Dachau Concentration Camp
April 12, 1945
Sydney rolled up his sleeve as Henri approached, bearing a syringe in
his hand and a sympathetic look on his face. “I’m sorry,” he whispered,
allowing the mental fang to slip into the young skin and draw out the
deep red blood.
“It’s not so bad.” Sydney hardly flinched as he felt the needle enter,
the daily injections and blood tests having immunized him to the pain.
“At least, not when you do it.”
“Well, and how is my little test subject this morning?”
Sydney looked around Henri’s broad frame to see that Dr. Leiden had entered
the room, followed by Dr. Krieg. The other two occupants in the room remained
silent while the two German doctors conversed about tests and treatments.
It was the next sentence spoken that caused Sydney almost to stop breathing.
“The other has two weeks. If he isn’t either recovered or dead, he will
be sent for special treatment to Hartheim Castle.”
Dr. Leiden made a movement of protest and Dr. Krieg turned on him, a
savage expression on his face. “Don’t get too attached to those boys,
doctor. If you do, you might be taking that last ride along with them,
provided that the Herr Kommandant Weiss actually does what the Herr Himmler
ordered him to and destroys this camp and everyone in it.” Dr. Krieg turned
on his heel and marched out of the room, leaving the other three occupants
staring after him.
“Will they really do it?” Sydney whispered as he and Henri walked down
the hall to the twins’ room.
Henri shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s possible.”
Arriving in the room, Sydney slid onto the bed. “But why? We’ve survived
so long and now, at the end, they kill us all?”
Henri slipped an arm around Sydney's shoulder as he sat down next to
him and, turning, Sydney buried his head in Henri’s jacket and soaked
it with hot tears of frustration and despair. “Sydney? Sydney, listen
to me. It may not happen. The Americans…”
“How can the Americans save us? They haven’t done anything to help us
since the war started and so why would they start now? What are we to
“I don’t know why they haven’t done anything - nobody knows. But perhaps
they didn’t want to kill us.”
“We’d be better off.” Henri heard the adult words come from the child’s
mouth with an inner shudder. He was about to respond when his chest constricted
and he was forced to cough in order to clear his throat. Stopping, he
found Sydney looking up at him with a concerned expression on his face.
“Are you okay?”
Henri nodded. “I will be.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I don’t really know.”
Sydney turned away with a dissatisfied expression and Henri, despite
the pain in his chest, tried to hide a smile. Regardless of his efforts,
however, Sydney noticed and turned immediately, his eyes demanding an
“What was that for?”
“I can’t help thinking that, one day, when this is all over, you’ll have
to make sure you work with people. You would never be happy working at
a desk. You need interaction, mental stimulus. You can understand people
Henri got up from the bed, smiled and left the room. Sydney remained
where he was, thinking over the remarks. Only one part of the comments
jarred against his feelings. All over? Would this ever really be over?
And what would life be like when it was?
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
December 24, 1970
Sydney sat beside the comatose figure of his brother as the first rays
of the sun lit the room and pulled out a picture from his wallet. Unfolding
it, his eyes looked down at the image of Catherine and Jarod, footage
that was now almost six years old. He had watched that night as she had
crept inside and provided the comfort that he was afraid to give. And
now she was dead. And Jacob… He leaned over the bed and put his mouth
close to his brother’s ear. “You were right, Jacob; you and Catherine.
I swear to you, if somebody is doing something to him, I’ll find out.”
Opening the door, he left the room.
Jarod fell to the floor as the simulation ended and refused to look up
at the sneering face of the man above him.
“What are you waiting for? The day’s work is finished. Get back to your
He turned back and glared down at the boy, lying prone on the floor.
“Please, help me.” The words came out in a gasp but the man merely sneered,
turning and walking away. It was another figure that stepped out of the
darkness and helped the boy to his feet, with an arm helping to hold him
“It’s okay, Jarod. It’s all right.” He smoothed his hair and wiped the
sweat, mixed with tears, out of the boy’s eyes. “You’re safe. I promise
you, you’re safe now.”
“Yes, Jarod. I’m here.”
“What are you…doing…back…?”
“I came to see you. I came to make sure you were okay.”
“Is he the one who came to you, the first time after I left, and of whom
you were so scared?”
“Is he going to get the chance again…?”
The series of unanswered questions halted when Sydney picked the boy
up in his arms and carried him out of the Sim Lab.
December 25, 1970
“Good morning, Jarod.”
The boy looked up from a book he was reading to where Sydney stood in
the doorway of his room.
“Sydney!” The boy scrambled out of the bed and ran to hug the tall man.
“Is this really mine? This room?”
”Yes, Jarod.” Sydney prevented himself from responding to the boy’s caresses
and gently freed himself, remembering the discussion from the night before.
“What is it that you want to put to us, doctor?”
“I have a complaint to make, gentlemen.”
“What is the nature of this complaint?”
“Why was I not informed that Dr. Raines would have control of J…my test
subject in my absence?”
“The doctor stated that he had consulted with you and that you had agreed.”
“That is untrue, gentlemen. We had no such discussion and I made so such
deal and feel, in fact, that damage may have been done.”
“In what way?”
“The boy is hesitant before pronouncing his findings, nervous and less
attentive when taking orders, as though he were waiting to be beaten or
knocked around. I believe that, if this goes on, it may compromise the
results that we make available to our clients.”
“And so what do you believe should be done?”
“In addition to removing him completely from Dr. Raines’ care, I feel
that leaving the boy in his current environment is limiting his chances
for further development. If he is given a wider range of stimuli - perhaps
a larger living quarters, similar, I might suggest, to the room in which
he sometimes performs his simulations, thus providing a further sense
There was a moment of silence, during which time Sydney wondered if he
had overstepped the mark.
“Doctor, your request seems reasonable. Your subject shall be given the
opportunities you have mentioned and we will see what chance he makes
Sydney blinked and brought his mind back to the present time to find
Jarod showing him some of the nicer aspects of his new quarters. He smiled
slightly to himself as he followed the excited boy around the room.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
“Leiden. Dr. Wolfram Leiden.” Miss Parker looked back over her shoulder
at Broots. “I think we found Mystery Man.”
“So this guy is - Leiden? So what’s his connection with Sydney?”
Miss Parker opened Sydney's file and proceeded to run a search on the
name Leiden. The computer began to hum and Miss Parker rapped her fingers
on the desk impatiently. “Come on, come on.”
“Uh, Miss Parker? You started a detailed search.”
“So, Sydney's file contains almost 35 gig of information, including his
childhood and everything. And the search program looks through every variation
of ‘Leiden’ including an abbreviated version of it.”
“So what are you saying?”
”A search like that could easily take up to twenty minutes, if not longer.”
Miss Parker glared at him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You didn’t ask,” answered Broots reasonably.”
Getting up from the chair, Miss Parker began to pace the length of the
* * * * * * * * *
In the hospital room, Dr. Eaton was silent and Jarod turned off the tape
and pulled a photo out of the folder and threw it onto the table in front
of him, wheeling it around so that James Eaton could see it.
“You know, you were right.” Jarod nodded at the photo. “I should have
asked you about Rebecca. She was your daughter, after all. But then I
would never have found out the whole story. I probably would never have
learnt about your dependency on heroin, nor the fact that you use the
money you get in grants to feed your addiction. I probably would also
not have learnt about the way you do your ‘research.’ But maybe you don’t
know me as well as you think you do. Out here in the world, no one feeds
me information. I have to find it out for myself.”
Jarod picked up a sheet of paper and dropped it on the desk in front
of the doctor. “What I find interesting is that, despite having a letter
from the Centre informing you of my escape and asking that, should you
have any contact with me, you let them know immediately, you never turned
me over to them. Why was that, James?”
* * * * * * * * *
The night air was cool and the grass bent gently under its light breath.
The lone figure sat with his knees drawn up underneath him as the images
continued to bombard him from all sides with no hope of escape. He was
completely alone, the stars shone coldly out of the cloudless night sky
and the moon sailed blithely above him, slowly passing from one side of
the sky to the other. His hands convulsively clutched at piles of rubble
under his hands, cutting the skin and making it bleed. An owl alighted
on a tree that acted as part of the field’s fence line and hooted softly
into the cool night air. The figure on the ground made no movement - it
was unlikely that the sound even penetrated his consciousness.
Barbaric images filled that imagination and tortured that mind as the
man sat, his hands now clasping each other as though trying to drag the
thoughts out of the depths to which they had sunk. The hours that passed
meant nothing. What are hours when lifetimes are being contemplated? What
is life when death itself ceases to have meaning? What is failure when
that and its brother, success, are met with the same brutal rewards?
Slowly the sky began its daily metamorphosis - a chameleon-like adaptation
to meet the golden ball of fire that will traverse its broad expanse each
day. As if responding to a signal, the mind also began the gradual upward
journey, out of the pit of fire into which it had sunk and towards that
saving light. The gentle breezes whispered soft and comforting words to
the one who had lain awake all night on the cold ground, his thoughts
yet colder. Finally, exhausted, he drew himself up by stages, to his knees
and then finally to his feet; standing to look over the long grasses that
had been his bed and comfort. Energy was at its lowest ebb and yet, as
the light became every minute stronger, the tide turned and a new and
different type of power and determination could be felt to trickle and
then flow through every limb. Finally the feet turned towards the road.
It was time to continue…
* * * * * * * * *
James Eaton sat up gingerly in the bed and then, his thoughts briefly
distracted, stared at his hands in astonishment.
“Waiting for the shaking to start, James - or the sweating - the way
it usually does, a few hours after your last shot of heroin?”
Jarod waited for an answer that didn’t come. The two men sat in silence
for some moments before Jarod extracted a used syringe from his pocket
and laid it flat on the palm of his hand.
“It’s amazing what a little research can do, isn’t it? Nobody else knows
about this discovery, James. I found it while performing a simulation
during…let’s see now, when was it? Do you know, I think it was in 1968?”
“And do you know, James, who I was working for during that time in 1968?
You, Mr. James Eaton. I was trying to discover a cure that would save
your daughter’s life and found that in the process.” Jarod held up the
syringe and examined the contents in the light before putting it back
down again. “So tell me about her.” Sitting back in his chair, he crossed
his arms and sat silently watching the doctor to speak. Finally the man
broke the silence.
“I lost Rebecca in September of 1968. I was told that it had been impossible
for a cure to be found and that, unless great advances occurred in medicine,
there never would be a cure.” He swallowed painfully. “After her death
- I just got so angry. How fair is it, Jarod, that a nine-year-old girl
should die like that?”
“How fair is it, James, that a nine-year-old boy be asked to cure the
disease and be blamed when he couldn’t succeed?”
“I never knew that you would get the blame for that. I never even knew
who was working on it. How was I supposed to imagine that an organization
like the Centre would use children to do their research?”
Jarod nodded. “No, you never really knew Dr. William Raines.”
“I never even knew his name. At least, I never knew it until I got that
letter.” Eaton nodded at the piece on paper on which Jarod's hand rested.
“Yes,” Jarod picked it up. “What about this letter? Did you answer it?”
“At the time, I did. I said that if I ever saw you, I would let them
know.” Eaton’s voice dropped. “That was in 1996.”
“September,” Jarod agreed.
“In 1996, everything was going as well as could have been expected. But
you have to understand; in 1968, after Rebecca died, my life fell apart.
My wife and I had been having some problems and our daughter had been
the sole reason for us staying together. After she died, we separated
almost immediately. My wife remarried within twelve months of the funeral
- and I was introduced to heroin. It was great. I could forget everything
for a while and pretend that life was as it had been. A few years later
I gradually found the strength to wean myself away from the drugs. For
my daughter’s sake, I studied medicine and became a researcher at Mayo.
I’ve been here for almost thirty years. I should have retired years ago
but I couldn’t. I kept hoping that maybe, one day, I would find the answer.
Most of that work,” he nodded to the file that Jarod had on the table,
“is my own research from several years ago. I shared it with my contemporaries
and was proud of it, so proud. And then I was introduced to Julie-Ann…”
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
A computer’s electronic beep broke the thick and oppressive silence that
had been filling the office for the past twenty-five minutes. Broots wiped
a trembling hand across his damp forehead and was about to look down at
the computer screen but found that Miss Parker was quicker. Her eyes greedily
scanned the information provided and finally alighted on one item and
she read the data aloud as though disbelieving.
“Sydney Michael Ritter and Jacob Alfred Ritter were subjected to tests
under the guidance of Dr. Werner Krieg but under the direct hand of Dr.
Wolfram Leiden for seven months during the period 18 September 1944 until
25 April 1945. The concentration camp Dachau was liberated by American
troops on the 29th of April, 1945, at which time it was discovered
that both aforementioned doctors, along with many members of their team
and, more importantly, all of their results, had disappeared.”
Miss Parker resumed pacing and Broots took her place in front of the
computer, his brow furrowed. There was a few moments of silence before
Miss Parker turned and headed briskly for the door.
“W…where are you going?”
She turned around and looked thoughtfully at the computer and then him.
“I know enough now. It’s time to find Sydney.”
* * * * * * * * *
“When I met Julie-Ann, I saw everything that Rebecca had been during
the first few months of her illness. The new medicines meant that she
was healthier for longer and I really thought I might have a chance to
find what I needed and save her life. But I couldn’t do it. After she
died, I hit a wall - and I went back to the drugs. Then I heard about
her father dying and I thought that it was a sign that I would never succeed
in saving people, no matter how hard I worked.” James blinked several
times, staring hard at the blankets, and then looked up at Jarod. “Did
you ever think that you could make everything okay? Fix all of the world’s
problems? Of course you did. Young people always think like that. One
day, Jarod, you’ll find that you can’t do it. You can’t make it all right
for everybody. And then you’ll understand what I’m going through. And
there’s always the problem of time. There isn’t enough of it in my life
or in yours. One day you’ll realize that it just can’t happen. And then
The doctor’s mouth closed firmly and his eyes traveled from Jarod's face
to the window, where a spring storm was raging outside, lighting the room
with bright flashes and emphasizing the conversation by occasional growls
“And me?” Jarod's voice broke across the silence in the room. “Where
do I fit into the picture? You get a letter telling all about me. So will
I leave the room and find a team of sweepers waiting for me? Or maybe
the Chairman and a set of manacles, made to measure.”
“I need you, Jarod.” The doctor’s voice was an almost inaudible whisper.
“I could have handed them over to you, but I need help. I can’t get over
my problem this time. I’ve known, ever since Julie-Ann died, that my strength
wouldn’t be enough to get over it on my own.” He looked back at Jarod,
a pleading expression on his face. “Please, help me with this. If you
do, maybe I can finally find something that will make sure that nobody’s
daughter has to die any more.”
* * * * * * * * *
7:02am International Airport
“And if I could have your passport, sir?”
Sydney slipped his hand into the pocket of his jacket, expecting to feel
the firm booklet. Finding nothing, he felt through the other pocket and
then opened his bag, rummaging through it. The ticking of a clock on the
wall captured Sydney's attention for a fraction of a second and his awareness
of the speed with which time was passing increased, as did his feelings
of panic. Movement in front of him drew his eyes away from the bag and
he looked up to see his passport being dangled there. At the same time,
a hand came down on his shoulder and Sydney felt a strange sense of calm
replace the earlier panic.
“Put a hold on that ticket. He’ll be back. Maybe.”
Sydney found himself being somewhat unwilling steered away from the counter
and almost forcibly marched over to a nearby café, fortunately almost
deserted at that hour. Miss Parker bereft him of his coat and hat, hanging
both on a nearby stand before pushing him down into a chair and then taking
the seat opposite.
“You look surprised, Syd. Didn’t you think I’d come looking for you?”
”Looking, yes. Finding, no.” Sydney's voice was cracked and harsh from
the night spent in the chilly April air and, with one hand on his, Miss
Parker turned and signaled the waiter to bring coffee. Turning, she pulled
a stilled image from the tape made by Angelo out of her pocket and dropped
it onto the table.
“I found out about him.”
Miss Parker shifted impatiently in her chair and tried to keep the frustration
out of her voice. “Don’t play dumb, Syd. Dr. Wolfram Leiden. That is who
you’re afraid of, isn’t it? That was what made you leave.”
Sydney sat silently, his eyes fixed on the image, as a waitress brought
the mugs and placed them on the table. Miss Parker added several spoonfuls
of sugar to one mug and stirred it. The movement brought Sydney out of
the half-trance into which he had fallen.
“You don’t take sugar.”
“No, but you’re going to.”
Sydney made a movement in protest but Miss Parker pushed the mug in his
direction and wrapped his hands around it. “For God’s sake, you’re hands
are freezing and the rest of you is probably just as cold. It isn’t exactly
the weather to sit around outside doing - what were you doing, anyway?”
Sydney shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“You were thinking about him, weren’t you? What did he do to you, Sydney?”
He looked up at her. For a moment, hope flared in his eye but, like a
match, lasted only a moment before dimming again. “I can’t tell you.”
“It wouldn’t be fair.”
“To you or to me?” Miss Parker looked at him, one eyebrow raised questioningly.
“It always helps to talk.”
Sydney nodded slowly. His eyes studied the pattern of the table in a
silence that gradually became longer and longer…