Shadow Unit

Case Files

Teasers & Deleted Scenes

Baltimore, MD, June 2008

The pounding of his heart wakes him. Fists pressed to his mouth, back burning, body shivering, Chaz lies in the darkness and waits to hear the rattle of chains.

But he's warm, and the room is lit softly green by a nightlight. The red glow of the assistance button burns steadily at the bedside. The bedspread is scratchy chenille, and he hates it.

Johns Hopkins. He's still in the hospital. From where he lies, curled on his side, he can see the nightstand, the ridiculous purple stuffed coyote Worth brought him, the shiny folded animals arrayed like a good start on an ark.

The folder is in the drawer, where the nurses won't see it. It felt, from the weight, as if there were color printouts of photos inside. He knows he isn't supposed to have that.

Madeline Frost broke a rule for him.

His heart, which had begun to slow, accelerates. Pain spikes; he realizes he's biting his hand. He pulls it away from his mouth before he can leave a mark that will show in the morning.

She knew he would not want to read it now. She knew he would want to keep a copy. She brought him the damned thing like a cat dragging home a butchered vole. She broke the rules to do it.

It might be the single most human action of Madeline Frost's life.

The sociopath brought me a trophy.