Chapter no 30

The Locked Door

I hand off the trauma pager to Philip at nine, then I have to take an Uber to the police station because my car is still in the lot at my office, the tires slashed. I remember that night I drove to this same police station to evade Henry Callahan. That was before he took things too far, and I…

Well, I didn’t do anything to him. He got into an accident because of his own stupidity.

I wonder how he’s doing…

Patricia Holstein is waiting for me in the parking lot of the police station, as promised. I recognize her immediately, based on the photograph on her website, with her platinum blond bob and sharp eyes with a web of lines underneath. She’s about a decade older than I am, but she looks like she’s been doing this job for a hundred years. I wonder how Philip knows her.

“Dr. Davis?” she asks, taking in my blue scrubs. There was absolutely no time to change after I finished up with Kayla Ramirez. I’m lucky I made it here at all.

“Yes.” I shift in my seat. “Patricia Holstein?”

She nods briskly. “Patricia is fine. Let’s talk inside my car before we go in.”

Patricia Holstein has a BMW that appears to suit her level of success. As I slide into the buttery leather passenger seat, I feel increasingly uncomfortable in my scrubs, which pale in comparison to her expensive suit. She’s wearing the sort of suit where you want to reach out and feel the material.

When we’re both inside the vehicle, Patricia turns to face me. She’s looking at something on the leg of my pants, and I follow her gaze. It’s a bloodstain. Courtesy of Kayla Ramirez, who was stable when I left the hospital. She’s going to pull through.

“I just got out of surgery,” I explain.

“Not the best attire when they’re questioning you about a murder.” I shrug helplessly. “It was a pretty intense surgery.”

“Fine. There’s not much we can do about it now.” She glances at the police station and back at me. “So I’m having a lot of trouble understanding why they’re persisting in going after you. You are a respected surgeon, you didn’t have any personal relationship with these girls, and there’s no reason to believe you would be a suspect. Aside, of course, from your family history. But something like that would get laughed out of court.”

“Right.” I feel a spark of hope. “It seems crazy.”

“Unless there’s something we don’t know.” Her sharp eyes rake over my face. “Or there’s something don’t know.”

“I… I don’t think so.” I can’t tell her about the blood in my basement. Every time the words come to my lips, I can hear how it sounds in my head. It sounds like I’m guilty. Blood does not just magically appear. And anyway, Barber doesn’t know about it. And he’ll never know if I can help it.

“Listen to me, Dr. Davis.” There’s no trace of a smile on her lips. “Whatever you have done or have not done, it is my job to defend you. But if you don’t tell me everything I need to know, I can’t do my job. So tell me. Is there something I should know?”

I swallow. “No. Nothing.”

She gives me a long look. I can’t tell whether she believes me or not, but finally, she unlocks the doors to the car. “Let’s go.”

The police station is a two-story brown brick building, with about half a dozen police cars parked right outside. Patricia strides purposefully towards the entrance like she’s been here dozens of times before, which I suppose is possible. I don’t feel in my element here though. I feel confident when I’m in the operating room—not here.

There’s a desk at the entrance, and Patricia takes charge by telling the receptionist that I’m here and that Detective Barber is expecting us. The receptionist instructs us to have a seat, and immediately, I’m checking my watch. I don’t have time for this. Don’t they realize I’m a surgeon? I saved a woman’s life this morning and these people…

Well, I suppose they save lives from time to time too. But still.

After twenty minutes of driving myself crazy, Detective Barber comes out to meet us. My legs are shaking so badly, I have to try twice to get out of the chair. But Patricia leaps right out of her seat and holds her hand out

for the detective to shake. I’ll have to thank Philip for sending her to me. I feel in very capable hands.

“Thank you for coming, Dr. Davis.” Barber’s tone is polite, but his dark eyes are examining me like a microscope. I cringe under his gaze. “Follow me this way, ladies.”

Barber leads us down a long hallway to a dimly lit room with a folding table and chairs set up. It must be an interrogation room. I’m in an interrogation room. This is not good.

I wonder if my father was ever in a room like this. Or if they just threw him right in a cell. What is the protocol when you discover a dead body and a chest full of bones in a man’s basement? Maybe I don’t want to know.

“You’re probably wondering why I asked you here,” Barber says to


“Yes,” Patricia says, “we are wondering that.”

The detective focuses his attention on me as the crease between his

bushy gray eyebrows deepens. “I just wanted to get more of a sense of your relationship with Shelby Gillis.”

I swallow. “She was my patient. What else do you want to know?” “Did you know her outside of a hospital setting?”

I glance over at Patricia, who nods almost imperceptibly. “I saw her in my outpatient practice. At a postop visit.”

“Anything else?” I frown. “No…” “Are you sure?”

Patricia leans forward and says sharply, “She already told you no.”

“Right.” Barber rubs his hands together. “But here’s the thing. We found a cup on the kitchen counter in Shelby Gillis’s house with your fingerprints on it. And one of her neighbors said they saw a green Camry parked outside on the night she disappeared. That’s what you drive, isn’t it, Nora?”

It doesn’t escape me that he called me Nora instead of Dr. Davis. Under ordinary circumstances, I would instruct him otherwise, but I’ve been rendered speechless. A green Camry outside her house is meaningless. There are a million cars like mine out there. But my fingerprints in her house? How could that have happened?

“So I’m going to ask you again,” he says. “What is your relationship to Shelby Gillis?”

I look over at Patricia for help.

“Even if Dr. Davis was inside the victim’s apartment,” she says, “that does not make her a murder suspect. This is absolutely ridiculous. The only reason you’re targeting her is because of who her father is.”

I want to agree with her, but I’m afraid to speak. I hope that’s all they have on me. A couple of fingerprints on a cup and a green car in the vicinity of Shelby Gillis’s home.

“So tell us if you have something more substantial,” Patricia says, “or are you just wasting my client’s time?”

I watch Barber’s face. I have no idea what they have on me. I flash back to the way Amber Swanson’s mother was glaring at me. She seemed so sure that I had something to do with her daughter’s death. Is it just because of my father? Or is there something more? Does he have a video of me entering Shelby’s house? An eyewitness who saw me hacking off her hands?

What does he have on me? “That’s all,” he finally says.

Patricia shakes her head in disgust. “In that case, we’ll be leaving now.

Dr. Davis, I hope you weren’t too inconvenienced.”

I follow my attorney’s lead and get up out of the folding chair. My legs are still shaky, but better than they were when I came in. The police don’t have anything on me. They’re just fishing around, trying to intimidate me. I have nothing to worry about.

But then I turn around and look at Detective Barber. He might not have any real evidence, but I can see in his eyes that he thinks I killed those girls. And as long as he believes that, he’s going to keep digging until the real killer surfaces.

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