“Back to the drawing board,” Logan said. “We also have the Sand Diggers, most of whom wouldn’t have any inner knowledge of the Preservation Center. But would that matter if Amanda had been the liaison? With Landry dead, the next closest salvage company is Simonton’s Sea Search—whose owner attended lectures about the ship and Dr. McFarland’s discussion on methods of death. Including methods that aren’t easy to trace.
“Tomorrow we’ll get a search warrant for Simonton’s home, boats, car and place of business,” Logan said. He looked at Will. “I think it’s important that we continue the dive, whether Jon Hunt’s with us or not. Because the film crew’s documentation of the wreck is all we have left. Everyone, get some rest now.”
When they were together later that night, lying in bed, half-asleep and half-curled together, Will rose up on his elbow, stroking the sleek line of Kat’s back.
She rolled over, touching his face. “You seem different,” she said.
“Shaken,” he told her.
“Will, I know how to duck,” she teased.
He nodded slowly. “I have to get used to it.”
“Can you?” she asked him. “Will you always feel as if you have to protect me?”
“It’s not easy to ignore that impulse, Kat, but will I try? Yes.”
“It’s no different, really,” she said softly. “I feel the same about you. But I trust you not to take unnecessary or foolish risks. I know you can look after yourself.”
“Hey,” he said gruffly. “I’d like to see you not worried if you found out someone sent a hail of bullets my way.”
“It wasn’t a hail of bullets,” she said.
“It only takes one.”
She searched his eyes in the dim glow of a night-light and reached out for him, bringing his lips down to hers. The kiss began as something very simple, something to seal the words between them. It grew far more impassioned and he found himself wide-awake again, sliding along her body to caress her with his tongue. Soon they were breathless, writhing in each other’s arms, and later lay spent and exhausted, ready for much-needed rest.
In the morning, Kat answered a call from the morgue; as she’d hoped, she was invited to join Dr. Randall for the autopsy.
Will left with Tyler and Sean, keeping his thoughts to himself.
He had to accept the fact that bullets could fly at either one of them, but for today he was glad she’d be safe among the dead at the morgue. The wreck of the Jerry McGuen seemed like a very dangerous place to be.
“So many healthy people dead,” Randall said as he and Kat worked on the corpse of Stewart Landry. “What a beautiful heart. The man was fit, toned and other than having a brain that’s just about turned to mush…”
“Whoever shot him was only a couple of feet away,” Kat said. She shook her head. “Why did he run from us? There was no reason for him to do that. He had his lawyer on the case, he’d been released….”
“Maybe he believed that since you showed up at his place again, some other evidence had been found against him.”
“That’s possible,” Kat agreed.
“And you didn’t see anyone else in the boathouse at all?” Randall asked.
“No, just Landry. I stayed with the body while Tyler searched. When the police arrived, they searched, too, but…there were at least a dozen ways of getting into or out of the boathouse. You’re on the water, there are entrances in front and on either side.… The killer could have been waiting in the boathouse or come in after we chased Landry.” She paused, looking at the corpse. Landry wasn’t speaking to her; she hadn’t expected that he would.
There was nothing else Kat could do at the morgue, so she cleaned up and called Logan. He and Kelsey, she discovered, were with the police executing the search warrant on Andy Simonton’s property. Sean and Tyler were diving with Will, and Jane was at the main branch of the public library with Dirk Manning, researching Captain Ely and the Egyptian.
Kat put a call through to Jane, telling her she’d join them at the library. She found the two of them sitting side by side at library computers, and she drew up a chair at the third.
Jane passed her a piece of paper with a website address scrawled on it. “Try this one. There’s an article on Ely. His full name was Josiah Brentwood Ely. He joined the Union navy at the age of seventeen, near the end of the Civil War, and when the war was over, he did a lot of traveling—including some time on ships coming and going from Egypt. He was a strange man who got involved in the spiritualist craze of the late-nineteenth century. And later, he became a fundamentalist Christian. There’s more on him. I haven’t gotten to all the links yet.”
Kat thanked her and started on the computer herself. It wasn’t long before she’d connected to the site Jane had suggested. One of the links took her to an article discussing “the strange case of Captain Josiah Brentwood Ely.” Ely, according to the article, preached against dabbling in the occult, mysticism and other uses of “magic.” He told friends, family and followers that he knew of objects, physical objects, in the world that were Satan’s tools, capable of destroying entire civilizations.
He claimed that among those objects was the scepter that had belonged to the Egyptian priest Amun Mopat. Mopat had used it to countermand the plagues that hit Egypt, and to help the godless survive when Moses led his people to Israel. If it hadn’t been for Mopat and his scepter, Ely said, the New Kingdom of Egypt would have dissolved, and the Egyptian people would have been free to become believers in the one true God.
“Pretty crazy, huh?” Jane said to Kat.
“Yes, but it makes me even more convinced that whoever is doing this is after the scepter.”
“You think someone really believes the scepter could control the world?”
“We’ve heard crazier beliefs or, at least, just as crazy,” Kat said. She shut down the computer and stood. “The police are still at the Preservation Center?”
“Yup. It’s still under lock and key, and surrounded by crime scene tape,” Jane said, turning off her computer and rising, too. “I’ll check in with Logan. We can go there if you want.”
“To the center?” Dirk Manning asked anxiously.
“You don’t need to come with us,” Kat replied.
“You want me to stay here alone?”
Kat smiled. “We’ll leave you with one of Chicago’s finest,” she told him. “Maybe he’ll let you turn on the siren.”
“Very funny, young lady,” Manning said. “But, yes! I will sit outside in a police car.”
Just before going down to the wreck, Will called Kat.
The autopsy had been completed, he learned; they’d discovered nothing they hadn’t expected. But they’d confirmed that Landry couldn’t possibly have shot himself.
“It’s a pity the boathouse isn’t a more confined space,” Kat complained. “Whoever was in there took off before we realized there was anyone else.”
“I still think that one or more of the dead had to be involved,” Will said.
“Yes. But the only one talking is Austin Miller, and Austin can’t tell us anything except that he believes a mummy killed him. Anyway, Jane and I are going to the Preservation Center. I want to prowl around there some more.”
“Be careful,” he said.
“There are still plenty of cops out front. I’ll be with Jane, and we’ll be very careful,” Kat promised.
They said goodbye, and Will told himself that this was her job. He reminded himself again that he couldn’t stop her from doing it.
“Everything all right?” Tyler asked him.
Will nodded. “Kat and Jane are heading over to the Preservation Center. They’re going to start tearing the place apart, since we haven’t got anything to move forward with.”
“Maybe they’ll find something,” Tyler said with a shrug.
Sean walked over to him. “Kat has worked with cops in law enforcement for a long time. She’s smart as a whip and she knows what she’s doing,” he said.
“Can’t blame you for worrying, though,” Tyler put in. “We always worry most about the key person on any case.” He pointed at Will. “That’s you as well as Kat, so stay close by when we dive, huh?”
Will grinned. “Yeah. Thanks.”
Thirty minutes later, they were down at the Jerry McGuen.
Will instinctively paused near the grand salon and looked in, trying to imagine what Kat had seen there. The ship at sea—the realization that a storm was coming and worse….
They were about to be rammed by an icebreaker.
But the salon held nothing for him. He joined the film crew and Sean and Tyler in the hold. They were inspecting the darkened space behind the hold door, searching for anything that might tell them another diver had been down there. Will hovered in the main section, looking at the crates. He turned, hearing something, and was startled to see what appeared to be a wavy image in the water. He blinked.
There, before him, was the shape of a man.
An Egyptian with handsome sculpted features and a look of dire warning in his eyes.
He didn’t speak; he lifted his arms to Will and seemed to form a single word with soundless lips.
The image was that of Amun Mopat.
And Will wasn’t in danger.
He stared at the image, about to rise as quickly as possible to the surface, but the figure of Amun Mopat seemed to be gesturing at him, beckoning him to the wall. Wedged between one of the massive crates and the wall was a slender, narrow box, perhaps six feet long. As he struggled with it, he saw that Earl was filming his movements and Bernie was trying to attract the attention of the other men. A moment later, Tyler and Sean swam over to help him. Together, they managed to ease the heavier, larger crate far enough back to free the tarp-covered box. Will gestured at the surface and they agreed to go up.