”


“No, Dr. Kent, things have been quiet today,” Styles told him. “Is there something you wanted me to do?


“As a matter of fact there is. I want Jacobson taken outside for some air and then I want you to bring him to my office. See that he's given something to eat as well.”


“Yes, sir,” Styles said with a grin and followed the psychiatrist toward the patient's room. He felt a heady sense of control at the thought of making Chris Jacobson's life a living hell, and hoped the drug he'd supplied Kent with was working the way they expected.


“I want you to do something to make Jacobson angry while his brother is here and see that there's something around them he can get his hands on and use as a weapon!” Kent ordered when he was sure there was no one around to hear them.


“You want him dead?”


“Not yet, but I'd like to see him attack his brother. Do you think you can get him to do that?”


“Are you kidding? It wouldn't take much to put Jacobson over the edge. I'll make sure it happens...”


“Good and make sure Chris manages to escape your clutches. I need to make sure those drugs are out of his system in case that bitch Parker convinces the board to do blood tests on him.”


“Do you want me to take care of her?”


“Not yet...wait until the heat is off,” Kent said and unlocked the door to Jacobson's room.




Chris heard the door open and turned slowly toward it as footsteps neared his bed. He frowned and licked at dry lips, before trying to speak, only to have the words turn into a rasping cough.


“Well, Chris, I hope you're feeling more cooperative than you were earlier,” Kent said.


“Hell, Doc, look I've had enough of this shit and really need to get out of here.”


“I'm sure you do, but as I keep telling you it won't happen until you learn to control your temper. Now, your brother is waiting to see you, but I'm not sure it's a good idea,” the psychiatrist observed.


“Dr. Kent, I know Chris missed lunch and Dr. Parker thought it best if I brought him a light tray,” Katrina Morgan said.


“Very well,” Kent said, hiding his anger as he released his patient from the restraints. “Chris...”


“I'm not hungry,” Larabee said.


“Do you want to go outside?” Kent asked.


“I thought I lost my privileges?”


“You did, but I am feeling a little generous and am hopeful that you'll be more cooperative,” Kent said and knew the blond was still feeling the effects of the drug he'd been given. From what little he knew of the drug Styles supplied it would take some time to clear his system and would continue to cause pain and hallucinations right up until it was totally out of his blood stream. “Eat, and then Craig will take you outside.”


“I'm not hungry.”


“Then I guess you get to stay where you are,” Kent warned.


“Damn,” Larabee said, sitting up and rubbing at his temples when the room tilted on its axis.


“You need to eat, Chris,” Kent said and watched as Larabee reached for the glass of orange juice.


“I will...just not that hungry....stomach hurts,” Larabee told him.


“Then drink the juice and try the yogurt, but at least try to eat it. Craig, after he's done with his brother bring him to my office,” Kent ordered and left the room with Katrina Morgan.


“All right, Jacobson, finish up and we'll take a walk in the garden,” Styles said, smiling when the blond glared at him, but finished the juice and reached for the yogurt.




Buck looked up when he heard shuffling footsteps and was surprised to see Chris Larabee walking toward him with an orderly right beside him. He knew Vin was outside with several other patients and wished he could do something about the sonofabitch who was shadowing his friend. He kept sweeping the floor and tried to make eye contact with the blond, but Larabee seemed oblivious to his presence. 


Buck spotted Nathan Jackson and Samantha Parker near the main desk and could see the worry in the medic's eyes as Larabee walked past him. There was nothing more he could do for now, but he was ready to end this thing before things got worse for his long time friend. 


Buck glanced at the clock over the desk and knew it was time for his break. He motioned toward Jackson and hoped the man could take the time to meet him in the cafeteria. He put away his cleaning supplies and hurried toward the cafeteria where he grabbed a tray and spotted Jackson and Parker come in behind him.  


“I'll see you later, Nathan,” Parker said and Buck was relieved when Jackson grabbed a tray and followed him outside to a table that was well away from the few people present. 


“Nathan, did you see Chris?” Wilmington asked once the other man sat opposite him.


“I saw him...he looks like hell, but I'm hoping it's an act to keep Kent form doing anything else while the board goes over his patient files. Sam seems to think they'll find out he's been over medicating his patients.”


“Do you still think he's behind the murders?”


“Yeah, but what I think won't get him convicted. We need hard evidence.”


“What about telling the board that he's not a licensed psychiatrist?”


“That'll get him off the staff, but it won't help us get the evidence we need for a conviction,” the medic told him.


“Damn it, Nathan, we need to do something before Kent does anything else to Chris.”


“I know and believe me with Sam on our side we're that much closer to ending this case. Just hold on and maybe JD will come up with something more on those files.”


“I hope so...what about Ezra? He looked like he'd lost his best friend last night.”


“Do you blame him? He had to go along with the bastards and hope we can stop whatever they plan on doing to Chris. He and Josiah are supposed to visit Chris this afternoon.”


“Just hope Chris isn't so out of it that he blows his own cover. Then again if that happens then this case is over and we can all get the hell out of here,” Wilmington spat and toyed disinterestedly with the congealing stew on his plate.


“Just keep your eyes and ears open,” Jackson ordered.


“You too,” the ladies man said as the medic got up to leave.




Carl Sheppard leaned back with his hands clasped behind his head as he watched the grounds below his office window. He knew things were moving along and was already spending the money Ezra Jacobson had paid him. If Chris Jacobson drank the juice he would soon be on the wildest ride of his life, one that could possibly end in his death, but if it didn't then there was always tomorrow. Marcus Turner had given him several drugs that should be untraceable, but if they did show up in an autopsy then there were ways to keep the suspicions off him and his partner.


Carl was startled when the phone on his desk rang, but quickly picked it up and smiled when he heard the familiar voice. “Did everything go as planned?”


*“It did. This could be our last one for a while. We need to lie low until things settle down.”*


“I hear you and with this score I figure we might not need to kill anyone else,” Sheppard said.


*“I thought you enjoyed the control this gave us over the patients and their family?”*


“I do, but if we get greedy...”


*“If, Carl, I believe that's why we're doing this in the first place. Look, just make sure you keep the records straight and maybe we can put the blame for all this on someone else.”*


“Do you have someone in mind?”


*“Maybe, I'll let you know once we see what Jacobson does when he sees his brother.”*


“I'd love to be there to see it happen.”


*“So would I, but for now we need to back off. I will call you with further instructions if Jacobson survives this afternoon.”*


“Sounds good,” Sheppard said and returned his attention to the people walking along the path below his window. He knew his partner was right about backing off, but maybe they could bleed Ezra Jacobson for a little more as an added bonus. A smile formed on his face at the thought of extorting more money out of the self-righteous bastard without his partner knowing.




Chris walked slowly beside the orderly Kent had assigned him and tried to make sense of why he suddenly felt like he would spontaneously combust. He tugged at the neck of his shirt and blinked rapidly in an effort to clear his vision, and felt a hand latch onto his arm.


“What's the hell's the matter with you, Jacobson?”


“Dizzy,” Larabee managed, and tried to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.


“Maybe I should take you back inside,” Styles suggested with a hint of a smile as he looked around and made sure no one was close enough to hear him.


“Maybe...feel sick...head hurts...can't...”


“Here I thought you wanted to see that bastard brother of yours, but i guess I was wrong.”


“Brother?” Larabee whispered and his mind latched onto a name as the reason for his being here returned. “Ezra...kill the bastard.”


“I thought you wanted to go back inside?”


“I...don't know. Need...need to...”


“You need to show that miserable bastard who's in charge, Jacobson, or else you'll be stuck in here for the rest of your life while he spends your money. That weasel put you in here so he could take everything for himself. Are you going to let him away with that, Chris?”


“No, won't let hi...him,” Larabee mumbled as anger surged through his body while fire raged through his veins. He was sure there was something he needed to know, but all that mattered was taking back what belonged to him. Ezra was the reason he was here. Ezra was behind the agony twisting through his skull and the bitter taste of bile that burned in his throat. Ezra was the reason he was no longer free. Ezra was his brother...his Cain and he was damn well going to slay the miserable sonofabitch.


“How are you gonna stop him, Jacobson? How are you gonna make him pay for putting you in here?”


“Find a ...find a way,” Larabee said and shook with the force of the anger enshrouding his mind. He could hear Ezra's taunting voice telling him he wasn't leaving Shady Acres. He could feel the rage and shock when the needle was shoved into his arm. He could hear Ezra's laughter and his teasing word that cut him to the core. His brother...his bastard brother had done this to him.


“I can give you what you need, Chris. If you really want to make your bastard brother pay for putting you in here I can help you,” Styles told him and saw the rage in the green eyes. There was a madness to the way the man breathed through his nose, a promise of redemption against the man who'd put him in here and Styles knew he had him right where he wanted him.


“Why would you help me?” Larabee asked and fought the nauseating pain that had him in a vice like grip.


“I don't like you, Chris, but your brother is a self-righteous bastard and needs to be brought down a peg. Least that's how I see him, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you enjoy being in here and having someone else in control of your life. Telling you when to eat, when to sleep, forcing you to take those medications and telling you they'll help you, but we both know they're lying to you, Chris. We both know they're poisoning you...Ezra's paying them to do it so he can have all the money for himself. Are you gonna let him get away with it or do you want my help?”


Chris felt as if his head was ready to explode, and knew there was something he was missing, but the other man's words were making it hard for him to think past the need to see Ezra dead. It became the only thing that his body and mind required as he spotted the man seated so smugly at the picnic table across the garden.


“Did you hear me, Chris? Do you want to kill the bastard for what he did to you?” Styles said and knew the drug they'd given the man was controlling his thoughts and opening him up for suggestions.


“How? W...what can I use?” Larabee asked, his tongue sticking slightly out of his partially open mouth.


“I found these at the nurse's desk...think you can hide them until you're close enough. Imagine the surprise on the bastard's face when you use it. Come on, Jacobson, you won't have another chance,” Styles said and pressed the scissors into the outstretched hand. “I heard your brother talking to Kent and he's going to increase your medications again. I think he's trying to kill you, Chris...are you gonna let him away with it?” 




“Hide it until you're close enough to use them, Jacobson, or you'll lose your chance and I guarantee you won't get another one,” Styles said as the patient hid the scissors in the waistband of his pants and covered it with his shirt. He saw madness when he looked into the man's eyes and almost felt sorry for his brother...almost.


Chris could feel the cold steel against his heated flesh as beads of sweat formed on his brow and slowly trailed down his cheeks. He walked slowly toward the two men at the picnic table and tried to make sense of what was happening. He knew there was something he needed to remember, but could only feel the deep seeded need to wipe the smug look off his 'brother's' face.


“Better not let on that you got a plan, Jacobson,” Styles said as they neared the visitors.


Chris nodded and lowered his head, fighting the waves of nauseating dizziness as he tried to place one foot in front of the other. His body shook and he found it hard to think as he neared the picnic table. The one thing that was clear in his mind was the need to show his 'brother' who was in control. There was nothing else except the cold instrument tucked inside the band of his pants. He lifted his head and stared at the two men as they stood to greet him.


“Hello, Chris, are you feeling okay?” Ezra asked.


“I'm fine, Brother Dear! Where's your bitch today or...”


“Chris, there's no need...”


“I wasn't talking to you, Preacher, I was talking to my leech of a brother. Did you lose more money at the crap tables, Ezra?”




“How many people did you cheat today?” Larabee asked, his eyes glazed as he stood toe to toe with the man who had suddenly become his worst enemy.


“I have never cheated...”


“You're a fucking liar, Ezra! You cheat everyone and you think you can control me just by putting me in here! Not fucking likely!”


“Craig, is there a problem?” Parker asked as she hurried toward the heated scene.


“Chris, you need to calm down,” Ezra tried and was shocked by the look that came over Larabee's face.


Chris could hear the damning words that had put him in this place, but he could not make sense of them. His head felt as if it would explode as pressure built inside his skull. He knew there was something he had to do as several voices spoke to him at once. The sound echoing and re-echoing through his skull in a surging tide that threatened to drown him. With a scream of rage and pain he pulled the scissors from the band of his pants and drove them into the chest of the man he thought was behind his loss of control.


Chris pulled back on the scissors, ready to drive them into the man's chest once more, but someone grabbed his wrist and twisted it until he lost his grip. Rage and pain were all he felt as he stared at the man who was both familiar and a stranger. He fought with everything he had and stared into the blue depths set in a face that terrified him. He bared his teeth and screamed when another set of hands tried t grab him.


Josiah had no idea what was wrong with Chris Larabee, but the man was like a raging tiger with the added strength of a gorilla and the rage of a rabid dog. He grabbed the flailing arms just as the orderly moved in, but Chris managed to pull away from him and duck under Styles arms and raced toward one of the buildings near the edge of the property.


Josiah wanted to go after Larabee, but one look at Ezra told him the man was losing more blood than he could afford and he quickly pulled open his jacket and ripped off part of his shirt as alarms began to sound. He pulled Standish's shirt open and pressed down on the wound.


“Who are you?” Sanchez asked.


“Samantha Parker...I'm a psychiatrist, but I can help and Dr. Mercer is in the building checking on several patients,” Parker explained and motioned to a second orderly standing nearby. “Get a gurney and...”


“We need an ambulance,” Sanchez said.


“We have a fully functional emergency room,” Parker assured him. “We need to get the bleeding stopped and then worry about moving him to a larger facility.”


Josiah looked to his right at the sound of running feet and recognized Vin Tanner, but did not show any sign that he knew him as Parker began giving orders. He knew the Texan wanted answers, but the case had to come first until they found out who was behind the murders or all this was for nothing. He returned his attention to the gambler as a nurse and orderly hurried toward them pushing a gurney.


“Jo...Josiah...Chris...find him,” Standish managed.


“We'll find your brother, Ezra, you just relax and let them help you,” Sanchez said, inwardly fighting the urge to go after Larabee.


“The hospital is in lock down right now. We'll find Chris and see that he gets the help he needs. Perhaps Dr. Kent was right in treating him aggressively,” Parker said as she moved back to allow the orderlies to lift the injured man onto a stretcher. She grabbed a side and raced along with them toward the main building.


“What the hell happened, Josiah?” Tanner asked angrily.


“I'm not sure, but something set Chris off...we need to find him.”




“Vincent, I need you to help contain the patients and make sure they go to their rooms,” Parker ordered.


“Go, Vin, I'll see what I can find out about Chris,” Sanchez said and knew how hard it was for the Texan to turn away.




Chris ran as if his life depended on it, but he couldn't figure out why he needed to run. His right hand held something cold, but it was the blood that covered his fingers that told him he'd done something terrible. There was some kind of noise, screeching at him like a flock of wild birds taking flight and squawking at him as if he'd stolen something from their nest.


He raced across the well-manicured lawn and spotted a small structure in the distance. He had no idea what it was, but it might offer him sanctuary until the fucking birds left. He heard someone behind him, and glanced over his shoulder, but what he saw sent a chill down his spine and gave him the strength he needed to go on. He reached the building, and tried the door, but found it locked. He struck out at it with the object in his right hand, and cursed when it remained closed.


Chris turned and lifted the scissors in an attacking motion, his eyes dark with fury as he stared at the being clothed in white. “Fuck...fucking kill you.”


“Easy, Jacobson, I'm going to help you,” Styles said, relieved that no one was within earshot. “You're in trouble, Jacobson, but I can help you. You want to hide until they get your brother out of here don't you?”


“Killed him...killed the bastard.”


“No, you didn't kill him, Jacobson, but I can make sure no one finds you.”


“Why me?” the blond asked, fighting the nauseating bile that rose in his throat.


“I don't like men like your brother. They're self-righteous bastards who think only of themselves. It wasn't your fault that he got what he deserved.”


“Deserved more...fuckin' cheat...never did him...”


“Let me open the door for you and I'll keep everyone away until I can help get you out of here,” Styles said, relieved when the other man lowered the scissors slightly. “That's it...just move back a little.”


Chris stared at the man as he moved away from the door, but kept the weapon ready in case he tried anything. He kept looking around, searching for anyone who might be carrying needles, but there seemed to be no one around except him and his benefactor.


“Go on in, Chris, and I'll come back to check on you in a little while,” Styles said.


Chris nodded and ducked inside the small shed. He moved deeper as the door closed and left him in total darkness. He leaned against the wall and edged his way along until he came to a corner. He sank to the floor and stretched his legs out in front of him with his hands on his lap. His head felt ready to explode and he turned to his right as noxious bile rose up in his throat. Again and again he vomited until there was nothing left but dry heaves.


Chris had no idea what was happening to him and could not think straight as he leaned his head back and closed his eyes. There was something he had to do, but for the life of him he couldn't put together a clear thought as he shuddered uncontrollably and drew his knees up so that he could wrap his arms around them. He rocked back and forth, eyes darting left and right as he made stabbing motions at things his mind conjured up.




JD looked up as the strange sound reached his ears and knew something bad had happened by the look on Melissa's face. “What is that?”


“That's the alarm from the secure area,” Melissa told him. “We need to get back to the office and make sure the security protocols are in place.”


“Isn't security done from their own office?”


“It is, but we have to make sure everything is logged so that the administration can prove they did everything by the book,” Melissa explained as she threw everything in the picnic basket and hurried toward the building.


JD swallowed several times and glanced over his shoulder before following the woman. He silently prayed the alarm had nothing to do with Chris or Ezra, but something told him trouble had come calling with a capital 'T'.




Raymond Kent had seen the gurney pushed through the main doors and smiled inwardly when he thought of the Jacobson brothers. He'd seen who the injured man was and knew Styles had managed to get Chris to attack his brother. Now he just needed to find Styles and figure out what to do with Jacobson. 


“Dr. Kent, what's happening?” Jackson asked.


“There's some kind of emergency, Dr. Bradley. We need to make sure all the patients are accounted for and keep them calm until we find out exactly what's going on,” Kent explained.


“What do you want me to do?” Jackson asked. He wanted to check on Chris, but he needed to keep up appearances if they were going to continue the case.


“Come with me,” Kent said and led the man toward the patient rooms. “You check with the desk and see if there are any patients unaccounted for and help out if they need you. I'll meet you back here in an hour.”


“All right,” Jackson said, wishing someone would kill the alarm that was bordering on painful.


Kent hurried away from Bradley and made his way to the main door that led outside. He waited for the guard to open it and hurried through it as Craig Styles and Carl Sheppard strode toward him.


“Dr. Kent, tell me you know where Chris Jacobson is,” Sheppard said.


“He was supposed to be with Craig. Tell me the alarms are not because of something he did?” Kent snapped.


“He went nuts when he saw his brother. I tried to stop him, but he took off after he stabbed...”


“Stabbed who?” Kent asked.


“Craig said Chris stabbed Ezra before he took off. Security is searching for him, but they haven't found him yet,” Sheppard explained. “I need to go inside and see that no one else was hurt and make sure the family members who are visiting are escorted safely off the property.”


“Dr. Parker is with Jacobson and Dr. Mercer is on his way. Dr. Bradley is helping the nurses make sure the patients are in their rooms,” Kent said, and saw the hint of a smile on Styles' face. “Craig, did you see which way Jacobson went?”


“Yes, Sir,” Styles said.


“Show me where he went,” Kent said as Sheppard went into the building.


“I know where he is,” the orderly said.


“Good, I want you to keep him hidden until I'm ready for him,” Kent said and took a bottle of water from his pocket. “Can you get to him without anyone seeing you?”


“Think so,” Styles told him and slipped the bottle inside his coat.


“See that he drinks that.”


“What is it?”


“What the hell do you think it is?” Kent snapped.


“You planning on keeping him high?”


“Is that what you call it?” Kent asked. “I thought this stuff caused hallucinations?”


“It does...and it'll be hard for him to come down,” Styles explained.


“I don't think he'll live long enough to come down,” Kent said. “Make sure you give that to him and then help with the other patients.”


“Yes, Sir,” Styles said and hurried away.


Kent turned and went back inside the building where nurses and orderlies seemed to have taken control of the chaos. He spotted Daniel Coburn speaking with Katrina Morgan and walked toward them. “Have you heard what happened?”


“Carl told us Jacobson stabbed his brother,” Coburn answered.


“How is he?”


“Dr. Mercer and Dr. Parker are in with him now,” Coburn said. “There's an ambulance on the way because his injuries are too severe for Mercer to deal with.”


“Where's Chris? Have they found him yet?” Morgan asked.


“Not yet, but they're looking for him,” Kent answered. “I'm going to see if I can help calm the two should do the same.”


“We have been and most of them are secured in their rooms right now,” Coburn snapped.


“Then I guess we'll just have to hope security finds Jacobson and brings him back here for treatment. I knew his anger was worse than we thought and you under-medicating him only made things worse!” Kent said and strode away before either of them had a chance to say anything.




Ryan Mercer hurried into the room just as Parker was setting up an IV for the injured man. He didn't recognize the older man who seemed to be putting pressure on a wound in the man's chest. “Sam, what happened? Who is this man?”


“This is Ezra Jacobson. His brother is a patient here and he stabbed Ezra.”


“Who are you?” Mercer asked and shouldered Sanchez out of the way.


“My name is Josiah Arnott. I'm a close friend of the family,” the ex-preacher answered.


“Well, Josiah, I don't think you're needed here right now and this is an open wound so I'd rather keep the area as sterile as possible. Please wait outside and I'll update you as soon as I can,” Mercer ordered as a nurse entered the room and moved to help Parker.


“Go ahead, Josiah, there's nothing you can do for him right now,” Parker told the worried man.


“Okay, Sam, what do we have,” Mercer asked and listened while she rattled off the man's vitals. He knew what they were dealing with on the surface, but from the way the man's breath wheezed from his body he suspected they were dealing with a punctured lung. He could deal with it for now, but the sooner they transported him to the nearest trauma center the better.


“Nurse, get another IV started and run the fluids wide open. How long ago was the ambulance called?”


“About twenty minutes ago,” Parker answered and checked the injured man's blood pressure again.




Ezra could hear unfamiliar voices speaking around him, but it felt like a heavy weight was pressing down on his chest and it was getting harder to breathe. He opened his eyes, swallowed convulsively and tried to reach for the burning fire that had erupted in his upper body.


“Just be still, Ezra,” Parker ordered and gently pressed his hands back down.




“You were hurt, but you're going to be fine,” Parker said as Mercer used the stethoscope to listen to his chest.


“Har...hard to bre...breathe...”


“It sounds like his lung was punctured,” Mercer said and placed a hand on the patient's right shoulder as he spoke. “Ezra, I'm going to set up for a chest tube. Dr. Parker is going to give you something for pain and I'll freeze the area. Just try to relax and we'll get you taken care of.”


“Where...where's Chris?”


“Chris is fine, Ezra, it's you we're all worried about,” Parker said and injected the medication into the IV line.


Ezra suddenly found his throat had gone dry and tried to moisten his lips, but could not manage even that small task as he looked at the man beside his bed. His eyelids grew heavy and he felt something sharp enter his side as images formed and dissolved against an unfamiliar background.


“Go ahead and sleep, Ezra, everything's going to be fine.”


Ezra wasn't sure who said the words, but God, it sounded like the best advice he'd ever been given. The only problem was he knew there was something he needed to do. Someone he needed to talk to, someone who needed his help.






Chris shifted slightly, licking at the saliva that dribbled past his lips. He tried to think, but his head hurt too much and his heart seemed to beat so fast he was sure it would explode through his ribs. He heard something nearby and froze, his breathing harsh as the door opened and he lifted the only weapon he had. He managed to climb to his feet and keep the wall at his back when the door opened and he saw a dark form silhouetted by the late evening light.


“Easy, Big Guy, it's just me. I told you I'd come back to help you.”


“Wha...fuck do you want?” the blond snarled, teeth bared and eyes flashing dangerously as he kept the scissors pointed at the newcomer.


“I brought you something to drink and later I'll see about getting you some food,” Styles said and closed the door before turning on a flashlight and offering the bottle of tainted water. He motioned with it several times until the patient reached tentatively for it. “Go ahead, Chris, I know you must be thirsty.”


“Wa...water,” the blond said and snatched the bottle while keeping the scissors pointed in the man's direction. “Stay the fu...fuck away from”


“Sure, but I have to come back if I'm going to help you,” Styles told him and watched as the other man fumbled with the cap until he finally managed to get it off and then dropped it while tipping the bottle to his lips.


Chris had never tasted anything so good and downed half the bottle before taking the time to breathe. He wiped at his mouth, frowning when he saw the blood on his hands. “What the hell...need a show...shower.”


“I'll come get you when there's a free shower, but right now you need to rest. They're still looking for you.”


“Looking for me?” the blond asked and slowly slid back to the floor. He finished the water and let the bottle drop to the floor as he concentrated on the blood on his hands. “Killed my deser...deserved to die.”


“Yes, he did, Chris, now just rest until everything calms down and I'll be back for you,” Styles said and smiled when Jacobson moaned and grabbed his gut.


Chris dropped the scissors as he lay on his side and curled into a ball. The fire in his gut was far worse than it had been and he rocked back and forth in an effort to ease the torment. Nothing helped, but he heard the door open and was soon bathed in darkness as the other man left. 


Chris tried to make sense of the images that flashed through his mind, but couldn't quite grasp what they meant. He saw blood, heard a cry of pain, saw the face of a man he trusted, yet he felt betrayed and couldn't figure out why. Who was this man and why had he felt compelled to kill him? Where were his friends and why didn't they come to help him? He closed his eyes as tiny beads of perspiration formed on his brow and heat built around him. It wasn't long before his body was wracked by convulsions and he ground his teeth together as the muscles in his neck corded and he twisted his body in an effort to get rid of the pain.




Carl Sheppard looked at the people gathered around the main nursing station as the alarm was finally silenced. The patients were all back in their rooms, except for Chris Jacobson and a thorough search was on the way for him. He knew his partner had given Jacobson the psychotic drug, but didn't think it was strong enough to kill him.


“Carl, security is still searching for Jacobson, but so far they've come up empty,” Coburn said and looked at the clipboard showing where each patient was.


“He can't have gone far. The alarm went off pretty fast and he would not have been able to get through the main gate,” Sheppard explained.


“He's in good shape and could have gone over the wall,” Morgan added.


“Maybe, but someone on the outer grounds would have seen him,” Sheppard said as Samantha Parker joined them. “How is Jacobson?”


“He suffered a punctured lung. Dr. Mercer put in a chest tube and the ambulance just arrived so they're getting him ready for transport,” Parker answered. 


“What does Ryan have to say about his chances?” Coburn asked.


“He should be okay, but he'll be spending some time in the hospital,” Parker told them and spotted Nathan Bradley speaking with one of the cleaners at the end of the corridor. She'd seen the man before, but something about the way they looked at each other spoke of a familiarity that made her frown.


“Dr. Parker, were you present when all this took place?” Sheppard asked.


“I was there,” the woman answered.


“Perhaps I could have a word with you in private concerning possible lawsuits by Ezra Jacobson?”


“Of course,” Parker said and walked away from the group. She entered one of the rooms used for therapy and checked to make sure the cameras were turned off before speaking. “We need to find Jacobson before anyone else does.”


“We will, but we need to wait until things calm down,” Sheppard told her. “I knew he was dangerous, but you wanted to play your games with him.”


“It wasn't a game, Carl, it was a way to show his brother we could handle things,” Parker said and paced back and forth.


“We certainly made a mess of that. We should cut our losses and get the hell out of here.”


“That wouldn't help. If they investigate then we'd be at the top of their list of suspects. Look, I've laid the groundwork to make everyone suspicious of Ray, and just maybe this little fiasco is our way out without anyone being the wiser. We just need to keep our heads until Jacobson is found.”


“He'll be a mess with that drug you gave him.”


“Exactly and what better way to get rid of both problems at once. Security is searching for Jacobson so we just need to send them on a wild goose chase and go after Chris ourselves. We find him and convince him Kent is working with his brother. His anger and a little prodding from us will send his anger crashing down on Kent.”


“So many things could go wrong with that plan,” Sheppard told her.


“Could it possibly be any worse than what's happening now?” Parker snapped.


“I guess not, but how do we find Jacobson?”


“First we get security looking outside the secure area, then we offer Styles a little bonus to help us find him. He knows where a patient can hide better than anyone,” Parker answered.


“Styles works closely with Kent?”


“So what, Styles would sell out his own mother if there was money involved,” Parker told him.


“True, the man has no morals.”


“And we do?” Parker finished with a hint of a smile. “Look, see what you can do about getting security to search outside the grounds and I'll speak with Styles. If all goes well this little mess should be cleaned up by tomorrow.”


“I'll see what I can do,” Sheppard said and followed the woman out the door. Things seemed to have calmed down and it seemed as if things were returning to normal.




“What the hell are we going to do about Chris?” Wilmington asked Jackson when he was sure no one was within earshot. Tanner was also present and he knew the Texan felt the same way he did.


“Not sure there's anything we can do at this point, Buck. Josiah went in the ambulance with Ezra, and everything is still in place as far as the assignment goes. Security is searching for Chris and once they find him we can decide what to do about the case.”


“I say we pull the plug right now. Who knows what the hell was done to Chris, but you can be sure it's bad because there's no way in hell he would have stabbed Ezra if he was in his right mind,” Wilmington said.


“Nathan, can I speak with you for a minute?” Coburn asked when he noticed the two men standing away from the others.


“Have you heard anything about Chris?” Jackson asked.


“Someone spotted him on the outer grounds and the police have been called in. That's why I wanted to talk to you. I think it's time to call a halt to this before anyone else gets hurt. If the police believe we have an escaped patient who's considered armed and dangerous then they'll treat him that way and he could be hurt,” Coburn explained.


“I ain't gonna argue with ya 'bout that. It's time we started lookin' fer him,” Tanner said.


“You won't be able to until the lock down is called off,” Coburn told them.


“Ain't much of a lock down if'n Chris got out before anyone caught him,” the Texan advised.


“That's something we'll have to speak to the board about once this is over,” Coburn offered. “If it's any consolation I believe you boys were on the right track with Kent and once the board goes over his case files they'll probably order an investigation into his other patients.”


“It don't do Chris any good right now,” Tanner said.


“Maybe not, but at least it opens the door for a complete investigation into his activities,” Coburn said. “The other patients will stay in their rooms until we're sure there's no danger. Meanwhile I'd like your help in keeping everything under control here.”


“Nathan, we need to get word to Orin and find out what's happening with Ezra,” Wilmington said.


“I'll call Orin and fill him in,” Jackson assured them and wished he could ease the worry he saw in their eyes.




Chris cowered in fear of the creatures his mind conjured up and latched onto the hatred he felt toward his 'brother'. Ezra had put him in here; Ezra had signed the papers and made sure there was no way out for him. There were others involved...a preacher...and a woman named James.


Chris chuckled at the thought of a woman being called James, but groaned as his gut burned like an unquenchable inferno. He had no sense of time, but he needed to relieve himself and God, he was so damn thirsty. He tried to get to his feet, but his legs refused to hold him. He tried to crawl, but even that seemed an impossible task as pain shot through his joints.


“God damn you, Ezra!” Chris cried out, his voice rasping through tightly clenched teeth as he struggled to get past the pain. It was an impossible feat, and he blinked several times in an effort to orient himself with his surroundings. Where the hell was he? How the fuck was he going to escape if he couldn't even crawl? Where was the bastard who said he'd help him?


Chris rolled onto his back, but held tight to the scissors as if they were the key to his finding an escape from the hell around him.




JD knew things had gone wrong and was quickly sending things to his own computer at the office so that he could go over everything more carefully. News of the stabbing had reached them and that Chris Jacobson was behind it and had escaped the secure area had sent everyone into a panic. He'd been forced to remain where he was because there was nothing he could do until the police allowed access to the secure grounds.


Melissa Tandy was at her computer, but she was talking to someone on the phone rather than working and JD hoped she would not notice what he was doing. He silently wished he could contact the others, but for now he needed to keep up appearances.


The files he was downloading were ones that had been inaccessible until he found the right password. Now he'd be able to access Kent's files from The Firm's office. He knew that between him and Ezra they could easily get through the back door and find out exactly what Kent had been up to.  He frowned when he noticed something he hadn't seen before and sent a link along with the rest of the files. 




Craig Styles looked up when he heard someone call his name and smiled at the pretty woman walking toward him. Things had calmed down somewhat, and the search for Jacobson was no longer concentrated on the secure area of the facility. “What can I do for you, Dr. Parker?”


“We need to talk,” Parker said and motioned for him to follow her outside.


“What's going on?” Styles asked, confused by the woman's behavior.


“How would you like to make some extra cash?”


“I'm all for extra cash, Doc. What do you have in mind?”


“I know you work closely with Dr. Kent...”


“I just do my job.”


“Cut the crap, Styles and listen for a change. I've got a proposition that could net you a tidy sum as long as you're willing to do something without question.”


“Depends on what you want,” Styles told her.


“I want you to find Jacobson and make sure he stays hidden until I say so...”


“I heard he escaped.”


“You don't believe that any more than I do. Look, I'm willing to pay you five grand if you do this.”


“Make it ten and I'll not only find Jacobson I'll make sure he stays out of your way.”


“I don't want him to stay out of my way...I want him to help take care of another problem I have,” Parker explained.


“What problem is that?”


“Kent,” Parker said and saw the greed in the man's eyes. “I want Jacobson to take care of him for me. Do you think you can find Jacobson? If you can I just might be inclined to cut you in on other assignments.”


“I might be able to, but I don't work cheap, Doc,” Styles said, already counting the promised cash.


“I expect you to do what I say without question then,” Parker said. “Find Jacobson and make sure you come to me.”


“I don't need to.”


“What do you mean?” Parker asked.


“I already know where Jacobson is,” Styles told her.


“Where is he?”


“In the gardener's shed. Kent had me lace his water with a street drug that causes hallucinations.”


“How long ago was that?”


“About two...maybe three hours since I gave him the water,” Styles answered.


“Does he have anything he can use as a weapon?”


“He still has the scissors. Kent is supposed to let me know what he wants to do next,” Styles explained.


“Is there any way you can get Jacobson inside without anyone seeing him?”


“Maybe during the shift change. It's the best time and sometimes we can slip in through the back while the staff is leaving,” Styles told her.  “What do you have in mind?”


“I want Kent dead...doesn't mater how, but if you can make it look like Jacobson killed him then there'll be a bonus in it for you.”


“I can get him inside and if I convince him that Kent is working for his brother then it'll be easy to get Jacobson to take the good doctor down. If not, I can always kill Kent and see that Jacobson takes the fall for it,” Styles explained.


“Just as long as you make sure Kent and Jacobson are taken care of.”


“That'll cost you extra,” Styles told her.


“I'll double my offer if you can get this done in the next two hours,” Parker said.


“That's not much time, but if you can make sure the back door is left open a little and the cameras in that area are shut down then I should be able to get Jacobson to Kent's office without much trouble,” Styles explained.


“You get this done right and I promise there'll be more money in it for you,” Parker assured him and saw the hint of a smile on the man's face. “Look, here's what I want you to do...bring Jacobson around the back and I'll meet you there with Kent and between us we can make sure neither man is capable of ruining what we have here.”


“All right, Doc, looks like you and me got a deal,” Styles said and watched her leave.  He could do a lot with the money she was offering and wondered just how much he could milk her for once Kent was out of the way. He pushed his hands into his pockets and whistled softly as he hurried toward the gardener's shed.




Raymond Kent cursed as he searched through his files and tried to delete the ones that could cost him his position at Shady Acres. Someone had been digging through his files, but there was no way they could get to the ones he'd hidden with a series of passwords. He glanced toward the clock above his door and knew he'd have to meet Styles in order to deal with Chris Jacobson, but if someone had found a way into his secret files then he was in more trouble than he'd originally thought. Being fired for practicing without a license was the least of his problems.


Kent tapped several keys, but found access to his files blocked and cursed as he tried to make sense of what was happening. Everything seemed to be snowballing since Chris Jacobson had been committed to the facility. The sonofabitch was costing him everything he'd worked so hard for. A knock on his door made him jump and he cursed when Samantha Parker opened the door and stepped inside.


“It's common courtesy to wait for permission to enter, Dr. Parker,” he snapped impatiently.


“I'm sorry, Ray, am I interrupting something important?”


“As a matter of fact...”


“Sorry, but I thought you'd like to know that your patient is being brought in. I figured you'd like to see him before the police got hold of him. I know how concerned you are for his welfare and maybe you'll be able to talk him down,” Parker said.


“How do you know they found him?” Kent asked worriedly.


“I heard it from Vince and Dr. Bradley,” Parker told him. “I sent Craig to see if he can get to Chris before anyone makes it worse for him. He's your patient, Ray, and I thought we could call a truce so that he gets the treatment he needs, I do apologize if I'm wrong.”


“Do you know what way they're bringing him in?” Kent asked.


“Through the back door. Carl has arranged to have him brought in that way so that things are kept under wraps until we're sure Jacobson isn't a danger to anyone else,” Parker lied, turning away when Kent closed his laptop and made his way to the door.


“Are you coming?”


“I'd like to, Ray, because contrary to what you think I'm on your side,” Parker told him and stepped through the door with Kent directly behind her. She slid her hand inside the pocket of her lab coat and smiled when her fingers touched against the gun she'd carefully hidden there. One way or another her troubles would be over today.




Craig Styles quickly made his way to the shed and opened the door, grimacing in disgust at the smell of vomit that sickened his stomach. He shone the flashlight inside and spotted Jacobson curled into a ball in the corner. The man was making strange mewling sounds as he rocked slightly back and forth.


“Come on Chris, it's time to finish this.”


“Who...who the fuck a...are you?” the blond said, trying to get to his feet as the newcomer entered and bright light stabbed at his eyes.


“I'm your white knight, Jacobson. I'm going to take you to the man behind your torment. Dr. Kent wants to see you...”


“ more fuck....fucking needles,” Larabee spat and held the scissors in front of him as the other man came closer.


“No, we'll make sure he doesn't use any needles on you, stopped your brother and now you can stop Dr. Kent from taking what belongs to you,” Styles said. “Come on and I'll take you in the back way so we can surprise Kent.”


“Why?” Larabee asked.


“Why what?”


“Why...helping me?”


“Because I don't like what the bastard does to his patients and want to help put a stop to it. So tell you want to take Kent down?”


“Hard to w...walk...hurt...every...everywhere.”


“I'm sure it does, but once you take care of Kent the real doctors will help you and then you can take back what's yours,” Styles said and carefully helped the other man stand, disgusted by the smell of vomit and urine.

PART 1 / PART 2 / PART 3 / PART 4 / PART 5 / PART 6 / PART 7 / PART 9 / PART 10PART 11




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