Key of Mortal Remain


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It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Iconic Entertainment Studios, led by Michael Cohl, is a full-service live event producer and promoter. Iconic specializes in the development of high-calibre touring exhibitions, unique live music tours, family arena attractions, and live theatre.

This led to a flurry of work from other bands including Free and Tyrannosaurus Rex. The name Hipgnosis was born out of a chance encounter with a door frame. The headphones are actually key to making the exhibition such an engaging success. Without them I suspect you would have little more than a fairly dry walking tour of vaguely interesting historical displays of instruments, props, pictures and sundry artefacts.

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How it works takes a while to get used to but you quickly get to grips with the fact that everything you hear is triggered by where you are. The exhibition is arranged over eight chronological zones, each zone marking a distinctive stage in the evolution and development of the band. As you move between zones, the music of that period becomes the generic accompanying soundtrack on your journey. Approaching a specific display will trigger a corresponding piece of music; approaching one of the many TV screens built into each wall triggers a two or three minute interview with the band, or producer, or documentary style clip.

Freeze-up could occur by late October, early November around here, and no one in his right mind would go diving for a skeleton once it meant cutting through ice with a chain saw. Mark got down to basics. After returning the lamp to Dan, he took an underwater slate from his belt and made a primitive sketch of the find, indicating its distance from the marker. He then used his favorite tool for gathering underwater evidence, an Olympus camera in a light-and-motion housing with a built-in strobe. The blast of light firing once every second animated the skeleton, making it appear to move and shift position as if it were posing for him while he drifted around taking shots at different angles.

He looked at the spot where the pelvis disappeared into the dirt. He drifted gently over the top of the hipbones and dipped a hand down either side to where the legs should be. The sand beneath him exploded to life, and a six-foot ribbon of black undulated out of the murk. The shape writhed between his arms and shot into the darkness. An eel. Normal in the lakes around here. Even known to wrap around the legs of swimmers at night. But harmless. Tell my pounding heart that,he thought, peering into the thick silt the creature had stirred up.

He could make out his watch only by holding it up to his faceplate. No time to wait for this latest disturbance to clear. Before they disappeared in the gloom he glimpsed enough of their passage toward the surface to orient himself, and, trying not to think of the eel circling somewhere out there, reached toward the bottom. Once more passing his hands through the silt, he found the long shafts of both femurs and palpated along them. The tibiae and fibulae of the lower legs came next.

He slid his hands farther down to confirm the presence of feet — and his finger caught on something that felt like thick chains. What the hell? They were looped around the ankles. Oh, shit! Running his fingers along them he came to what must be a padlock. A few links more led to a smooth hard surface that felt like a metal shaft about six inches in diameter. Mark agreed. This was now a crime scene, which they must not further disturb. The forensic team would have to sift through the muck not just for parts of the body, but also for evidence that might help them determine who had sent it to the bottom.

They rose slowly, no faster than the proscribed one-half foot per second. Any quicker, however, and the nitrogen bubbles would appear in their bloodstreams, blocking every tiny artery in their bodies. So they hung there, two specks suspended in a horizonless, charcoal world, the surface still invisible beyond an infinity of gray twilight.

His head knew that that part of the process had mostly ended long ago. It was the possibility the person went into the lake alive and conscious that made his skin crawl. The image of someone plummeting through this nether world, struggling round-mouthed to scream, nothing but bubbles streaming out, filled his head. From the way Dan kept staring down, pupils magnified big as dimes behind the Plexiglas, he, too, appeared to have trouble keeping his imagination in check.

Who could it be? Mark wondered. It was possible, of course, that someone had brought the corpse here to dump it. Might be Jimmy Hoffa down there for all he knew. Everybody from the Northeast came here to party and play. Chapter 2 Tuesday, November 6, A. It was big, then I peed, and it got little.


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I like hers better. Mommy was Dr. Janet Graceton, obstetrician, lover, friend, and wife. How come she has to deliver so many? She does it every day. Sign-off rounds with the night shift started at eight, but he liked to be in ER by seven-thirty to have a coffee, do a walk-through, and pick up any loose ends before the day shift got busy. What the hell, he thought. Let the staff tie up their own cases. More than once Earl had sleepily awakened and draped his arm around what he thought would be his wife, only to get a wet slurp and a cold nose in the face.

How big? Earl always called her J. In her early twenties, three rings piercing her right nostril, J. Now she hovered over an ashen-faced, middle-aged man lying on a stretcher. Without looking up she slid a large-bore needle the size of a three-inch nail into his arm. Vitals, ninety over sixty and pulse one-ten. Bottom line, the man would soon slip into shock.

Garnet, meet Mr. Hang on. Earl kept up the banter so everyone would stay loose. You should pay me extra. We need full monitoring, bloods, type and cross for six units, and hang up two of O-negative stat. You were late at being early this morning. Brady below the right collarbone. The nanny always throws me out by seven-twenty-five. He looked up, beaming proudly, and promptly broke sterile technique as he shoved a shock of curly red hair out of his eyes.

A reassuring grin spread across his ebony face. Susanne moved in with the tube. One of her older colleagues, a speedy, gray-haired woman who wore colorful leg warmers and Reeboks, stepped up to help her. He glanced up at the clock. Congratulations, everyone. A hundred-and-fifteen-point-five seconds. My buy at the next party. Brady a reassuring pat on the arm. You still got fifteen minutes until rounds. Some days it was great to be chief. He felt at the top of his game. Fifty years old, lean in body and mind, he could withstand the physical rigors of emergency better than any of the Young Turks, and very few of the veterans could match him mentally.

Even the departmental chaplains, she said, admitted that both God and the devil had to get up early if they wanted to beat Garnet to the punch. He smiled at the recollection, having learned long ago not to take what people said about him too seriously. He knew his talent — the ability to read an unfolding ER scenario three steps ahead of trouble and jump-start his team accordingly. But they were the first to seek him out when a child, spouse, sibling, or parent was gravely ill, and a life was on the line.

He opened the paper. Page one gave the latest details about the interminable war on terror. Yet another Homeland Security alert took up most of page two. At the bottom were adds with pouty-looking boys modeling tuxedos for sale. Then he read the lead story on page three. Skeletal remains found fifteen days ago in Trout Lake, adjacent to the idyllic resort community of Hampton Junction, twenty miles north of Saratoga Springs, have been identified as those of a socially prominent fourth-year medical student who disappeared over twenty-seven years ago.

Retrieval of the remains was a protracted affair requiring a special team of forensic divers to sift through mud at great depth in cold temperatures. According to Hampton Junction coroner, Dr. Mark Roper, Ms. Braden was the victim of foul play. Sheriff Dan Evans confirmed that heavy items found on and near the bones of her legs suggest her body was weighted and bound when disposed of in the deepest waters of the lake.

Braden habitually followed this schedule when she had early-morning classes the next day. Braden, whose office hours began in the afternoon, did not return to the city until late Thursday morning. Highly regarded by her instructors, and popular with her fellow students, she was at the top of her medical school class. Speculation at the time centered on a troubled marriage, which Dr. Braden vigorously denied, and a deliberate disappearance by Ms. The case yielded few leads.

Braden get into a waiting cab with a man in the backseat on Wednesday evening. She returned the following morning, leaving several hours later with a suitcase, again by cab, but alone. She was never heard from again. The identity of the man who picked her up Wednesday night is unknown. He lowered the paper, his stomach in free fall. ER faded from his mind, and the usual noises outside his door — the beeping of monitors, the chatter, someone retching — became tinny and distant. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. A knock, and Susanne pushed open the door.

Those coming on duty looked as tired as the ones who were going off. Earl barely heard any of it. The voices seemed to come at him through a hose. He thought of hair the color of sunlight turning scarlet, and felt his stomach lurch. She would have gone to the bottom in agony for air, knowing she was going to die, praying for it even.

He desperately tried to stop the images, but his mind poured them on, determined to scour his experience for detailed examples of what she could have been put through. It left him wanting to scream, to strangle someone, to hit back at whoever had so viciously hurt her. Yet he just stood quietly in the little crowd, his eyes brimming with tears, the ritual start to a day in ER unfolding around him as it had for over twenty years.

He had been the man in the taxi. New York City Dr. Oh, my God! Not now.

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Not after so long. Incredulous, she kept staring at the print. Catching her breath, she gazed beyond the gleaming state-of-the-art appliances to the white birch floors running the length of her penthouse. The morning sun crept along the pale grain, enriching it.


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But the sense of inner calm it usually evoked failed to arrive. Instead, she felt a stirring of fear. In the far corner, elevated on a shallow platform, was the four-poster where she routinely bedded men ten years her junior. She strode past it on her way to the bathroom and a large walk-in shower. Dropping her robe, she stepped in and turned on the spray full force. Underneath the hot needles of water, she splayed her fingers over her breasts and slowly ran her hands down her exercise-sculpted body.

Yet her muscles remained tense. Was she herself now in danger? But if they ever did … The thought sickened her. Charles Braden IV threw down the paper, spilling his orange juice and knocking the glass to the floor. He signaled the waiter.

The Tragic Pragmatism Of The Gal Who Got Rattled

Charles Braden III frowned. After skimming the article for a few seconds, he shot his son a withering look. Yes, by all means, get mad. And where everyone can see, too. He was the protector of the propriety of the members he served. The greater the indiscretion, the more Pedro made sure his customers knew that they owed him big-time, but tantrums he handled with minimal fuss. Chaz looked around at the other members who were finishing up their breakfasts. The paneled dining room was only half-full. No one had so much as glanced his way. But that would change. Gossipmongers would soon be watching his every move.

Just like before. He leaned back, the thick bristles of his steely gray hair glistening silver under the light. They did let us know about finding her remains and about the forensic report. Chaz ran a hand over his thinning brown hair. By remembering the police cleared you back then. So stop looking so morose.

He got better results by using raw power, and that only worked within the walls of the hospital. He was a drudge. Hard work and long hours had won him the position of Chief of Cardiology. The one category where he held his own was in physical presence. He, too, was tall and thin; people noticed when he walked into a room. Pedro returned with an oversize cup filled with a particularly strong brew. Chaz thanked him, and doctored it with sugar only. To his disgust he saw his hand tremble slightly as he took a sip. Finally, the presentations were over. At this point Earl usually fired off a few pointed questions to drive home any teaching pearls.

Today he felt more like firing off a machine gun. After a few uninspired attempts to come up with some zingers, he called it quits. All he could think of was, Who? Who had done this to Kelly? Some stranger? Her husband? He tried to see patients, but the parade of faces and stories blurred into one another. Yet why him, when he could have divorced her, ruined her burgeoning career, gotten back at her any number of ways?

Michael Popovitch, his portly second-in-command, and one of his closest friends. Michael looked up from a cut hand he was suturing and eyed Earl over a pair of bifocals. He flopped into the high-backed chair and ran his fingers through his gray hair. The steadyshush of the air ducts in the tiled ceiling pressed in on him.

Away from the distractions of ER, he felt the initial numbing effect of the news subside as the slower, crawling emotions of grief took over. Now her murder seemed fresh and recent— A sharp knock interrupted his thoughts. Susanne poked her head around the door. Michael says he apologizes, but can you come? He heard a siren in the distance coming closer by the second, and his heart quickened. Rushing through the hallway toward triage, he tried to clear his mind for the work ahead, only to have more questions intrude.

Should he go to the police? Tell them everything? Or keep his mouth shut and hope they never found out? It had been such a long time. Now it came back, a contagion roaring out of remission. Everyone in the department had been treating him with kid gloves all morning. Obviously they all knew something was wrong. Normally that same clerk would stack up seven calls on hold, expecting him to take every one of them pronto, and he would have thrived on it. He took the receiver from her. Garnet speaking. Did you read in theHerald that they found the body of that medical student you and my sister used to hang out with at NYCU, the one who disappeared?

He hesitated.

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I saw that this morning. A real shock. From what Melanie has told me about those times, I know the three of you were good friends. The police will probably want to talk to everyone who knew her. I appreciate the heads-up. Did you reach Melanie? I left a message with her answering service. Not about Ronda.

At the time Ronda had been starting her own specialty training in pediatrics. Now, twenty-four years later, she was married, had two kids, and was a veteran in her field. He and Janet had often enjoyed the company of Ronda and her husband during hospital functions. At the St. The police would be investigating murder this time, not a disappearance, and that was likely to make everyone they talked to turn amateur detective.

Immediately he regretted having snapped at her. Keep hold of yourself, Garnet. Hampton Junction Running was a drug to Mark. Miss a day, he felt lousy. Two, downright depressed. Three, and he was convinced he had cancer. He always followed the same route, turning left onto the road at the foot of his driveway, following it downhill a few miles toward town to loosen up, then going west on Route 4, a winding uphill grind that led farther into the mountains.

How far he took it depended on the time he had and the caliber of tension he was trying to work off. Practicing medicine in a small town had different pressures than those of urban centers, but they were every bit as weighty. This afternoon a heavy fog had settled into the valley. The tiny droplets it left on his face as he ran felt pleasantly cool, but it rendered the road, the forest, and anything else more than thirty feet away invisible, isolating him in a gray sphere of vague shapes.

Yet as he passed through a corridor of towering maples and white birches, their foliage formed a canopy of iridescent orange and gold that floated above him like a gaily woven tapestry of silk. The effect became hallucinatory, and he inhaled deeply while he ran, as if to breathe in the color. Hampton Junction, Saratoga County, in the southern Adirondacks, was his home. An odd little town, its houses, businesses, and two churches stood scattered in a disorganized pattern as if the founders had thrown a handful of jacks into the hills, and wherever one landed, somebody built something.

It continued to grow in an equally haphazard fashion. In truth, nobody could keep track of the population anymore. With the surrounding countryside so full of chalets, the count for the whole area could swell to twenty thousand on a weekend, then shrink back to the core group on Monday. He grew up here.

He avidly hiked, kayaked, or skied whenever possible, thriving on the endless sweep of mountain wilderness that surrounded him.

Mortal Remains

The hills and peaks, having engraved themselves on his psyche, looked as right to his eye as their rocky surfaces felt to the palms of his hands when he climbed them. Thick deciduous forests in summer. Massive, blue-green conifers rich with growth the year round. The panoply broken only by tumbling mountain streams, surging rivers, and cold lakes. He found it a place of powerful beauty and awe-inspiring solace. Too much of them for too long at the wrong time, and a person with a troubled mind could end up so dwarfed by the vastness, so engulfed by the silence, and so hemmed in by the press of the forests that he panicked.

Mark knew he desperately needed the break. Sensory deprivation, isolation psychosis, fractured self-image — the terminology for it in textbooks was endless. Mark took pride in never having had to wrestle this demon. His secret — conquer and reconquer the wilderness — put the curve of his Telemark turn or the imprint of his boots on it before it ever got to him. He also got out regularly, choosing medical conferences in places that allowed him to feast on theater, dive in warm blue water with limitless visibility, or climb above the tree line where nothing surrounded him but open space.

The pitch of the road steepened, and his legs started to burn. Normally he welcomed the challenge and usually increased his pace at this point, wanting to push himself to the maximum. Today he glanced at his watch and started back. The possibility of her being dead never once entered his mind. As a result he unquestioningly carried this version of events forward over the years, continuing to see her disappearance through the optimistic gaze of youth, determined to protect at least that piece of childhood from the harsher scrutiny of his adult eye. But his clinical self, trained to stare at the worst possible truths and not flinch, knew differently.

Only in his memory did Kelly still gleefully win at Monopoly, stride through wildlife parks, and send sizzlers across strike zones. His leather soles kept slipping on the wet mush of fallen leaves that coated the sidewalk. Still, good shoes are a must. Their visitor, Detective William Everett, a cold-case specialist from the NYPD, shivered and dug his hands deeper into the pockets of a light tan raincoat.

Short in stature, his craggy face had the pasty gray complexion of a smoker, and he chewed gum about sixty times a second. Reformed, Mark figured, recognizing a chiclet that the man had popped in his mouth as a common nicotine substitute. A mewing wheeze accompanied every word he said, and his chest heaved from walking up the gentle incline. The man looked fifty going on seventy, and the loose semicircles sagging from under his eyes suggested a lifetime of being tired.

As if to prove the point, he inhaled deeply, only his effort ended in a paroxysm of coughing that doubled him over. The Braden estate is only nine miles south. Hampton Junction ended up a leftover water stop from the heyday of steam locomotives. Mark figured the awkwardness stemmed from Dan being an outsider himself. They like to enjoy it with their friends, not show it off.

Stepping through an elaborate wrought-iron gate guarding the entrance, they followed a well-raked path that meandered up a sloping lawn. What little foliage remained on the surrounding trees glowed a muted orange, like a bed of coals smothered in ash. As they drew closer the three-story mansion took on a warm yellow hue, and white railings of a long wraparound porch became easily visible. Mark grimaced at the thought of what awaited them inside. Death must pay good here. We live forever. But the part-timers, the outsiders, after ruining their health with big-city stress and pollution, they all want plots where they spent their summers, sort of the ultimate vacation.

Blair can hardly keep up. A haphazard cluster of lesser vehicles reached all the way out to the street. He shipped most of the local dead here, and in exchange for the business got to keep his coroner cases in the refrigerator locker alongside the corpses slated to be embalmed. But, as old man Blair always reminded him, he had to keep his comings and goings out of sight and not disturb the viewings upstairs. Mark led the way around to the back door, to which he had the key. They went down a wooden staircase and passed through a dimly lit hallway stacked with empty caskets.

Some had sticker prices on them. There was a cloying sweetness in the air, offset by a hint of something sour. Everett looked around and curled up his nose. With a second key he unlocked a large metal door at the end of the corridor and ushered them into a gleaming tiled room that was markedly colder than the temperature outdoors. A stainless-steel table with a drain at its center and a bucket underneath occupied the middle of the floor.

Suspended from the ceiling was a large OR lamp, and around the walls stood big yellow vats connected by beige tubing to shiny silver probes that looked like giant needles.

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Glass jars containing various colored fluids lined the counters, and two metal cabinets filled with stainless-steel instruments were against the walls. The aroma of formaldehyde picked at the back of his nostrils like a swarm of ants. He reached for the third handle down, and pulled out what was left of Kelly McShane. Her bones had mostly come apart during the retrieval operation, and trying to lay them out in the correct anatomical order had taken Mark an entire weekend. Consequently, the piecemeal skeleton and remaining strands of tissue had the appearance of something dug up from antiquity.

He plunged after her, laughing with delight as he frantically swam through her wake, then drew alongside, managing to touch the bobbing platform first. Only now did he realize she had let him win. What we do have are the remains you see before you, the obvious feature being the skull fracture. Filled with debris, it stood out like a leech on the subtler corrugated markings where the various bony plates in the cranium joined together.

The interior emitted a whiff of rot. Everett screwed up his nose and jerked his head away. The trick to getting the best out of cops was the same as with doctors — make them care. Pray to God she was still unconscious going in the water. Sometimes victims stay unconscious until they die. Sometimes they wake up and are lucid for a while. Even Everett looked taken aback. He rotated his neck as if it needed loosening up. That anchor, chain, and padlock your retrieval team pulled up?

We checked them out already. You and the sheriff here. Your body, your jurisdiction, guys. Mark remained where he was, too astonished by the kiss-off to say anything. A slam echoed down the corridor, and once again he found himself alone with Kelly. A half hour later he looked up from leafing through the material Everett had left, startled to see Dan standing at the door watching him.

Find anything? The gathering blackness reminded her too much of her own end of days, and her breathing got worse at night. She felt depressed, stuck in her hospital room. At least the nurses had allowed her more than the usual personal effects to help make it easier. She had a dozen framed photographs — a black-and-white of Fred in his uniform, smiling before he went off to Korea to be slaughtered and leave her a widow; color snaps of her son, Fred Junior; portraits of her three young grandsons, all grinning at her with various front teeth missing.

Though she never told anyone, the face on the porcelain statues was hers as a young woman, fired especially for her by a craftsman who had been her patient in the first years of her practice. Whatever the beat, the muscle began to wear out, and eventually she slipped into congestive failure. Luckily, Melanie Collins saw her through it all.

Therapy got her back to talking so that no one would notice; however, at times, she had trouble finding the word she wanted. The lasting harm had been done to her work, the ordeal derailing her from the practice of medicine for nearly a year. With each departure, the sense of purpose she fought so valiantly to regain shriveled a little more. Then, just three months ago, while digging in her garden, her right side went numb. She tumbled to the ground, her arm and leg like deadwood for all the good they were to her.

She lay there, her face pressed into the earth, dirt up her nose, and bugs crawling between her lips. If she got help fast enough, maybe the clot-busting enzymes that rescued her before could help again. Yet second by second, her time nearly ran out. When a neighbor spotted her and called an ambulance, she knew the three-hour window for treatment would soon close.

Once she got to the hospital, there had been no Melanie on hand to speedily diagnose and treat her. Talk to the radiologist yourself. Bump me to the head of the line! Her speech returned, but the delay cost her partial use of her right arm and her ability to walk normally. It also turned her into an old woman overnight. It sprang from her insistence that she be registered as Mrs.

Bessie McDonald, not Dr. McDonald, during her admissions. Leads to mistakes. Had they known she was a doctor, would they have listened to what she was trying to tell them? The result of heart failure. Bessie poured herself a glass of water from her pitcher, then downed the bunch of them in a swallow. As easy as one, two, three, four, five. To control her angina, she had to take a spray of nitroglycerine under her tongue, in addition to wearing a patch of it on her skin. The latter could be worn anywhere, but most patients put it on their arm or chest.

She liked Tanya. The woman always worked evenings, which led Bessie to try figure out what this nurse did during the days. She never talked about herself, and, of course, Bessie never pried.

Key of Mortal Remain Key of Mortal Remain
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