Copyright 2007 by Stacey Whitfield All rights reserved
Chapter One Stupid! I should never have hit him! Matthew Callaghan grimaced over tepid morning coffee at his new desk. Condemned to three months with the Missing Persons Unit; they may as well have given me traffic duty. Inspector Callaghan, Scotland Yard’s most decorated homicide detective and twelve-year veteran of the Murder Squad, reduced to tracking down adulterous husbands and Alzheimer patients. I should never have hit him. Callaghan burned with frustration and resentment. Michael Strand – Child Killer. Callaghan felt his lip curl with disgust and tossed back the coffee dregs, slammed the mug on the desk. The mongrel tempted little girls into his car with the offer of the latest Barbie doll. Once inside the car, Strand drove the victim to a secluded area at the wharf, tortured and killed the child. Then he dumped the body outside one of his franchised toyshops with the Barbie doll clutched between their hands. When Matt and his partner brought Strand in for questioning, the suspect giggled and mentioned to Callaghan how pretty his daughter was. Matt lost it and caught Strand square on the chin with a right hook. I shouldn’t have hit him. The force was willing to overlook the little outburst, until Strand’s lawyers filed a complaint. A jury convicted Strand and sentenced him to life but for Callaghan the verdict was bittersweet; he, too, was serving a sentence. At least his surroundings were more comfortable. “Heya Mattie!” Matt’s new partner, Mackenzie McGladie, nicknamed ‘Lady’, bounded into the office and slumped into his seat across from Callaghan like a sheep dog, all energy and motion. “Stop sulking! How often do you have the chance to do nothing?” He leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. Matt scowled, a crease forming between his black eyebrows. That was Mac, always looking at the bright side and not realising that Matt didn’t want to ‘do nothing’, he wanted to be out stopping the scum of the earth from killing; that was his job and damned if he was going to spend three months doing nothing! “Oy! Callaghan, McGladie, get in here!” Mac rolled his doe-brown eyes as Chief Inspector Reginald Johnson bellowed from his office. Reginald was an overweight man, with a fringe of grey hair circling his age-spotted scalp and a bad attitude. And he was unimpressed by Matt’s qualifications and experience. To Reg, Matt was a screw up, a cop on the edge and the dislike between the two men was mutual.
‘Coming, Reg.” Matt muttered. He picked up a note pad and pen and followed Mac to the Chief Inspector’s office. “What can we do for you today, sir?” Mac asked brightly. Johnson glared at them with icy blue eyes and pointed at the two vacant chairs in front of his scarred wooden desk. Matthew sat and leaned back, crossed his ankles and waited. Mac perched on the edge of his chair, anticipation written on his face. “Now, Matthew.” Johnson rested his forearms on the desktop. “You have this opportunity to redeem yourself. This unit, my unit, has an excellent results records. We don’t need, nor do we want, some cowboy coming in here and creating a ruckus. Do I make myself understood?” Matthew clenched his teeth and stared back at Johnson, anger in his sea-blue eyes. “Yes, sir.” “Good, because I want you out of here as soon as possible. I’m even going to help you along.” Johnson’s smile was malicious. Matt understood that if he stepped out of line… Mac cleared his throat, a hint to Matthew to stay calm. Johnson nodded as Matt relaxed back into his chair. “We’ve had a Missing Persons report filed by the University.” Johnson glanced down at an open file on his desk. “A professor of Medieval Antiquities, Sienna O’Reilly, hasn’t been at work for 48 hours. The University tried to contact her to no avail. A faculty member visited and found that her house had been broken into.” He paused to take a deep breath. “Find her.” He closed the file and tossed it to Matt. Matt caught it as he rose. “Yes, sir.” “Oh, and Matthew?” Johnson added with a brief smile, “If you mess this up, I’m putting you on traffic duty. In uniform.” Matt narrowed his eyes but said nothing as Mac tugged him out the door.
Chapter Two “Geez, Mattie! She really looked after her place.” Mac smirked. Matt couldn’t help but laugh. He understood only too well how the small things never got done. The cottage was tiny with white washed walls and a thatched roof. Kneehigh grass spread out from the cracked cement footpath leading to the green painted front door. The paint peeled from the door, the steps were also cracked and the garden over-run with weeds. “Are we sure she’s only been missing for 48 hours. I mean, this place looks empty and abandoned. Look at that grass and the paint on the door.” McGladie’s voice trailed behind Matt. Matt walked around the building, paused as he heard a crunch beneath his feet. He looked down and saw the broken glass. He looked at the window and then the glass under his feet. Glass was broken from inside, not the other way around. Maybe it’s not a break in, but a break out? He heard a sound and glanced over his shoulder. A slit-eyed goat glared at him, chewing long strands of grass and staggering around. Matt ignored it and continued around the house to the backyard. The grass was just as high at the back as it was at the front and Professor O’Reilly had neglected to bring her washing in. Shirts and skirts droop forlornly from the single line. Callaghan returned to the front of the house. “Mac!” He called. “Where are you?” “Here, Matt. You gotta check this out.” McGladie replied. Matt followed the sound of his partner’s voice. “What are you doing?” Matt stared at his partner holding the goat by the horns. “Hey, Mattie,” Mac snickered, “this goat is drunk! It can barely stand up.” “Leave that animal alone.” “Hey, Matt, I wasn’t molesting it.” Mac pouted then raised his wheatcoloured eyebrows as he caught sight of something in the long grass. He bent towards the object. “Leave it!” Mac clicked his tongue. “I know that, I’m moving the grass out of the way.” Matthew slowly approached, watching for other items and looked down at what Mac had discovered. “Not a break in, then.” He glanced back at the broken window.
“Shall we see what’s inside?” Mac asked. “Bag the flask, I’ll get the door.” Mac pulled out a plastic baggie from his pants pocket and scooped the silver flask up. *** Matthew reached into his topcoat pocket and pulled out the set of lock picks he’d confiscated. Mac glanced at him. “I don’t think you should have those.” Matthew grinned at him. “I don’t think Jimmy the Leaf needs them anymore and we do, since we don’t have a key. Jimmy got sent up for 15.” He said and inserted two fine keys into the lock. “He’s still got ten to go.” “What self-respecting criminal is called ‘Jimmy the Leaf’?” “Thief, Mac. ‘ Leaf’ is Cockney for thief. Jimmy was a cat burglar. Ah, there we go.” Matthew pushed the door open. The scent of rotting garbage washed over them as they headed towards the small kitchen. “Crickey! What’s that funky smell?” Mac covered his mouth and nose with his hand. “She’s been gone longer than two days.” Matthew remarked and looked around the tidy room. Apart from the pots on the stove, the place was immaculate, not an item out of place and every crumb swept away. “How do you figure?” Mac opened cupboards and checked their contents. Matthew opened the doors under the sink and turned his head from the stench. “This room is clean; she’s been reported as missing since Monday, but what if she’s been gone since Friday?” He closed the doors and stood. “How do you know that?” “Garbage collection is Saturday morning and, while she has no obvious interest in the garden, this room is spotless. It stands to reason she would be religious about putting the garbage out.” “Huh.” Mac grunted wandered over to the stove. “Check this out.” Matthew stood next to Mac at the stove. “Dinner?” Mac asked as he lifted the lid on the three pots and winced at the mould. “Yep.” Matt agreed. “But for how many?” Matthew tilted his head in the direction of the open doorway leading to another room. Mac shrugged and followed his partner.
The dining room was just as tidy and neat as the kitchen. The polished mahogany dining table had three settings. The centre red candles remained unlit in their silver holders, the silver flatware, unused. Two crystal wineglasses, not three. Where’s the third? “She was expecting company.” Matt said. “But did the expected company arrive? Or unexpected?” Mac stared at the broken window. “I’m guessing unexpected.” “And this.” Matthew crouched on the carpet and pointed to a red stain near the head of the table. “Blood or wine?” “I’ll call forensics.” Mac said as he pulled out his phone. Matthew got down on his hands and knees and sniffed the carpet. He caught the faint scent of berries. Wine, then. Somebody was clumsy. He stood and went to the secretaire desk and opened the top draw. He continued to search the desk while listening to Mac make his report. In the lower left-hand drawer he found the will. Using his handkerchief, he lifted the document out and studied it. Who has a will application dated two weeks ago and doesn’t fill it in? He wondered. He laid the will on the desktop. Was she considering the disposition of her assets or did she feel threatened? “This is odd.” Mac said and Matt turned to him, Mac stood over an ugly blue ceramic bowl sitting on a side table underneath the broken window. “What have you found?” Matt rose and went to Mac, looked down at the bowl. Mac used his silver pen to point at the gold metal gleaming as it sat on a mess of tarnished old keys. “It looks new.” Matthew commented. Mac lifted the key out with the tip of his pen. “It doesn’t look like a door key; it’s too small. Any ideas?” Matt squinted as he looked at the thick, flat key. “Not at the moment. We’d better check the bedroom to see if any clothes are missing. And check the bathroom, too.” He heard a car pull up and glanced through the window. “The Forensic team is here. Let’s see what they can discover.” “Righto, I’ll go and let them in while you do the bedroom.” Mac grinned. Matt grunted. He searched every room, but found no evidence that O’Reilly had gone on holidays. It looked like she’d left in haste – or had been taken.
Chapter Three “Who are the witnesses?” Matt asked as he drove to the University. Mac checked his notes. “Bridget Camden. She’s Sienna O’Reilly’s secretary. She was also the one who reported O’Reilly missing. Um…There’s also Angus McTavish, he’s a languages professor – Ancient Languages. Jeez, the man speaks Latin, bummer.” “And we’re talking to him… Why?” “Because O’Reilly and he were seen arguing late last week and had to be separated before there was a punch-up.” Mac replied with a chuckle. “Do your notes say what the argument was about?” “Both parties say it was a misunderstanding but rumour has it that Sienna was trying to push Angus out. She’s after his job as head of the Humanities department.” Matt pulled into the car park of Edinburgh University’s administration building. Inside, they followed directions to Dr. O’Reilly’s office. The secretary appeared so young Matt thought she was a student. Blond haired, smooth skinned, the secretary looked up at them as Matt and Mac walked in. “Can I help you?” She asked tightly. Mac smiled at her and hooked his butt on the corner of the desk. “Are you Bridget Camden?” He asked softly. Matt rolled his eyes. Mac thought himself a ladies’ man with his wheat coloured hair, soft brown eyes and trim body. Matt figured he was deluding himself. The woman nodded and leaned back in her chair. ”Get off my desk or I’ll call security.” Matt chuckled as his partner quickly stood and moved away. Matt took the opportunity to approach. “Ms. Camden, I’m Inspector Matthew Callaghan and this idiot is my partner, Detective Mackenzie McGladie. We’re here to investigate the disappearance of Dr. O’Reilly.” The anger in Bridget’s china blue eyes faded to concern. “Ask me anything. I’ll do anything to help find her.” “Was Dr. O’Reilly a good boss?” Mac asked. Bridget glared at him. “What do you mean ‘was’? She’s only missing. I refuse to believe she’s dead!” Mac cleared his throat and glanced back at Matt. “Ah, yes of course. Is she a good boss?”
“She was the best.” Bridget’s shoulders slumped. “Out of all the staff she was the only one who looked at me as a person, not as someone to pander to her ego. She treated me as a fellow professional, unlike some faculty members I could mention.” “Is she the type of person to take an unexpected holiday?” Bridget glared at Mac. “In the middle of the semester?” “Ms. Camden,” Matt settled himself into a visitor’s chair, “does Dr. O’Reilly have any enemies?” Bridget turned her attention to him. “Of course, this is academia. Everyone is fighting for tenure and will back-stab and besmirch anyone’s reputation. You should talk to that SOB McTavish. He hates Dr. O’Reilly and wants her fired.” “Why?” Bridget waved a hand. “Apparently it was about something that happened years ago, something about misidentification of an antiquity. McTavish said it was a fake and Dr. O’Reilly said it was genuine. They’ve been arguing ever since.” “What was it?” Matt asked, but Bridget shook her head. “It was years ago, you’ll have to ask McTavish.” “Thank you, Ms. Camden, we will.” Matt said as he rose. “Thank you for your time, we’ll be in touch with any word.” Matt waited until they were out of earshot. “What do you think?” “I like her, she’s cute.” Mac smirked. “I didn’t mean...” Mac chuckled and lightly punched Matt on the arm earning a glare. “I know, I know, I just had to say it. Um…I think she’s telling the truth. She obviously respects her boss and is very worried.” Matt nodded and stopped at Angus McTavish’s door. He knocked and entered without waiting. The secretary’s chair was empty and he immediately went to the inner office door where he paused with his fingers on the handle. From inside he heard a girlish giggle and sighed. Some things never change, he thought. He opened the door and walked in on, he assumed, the middle-aged and greying secretary sitting on Angus McTavish’s lap. McTavish saw them, rose quickly, pushing the secretary to the floor. “What’s the meaning of this?”
The secretary struggled to her feet, her face flushed. She patted her hair, slid a glance at McTavish and slid around the desk to the doorway. Matt ignored the look and glared at the professor. “Inspector Callaghan, Missing Persons Unit, investigating the disappearance of your colleague, Dr. Sienna O’Reilly.” Matt flashed his badge. “I don’t care who you are, you can’t come barging in here with out an appointment.” McTavish leaned his fists on the desktop. Matt recognised McTavish’s attempt at intimidation. It might have worked on a wayward student but not on a cop and he mirrored McTavish’s stance. He leaned towards the professor. “I don’t care about your… liaisons; I do care about solving crimes. And right now, you head the list of suspects.” McTavish reared back. “Suspect? Don’t you know who I am?” Mac came to stand next to Matt. “We’re so not caring, except to wonder what the Dean would say about…” McTavish’s face reddened with anger. “Get out now or I’ll call security.” Matt eased back. “My being a cop trumps your security. We are not interested in easing your embarrassment at being caught canoodling, nor are we here to massage your… ego.” “No, that’s your secretary’s job.” Mac muttered. Matt glared at his partner and addressed the professor. “We have some questions for you so please take a seat.” McTavish’s lip curled in a sneer. “You can talk to my lawyer.” “Fine.” Matt smiled. “We’ll take this downtown and you can also answer the charge of obstructing an investigation.” McTavish cleared his throat, eased into his chair and rested his hands on the desktop. “I’ll call my lawyer, then.” He said and reached for the phone. “The cuffs, if you please, Detective McGladie.”
Chapter Four McTavish promised all manner of retribution as Mac and Matt escorted him into an interview room. Mac removed the cuffs and pushed McTavish into a chair before taking up his post next to the door. By mutual agreement, Matt would take the interview. “I’m going to sue. I’ll have your badges. I’ll see to it you never work in this town again.” McTavish bit out. “You won’t succeed, we have you on obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and, if you don’t answer our questions, you may be charged with accessory to a felony in the matter of the disappearance of Dr. Sienna O’Reilly.” Matt opened the file before him. “You’re… bluffing.” Matt turned to Mac and pursed his lips. “Do we know that game?” “No, Matt. I don’t think I’ve heard of the ‘bluffing game’.” McTavish threw up his hands “Fine, fine ask your blasted questions.” “Well, now, I thought we were waiting for your lawyer. We can’t ask questions without him. At the moment, we’re just having a nice chat.” McTavish clenched his jaw and narrowed his arctic blue eyes. “I wave my right to a lawyer.” “Great! Let’s get started, then.” Matt lowered his head to read the file, knowing it frustrated McTavish, but he didn’t like the arrogance of the man. “What is your relationship with Dr. O’Reilly?” He finally asked without raising his head until he finished asking the question. McTavish tightened his mouth. “We have no relationship.” “I heard you have an argument with her last week.” “It was a misunderstanding.” McTavish sniffed. “That nearly came to blows. I heard you had to be separated.” McTavish brushed imaginary from the sleeve of his grey suit. “The woman’s a hack. She wouldn’t know an antique if King Tut sat up and spoke to her.” “So you had a professional disagreement.” Matt wrote notes on the file. “She showed me an inscription on a flacon, said it was proof Jeanne d’Arc betrayed the French. Poppycock, of course.” “Jeanne d’Arc? Do you mean Joan of Arc?” Mac asked.
McTavish lifted an eyebrow. “No, I mean Jeanne d’Arc. The inscription was too modern to be genuine. She disagreed and we fought about it.” McTavish snorted a laugh. “One thing you can say about Sienna is that she’s passionate about history. But then, so am I. It was a tiff, nothing more.” “When was the last time you saw Dr O’Reilly?” “That was the last time I saw her. We’ve kept out of each other’s way ever since, the coward.” A knock at the door interrupted Matt’s next question. Mac accepted the file from the uniform who had knocked. Mac cleared his throat and Matt stood. “We’ll continue this interview shortly.” McTavish huffed, but kept silent. Outside the room, Mac showed Matt the file. “Sacramental wine on the carpet.” Mac said. “At least we know how the goat got drunk, but why would a doctor of Medieval Antiquities have a flask of sacramental wine, let alone throw it through a window?” Matt wondered then made a decision. “Why don’t we ask her local priest? This stuff is reserved for religious ceremonies.” “Do we know who that is?” Mac asked. “We sure do.” Mac jerked his thumb at the door, “what about him?” Matt’s smile was shark-like. “Let him sit and contemplate the error of his ways. At least until we get back.”
Chapter Five Mrs Hetty Ogilvy, a middle-aged widow, chatted constantly about the history of the church and what a great man Father Abernathy was as she guided Matt and Mac through the church to Abernathy’s office. “Of course, I deal with the day-to-day upkeep of the Church.” She said and paused outside the office. “Without me, the flowers wouldn’t be done, there’d be no organ playing, no cleaning, no appointments. I do most of the things around here.” She looked left, then right, as if ready to impart a great secret. Matt lowered his head. “Without me, nothing would be done around here, so if you need anything,” she whispered, “you just come to me.” She gave Matt a salacious wink and he smiled. “Thank you, Mrs Ogilvy, I’m sure I’ll be calling upon you soon.” The Father sat with his head bent over his bible, deep in thought when Mrs Ogilvy announced the officers. “Forgive us for interrupting Father.” Matt said and Abernathy smiled, his green eyes filled with interest. “Inspector Matthew Callaghan and Detective McGladie, Missing Persons Unit.” “How can I help you gentlemen?” He indicated the two visitor’s chairs. “Have you seen Sienna O’Reilly recently?” Matt asked as he sat. Mac kept watch by the open door. Abernathy’s eyes widened. With alarm or shock? Matt wondered. Abernathy glanced away before Matt could decide. “She attends Mass regularly; but now that I think of it, I don’t think I saw her this Sunday gone. Is it important?” Abernathy tugged an earlobe. Matt shrugged. “Could be.” He reached into his top pocket and withdrew the flask, handed to Abernathy. “What can you tell me about this?” Abernathy turned the flask in his hands, squinted at the engraving on the bottom, then lifted a shoulder. “I can tell you it’s a fake. We keep all our good silver locked away.” He offered the flask back and Matt took it and tucked it back into his pocket. “So it doesn’t belong to the church?” “I didn’t say that. It doesn’t belong to this church but these flasks are often used by priests when they perform the sacrament in isolated areas.” “Can you tell me which priest it belongs to?” Abernathy drew his finger across his top lip. “No, I’m sorry I can’t.”
Matt rose and held out his hand. “Thank you for you time father, we’ll be in touch. Father Abernathy stood and shook Matt’s hand. Hmmm, that’s odd, thought Matt, what does a priest have to be sweating over? He resisted the urge to wipe his palm on his pant leg. “Let me show you out.” Abernathy smiled and came around the desk. Abernathy guided them into the church and stopped suddenly. “Mrs Ogilvy…” Matt walked around the father and saw Mrs Ogilvy on her hands and knees scrubbing at the stone before the white-clothed altar with a wire brush and soapy water. “Och, Father, this wine stain is hard to remove.” Matt crouched before her and stilled her hand noting the pink colour of the soap foam. Mrs Ogilvy sat back on her heels. “If I don’t get this out now it will be here forever.” “I know.” Matt said softly with his eyes on Mrs Ogilvy’s he called to Mac. “Get forensics here now.” Matt helped Mrs Ogilvy rise and guided her to a pew. “You just sit there and rest for a moment.” He turned to Father Abernathy. “What do you know of this?” Matt waved at hand at the frothy mess. “Uh, nothing. Although sometimes wine gets spilt.” Mac finished his phone call and stood behind the priest. Again, Matt crouched before the frothy stain his eyes focused on the stone square. He let his gaze drift away towards the altar and saw a tiny circular stain beneath the cuff of the altar cloth. He shuffled to the spot and lifted the material. Matt tilted his head then dropped the cloth and stood. The altar setting was immaculate, or it would have been if not for the dark smudge at the base of the right hand candlestick. He turned away from the altar and imagined how it must have gone down. For whatever reason – and he knew O’Reilly was passionate about history – she must have argued with someone and been struck down by the candlestick. DNA would confirm whose blood Mrs Ogilvy was diligently trying to erase. His money was on Sienna O’Reilly. But where was the body? And why would someone kill her here, at a church? “Father Abernathy, it seems we have much more to talk about.” Matt stared hard at the priest.
Abernathy swallowed. “I… don’t know what you mean.” “This isn’t wine that Mrs Ogilvy is trying to remove. It’s blood.” Matt turned at the sudden sharp intake of breath. Mrs Ogilvy had her hands to her face. Then she dropped her hands in horror and stared at them. “It’s not easy to get blood out of stone.” Matt ignored the snort of laughter from Mac. He felt heat rise in his face. “I mean, someone tried to clean the blood up but not enough. This is why no one noticed it on Sunday, isn’t it? But the perpetrator did. They saw the stain. Mrs Ogilvy saw it, too, and has been trying to erase it. Any comment, Father Abernathy?” The priest wiped his sweating face with his hand. “I swear to you I know nothing about this!” “Mrs Ogilvy?” The woman gaped at him like a fish out of water and shook her head. “Who else has access to the church on the weekend?” “Are you kidding me?” Abernathy asked. “People are in and out all weekend!” “I think we’ll take this down to the station. Mac… I don’t think we’ll need the cuffs, put them away.”
Chapter Six “Sir, I think you should see this.” A Forensics officer called. Matt wrinkled his nose at the scent of decay. The DNA test on the blood from the stone floor and the candlestick proved to be Sienna O’Reilly’s. Because of the ridged sides of the candlesticks, no fingerprints could be lifted. He was no closer to finding the missing woman, but he was closer to finding a suspected killer. Yep, this case felt like home. Maybe Missing Persons wasn’t such a bad Unit after all. “I hate mausoleums.” Mac muttered from beside him. “They smell.” “Funny that. They’re full of dead people.” Matt remarked as he moved towards the end of one of the crypts. “Which makes it an ideal place to hide a fresh body.” Mac replied. “The only question is which crypt? Of course she could be out in the graveyard.” “No, she couldn’t. The last burial was two months ago and we’d notice a freshly turned grave. She’s here, somewhere. Perkins, what have you found?” Matt looked to where Perkins pointed at the blocky end of a stone crypt. “Mac, what does that look like to you?” Both men crouched in front of the crypt. “Well, Matt, it looks like a freshly carved block piece with a key hole.” Abernathy groaned from behind them and Mac and Matt shared a grin. “And it just so happens, I brought a key!” Mac pulled out the golden key from his pants pocket and slid the key into the keyhole. The key turned smoothly and with a click, the end of the crypt shifted outwards. Both men pulled the stone backwards like opening a drawer. “No!” Abernathy cried. “Don’t touch it, it’s fragile!” The priest shook off the restraining hand of the police officer and hurried over. The three men peered into the cavity. “It’s a Dead Sea Scroll.” Abernathy said and his shoulders slumped in defeat. “So terribly fragile and brittle.” “What’s it doing here?” Mac asked. Abernathy leaned against the wall of the mausoleum and sighed. “I couldn’t help myself.” He sighed heavily “I’m part of an organization that deals in black market antiques and religious artefacts.” “What does Sienna O’Reilly have to do with this?” Matt asked. “She authenticates the pieces. I pay her a percentage, or she arranges for buyers and takes a cut.” He lifted his hands. “But I didn’t kill her, I needed her.” “Tell us what happened.” Mac demanded.
Abernathy slid down to the floor and hugged his knees. “She invited me around for dinner on Friday night. She said she had a buyer for the Jeanne d’Arc flacon I’d been holding here. She told me to bring it. When I arrived, the buyer had yet to show. I gave her the flacon and she flew into a rage. She said it was a fake and demanded the real one. I didn’t know what to say. I swear it was the one she gave me. Anyway, I walked out. That was the last time I saw her alive.” “This was Friday you said?” Matt asked. The priest nodded. “I went back to the church to work on Sunday’s sermon. It was about the Ten Commandments.” Abernathy chuckled without humour. “About ten o’clock I heard shouting in the Vestry. When I got up to investigate, I found her body but no one else.” “Why didn’t you call the police?” “Because I knew you’d find out about all this.” He waved a hand encompassing the mausoleum, and then hung his head. “And Sienna? Where is she?” Abernathy jerked his head towards the far crypt. “I figure you’d find her sooner or later. I’d have preferred later, but…” Mac called over to two uniforms who were talking quietly to each other. “Masters, Cornwallis, the end crypt.” “Sir.” Both men replied and moved towards the far side of the mausoleum. Abernathy lifted his head, tears in his eyes. “I don’t know who killed her.” He pleaded. “I swear on all that is Holy.” “That’s fine.” Matt said ignoring the desperation on the man’s face. Abernathy was a liar and a thief; he had no sympathy for the likes of him, but Matt saw him as man unable to use violence against anyone. He was too… passive. “I know who did it.” “You do?” Mac looked at him, surprised. “Yes, Mac, I do. Let’s go back into the church. Officer you can handcuff Father Abernathy now, read him his rights and escort him to the station.” *** Humming echoed eerily off the walls when Mac and Matt entered the church. Matt saw Mac shudder but didn’t comment. This late in the day it was as if the place was haunted. Who knew, it might be, but Matt’s quarry was flesh and blood. On her hands and knees, Mrs Ogilvy scrubbed hard at the bloodstain and hummed.
“What’s that song?” Matt whispered to Mac. “I think it’s Evanescence, Sweet Sacrifice.” Mac replied softly. “You have a good ear.” Mrs Ogilvy said and sat up. She used a dry wrist to push her grey hair back. “Sound travels in this church you can hear a mouse squeak, and I like to hum whenever I work. Fitting, don’t you think?” “It won’t come out, but you know that.” Matt said and nodded to the stain. Mrs Ogilvy looked down at her hands. “I washed them and I washed them and still the blood remains.” “Why did you do it?” Mrs Ogilvy climbed to her feet. “She was going to turn him in. Threatened all manner of things. Over a silly flask! Father Abernathy is the only family I have left since Edward died. He’s a good man, if a little misguided. She came in here yelling and cursing – cursing in a church, if you can believe it – demanding to see Father Abernathy. I told her he was busy and couldn’t be disturbed, but she wouldn’t listen. She never listened. Well, she’s listening now.” Mac and Matt glanced at each other. “Can’t you hear her? She’s begging for her life. Pleading for forgiveness.” Mrs Ogilvy stared down at her hands, rubbed them together. “But I’m not listening.” Mrs Ogilvy sang. “You have the right to remain silent.” Mac began. “No. I’ve been silent for too long. I’m damned, you’re damned,” She danced in a circle, “We’re all damned.” She giggled. “You have the right…” Mrs Ogilvy grabbed a candlestick off the altar and swung it at Mac. Mac leaned out of the way. “Whoa!” Mac grabbed the woman’s wrists, tugged the weapon out of her hands and efficiently cuffed her. She cackled insanely as they led her to the Police car. *** “How did you know it was Mrs Ogilvy?” Mac asked on their way back to the station. The woman was in the back seat, talking to herself and occasionally giggling. “She’s the keeper of secrets. She’s seen but rarely heard. She knew everything that went on and was trusted to keep quiet. By her own admission, Father Abernathy is her only family. She would do anything to keep the
church a peaceful haven and keep her family together. Sienna O’Reilly threatened all of that and therefore, she had to go. Let’s not forget what she said when we first met.” “Um…” Mac scratched his nose, trying to remember. “She said, ‘I do most things around here’, and then ‘without me, nothing would be done’. She more or less admitted to the murder, only we didn’t see it until Father Abernathy confessed to finding the body.” Matt said. “She must have gone to find something to move the body with, but Abernathy beat her to it. She would protect him in all things, and in this too.” The car pulled up at the station and Matt sat for a moment. “What?” Mac asked when Matt didn’t move. “Mac? You might want to look up just how Mr Ogilvy died.” “You’re not thinking…” “I am. Hetty dispatched Sienna rather efficiently. I think she’s killed before.” Matt unlatched the seat belt and got out. “Where are you going?” Asked Mac as he, too, got out.” “You’ve got prisoners to process and I’ve got a professor in holding. After I release him, I’ve got my own family to see.” He shook his head. “Hetty was right. Family is everything.” THE END