Michael Austin received a call Saturday morning, too. Disengaging
himself from the sheet wrapped
around him, he set his coffee cup on the table, muted the TV and grabbed the phone on the fifth ring. He could tell by the sounds coming from the receiver, the caller
had begun to hang up.
was a jostling noise, then a voice. “ Good morning Michael. You must be sleeping well.” Austin recognized the voice. It was the University Hospital contact. The one who knew
people. Who had clout. Who scared him to death.
called Sorkin, but I didn’t have any luck. He says he doesn’t have the notes. Says he burned them.” Austin made no attempt
to disguise the panic in his voice.
took care of that last night. I think you’ll find him more...cooperative now.”
“You didn’t beat him again?” Austin didn’t think Abraham Sorkin
sounded hurt but...
We told you what we’d do. We have one of his nurses. The younger one. You’ll be calling the doctor at six this evening, to tell him she will be returned
safely when we get the notes.”
know when you need to know. They’ll come to get you. Just do your job.”
won’t hurt her.”
The other man paused, just slightly, but Austin caught the implication. “We’ll do what we have to do. Not if her doctor gives us the notes...not if she
continues to believe she’s
in the clutches of the pro-life militia.”
didn’t agree to any killing.”
you did, Michael. You’ve been in this from the beginning. You knew where it could go. There was a news story the other
day about a man willing to pay fifteen thousand dollars to get his wife’s name higher on the transplant list. Imagine
what he would pay us for a heart. Imagine that number multiplied by a thousand, by ten thousand, and you’ll begin to
understand the scope of this thing.”
“I didn’t agree to murder.” Austin knew the other man could hear
the surrender in his tone. He’d
lost the battle. “I swore to do no harm. I took an oath. I’m a doctor.”
You’re a researcher on a cutting-edge project that’s going to make you, and a lot of other people, extremely wealthy. Austin, there’s no way out. You’re with us, or against us. And if you’re against us, your future isn’t very bright. Capiche?”
There was a click as the caller hung up. Austin held the phone in trembling hands until it beeped insistently. “ You were right, Abraham. I am cursed.”