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He hung up.

He wanted to know where those boys had been. Maybe not Joshua. According to Jenna and Angela, Joshua seemed the kind of friend who would go along with whatever David Yates said. David Yates—the boy who had been the victim of the “evil eye.” A big kid now, a football hero. But did he really have what it would have taken to pull off the murders? Enough sense for a costume, enough rage to plot out a way for Malachi to be blamed? He was only seventeen.

Lots of heinous murders had been committed by seventeen-year-olds; he knew that well enough. Malachi was seventeen. Ah, but Malachi was supposed to be crazy.

His phone rang, and he answered absently. “Hall.”

There was a brief hesitation. “Sam, it’s John. John Alden.”

He looked at his phone, surprised Alden had felt the need to give his last name.

“Yeah, John—did you get the results back?”

Again, there was a brief hesitation. “Yeah,” Alden said thickly. “They found trace amounts of blood on that costume you pulled off the kid. Trace. The costume had been washed, and might have been dry-cleaned, as well. We’re still working on it, but…I’ll call you back in a couple of hours. They’re trying to see if it it’s a match with the blood from the crime scenes now.”

At the house, Jackson put a call through to Jake Mallory, who had remained at their new offices in Virginia. He was glad that Ashley, Jake’s fiancée, was up from her family plantation in Louisiana to be there with him, or else he’d have been manning the ship alone, since Whitney Tremont, the last of their sextet, was in Jamaica on her honeymoon.

The Krewe sat together at the dining room, talking on speakerphone.

“You want me to find and talk to all the members of a congregation when we don’t have the pastor’s agreement to let out a list of the members?” Jake’s voice positively boomed through the phone.

“I believe that Sam is getting a warrant for the records, but it’s Saturday, and that could take time,” Jenna said. “And it’s just possible that a judge might block us, too.”

“You want me to do this legally, right?” Jake said.

“Not really, but yes—we’re talking about a court case here, so everything has to be obtained legally. Not, of course, that I’d ever want you to do anything illegal,” Jackson said.

“Right…well, I can pull up public records and newspaper clippings and dig around the best I can. What do you want exactly?”

Jackson explained that they wanted to know exactly where Pastor Goodman Wilson had been at the times of the murders, and anything any of the members might have to say in reference to any of the players involved. “And dig up anything else you can on Councilman Andy Yates, his family and a woman named Samantha Yeager, medium,” Jackson added.

“Gee—that’s it?” Jake said, laughing. “You got it.”

Just as Jake disconnected, they heard commotion at the door and Jenna quickly stood up, heading toward it. Uncle Jamie had just come home.

She looked at him expectantly.

“I can’t betray—”

“Jamie, tell us what you can.”

“Well, this is public knowledge: Martin Keller is at the police station with his parents. They found traces of blood on the costume. Even though they’ve been highly compromised, the horned god mask itself came through—there was enough in a crease in the mask to make a one-out-of-millions match to Peter Andres. The costume and mask, it seems, were worn by the killer when Peter Andres was murdered.”

Sam sat across from John Alden. Marty Keller was in another room with his mother, waiting for the police to come question him.

“What I want to know is, what in God’s name made you have me research that costume?” John demanded.

Sam arched a brow, thinking quickly. He leaned forward, as if the question were obvious. “John, the kid came at Jenna in the cemetery in that costume.”

“Yeah—and he might have just been a bratty kid, out to scare anyone.”

“He might have been, but since everyone knows that Jenna is working with me, it seemed completely logical that there was a reason for the kid to try to scare her. It was a hunch, John. You know—hell, you wouldn’t be a detective worth your salt at all if you didn’t work off a hunch now and then!”

John stared at him. He let out a sigh. “All right, you can’t come in, but I’ll let you listen in when we question the boy.”

Sam stood behind the one-way glass, looking in. Marty Keller’s mother had apparently been crying. She still brought a tissue to her eyes now and then. She’d arranged for an attorney, and when Marty started to answer a question, his mother slapped his hand and told him he had to first consult the attorney, a white-haired man who looked deeply concerned.

But the attorney nodded to Marty.

“I swear! I just took that costume after the drama inventory. I swear, Mom, it’s the truth. I—I wanted to help out in some way. I know that everybody is all upset ’cause the pretty FBI lady is helping that guy who wants to get Malachi Smith freed, and everybody is afraid of Malachi Smith. I thought if I could just scare her enough, she’d go away!” Marty Keller’s voice was tremulous; he’d been crying, too. “And she’s a liar—that lady, she’s a liar! She said she wouldn’t call the cops if I just told her about the costume.”

“She didn’t call the cops,” John Alden told him. “But we found blood on that costume, Marty. The blood of a man who was your substitute teacher at times. She didn’t call the cops on you—and this isn’t a matter of a mere prank any longer.”

Tears streamed down the boy’s face.

“Stop badgering him!” his mother cried.

John shot her a look. “Who else uses those costumes, Marty? And I’m warning you—I’d better find out that there was an inventory done before you took the costume—and who’s to say that you didn’t take it before?”

“Detective, you are badgering my client,” the attorney said. “And unless you have specific charges—”

“Would you like me to charge him right now with the murder of Peter Andres?” John asked.

“Please!” Marty’s mother begged. “Please, no—please check out his story.” She gasped suddenly. “I can prove that Marty didn’t kill Peter Andres. I remember the day. It was that Saturday in April—I saw the news first from the dentist’s office. Marty was having a root canal that day. Who knew? Who knew!” she cried with relief. “I was so angry that he hadn’t taken better care of his teeth…but it’s true! You can call the dentist, Dr. Waverly Johnson—he’s in Swampscott. Call his dental assistant! Call them all. Marty is innocent of murder!” Her eyes narrowed. “It was that Malachi Smith!” she said firmly. “You have him in custody. There is no reason for you to badger my boy!”

John Alden looked frustrated. “You sit tight,” he said.

He left the interrogation room and walked over to Sam. “Well?”

“Well, I say it’s time to find out what’s going on at that school. Malachi Smith wasn’t going there anymore. He’d have been noticed if he’d tried to get into the school during opening hours, and it’s locked up at night now, isn’t it?”

“Sam, you’re a pain in my ass.”

“I know. So, when are you starting at the school?”

John let out a sigh. “I’m going to have a man keep the place under lockdown until Monday. Monday morning, we’ll go in before the teachers and the students, talk to the drama coach, the wardrobe mistress, and every kid in the school. You happy?”

“As a lark,” Sam assured him.

“Pain in my ass!” John repeated.

Sam started out. “Justice, John, justice. She’s a wicked mistress for us all!”

Milton Sedge was in his office when Mabel, his last clerk on duty, knocked on his door. “Milton, it’s after seven. I saw to it that Harry restocked the shelves for the morning, and I’m going home, okay?”

Milton looked up. “You bet, Mabel. You go on home.”

“Have a nice Sunday, Milton.”

“You, too, Mabel.” Milton was still a big believer in closing on Sundays. The rest of the world had apparently forgotten that it was a day of rest, but he’d be damned if he would. He worked the place himself, worked it hard. But Sunday was his church day, and he liked church. He had lost his wife, Sheila, some years ago, and Sunday he got to see his grandkids.

“You come on out and lock the door. I got the lights off, but you never know—some wandering visiting Halloween fool might just walk in here anyway.”

“You bet, Mabel, I’ll be right out.”

“Night then.”


Milton added his last list of figures into his computer and rose. He left his office and headed past the pharmacy area and down the middle aisle, heading straight to the bolt at the front door. There was an alarm there, too, but it hadn’t worked in a while. He was pretty sure that just the idea that the alarm was there was enough to ward off most would-be thieves. He never kept money in the place, or not much, anyway. The deposit was made every day at five, precisely.

As he walked toward the door, he paused. He listened, hearing a strange rustling sound from the canned goods aisle.

He walked around, but there was no one there.

Curious, he looked around a bit more and caught sight of something in the middle of one of the big overheard mirrors. What appeared to be a big lump sat on the floor, right around the corner, in the breakfast section.

The lump moved.

Milton groaned.

Well, Mabel had warned him. Or maybe the prankster or wino had been in the store and she hadn’t seen him when she’d left.

“Hey, come on—we’re closed!” Milton said.

The shadow rose. Milton could see it in the mirror. Halloween prankster! he thought with sheer irritation. And on a Saturday night, right when he’d been looking forward to his Sunday!