It was just after 5:00 P.M. when Markham and Cathy emerged from the Providence Public Library-their heads hung low, their faces drawn. They had spent over an hour searching the periodical databases for information on the death of Damon Manzera. There wasn’t much-the obligatory newspaper blurbs, the obituaries-but nothing that listed the death as suspicious, no evidence of foul play. Indeed, a spokesperson for the medical examiner was quoted many times as being very clear to the contrary, and stated that, at the time of Manzera’s death, the young man’s blood alcohol level was found to have been “dangerously high.” And thus, the coroner had concluded that most likely Manzera either fell asleep in the pool or somehow staggered off its edge into the water. Either way, the official cause of death was listed as accidental drowning; either way, end of story.
“We’ve now got two options on this end, Cathy,” said Markham, sliding into the Trailblazer. “Either I go back and tell Mrs. Manzera the real reason why I was there, see if I can find out anything else about her son, or we start poking around Manzera’s circle of acquaintances to see if they know anything-maybe start with his ex-wife, or at the country club, the one in East Greenwich where the newspaper articles said he worked.”
“But Sam, this all happened over ten years ago. Wouldn’t the police have done that already?”
“I assume so, yes. When we get the police records, we’ll be able to see who they questioned. I can only hope they missed something.” Markham closed his eyes, rested his head back, and sighed. “I don’t know what else to do, Cathy-starting to think this whole Manzera connection to the stolen Piet`a was a bad idea. I’m starting to think I don’t know what the hell I’m doing anymore.”
“It’s in the book, Sam,” Cathy said, taking his hand. “You’re right about that. I know it. Everything we need to catch him is right there in Slumbering in the Stone. You’re just tired, is all. We both are. Why don’t we get some takeout Chinese or something-grab a bottle of wine and call it a day. Tomorrow’s Sunday. We can sleep in for a bit, maybe take a ride down to the coast-official business, of course. After a good night’s rest we’ll both be able to think more clearly. What do you say, Special Agent Markham? Is it a date?”
Markham smiled, kissed her deeply, and drove off.
Neither one of them noticed the blue Toyota Camry that had been parked diagonally across the street about a block away.
It pulled out again behind them.
The Camry followed the Trailblazer first to a Chinese restaurant in Cranston, then to a nearby liquor store, and finally back to downtown Providence, where the Trailblazer disappeared underneath an office building via a private driveway. And after about five minutes the blue Toyota Camry passed by-did not turn down the driveway like the Trailblazer. No, the driver of the blue Camry could not miss the two big PRIVATE ACCESS ONLY signs; he could clearly see the video cameras and the steel, card-access security gate-thought there might even be a guard or two prowling around as well.
“So that’s where they’re keeping her,” The Sculptor said out loud.
Despite her new hair color, despite her Jackie Onassis sunglasses, The Sculptor had recognized Dr. Hildy outside the library as soon as she stepped out from the Trailblazer. And while he had waited for her and the unknown FBI agent to finish their research inside-research he knew had to do with the tennis pro, Damon Manzera-The Sculptor concluded he needed to put his David on hold.
It was all right. He had done that before with his Piet`a, when he finally understood the scope, the message of his work as something beyond himself, when he finally understood that, in order to really wake the world from its slumber, no material other than Tommy Campbell would be worthy of his Bacchus.
Yes, The Sculptor did not mind adapting; he did not resist changing his plans if he felt the hand of fate leading him someplace else.
But exactly where did fate want him to go next?
The Sculptor needed time to think and figure out how he would dispose of Dr. Hildy-perhaps this FBI agent, too. But unlike before, when he could take his time, when his work was still unknown to the world, The Sculptor knew now that the clock was ticking. Yes, he had to move quickly-had to get to Hildebrant and the FBI agent before they got to him. But how? It was much too risky under the present circumstances to try to take them at that fortress in downtown Providence-especially since The Sculptor had no idea what it looked like inside.
And so, as The Sculptor drove away from Providence, he resigned himself to wait for the right opportunity to take them on the outside.
The Sculptor smiled, for he knew deep down that fate would bring him and Dr. Hildy together very soon.
After all, fate had never let him down before.