“Maybe. But I’ll have to research it later. Right now I have to get back out there and talk about Henry Flagler,” Caroline said, glancing at her watch. “What’s up at your house today, by the way?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been at the library, but I think I’ll head back home now. And, Caroline, I don’t think you should look into Caleb’s connection to Cato here at the museum.”

“Why not?”

“Because…Caleb is here on business. I don’t think he’d want to become a sideshow oddity.”

“You’re right.” Caroline studied the photograph for a long moment, then offered it to Sarah. “You hold on to it.”

“Thank you, Caroline.”

Caroline looked at her and smirked. “You’re really going to go back to the library to try to trace Caleb Anderson’s background, aren’t you?”


Caroline studied her. “You like him, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Sarah said, then hesitated for a moment. She felt silly for keeping secrets and decided to confide in her. “Caroline, here’s what’s so strange. I must have remembered this photograph in the back in my mind somewhere, because last night I had a nightmare about this man, dressed just this way, standing at the foot of my bed, telling me that he was innocent.”


“I didn’t know what it could have meant then, but now that I know this is Cato, I think he meant he was innocent of kidnapping and killing those girls.”

“How bizarre.” Caroline grinned suddenly. “Did you think you were dreaming about Caleb all dressed up or something?”

Sarah grimaced and said, “Actually, I thought it was really him and he’d broken into the carriage house. I went over to Bertie’s and burst in on him, and accused him of trying to scare me half to death.”

Caroline gasped, then laughed. “You didn’t! What on earth did he say? No, wait. More importantly, does he sleep in the buff?”

“No.” Sarah said. She hesitated. “He was wearing boxers.”

“Still…oh, Sarah!” Caroline started to laugh.

“Stop it.”

“Sorry. So—does he think you’re crazy? Too crazy to maybe go out with? Wait—how did he look?”

Sarah paused, then admitted, “He looked damned good. Now let me out the back,” Sarah said. “I don’t want to run in to anyone right now. Be sure to lock the door behind me.”

“Okay, okay, come on.”

Sarah had just stepped outside when Caroline stopped her. “Sarah?”

“What?” Sarah asked, turning back.

Caroline was grinning. “Go for it. If he looks good in boxers, chances are he looks equally good out of them.”

Sarah groaned and made her escape.

Nigel Mason looked like a typical high school kid, hovering between adolescence and adulthood. He was tall, and extremely lean and lanky, with long hair that he had tied back and covered with a bandana as he served ice cream. Caleb recognized him instantly from his picture in the file Tim Jamison had given him.

He observed the boy before approaching the window. He saw Nigel perk up when a trio of young women came to the stand, and after they had paid and departed, he leaned an elbow on the counter and looked glum.

Caleb approached him. “Nigel?”

Nigel looked up and straightened, a wary look coming into his eyes.


Caleb offered him a handshake. “Hi. My name is Caleb Anderson.”

“You another cop?” Nigel asked.

“Private investigator.”

A flash of pain crossed Nigel’s features, making him young and vulnerable all of a sudden. He looked around for a moment, as if praying for someone to come over to buy ice cream. “You’re here about Winona, aren’t you?” he asked Caleb.


“I wish I knew something,” Nigel said.

“Can you just tell me about the night she was last seen? I’m coming in fresh, and something might hit me that the cops missed, or maybe you’ll remember something new.”

Nigel looked around again, still hopeful that a customer would appear from nowhere. “I wish I knew something,” he repeated.

“Anything that you know will help me. Where were you? Who was there? What was the night like? Like I said, I’m not a cop. I’m not going to turn anyone in, or tell anyone’s folks they were drinking or smoking pot or anything else,” Caleb assured him.

Nigel inhaled deeply, then exhaled loudly, as if he’d made a decision. “Okay, so we had this party at the beach—out on Anastasia Island, not far over the bridge. There’s a place that’s kind of off the beaten track. We had a bonfire going, and…and yeah, there was booze and grass.” He went quiet, remembering.

“You dated Winona for a while, right?” Caleb asked, prodding him.

“Yeah, kind of. Last year. But it felt too weird. We’d gone to grade school together, you know?”

“There were no hard feelings when you split up?”

“Hell, no.” He stared at Caleb suddenly. “You think I could have done something to her?” he asked incredulously.

“No,” Caleb assured him. His gut told him that this kid couldn’t have carried off a white lie, much less an abduction. “I’m just wondering if she would have confided in you. If she would have told you that she was going to run away, for instance. Or if she was meeting someone.”

“She wasn’t running away. And she wasn’t meeting anyone.” He was quiet for a minute, then looked at Caleb as if sizing him up. “She was pretty wasted, though. Just on beer—she didn’t smoke weed. But she had a lot of beer. She was dancing around the fire and pretending it was some kind of an old Maypole or something.”

“Really? Why do you think that was?”

“She liked to read creepy stuff, books about black magic and crap like that. She was kind of Goth for a while even.”

“So did she believe in ghosts and that kind of thing?” Caleb asked.

“Oh, yeah. She wanted to experience all that spooky stuff, you know? See the real thing. She was the kind who would turn out the lights and make noises to scare you, and then laugh. She wasn’t afraid of anything. She used to climb into cemeteries at night and dare us to come after her.”

“Did she know anyone who she felt might help her experience the real thing?” Caleb asked.

“I don’t think so,” Nigel said, his brow furrowed in concentration. Suddenly he brightened. “She did talk to a weird woman on the beach.”

“A weird woman on the beach?” Caleb asked, trying to sound casual. This was something new, and maybe it meant nothing. On the other hand…

“She came over while we started setting up.” He stared at Caleb. “She looked like a hippie. She scared us at first,” he admitted, flushing. “She just walked out of this grove of scrub right when we started building the fire. We thought she lived nearby or something, and that maybe she was going to threaten to call the cops on us. But all she said was hello, and that we should be careful. Hey wait!” he said suddenly.

“What is it?” Caleb asked.

“She said that she was there communicating with the elements, that she was some kind of medium,” Nigel said. “I figured she’d been hiding out back there, smoking weed. But now…I hadn’t even thought of it. There were only three of us there. Mindy Marshall, Winona and me. She told us to be careful, said the moon was at its most powerful peak or some weird shit like that, and it brought out all kinds of spirits. I thought she was a kook. Winona thought she was cool and talked to her for a little while, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I can’t believe I forgot all about her ’til now.”

“What happened then?”

“She walked away.”

“To where?”

“I don’t know. Probably down the trail that led back to the road.”

“Did you see her again?”

“No. She just told us to be careful and left.”

“What did she look like?”

“I told you, a hippie.”

“A tall hippie? Short, dark, light?”

Nigel frowned in concentration. “I don’t know. She was wearing some kind of a kerchief thing on her head, and she had on really big sunglasses.”

“Okay, was she tall or short?”

“Medium,” Nigel decided after a moment.


“Yeah, maybe.”

“Do you remember anything else about her? Anything at all? Was she wearing perfume? Did she walk with a limp? Did you see her hands? Anything.”

Nigel looked away for a moment, then faced Caleb sheepishly. “I’d had two beers, maybe three by then. I was pretty looped by the time I saw her. You really won’t say anything to my parents, right? You’re really not a cop?”

“I’m really not a cop.” Caleb drew a card from his wallet and handed it to the boy. “I want you to do me a favor. If you think of anything else—and I want you to really think about this woman and see if you can remember something more—give me a call. Please.”

Nigel took the card and looked at Caleb again. “Okay. You might want to talk to Mindy. She might remember something.” He looked down, wincing. “Thing is, the three of us…we had a twelve-pack to start and it was pretty much gone by the time the woman showed up. So…I kind of doubt she’ll remember anything, either, know what I mean?”

“Point taken,” Caleb said. “But I’m going to go talk to her anyway. So where exactly was this beach party?” he asked. He had directions; they were in the file Jamison had given him. But he wanted the kid’s directions, as well.

“I’ll draw you a map,” Nigel said, taking a napkin from the counter and a pen from underneath the cash register.