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Chapter 17

It was after she hung up with Sam Markham on Wednesday, May 6th-the afternoon on which she learned she would be accompanying him to the Boston Field Office the next day-that Cathy also received word that her divorce from Steven Rogers was official. Cathy took the news with no more emotion than if she had been listening to the morning weather report-a forecast that called for cloudy skies but with only a twenty percent chance of precipitation. And be it due to the previous week’s events, or that she had long ago exhausted any love she had left for her ex-husband, Cathy closed the book on her ten-year marriage to Steven Rogers with a sense of numb resignation.

Her ex-husband, on the other hand, seemed to have had a last minute change of heart. On the Friday before their divorce was to be final, Rogers showed up on the Polks’ doorstep virtually in tears, demanding to see his wife. And after a quick back and forth between Janet and the man to whom she would always regret introducing her best friend, Cathy emerged onto the Polks’ front porch.

“Can we talk, Cat?” Steve shouted over Janet’s shoulder. “Please?”

“It’s all right, Jan,” Cathy said, and Janet scowled her way back into the house.

“I’ve been following that story all week on TV,” Steve began. “Been worrying about how you’ve been holding up through it all. I begged Janet for your new cell number, but she wouldn’t give it to me.”

“That’s the point of the unlisted number. We agreed that any communication between us would go through our lawyers.”

“You wanted that, not me. I wanted to work things out but you didn’t want to deal with it. You wanted this divorce, Cat. Remember that.”

“What are you doing here, Steven?”

“Well-it’s just that-they talked to me, too, you know. The FBI. The day after it all happened. They asked me if I had any students that might fit the profile of the guy they were looking for. Christ, I couldn’t give them anything-don’t know why the fuck they’d want to talk to me, other than my association with you. Is there something I should know about, Cat? Some other reason why you’re involved with this bullshit?”

“They’re probably just covering their bases,” Cathy lied-it hadn’t occurred to her that the FBI might question her ex-husband.

But he’s still in the dark. They must not have mentioned the notes.

That was good.

“Christ, Cat. It’s been a pretty fucked-up week. I’ve been seeing all that stuff on TV, been hearing about what happened to Soup and that little boy and…well…being sort of involved in a way, and hearing your name all the time mentioned in that context-well, it’s really been messing with my head, Cat. Made me realize how foolish I was to let go of the person that meant the most to me in this world. And, I don’t know, with the finality of it all, our divorce staring me right in the face, I just thought that maybe-”

“She dump you, Steven, your little graduate student?”

“Catherine, please,” said Steve with a hand through his thick curly hair. “This has nothing to do with her. You know I’ll never feel the same way about her, about anybody, as I felt, as I still feel about you.”

“You should have thought about that before you got your dick stuck in her thesis. I have nothing more to say to you. Good-bye, Steven.”

Only after she was back inside, only after she heard the sound of Rogers’s BMW Z4 roadster speeding off into the distance, did Cathy realize how much the events of the previous week had changed her. For the first time in their twelve-year relationship, Cathy had not the slightest impulse to give in to Steve Rogers-not the slightest. That meant that it was truly over; she had grown stronger-so much so that when she hung up with Sam Markham the following Wednesday, Cathy felt secure enough to resign herself to the feelings for him that had already begun to blossom in her heart.

Of course, Cathy knew very well that her interest in Markham began with their first encounter; but Cathy was also smart enough to realize that her feelings toward him had been confused not only by the overwhelming totality of the previous week’s events, but also by her acute self-awareness of her still-vulnerable broken heart. But while Markham had been pursuing leads all over New England, after quietly finishing up the spring semester at Brown, after dealing with her ex-husband and retreating with the Polks to Bonnet Shores for the weekend to help them ready their beach house, despite a somber self-consciousness that her actions were playing out in the shadow of the murders of Tommy Campbell and Michael Wenick-murders that, still unbeknown to the general public, had been dedicated to her-Cathy also felt a gnawing premonition that a door to a new life had been opened, and that it was Sam Markham who would carry her over the threshold.

In addition to speaking with Markham only twice since telling him about the opening quote to Slumbering in the Stone, Cathy received a telephone call from Special Agent Rachel Sullivan the morning after she arrived at Janet’s. Sullivan advised Cathy to make an official statement to the Associated Press telling them she could offer nothing more than confirmation that the bodies of Tommy Campbell and Michael Wenick had indeed been found posed like Michelangelo’s Bacchus. Sullivan also advised that Cathy stay clear of any interviews-not only to maintain the integrity of the investigation, but also in the event the information about the inscription was ever leaked to the press. Cathy heeded Sullivan’s advice, and by Friday of that first week, the messages on her voice mail had dwindled down to one.

And so, with the worst seemingly behind her, on the morning after her divorce from Steve Rogers-a bright May morning that whispered of the coming summer, her first as a single woman since her midtwenties-Cathy sat waiting on the Polks’ front porch amidst a haze of dread and excitement. Yes, now that the semester was over, now that Rogers was out of her life for good, the void that should have been the beginning of her new life was overwhelmed by a constant preoccupation with two people: The Michelangelo Killer and Sam Markham. That both of them should be inextricably tied together was to Cathy Hildebrant both a blessing and curse. Although she could not rid her mind of The Michelangelo Killer’s Bacchus, of the terror of knowing that her book had been the inspiration for that heinous crime, by that same token such thoughts invariably brought with them the presence of Sam-a presence far away but at the same time close to her in the dark, a presence that helped her through those long nights alone in the Polks’ guest room.

“Nice to see you again,” said the FBI agent as Cathy climbed into his Trailblazer. Cathy smiled-the residue of her daydream on the porch making her blush. “You’re holding up okay, I take it?”

“All right, I guess. And yourself?”

“I’ll brief you in a bit.”

Markham drove off.

Cathy thought the FBI agent seemed chipper, more at ease than during their trip from Watch Hill, when the sudden awkwardness between them had taken Cathy completely by surprise. But today, rather than second guess herself, Cathy knew at once that Sam Markham really did think it was nice to see her. And being in his presence again, Cathy was suddenly filled with a buzzing sense of gratitude and guilt at the thought of the circumstances, of the man who had brought them together.

“Sorry I’m late, by the way,” Markham added. “But I had to pick up some documents at the Providence office and got caught up for a sec.”

“Probably a good thing. We should be past all the traffic by now.”

“Yes, I’ve become quite the regular in that mess this past week.”

“So where exactly are you now, Sam? I thought you were working in Boston.”

“I am. The Boston Division oversees FBI operations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire, but we have smaller satellite offices scattered about in every state. These are called Resident Agencies. We’ve got one in Providence, and they’ve set me up with a computer and my own office there so I can be local-easier for me to get somewhere fast if I need to. However, I still answer to Bill Burrell in the Boston office, and have been traveling back and forth this past week for meetings and to go over evidence.”

“I see.”

“The Boston office is located right in the heart of downtown, and the facilities are much bigger and more high tech than what we have in Providence. The totality of our operations there demands it-everything from public corruption and organized crime divisions to fraud and counterintelligence. Burrell was reassigned there last fall as the special agent in charge, and also to assist in the restructuring of their Violent Crime Division. I was sent up from Quantico to run a seminar on the latest research and forensic techniques being developed at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.”

“So that’s where all the profilers hang out?”

“Actually, there’s no such thing. The FBI does not have a job called a profiler-just a term that has sort of evolved in popular culture.”

“Forgive me. My television education, I’m afraid.”

“No, no,” Markham smiled. “Don’t feel silly-just one of the many public misconceptions about the Bureau. The procedures commonly associated with what has come to be known as ‘profiling’ are performed by supervisory special agents like myself back at the NCAVC in Quantico, so it was really only a coincidence that I was nearby when this Michelangelo Killer made his spectacular entry into the public eye.”

“Yes. He really has thrown us for a loop, hasn’t he? The whole country. Can’t turn on the television or even check my e-mail without seeing a picture of Bacchus in the headlines-can’t even look at it now without thinking of Tommy Campbell and that poor little boy. So does that mean The Michelangelo Killer has gotten what he wants, Sam? Does that mean in a way he’s won?”

“As far as turning people on to the works of Michelangelo? I would say yes. Yes he has.”

Cathy was silent, lost in thought as Sam Markham pulled onto the Interstate.

“I know what a strain this has been on you,” Markham said, glancing toward the Providence skyline. “And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you agreeing to join me today for this teleconference.”

“I just hope I can be of some help,” Cathy sighed. “Like I told you on the phone, I’ve been wracking my brain this past week trying to come up with more insight into Slumbering in the Stone, but I feel like I’ve come to a dead end.”

“The insight you’ve given me so far has been invaluable in helping me get a bead on this guy, Cathy. Also, the way you’ve handled yourself with the press has been more than admirable. It’s why I’m taking you to Boston today. It’s why I’ve asked Bill Burrell to bring you in as an official consultant on this case.”

“What?” Cathy said-her heart dropping into her stomach. “You mean you want me to work for the FBI?”

“That’s exactly what I mean, Cathy. And not for free, either. The Bureau is ready to negotiate a consultant’s salary with you.”

“But Sam, I-”

“A lot has happened in the eleven days since we first drove together to Watch Hill, Cathy-specifically with regard to the developing profile of our killer. I told you on the phone about the goat-about how The Michelangelo Killer obtained the bottom half of his Bacchus’s satyr.”


“Well, since our conversation about Slumbering in the Stone, and since concluding that The Michelangelo Killer most likely used your book as a springboard for his murders, Rachel Sullivan and her squad have been following up on those class rosters. Now, even though you can’t recall any of your former students who fit the physical and psychological profile we’ve identified for the killer thus far, from the outset Sullivan and her team have been working from the premise that the killer may have been associated with you indirectly-that is, perhaps via one of your students. She thus focused her attention first on all the male students that were listed on your rosters for the three years leading up to the publication of your book and, shortly afterward, your receipt of the anonymous notes-the latter of which, and you’ll forgive me, you told us happened shortly after your mother passed away, correct?”


“And you told Sullivan that you did not start requiring your book for your classes until the year after it was published-the following fall, right? Almost a year after you received the quotes and the sonnet?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“That means that, even though the killer had to have read your book in a context outside of the classroom, back then he still had to be a local-a student or otherwise-and familiar enough with the campus to be able to drop off the anonymous notes undetected. Just to be safe, Sullivan took into account your class rosters for the following two years as well-which, in theory, would give us the most practical cross section of male students from which to begin drawing a link to potential suspects. As your classes during this time frame were comprised only of majors and graduate students, and as you were teaching only two classes per semester, the actual pool of potential suspects who might have had direct contact with you is quite small. The fact that the vast majority of these students, both undergraduate and graduate, have been female, only whittles this number down even further.”

“Sam, please don’t tell me that this psychopath actually sat in front of me in one of my classes.”

“No, no,” said Markham with a raise of his hand. “But most likely someone who knew him did.”

“What do you mean?”

“Does the name Gabriel Banford mean anything to you, Cathy?”

“Gabriel Banford? Yes, of course, Gabe Banford. I remember Gabe. He was an undergraduate with us for a time-gosh, going back about seven or eight years now. I don’t really remember him other than his jet black hair and his clothes-a little bit more extreme than the usual Goths that sometimes litter the List Art Center. One of those lost soul types-bright from what I heard, but no direction. I had him briefly in class when he was a freshman but he ended up dropping out and transferring to the Rhode Island School of Design the following fall. His parents were not happy about it-that I do remember. Janet told me about it later-said they were trying to blame the department or something. I guess he had a lot of psychological issues, and later a drug problem from what I heard. I got all this secondhand, of course, from Janet. I hate to say this, but the only reason I remember him is because of what she told me happened to him afterward-after he dropped out of RISD and got involved with the wrong crowd.”

“So you know about how he died?”

“You’re going to have to forgive me, Sam, but all of this happened around the same time as my mother-was in a bit of a fog when Janet told me about it. But, if I remember correctly, it was a suicide, right? Drug overdose?”

“That was the official ruling, yes. But before we talk about that, let me back up a sec. You see, given the small number of male students in the initial suspect pool-a pool that Sullivan treated from the beginning as potentially comprised of direct and indirect suspects in terms of their relationship to you-it didn’t take her squad long to track down the whereabouts of your former students, most of whom are now living out of state. Serial killers, especially the types who hang on to their victims for an extended period of time, tend to almost always hunt their prey in a relatively small area in close proximity to their home. If we take into account the distances between the areas where Tommy Campbell and Michael Wenick were abducted, the chance of the killer’s home lying beyond each area in either direction goes down exponentially the farther you travel out of state into Massachusetts and Connecticut. Understand?”

“Yes. Because the murders of Campbell and Wenick occurred in Westerly and Cranston -cities on almost opposite sides of Rhode Island.”

“As did the murder of the goat.”

“Of course. You said the goat was stolen from a farm in Burrillville, which is even farther away from Watch Hill-sort of up in the northwest corner of the state.”

“Right. So we have three murders from which we can begin to plot a possible location where The Michelangelo Killer might live. If we include the anonymous notes that you received five and a half years ago, that actually gives us a fourth location to which we can tie the killer. If we plot The Michelangelo Killer’s home in the middle of these four points, this would most likely place his home south of Providence-closer to Providence and Brown University if we work from the premise that serial killers of this resident type, the type of which The Michelangelo Killer undoubtedly is, most often first become active in areas closest to their homes-i.e., the notes.”

“You mean it’s like they get braver as time goes on? Sort of like an animal that ventures out for food farther and farther from his cave?”

“That’s exactly what I mean, yes. The need for food, if I may use your analogy, begins to overshadow the risk of getting it. Serial killers have a comfort zone from which they like to work just like anybody else. It’s why, as so often is the case, the farther away they get from their comfort zone the easier it is for us to catch them-why so often it’s their later murders that lead us to them. They start to slip up, get sloppy because oftentimes their need for victims clouds their fear of the risk involved, and thus it’s that very risk that ends up being their undoing.”

“But what does all this have to do with Gabe Banford?”

“Even though you claimed that none of your former students fit our psychological and, more important, physical profile of The Michelangelo Killer, following up on your class rosters, Gabe Banford immediately caught Sullivan’s attention because, of all your male students for the time frame we’re looking at, Banford was the only one who was deceased. This automatically ruled him out as a potential suspect. However, a closer examination of his case file opened up the possibility of him being a victim-perhaps The Michelangelo Killer’s first.”

“But how do you conclude that? His death was nothing like Campbell’s and Wenick’s.”

“The case file on Banford paints quite a sad picture of the boy-bright, from a moderately wealthy family in New York City, but psychologically disturbed, in counseling since he was eleven and distant from his parents. The classic example of what we at The Bureau like to call a PEP-child.”


“Pill for every problem-a kid of the Adderall-Ritalin generation. Throw in some Paxil and Zoloft, and you get a good idea of the stew bubbling in Banford’s head. To make a long story short, yes, before dropping out of RISD Banford became involved with a group of disenfranchised intelligentsia types who were not only regulars at a gay club in downtown Providence called Series X, but who also dabbled in recreational drugs-marijuana and coke mostly, but sometimes they’d snort heroin and pop hallucinogens, too. The police report in Banford’s case file includes a number of statements from his friends claiming that, prior to his death, Banford’s heroin snorting was slowly evolving into a habit of the Trainspotting variety. And in addition to a monthly stipend from his parents and a string of part-time jobs from which he was fired, Banford’s friends told police that they suspected he had begun to support his budding needle habit by other means as well-if you take my meaning.”

“Gabe Banford?” Cathy said in disbelief.

“Yes. Banford’s friends stated to the police that Gabe would often hook up with older men at Series X with the understanding that he would be paid for his services. There was also an ambiguously worded posting on the Men Seeking Men board on Craigslist that the police were able to trace back to Banford when they looked into his computer.”

“But why do you think he was connected to The Michelangelo Killer?”

“Although there were high traces of heroin discovered in his system on the night he died, the autopsy report stated that the cause of Gabriel Banford’s death was not from an overdose of heroin, but of epinephrine-more commonly known as adrenaline.”

“Adrenaline? I don’t understand.”

“Hear me out. Banford lived with two roommates on the East Side of Providence-both of whom were either complicit in, or at the very least, turned a blind eye to Banford’s burgeoning drug use. Banford would most often shoot up in his bedroom where-and I quote from the police report-his roommates said, ‘He’d just sit and chill to music and art DVDs.’ And so it was in Banford’s bedroom that one of his roommates found him the next day when he wouldn’t answer his cell phone. Police found a number of syringes and narcotics besides heroin-cocaine, some low grade acid, a little pot-but no prints on anything other than Banford’s and his roommates’, both of whom had alibis at the time of the boy’s death. And so, the police chalked up Banford’s overdose of epinephrine either to suicide or as simply a bit of drug experimentation gone bad. The autopsy report stated that the epinephrine itself was of an extremely high concentration per cubic centimeter, but could not be traced to any legitimate source. Probably was manufactured in a homemade lab-which is possible if you have the know-how.”

“But what does this have to do with the murder of Tommy Campbell?”

“The autopsy results for both Campbell and Wenick were finalized yesterday. And although his internal organs were removed, with the help of the state medical examiner the FBI labs were able to isolate in some of the tissue samples what appeared to be traces of highly concentrated compounds of both epinephrine and a diazepam-ketamine mix, the latter of which could have been used as a tranquilizer. Thus, the official ruling now stands that Tommy Campbell’s death was a result of a myocardial infarction caused by an overdose of highly concentrated epinephrine.”

“Oh my God.”

“Yes. Strange, isn’t it?”

“But, Sam, couldn’t this be just a coincidence? I mean, if I follow you correctly, don’t you need more evidence to tie The Michelangelo Killer to Banford than just the epinephrine and the fact that he was gay? And why didn’t the police investigate the possibility that Banford’s death could have been a homicide to begin with?”

“They had nothing to go on other than what they found in the boy’s bedroom. No fingerprints, no sign of a struggle, nothing suspicious in his e-mails or on his computer-nothing to indicate that anything was out of the ordinary with regard to what they knew of Banford’s life at that point. Banford’s friends told police that he had often talked about killing himself, and all signs in his bedroom seemed to point to just that, or perhaps an accidental overdose-the way he was sitting up in bed under the blankets, the DVD player still on, the open book on his nightstand. But as far as someone else being involved, well, Banford’s roommates testified that when they arrived home later that evening-the evening on which, unbeknown to them, Banford was already dead in his bedroom-the door to the apartment was locked as usual and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.”

“So then perhaps it was a suicide-or an accidental overdose.”

“Perhaps,” said Sam Markham. “But there were two interesting details listed in the evidence inventory of the crime scene that, up until now, most likely would have gone unnoticed-or at the very least, deemed irrelevant. The first being the DVD that was found in Banford’s room at the time of his death, a DVD that he was most certainly watching when he OD’d-a DVD his roommates told police was stolen from the bookstore where Banford had worked briefly, and from which he had been fired the week earlier. It was a DVD that, along with the other stolen items from the bookstore, the police didn’t think unusual for him to have in his room-the room of a former art history and RISD student who, according to his friends, still thought of himself as part of the drug-enlightened intelligentsia.”

“What was the DVD?”

“A documentary entitled, Michelangelo: A Self-Portrait.”

“Dear God,” said Cathy-then suddenly it struck her. “Sam, you said there was another detail. Please don’t tell me you were talking about the open book on Banford’s nightstand.”

“Yes, Cathy. Just published that spring. The first edition of Slumbering in the Stone.”

Cathy’s head began to spin, but through her confusion there emerged an obvious flaw in the FBI agent’s reasoning.

“Wait a minute. What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. If, in fact, you’re telling me that Banford somehow met The Michelangelo Killer either at Series X or on Craigslist, how on earth could this psychopath have connected Banford to me-to his having been in my class? I mean, the kid wasn’t even in the department for a whole semester, and had been out of Brown for over two years at the time of his death.”

“I am aware of that, yes.”

“And why would The Michelangelo Killer have stolen my book from the bookstore where Banford worked? Why would he have left it in Banford’s room?”

“I never said the killer stole the book.”

“So you’re saying that Banford stole the book, too?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“Sam, please, I’m confused. Are you saying then that Gabe Banford might have stolen the book and the DVD for The Michelangelo Killer?”

“No, Cathy,” said Markham -his eyes off the road and on her for the first time during their drive. “What I’m saying is this: I think there is a strong possibility that The Michelangelo Killer connected Banford to you only after he met him. He might have spotted him at Series X or contacted him on the computer or perhaps even first saw him in the bookstore. Might have singled him out for any number of reasons-maybe because The Michelangelo Killer was sexually attracted to him, maybe because Banford represented to him everything about today’s cultural excesses that The Michelangelo Killer so despises. We might never know, as the club has been closed for three years now and Banford’s computer long ago destroyed. But if I’m right about this, I think The Michelangelo Killer was going to murder Gabriel Banford anyway. I think, for whatever reason, he had chosen this boy to fulfill some sick desire-perhaps even a sexual one at the beginning-but it was you and your book that gave him a greater understanding of the true nature of that desire-a desire rooted in his homosexuality. Maybe through your book he found a parallel between his relationship with Banford and that of Michelangelo and Cavalieri. And so it was you, Cathy, who thus focused him on his greater purpose.”

“I don’t understand.”

“This past week, in addition to scoping out the countryside surrounding the farm in Burrillville, I checked out the Campbells ’ property down at Watch Hill, as well as the woods surrounding Blackamore Pond in Cranston. At first I thought there might be some connection to Campbell and Wenick having been abducted near a body of water, but then I realized that all three areas, including the farm in Burrillville, can be viewed unobstructed from at least one vantage point located a relatively long distance away: the Campbells’ porch from across the water on the banks of Foster Cove, the spot in the woods where Wenick was abducted from the opposite shore of Blackamore Pond, and the paddock in which the goats are kept from atop a nearby hill. This means that The Michelangelo Killer could have watched his victims undetected for any length of time. That means he could have studied them and planned his movements accordingly.

“Now, once we learned about Banford, I checked out the location of his old apartment on the East Side. And what do you think I found? Yes, the same thing-an unobstructed vantage point from a few blocks away that gave a clear view of what used to be Banford’s corner bedroom on the top floor of his three-story walkup. This means The Michelangelo Killer could have known when Banford was in his room or perhaps, more important, when he wasn’t in his room.”

“You mean the killer broke in while he was away? You mean he was waiting for him when Gabe Banford came home?”

“I have no idea, Cathy, but the coincidence of the epinephrine and the Michelangelo material is just too startling to ignore. And when you think about it, it actually makes more sense that The Michelangelo Killer would have found out about you and your book after he had already decided to kill Banford-I mean, given what we know about him so far, there is no question that he is very selective when it comes to choosing his victims in conjunction not only with your book, but also with what he sees as his greater purpose. And the way the Banford murder played out-the fact that he left the body there, the fact that it wasn’t posed in any particular way-indicates that his purpose at that time may have not been fully realized.

“So you see, when it comes right down to it, we’re most likely looking at one of two possible scenarios in terms of Banford being the link between you and The Michelangelo Killer. The first, that Banford knew his killer and that they had some kind of relationship and Banford told him about the book, or perhaps about how you used to be one of his professors. The other scenario is that The Michelangelo Killer might have been in Banford’s room sometime before he killed him, and ended up having some kind of an epiphany. That by seeing the DVD and your book only by chance, by coincidence, by being in the world of his victim, he suddenly understood why the hands of fate had brought him and his victim together. He got lucky in a sense just like we did when we stumbled onto Banford while exploring your class rosters for a suspect. That Banford should have been on one of your rosters and in possession of Slumbering in the Stone might have been a detail of which the killer was entirely unaware.

“Then there’s the night he died. With Banford high on heroin and whatever else, The Michelangelo Killer could have easily climbed up the fire escape and subdued the boy without a fight. Who knows, in his drugged-out state, Banford might have even opened the damn window for him-might have actually welcomed him into his room thinking he was the Tooth Fairy or something. But my point is, just as I’m convinced that it was Banford who somehow turned The Michelangelo Killer on to you, I am also convinced that The Michelangelo Killer was not only in the boy’s room on the night he died, but also that it was he who injected Banford with the adrenaline while forcing him to watch the DVD on Michelangelo’s life.”

“But why would he make Banford watch the DVD?”

“To free him from his slumber, of course. The same reason The Michelangelo Killer uses epinephrine to murder his victims.”

Cathy stared at Markham blankly.

“When do we as human beings produce the most adrenaline?” he asked.

“When we’re excited-no, when we’re afraid, of course.”

“And what do most people fear more than anything else?”

“I guess that would be death.”

“Perhaps. But one could argue the opposite-that our fear of life is more terrifying than any other we as human beings ever experience, and thus produces the most adrenaline. It is a fear, however, that we have forgotten; a terror that is fleeting, yes, but perhaps so powerful, that the only way our minds can deal with it is to forget. And that is the fear of leaving the womb, a child’s fear at the moment he is born.”

“‘What I wish to learn from your beautiful face,’” Cathy said absently, “ cannot be understood in the minds of men.’”

Markham finished the quote.

“‘He who wishes to learn can only die.’”

“So that means that-when he kills them-he wants them to have the same revelation, the same understanding that he has. And through their fear they are reborn. The Sculptor’s hand has awakened them, freed them from their slumber in the womb-in the stone.”

“Yes. Tommy Campbell was alive when his penis was removed and alive when his flesh was stitched back together. That means The Michelangelo Killer wanted him to see what he had become and thus wanted him to understand the true nature of his rebirth.”

“He had already killed then, Sam,” Cathy said suddenly. “When he sent me the sonnet-The Michelangelo Killer had already murdered Gabe Banford months earlier.”

“Yes, Cathy. So maybe the quotes and the sonnets were more than just an attempt to make contact with you. Maybe The Michelangelo Killer was not only telling you he understood, but also was trying to say ‘thank you’ in a way for showing him why he wanted to murder Banford, for showing him his true purpose-a purpose that he simply stumbled upon in what he must have seen as a stroke of divine providence.”

Cathy felt a shiver run across her back, but what Sam Markham said next terrified her more than her thoughts of the faceless Michelangelo Killer.

“I was wrong about this guy, Cathy. I was wrong about the timeline, about when the goat was killed in relation to the murder of Michael Wenick, and thus about the killer’s progression from animals to humans. It’s something that I should have seen from the beginning, simply because it would have made more practical sense for the killer-and forgive me for putting it this way-to get the top half of his satyr first, and then fit the bottom half, the goat legs, onto it. What I’m saying is, The Michelangelo Killer was already confident enough in his technique of ‘sculpting’ the bodies of his victims before he abducted Wenick and Campbell -bodies that he intended to put on public display. That I didn’t see the obvious practicality of acquiring Wenick first was an amateur mistake on my part, clouded by the fact that this Michelangelo Killer’s modus operandi is unlike any we’ve ever seen. It’s why I need you on this case with me, Cathy, why I need your insight into the mind of Michelangelo to help me get into the mind of this killer.”

“I’ll do what I can to help you, Sam,” said Cathy-the words falling from her lips before she had time to think.

“Thank you,” said Markham. There was a long silence-the low hum of the Trailblazer’s tires the only sound.

“You mentioned something a moment ago,” Cathy said finally. “You said the killer was already confident in his technique of sculpting. Are you saying, Sam, that you think The Michelangelo Killer might have even more victims? That he might have killed others in the five-and-a-half-year gap between Gabriel Banford and Michael Wenick-others that he used simply to experiment and develop his technique? Like an artist?”

“I hope I’m wrong, Cathy, but I can’t get the pictures from your book out of my mind-the pictures of Michelangelo’s early sculptures; the reliefs and the smaller statues that he made before he broke onto the scene with his first life-size sculpture, his Bacchus. And even though serial killers usually have what’s called a ‘cooling off’ period, even though this Michelangelo Killer is a very calculated and patient man, five and a half years seems like a long time for him to merely jump from a murder like Banford’s to the type we see with Campbell and Wenick. Yes, it’s important that his victims looked like the figures in Michelangelo’s Bacchus, but if we take into account what happened to Banford-and, as I suspect, what also happened to Campbell-of equal, perhaps even more importance is the awakening of the figures themselves, not just the public’s interpretation of their deeper message. My only hope is that-since this guy is so patient, since he is so obsessed with detail that he was willing to risk murdering a public figure like Tommy Campbell for his Bacchus-he might not have wanted to risk being caught while experimenting on other victims.”

“Then Gabriel Banford might have been an experiment, too.”

“Either that, yes, or as I suspect, part of a larger plan yet unformed. We might never know if Banford was The Michelangelo Killer’s first murder, but from what Rachel Sullivan’s investigation into the criminal databases has told us thus far, it most likely was the first in which he used epinephrine-no records going back over the last ten years list a suspicious death due to an overdose of epinephrine.”

“But if The Michelangelo Killer did indeed develop his technique like an artist,” Cathy said, “if he has experimented with the use of adrenaline and the preservation of other bodies over the last few years in secret, there could be no way of telling how many people he killed before Campbell and Wenick, before the creation of his Bacchus.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of, Cathy. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of.”

Chapter 16 | The Sculptor | Chapter 18