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Chapter 8

Back inside the topiary garden, Bill Burrell hung up with Tommy Campbells father. The SAC called the well-known businessman personally to warn him and his wife that the media had gotten wind of the story, and to once again expect a pack of reporters at the end of their driveway. He would send over two of his men to help keep the wolves at bay-would drop by later himself to offer his condolences in person, and to see if there was anything he could do for them.

Yes, he owed them that.

Thomas Campbell Sr. and his lovely wife Maggie had endured a lot since their son vanished back in January-the least of which being the initial onslaught of reporters who hounded their every movement. Indeed, for a time the elder Campbell had even been a suspect in his sons disappearance-an unfortunate and now ludicrous detail of the investigation about which Bill Burrell still felt guilty. He had gotten to know Thomas and his wife quite well; had often sat with the couple on their porch, drinking hot chocolate and looking out over Foster Cove-the waters of which divers had combed countless times in search of Tommy Campbells body.

But now, all that was over. Yes, now that Campbell s body had finally been found, Burrell felt a heavy wave of guilt for not having been on the scene when the boys parents arrived at Dodds estate, when they gave the positive ID of what had become of their only son.

And what exactly had become of their only son?

Burrell watched his forensic team begin the somber task of removing Tommy Campbell and his young companion from their station in the corner of the topiary garden. His gaze now and then wandered up to the sky, on the lookout for the news choppers that he knew would be arriving any minute. It took three of his men, three big men, almost ten minutes to carry the shrouded tableau of death across the courtyard and into the transport van that had been pulled up on the lawn outside the garden.

Damn, Burrell thought. Whoever did this really is one strong son of a bitch.

And as the heavy metal doors slammed shut, as the van started on its way across the lawn, Bulldog heaved a sigh of relief that he had been able to get the bodies off-site before the vultures started swarming overhead. Yes, that really was his only break in the case thus far. That meant the medical examiner could work in peace, and that Burrells office would not have to comment on any press footage of the scene until the official cause of death had been determined.

Burrell lit a cigarette and telephoned his wife-told her not to expect him home until late that evening, perhaps even tomorrow morning. She responded like she always did-an empty, Korean-flavored Ill leave the light on that had been hardened by two kids and twenty-five years of marriage to the life. And as he joined Markham and Cathy in the back of the FBI surveillance van, when he saw the pretty professors half-Asian features in the soft light of the computer screens, the guilt Bill Burrell had felt for abandoning the Campbells all at once transformed into a longing for his wife.

Yes, at fifty years old, the Bulldog was getting soft.

Tell me what we got, Burrell exhaled in a plume of cigarette smoke.

Well, Markham began, our agents were able to track down a collection of Michelangelos poetry at the Westerly Library, as well as a copy of Dr. Hildebrants Slumbering in the Stone.


I havent had a chance yet to go over her book, but Dr. Hildebrant has identified the poem and the quotes.

The ones Sullivan told me about? The ones that were slipped under Dr. Hildebrants office door almost six years ago?

Yes, sir, said Markham, looking down at a sheet of paper. We found the three quotes online. And at first glance, they appear to be what Dr. Hildebrant took them as-words of wisdom and support in the wake of her mothers death. This at the very least tells us that whoever gave them to her was aware of her personal life. The quotes arrived in the following order. If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master, The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms, and finally, To confide in ones self and become something of worth and value, is the best and safest course.

So whats your take on them, Sam?

A definite attempt at intimacy, Id say, as well an implied understanding by the writer of the grief that Dr. Hildebrant was going through at the time. In this light then, the last quote seems somewhat odd, given that the first two deal with death and the afterlife, and actually contrast this world with the next. Upon further research, however, Dr. Hildebrant and I have found that the third quote is often cited as a continuation of the second. Im not quite sure what to make of that, but taking it into context with the sonnet, which was the last note she received, perhaps it signifies not only advice on how she should deal with her loss, but also a change of focus-both with regard to where Dr. Hildebrant should now focus her energy, and where her admirer should now focus his.

I dont follow.

The sonnet that came next, said Markham, thumbing through the book of poetry. The one that was originally written to the youth Tommaso Cavalieri, is a much more intimate correspondence than the previous notes. Yes, like the first two quotes, it implies an unspoken and private knowledge of the other-but this time the sender seems to be speaking from both his and Dr. Hildebrants point of view.

How so?

The first four lines read as follows:

We both know, my lord, that you know I come near to have my pleasure with you; And we both know that you know my name; So why do you wait to introduce yourself?

As Dr. Hildebrant had to explain to me, Michelangelo was a homosexual, and his relationship with Cavalieri-a relationship that was never physically consummated but that was nonetheless reciprocated-caused the artist, and presumably Cavalieri, great anguish. Michelangelo is speaking then for both of them, saying that he knows they both love each other, and therefore wants Cavalieri to acknowledge it, too. Given that knowledge-that is, the story behind the sonnet-we thus have an overt statement from Dr. Hildebrants admirer that says in effect, Not only do I know what youre thinking, but I also know that you know what Im thinking.

I come near to have my pleasure with you, repeated Burrell. So the person who wrote the note is admitting that he had gotten physically close to Dr. Hildebrant?

Maybe, said Markham. But it could be meant to be taken figuratively, as in close to her through her work-her book, which was published about six months before the notes began arriving.

But the line about knowing his name, isnt that an overt statement as well? That the writer of the note is saying, literally, you know who I am?

Perhaps, said Markham. But again, her admirer could be speaking figuratively-given the context of the original sonnet to Cavalieri, that it was a sort of homosexual code for something else, a spiritual love that could not be named. If we were to take the first four lines literally, the line, So why do you wait to introduce yourself? seems inappropriate in any context other than Dr. Hildebrant avoiding an advance from someone. And as she has told me nothing like that happened before the notes were delivered, I am inclined to think there is some hidden meaning behind the first four lines, as there was for Cavalieri in Michelangelos time. What that meaning is for Dr. Hildebrant, I cant be sure. But given the rest of the sonnet, I would tend to think that Dr. Hildebrants admirer, like Michelangelo himself, meant the poem as more of a spiritual overture than an actual love note-that is, in appreciation of her soul rather than her beauty. Markham turned to Cathy. You said that your admirer made no attempt in his correspondence to change the subject of the poem-a man, a lord-to a lady, is that correct?

Yes, said Cathy.

An odd choice if Dr. Hildebrants admirer meant the correspondence to be a love sonnet. Wouldnt you agree, Bill?

Read me the rest of it, he said.

The next section does in fact seem to support the idea of a figurative, spiritual attraction rather than a physical one. It reads

If your gift to me of hope is true,

As true as the desire Ive given you,

May the wall between us crumble down.

For nothing is more painful than hidden sorrow.

If I love in you, my lord, only that

Which you yourself do love, do not despise

The spirit for the love it bears the other.

Here again, as in the original, Dr. Hildebrant told me her admirer addressed her as lord. There is also the obvious statement of their spirits loving each other. However, given that context-that is, the context of a love, a desire that is not physical, not sexual-the last three lines seem out of place. They read

What I wish to learn from your beautiful face

Cannot be understood in the minds of men:

He who wishes to learn can only die.

A heavy silence fell over the tech van.

May I see that? asked Burrell finally. Markham handed him the book of poetry. He who wishes to learn can only die, the SAC read out loud.

Yes, said Markham. At the very least a strange coincidence-given the recent turn of events, that is.

But it doesnt make any sense, said Burrell. What I wish to learn from your beautiful face cannot be understood in the minds of men. He who wishes to learn can only die? Do you really think, Sam, that Dr. Hildebrants admirer told her that he was planning to kill someone? That he actually waited five and a half years to carry it out?

I dont know, Bill.

And what does Michelangelo mean in his poem when he says what he wants to learn cannot be understood in the minds of men?

Michelangelo is saying that people not only misunderstand him, said Cathy, but also the kind of love he feels for Cavalieri. He is telling Cavalieri that, although their contemporaries could not comprehend of Michelangelos desire for him as anything other than lustful and sinful, in reality it goes far beyond that into the realm of the divine-a love that can only be fully understood when one dies, when one comes to know God.

I guess thats what I dont understand, said Markham. Why those last three lines are so troubling to me-that is, if this poem was meant only as a spiritual overture. Although the foundation of Michelangelos love for Cavalieri went much deeper than just the physical, from what youve told me, Dr. Hildebrant, there was a sexual, homoerotic component to it as well. Is that right?


So the line about the beautiful face, interrupted Burrell. Are you saying, Sam, that that line doesnt make sense in conjunction with the rest of the poem unless Dr. Hildebrants admirer is a homosexual? Unless shes a woman?

Perhaps. That is, if Dr. Hildebrants admirer did in fact understand the original context of the sonnet, the history behind it. And banking on my experience in such things, I think its safe to assume that he or she did.

But then that means Dr. Hildebrants admirer and Campbells killer could not have been the same person. Judging from the size of those footprints in the sand, Campbell s killer was well over six feet tall. Any six-foot-five lesbians in your department, Dr. Hildebrant?

Im afraid not.

And that sculpture weighed a ton-was almost impossible for one person to handle-and theres every indication that it was brought to the location intact. You saw for yourself, Sam. It took three of my guys ten minutes to load that thing into the van. That means that the person who carried it all the way from the house next door and up the hill out back is one strong SOB-and we know it was one SOB from the single set of footprints in the sand, a set of footprints that went back and forth only once.


So whats your opinion now, Sam? You still think the person who sent Dr. Hildebrant those notes is the same person who killed Tommy Campbell? And that this person has to be a homosexual?

Perhaps a homosexual, Cathy interrupted. But not necessarily a woman.

What do you mean? asked Markham.

Agent Markham, you said that you thought Michelangelos line about coming near to me might not have been meant to be taken literally, right? That maybe my admirer was referring to my work, specifically to my book?


Well, maybe then my admirer was referring not to my face, but to someone elses.

What are you talking about? asked Burrell, but Cathy saw that Special Agent Markham understood. His eyes at once dropped to the book in his lap, to the copy of Slumbering in the Stone which had been checked out for him at the Westerly Library.

On its cover was the face of Michelangelos most famous sculpture.

On its cover was his David.

Chapter 7 | The Sculptor | Chapter 9