Ornate drapes, designed to dampen the intrusive sounds of the outside world, only served to more firmly trap the uproar within the four walls. Centuries old vases vibrated dangerously along eighteenth century furniture made slick with polish.

Reginald, the Quartermaine butler, interrupted the family's latest argument with a shrill whistle that immediately silenced them all. Slender and balding, Reginald so often treated the members of the Quartermaine family with casual disregard that his unorthodox method of gaining their attention raised no eyebrows among the group. "I think you all had better come into the foyer," he addressed no one in particular. " Now !"

One by one the members of the dysfunctional clan headed toward the front door. Alan and Monica exchanged curious glances while Edward complained loudly about the interruption, Reginald's impertinent manner and the aching of his aging knees.

Everyone gasped when they reached the foyer. No doubt they would have remained frozen in shock if Reginald had not broken the silence. "Well,” the butler demanded, standing by the open front door, “somebody do something!"

Doctor Alan Quartermaine tore his gaze away from the sight of his only grandson's body lying naked just outside the front door. He rushed to the little boy's side and fearfully felt for a pulse along Michael's neck. The child's skin was cool and clammy and confirmed Alan's fear.

"Dad?" A.J.'s shaky voice sounded from just behind his father. "Please tell me he's not-" A.J. choked on the word. Regret and bitterness flooded his soul as he faced the probability that he would not ever have the chance to know his son.

Alan's silence was the family's answer. "A.J., I am sorry." Alan choked back the tears. "Michael doesn't have a pul-"

The doctor stiffened.


Alan quieted his wife with a curt gesture. He stilled the trembling of his fingers and pressed just a fraction harder against his grandson's flesh. "Dear god! He's not dead!"

"Somebody get the car," Doctor Monica Quartermaine calmly ordered. Instinctively she switched to the no-nonsense mode she engaged in her capacity as a top-notch surgeon. She barely noticed when Reginald rushed toward the garage with a jangling key ring in his hand.

Monica grabbed a jacket from the stand beside the door. "Call General Hospital,” Monica instructed her daughter Emily. “Tell them that we are coming in. Have them page Tony Jones. We may need a neurologist." She waited until Alan scooped up the little boy's unconscious body to cover him with the jacket. “Let's go.”

A hand reached out and grabbed Alan by the arm. "You can't do that," Justus Ward said.


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