The Doctor didn’t say anything. She kept her professional facade, but inside she was moved by the emotion of this young man’s story. If anything Jack had told her was true, such a horrific event could indeed be the root cause of a number of unresolved mental issues. Complete mental breakdowns have occurred as a result of much less. Trauma like that could linger for years and fester like an open wound if not properly dealt with.
“It’s okay doc. It was a long time ago and like anything else, time will make almost anything bearable.”
“I’m sorry for your loss Jack.” The doctor said sincerely.
“When did this happen?” The doctor asked.
“It’s been a few years now.” Jack said. “And like I said, I have come to terms with it.”
“Did the police ever catch the killer?” She asked.
“No, they did not.”
Emily gave pause at the way Jack said that.
“Would you mind if we took a quick break Jack? I have to look in on Abigail and check with Nancy to make sure we didn’t get any new arrivals. Should be less than twenty minutes.”
“Okay. Do you think I will be able to use the phone later doc?” Jack said.
Emily stood up and gathered her files. “I think that would be okay. Is there anything you need in the meantime?”
“Nothing that can’t wait.”
“I will be back shortly.”
Emily left the room and closed the door behind her. She could have sworn that she heard Jack talking after she closed the door, so she did a quick peek through the window and saw that he was sitting right where she left him. Not saying a word.
Once Emily got back to her desk she got onto her computer and googled Double Homicides in Ann Arbor Michigan.
It was the last entry on the page and she almost missed it. Parking Structure Massacre was the headline. Emily read the entire story and from what she could tell it was consistent with what Jack had told her.
Just before Emily was about to exit the page she noticed something.
The murders occurred over twenty years ago.
He must have known I would check.
The doctor could tell from looking at Jack that he could only be in his mid-twenties. Late twenties was a stretch.
It was not uncommon for her patients to tell lies during her evaluation period, and even believe them in some cases. She couldn’t explain why, but she did not expect this behavior from Jack. Everything matched up about his story except the date.
Emily was contemplating everything that she had observed to this point, but she wasn’t ready to put a label on anything. In most cases that she handled she could get a good idea within the first hour or so of what she was dealing with, but this was not one of those cases. Maybe he would let his guard down and reveal more as time went on, which would help her get a better sense of the problem. When a patient does not display clear mental disabilities, there are usually unresolved problems, like extreme trauma, that need to be brought out into the light. The death of his mother could easily be one of these events, but she did not want to rush to judgment so soon into his story.
“How is it going with our new guest?” Nancy said when she walked in.
“He is not going to be a dull one that’s for sure.” She said, not really looking at anything, just thinking.
“I could have told you that honey. Actually I did now that I think about it.” Nancy boasted.
Emily smiled. “You did at that. Any new arrivals?”
“Just a referral from the city. I think it’s some kind of work related competency case. Dr. Kaufland said he would take care of it. I think there is some link to the Mayor’s office and he would hate to miss an opportunity to kiss his ass. Do you need anything doc?”
“No. I think I will give Jack a few more hours before lunch.”
“Alright. Just holler if you need something.”
“Now that you mention it could you do some online searching for me?”
“Sure. On what?”
“Try to find anything you can on Jack Miller or Jack Karness, with a K. He went to the University of Michigan, which might give you a good starting point. See if any pictures are available as well?”
“No problem. I’ll let you know if I find anything.” Nancy said.
The doctor had a sudden feeling of déjà vu when she started walking down the hall toward Abigail’s room.
Emily quickly shook it off, as this was not that uncommon for her. She had started getting those feelings during her college years. Whether it was a person she thought she knew, or a specific place, but it was more often than the norm. At least that’s how she diagnosed herself.
Emily spoke with Abby for fifteen minutes or so then went back to her office make a quick note before going back to Jack’s room.
As soon as Emily got back to her office Nancy was motioning for her with an excited look on her face.
“Take a look at this.”
“Find something?” Emily said.
Nancy laid some papers on the desk in front of Emily as she was walking in. Nancy loved to help in some investigative manner, and always got excited when she found something. This case was the most exciting thing to happen to her in a long time. Even though she knew she would never get the juicy details she loved to be a part of it.
“This is everything I could find on Jack Miller. Nothing with the last name of Karness.” Nancy said, almost dropping some of the papers on the floor in her rushed excitement.
Emily took the papers from Nancy’s hands and rearranged them to suit her.
“Hmm. Hard to say. I guess it could be him, but the picture quality is terrible. There’s a resemblance, but far from conclusive.” Emily said.
“He wasn’t in any of the year book photos, and the only thing I was able to find were these articles in the Wolverine News archives. If that’s him he is one smart cookie. Finished top in his class. Though his degree was in Art, he took his share of Science and Math classes, minoring in both. Notice anything weird?” Nancy said.
The doctor went over every inch of the article until she found what Nancy was talking about.
“This article was printed almost 22 years ago? That would make Jack over 40. Does he look that old to you?” Emily said.
“You kidding? He looks like one of my grandchildren, but waaay better looking. Seriously, my grandkids are ugly as a shaved possum. Maybe a relative or something?” Nancy said.
“Or he just found someone with similar features to himself and is now trying to pass as himself off as this particular Jack. Hmm, like I said, not dull.”
“That’s an understatement. Anything else you want me to do doctor?”
“No. Thanks for the help.” Emily said
Emily placed all the new paperwork in Jack’s file and sat at her desk for a few minutes, thinking.
Why the fiction? What does he hope to gain from it? He’s obviously intelligent. Did he want me to find out then call him on it? He never mentioned being adopted by this David either. If he was, why was his last name Karness now?
When she made her way back to Jack’s room he was still in the conversation chair.
The doctor entered the room and sat down in her chair across from Jack and tried to gauge him from his look. He had the perfect poker face. Friendly, but with little emotion. His eyes were indeed something to look at, but more than that was the way he looked at her. She felt like he could see into her. It was an odd feeling, but not an uneasy one. She didn’t feel at all threatened by this young man. Quite the opposite really.
“Would you like to continue?” The doctor said.