Bill stood motionless, trying to get his bearings. Flashes of darkness clouded his vision as an unbidden memory began to surface:
Shivering in the dark, cold, damp cellar, trying desperately to get a fire started.
"Bill," said Susan, sharply. "The detective asked you a question. Are you all right?"
The anger in her tone brought Bill rapidly back to the present. "I'm sorry," he replied, turning toward the police officer. "What did you ask?"
"Just wondering where you might have seen bones. We need a place to start."
Bill glanced around. Everyone was staring at him, waiting
Again, dark shapes crept into the corners of his eyes, blotting out the glow of the sun. The winter wind was howling in his ears, its ferocity accentuated by the booming of thundersnow.
A surge of bile rose up in his throat and he turned from the crowd of anxious faces, fell to his knees, and retched violently into the sand.
"Oh, for Christ's sake," murmured Det. Wallace as he turned toward Susan. "Can you do something? I mean, look at the man."
Susan took a deep breath. "Just be patient. I'll handle this."
She walked over to Bill, who was crouched in the sand, dry heaves racking his body. A look of distaste passed over her face as she reached placed her hand on his shoulder.
"You okay?" she asked. "All you need to do is give us some direction. You don't have to go with us. Just give us some idea of where to start."
Bill wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as he turned to look up at her. "The ridge. Try over by that ridge."
As he spoke, a fresh bout of nausea overcame him and he turned away from her.
Susan frowned. "Okay, thanks. If you need to, stay here. Get some water from the cooler and clean yourself up."
Bill nodded, not looking at her. She stood watching him for a moment, apparently waiting to see if he could pull himself together. When he didn't move, she patted him again on the shoulder and walked away.
"He says to start up by that ridge," she yelled, indicating the steep outcropping of rock that Bill had pointed to.
The detective and his forensics man nodded and, with the students, started climbing. Susan followed with her camera crew, leaving Bill alone on the beach.
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