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PART NINETY

It turned out that Doctor Bikerman wasn’t. Wasn’t a man, that is. A hospital staff member brought Karla, Suzann, Stacie and Officer Rosenstock beyond the emergency room’s No Admittance sign. A diminutive young woman with a loosely tied, sand-colored ponytail wearing the ubiquitous doctor’s coat stood just along a row of curtain draped examination rooms. Her coat bore Kay L Bikerman MD embroidered above her heart and beneath the stitching were two tags, a smaller one that read simply BIKERMAN and a larger one bearing the letters MD. Looking poised and confident she nodded to Officer Rosenstock and said, “I’m Doctor Bikerman. Officer Rosenstock tells me that you have a personal interest in one of my minor patients?”

Karla, Stacie and Suzann looked from one another to Officer Rosenstock and back again. Tierney Rosenstock stood, hands loosely held in front of her, her face unreadable marble. Suzann, after turning to her companions with eyebrows slightly raised and head tilted three degrees to the right, shrugged her left shoulder half an inch and took a tiny step forward. “Yes, Doctor Bikerman,” she said, “My name is Suzann Layher, this is Stacie Shannon,” Stacie’s face raised in a half smile, partial grimace eyebrow spike, “Sara’s teacher and that’s Karla Kisor, mother to Sara’s best friend.”

Karla nodded, emitted an obligatory, “Ma’am,” and hugged herself tightly.

“I’m the school secretary,” Suzann continued. “We’re all very concerned about Sara, uh, especially Karla. It’s, well, it’s her ex-husband who tried to kidnap the girl. We were hoping we might be able to see her?”

“None of you are relatives of hers? I’m afraid only relatives are allowed to see minor patients.”

“We’re not,” Stacie said, “but as you probably know Sara’s mother was kidnapped by Caleb Morse along with Karla’s daughter. Sara’s father is somewhere over the Atlantic. We’re the closest thing to family Sara has around here.”

“I,” Dr. Bikerman hesitate a split second, “appreciate that. We have someone from Family Services on her way over. You should be able to speak to her shortly. I wish I could help.”

Officer Rosenstock cleared her throat. “Uh, Doc? Is Sara well enough to be interviewed?”

Doctor Bikerman’s head drew back slightly, her furrowed brow emitting three quick blinks. “Didn’t you all-” when she stopped and smiled. “Ah. I see. So, you’re asking if the patient that you brought to me earlier is capable of further interview? Is that what you’d like to know?”

“Yes, ma’am. And, because of my need to interview MS Kisor here and safeguard Sar- Oops!” Tierney said, quickly placing and removing her hand from her mouth, “I almost said the patient’s name. Because I need to interview MS Kisor and safeguard the patient I was hoping to be able to interview MS Kisor back here. If we won’t be in anyone’s way that is.”

Doctor Kay Bikerman looked at Officer Tierney Rosenstock with slitted eyes before nodding slowly three times. “Well, yes, Officer Rosenstock. If you feel that it is necessary to interview MS Kisor while simultaneously protecting your charge, then I suppose that’s the only course of action that makes sense.

“I’m afraid I have other patients to attend,” she added, looking at the three other women with a face as unreadable as Tierney Rosenstock’s had been moments before. “I’ll trust you to do the right thing, Officer. We’ll chat later,” she said, smiling, nodding and turning on her heal.