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It cost more than three hundred dollars to get his car back, and though he’d given himself a few stern lectures on being materialistic, Sam was grateful that his beloved Jaguar hadn’t been scratched or dented.

“Nice ride,” Jackson commented.

“I do a lot of driving,” Sam said. He saw that Jackson was grinning. “Okay, hell, yeah, I like my car!”

He told Jackson about his previous meeting with the elder, Goodman Wilson. Jackson listened and said, “He really called himself Goodman Wilson?”


“Reverting to Pilgrim days, so it seems.”

“He’s very honest about the fact that they’re a fundamentalist church. No singing, drinking, dancing…and certainly no worship of false idols. But I believed him when he said that their teachings were about peace and that they were strictly nonviolent.”

“So why did everyone hate Abraham Smith and his family so much?” Jackson asked.

“I think it is human nature to hate what you don’t understand. I think that the church tends to be isolated, and that the members keep to themselves. And, probably, what the people knew came from Malachi, who was in the school system. Oh, and Abraham did rail a lot, apparently, about the people who deserved to go to hell—Peter Andres among them. But, since Abraham and Peter are both dead, I don’t think that Abraham killed Peter.” He hesitated, glancing over at Jackson. “Jenna is convinced that the killer dresses up as the Celtic horned god and goes in while in costume and then kills. Says she’s seen it in visions.”

“What do you think?” Jackson asked him.

Sam shrugged. He had just met the man beside him, but he knew that Jackson Crow had acquired an exceptional reputation with the bureau before joining Adam Harrison’s special unit.

“I can’t say that she’s wrong. I don’t know. It would be an easy way to come and go during Halloween—apparently, it’s a popular costume—but Peter Andres was murdered six months ago. Back then they had no more reason to go after Malachi Smith than anyone else.”

“I thought you said that Abraham Smith hated Peter Andres—wouldn’t the police have questioned Abraham?”

“I’m sure they would have gone after him if they could have,” Sam said. “Eyewitnesses put him on his own property in Salem while Peter Andres was killed in Andover. Malachi loved to go to the cliff by his house, but he had no corroborating witnesses to vouch he was there when his family was killed. Even if he’d been seen there by any of the other youths in town, I sincerely doubt they would have spoken up for him.”

They reached the Old Meeting House in Beverly.

As they exited the car, Jackson said, “Thank God.”

“Thank God?”

Jackson looked at him. “That I wasn’t born a Puritan!”

Sam smiled as they headed toward the door of the church. As it had been before, it was open. They stepped in, and shadows seemed to surround them.

“Goodman Wilson?” Sam called.

A man rose from the front pew. He turned to them.

“Ah, Mr. Hall. You’re back.”

“With a friend, Goodman Wilson. This is Jackson Crow,” Sam said.

“How do you do, sir?” Jackson said.

Goodman Wilson lowered his head. “Welcome to our church.”

“Thank you.”

“So,” Wilson said to Sam. “You are still going in circles, hoping that eventually you will go around and around so long, you’ll stumble upon what you’re seeking?”

Sam smiled. “Something like that.”

“It sounds like the mysteries of faith, in a way. I wish you God’s blessing on your quest. I don’t know what I can tell you that I didn’t say before.”

“Well, different day’s job, different memories. I was chatting with Sam here and thought, ‘How could he really know all his members?’ I mean, what about those who have left the church?” Jackson asked.

“Our congregation is small. I know my members. They are peaceful. I don’t know that anyone would go after the Smith family.” Then Wilson asked in turn, “And if, by some wild chance, someone murdered for Abraham Smith, why would they murder him after?”

They were good questions, Sam knew. “All right, but you also said that Malachi was a fine boy with a great faith—he just loved music. But many people think he’s a killer. Would it be easier if you just gave us a list of your members?”

Goodman Wilson once again smiled tolerantly. “Now, you know I will do no such thing. Only a subpoena or warrant can compel me to, and even then it would be under immense protest.”

“I thought you might want to help us, since it was one of your members and his family last killed,” Sam said.

“In any way that I could, morally within my own heart, I would do so. But my members are not compelled to tell their neighbors or coworkers that they are members of this church. Faith is silent. It’s in the heart. We are not evangelists. Those who truly seek the Divine Truth will find us.”

“You know that I’m Malachi’s attorney. Is all of your stalling because he was not a member of your church any longer?” Sam asked directly.

“You will have to bring the law against me,” Goodman Wilson said. “I’m sorry. Now, I’m sure you will do so, and we will speak again. I am at prayer, so I will bid you good day.”

“Thank you,” Jackson said.

When they exited the church, Sam said, “The old bastard!”

“He expects you back.”

“Yes, but I’ll have to get a judge to give me a warrant…and he knows I’ll do it, so he’s just stalling for time.”

“Do you want to take care of that now?”

“I’ll call my assistant,” Sam said. “I still plan on seeing the councilman and, of course, we have to go have our tarot cards read.”

“Ah, yes,” Jackson said. “Nothing like a good tarot card reading.”

When Jenna parked the car, Angela got out and stared at Lexington House. She shivered.

“Very creepy place. Why would anyone want to buy it?”

“Despite or because of the tremendous history of the area, it’s a great commercial venture as far as the tourist industry goes.”

“I’d like to get into the house,” Angela said. “What did you see in it?”

“Murder—but murder from the 1690s, I’m afraid,” Jenna told her. She hesitated. “Sam actually suggested we go back in, too.”

“We could sneak in?” Angela suggested.

Jenna shook her head. “No, Sam has a good relationship with the lead detective. John will let us back in, but I want to ask him. We’re probably looking at a court date for Malachi, and we don’t want to jeopardize the relationship.”

“Of course not,” Angela said. She shivered again. “The evil in men’s hearts can linger, we do know that.”

“Yes, but that would make Malachi the one who was exposed to evil and, Angela, I swear that boy is not evil. He’s almost holy!”

“Where’s the cliff?”

“Right down the street.”

They left the sidewalk and hurried across the grassy plateau that led to the dirt-and-pebble path that led up to the cliff. When they reached the top, Angela looked around and studied the trees and the open area, and the rise that led straight to the water. They could hear the crashing of the waves.

Angela walked over to the area where the hard New England granite jutted out over the sea. “Beautiful,” she murmured.

“Yes—I think everyone local must come here at some time. It is beautiful.”

Angela turned to her. “But I don’t think we should be standing here.”

Jenna laughed. “We should hide in the trees?”

“Not hide, just sit. So that we’re not seen immediately, don’t scare anyone off.”

They walked over to the barren oaks and sat beneath them. It was chilly. The autumn breeze turned to wind on the cliff, and Jenna lifted the cowl of her sweater higher around her neck. “We could sit and freeze here for a while,” she said apologetically.

“So we could—we’ve done worse!”

But they didn’t have to wait long. In a few minutes, a group of three youths came walking up the path.

They were big kids—most of them at least six feet.

The school’s football team, Jenna thought.

“Who’s got it?” one of them asked. He was a good-looking kid with stylish brown hair and a handsome, angular face.

Jenna frowned, studying him. She’d seen him before. He’d been at the common on the day she had first arrived, when the younger children had gotten in trouble for reciting the rhyme.

“Jonathan, there,” said the boy who had followed directly behind the first. Jenna was pretty sure she had seen him as well that day.

“Well, let’s light it up!” the first boy said.

Angela cleared her throat and rose, and the three boys started, staring at her. They seemed so surprised to see her that they didn’t run.

“Hey,” Angela said, striding over to them with a wide smile. “Sorry, guys. Just wanted you to notice us before…well, you know. Before you pulled your cigarettes out.”

Jenna rose, as well.

“Uh, hey,” the first boy said, looking from one of them to the other.

Jenna stepped forward and offered her hand to the brown-haired youth who had led the trio. “Hi. I’m Jenna Duffy. This is my friend, Angela.”

“Jenna was showing me the place. She used to come here when she was young.”

The three were on the defensive, and they now looked as if they wanted to bolt, but they weren’t going to.

“I know who you are,” the brown-haired youth said. “You’re Jamie O’Neill’s niece, and you’re trying to get Malachi off when he’s a bloody murderer.”