Page 29

“I’ll take you over,” Kat told her, grabbing her bag.

As they left, Sean stood, Logan at his side.

“Eddie Archer is lucky he worked with you,” Logan commented.

Sean shook his head, a half smile curving his lips. “Eddie Archer is smart. He looked me up, looked up the team and figured he knew what he needed. He’s no fool. He knew, as well, that Madison has our talent. She’s a trusted employee, but he told me right away that she spoke with dead people.”

“Let’s hope that doesn’t put her in danger,” Logan said thoughtfully.

“It already has,” Sean muttered.

“Then we’d better solve this thing damned fast.”

Sean nodded, bade Logan and the others good-night and went through the connecting door to his own room. The police reports were where he’d left them. He collected them and stacked them neatly; Logan would need them in the morning.

He lay down to sleep.

Two minutes missing. Two minutes in which to hide a mannequin—and steal a robe.

That was as good as two days if you knew what you were doing.

And then, as he fell asleep, he stopped thinking about the killer.

Because he was thinking about Madison.

He felt as if he’d known her forever. As if she’d been part of his life, part of his consciousness. But it had only been two days….

* * *

Vengeance no longer needed to watch. There was something wrong. The girl knew she was in danger.

That damned Sean Cameron. It should have gone so smoothly. The police had seen what was there to be seen, and now—

The phone rang. Luckily, Vengeance was alone.

Seeing the number on the caller ID screen of the phone, Vengeance cursed silently. “What?”

“I’m scared.”

“Don’t be an idiot!”

“The investigation is getting serious. It was supposed to look like a locked-room mystery. Once Alistair was charged, that was supposed to be the end!”

“And it will continue to look that way.”

“No, no, the FBI is all over the place.”

“Even if they make discoveries, they’ll never know, they’ll never understand, they’ll never be able to trace the truth!”

She kept talking; she was panicking. Talk, talk, talk. Vengeance tried to be nicer, to be more reassuring.

“Just keep your story straight!” Vengeance warned.

She calmed down, and Vengeance reminded her again not to call.

“If I call you—that’s one thing. Don’t you call me.”

Finally, Vengeance was able to hang up.

But Vengeance grew thoughtful.

Vengeance’s partner was….


Vengeance’s partner might have to meet with an accident.

* * *

“The M.E. is going to think we’re ghouls,” Madison whispered.

She’d come to the morgue again with Sean and Katya Sokolov, who’d been an M.E. in San Antonio before joining the Krewe.

They’d stopped at Madison’s bungalow to feed Ichabod—and bring Bogie with them.

While it seemed natural to Madison that the team’s only pathologist would want to view the body and the autopsy report, there was no ostensible reason for a civilian to be there a second time.

“Mortal remains, just mortal remains,” Bogie told her. He grinned at Katya. “Now, while you may be the one with the experience in a morgue, you might want to stop staring at me. They’ll think you’re not right in the head, you know?”

Kat flushed. “Sorry! I’m still so…overwhelmed. You can’t imagine what a fan I am.”

“Thank you.” Bogie looked at Madison. “Maybe that’s why I hang around. I need the adulation.”

“Shh,” Sean warned.

“I feel like a ghoul,” Madison whispered again.

“Trust me, you’re fine. You’re with me, and if anyone questions that, I’m asking you questions about the young woman as you knew her in life,” Kat said. “Not to worry.”

They were met then in reception by an attendant who escorted them back to a private autopsy room. Dr. Lee Chang was waiting there for them, standing silently behind the gurney that held the remains of the woman who had once been Jenny Henderson.

“Dr. Chang, thank you,” Sean said. “I’d like you to meet Dr. Katya Sokolov, who is with our team. She’d like to go over your report with you.”

“Of course. Dr. Sokolov, pleased to meet you,” Chang said, shaking Kat’s hand.

He offered her his clipboard. Kat came around the gurney, toward the counter where there was a sink and a huge overhead light.

Madison heard her speaking with Chang as he ushered her closer to the body. Bogie stood on the other side.

She tried not to breathe through her nose. She tried not to hear the trickle of water and smell the chemical scent that couldn’t be disguised by any manner of freshener or filter.

Jenny, Madison said silently. She still found it difficult, but she touched the arm of the corpse. It astonished her that a human being could feel so absolutely stiff and cold.

Jenny’s eyes opened. They became enormous as she stared not at Madison but at Bogie standing beside her.

Humphrey Bogart! Jenny said in silent awe.

In the—well, not in the flesh, kid. Bogie shook his head. This is no place for a girl like you, Miss Henderson. There’s got to be someplace you can go.

I don’t know how, Jenny said.

Come with us. Just will yourself. Get up, and come with us, Bogie urged.

Madison wanted to scream in protest. No, living with one ghost is enough!

I can’t. I don’t…I don’t… I’m cold and I’m scared…but I can’t.

Thank God, Madison thought for a moment. But that was wrong.

She squeezed Jenny’s arm lightly. You can. You can. Bogie did it, and if he did it, you can, too. Jenny, don’t you want to help us catch your killer?

Jenny nodded solemnly. She glanced from Bogie to Madison to Sean.

You’re a cop, right? she asked him. You came soon after I got here. She smiled vaguely. You know I always wanted to be in the movies, she said. I guess now…

You’re famous, Bogie told her. And you’ll become a legend when this is solved.

“As you can see,” Dr. Chang said, drawing Kat back to the autopsy table, “she was killed with one sure cut. The intention was to kill. I told Agent Cameron earlier that the strike itself was planned. Unopposed, the killer managed what he intended with ease.”

Kat nodded. “Despite the fragile position of the artery, it’s really not easy to aim so surely and deliver such a deadly strike. There are no hesitation wounds, and poor Jenny doesn’t have a defensive wound on her.”

“The whole thing would have taken a matter of seconds,” Dr. Chang said.

“Way less than two minutes,” Sean commented.

Chang frowned, looking at him. “Yes, of course.”

Sean stepped up behind Kat, grabbed her and mimed a knife and the blow.

“I think that was eight seconds,” she said.

Sean released her. “And the killer didn’t really need the extra time when he was in the tunnel because no camera was running there, and he knew it. I believe he had to be somewhere in the studio or down in the tunnel. Or even in the Black Box Cinema.”

“Thank you, Dr. Chang,” Kat said, shaking the M.E.’s hand again.

Are you coming? Bogie silently asked Jenny.

I’m naked and chopped to pieces, Jenny said.

No, just rise, and think about yourself in a favorite outfit. The flesh is nothing now, and the soul, the mind, are everything.

“Caleb will take you out,” Chang said, indicating the assistant who had led them in.

As he did, Madison walked between Kat and Sean. She knew that Bogie was behind her.

She felt a little prickle at her nape.

And she knew that Jenny had risen to join them, too.

Jenny was going to help. She was going to come with them, and relive her own murder at the scene of the crime.


Logan Raintree was still setting up the command center for the team in the designated room at the police station—and having his own briefing with Knox. When Sean called him, he discovered that the briefing was nearly finished, and that he and the others would still join them at one.

It was just noon, but Sean wanted to get to the studio as quickly as possible. He was convinced that if they could figure out how someone besides Alistair might have gotten in—how the robe had been stolen—they could get on with the rest of the puzzle.

And if they failed, at the very least they’d create reasonable doubt that Alistair was the killer.

But they couldn’t fail. Because even with reasonable doubt, the press had branded him a killer, and he’d never live a normal life.

As much as Sean needed Madison, he was afraid that after the previous night, it was no longer wise to involve her. Except that she was already involved and therefore targeted.

The other problem was that he was afraid to leave her anywhere on her own.

But nothing had really happened, he told himself. Bogie might well have been mistaken. He was very protective of his earthly charge.

But in his heart, he didn’t believe that Bogie was wrong about the danger to Madison. The killer was devious, with a definite agenda, and wasn’t going to let anyone stand in his or her way. Madison wasn’t in law enforcement; she’d probably never even handled a gun.

As they drove away from the morgue, he decided he had to try to protect her. “Madison, I know this won’t be easy for you, but I’m going to take you to the police station. We’ll have you hang around in the team’s ops center while we’re at the studio and try to get the word out that you have nothing to do with the investigation anymore.” He glanced at her in the rearview mirror. She was seated in back, between the ghostly Bogie and Jenny Henderson.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said.

“I’m concerned about your safety.”