“And you had mud all over your shoes earlier today, before you ever came out here tonight, didn’t you?” Caleb countered.
Jamison swore. “I’m a homicide lieutenant, and I know my business. Get out of here—get out of here now, before I arrest you.”
Furious, Sarah spun around to leave the cemetery.
Caleb followed her quickly.
“Hey, Anderson!” Jamison called after them.
In unison, Caleb and Sarah stopped and turned back. They might have been onstage, caught in the unforgiving glare of the floodlights. Everyone working the crime scene stopped awkwardly to watch.
“Don’t even think about going anywhere,” Jamison said loudly. “I spoke to Renee Otten again today. She thinks she saw you on the street, right before she was attacked.”
Caleb stepped forward angrily, but Sarah grabbed his arm to stop him. “Tim, that’s impossible, and I told her so. Caleb was with me. We left the bar, walked back to my house and went to bed. We didn’t leave until this morning.”
“Are you sure he didn’t duck out in the middle of the night, Sarah? While you were asleep, maybe?” Jamison asked.
“Of course I’m sure,” Sarah said indignantly.
Caleb got hold of his temper at last. “I know exactly where I was, lieutenant. My conscience is completely clear—on every level. Can you say the same?”
Then he took Sarah’s arm, and they left together.
It was growing late, so they considered and rejected the idea of stopping at Hunky Harry’s, and went straight to the house. Caleb felt more tense than ever before in his life. Sarah went upstairs to take a shower, and when she came down, he was pacing like a caged tiger, furious that Jamison was trying to direct suspicion toward him.
“Get the mud off—you’ll feel better,” she told him.
He nodded and headed up the stairs. The water was steaming hot, and as he stood beneath it, eventually some of the tension began to ease.
When he went back downstairs, Sarah was busy in the kitchen.
“Omelets,” she said.
“That sounds wonderful,” he told her, then sat at the counter, grabbed a scratch pad and started making notes as he talked his way through everything they knew so far. “Killed, that we know about—Frederick Russell, banker. His wife claims he went to help someone and got himself murdered, and that he would never have driven off a curve. Jane Doe—we still don’t know her story. Winona Hart, found this evening buried in unhallowed ground, near where a witch was hanged.”
Sarah came over to stand by him. “Don’t forget the past. We know that a girl named Susan Madison was murdered—and that Nellie Brennan saw the corpse. Also, I looked it up in the records today and found out that Nellie herself died from a fall from her bedroom window, not long after she saw the corpse. At least one other girl’s corpse turned up, too—and don’t forget Eleanora. And then there are the bones in my walls. Maybe they’re connected somehow, too. Plus there are several references to Martha Tyler’s book of spells. Our killer has to be someone who knows all the stories—who’s maybe even found the book—and is trying to replicate history.”
She hesitated, then asked, “What was going on tonight between you and Jamison? Why were you talking about mud?”
“When I went to see him at the station today, he had mud all over his shoes. Mud—like the dirt we dug up tonight, outside the cemetery.”
“Oh, my God, you can’t think that Tim Jamison…” Sarah’s voice trailed off, but her horror was written all over her face.
“He’s a local. He knows the area, the tides, how to fool forensics—and all the stories. And even some of the other cops are starting to talk,” Caleb told her.
“Plus he’s seeing Cary Hagan,” Sarah said thoughtfully.
“Either that—or he wants people to think he’s seeing her, setting up an alibi. Better to be an adulterer than a murderer,” Caleb said.
“As soon as we’re done with dinner, I want to pay a visit to your friend Renee. And then you and I are going bar-hopping.”
Barry opened the door when they arrived at Renee’s. It was as if he were her guard, making sure that only the worthy were allowed to see the wizard.
“Sarah,” he said warmly. “And Caleb,” he added, trying to sound polite.
“Hey, Barry,” Caleb said smoothly.
Sarah was impressed with the casual ease Caleb maintained when he greeted Barry, knowing what Renee had said.
Without making a big deal of it, Caleb stepped past Barry and went over to Renee, who was sitting up on the sofa and seemed to be just fine. But she looked at Caleb guardedly as he sat down across from her.
“What’s going on at the cemetery?” Renee demanded, as Barry sat down beside her. “And don’t tell us that you don’t know. We saw the two of you in the background on the news report.”
“They’ve found Winona Hart,” Caleb said.
“Dead?” Renee asked, wide-eyed.
“I’m afraid so,” Caleb said.
“Oh, God.” Renee shrank back, as if she could become one with the sofa. “You found her, didn’t you?” she accused Caleb.
“Actually, I did,” Sarah said, sitting down in an empty chair next to Caleb.
Renee’s double take was almost humorous. “How? You just decided to go digging in the cemetery?”
“I went on a tour,” Sarah told her.
“You went on a tour?” Barry said incredulously.
“I needed a fresh perspective,” she said, and shrugged.
Caleb was still studying Renee.
“Renee, are you sure that you were attacked last night? That you didn’t simply fall? Just how loaded were you?” he asked.
Renee flushed. “Loaded enough to black out, all right? So no, I’m not sure of anything. They said at the hospital that I had been attacked, so I figured…”
“And you told the police you saw…me before whatever happened, happened?” he pressed.
She flushed again. “I saw someone who looked like you, only in costume, coming toward me. I do remember that. I’m not imagining it.”
“Okay, and while you were out last night, who else did you see?” Caleb asked.
She stared back at him, her face wrinkled in puzzlement. “I saw all of you, obviously—Caroline, Will, the two of you, Barry. And then, later on, at the Dirty Duck—or maybe it was when I got to the Mainmast, I don’t know—I saw…I saw all kinds of people. Gary and the guys from his crew were there, a group of tourists who had been over to Cassadaga, some kids who looked too young to be there, if you ask me—”
“You saw Cary Hagan, too, didn’t you?” Sarah interrupted. “She came to see me at the museum to apologize for letting you leave on your own.”
“Yeah, I saw Cary. She can sure drink. I think that’s where I messed up. I was trying to keep up with her, and she can drink anyone under the table,” Renee said.
“What about Tim Jamison?” Caleb asked. “Did you see him anywhere when you were out?”
Renee squinted in thought, then shook her head. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Okay, Renee, this is really important, so please, think hard. Do you remember any details at all of what happened after you left the Dirty Duck?” Caleb asked her.
She let out a sigh. “Just what I’ve told people already. I saw lights—they must have been from a car, I guess. And then I saw a guy in Civil War clothes and…thought it was you. I didn’t tell Jamison at first—only Sarah, when she came to see me. But she said it couldn’t have been you, so…I don’t know. It was someone, though, and he must have looked kind of like you. And then someone hit me, or maybe I did just pass out, only everybody is suspicious because…there’s a killer out there. I just don’t know!” she practically wailed.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Barry said reassuringly, putting an arm around her.
“It’s all right. We’re leaving. Get some rest, Renee. And thanks,” Caleb told her.
Sarah gave her a goodbye kiss on the cheek, and then Barry saw them out, locking the door behind them.
“I want to check out the bars she mentioned and see if anyone remembers what she was up to last night,” Caleb said.
“Then let’s go.”
Sarah was surprised to discover that Caleb was carrying a picture of Frederick Russell on him, along with shots of Jennie Lawson, Renee, Winona Hart and Tim Jamison, the latter out of uniform.
They hit paydirt almost immediately with one of the bartenders at the Dirty Duck, who came over and looked at the pictures, then focused on those of Frederick Russell and Jennie Lawson. “Those others are locals, and I see them all the time. But these two…I kind of think I do remember them…. This is the guy who was just found in the car in the bay, right? I think they were both in here about a year ago.”
“Together?” Caleb asked.
“No. No, the guy was alone—we got talking about our favorite local restaurants. And the girl…she came in alone, too, I think, but she was the friendly type, talked to a lot of people. She looked pretty blitzed when she left, too. This guy, he left right after her, said he was going to get her into a cab.”
Caleb thanked him, and they moved on to the Mainmast, but they didn’t find out anything else of interest, so they headed back to the house. He was quiet as they walked.
“Well?” Sarah asked softly at last.
He studied her, touched her hair gently. “You’re not afraid of me, are you?” he asked, his expression intent.
She shook her head.
“Are you afraid of…my ancestor’s ghost?”
She shook her head again, and smiled. “No, though for the first time in my life I believe there really is a ghost. He’s trying to help us. He did help us. He wanted us to find Eleanora and made sure we did.”