Page 44

“Very rude, I’m afraid,” Bartholomew said.

“I’m so sorry!” Kelsey said.

“Leave her to her thoughts,” Bartholomew said.

The Beckett family vault was ahead to their left, while the O’Haras had their small mausoleum farther on, toward the monument to the sailors of the Maine. Kelsey’s family members were in a vault in the back section. The cemetery also had avenues, but she wasn’t sure where everything was, so Kelsey simply followed Bartholomew and Katie.

As she did so, shapes and figures slowly began to form here and there before her. She saw at least ten spirits walking in the graveyard.

She couldn’t help scanning the specters or spirits before her, hoping against hope.

“There,” Bartholomew said.

She saw the man. He was old, perhaps eighty or ninety. His clothing had something of an Edwardian appearance to it, and he knelt down in prayer.

“Slowly,” Bartholomew said.

They walked behind him.

“Peter,” Bartholomew said.

The man looked up. He saw Katie and Kelsey. He stared at them both. He seemed to want to struggle to his feet. Bartholomew reached down to help him up.

“You see me,” he said. Kelsey was surprised that he addressed her, rather than Katie.

“Yes,” she said softly.

“Why? Why are you here?”

“People are dying, Peter,” Bartholomew said. “Someone is copying your rituals.”

The ghost shook his head slowly. “I tried to atone. I knew that the hatred in my heart was so deep that it was the evil itself. I did not make things happen. I made people believe that they could happen. I had the book, the book of goodness against evil.”

“In Defense from Dark Magick,” Kelsey said softly.

He nodded. “I prayed with it. I prayed for those I hated, and those who were betrayed. And I prayed for forgiveness, for the war took so many souls, and I added to the misery.”

Kelsey moved closer to him. “What about a man named Abel Crowley, Mr. Edwards?”

He waved a hand impatiently in the air. “A fake, a fraud! A man who had heard of me and my supposed powers during the war. He came wanting to know about my rites and my sacrifices. He wanted to be known as a wicked man, a Satanist. He came to me as a friend, and I told him of many of my sins.”

“What did you sacrifice?” Katie asked.

“Goats, roosters, on the beach. But they became dead goats and roosters, and no more,” Peter told them. “Crowley was a fool—I doubt he had any relationship with Aleister Crowley. He wanted to be revered and feared. He opened his house to the desperate, and he told them he could help them through secret arts. Only fools believed him. He worked as many a voodoo priest or priestess or fortune hunter has worked. He would gather information and pretend to see it, and then he would sell that information in his work. He gathered together the very rich for a coven, and he took their money and caused them to do the evil deeds he wanted done.” He stared at Kelsey again. “I’m sorry. I’m very sorry for whatever is happening. But I have nothing to do with it now. I learned. Evil people will use fear and awe to make others do their bidding. Know that, and don’t be afraid, and you will find the truth.” He waved a hand in the air. “There’s nothing else I can tell you,” he said. He turned.

Bartholomew helped him back to his knees. “Thank you, Peter,” he said.

They walked slowly out of the cemetery.

Kelsey kept looking.

She didn’t see her mother.

And she didn’t see Cutter.

She couldn’t sense or feel them, either.

She did feel a sense of overwhelming sadness.

It was time to get back to the Merlin house.

And time to find the reliquary.


“I’ve got it, I’ve got the book!” Jaden said, the excitement in her voice radiant through Liam’s cell phone.

“Already?” he asked.

“FedEx—and you owe me,” she assured him. “I put a rush order out, and it was a rare-book shop in upstate New York. Oh, and you owe me for the book, too. It isn’t a first edition—but it wasn’t a megaseller by any means, so each new print run was fairly small. It’s a fourth edition, and it was still two hundred dollars, so you can head over and pay me and pick it up anytime you like.”

“Thanks, Jaden. I’m on Stock Island. I just brought a sketch artist out here, so I’ll be about another half an hour.”

“Why don’t you meet us at O’Hara’s?”

“All right—be careful with the book, huh?”

“I need to be worried about an old book most people would pay me not to take?” she asked.

“Hey, who knew a goat needed to be worried on Smathers Beach last night?”

“I heard about that. What the hell happened?” she asked.

“That’s what I’m investigating now.”

“The murder of a goat?”

“The sacrifice of a goat,” he said.

He rang off from Jaden and watched as the clerk gave one of the station’s forensic artists a description of the man who had purchased the goat, watching as the face took on life. There was something about the eyes that seemed familiar, but in the end, Liam was disappointed.

The sketch looked like a drawing of the Unabomber.

But it might help.

He was still waiting for the artist to finish with the last details when his phone rang.

“Liam?” It was Kelsey.

“Hey, how is Avery?”

“Doing really well. We had to force him to stay in the hospital,” she said.

“We?” he asked.

“Katie, Vanessa and I. Vanessa is staying with him tonight. I’m back at the house. Don’t worry, I’m not alone—Katie is with me.”

He frowned. He’d had an alarm company over there during the day; she hadn’t known about it. “Kelsey, how—”

“Katie knew the two men setting up the system. We all met, chatted and had tea before they left. I came home, Liam, because I had to. I have to figure out where that reliquary is. And, thank you. The alarm system should have been a given. Anyway, Katie and I are here, we’re reading and sorting, and looking through everything we can find.”

He wasn’t sure why he felt so worried.

“They finished setting the alarm system?” he asked.

“Yes, and I have the secret codes down pat and all that. I’ll show you when you come home.”

When you come home. The words were sweet.

“I have a better idea. I’m just finishing up on Stock Island, and Jaden got the copy of the book that was taken from the library. The book about Abel Crowley and Pete Edwards. I’m going to meet her at O’Hara’s. Come on up with Katie, and we’ll head back to the house together.”

She agreed, and they hung up.

He looked at the sketch again. He wondered if the goat purchaser and ritual sacrifice slayer had worn fake eyebrows to match his beard and mustache.

When she hung up from Liam, Kelsey thought that he had called her right back. Her phone rang, and she answered it.


At first, she heard nothing.

Then, she heard breathing.


There was no answer.

She hung up and looked at the number on her caller ID. It was listed as Private.

Thinking little of it, she shoved her phone back into her pocket.

“Ah, another one!” Bartholomew said. He was sitting behind the desk in Cutter’s office, reading from In Defense from Dark Magick. He seemed to have the art of turning pages down quite well, but he looked at her. “Sorry, I’m not talented enough to unfold the paper. It’s parchment thin.”

“Thanks, I’ve got it,” she said.

Katie had been going through the bookshelves one by one, picking up, dusting off and returning books and objects, and making sure that nothing was hidden behind any of the books. She walked over as Kelsey took the little parchment from Bartholomew and carefully opened it. She read aloud.

“Kelsey was always my little wonder child. She was fascinated with history. Her friends’ parents sometimes thought I must be very odd, even scary, because of the objects I collected. But Kelsey knew and understood peoples and cultures, and as we often discussed, there are so many paths to God. Kelsey knew that the true path to God only came through great sacrifice. She knew this even as a child.”

“What a fascinating fellow. I’m so sorry that I did not know him,” Bartholomew said.

“But what does it mean?” Katie asked.

“It means that he was the rare fellow who respected all beliefs, no matter his own. Glorious, really. What a fine man,” Bartholomew said.

Kelsey shook her head. “Keep looking for more notes. If that’s the last, he was trying to tell me something—I just have to figure out what it is. Oh! I forgot. Liam wants us to meet him at O’Hara’s,” she said. “Jaden got a copy of the book that was missing from the library.”

“Intriguing. Let’s go,” Katie said.

Kelsey picked up the book in front of Bartholomew. “I’m not leaving this anywhere,” she said.

“Good idea,” Katie said, nodding sagely. “Give me a minute just to finish this shelf—then I’ll know where I am when we start up again.”

“Okay. I want to run upstairs and just wash my face quickly, too, if that’s all right,” Kelsey said. “Dust in my eyes. I’ll be right back down.”

She headed out of the study and across the living room, but paused there. She took a good look around. There were still boxes and crates to be gone through, but she had the strange feeling that whoever had gotten into the house when Cutter died had already gone through them. After his death, Liam had caught kids in the house, and then Gary White and Chris Vargas.

But who else might have gotten in before the locks were changed?

And why was she too afraid to leave her own door unlocked at night?