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- Philip left his scarf in Tori’s hospital room so that he would  have an excuse to return and kill her before she could awaken.
- Bill and Paula arrived at the hospital and insisted that they would stay with Tori so that Sarah and Matt could go home and sleep.
- Philip went to Tori’s room, ostensibly to deliver flowers and retrieve his scarf. He told Officer Jimenez, who was standing guard, that she could take a bathroom break while he was there. He began to inject a solution into Tori’s IV line — but someone walked in on him.

KB Memorial Hospital

As he depresses the plunger of the needle, releasing the milky solution into Tori Gray’s IV line, Philip Ragan’s body responds accordingly and lets out a sigh of relief.

“It’s over,” he tells himself. “It’s over."

“What’s over?” a voice asks from behind him. “What do you think you’re doing?"

Philip freezes and, turning his head over his shoulder, sees Bill Fisher in the doorway. He attempts to ease the needle out of the IV without giving himself away.

“I was just speaking to Tori,” he says, swallowing hard. His breaths are shallow and his heartbeats thunderous. “Telling her that I know she’s going to wake up soon and that this will be over."

Bill narrows his eyes. “Are you sure that’s all?"

“Yes, I am.” Philip struggles to keep the irritation out of his voice as he moves the syringe toward his jacket, his back still to Bill.

“What do you have in your hand?"

“Nothing. What are you—“ But before Philip can finish the question, his shaky hand snags on the lapel of his jacket, and he can do nothing but watch in horrifying slow-motion as the syringe tumbles to the floor. 

* * * * *

“It was so sweet of Philip to bring flowers,” Paula Fisher says. She stands in the middle of the ICU’s waiting area with her two daughters and her son-in-law.

“He’s very thoughtful,” Molly Taylor says, as an involuntary smile sketches its way over her lips. “It still manages to surprise me sometimes."

Sarah Fisher Gray regards her older sister with dark, tired eyes, but the effort to be cordial, even sisterly, is apparent in her voice. “You guys seem really close again."

“We are. Everything that’s happened this year has put things in perspective.” Molly pauses for a moment as she clasps her hands together, memories of last night with Philip sweeping over her. “And this time, we’re both going to be much more careful not to mess it up."

  Molly Taylor

* * * * *

Philip's gaze cranes across the room and upward, confirming that Bill, too, is focused on the syringe as it hits the floor, bounces once, and then settles on the slightly dingy linoleum.

“What in the world are you doing?” Bill asks, locking his eyes upon Philip.

“I can explain.” Philip’s mind shoots into crisis-management mode, racing in a way that he hardly knew was possible a year ago. He has become adept at thinking on his feet, adjusting as he goes, and — aside from the time Cameron Kelley walked in on him staging a threatening scene in Molly’s office — that has never been as crucial as it is now. 

“I want to know what you were doing to my granddaughter,”  Bill says, his tone firm and demanding. It gives Philip precisely the cover he needs for crossing the room and shutting the door. He notes the vase in Bill’s hand.

“Did you bring that for the flowers?” Philip asks. 

Bill reacts with a start, thrown by the change of subject. Nevertheless, he nods and then holds out the vase, and Philip takes it from him.

  Bill Fisher

“It doesn’t seem that you have any explanation for what you were doing with that needle and my granddaughter,” the older man says. “I’m going to get someone—"

“Bill. Wait.” Philip takes a deep breath, gathering all the strength he can possibly summon. He feels it welling in his chest, a hot ball of rage and desperation. He’s so close to his goal. Too close. He has Molly back. And this old man is not going to stand in his way.

“I can’t let you do that,” Philip says, and before Bill realizes what is happening, Philip has swung the vase and slammed it right into Bill’s skull.

* * * * *

As Rosie exits the ladies’ room, she feels her cell phone vibrating in the pocket of her uniform pants. She stops and moves to the wall as she pulls it out and sees Detective Harris’s name on the caller ID.

“This is Jimenez,” she answers.

“You’re on hospital duty this morning, right?” Harris asks, his voice crackling over the thin connection.

“Yeah. Why?"

“There was a threat sent to KBAY — the radio station — this morning. Running it through the system for prints now, but keep your eyes open."

“What kind of threat?” she asks as she flattens herself against the wall while a gurney is rolled past her.

“Someone sent a poem and said the morning hosts would die if they didn’t read it on the air.” Just by the way he speaks, Rosie can picture him pinching the bridge of his long, thin nose in that way he so often does. “Probably just a copycat — or not even, some lonely nut getting his kicks — but let’s keep an even closer eye on the Gray kid today."

“I’m on it,” Rosie says as she hurries back to her post.

* * * * *

Philip’s muscles strain as they hold the scarf tight. He keeps his focus upon his knuckles, white with exertion as they grip the cashmere. Another pair of hands were touching it not long ago, frantically grasping for a shot at freedom, but now they sink to the floor, limp and lifeless. 

Philip uses the scarf to touch Bill’s neck and locate the carotid artery. There is no pulse. Philip cannot stop shaking as he pulls himself to his feet, rubbery legs barely supporting him. Bill’s body slumps the rest of the way onto the linoleum. 

The room is spinning. This was not supposed to happen. That is Molly’s father — he killed Molly’s father. Spencer’s grandfather. Bill Fisher always seemed to him like a nice man, a good man — not someone who should have met his end this way. Maybe he could have handled this differently.

No. Bill would have turned him in. He had to do it. And now he has to get out of here, or they will all know.

He stuffs the syringe back into his jacket and peeks through the blinds. That officer is still not back. Scarf in hand, he slips out of the room and closes the door behind himself. He scurries down the hallway and back to the waiting area, willing his body to calm down so that he can function as if nothing has happened.

“Sorry, I went to go use the restroom,” he says as he rejoins Molly and her family.

“Did Bill bring you the vase?” Paula asks.

Philip cocks his head in what he hopes is a plausible show of confusion. “No, he must have come after I’d gone. That was kind of him, though."

“He got it from the nurses’ station,” Molly adds.

“Oh. I’m sure it will make those flowers look much nicer than they do sitting on the bureau.” Philip busies himself by tossing the scarf around his neck.

  Philip Ragan

“I’ll go help Bill with those flowers, then,” Paula says. She turns to Sarah and Matt. “Please go and get some rest.” 

“I promise,” Matt says as he takes Sarah’s arm. 

Paula heads through the double doors toward Tori’s room. Philip’s entire body seizes up, awaiting the inevitable.

“Oh, I haven’t even seen Tori yet,” Molly says. 

“Let’s give your parents a few minutes. Come on, we can go get some fresh air,” Philip suggests, nodding across the room toward the balcony.

“And we are gonna go sleep for a few hours,” Matt says. “Thanks again for the flowers."

The two couples say their goodbyes, and Philip leads Molly out to the balcony. 

“I just want to let the nurses’ station know we’re going home,” Sarah says.

“Your parents are here. They know to call you if they need to,” Matt says.

“It’ll help me sleep better.” Sarah starts in the direction of the elevators, to which the nurses’ station is adjacent. 

* * * * *

Paula offers Rosie a smile as she reaches for the door handle. It pushes down without incident, and the door opens as it normally does, but as soon as she starts into the room, the entire world transforms into some sort of horrible nightmare. It takes several seconds for her to formulate words, even as the shocking tableau in front of her hammers into her, trying to penetrate.

“Bill!” she manages to scream.

“What’s wrong?” Rosie asks as she darts into the room.

“My husband,” Paula says breathlessly. “Help! Someone help!"


Did Philip’s latest killing come as a shock?
Will Bill be the final victim of the Footprint Killer?
Will Philip be apprehended now?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2015

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