Goodbye Edgar Collins
by Jason Covey
Silently they sat together on the couch, the mother holding her precious little girl.

Tears welled in the mother’s eyes while she watched her daughter stare off into an empty abyss. Seven
years had passed since the initial diagnosis of autism, and since that day very few had passed in which the
mother did not cry for her little girl.

A tear rolled down her cheek just as a thin stream of drool fell from her daughter’s mouth. Carefully she
cleaned her daughter’s flower print shirt. It was the only shirt that the little girl ever seemed happy to wear.

Several minutes had passed since they had been shown into the doctor’s private office. During that time the
little girl never spoke. She stared off into space, slowly rocking back and forth.

“It won’t be long now, honey,” her mother whispered.

Often the mother wondered what it was like inside her daughter’s mind. What thoughts did she have? Was it
possible that she was a normal person trapped inside a prison made up of a malfunctioning body? No, it was
more likely that she was forever damaged; destined to go through life less than even a child, almost like an
animal that responds instinctively to the world around it.

Tears streamed down the mother’s face. Sometimes the pain was overwhelming. Sometimes she imagined
that she could channel all of that energy into a ferocious will to cure her daughter. But no amount of
determination ever repaired her little girl’s mind.

As she stroked her daughter’s hair a door across the room opened. A woman quietly entered the office and
closed the door. She was a beautiful woman with kind eyes and a smile that radiated hope. The mother got
up from the couch and met the woman in the middle of the room.

“Hello, you must be Doctor Collins,” the mother said.

Doctor Collins smiled. “Yes I am. And you must be Jessica, Jana’s mother. I reviewed your daughter’s medical
history before our appointment today.” Doctor Collins motioned to the couch. “Please, sit down.”

Jessica sat down on the couch next to her daughter while Doctor Collins went over to her desk. She got a
file folder from her desk, moved a chair in front of the couch, and sat down.

Doctor Collins looked at Jessica’s bloodshot eyes and patted her leg. “I’m really glad you came to see me
today. Based on what I’ve learned so far, I know that this hasn’t been easy for you. But, I’m sure that I can
help Jana.”

Jessica wiped away another tear.

“All right, I just want to make sure the information I have here is correct.” Doctor Collins flipped through a
couple papers. “Okay, Jana was diagnosed with autism by sixteen months. As she grew older the diagnosis
was updated to severe autism. Jana has relatively no command of language, rarely speaks, and is prone to
violent outbursts and tantrums.”

Doctor Collins looked up from the file. Jessica nodded.

“Is there anything else that you can tell me? For example, does Jana respond to music?”

Jessica smiled as she looked at Jana. “She likes the song Jesus Loves Me. Usually when I sing it to her she’ll
look at me and try to sing along, though she can’t really say any of the words.”

“That sounds very cute,” Doctor Collins said as she took notes. “That’s good. There may be a chance that
she will respond to musical therapy.”

Silence filled the room as the doctor flipped through the file. Jessica looked around and locked her eyes on a
picture hanging from the wall. When she looked back the doctor was studying her.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I just noticed your picture over there. Is that you in the Air Force Uniform?”

A giggle escaped the good doctor as her face blushed. “Yes, that’s me back in my younger days. I went to
the Air Force Academy and became a surgeon. When I got out of the Air Force I went back to college and
got a second degree in Child Psychology. I have always loved working with children and I wanted to work in a
field where I got the chance to help them. In fact, I do a lot of volunteer work with inner-city runaways.”

Jessica beamed. “Wow, not only do you sound amazing, but you sound extremely busy, too. Thank you so
much for taking Jana as your patient. I really believe that you can help her.”

“Yes, I hope so. She is such a pretty little girl,” Doctor Collins said as she gently took Jana’s hand.

The gaze into the abyss was broken. Jana jerked her head, her eyes wide at the sight of the doctor.
Snarling, Jana pulled the doctor’s hand to her mouth and bit down into flesh. Blood streamed across her face
as she began to wildly slap at the doctor.

The doctor shrieked and thrust her palm into Jana’s head, knocking her to the floor. “I can’t believe you just
bit me,” the doctor said, her kind eyes now venomous.

Jana got up from the floor and ran to her mother, jumping into her arms. “Please mommy, don’t let her cut me
up. Please, don’t let her hurt me. She puts the little kiddies into cages and I don’t want her to cut me up.
Please mommy, take me home.” Jana buried her head into her mother’s chest and began to sob.

Doctor Collins moved to her desk and stood behind it, holding onto her blood smeared hand. Jessica held her
daughter tight and slowly backed up to the door. Without a word she opened the door and left the office.

The evening was warm and humid, the tequila dampening the throbbing in her hand. Placing more marijuana
into her pipe she heard the sliding glass door open. Footsteps into the backyard followed as she lit up and
puffed.

“Tequila and weed, what a great idea.” He planted a kiss on her forehead and took the pipe.

“I had a really bad day.” Exhaling smoke in his face she lifted her hand, showing him the bandaged wound.

“Oh my poor Rebecca, what happened to you?” he asked before taking a hit from the pipe.

She shook her head. “It was the weirdest damn thing. I had this autistic kid come in the office today and out
of the blue the little bitch bit me. Then she started screaming to her mom not to let me cut her up and that I
put kids in cages.”

The man sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Who is this girl? How long has she been a patient of
yours?”

“I have never seen her before today. Her mom was referred to me by another doctor. It’s not anything to
worry about though. There is no way they could know anything. It’s just some kind of freaky god-damned
coincidence.”

He took in a deep breath. “Yeah, okay. Listen I’ve got some things to do downstairs. It will only take me a
few minutes. Will you wait for me right here?”

She leaned forward and kissed him. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to sit here, get high, drink this bottle
of tequila, and forget all about that little retard.”

He pinched her cheek. “Good. That’s my special girl.”

Down in the basement he locked the door behind him and walked over to the gun safe. He leaned against it
and considered the situation.

For some time it had been getting more difficult to remain undetected. Lately they had been getting close to
losing control and now it seemed that they had. Or rather it was that she had. And now she had ruined
everything.

The operation had to be shut down.

He entered the pass code into the safe’s lock control pad. He frowned as he removed the gun from the safe.
It really was too bad. They had a nice thing going. It was a shame to have to end almost three years of hard
work over a few loose ends. But, loose ends are unacceptable risks. Though it was quite the lucrative
business, harvesting and trafficking human organs was not worth facing the death penalty.

From behind the cyclone fence that divided the basement he could hear the kiddies stirring. They knew he
was in there with them. They shook their doors and cried out. Sad little voices wailed and mixed with iron
percussion. It was music to his ears. Smiling, he screwed a silencer onto the barrel of his gun.

He set the gun down on the workbench next to him and went back to the safe. He took out a box of
ammunition and the gun’s magazine before walking up to the fence. From behind the chain link he surveyed all
of the cages that lined the far wall. Ten small cages constructed with welded wrought iron bars. Six of those
cages held the forgotten and the unwanted – runaway children that no one missed.

At the workbench he took the top off of the ammunition box. Removing six rounds from the box he placed
each one into the magazine. “Six bullets for six little kiddies. Oh, and I can’t forget one more bullet for my
special girl,” he said placing the seventh round into the magazine.

He slammed the magazine into the gun and walked toward the cages. As he passed by a small mirror on the
wall he stopped, catching a glimpse of his reflection.

“Well, this is it. It’s time to start another new life. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m sorry to say, this is
goodbye Edgar Collins. Tomorrow I start again as a new man.”

Smiling he gave himself a wink and chambered a round into his gun.