far end of the hall before the telephone rang. It made her jump, but then she realized that Carey must have finished his rounds early and guessed where she must be. She stepped into her old room, hurried to the nightstand beside the bed, and lifted the receiver. 'Hello?'

'Is this the number where I can reach Jane Whitefield?' It was a man's voice, and she had never heard it before.

'Who's calling?'

'My name is Michael Schneider.' The man waited through a moment of Jane's silence, then seemed to panic. 'Please, don't hang up. This is urgent. I really need to talk to her, and in an hour it might be too late for me. I know this is the number because I've carried it in my memory for a long time in case I ever needed it, and now I do.'

Two more seconds passed while Jane took in a deep breath and then let it out. 'This is Jane Whitefield.'

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