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Chapter 2

Pulling her wet, jet-black hair into a ponytail, Cathy Hildebrant despised what she saw in the bathroom mirror that morning. Her skin looked pasty, and her normally bright, brown eyes were puffy-the half-Asian, half-German smile lines in their corners deeper and more pronounced. The wine? she wondered. Or am I just getting old? She did not remember her dream about the third grade, about her botched show and tell assignment, but felt a gnawing anxiety that she had been laughed at nonetheless. Then she thought of Steve, of their first date and the dumb joke he made: Oh youre half-Korean? I just thought I was putting you to sleep!

I should have asked for the check right then. Thanks a lot, Janet.

The doorbell rang, startling her, and instinctively Cathy reached for her cell phone on the bathroom sink.

Dummy, she muttered, and donning her black-rimmed glasses, she slipped into her sweatpants and a two-sizes-too-big Harvard T-shirt and made for the front door.

May I help you? Cathy called through the peephole.

The man on her front porch looked like he just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog-the khakis, the windbreaker, the lightweight sweater underneath-a nice change from all the artsy-fartsies on the east side, Cathy thought. He appeared to be in his thirties, good-looking, with close cropped brown hair and a square jaw. Cathy understood that the man had purposefully stepped back from the door so she could get a good look at him. And just as he was reaching underneath his jacket, Cathy realized that FBI-guy Markham or Peckham or whatever-his-name-was had decided to drop by unannounced.

Im Special Agent Sam Markham, he said, raising his ID to the peephole.

So it is Markham , Cathy thought. You aint ready for retirement yet, Janet old girl.

Im with the FBI, Behavioral Analysis Unit. Id like to ask you a few questions, Dr. Hildebrant.

Behavioral Analysis. This is serious.

Cathy had seen The Silence of the Lambs six times; had seen enough of those police dramas on television to know that the Behavioral Analysis Unit was the division of the FBI that handled murders-especially serial murders.

She opened the door.

Im sorry. Janet told me you were going to call.

Dr. Polk gave me your phone number, maam. But we traced your new address before we needed to call it. The Bureau likes to handle this kind of thing in person.

The agent smiled thinly.

I see, Cathy said, embarrassed. Please, come in.

Shutting the door behind him, Cathy stood awkwardly for a moment in the tiny entryway. She recognized Markham s cologne-Nautica Voyage. She had bought a bottle for her husband last fall after smelling it on one of her graduate students-had all but begged Steve to wear it-but the selfish prick never even took the plastic off the box.

Youll have to forgive me, Cathy said. Im still unpacking and I dont have much furniture yet. Why dont we go into the kitchen-unless you dont mind sitting on boxes in the living room.

The kitchens fine, maam.

Cathy led him down the narrow hallway to the back of the house. Special Agent Markham took his seat at the table.

I was up late last night grading papers. Coffee isnt on yet, but itll only take a couple of minutes.

No thank you, Dr. Hildebrant. I dont drink coffee.

Some orange juice then? Some water?

No, maam. I dont plan on us being here very long. Cathy detected a hint of Yankee in his voice-a disarming but relaxed formality that made her like him.

Well, then, Cathy said, sitting down across from him. What can I do for you, Agent Markham?

I assume Dr. Polk told you why I was looking for you?

Yes. Something about the Italian Renaissance and the disappearance of Tommy Campbell?

Yes, maam, thats correct. Markham produced a thin stack of Polaroids from his jacket pocket. What Im about to show you is confidential, though probably not for long. The Westerly Police were called to the scene first-early this morning, before the state police arrived and our Field Office in Boston was notified. Even though Campbell disappeared down at Watch Hill, given his public profile, his celebrity, the case has been ours from the beginning. Weve been able to keep things quiet thus far, but now with the locals involved, theres always more of a chance of details leaking out to the media before we give the go ahead. Most likely the story will break this afternoon, but can I have your word that, until then, youll keep what Im about to show you between us? Meaning, you wont repeat our discussion to anyone, including your boss, Dr. Polk?

Yes, you have my word.

Agent Markham peeled off a Polaroid and slid it across the table.

Do you recognize the figure in this photograph?

Of course, Cathy said immediately. Its Michelangelos Bacchus.

Are you sure? Please look closer, Dr. Hildebrant.

Cathy obliged, although she did not have to look a second time; for even though the photograph was a full body shot-taken somewhat at a distance and from the side-Dr. Catherine Hildebrant, perhaps the foremost American scholar on the works of Michelangelo, could have described the details of Bacchus with her eyes closed. There before her once again was Michelangelos controversial but ground-breaking sculpture of the Roman god of wine-drunk, unsteady, almost staggering off his rocky base. There was the bowl of wine raised in his right hand, and the tiger skin, the cluster of grapes by his side. Cathy could also see the goat-legged satyr behind him, smiling as he munches on the fruit which slips from the gods left hand. Cathy knew the sculpture of Bacchus as intimately as her own body-had taught a whole unit on it at Brown; had traveled to Italy to study it for part of her dissertation on Michelangelo at Harvard. Yes, if Special Agent Markham wanted to know anything about good ol boy Bacchus, he had certainly come to the right place, for Dr. Catherine Hildebrant had written the book on Bacchus-literally.

I can tell you that this is a reproduction, however, Cathy said finally. The background, the bushes behind the statue-this picture was taken outside. The original now lives in the Bargello National Museum in Florence. Its a fantastic copy, Ill give you that-right down to the coloring. But I dont see what this has to do with the disappearance of Tommy Campbell.

Special Agent Markham was silent for a moment, then slid another Polaroid across the table. This one was of a close-up of the statues head-the crown of grapes, the mouth ajar, the eyes rolling backward as the head slumps forward. However, unlike the first photograph, Cathy noticed immediately that something was off.

Then like a slap on her heart it hit her.

Oh my God, she gasped. Its him! Its Tommy Campbell!

Yes. He was found this morning down at Watch Hill, in the garden of an investment CEO not half a mile from his parents house. Theyve already given a positive ID. It appears that whoever killed Campbell somehow preserved his body and articulated it into the pose you see now-right down to the coloring, as you said.

Cathy felt the shock washing over her, the words sticking in her throat, but knew she had to push through it.

Who? I mean, who would do something like this?

Thats what were hoping youll help us find out, Dr. Hildebrant. Weve got a forensic team down there now doing a preliminary investigation, but we need you to take a look at the crime scene before we move the bodies.

Bodies? You mean the satyr? Its a real person, too?

A young boy, yes, Markham said weakly. The top half, that is. The bottom appears to be the hindquarters of a goat.

Dear God, Cathy groaned. And despite a subtle wave of nausea in her throat, despite the tears welling in her eyes, she managed to ask, Who is it?

We cant be sure-got an agent working with missing persons as we speak, but it might take some time before we get a positive ID. You see, unlike Campbell, the childs face seems to have been significantlyaltered-contorted to duplicate the expression of Michelangelos satyr.

Cathy felt her stomach drop, felt herself go numb.

Would you like to change before we leave? Markham asked. Its a bit cold for April, a bit cooler down by the water.

Why me? Cathy said suddenly. She was in a daze, her voice not her own. You obviously have your own experts on the subject-people who recognized the statue, who knew it to be a Michelangelo. I mean, what could I possibly tell you that one of your agents couldnt find on the goddamn Internet?

Without a word, Special Agent Markham slid the last of his Polaroids across the table. Cathy gazed down in horror at a close-up of neatly chiseled letters-an inscription at the base of the outcropping on which the mummified body of Tommy Campbell was standing. It read simply:

FOR DR. HILDEBRANT


Chapter 1 | The Sculptor | Chapter 3