Chapter 1

I have thoughts of killing the boy. Sometimes, I read his file – losing track of time, forgetting it exists – and I want to rid myself of all this. I'm tired. Everyone in my life detests me – my little boy, especially. I forget to eat. I only sleep when I'm delirious from a lack of it. But no one knows what I know. They see a child, a catatonic who doesn't speak, doesn't even move. They know his background, they've read the newspaper stories, the feature articles, and watched the wretched "inside" looks at his life on television. They think they know, but they do not. This boy is a constant threat, a quieted beast that has shut down its mind – for now, only for now. He knows he can't escape from this place. He knows he's only 11 years old. He knows he can't overpower the nurses and guards staffed across this building. But he knows they're all fooled. He knows that in five, maybe 10 years – maybe longer – he'll get his chance to kill again. He craves this – it's clear to anyone who has stared into his hollow eyes for uncountable hours, trying to coax a response. Anything. Michael Myers will kill again. As a human being, not a doctor – not someone charged with caring for a deranged freak, a confused, innocent child, as some have said to me – I feel a calling to stop the coming murder. I want to kill the boy.

Dr. Samuel Loomis

January 3, 1968

David Loomis gently closed the old, yellowed manila folder and leaned back in his wooden chair, staring blankly at his cluttered desk. He wasn't sure why he read his father's journals – it either depressed or scared him, sometimes both. For a long time, he had moved passed his dad's obsession. It wasn't easy. Everywhere he went, from college to graduate school to his career, he tap danced around the Loomis legacy, pretending he didn't know his father very well, sometimes denying that he was Sam Loomis's son.

"I've heard of him though," David would always say. "Strange bird."

When he returned to Illinois, after five years of going from job to job, from East coast to West coast and back, it was impossible to avoid. After six months in Illinois, the state where his father was made famous, David – who entered the family business after doing everything he could to march in the opposite direction of his dad's footsteps – was hounded by the questions. The press, his colleagues and dinner party guests wanted to know the same thing: What was behind your father's obsession? How did it feel to be the son of a madman? Have you ever thought of changing your last name?

The answer to the last question was a most definite yes. The answer to the second varied, depending who David was talking to and what mood he was in, but basically, he summed it up with one word: confusing. Seeing your dad cooped up in his study for 48 consecutive hours was perplexing for a 9 year old. Seeing his dad's glazed-over look and gaunt face was downright frightening. Watching him sit alone at the kitchen table, taking swig after swig of whatever numbing agent was in his flask, was traumatic for young David, especially when friends witnessed the daytime drinking and promptly reported it to their parents, who, within minutes, broadcasted it to the entire neighborhood. The answer to the first question – what fueled Sam Loomis's uncontrollable fixation on the grade school murderer – was unanswerable, both for David, his deceased mother and the dozens of talking heads, radio hosts, unofficial biographers and other parasites who made millions analyzing Dr. Loomis and his demonic little patient.

Halloween 1963. Peter and Margaret Myers left their quaint Haddonfield, Illinois suburban home that night, meeting friends for dinner and a movie. Their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Judith – a cheerleader, a prom queen, a small town diva – went on a date with her boyfriend. Before leaving for the theatre, Peter and Margaret dropped off their kids, Michael, 6, and Laurie, 2, at Janice Blankenship's house, just across the street. Blankenship was the last of what was one of the original Haddonfield families. She was in her mid-40s, widowed and childless. The Myers warmed up to her when they first moved to the town in the fall of 1957, and Blankenship had babysat Michael and Laurie many times before.

Blankenship later told police that she took the kids trick-or-treating, returned home and was thoroughly disturbed my Michael's behavior. It was "creepy," in her words. Blankenship said Michael, dressed in his white and red clown costume his mother bought him the week before, ignored the television, ignored his candy stash, ignored board games set out for the children, ignored pumpkins Blankenship bought for late-night carving. Instead, he perched by the family room window, staring blankly across the street at his house. He didn't say anything, and when Blankenship put her hand on his shoulder and tried to turn him around, he wouldn't budge. She said she sewed a scarf most of the night, occasionally glancing at Michael to see if he had turned away from the window. Laurie was asleep in the guest bedroom. Just before 10 p.m., Blankenship looked up and saw Michael had moved away from the window. Disappeared, in her words. She called for him – checked around the house, under beds, in closets – but couldn't find the boy. She noticed her door was cracked open. She walked onto the porch and called for Michael. No response. She looked across the street and saw Judith and her date were home, watching TV, or pretending to watch TV as they groped on the Myers' couch.

The rest of the story David Loomis knew from the police files and his father's diaries, notes, reports and voice recordings: Michael stalked the teenage couple from outside the house. They never saw the little masked clown face peering through side windows. When the couple chased each other upstairs, Michael entered the house, walked into the kitchen and opened a drawer full of large kitchen knives. He waited for Judith's date to leave. When the teenager slammed the front door and started his car, Michael marched upstairs, lowered his clown mask from the top of his head to his face, entered Judith's room and stabbed her 13 times in the upper body. Blankenship said she heard no screams. Michael, now with spatters of blood across his Halloween costume, exited the house, dripping blood from the knife down the steps, into the foyer, onto the porch and across the sidewalk. Just then, Peter and Margaret got home. They saw Michael leaving the house, squeezing the murder weapon in his tiny hand. Shocked, they stopped their son and took the knife away. It was then that Sam Loomis believed Michael entered a state of conscious catatonia that he remained in for his entire childhood and young adulthood. Investigators said later they believed Michael was walking toward the Blankenship house, determined to notch another kill before October became November.

Sam Loomis was assigned to the Myers case after the boy's first psychiatrist, a Dr. DeLong, recommended a mental hospital for the child who wouldn't respond to a single question. After only a few weeks diagnosing the boy, Loomis begged officials at Smith's Grove/Warren County Sanitarium to put Michael in a maximum-security facility. But all they saw was a little boy with an utterly blank face, harmless to everyone and everything. He was in permanent shock, they said, one he would never snap out of. Michael was barely alive, in any true sense. They ridiculed Sam Loomis, sullied his professional name and denied his request with contempt. After 15 years of wasted labor, Loomis was ready to give up on Michael. Within days of Michael's scheduled appearance to be tried as an adult, on Oct. 30, 1978, the 21-year-old catatonic came to life, thrashing around his room and scrawling the word, "sister" across the door in his room. When nurses opened the door, he attacked – taking a piece of an ear on the way out – and sprinted down the hall, opening every door along the way, freeing dozens of patients. In the mad panic, Michael jumped the Smith's Grove fence, spotted a car driven by a nurse, scared her out of the vehicle and drove away. The next night, Halloween night, in an obsessive hunt for his sister, Laurie, Michael slaughtered 13 people. And he didn't just slay them. He put them on display, often making painstaking effort to pose the lifeless shells on beds. Michael donned a white rubber mask he stole from a hardware store, emulating the horrific Halloween 15 years prior, when he first became a faceless executioner. Michael was maimed that night. Loomis buried almost a dozen bullets into the murder's torso and Laurie stabbed him twice, once in the neck and once in the eye. He disappeared after many thought he was consumed in a hospital fire, where Laurie was kept after sustaining myriad of injuries. But Laurie survived the massacre and plotted with Loomis to fake her death, giving her the chance to escape and start a life far from her real-life nightmare.

Six months later, the local papers reported Laurie died in a head-on car accident on a freeway north of Haddonfield. No one questioned it. Laurie was dead. She changed her name to Keri Tate and moved to a small California town called Summer Glen, where she became a teacher at an exclusive prep school.

Local, county and state police – even FBI agents – made the Myers case a No. 1 priority. When an 18-month investigation turned up nothing, police eased away from the case. The Michael Myers file remained open.

Sam Loomis never abandoned his hunt for Michael. As his health faltered, he could no longer scour Haddonfield and surrounding towns and cities for his former patient. Instead, as David hated to remember, Sam would track every murder in Illinois and any mysterious stabbing death across the country. If authorities didn't have a suspect or make an arrest, Sam would add a newspaper clipping and a sheet of scribbled notes to his collection. He even made a map of incidents that might have involved his subject, peppering his office walls with thumbtacks pinpointing potential Michael Myers strikes. There were small bunches of thumbtacks just south and west of Haddonfield, no more than 60 miles from the quaint neighborhood streets Michael haunted years before.

"No matter what I do, he's all I'd think about," Sam explained to his son during a brief visit on a snowy December day in 1993, two years before he died. "I was the only one who knew what he was like. No one else did. I didn't stop him then, but I want to – I need to – before I die."

Twice, once in 1990 and again two years later, Sam called his son and calmly explained that he had seen his longtime patient. The first call came just before midnight on the day before Halloween.

"David," Sam said in a hushed, disturbingly calm tone. "I'm being stalked by a former patient."

Sam was standing by his bedroom window, looking out into nearby woods. There was a light but persistent drizzle. Sam said he saw Michael's mask first. The white stood out among the dark, leafless trees. He was standing half behind a thick tree, Sam said, and he didn't move for almost a minute. Michael was close enough for Sam to see the rain trickle down his mask. It made Sam wonder how he survived all those years. Did he live off the land? Did he kill for sport, sneaking around in the dark, stabbing and slicing like he did 12 years earlier? Or was he waiting? Waiting for what? The perfect time to kill his childhood doctor? Probably not, Sam thought. If he wanted Sam dead, he could easily burst through the door, overpower the old man and jam a knife in his neck. Besides, he was still after little sister, and with unmatched patience, he might just find her someday, Sam feared.

"I wanted to take him inside," Sam told David after the first sighting. David never really believed his father's account. "I still, after all these goddamn years, wanted to ask him these questions that have burned through my head for so very long."

Sam laid in bed that night expecting Michael to break through his window and stealthily sneak through his house, as he had done the night he pursued Laurie around Haddonfield. When his eyes opened the next morning and the spitting rain ran down his window, he was surprised, and in a way he was never able to explain, disappointed. The next night, Halloween night, Sam was sure of Michael's re-emergence. He kept the outside lights off, not to attract trick-or-treaters who would serve as prey. When two girls rung the doorbell anyway, Sam hobbled to the front door, and without unlocking it, screamed at the kids to leave until they were sprinting down the sidewalk, crying hysterically.

"No candy here!" Sam shouted in a gravely voice. "Now get out of here before he comes!"

Sam's second and final Michael sighting was in August 1992. He was among his boxes of files, rummaging through a box originally made for furniture when his attention was diverted. The summer sun had almost set and it cast a red glow across everything. Michael was in the woods again. This time though, somehow, Sam sensed his former patient's anger. His head was tilted downward slightly and his eyes were aimed straight for Sam's. His eyes seemed to say, "I've waited patiently. You know I'm still looking for Laurie, and I know she's alive. Deliver her to me, or else." The last time Sam saw Michael's mask peering through the woods, he looked straightforward, as if to announce his arrival, not to scare his one-time doctor. And this time – unlike last – he held a rusted butcher's knife at his side. Sam was sure Michael held it precisely so Sam could see it. Sam suddenly realized where he was standing – in the midst of letters, files and correspondence that included Laurie's whereabouts – and he hurried out of the room and slammed the door. He breathed heavily and became nervous about his speeding heart rate. He knew Michael was nothing if not observant, and he had certainly seen Sam among his most sensitive papers.

Sam faded in and out of an almost nonexistent sleep that night, unable to shake Michael's face. He crawled out of bed and got dressed. He grabbed his cane and exited through the front door. Crickets weren't chirping, the wind wasn't blowing – everything was still. Sam limped to the edge of the trees and stood as straight as he could. Scanning the thicket of trees, he saw no white mask. Sam shouted for Michael. No response. He shouted again, feeling his heart race once more. He took a deep breath and screamed for a final time. The woods became a blur and Sam's cane fell on the dewy grass. Dizziness overtook him. He fell on the ground with a thud, sure that he was moments away from death. He continued to say Michael's name under his breath before he passed out.

The next morning, on an impromptu visit, David found his father face down in the grass. He dropped the coffee and donuts he brought and fell to his dad's side. David rolled Sam onto his back and begged him to wake up. Sam's eyes stayed shut, but his mouth opened.

"Michael," he breathed. "Michael."

Chapter 2

In Sam's final years, Marion Chambers, a former Smith's Grove nurse, took care of her former colleague, mostly making sure his coffee supply was constant and his heart meds were taken on time. Marion, with an ever-present cigarette hanging from her lips – except when she treated her heart-sick patient – drove Sam to the sanitarium on the night in 1978 Michael broke out and navigated his way back home. Marion was known throughout the sanitarium for her toughness and inability to mince words, and somehow, she recovered from that night in a matter of weeks. For a little while, she was on medication at Smith's Grove, where Sam and other doctors monitored her. Sam was always impressed by her recovery – he admitted to David once that he expected Marion to become a permanent patient at Smith's Grove. In Sam's last few months cooped up in his dark, cluttered office, he told Marion repeatedly that his Myers case material was to be split up – half of it in Marion's house, half of it with David. Sam said it was dangerous for the files, letters and photos to be in one place, although a stranger could track down Laurie with material from either place. Marion implored Sam to burn what was left of Laurie's archives.

"You can keep it, but keep it with your son," Marion told Sam in an unusually tense exchange a month before he died in his sleep. "That stuff is just bait for a psycho like Myers. You're convinced he's still out there. I am too. Give it to David or get rid of it, but I'll have nothing to do with it."

David tried too. Driving his father to a doctor's appointment on a foggy, unusually cold spring morning, David carefully waded into the subject of Sam's massive file compilation. He joked about the size of the boxes needed to keep the piles of papers from spilling onto the floor, but Sam wasn't amused. When David finished arguing his case, suggesting that Sam destroy anything related to Laurie's pretend death or her life afterward, Sam looked straight ahead without a response.

"Just think about it," David said as they pulled into the doctor's office parking lot.

The appointment ended and the Loomises were back on the road, winding through rural back roads to avoid morning gridlock. Not a single word was exchanged for 10 minutes. Then Sam cleared his throat and said what he had rehearsed in his head.

"Those files, they are not just papers, my son," he said sternly, but with a kind of tenderness that didn't inspire a combative response. "They are my life's work. Nothing I did before Michael means much to me" – a line that cemented itself in David's head – "and for you and Marion to throw it all away – well, it saddens me. Countless hours have been put into those files. I want them to be around, to have some kind of record of the killings of a serial murderer that I was once responsible for. People need to know. There needs to be a record."

"Do what you will, but I beg you not to disregard my wishes," Sam said quietly, before raising his head and looking directly at David while he navigated a twisting road. "Besides, you don't want me haunting you, do you? Because I'll do it boy. You know I will."

Sam and David laughed, but even three years after his father's death, a childish part of David believed the threat. He wanted no part in testing Sam Loomis' ghost.

Six weeks after Sam died, David was at Marion's front door. He had rented a U-Haul truck to carry his dad's boxes home. David had always liked Marion – in some ways, she was the closest he had to a mother – but their relationship was an awkward one born from fear. Michael attacked her 20 years ago and never finished her off, David reasoned. That's Sam's kid, Marion thought, if Michael's going after anyone, it's this poor thing. Both wanted to stay away from the other. Marion sat David down and explained in her very frank way why and how the Laurie files should be destroyed.

"We're just tempting fate at this point," she said, her eyes searching for David's as he glanced around the room, thinking of a response. There was a long pause.

"My dad wanted them intact, Marion," David said, making intermittent eye contact. "So that's the way we'll do it. I'll take everything related to Laurie, so you have no reason to worry."

Marion agreed, and kept a little less than half of Sam's Michael Myers collection in an unused backroom. David jammed the rest in his condo's second bedroom.

Years later, Marion Chambers would realize that she had a single essential Laurie file buried underneath her Loomis junk pile. Late one summer night, Marion called David when she returned from a short vacation to find a window shattered from top to bottom.

"David," Marion said as she tried to control the shaking of her voice and the thumping of her heart. "The window was in your father's room, in the room where I keep all his things."

David was finishing a report on one of his first patients at a San Francisco hospital – a year after finishing school – typing furiously while Marion spoke. He barely paid attention. Michael Myers wasn't real to Sam Loomis' son. David could barely muster the energy and politeness to acknowledge Marion's rambling description of the break-in.

"Nothing was taken, not a watch, not a ring, nothing," she said. "Everything in the room was intact, but a couple boxes were open that definitely weren't when I left for vacation."

"And David," Marion said.

"Yes Marion," David muttered while he pecked at his keyboard.

"I know you took all the Laurie papers, but I went through all your dad's junk tonight, and I found a manila folder with Laurie's picture, her new name and her address," Marion said in an increasingly agitated tone. "That's your stuff, David. Thank god, it was under a boatload of crap, like a needle in a haystack."

Marion sounded somewhat relieved, but despite his distractions, David knew she wasn't done.

"I want you to come take this file away from me," she said. "I won't mail it to you – it's too dangerous. But I want you to come here, to Haddonfield, and take this back with you."

"Can't Marion," David said hurriedly. "Got things to do here. I'm 1,500 miles away. I can't just pick up everything and fly to you to pick up one measly piece of paper."

"David…"

"Marion, alright. Listen, I have a conference in Minneapolis in November. I'll try to schedule a stop in Chicago on my way back and I'll get it from you then. Ok?"

"If that's the best you can do," Marion said, "then I'll see you in November."

They both hung up the phone without good-byes. And David never made that side trip to Chicago. He never picked up the file folder Marion Chambers wanted to flush down the toilet. Marion had her window fixed, and she rearranged Sam Loomis' old stuff, putting more of it in closets spread throughout her modest single family home. She fretted at first, anticipating David's pit stop to relieve her of the dreaded file. But after a few weeks, the anxiety diminished. And after a couple months, it was an afterthought. After a year, it was nonexistent. There were no more break-ins, nothing to make Marion worry that Haddonfield's famed serial killer was camping out nearby, waiting – in only the way a single-minded, fixated, compulsive psycho could – to nab a folder that would lead him to the doorstep of his sister in hiding.

Chapter 3

It was now October 1, 1998, and David Loomis was working 9 to 5 at Appleton Psychiatric Hospital, about 50 miles west of Haddonfield, the scene of Myers' grisly crimes 25 autumns ago. It was good work – no ups, but no downs. The hospital staff was downsized the year before after management closed the east wing of the facility. They crunched numbers, David heard from his colleagues, and decided the number of patients housed in Appleton required far too many employees for the hospital's measly budget. David, a slender, slightly-built 31-year-old with disheveled, dark brown hair and an unkempt goatee, didn't have many patients these days – just the regulars who required a handful of potent pills every six or eight or ten hours. Most of them didn't talk, and hadn't talked since they first came to Appleton in its heyday, 25 years earlier.

"We have a newbie, Dave," Sarah Sellers, Appleton's do-it-all manager and longest-serving employee, said as she peaked into David's cluttered second-floor office. Sellers was barely 30, but her Type A career obsession catapulted her up the Appleton ladder at an unprecedented pace. David hated her for it. "She'll be here this afternoon, so maybe you can do some house cleaning. You know, make sure this place doesn't look like a Third World torture chamber.

Sellers paused and flashed a disingenuous smile.

"That'd be great."

"Will do," David said blithely, staring at his computer screen. David found it irrational, at the very least, to clean up his office for patients who hardly seemed alive. They surely didn't care about the décor. "What's the patient's name?"

Sellers fumbled through a six-inch stack of manila folders, carefully shifting one over to her right hand while balancing the others in her left.

"Lindsey," Sellers said before a pause, adjusting the paper to read the full name. "Wallace. Lindsey Wallace."

The blood ran from David's face. He didn't just recognize the name, he knew it well. He knew it from his father's files, from photos taken the night of the murders, from fanatical media coverage that spanned the decades since the Haddonfield murders.

"Looks like she's 27. She's been in and out of hospitals pretty much her whole life," Sellers said in a routine way as she scanned a thick file detailing Wallace's every outburst, eruption, suicide attempt, doctor, shrink, prescription, sedation, medication alteration and failed psycho-treatment.

David raised his hand to stop Sellers from rattling off any more facts.

"She was committed at Smith's Grove Sanitarium in 1979," David said.

"How did you …"

"My father," David said, his face now buried in his hands, his elbows planted on his desk. "My father tried to help her back then. She saw everything that night. She was in the house with Myers' sister, Laurie. Laurie was babysitting Lindsey and a kid named Tommy Doyle. Myers got into the house and the kids saw it all. And somehow, they got out."

David sat up and leaned his head back.

"The kids screamed like animals. They sprinted down the street, alerting my dad to what house Myers had broken into," he said, dryly reciting the history he had read 100 times in his father's notes. "That's when …"

"That's when he shot Myers?" Sellers interrupted, recalling a story she once saw on a late night TV news show.

"Yeah, that's when he shot him," David whispered.

* * * * * * * *

The girl looked shaken. She possessed a controlled unsteadiness, as if it took all her effort to keep it together, not to snap. David sat across from Lindsey Wallace, pretending to read through her papers, trying desperately to think of a conversation opener. She blinked a lot, David noticed, and her eyes darted across the room. Her breathing seemed even enough, but her tapping foot and restless eyes indicated agitation. Her shoulder length brown hair laid limp, strands of it covering her young, clear face. She was wearing old, dark jeans and a red hooded, zip-up sweatshirt with worn, frayed sleeves, which she clutched occasionally.

"I'm David," he finally said, still sifting through a stack of papers.

Lindsey's eyes stopped darting and she focused on her doctor.

"I know you're David," she said flatly. "Can we please not pretend that we don't know each other?"

"Well, I wouldn't exactly say that I know you, Lindsey," David said in a stern tone that caught Lindsey by surprise. After a lifetime of psychiatry, she was accustomed to doctors' easy-does-it approach – the approach used when the questioner fears the subject could leap across the desk and eat their face at any moment. "I would say that my father knew you, Lindsey. Not me."

An awkward silence had Lindsey chewing on her worn sweatshirt sleeve.

"It says here that you've regressed in the last couple months," David said.

"Yeah, I'd say 'regressed' is a good word," Lindsey said bitterly. "If that's what you call it when crazy people get crazier, then yes, I guess I'd agree."

"It also says you were making pretty steady strides over the last few years. Looks like your communication improved, they cut your meds in half."

"Only two cups of pills a day now," she said in a practiced bitter tone.

David sighed, understanding how difficult this might be. A sniffle interrupted David's next question. Lindsey was crying, wiping both eyes with her dirty sleeves. She reached back and pulled her hood over her head.

David glanced down, unsure what to say. He was awful in these situations. Pretending to read Lindsey's file again, he caught a sentence buried in the middle of a single-spaced page.

"The patient places her hood over her head when she feels unsafe/vulnerable/scared," the report read.

"Lindsey," David said, catching her moist green eyes. "Why do you feel unsafe right now?"

Lindsey exhaled heavily and explained. "I asked for you for a reason. I couldn't tell anyone else about this. All I've heard for so long is how much better I've gotten, how much progress I've made since I was a little girl, how my recovery has been remarkable or whatever," she said, pausing to sniff the snot that had come loose during her crying spell. "But this regression, or whatever you all call it, has a cause, you know."

"And?" David asked, softly begging her to continue. "The cause?"

"Two months ago, they took us out in the little caged-in yard at the hospital for a couple hours. It was the same as it always was – patients too afraid of each other to talk to each other, the nurses too afraid of the patients to help us start a conversation. Whatever," she said, dragging her sleeve across her face one last time. "So we get back and I lay down on my bed, but I feel something underneath me. It's this piece of paper, really old and wrinkled."

Lindsey stopped, her face now buried deep in the red hood, her hair dangling in front. She pulled the hood strings and tightened it around her face. She pulled out a small, folded piece of paper and tossed it across the desk. David caught it as it slid off the desk, headed for the floor.

"That's it," she said almost inaudibly, staring intently at the floor. "Please read it."

"What is…"

"Read it!" Lindsey screeched, yanking on her hood strings, rocking wildly in her chair and staring at the ground. "Read it, read it, read it!"

Stunned by Lindsey's outburst, David meticulously unfolded the paper. He laid the paper on his desk and smoothed it out. It was torn on three corners and filled with yellow and brown marks. Words in the bottom right corner were smeared. The top right corner said everything David needed to know. "Patient 107131: Michael Aubrey Myers." David couldn't mask his revulsion. He looked down and rubbed his eyebrows in a deliberate motion. The Smith's Grove Sanitarium stationary was identical to the thousands of papers gathered in Sam Loomis' records. Lindsey continued to rock back and forth, not as wildly as before. David read on.

The patient saw his sister yesterday. His parents came for their monthly visit and they brought young Laurie. I have begged the patient's parents to keep Laurie away from him, and they have obliged. Just as the patient's family prepared to leave the sanitarium, and I was preoccupied in a talk with Mrs. Myers, Laurie opened the patient's door. The patient had stared at his barred window for several hours, but when Laurie entered, he turned toward the door. Little Laurie looked at the patient momentarily as I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her away. She smiled and waved innocently. The patient stared until I closed the door; then he turned toward his window.

David didn't need to find the author's initials at the bottom of the paper. He knew his father's writing. But this account was new, unlike the archived piles he sifted through over the decades. David knew every word by heart, and these words were brand new, and they lacked the hysterics of the Loomis writings and recordings. The words had a sobriety rarely seen in Sam Loomis' later documentation of a young Michael Myers.

I later talked to the patient about his sibling encounter. I asked a series of questions, but he answered none of them. The patient was once again in his catatonic act. I became frustrated and asked the patient if he would ever harm the little girl he saw today. With increasing agitation, I badgered the patient, asking him what it felt like to stab his sister repeatedly. With my face within inches of the patient's, I berated him, screaming at him to talk to me, telling him that I hated him. I motioned toward the patient, ready to wrap my hands around his neck and choke him. I wanted to test my theory that he was faking, hoping that a loss of breath would force him to unveil himself as a phony. My hands reached his neck, but I immediately put them back down at my sides. Throughout this time, the patient did not move, but stared straight ahead. I told him that I would personally ensure he never harmed his other sister. I told the patient that if I would never relent in preserving what was left of his family. I told the patient he had already taken too much from them when he murdered Judith. I told him that if he ever hoped to track down his sister, he would have to go through me. I lost my professional composure, and I regret it very much.

David looked up from the battered paper, fighting an oncoming nausea that he hadn't felt since the first time he read his father's vivid accounts of Myers' Smith's Grove sessions. Lindsey had collected herself and looked across the desk. David leaned back in his chair and looked toward the ceiling.

"Why are you doing this to me?" he asked calmly. "Why did you write this?"

Lindsey had not anticipated this, so she stammered with raw frustration. "How could you say that?" she blurted indignantly. "I've been trying to forget about him, about that night, about everything, for 22 years. I haven't said his fucking name since that night. I finally forget his horrible goddamn mask and the knife and his fucking eyes and then I get this thing," Lindsey said, pointing at the paper, "and it all comes back to me, like I'm 7 fucking years old again running from him." Tears began to flow once more.

David knew she wasn't lying. His father's writing – however different from the histrionics in his old age – was unmistakable, and the harder he thought about it, he recalled a voice recording from late in his father's life. Sam Loomis babbled through most of it, but through the rambling, David remembered his dad pondering what would have happened if Laurie had not wandered into Michael's room that day. Near the end of the recording, he mentioned something about attacking Michael and crying about it later. David assumed his father had drifted out of lucidity. This was no joke pulled by a terrified girl, although David wished it were.

For an excruciating minute, there was silence in the room. The only noise was the oncoming thunderstorm. Rain trickled onto the roof, some of it leaking through and dripping into David's office. A mop bucket sat in the corner, collecting the rain droplets in the same spot they always dripped.

"Have you told anyone about this?" David asked hurriedly. "Does anybody know that…"

"No, no, no," Lindsey said, slowly emerging from her red-hooded self-made prison. She sniffled and weakly cleared her throat. "They would have doped me up forever. All these years, all they've needed is for me to starting ranting and raving about my bogeyman like I did as a girl, and they would make me a fucking zombie for the rest of my life. I've seen it happen. And they sure as hell want to keep me the fuck out of the public eye."

"That's why I'm here, Dr. Loomis," Lindsey said, finally making eye contact as tears trickled down her cheeks. "I knew you'd understand."

David's nausea returned. For 25 years, he had tried to outrun his father's bogeyman – the one he shared with Laurie and Lindsey and Judith and every one of the dozens of undeserving bystanders stalked and slaughtered by the little boy from Haddonfield. Sam Loomis' archives – from which Lindsey's document had surely originated – were kept in separate places. Marion Chambers

David leapt from his chair, fell on his knees and vomited in the rain bucket. He wiped his mouth and breathed heavily. His bogeyman was here.

Chapter 4

David dreamt. He dreamt of his dad, and he dreamt often. The conversations varied, but the setting never changed. They sat in a colorless room, like the inside of a perfectly white box, with equal size walls, floor and ceiling. The gleaming of the white walls sometimes hurt David's eyes. There was a single black table sitting between the Drs. Loomis, who both sat upright in pitch-black wooden chairs. They chatted about politics, old movies they watched together when David was young or rambled nonsensically about David's mother, a kind woman who died young. Sam led most of the conversations, sometimes veering off into his year as a medic in the Great War's Pacific front.

The dreams floated through David's sub-consciousness more frequently as autumn came and symbols of Halloween became ever present. Pumpkins on porches, paper skeletons hanging in the grocery store, red and yellow and orange leaves moving in small armies across windblown streets and sidewalks. The season that most haunted Sam Loomis in his final years – the season that reminded him of his greatest failures – triggered something in the mind of his only child. David had considered analyzing the messages behind these dreams, but never delved deeper than a fleeting thought. He was afraid of what he might find.

Most nights, when David awoke and remembered what he could – sometimes jotting down details before they faded – a mix of regret and nostalgia swept over him, a longing for a relationship he never had. Other dream recollections weren't as pleasant. Sometimes, as father and son talked amiably, the scene would change without warning, the stuff that only happens in dreams and movies. Sam would still be wearing his finely pressed dress pants and crisp white shirt, but his groomed beard and weathered face were gone. In its place was a mask, usually the kind kids wear to trick or treat. David had searched for other descriptions, but there was only one: a Halloween mask. His father donned a Halloween mask in his dreams. Sometimes it was a nondescript green or orange or purple mask, other times it was Frankenstein, a witch, an alien, even a president. Most recently it was Ronald Reagan. Sam would speak normally – his strong voice only partially impeded by the mask's rubber – and never acknowledged the disguise. David wouldn't either, although his attention would shift from his father's words to the mask. David would sit quietly, examining the mask from afar.

Once, just days before Lindsey Wallace appeared across from his desk, David's recurring dream darkened. With a sly smile, Sam retold the story of the time he treated a few dozen British soldiers for what he described as "explosive diarrhea" after military cooks served recalled meat in the mess hall. David remembered the story from his father's last year, when he laid in bed with a worsening heart condition. David glanced at the black table again, looked up and saw his father wearing a clown mask. It looked like cheap plastic, and it had a thin, elastic string pulled back behind Sam's head. The clown frowned and made David uncomfortable. He wanted to tell his dad to take the mask off, but couldn't. His mouth wouldn't open. He couldn't move his arms and legs. David looked down at his arm, silently begging it to move. The panic and frustration were overwhelming. He looked up again and the scene had morphed into a nightmare. Sam Loomis was now wearing Michael Myers' mask. It matched flawlessly with the unblemished white background. The deep, black eyes were the lone contrast against the bright backdrop. It made David want to run, to flee from the dream, but his legs refused.

In the moment before David shook himself free from the dreadful fantasy, his father, his face still covered in the monstrous mask, was joined by Laurie Strode. She stood calmly at his side, dressed in brown bellbottoms and a button down blouse – an outfit out of the retro photos left in Sam Loomis's endless files. Her teenage face was young and perfect. Laurie smiled. It was a carefree smile that never returned to her face in adulthood. The last memory David had from his spiraling nightmare was Michael's mask materializing onto Laurie's face. Now two Michaels stared back at David. No one spoke. Without warning, from the distant depths of the mask's eyes trickled tears. The tears were thick blood, and they ran the length of the mask, creating a zigzagging trail, and spilled onto Sam and Laurie's perfect clothes. The teardrops quickened, until, just before David shot up in bed, blood poured from the eyes and splashed onto the immaculate white floors.

Chapter 5

David Loomis sat in his first-floor condo, hunched over, sitting on the couch staring at a blank TV, rubbing his temple while the pain killers kicked in. He wanted desperately to be a spectator to his father's career again, like he was just hours earlier. It was almost midnight – about six hours since Lindsey had tossed the Loomis baggage onto David's lap – and he had thought and rethought a hundred ways to get out of town – out of state, maybe out of country – and started anew somewhere far away from the autumn slayer who wouldn't expire.

Twenty miles away, Lindsey Wallace lay in her single bed at Appleton Psychiatric Hospital, facing the ceiling and staring intently at nothing. She had never been happier to sleep in a windowless room. Lindsey had decided earlier in the day that if she was put in a room with even one window, she would make every effort to kill herself, even if her only means to that end were her teeth to her wrist. With windows, she knew the routine: She rolled over, imagined his white mask enveloping the glass, his head leaning to the side ever so slightly like a curious child observing a pet fish. The cavernous black holes in his mask – the ones where his eyes were supposed to be – were scorched into her memory. She could live to be 100 and never be any further away from those hellish eyes than she was as a little girl on Halloween night. Lindsey had been transported back to her decades-old nightmare dozens of times – in school, at work, in hospitals, in shrink's chairs. This night, she thanked god, would be free of any "behavioral digression," as the doctors were so fond of saying and writing.

David ripped a match across its box and held it to the cigarette dangling out of his mouth. He didn't smoke much. His family, friends and coworkers knew what it meant to see David Loomis puffing away – he felt stressed, overworked or anxious. Right now, those reasons had been overshadowed by a sense of dread that David hoped he would never face. After a few drags, David knew he wouldn't be motivated enough to skip town. He fingered through a magazine, turned on the TV and flipped around – anything to avoid what he knew he had to do. Finally, he extinguished his cigarette and entered the guest bedroom filled to the brim with his dad's archives, a collection he worked tirelessly to collect in his final years.

Sam had called Laurie and others to ask for letters he had sent years before, despite her repeated requests for an embargo on all forms of communication. Once, almost eight years after she left Haddonfield, she sent a letter to Loomis that he never received. She was convinced her brother, wherever he was, plucked it out of the postal circulation. But Sam wanted an accurate account of his life post-Halloween 1963, so he politely asked for her letters before she agreed and abruptly hung up. Boxes were piled to the ceiling; papers and folders were strewn across the dusty room. David moved a pile of stained photos, looking for a box he hadn't touched since his dad died three years earlier. He paused and flipped through the pictures – ones that he'd casually glanced at over the years. David bit his bottom lip as he looked at a black-and-white photo of a slain teenage girl – Annie Brackett, one of his first victims on Halloween 1978 – laid across a bed, naked. Annie, the sheriff's daughter, had been strangled. Michael had waited patiently in the backseat of her car. Once she slammed the car door, she didn't have a chance. The next photo showed Laurie in a wheelchair, her leg in a cast. The picture was taken during a session with Sam Loomis, and she dabbed her eyes with a tissue as the doctor motioned in his typically expressive way. David wondered if this was when the two plotted Laurie's phony car crash. Taped crudely to that picture was a portrait of Laurie, her husband and her newborn son, John. Sam Loomis had written "X-mas 1981" in the bottom left corner. David's father once told him that Laurie was very happy with her new life on the West Coast, teaching English at a local high school after marrying Jimmy, who had followed her from Haddonfield. Jimmy and Laurie divorced when John was still a child, and Sam Loomis kept letters from a perturbed Laurie Strode, who confessed her worsening alcoholism and her fear that brother Michael would come for her and her baby boy. "I've given my son baggage he never asked for, and for that, I can't forgive myself," Laurie wrote to Sam Loomis in fall 1985, the first year John asked to go trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids. Laurie wrote that she not only nixed John's Halloween foray, but locked him in his room for the rest of the night. "He screamed and cried and begged to get out for hours," she wrote, "but I knew I was doing the right thing. I was protecting my baby. He's out there, and if I don't protect John, who will?"

The correspondence between Laurie and Sam was a sad, regretful one. In most of the early letters, Sam apologizes for failing to keep her brother locked away. Laurie repeatedly forgives Sam – in letters sprinkled with dried teardrops – but it seemed to have an effect. In letter after letter, Laurie documents Michael sightings in and around her serene West Coast town. He was in windows, mirrors and shadows. He also lurked in her dreams. She dreamed of Michael stabbing her son. She dreamed of him stabbing her. In a letter from October 1988, Laurie detailed a dream in which she walks into an empty room where Michael's mask sits on a chair. She turns around to find him standing in the doorway.

"But he had my face, Dr. Loomis," she wrote. "I was him. He was me. I can't stop thinking about the fact that he's my brother. We share the same parents. We share the same blood. What does that say about me? Am I capable of these things?"

When David needed a reprieve from the record of ruined lives that gathered dust in his guestroom, he reached for a letter Laurie wrote to his father in November of 1992. She visited John's elementary school for a sixth-grade talent show a few days before Halloween. "I hate this time of year," she added. "It makes me drink harder than ever." After the show, as students and their parents mingled in the school's cafeteria over cookies and juice, a teacher wearing a green alien mask with big, black eyes crept up behind Laurie and another mother. He tapped them on the shoulders and shouted, "Boo!"

"Without thinking anything, I turned around, threw my juice in his face and kicked him in the crotch," Laurie wrote. "I nailed him too. He dropped to his knees and started yelling about how it was just a joke. I think the joker deserved it. But people starting looking at me like I was some sort of monster. I guess I let my fear out of the bag a little bit."

The next three archived photos David dreaded. He had come close to tossing them in a wintertime fire once, but kept them with his father's things. They showed Michael Myers as he aged within the walls of Smith's Grove. Three snapshots – one of 7-year-old Michael, one of 13-year-old Michael and one taken on his 20th birthday, about a year before his patient wait ended and he scaled the walls of the insane asylum. The photos were identical except for the aging patient. They all showed Michael sitting in his wooden chair, staring somewhere beyond the camera. His eyes were sunken in, barely visible in the black-and-white tones. The youngest picture showed a little boy looking bored, as if daydreaming during an insufferable math lesson. In the second photo, Michael was thin and his T-shirt looked large hanging on his scrawny shoulders. His hair had turned from his boyish sandy-blonde to a light brown, with a few strands hanging over his right eye. The last picture – the final picture taken of Michael Myers before he donned his expressionless white mask – never failed to give David goose bumps. By 1978, Smith's Grove employees had stopped cutting Michael's hair, terrified by the legend of the kid vile enough to kill his sister at 6 years old and keep his mouth shut for his entire adolescence. His greasy locks hung over his right eye and most of his left eye. It covered his ears and cascaded onto his shoulders, which had filled out his shirt with age. He had a smattering of facial hair. It was the portrait of a psycho.

David slid the photo and put it in the back of the small pile, expecting a picture he had seen a thousand times. It was a picture of Sam Loomis sitting in a chair across from teenage Michael, reading something to him. The photo was snapped as a prank – a Smith's Grove colleague was amused by a doctor who read to a diagnosed catatonic. Loomis once wrote: "I knew there was something still in it" – in a mixture of terror and frustration, Sam Loomis resorted to calling Michael "it" after five years without progress – "and I wanted to communicate with whatever was still inside, no matter how contemptible or depraved."

But the photo was not in its place. David flipped through the pile again, expecting that he had overlooked the picture. But still nothing. He dropped the pictures on the floor and searched furiously through a shoebox holding family photos. Still nothing. David put his hands on his hips, bowed his chin to his chest and sighed a frustrated sigh. He would search for it another day.

David shut the box and motioned toward the door. His knee smacked into an unsteady box piled on others, and it tumbled to the cluttered floor. Dozens of papers spilled out. David cursed and bent down to clean it up. He stacked the papers together when he noticed an irregular piece – a newspaper clipping yellowed with age. It was clearly torn out of the now-defunct Chicago Star by hand, and it's dateline read Dec. 2, 1963.

A small murderer in a tiny town Halloween slayings come into focus as police release information

by Corey C. Carmichael

Staff Writer

Haddonfield, Ill. -- The quaint house is still closed. The doors of the Warren County/Smith's Grove Sanitarium are shut. And residents in this model Chicago suburb aren't talking - to the police, the press or each other.

More than a month after Halloween night devolved into a nightmare for the 1,100 residents of Haddonfield, explanations of what transpired that night are emerging, if only in pieces. Haddonfield police announced yesterday that they have not made any more arrests since they took a 6-year-old boy into custody Nov. 1. Police have not released the boy's name, but said he is a first-grader at Harvey D. Wilson Elementary School in Haddonfield. A police source who did not want his name published because the investigation is ongoing confirmed the only suspect was Michael Myers, whose parents, Peter and Margaret, have not returned repeated phone calls from The Chicago Star.

The Myers' neighbors, the Haddonfield Town Council and officials at Wilson Elementary declined interviews with the Chicago Star.

The police source, who was privy to the details of a Nov. 2 police interview with the Myers, said the parents could hardly speak with investigators. They insisted that their son had never exhibited signs of violent behavior, the source said. Michael had recently received an award from his teacher for consistently high grades in the first quarter of the school year.

"The parents were broken up," the source said in an interview with a Chicago Star reporter last week. "The father was hysterical and the mother was in a kind of daze. It was off-putting, to say the least."

The police source said Peter Myers demanded to see his son, and sustained a facial injury that required stitches when an officer hit him with a nightstick as police struggled to subdue him.

"He kept saying, 'You're wrong, you're wrong. My boy did no such thing.' He kept asking if any child could do what the boy did," the source said. "They had to beat on the poor guy pretty good before he'd calm down."

David folded the newspaper clipping and slid it into the box when he noticed another one, strikingly similar with worn edges, lying beneath. He flipped it over and read, but didn't recognize it. David realized how little of his father's Myers material he had explored. He had spent entire days sifting through the paper piles – sometimes 12 hours of nothing but reading about Sam Loomis' analysis of his silent subject. It had been almost a decade since his dad had died, but it was only for the first couple years that David delved into the archived works. David sat down on the floor, leaned against the wall and began to read. This one was different than the others – it was a sprawling piece the Star wasn't known for, but it seemed to catch Sam Loomis' attention. There were circled and underlined passages throughout the article. On the side of the story, Sam had written "Exploitative pig." It was datelined Oct. 1, 1974.

Teaching Michael Myers The boy's ex-teacher speaks about the student who 'everyone knew, and no one disliked'

By Melissa Gregory and Tabitha Tottman

Staff Writers

Michael Myers never talked much. He was among the most reserved in his small first-grade class, and in many ways, the convicted murderer was an ideal student.

Marcy Winters, the Haddonfield boy's former teacher, said she often used Myers as a model for his classmates. When the kids got rowdy, Winters said, Myers would sit serenely at his desk, his hands sometimes folded, looking straight ahead at the chalkboard.

"I'd say, 'Look at Michael. You all could learn a lesson from your friend there, sitting quietly,'" Winters said in a recent interview with The Chicago Star as her book, "I taught Michael Myers," is set for release next week. "Faculty really liked the kid. I really liked him. He was gentle. He was one of those kids that everyone knew, and no one disliked."

Eleven years after Myers was convicted of murdering his 17-year-old sister, Judith, and placed in a local sanitarium, Winters is – for the first time in public – talking about her time as the boy's kindergarten and first-grade teacher. Winters, 41, who now teaches history at John Hampton High School in Russellville, Ill. – a town less than 20 miles from Haddonfield – said there was a class project that Myers struggled with. It was one, Winters said, that she thought of when she first heard Myers was a suspect in the small town murder.

Winters had assigned her 17 students to draw a picture of their parents. The class presented their assignments the next morning. Myers was among the first to volunteer.

"He held his picture up to everyone and it showed two girls," Winters said. "I asked who they were. He said, 'My sisters.' He pointed to them and he sort of smiled."

Winters reminded Myers that the assignment was to draw his parents. He didn't acknowledge the critique, Winters said. Instead, he continued with his presentation.

"He said, 'This is Judith and this is Laurie,'" Winters said, adding the drawings were "quite good, but just not what I asked for.

"I remember he was expressionless as he spoke," she said. "Not that he was emotive anyway, but he had a look that I found odd. … I even talked to my husband about it that night."

David skimmed through the lengthy story. Winters talked about how difficult it was to tell her students why Michael wouldn't be returning to class. She said some students cried and had to be sent home. During recesses the following winter and spring, Winters said it wasn't uncommon to catch students pretending to stab each other with wood chips or folded pieces of paper, "playing 'kill Judith.'" Near the end of the article, a former classmate of Michael's, Chase Thompson, was quoted discussing the school's reaction to the Myers killing.

"None of us knew how serious the thing was," said Thompson, who was 17 when the article was published. "We didn't understand that Michael just flipped out and killed his sister one day."

Sam Loomis had circled the next sentence in dark red pen, and drew two arrows pointing on either side of the quote.

"But I can tell you that even now, after so much time has gone by here, Halloween isn't the best time in this town," Thompson said. "We still tried to be normal, to put on the costumes and stuff and go trick-or-treating, but it was never the same. … You felt like he was still there. I mean, you knew he wasn't – he was locked away in some loony bin. … It's hard to explain. I just know we always felt something, like something was hanging over us. Especially when you passed Michael's house. We felt like he was still in there, or that he'd come back. But he never did. Thankfully, I guess."

The teenager's quote reminded David of a line from one of a handful of unofficial biographies on his father, most of them published in the mid-1970s, although a couple came out in the aftermath of Michael's fatal return to his hometown. Sam Loomis never submitted to interviews – from anyone, anywhere. One author – a lady from some high-end New York magazine – once offered Sam $50,000 to come to her Brooklyn office and sit in for an afternoon interview. Fifty grand would have done the family good back then. It was 1981, and Sam couldn't find work. Pariahs need not apply, he was told by about a dozen mental hospitals. The lady from New York ended up writing a book anyway, even after Sam sent her a letter that read: My answer is no. You are a leech. Sincerely, Samuel Loomis.

The book, titled "Satan's Shrink: 15 years psychoanalyzing the devil," was a collection of half-truths, exaggerations and rumors spread across the psychiatric community in the years after Michael's 1978 killings. David once snuck to the library after school to read the book. He skimmed through most of it, but couldn't bare the ruthless attack on his dad's character. He set the book down and began to quietly cry into his shirt. The lines that broke David were simple, but razor sharp.

"Dr. Loomis' prophetic ranting about Myers' intentions should not be overlooked. He predicted it almost exactly as it happened; almost as if the boy had snapped out of it one day and told his doctor what he planned to do when he grew up. But it should not be forgotten that this is the man who, in the end, chose sessions with a mute psycho over his own family. The work of a man like this should always be scrutinized."

Chapter 6

For the next three hours, David Loomis sat next to his old cassette player, popping in tape after tape of his father's recordings. He puffed away on cigarette after cigarette until his supply disappeared. He'd smoked an entire pack – which usually lasted David a month – in a single night. He listened intently to his father's educated, sophisticated ramblings, but heard nothing worthwhile. He listened carefully to Sam Loomis' stream-of-consciousness examinations of his life's work, his failed work with a grade school murderer.

"I shot it, I shot it with every bullet in the chamber," Sam Loomis muttered in one part that made David's skin crawl as he stared ahead at a blank TV screen. "Nothing is supposed to survive something like that, nothing. And yet, here I am, 10 some odd years later, ruining my professional reputation, raving and carrying on about the former patient who I tried to kill, but who wouldn't die." Indistinctive murmurs followed. "It ruined my life, and for that, I can never move on. Laurie couldn't. Lindsey Wallace and Tommy Doyle couldn't. And I surely can't. I am quite sure that I am not the only person who has ever thought that the people who were killed that night were the lucky ones. They, those are the ones who got to shut their eyes and sleep forever. The rest of us will go about our daily lives, always half-trapped in a Halloween night when a suburb turned into a killing field. That is a fate far worse than that of the departed."

"Enough," David said as he hit the stop button and stood up. He ran his hands through his hair and shut his eyes. He walked into his bedroom and flicked on the light switch. He unbuttoned his shirt and turned toward his bed. Without a conscious thought, David's adrenaline flooded his veins. His legs felt like liquid and his breathing quickened in an instant. Feeling his heart thud violently, he tried to calm himself, but fear had overtaken him. Lying directly in the center of his bed was the picture of his father and Michael – the one he had looked for hours earlier. As he stepped closer to the photo, David saw it had not been ripped or written on or altered. Just as David leaned over to grab the photo, a shadow flashed across his bed, a distinctive elongated darkness that appeared and disappeared in a single second. Instantly, David raised his head and feverishly scanned the room. His eyes stopped at the bedroom window directly in front of his bed. His blinds were usually drawn, but right now, at 3 in the morning, they were wide open, and David could see the small parking lot in front of his ground-floor unit. His breathing picked up again – it became the only thing he could hear. He crept toward the window as if he was sneaking up on someone, almost tiptoeing across the carpeted floor. David reached the window and put both hands on the frame. He slowly leaned in and put his face against the glass, peering both ways across the lot, trying to get the widest view of the outside world. Relief swept over him as he closed his eyes and finally got control of his breathing. In another moment, that control was lost. He opened his eyes and raised his head, his nose pressed lightly against the glass. He was face to face with paleness, with the same white, inhuman face that had served as the last sight for so many people. He was so paralyzed by the monstrosity that he never looked into its eyes. David's mouth fell open and he tripped backwards, landing hard on the floor. He scrambled to his feet, grunting and wheezing, and his eyes shot back at the window. Nothing.

David tried to convince himself he had seen nothing. It was late, he told himself, and this had been a very long day. All he had thought about for 12 hours was Myers, and maybe it was a hallucination, a trick played on a weak mind. He grabbed the edge of his bed and climbed to his feet, trying his best to stand on two wobbly legs. He moved timidly toward the window again, this time to close the blinds. He grabbed the string and tugged it, and as the blinds crept down, David saw him – "it," as his father would call Michael – standing under a tree 50 yards from his apartment. It was the darkest part of the parking lot, and as the blinds fell over the window, all he could see was a white face staring from the shadows. Instantly, he pulled the blinds up again, squinting and leaning toward the glass. Nothing. The white face was gone, and David yanked the string once more, pulling the blinds shut. He fell to his knees, giving up on his trembling legs. Scenarios – plans of action – began running through his head. Should he call Marion? No, he quickly decided, she didn't deserve to be pulled into this. And he needed to be sure before he introduced Michael Myers into Marion's life again. Should he call the cops and file a laughable report about the crazy man his father once counseled? He couldn't take the embarrassment, even after being dogged by the Loomis legacy since childhood. He considered digging through his hall closet, where he kept a loaded revolver – a Christmas present from his dad just before he died.

"A weapon is never a bad thing to have," Sam Loomis told his son, trying to muster a smile through his enduring pain. "You think you'll never need it, as I once did. And I pray nightly that you never do."

Just as David motioned toward the gun tucked away in the closet, professional responsibility overwhelmed him.

"Lindsey," he said in a breathless whisper. David threw open the closet, frantically tossed out a handful of towels and saw the weapon, not quite as gleaming and impressive as it once was. He flipped open the cylinder, spun it once and saw four bullets in their chambers. As he walked toward the front door, his hurried heartbeat returned and his breathing was once again out of control. He prepared himself to meet he white-masked man as soon as he opened the door. He imagined what it would be like for a knife to plunge into his stomach or chest or neck. The thought of his four measly bullets fending off an obsessive, psychotic murderer was laughable – David knew this – but the steel in his hands brought some level of comfort to this nightmarish scenario. Grabbing the doorknob, he held his breath. He yanked open the door and pointed the weapon in front of him, all in one rushed motion. Before he realized it, David was sprinting toward his car, looking straight ahead, terrified of what he might see if he glanced side to side. David felt like Death had tracked him down, like inevitability had snuck up from behind and was suddenly sprinting stride for stride with him, snarling and showing its fangs and swinging a bloody axe with a singular purpose.

David slipped into the driver's seat and started his engine. Laying the gun down in the passenger's seat, he pulled his seatbelt across his torso and buckled up, even with Death's dripping fangs perched just above his face.

Chapter 7

In what had become a nightly ritual, an inevitability, Lindsey Wallace's eyes shot open, and she was instantly wide awake. Lindsay had unintentionally mastered surface sleep – slipping into the unconscious, but barely, like dipping your head under in a swimming pool, but keeping your hairline dry. Since her scarring Halloween night, Lindsay found it impossible to submerge completely. She had minutes, maybe an hour of sleep at a time.

"Otherwise," a teenage Lindsey once told a shrink, "how can I check if he's there?"

Lindsay threw her sheets aside and got out of bed. She had been in 1,000 of these rooms before – without furniture, painted walls or even trashcans. Once, 10 years earlier, her eyes flashed open after a few minutes of sleep. She rolled over in bed and stared blankly at the window across the room, covered with four thick metal bars running across the glass. As she thought about her birthday – about being an adult and failing to make any progress to heal her mental scars – Lindsey blinked an elongated blink – the kind people do when they're fighting furiously not to sleep behind the wheel of a car. When her eyes came open again, the window was filled with a shape. The shape of a man – a man with a perfectly smooth face and broad shoulders. Lindsey slipped out of bed and tiptoed across the freezing tile. Nothing this interesting had happened to her since before that last day of October 1978, and nighttime was the only time she didn't feel doped up from the doctors' onslaught of meds. She walked silently toward the small window, the only sound being her nightgown brushing against her legs.

Lindsey's bottom jaw dropped and she stopped. Her face tingled as if the veins refused to work anymore, cutting off blood flow at the neck. It was him – he was the shape. Her eyes welled with tears and a single drop escaped, zigzagging down her cheek. She was emotionless, and even 10 years later, she could recall the urge to break open the bars, pull him into the room and let him finish the job. Lindsey wanted him to end her unending misery. It would be a long-overdue favor, she thought, from the man who annihilated any chance for a good life.

And now she stood in a similar room, grateful it was shut off from the world. On this night, she relished being a caged animal, sealed up and protected. At least, Lindsey thought, caged animals were safe.

David's black sedan sped toward the highway, taking turns and corners at twice the speed he did on the way to work that morning. On one corner, near a small shopping center with a row of unrelated stores, David heard his tires scream, begging him to take it easy on the next turn and warning him that any extra speed would put him on his side. The screeching rubber brought David back from a staring contest he was having with no one. Unable to remember the last time he blinked, David shut his eyes forcefully and squeezed them shut, as if to compensate for the minutes of staring. He looked at the dashboard clock. 3:27 a.m. David had been awake for 22 hours now. When the subject of sleep came up at the office, he'd tell people seven hours was a must. He tried to ignore the delirium settling in, the inability to dwell on a thought for more than a few seconds without another thought appearing in its place. Right now, his brain jumped schizophrenically between Myers, Lindsey and his father. If this ever happened – if Sam Loomis' murderous failure ever found his way to David's front door – David knew he'd have his dad as a safety net, someone to call and beg for advice. But now, in the middle of a cool, silent, motionless autumn night, as David merged onto the empty highway, there was no one to call. At Sam Loomis' funeral, an old aunt approached David, laid her papery-skinned hand on his knee and reminded him that he was the only remaining authority on the country's most notorious serial killer.

"It's just you now, Dave," she said in a shaky voice that faded in and out. "Everything to know about that Myers man is in here" – she slowly raised her hand and gently placed her pointer finger on David's forehead – "so you'll be in my prayers, for certain. Your daddy's gift was a curse."

David turned away from her, fighting to keep the tears from spilling out of his watery eyes, desperately hoping another relative would offer their condolences and force the old woman to walk away. No one came.

"But I must simply be repeating what you already know, dear," she said, shifting her eyes back in forth, trying to catch David's averted attention. "I say embrace it, Dave – embrace it and understand it, 'cause hiding from something like that will eat you alive."

The woman paused. David stood up abruptly, turned his back and walked away, finally letting the tears fall out of his bloodshot eyes. "I'm David," he said as he left the room, making sure to speak loud enough for his aunt's elderly ears. "Nobody calls me Dave, you old bat."

David zipped onto the Appleton highway exit, startled again by an ear-piercing tire screech. He was passing a row of dim streetlights now, and the shadows that danced frenetically in and around his car became impossible to ignore. David saw whatever he wanted to see in those fleeting, crisscrossing dark spots. The shadows were his fear, and David had never seen that so acutely – so perfectly crisp – as he did on this night. His breathing stopped as he was back in his bedroom, watching a man's shadow flicker across his bed sheets. That brought him back to the window, where his face was a thin, breakable layer of glass away from the horrid white mask. David's legs shook again, and it was suddenly difficult to maintain his speed with a foot he had only partial control of.

The brightly lit Appleton Hospital sign was finally in David's view as the shadows lost their grip on his warped imagination. The black sedan turned slowly into the vast parking lot, and David finally acknowledged the possibilities of what he might find. There were no outward signs of hysteria at the massive, antiquated complex. Nobody running out of the building, no alarms howling, no cop cars or ambulances. It was serene, in fact, with a handful of cars parked near Appleton's main entrance. David inched into a parking space and shifted into park.

He inhaled deeply and stuffed his hands into his jean pockets, feeling around for his hospital access card. It wasn't there. David wrestled his hands out of the pockets, grabbed the sun visor and pulled it down, hoping the ID card would fall on his lap. Only a few overdue parking tickets wafted down onto the floor. David was panicked. Sarah Sellers, David's boss, had once told him the access code for the building, but he couldn't even remember how many digits were in the sequence. He knew calling Sarah could be a costly mistake – failing to alert the police when you're stalked by your patient's attempted murderer would fall into the category of "professionally unbecoming," as Sarah was fond of saying. She would suspend him or toss him out of the hospital, staining his reputation even darker than his father had.

There was one last place to look.

David leaned to his right, reached toward the dashboard and opened the glove compartment. An ice scraper and loose change spilled to the cluttered floor, and David shoved his hand through the mess, feeling for the card. Just as he was ready to give up – and the dreadful conversation with Sarah flashed through his head – a ripping sound filled the car. David could feel an influx of adrenaline explode through his body, numbing his extremities; for a moment, he wasn't sure why. He extracted his hand from the glove compartment and tried to move back to the center of the driver's seat. He couldn't. He was stuck. He glanced left and saw why: a glimmering, silver, thick kitchen knife blade had torn through his left shoulder. Blood trickled off the end it. David's vision began to fade, his consciousness drifting. As his head rolled to the right, he felt a hand grab his face, the finger digging into his skin. Wide awake now, David looked as far behind him as he could. The white mask was in the shadows, its eyes darker, more invisible than ever. In a split second, David understood what had transpired: Michael Myers had sunk down behind the driver's seat. David's irrational fear of the dancing shadows was suddenly rational – a man's shadow was draped across the interior the whole time. Michael wanted to get to Appleton, and he knew David was his only ticket inside the complex.

Michael calmly leaned over the passenger's seat and grabbed David's ID card that lay on top of the ice scraper. David feebly grunted and reached for the card, exhausted and disoriented. The murderer's breathing filled the car. The sound of his long breaths deflected off the plastic mask, amplifying the sound in the silent vehicle. David recalled something his father told him just after the 1978 Halloween massacre. The conversation was one-sided, and David asked no questions. Ten year olds don't want to hear about their father's nightmares, especially when they stalk the night with a kitchen knife.

"It's less than human, for sure," Sam Loomis said, sitting in a dark kitchen, wearing a stained undershirt and caressing a bottle of scotch, wearing a week's worth of stubble on his worn face. David remembered wanting to smash the bottle of his father's bald head. "But it's obsessed. It's obsessed and smart." Loomis took a slow sip of his numbing agent and leaned over the table. "It has just enough rationality, just enough intelligence to be dangerous."

With slow, deliberate motions, Michael dropped back into the backseat, opened the door and got out. He hunched back into the car and wrenched the knife out, through David's muscles and tendons, through his sawed skin and through the sliced fabric. A slow but constant stream of deep red blood flowed from the wound. David, his eyes shut, winced in muted agony and slumped over the center console. He could feel the warm liquid run down his torso and into his pants. The car door slammed shut and Michael's even footsteps could be heard crunching on the pavement.

Chapter 8

Lindsey's eyelids snapped open. She stared at the wall through strands of hair that fell over her left eye, listening for what woke her. She heard nothing, but continued to listen without motion, without breathing. Paranoia, Lindsey thought, was a restless friend, especially at night, especially with her bogeyman standing quietly in the recesses of her imagination, his blank face half-lit and his emotionless stare unending.

She heard it again. An almost inaudible, distant rustling – one that made it impossible to pinpoint which direction it came from. She ripped her bed sheets off and walked to the door. Straining on her tiptoes and peering through the tiny door window, she saw nothing but the insipid glow of fluorescent ceiling lights. Lindsey's toes hurt, so she fell softly back onto the balls of her feet.

"Nothing," she whispered. "Always nothing."

Back on her tiptoes, Lindsey glanced left, then right, but only the empty hallway was there to greet her. She dipped down to normal height again.

An unmistakable noise moved through the barren halls. Lindsey shot back up onto her toes and glared wild-eyed back and forth. The sound was a door – this much was for sure – and not a closing door, but a slammed door. Lindsey looked straight across, into the door window of a room labeled 31. For a moment, she thought her reflection stared back. It was another patient, a woman about the same age with the same brown wavy hair. She had also heard the slamming door reverberate through the corridor. Confirmation of imaginary fear was a luxury for Lindsey. Told that she was crazy from grade school on will made question her question everything – every sight, sound, even her own feelings. Anyone in need of constant psychiatric help and endless supplies of injections and medicines shouldn't trust herself, for any reason, Lindsey often thought while she lay awake at night. Crunching leaves outside her window? Imagination – must be. A fleeting shadow passing over her bed? A nasty prank pulled by her shattered psyche.

But right now, as she was finally sure of something – she had proof, she had corroboration – Lindsey felt a connection with her next-door captive. No doubt she had also had her nose held while a nurse shoved pills between her clenched teeth. She had sobbed tears of pain and regret and fear as shrinks pried through her mental baggage, extracting the remains and piecing it together with hard drugs. A half-smile – a slight raising of the corner of her mouth – appeared between Lindsey's unkempt hair partially draped over her face. She raised her hand toward the window. She wanted to wave to the woman across the hall. But her hand shot down to her side and her smile vanished. A whooping laugh could be heard from the woman's room – a hysterical, disconcerting howl that penetrated the thick room walls and echoed in the hallway. Lindsey's eyes darted back and forth, her mouth agape. She could hear the woman slamming into walls and smacking the door. The unbridled, sinister laugh – one laced with shrill screams – made Lindsey shiver as she moved away from her door. The madness so clear in the wicked laugh horrified Lindsey more than anything since the night her sanity ended.

"Somebody's coming!" the woman yelped in between cackles, screaming it in a singsong way that pierced Lindsey's eardrums. "Someone's coming! Someone's coming for us!"

The sounds became unmistakable: Doors opening and closing, with short intervals of silence in between every slam. Lindsey rose up on her toes once again. The woman next door had her face pressed against the glass, whimpering and laughing while peering down the hall with a maniacal, crazed look. The slamming doors came closer.

"Hello!" the lunatic yelled from her cage. "Hello! Hello! Hello! Who has come?" She began slamming her head against the glass, without hesitation or concession to pain. Blood spattered on the unbroken window as the woman's head smashed repeatedly into the rock-hard surface. Lindsey watched as the blood flowed from her forehead gashes into her eyes. The thick redness moved like a river over her nose and her mouth, down to her chin. It dripped off her smiling face, and she didn't stop the mutilation. The glass covered in crimson, the pounding stopped. Lindsey heard the woman mercifully fall to the floor. The next slam felt like it was within inches of Lindsey, and she glanced left.

Death stood still. It closed the door. It skulked toward Lindsey's door. The doorknob turned, and the air in Lindsey's lungs escaped. The steel door swung open violently. Michael Myers stood there gripping a knife stained with blood on its tip. Lindsey fell to her knees, still unable to suck oxygen back into her empty lungs. She said nothing. The empty mask was all she could see. Lindsey was not dead in the way a murder victim is dead. Her physical self was alive – her brain functioning, her heart beating, however wildly – but inside, she had just expired. Her psyche – with its thousands of fissures and gashes and cracks, some of them healing, some everlasting – had just been crushed into a million shards. The sight of Satan's face was a bullet in her temple. There was nothing left. An unannounced visit from the devil was more than she could take.

Michael ended the pause and slowly shut the door. Lindsey's rationality buried deep in its grave, she acted on instinct and caught the door before it closed. She pushed it open and lunged onto the hallway floor. The fluorescent lights hurt her eyes as she looked up at Michael. He ignored the broken woman and walked to the next door. Lindsey, finally breathing, her chest heaving, scrambled to her feet and chased her bogeyman. She ran into Michael and pounded his back with her fists. Her screams were indecipherable. Her clenched hands thudded against the killer.

"Finish it!" Lindsey shrieked. "You can't do this to me! I deserve this, you fucking monster. Now finish it!"

Michael seemed uninterested. He didn't even turn around. Lindsey reared back and punched the bogeyman squarely in the middle of his back. With an agitated movement, Michael turned around and snatched Lindsey by her throat. He raised her up against the wall as his eyes burned through hers.

A whisper snuck out of Lindsey's constricted windpipe. "Finish it."

With a violent, seamless motion, Michael bore the knife through his victim. A smile spread across Lindsey's face as the blade entered her abdomen. Michael ripped the knife away and in all his sadistic glory once again jammed it through Lindsey and into the wall. She coughed blood. "Thank you," she whimpered, hanging on the wall, her feet dangling a foot above the floor. The knife was lodged in the wall. Lindsey hung there like a piece of art. And that's how Michael looked at her. The psycho had always admired – even been in awe of – his murderous work. He stepped away from the wall and tilted his head, examining the limp form in its last seconds of life. Michael grabbed the knife's handle and yanked it free. Lindsey dropped to the floor and a river of red ran from her, cascading across the floor into room 31. The smile was still apparent. There was no pain. Only relief. She was finally free from the crippling fear that had made life unlivable. Michael Myers was her Angel of Mercy.

A cough. A gasp. A last breathe.

Little Lindsey Wallace was dead.

Chapter 9

David used the wall as a crutch, willing himself down the eerie corridor toward the distant noise. Tiny red spots marked his tracks as his blood-soaked t-shirt spit drops of the liquid on every step. David was hunched over, trying desperately – without even a modicum of success – to ignore the searing pain in his shoulder, the agony he had never tasted in his 35 years. Every nerve ending throbbed relentlessly, reminding David of aching misery with every single heartbeat. Scanning the silent hallways for any sign of Michael, David refused to concede to the pain and crumble to the floor. Lindsey's room was just around the next corner, and David wanted to save her from the reaper.

The wounded shrink had forced his way out of the car after the biting pain from his deep shoulder wound coursed through him with an unthinkable thoroughness. It was enough to wake a dead man, David thought as he regained consciousness minutes after Michael's black, tattered work boots crunched along the sidewalk into the hospital. The car door opened and David dropped to the black parking lot pavement. He closed his eyes. He wanted to sleep, to wait for help or just die on the cool ground. But he knew he couldn't. He felt something new, something he thought -- he hoped -- he could never feel. David felt responsible for tracking down the monster he inadvertently escorted to Appleton. Just like his father a quarter century earlier, David Loomis had a sense of the role assigned to him through some horribly unlucky fate. In a perverse way that made him want to vomit as he laid in the parking lot, David was Michael Myers' caretaker, the cursed soul charged with keeping track of the killer and shielding innocents from his un-compromised evil.

Sam Loomis accepted the job in 1963, when he was assigned Michael's case days after the first grader slaughtered his teenage sister. Trying to understand the silent boy -- and spending years trying to lock him in a maximum security prison, one that might have saved dozens of lives -- was all part of Sam Loomis's job. Skulking around Haddonfield on Halloween night 1978, looking for the bogeyman in every corner, only to find mutilated bodies, was part of the job. Recording piles of tapes documenting the Michael Myers saga and Sam's thoughts, regrets and fears was part of the job. David turned on his back and breathed heavily, his forced breath making a disconcerting wheezing sound. He knew his dad had kept the Michael Myers collection of files, photos and endless notes for a reason. But until this night, eight years after Sam's weakened heart lost its battle with time and stress and disease, David hadn't known why. It was clear: Michael needed a Dr. Loomis.

David opened his eyes and reached for his jeans pocket. The gun was still there. David reached up and grabbed the door handle and pulled himself up. He laid on the car hood for a few seconds, catching his breath and committing himself to the suicide mission he faced inside his workplace-turned-deathtrap.

He approached a glass side door and reached for his gun, ready to use bullets in place of his ID card. But David's hand slid off the cool metal object when he saw an Appleton employee – an orderly maybe, David wasn't sure – sprinting for the exit. The skinny boy's limbs pumped furiously and his head swiveled back ever few seconds, reassuring himself in his raw panic. He shoved through the glass door, ignoring his partially hunched over coworker standing within feet.

"He let 'em out, man," the mop-haired boy, dressed in his oversized white hospital uniform, said breathlessly. "Some guy with a knife has a key. He's let everybody out of their rooms."

He walked backward briskly, staring at David without blinking.

"Call somebody man," the boy screeched as he turned around and resumed his terrified run. "They're killin' people in there."

David had put his foot between the door and its frame. He watched the orderly jump on his moped and zip out of the parking lot, running over a curb and almost putting the scooter on its side. David wrestled the weapon out of his pocket and fumbled with while he tried to place his trigger finger in its proper place.

Now he approached the corner. In a few feet he would turn right, where he would find crazed mental patients, a sadistic murderer or maimed carcasses. David wasn't sure which he preferred.

David, still sliding down the hall with the wall's assistance, inched around the corner. The fluorescent lights were blinking -- someone had knocked off the covering and damaged a bulb. As David's eyes adjusted to the flickering, he heard bare feet slapping against the floor. He turned to face the noise, and before he could see what was charging full bore, he found himself sliding across the cold floor. The woman from room 31 – one of the dozens of patients freed by Michael, just as he had done 25 years earlier, when he broke out of Smith's Grove Sanitarium – straddled a dazed David, who could barely focus on his attacker through the fog of pain caused by his wound pressed against the ground. The woman snarled through gritted teeth. Her face was a monstrosity, barely recognizable as human. After bashing her head against the glass until mercifully losing consciousness, the woman's face was covered with blood, some of it still flowing and dripping, some of it crusted onto her forehead and nose and cheeks. Droplets of blood landed on David's face. He made a spitting noise and wiped the blood with the back of his hand, only smearing it across his cheeks. David screamed for the maniac to get off of him. It was like reasoning with a wild animal perched over its prey.

The woman lunged for David, her hideous mouth coming within inches of David's neck. Instinctively, he moved his left arm in front of his face and stopped the woman, who was petite by any standard and struggled to move the stubborn barrier. She scratched at David's arm – long, deep scratches with fingernails that hadn't been cut by the Appleton staff for weeks – and David yelled out in pain, shifting focus away from the unrelenting pain in his shoulder. He reached for his gun, which had been jarred loose when the mad lady tackled him. Her leg was planted firmly on top of the weapon. Unable to hold her off any longer, her hot, hurried breath smacking him in the face, David summoned any strength he had in reserve and threw the patient off of him and against the wall. She screeched like a banshee and recovered in an instant. The woman sprung at David once more. In a single motion, David – still lying face-up – grabbed the handgun reached to his left and squeezed the trigger. The noise of the gunshot shocked David – made his ears scream louder than the woman had.

With am exaggerated exhale, the woman from room 31 crumbled to the floor, her head resting against David's left knee. Her eyes were wide open, and they burned through David's terrified expression. He reached up, grabbed a door handle and pulled himself to his feet. The woman's white nightgown was drenched in blood. The bullet appeared to rip through the right side of her chest. David had done something that seemed unthinkable just hours before. He had killed an Appleton Psychiatric Hospital patient, someone entrusted to David and his colleagues. He wanted to cry for the poor woman, but sorrow and pity were trumped by fear and panic.

David walked only a few steps before finding his patient. Lindsey, the woman who had come to him less than a day before, positive that her life had reached its last days, was the centerpiece in an undisturbed circular pool of red. David limped as quickly as he could toward the corpse, holding his gun tight with both hands. He passed doors flung wide open by the bogeyman. In every room, a different scene: In room 36, a white male patient in his 50s, making the motion children use to form angels in the snow. He was nude, and feces were spread across the ground next to him. The next room – room 34 – was filled with patients. They mulled around the tight quarters, most of them staring toward the ground and mumbling indecipherably. Room 32 – a dark-skinned man in his old age one his knees, nursing a wound to his side. His head snapped up as David passed. Their eyes made contact – David quickly turned away – and the patient emitted what can only be described as a hiss before slamming the heavy, steel door.

David knelt by Lindsey's body. The hint of a smile plastered on her colorless face made David squirm. He looked away.

"I knew you'd understand."

Lindsey's words rang in David's ears. A day earlier, the tortured woman told David, with no uncertainty, that she trusted him above anyone else – family, fellow patients, other doctors. Her run from the bogeyman was running out, and David was the one person who had the knowledge and background to protect Lindsey from her monster. David had failed her completely, just like his father had so many times to so many people in the decades before.

David's head still turned to the side, he felt someone looming. Still on his knees, he turned and pointed the gun upward. In the intervals of broken, flashing lights directly above his head stood Michael. David's trigger pulled back without hesitation, timing perfectly with a vicious swipe taken by Michael with his bloody knife. David fell backward and his aim inched off course. The bullet whizzed by Michael's face and buried into the light, sending a shower of sparks onto both men. David was on his back, scrambling to get another shot off while darkness filled the corridor. He eyed Michael's dark outline as he leaned in for the kill. The knife arrived a split second before David anticipated and sliced across the chest, forcing a guttural scream that forced its way through grinding teeth. David had accepted his death. He lay with is back against the wall. He took in a final vision of his father's monster raising a butcher knife above his head. David's eyes closed. He was finished.

David's eyes opened when he felt no blade drive through is torso. Instead, a horrific noise filled the hallway, and Michael tussled with someone clinging to his back gnawing at his shoulder. David's mouth fell open when he caught a glimpse of the person's face. The woman from room 31was being slammed against a wall, still riding Michael's back while she screamed her demon scream. David's hands trembled with no semblance of control as he aimed his weapon. Michael grabbed the patient's arm and hurled her against the wall. She smashed against the floor, but like a rabid animal immune to pain, scrambled to her feet.

Michael ended the skirmish with a single, emphatic plunge of his knife. It entered the back of her neck and exited the front. The woman from room 31 wouldn't relent. Blood poured from her mouth and neck and splashed on the floor. She had nearly climbed to her feet when she collapsed, fully and completely. The woman twitched – this time with ferocity David had not seen when he shot her minutes earlier. She finally laid still and Michael turned his attention once again to David. The doctor's hands calmed for a moment and a popping sound rang out as another bullet left his gun. Michael stumbled back and dropped his knife. He placed his right hand over the bleeding wound near his left collarbone. David could hear him breath heavily and grunt in agony. Death was suddenly mortal.

"Michael," David yelled, wanting to pose one question before emptying his chamber into the killer. "What do you want here? What have you come for?"

The damaged, overhead fluorescents now flashing like a strobe light, and Michael reached into his worn, dark mechanic's jumpsuit and pulled out a picture. David rose to his feet and gimped toward the unarmed slayer. His chest throbbed. He couldn't look at the burning gash.

Michael looked directly at David as he approached, his hand still covering the fresh wound. The photo was a Polaroid, with rips and traces of blood on it. The black and white image showed a young Sam Loomis, taken shortly after he accepted the job at Smith's Grove in 1963. It was probably the image used on his first Smith's Grove photo ID. Sam's face was bright and adorned with a perfectly groomed beard. David never knew his father like this. The broken Sam Loomis looked nothing like the man gazing at him from the photo.

"Michael," David said softly, avoiding the stare of the blank, white face. "My father is dead, Michael."

The psychopath didn't move. His arm remained extended with the picture in his grip.

"He died three years ago," David continued. "He's been gone for a long time, Michael. He's not here. He's not anywhere."

David thought of Lindsey's letter, the one that appeared one afternoon on her bed, the one that scared her into seeking help from a Loomis.

I told him that I would personally ensure he never harmed his other sister. I told the patient that if I would never relent in preserving what was left of his family. I told the patient he had already taken too much from them when he murdered Judith. I told him that if he ever hoped to track down his sister, he would have to go through me.

For one escaping moment, David pieced together a jumble of broken events. He still wanted Laurie, and somehow – in a way an ordinary person could not understand – Michael knew his sister was alive, that she had survived the staged car accident that was supposed to kill Laurie Strode and create Karie Tate, a teacher half a country away. Michael remembered Sam Loomis' pledge, that Michael would never harm Laurie without going through him first. So it was only logical – expected – that he would search for the man who spoke to him for 15 years. Even if he was the same man who tried to kill him, Sam Loomis was the only person Michael knew. David knew his father had talked with Michael lengthily about his life – from his service in the war to his string of failed relationships to his only child, the little boy he loved but was never devoted to. Michael, of course, never reciprocated – not a single utterance for an entire adolescence – but he certainly knew his doctor, the guy who wouldn't give up on him, the guy who knew him well enough to bring a gun when Michael made his escape. And now, in this blood-drenched hallway with broken lights flashing spastically, Michael had learned his search was in vain.

Michael's hand dropped to his side. David watched as the photo crumbled underneath the monster's clench, and he held his weapon unsteadily toward Michael. His eyelids shut as the trigger squeezed. The thudding sound of an entrance wound sounded. Michael grabbed his right thy with both hands, dropping to the floor next to the grotesque corpse of the woman from room 31. Droplets of blood had splashed onto Michael's mask. It turned and faced David, as if trying to provoke sympathy from the man with the gun.

David realized he was the first person in decades to have this chance, to mount a bullet in the brain of a demon. The families of his victims would have pulled the trigger until they had no more strength. They would have severed his limbs and taken precautions to keep him alive, ensuring he explores the misery and anguish that their daughters, mothers, sons and husbands felt. Michael had decapitated, slit throats, maimed, tortured or – like in Lindsey's miserable case – systematically petrified and caused a life filled with slow mental death. Now he was as helpless as his most pitiful victims, the ones who cowered on the ground and just waited for the reaper to punch the clock and do his job. Michael had two bullets in him, his knife had been knocked to the floor and he had a madman with a gun perched above. The weapon was aligned with the forehead of Michael's mask. David fired.

He hit the ground, the side of his head smacking against the cold floor. The gun fired as it sprang free from his grip. Michael had tripped David, kicking his left foot into his right, just as the bullet left its chamber. Dazed, David's eyes frenetically scanned the hall for Michael, as he realized focused vision was replaced with a fresh concussion. The killer was slowly climbing upright – David could see that much. In an instant, Michael had his wretchedly strong hands around David's throat, his thumbs pushing with unfathomable force on David's windpipe.

Michael grunted with a volume David hadn't yet heard, much louder than in the car. A handful of white masks floated in and out of David's vision. Things were fading to black and he no longer fought. David would become another tally mark in the book that kept careful record of Michael Myers' heinous crimes.

A distant shouting that drowned out Michael's nightmarish moaning was the last sound that entered David's ears before consciousness faded away. David wanted to tell his father about his last sight. Like so many Sam had surely met in the afterlife, David would meet him in that pristine, white-walled room. Sam would be there, dressed to the nines, his head tilted back waiting for his son to speak. David would tell him about the masked man that stared through him as life ended with pulsing pain.

"Your patient was looking for you, dad," David imagined saying as blackness filled his sight. "And he came and got me. He got me, too, dad."