Justin excused himself from the room. Paul was too into an old movie The Goonies to pay attention to Justin’s quick exit.
“I can now. What’s up?”
“Has Brian ever told you about an uncle who is…was in Jail?”
“Brian’s never said much about his family to me. If he told anyone it would’ve been Michael.”
“He didn’t mention anything to Michael either. I just hoped that maybe he’d have confided in you.”
“Was this the guy who showed up at Kinnetic?”
“I think so. His name is Robert Monahan. Justin he’s a convicted pedophile.”
“Christ!” Justin shouted.
“He was sentenced to 25 years for five counts of kidnapping and child molestation.”
“Carl was Brian…” Justin’s voice started to quake.
“Not one of the five. According to the court records Brian was interviewed by a psychologist and the judge who presided over the case. Their assessment was that Brian had no evidence to add to the case.”
“That’s it? What exactly did Brian tell them?” Justin swallowed hard as acidy bile rose into his throat.
“There was no transcript and we couldn’t find any records giving the name of the psychologist.”
“What about the newspapers?”
“Only that Monahan had been living with his sister’s family for three years. The only quote from Brian’s parents was from his mother. She stated that her brother was a good Christian man and wouldn’t hurt anyone. She was sure he’d be found innocent. There’s nothing from the family after the trial.”
“Well it’s at least something to tell the therapist. Carl can you get social service records?”
“Only in connected to a crime, why?”
“I think it might be. Not sure what, but there has to be something to it. Brian now believes he’s a seven year old.”
“Michael briefed us.”
“He calls himself Paul Smith…”
“What let me write this down.” Carl takes a second to grab the small note. Debbie walks up behind him reading over his shoulder. “Okay, Paul Smith.”
“He is seven maybe eight years old. He said he is fostered by the Johnson’s who live next door to Brian. I’m assuming that Brian is the same age.”
“You’re confusing me?”
“It’s like he’s stuck in time. He believes Brian Kinney is his friend who is his age and lives next door. See if you can get any information on who lived next door to the Kinney family in 1978-79. Michael should know where Brian lived before the family moved. Paul also calls himself a throw away kid any idea what that might mean specifically?”
“It means a kid who was dumped off somewhere. It’s an old term we used to use. Unfortunately, some bad social workers turned it into a label.”
“Christ that’s a damn awful thing to call a kid!” Debbie piped in.
“I’ll see what I can find. How’s he doing?”
“Okay, not sure what will happen after today. Dr. Baxter is going to have a session with him.”
“Carl, let me talk to Sunshine.” Deb grabbed the phone before giving Carl time to relinquish it.
“Honey, Sunshine I just want you to know we’re all here for you and Brian. I say a prayer a day for both of you.” Deb’s voice choked up a little.
“Thanks Deb that means a lot. And we got the care package. Paul…I mean Brian loved the cookies.”
“He always did the little shit.” Deb sniffed.
“Deb I’m sure everything will be okay as soon as this all gets sorted out. Brian’s a strong person he’s just a little lost right now.” Justin tried to reassure his surrogate mother.
“I know. How are you holding up?”
“I’m okay. It’s weird dealing with a seven year old in a grown man’s body. Paul, the personality, is very sweet and well mannered he isn’t anywhere near as difficult as Brian.” Justin chuckled.
“Hard to imagine.”
Dr. Baxter enters the hallway heading toward Justin.
“Deb, I’ve gotta go Dr. Baxter is here.”
“I love you both.”
“Us too, talk to you soon Deb. And tell Carl to send an email with any information he finds out.”
“Okay, bye honey.”
“How’s he doing?” Dr. Baxter asked as she and Justin greeted with a handshake.
“Pretty well, he still believes he’s seven. We’re getting more comfortable with each other.”
“Were you able to find out any more?”
“I just got off the phone with Carl he believes the man that showed up at Brian’s office was his Uncle. His name is Robert Monahan and he spent 25 years in jail for kidnapping and molestation. There’s no evidence that Brian was molested by his uncle, but the son of a bitch lived with them for three years.”
“The mystery deepens, what about this personality any thing new there?”
“That he lives with a family, the Johnson’s they live or lived next to Brian’s family; it was Paul’s foster home and that he calls himself a throw away kid. And that he feels they don’t like him.”
“Did you try the park?”
“This morning, but when we got to the playground he got really nervous. He said there were too many kids so we left.”
“I’m only going to talk to him a little more today, but I’d like to try hypnosis on my next visit. I think that may help him remember who he is.”
“Doctor, being with Paul these last few days…well I don’t think he’s a split of Brian’s personality or even a made up person. The information you gave me doesn’t seem to fit what’s happened at all. Carl is checking to see if a Paul Smith really existed. I think Paul Smith was a real person and was good friends with Brian when he was a kid. For some reason Brian has become him.”
“That was my conclusion as well. I’m going to push him a bit today…”
“I don’t want him to be upset.” Justin’s parental feelings were overpowering his logic.
“Mr. Taylor you know that’s not a reasonable request.”
“Please call me Justin, and I know it’s just so hard to see him like that. Whoever this kid was he got a real shit deal in life and …”
“Justin, Paul isn’t who he is. You’re confusing Brian with Paul, your strong affection and support for him is a good thing, but you have to let me help him.”
“Are you sure I can’t sit in? I won’t interrupt.”
“You’re a distraction to him. I need his full attention.”
“Give me an hour.”
“Okay, but let me talk to him first.”
“Paul you need to turn the television off now Dr. Baxter is here.”
“But there just about to find the treasure.”
“I’ll rent the movie when we get back to
“Rent it?” Paul gave Justin a curious look, but turned off the tv.
“At the video store, Brian has…I mean we have a video player back home
“Oh.” Paul had no idea what a video was, but if Justin said there was such a thing then there had to be.
“I’m going to leave you with Dr. Baxter for one hour.” Justin went over and knelt next to the chair Paul was slouched in. “You need to answer her questions even if it’s hard and after we’ll go get dinner, whatever you want and go to the pool.”
“I’ll be good.” Paul looked down at his hands.
Justin knew Paul was scared, and he felt helpless that there was nothing he could do he had to let this happen, for Brian. Justin leaned up and kissed Paul on the top of his head and squeezed his arm. “You’ll be fine kiddo and I’ll be back in no time.”
Paul nodded and Justin left, Dr. Baxter entered.
Paul sat cross-legged in the large chair near the window.
“Hi Paul remember me?”
“Uh huh, Dr. Baxter.” Paul got up to great her.
“How are you doing?”
“Fine.” Paul said nervously.
“Justin said you and he have been swimming.”
“Yeah, it was fun.”
“I see you have new shoes.” Dr. Baxter sensed Paul’s nervousness and hoped the small talk would help put him at ease with her.
“Justin let me pick them out, and he bought me new jeans and shirts with buttons like a grown-up.” Paul became animated as he proudly showed off his new clothes.
“You look very nice. Paul why don’t you have a seat I’d like to talk with you a bit more.” Dr. Baxter pointed to the big chair Paul had been sitting in and pulled out the desk chair for her.
Paul sat down in the same stiff position he had taken during previous sessions.
“Paul I know it’s hard for you to do, but I need you to relax. It will make the session easier for you if you do.”
“Why can’t Justin be here?”
“I know that would make you feel better, but he’s also a distraction to you. I need you to focus on the things I’m asking you.”
“’kay.” Paul tried to look relaxed for the doctor.
“Paul, tell me about that day in the park with Brian. What were you two doing?”
“Brian was teaching me how to climb the monkey bars. I’m not very good at that kind of stuff, but Brian is amazing.”
“How long were you there?”
“A while, then it got dark and Brian had to go home, but I stayed.” Paul bit down on his lower lip.
“Why didn’t you go too? Didn’t the Johnson’s expect you home?”
“I dunno, I ummm…I…they.” Paul became tense.
“It’s okay, you can tell me. No one’s going to be mad at you.” Dr. Baxter touched Paul’s arm lightly to help reassure him he was safe.
“I was afraid to go to the Johnson’s. I had an accident the night before and I know Mrs. Johnson would notice and tell Mr. Johnson and then I’d be in big trouble and I dint want to get hit.”
“Did Mr. Johnson hit you a lot?”
“A lot more than the other foster-parents before.”
“Did Brian know that’s why you didn’t want to go home?”
“No I couldn’t tell him. I dint’ want him to laugh at me, and he got mad. He dint want me to stay in the park and told me to stop being such a scaredy cat.”
“It sounds like he was worried about you being at the park after dark.”
“I kind of knew that ‘cause he even said I could sleep in his basement and maybe Mr. Johnson would be not so mad after awhile.”
“Brian sounds like a good friend. Did you go with him then?”
“No, I couldn’t sleep in his basement its too scary and I know his parents would find me and then make me go to the Johnson’s”
“Okay, so you stayed at the park. Did you stay all night?”
“I don’t remember. That’s all I remember!!!” Paul shouted, got up and stood next to the window shaking.
“It’s okay Paul. I won’t ask you any more questions about the park. Please sit back down.”
Paul reluctantly did as he was asked.
“Take a few deep breaths. Calm yourself down and then we can continue.” Dr. Baxter’s tone was soothing. Within a few minutes Paul was calm and she continued. “Paul I want you to close your eyes and focus solely on my voice. Do you understand?” Paul nodded.
“I would like to talk to Brian.” She didn’t know if it would work, there was no evidence that the personalities knew anything about each other, but it was standard practice to try and talk to alternate personalities to gain more information about the patient.
“That’s right.” The doctor covered and switched tactics. “Paul,
tell me about the night you were hurt. You said you were at a truck stop
Paul opened his eyes and looked around the room he was confused and disoriented by his new surroundings.
“You’re not at a hospital Paul. You were transferred from Chambersburg to John’s Hopkins Medical Center a few days ago and under went testing to make sure you’re condition wasn’t of a physical nature. Justin Taylor brought you here to this hotel so we could continue treatment for your amnesia”
“My condition, amnesia what the hell are you talking about?” Paul was lost.
“My name is Dr. Etta Baxter. I’m a doctor of psychology. Do you remember meeting Justin Taylor and Michael Novotny?”
“The two guys who think I’m their friend. You’re a shrink so you believe them too, right?” Paul folded his arms across his chest.
“I have no choice. The evidence proves it. Something traumatic happened to Brian Kinney and for reasons I have yet to understand he created you.”
Paul laughed. “So you’re saying that someone made me up? I’m not real just a figment of someone’s warped imagination. Why would someone want to be me? I have nothing. I am nothing. Just a worthless piece of trash my mother threw away 17 years ago!!!” Paul was again on his feet. He paced in front of the window becoming more distressed with each step.
“I need to get out of here. Where’s my bag?”
“Paul please sit down. You can’t leave there are people who love you, who care about you, family that need to have Brian return.” Dr. Baxter grabbed Paul’s arm to stop him, he pulled away.
“I don’t have to stay. I’m 19 and the state can’t make me do anything I don’t want to...not anymore. I haven’t done anything wrong. That guy was a cop. He didn’t even try to arrest me. He..he just wanted to beat me up…teach me a lesson. Well he did and now I can go where I want. You can’t make me stay!!!”
“The man that hurt you was a police officer?” Etta was stunned.
“He had a badge and a police car and told me he was arresting me, but he didn’t so…” Paul went in search of his bag.
“Did you get his badge number?” Etta was trying to get Paul’s attention away from leaving.
“Did you see a name tag?”
“No. This isn’t my bag it’s got all new stuff in it. Where’s my box? I have a little box its red and it has pictures of horses on it. I need it.” Paul demanded of the doctor.
“I’m sure Justin knows where the box is and it’s safe. Paul, tell me more about that night and the policeman.”
“No! I want it now. I have to leave.”
“What about Justin? Would you like to talk to Justin he’s just outside.” Etta was getting desperate.
“I don’t know him. Why would I want to talk to him? Please get out of my way.”
“Tell me more about your friend Brian. Did he come back to the park the next day to look for you?”
“What are you talking about?” Paul stared hard at the doctor his eyes clouding over.
“When you were seven, remember? You and Brian were friends and you lived with the Johnson’s.”
“How do you know that?”
“You told me.”
Paul became unsteady on his feet. The nothingness was sweeping over him again. Dr. Baxter barely caught him before he fell to the floor. The long six-foot frame was draped over her when Justin entered the room.
“What did you do to him?” Justin accused as he pulled Brian’s limp body from Etta’s shoulders and lowered it to the closest bed.
“Mr. Taylor, your accusing attitude isn’t going to help Brian.” Etta snapped as she began to check Brian’s pulse and breathing to make sure he was physically okay.
“I’m sorry. Please call me Justin. I think Mr. Taylor is way too formal for the situation.” Justin spoke calmly now.
“That’s fine, but I still need to keep a professional relationship with Brian or things could get messy.”
“I understand that. What happened?”
“Let’s step out in the hallway.”
“I’ve found out a couple of things that may help solve some of the
mystery. First, something happened to young Paul in a park near his
foster home in
“I don’t understand this. How can he just not be Brian anymore? Why is this happening?” Justin’s disappointment showed. He’d hoped that once Dr. Baxter started the therapy that Brian would reappear at least for a little while. Justin paced a little combing his hand through his hair in frustration.
“Justin we really don’t know that. Both of these personalities have to be connected to Brian, they are a part of him. I know the manifestations of these personalities are confusing. I’ve yet to find any patient studies similar. Brian is in there and is a part of both personalities. Brian’s psyche has been severely traumatized. I think the only way to help is to try hypnosis.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“No. Unless I can’t talk him into hypnosis, if that doesn’t work I may have to use a mild sedative, but even that isn’t dangerous.”
“I’d like to try tomorrow afternoon. It’s the only way I think I can get to Brian.” Etta sounded unsure.
“You think?” Justin said sarcastically.
“Justin, I’m as lost here as you are. Psychiatry is a fairly new science and some even believe its bullshit.”
“Brian does, he always has, maybe that’s why he’s not responding to you.”
“That may be, but I have a lot of experience dealing with individuals who have been physically and emotionally traumatized.”
“And I know Brian better than anyone. Dr. Baxter I know you are only trying to help, but I’m not going to stand outside of this anymore. I want to be in the room when you hypnotize him.” Justin wasn’t backing down.
“I was going to suggest that. I think you are a calming presence for Brian and if he knows you’re there it may help him to come out.”
“Good then that’s settled.”
“I’ll see you at one tomorrow then. Don’t tell him anything about what happened.”
“Wait, what if he wakes up and he’s older Paul and wants to leave or if he wakes up and he’s someone else?”
“Call me, but I’m not sure there is anything I can do. I really need to get to my next appointment.”
“I’m sorry, but that’s all I can offer.”
“No, its okay, I’m his partner he’s my responsibility, sorry I…”
“No need to be sorry. I know this is hell on you. Call a friend to help or just to talk to.” The doctor turned to walk away and then turned back remembering something of significance.
“Justin the older Paul was looking for a box with pictures of horses on it?”
“Paul…young Paul said it was his treasure box so we put it in the safe.”
“It might be a good idea to find out what’s in it.” With a quick look at her watch Dr. Baxter turned again this time leaving Justin standing alone in the hallway. He entered the room. Brian now curled into himself on the bed. Justin checked on him, he was sound asleep. He sat himself in the oversized chair near the window stared at Brian’s sleeping form.
Justin’s cell rang.
“Justin its Michael.”
“Yeah I know. Caller ID.”
“Oh, anyway I Ben found something. Is ‘he’ there, I mean…I know he’s there, but can he hear you?”
“He’s sleeping Michael. What did Ben find?” Justin was anxious to hear.
“Carl told us about what you told him so Ben went down to the library…”
“Get on with it Michael!”
“Here I’ll let Ben tell you it’s really fucked.”
“Justin, Michael told me that Brian lived on
“Ben please…” Justin sighed loudly.
“Okay I’ll give you the gist of what I found then the details.
This is from a newspaper article written in June of 1978. A small boy was
found dead at a construction site five blocks from his foster home at
“Holy fucking Christ!” Justin covered his mouth as he stared at Brian hoping is near shout didn’t wake him.
“Justin do want me to continue? There’s more and it gets worse.” Ben warned his voice calm and steady.
“Please tell me everything.” Justin whispered.
“The boy was found by his friend and neighbor Brian Kinney.”
“Oh God…” Justin could feel his body start to shake.
“There’s more, are you okay?”
“Fuck no, but tell me the rest anyway.” Justin took a deep breath.
“The police determined that it was an accident. The boy had taken a bike from the Johnson’s son and apparently was riding around the construction site after hours when he must have fell off the bike and into a cement form. His body was impaled on two rebar that protruded from the cement form.”
“Jesus, and Brian found him like that?!!!”
“That’s what the article says. I called Carl and he is tracking down the official report. These articles are all on-line if you want to read them in detail. There was speculation that it was it may have been a suicide or maybe a murder. It was concluded to be an accident.”
“Justin.” Brian’s sleepy voice pulled Justin’s attention back to reality.
“Ben I have to go. Thanks for the research.” Justin hung up abruptly trying to pull himself together quickly so Brian or whoever just woke up wouldn’t see his distress.
“Justin you okay?”
“Yeah, yes, I’m fine. How are you doing?”
“Do I have to talk to that doctor some more?”
“Not today. Paul?” Justin thought he was talking to young Paul, but was unsure.
“Yeah?” Paul sat up and looked blankly at Justin.
“Are you hungry?”
“A little bit, but its okay if you don’t feel good, it’s okay. Maybe you should take a nap.”
“Don’t I look okay?” Justin knew he looked bad.
“You look sad. Are you sad?”
“A little, but its okay everyone gets sad sometimes.”
“Did I do something to make you sad?”
“Paul stop thinking everything that happens is your fault.” Justin knew that sounded harsh. He was losing control of his emotions and the words had caused Paul to withdraw and close down.
Justin watched as Paul got up from Justin’s bed and sat down on the floor in the far corner of the room. He was taking himself out of Justin’s sight. That’s what you do when grown-ups get angry with you. Justin wanted to kick himself, but instead walked over and sat down next to him.
“I’m not yelling at you. But it’s true not everything that goes wrong is your fault, or when someone around you is sad or upset it doesn’t mean you caused it. You’re a good kid. You listen and do what is asked of you and you don’t ask for anything. I’m not a parent, but I’m sure my mom would have loved a kid like you. You’re…well, you’re just damn near perfect, so why is it that you think everything is your fault?” Justin waited patiently for Paul to speak.
“You’re the only grown-up that doesn’t think so.” Paul kept his eyes down as he spoke.
“Tell me what grown-ups make everything your fault?” Justin knew pushing Brian could get him in over his head. After hearing what Ben had found he wanted Brian back, now. Somehow the reappearance of Robert Monahan had ignited this and all he could think about was how lost and alone Brian must feel buried somewhere inside himself. When Paul offered nothing Justin pushed further.
“Okay, then at least tell me what they’ve said to make you believe that?” Again Justin waited, then after a few minutes Paul turned and looked at him.
“That I always ruin everything.”
“How do you do that Paul?”
Paul shrugged his shoulders. Justin could tell he was making Paul nervous with his pointed questions.
Paul began to speak very quietly. Justin had to lean in to hear. “ ‘cause I have accidents in bed sometimes. Sometimes I forget to take the sand out of my shoes from the playground. I run too fast and I break things. I try to help with dishes and I drop them or clean the clothes and make them turn colors. I fall down and trip and they have to take me to the hospital. He told me I shouldn’t have been born and I’m not worth what it costs to keep me.” Paul started to blink and looked away. Justin could see the tears clinging to Brian’s beautiful long lashes. As his brain deciphered all that Paul had just told him, he realized Paul wasn’t talking about himself.
“Who’s ‘he’ Paul? Who told you that you shouldn’t have been born?”