“Oliver, you would never throw a dog,” Madison said.
“No, but you get my drift!”
Alfie was hurrying over with the basting needle and thread. Madison leaned back, looking at Oliver, who winked and said, “I think he likes me. And I think he’d like your job.” His voice grew even quieter. “Hey, he sucks up to the new Mrs. Eddie Archer whenever she’s here. I say watch out for your own assistant.”
* * *
Kat stopped in the middle of the tunnel and sneezed. “Sean, we shouldn’t have to break through anything. If any of the walls were broken through, we’d have seen it. The killer couldn’t possibly have had time to cover his tracks.”
“Kat, I didn’t say try to break through, I said look through,” Sean said. “To the best of your ability. The costume the killer wore is most likely stashed down here somewhere. We’ve pretty much determined that he—or she—wore gloves, so I sincerely doubt forensics will get anything off the dagger.”
Kelsey, who was behind Kat, groaned. “If I end up wearing any more mold, spiderwebs and bone dust, I won’t be able to leave the studio until it clears out for the day. I’ll be a walking advertisement for the fact that we know more than we’re sharing at the moment.”
They’d only covered the first tunnel so far; they hadn’t even taken the turn that would lead them around to the Black Box Cinema.
He thought it somewhat odd that they hadn’t encountered anyone’s lost spirit, but then, he knew Jane would have all kinds of interesting information for them about the making of the film Sam Stone and the Curious Case of the Egyptian Museum, and that she’d come back with research on the cemetery, as well. They just needed all the pieces of the puzzle; if they could find the pieces, they could solve the puzzle. It was a matter of logic. That had been reinforced during their training when they’d met the rest of Jackson Crow’s team at Quantico.
“It’s here,” he insisted. “That costume is here somewhere.”
“All right, we’ll find it,” Kelsey said, setting her hand on his arm. He smiled. She did look like hell, and his cousin was a beautiful woman. She’d come close to dying during their first case, the one that had brought them all together, but even then, she’d understood the risks. She’d been a United States marshal; she’d already signed on the dotted line.
“No one’s talking down here, right?” he asked. He was referring to any ghosts who might have remained, but he didn’t have to explain. They knew what he meant.
Both women looked at him and shook their heads solemnly.
“I guess it’s a good thing they’ve all gone on. Okay, stick to this path. I’m going to follow the other one for a while, see where it takes me.”
He used his heavy flashlight to light the way toward the turnoff that led to the tunnel and museum. He chose not to head back in that direction, though. It seemed unlikely that someone would have retraced his or her steps to hide the robe. However, nothing was impossible. Improbable, but not impossible.
As he moved, she saw that he was going farther beneath the cemetery. The walls here were beginning to cave in; the tunnels were old, and no one had come down in decades to shore them up. Maybe the burials here had been forgotten. Or perhaps there were memorials aboveground, and mourners set their flowers there, having no idea of the labyrinth of dead below. Casting the light around him, he saw decay, broken vaults, fabric and bone in various stages of deterioration.
The crypts were distracting. He tried to look at the floor, seeking any drops of blood. There were none at first, but then on a broken slab of marble that covered half a crypt, he saw a tiny spatter.
He paused, studied it and moved on. And then he turned back. It was a grisly task, but he dug behind the broken slab. His finger curled around fabric that didn’t disintegrate at his touch. He tugged on it.
And a robe fell out before him. A robe that was identical to the one on the figure of Amun Mopat in the tableau.
It had to be the mock-up that had been on the mannequin in the studio.
He examined it carefully in the powerful beam of the flashlight. The robe wasn’t finished—it was basted together rather than sewn. He felt the material, which was sleek, with the characteristics of a knit, probably synthetic. The robe was a golden brown color, trimmed with gold braid.
And it was dotted with blood.
The killer had come in this direction.
* * *
“It’s noon. Are you allowed to take a break?” Oliver asked Madison. “Want to go out for lunch?”
“I don’t really want to leave the studio today. Thank you, though,” Madison told him. She smiled. “You know, there are a million women out there who’d pass out cold at an invitation from you. So I appreciate it.”
He gave her a good-old-boy knock on the shoulder. “You’re the woman of my dreams, Madison. But you’ve never flirted with me. How come?”
“Oh, Oliver, you are gorgeous. It’s not that.”
He grinned, leaning across her worktable. “But, hmm, let me see. I’m not your type. You’re more into the muscle-bound fighter type. No, no…the artist. A nerd? No, I’m not exactly seeing a nerd. Ah, maybe one of the cool, calm, stoic FBI types.”
He suddenly started to laugh. “Madison, I was teasing, but…ooh, you’re going to have to tell me all about your love life.”
“You must read enough about your life in all the magazines out there!” she chastised him.
“Have lunch with me. Humor me. I’ll get something ordered in for us. We can have a cozy costume chat in one of the conference rooms. Come on, what do you say?”
“Okay. But what about Alfie?”
“He can get his own lunch…and his own date.”
“I can’t be rude to my assistant. Alfie’s a good kid.”
“I’ll see that he’s kept busy,” Oliver said, wiggling his eyebrows.
The young star did have power; in a matter of minutes, Mike had taken Alfie aside, and Oliver was coming back to her with a grin on his face. “Let’s go. We’re having lunch in the small conference room.”
Madison glanced around. She saw that Logan Raintree was keeping watch. He managed to be in a different place every time she looked, either pretending a keen interest in the work going on or engaging a worker in conversation—even pitching in when an extra hand was needed. She was certain that he’d kept an eye on her all morning. What was he going to think about her having lunch with Oliver?
Oliver leaned closer. “Should we ask the FBI guy to join us?” He made a face at her. “Wrong FBI guy, huh?”
“Oliver, would you stop?”
He straightened. “Seriously, just go tell him we’re having lunch, and where we’re going to be. Tell him we’ll keep the door open the whole time. You’ll be safe, I swear it. Coward here, remember?”
She laughed. “All right. Let me talk to Logan.”
Logan seemed to know she was coming. “I’ll be in the conference room having lunch,” she told him.
“I heard. Don’t worry. I’ll be nearby. And there’s a cop standing guard at the end of the hallway by the elevator.”
“Honestly, I’m not worried. I just didn’t want you to be,” she said.
He smiled. “Mike told me Oliver really likes you—says working with you is like working with a real human being. Go ahead and enjoy your lunch.”
She moved closer to him. “They’ve been in the basement for a while,” she said.
“Everything’s fine,” he assured her.
She wanted to ask more questions but in the busy studio she couldn’t. She rejoined Oliver, and they both spoke to friends among the other workers as they walked to the hallway, beyond reception and the guard station, and over to the conference rooms.
Oliver paused at the first display area near the conference room. He pointed to the one-eyed victim, who seemed to stand there in some kind of strange welcome. “That movie scared the crap out of me when I was a teenager,” he told her.
“The werewolf did it for me,” she said.
Inside the conference room he paused again, looking at the creation Sean had called Matilda. “Wow. And we’re having sushi in here,” he said.
As he spoke, Nelly Anderson, the receptionist, came in with a large bag. “You ordered this, Mr. Marshall?” she asked, flushing.
“Yes, I did, thank you so much. It’s Nelly, right?”
“Yes, yes!” Nelly said, clearly surprised and happy that he’d remembered her name. Madison liked Nelly, but Nelly didn’t seem to notice she was in the room at the moment.
“Hey, that was really fast. Thanks again, Nelly,” Oliver said.
“You’re welcome.” Nelly managed to set the bag down. “If you need anything else—”
“I’ll call on you.”
Still flushing, Nelly made her way out of the conference room.
“See? Women love you,” Madison said.
“I’m a fake in more ways than one, but don’t tell anyone,” he said, sitting down beside her.
He looked around the room again, shook his head and dug into the bag. “Two green teas, dragon rolls, California rolls—we are in California, after all—and miso soup. That okay?”
“Sounds great,” she told him.
He distributed the food, napkins and chopsticks. “You’re doing okay, Madison? I mean, really?”
“I’m doing fine. I’m worried about Eddie and Alistair, of course.”
He nodded, lifting a piece of sushi between expertly wielded chopsticks. “I have to admit, it shook me up when I heard about it.” He hesitated. “If things don’t go so well for this place, I’ll be really grateful that I chose a stage name for my Actor’s Equity card.”
“I didn’t know your real name wasn’t Oliver Marshall.”
“My name is Oliver Marshall. Oliver Marshall Claymore.”