She looked at the person who had stopped her. It was a patient. She appeared to be a teenager, a couple of inches shorter than Jane, with brown hair. She was wearing a white hospital bathrobe, and Jane could see at the neckline the tiny flowers of the awful pattern of the standard-issue gown. Her expression was anguished. Jane said, 'Are you in pain?'

The young woman said, 'No. I'm okay. Please. Do you know Jane Whitefield? A woman over there said you might. Do you?'

'Yes,' said Jane. 'I'm Jane. But look, I—' She was already turning toward the injured people in the cafeteria, but the girl held her arm.

'Sharon Curtis told me to come to this hospital, and ask for you.'

Jane turned to look at the young woman more closely. There were very few things she could have said that would have kept Jane from shaking her off and going back for more victims. Sharon Curtis was a name that Jane knew well because ten years ago she had invented it. Jane's eyes didn't leave the young woman's face. 'Why did Sharon send you here?'

'She sent me to a house in Deganawida. I waited for a whole night, most of it on the back steps, but nobody ever came. She had said to try the hospital as a last resort. She said it had been a long time, and you might have moved. But the hospital might know where you were.'

Jane's mind was full of conflicting thoughts, and among them was a memory of the day she had left Sharon. She had said then, 'If you need me again, you know where to come. If I'm not there, try the hospital where they sewed up your arm.'

Jane said to the girl, 'I understand, and we'll talk. But right now we're in the middle of a disaster here. Can you—'

'This was about me.'

'About you?' Jane put her arm around the girl and pulled her to the side of the hallway so they were against the wall and out of the way. 'Why?'

'I got the doctor to admit me because I'm pregnant and I told her I was having some bleeding. I had to stay off the street, where they could get me. I needed to rest, and I needed time to find you.'

'They? Who are they?'

'There are six of them—four men and two women. They handle things for a man I used to work for. I ran away and now they've come for me.'

'Why would they set off a bomb in the hospital? What does that have to do with you?'

'They wanted the hospital evacuated so they could drag me out and take me back to San Diego.'

Jane was frustrated, impatient. 'How do you know it's them?'

'I saw one of them here. He was walking up and down the halls in the upper floors looking for me. He was carrying a little bouquet of flowers he had bought in the gift shop, but he was looking in every door. He saw me, our eyes met, and he turned away. When he was gone I slipped out and hid in the visitors' restroom on the next floor. Then a while later there was the explosion. I looked out, and I could see the nurses and orderlies starting to evacuate patients. I ran so I wouldn't be where the six wanted me to be.'

'Come on,' said Jane. She guided the girl down the hall away from the emergency wing, avoided the lobby, and turned toward the new neonatal center that had been bought with the proceeds of the past year's fund drive. It was scheduled to open in a month, and all evening Jane and the rest of the committee had been leading donors through, showing them the facilities.

When Jane pushed open the door, she was surprised to see that the place had already changed. It was all bright lights and motion. There were hospital staff here, and there were people in bloody evening clothes on gurneys being moved into the rooms. Jane saw that one of the linen closets was open, so she stepped in and took two packaged sets of light green hospital scrubs, then pulled the young woman out through the doors with her.

She stayed close to the young woman, and spoke under her breath as they walked. 'Did you leave anything upstairs that you need?'

'No,' she said. 'I've got my wallet in my robe pocket.'

'Good. We're going to have to leave the hospital while these people are watching for you, so we've got to move fast and change what we can.' She hurried up the back hallway past the outpatient cancer-treatment rooms and into a bathroom. Jane took off her evening dress, draped it over the top of a stall, and put on a set of green scrubs.

The young woman said, 'That's a beautiful dress.'

Jane shrugged. 'Glad you like it. You're going to wear it.'

'I'm pregnant. I'll never fit in that.'

'That's the idea. If they see you from a distance in an evening gown they'll look past you. Slip it over your head. We won't try to zip it. Leave the hospital socks on.'

The young woman took off her bathrobe and Jane hurried out. A few minutes later, after the girl had the dress on, holding it up with her hands, Jane returned with a wheelchair. She set the second set of scrubs on the seat and said, 'Get in the chair.'

The young woman obeyed, and Jane arranged the dress so it looked as though the young woman fit into it. Jane pushed the wheelchair toward the big double doors at the end of the hall beyond the outpatient center. As she walked, she talked quietly to the young woman. 'You're somebody who was at the benefit, and you've been treated, and now you're going home. You'll recognize the people who are after you, right?'


'I don't know what they look like, so if you see one of them tell me. You don't have to make a lot of noise or anything, but be sure I know.'


The automatic doors gave a quiet huff and swung open and Jane pushed the wheelchair into the night air. There were more sirens that she had not heard before. She pushed the chair out into the service road that ran along the side of the hospital, and turned toward the parking lots. As she came within sight of the back of the building she saw that at least a dozen police cars had arrived. She moved into the lot, hoping the presence of cops would protect them, but realized that the cars were all empty. They had simply been left at haphazard angles, and the officers had run inside. There were big knots of people in the lot now, many of them evacuated patients and hospital staff, some of them curious onlookers and others victims who had rushed out of the building. She was pleased that there was plenty of activity to distract the watchers, if they were out here.

She saw that the row of doctors' parking spaces near the building was full. It had been half-empty when she had arrived here this morning with the rest of the committee to prepare for the benefit. She couldn't help noticing Carey's black BMW in its reserved space. She pushed the wheelchair across the lot toward her own white Volvo sedan, looking ahead but watching for movement in her peripheral vision.

She arrived at the car, stepped into the space to the right of it to open the door and let the young woman get in. Then she tossed the package of scrubs onto the woman's lap and closed the door. She heard something behind her—the scrape of a shoe on the pavement—and she half-turned as a man's hand pushed her hard toward the car beside her.

Jane pivoted with the push and set her back against the car. She saw that he wore a dark suit, and recognized him as one of the men she'd seen standing outside the hospital kitchen. He looked surprised that his push had not sent Jane far out of his way, and he seemed to sense, dimly, that this tall, dark-haired woman in the green scrubs wasn't doing what he had expected. He reached into his coat.

Jane's stomp-kick to the side of the man's leg at knee level replaced his suspicion with intense pain as his knee popped and he fell to the pavement clawing and grabbing at his ruined kneecap with his free hand. He struggled to free a gun from his coat and bring it around to aim it at Jane, but that idea had occurred to him too late. Her foot hit the side of his head and battered it against the door of her car, and her next kick propelled the gun out of his hand.

She knelt and looked at the pavement to see where the gun had gone, but she saw something else. There was a second man in a suit sprinting toward her from the direction of the emergency wing, passing the slow-moving people leaving the hospital. She rose and looked over the hood of the next car and saw that there was a third man running into the parking lot off to her right. As he skirted the knot of patients and nurses who had been evacuated,

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