GIRLS KEPT DISAPPEARING. Five in February, seven in March. No bodies were found. Police made four arrests in four separate jurisdictions, but no indictments emerged. The FBI arrested a man, but was even more embarassed than the San Jose police when it was discovered that the man had been in a Federal prison until two weeks earlier. Rumors had it that the FBI had been misled by a series of anonymous phone calls.
Dr. Watanabe had grown used to surveillance by then. He usually waved to the vehicle he thought the police were watching him from, and he was usually right.
In April, the surveillance was quietly dropped. Nothing happened until the night of the new moon. Then, nine girls vanished. Over the next week, all were found, all dead, all killed the way the first victims had been, and all former patients of Dr. Watanabe. Meanwhile, three more girls went missing.
Dr. Watanabe was questioned again and again over five days. One girl disappeared while he was being questioned. He was released, and put under surveillance. When he returned home, he found that his file folder tabs were grossly mis-aligned. Someone had obviously looked through them—probably photographed each page, judging from the odd pages he found around the house. The police couldn't use any of it in court, of course, but they hadn't cared. The access log of his computer system was unmodified; every file had been accessed while he had been gone.
Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon would have done anything to stop the killer, but how to fight a killer they never saw? Detective Arteminski told them that he would ask for their help again whenever he could use it, but that finding a serial killer was something that took patience and luck. Again he admitted, "We might never catch him—or them. There were even serial killers in the Soviet Union—the KGB could keep them a secret, but it could not catch them any faster than the police here."
Sometimes Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon would fly out at night and look for girls who had just been reported missing, but they didn't find any, not even the nine girls who were found in April. By the time they knew a girl was missing, it would be hours or even days since she had been seen. Sailor Moon went out flying alone more often, on the many nights when Chibi was babysitting—and she ordered Chibi to stay at home when she flew near the nights close to the new moon, because the Grey Lady had said that the killer was strongest then. But even the Grey Lady was not sure if the killer was a man or a monster, though she was sure the killer had some magic.
By the end of April, police received so many reports of angel sightings in the Silicon Valley that they made up a new radio code for them.
Usagi began to fall asleep in class a lot, but she worked hard when she was awake, and her grades actually didn't drop that much. But they would have if Jimmy hadn't tutored her at every opportunity.
Since police found all of the nine girls first, the Grey Lady couldn't try to bring any of them back. No others were found. Usagi kept on flying and searching, with a cellphone to call the Grey Lady if she found a girl. But she didn't, although she did stop some crimes she stumbled on, and reported a lot more—burglaries, mostly. While few people believed the outlandish stories of an angel (or angels when Chibi was with her) stopping armed robbers or scaring off muggers, or carrying people to hospitals, there was a rumor that Southbay police had some sort of stealth helicopter. So many burglars were rounded up that the smartest ones still out of jail moved away, or at least took long vacations.
The police were pretty happy about catching so many burglars, but that joy was short-lived. Why did they never get any good leads on the killer? Two police chiefs were replaced by the end of April.
Detective Sergeant Semyon Arteminski labored on. There hadn't been any missing girls from his department's jurisdiction since the attack on Bonnie Riordon. There were other cases to work on, among them the Barbara Chilicothe case. While he now knew that Dr. Watanabe hadn't killed her, he still didn't know who her partner or partners were. He got a break when one of the girls Chilicothe had arranged an adoption for turned up in Nevada, in a brothel. She'd been forced into prostitution by her new "parents." Arteminski would have bet ten kilos of caviar that she would not be the only one of Chilicothe's "adoptions" to have been peddled.
He decided to talk to Watanabe about it. He brought along Dr. Goodman. He'd seen a lot of her recently. In fact, he'd seen all of her. She said she would be interested in meeting Dr. Watanabe. He didn't know what mumbo-jumbo she had in mind. He wasn't sure whether she had powers like the Kino girls, or was just a wonderful person with some nonsensical beliefs.
"This is it?" asked Dr. Goodman as they drove up. "Grim."
"Oh, it's cleaned up since the last time I saw it. He's stopped painting over the graffiti."
"But he's under surveillance, isn't he? How do any graffiti artists get past the police?"
"Well, I guess they don't want to blow their cover."
"I see . . . Let me get my little bag of tricks."
The doorbell was still dead, so they knocked. Arteminski's hearing had been shot for half his life, but he imagined he heard shutters clicking as they waited. He turned and flashed his badge, in case none of the team watching him knew he was a cop. Could be; there had been a lot of turnover in all Southbay departments . . . Dr. Watanabe opened the door after about two minutes.
"Ah, Arteminski. I was wondering when you would drop in. You didn't ask me many questions when they pulled me in. And . . . Dr. Goodman?"
"You know her?" asked Arteminski.
"I recognize you. Molly has your books," said Dr. Watanabe. "I know you reconstruct murder victims, but I'm not dead yet, and you know there aren't any cadavers lying about.
"Dr. Goodman said, "Yes, I do know that. And you know that I am rumored to conduct strange rituals at night. You are about to discover that the rumors are based on truth."
Dr. Watanabe shook his head. "Well, come in, come in. I appreciate any company I can get."
Dr. Watanabe hadn't really expected Dr. Goodman to perform strange rituals, but that is exactly what she started doing, as soon as they were inside and she got a few things out of the small duffel bag she'd brought inside. Meanwhile, Arteminski began talking, telling Dr. Watanabe about the discovery of an "adopted" girl in a Nevada brothel.
"I don't think she was one of my patients. I'll check—"
"She wasn't. But several patients of yours were 'adopted' through arrangements made by Barbara Chilicothe. What can you tell me about them? Or do you still have memory lapses?"
"Perhaps some, but no more than normal now, I think. The last one was to be Sarah Kino. Do you know about that?"
"Tell me what you know."
"Well, for what it's worth, I had reservations. Her delusion is considerably more intense than the other so-called Kino girl."
Dr. Goodman cut in. "You mean, you still think they are crazy? After what you've seen them do?"
Dr. Watanabe said, "Just because they have special abilities doesn't mean they aren't deluded. After all, they both think they are comic book characters."
Dr. Goodman said, "In this world, Doctor. But there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are—"
Dr. Watanabe finished the quotation: "—dreamt of in your philosophies. I have some Shakespeare too."
Now Arteminski was knocked off-track. "Jenny, you really believe they are who they say they are?"
Dr. Goodman said, "I don't just believe, I know. I've known since Chibi Moon arrived. But that is a story that can wait. Go on, Semyon, I'm not finished."
Arteminski turned back to Watanabe, and turned back to his subject. "Besides that, was there any other reason you had reservations about the adoption?"
"I thought it was a mistake to separate the Kino girls too quickly . . . they actually asked me to get their DNA matched to prove that they were sisters later, and I actually attempted getting it done for them. More of their mental powers, I suppose."
"I know about that. They are related. Most likely, Sue is Sarah's mother."
"She is her mother," remarked Dr. Goodman, interrupting a chant for a moment.
"Most likely," said Arteminsky, "According to Rebecca Biter, who did the research. And who was murdered."
"And who was one of my patients . . . surprise, surprise. Pei never gave me the results. There's another one off my Christmas card list."
Dr. Watanabe said that five other girls who had been patients of his were adopted through arrangements made by Barbara Chilicothe. He did not provide any clinical details, but he did give their names and his impressions about the adoptive parents he had met. "I only met two couples. They were the only two who adopted girls who were still active patients of mine."
"What about Sarah Kino?" asked Arteminski.
"I didn't meet the family who were interested—but the adoption wasn't actually going through yet. We were actually there to separate the girls. Ms. Chilicothe felt—that is, she said she felt—that it was important to break the connection between the so-called sisters before introducing her to her new family. I should have trusted my own judgment—but do you know how hard it is to get an adoption for an older child?"
Arteminski thought Dr. Watanabe sounded sincere, but he had heard a lot of sincere-sounding statements by now. But the doctor had just told him something he hadn't known. If it was true. "That's not what the records say. Where were you going to take Sarah?"
"I wasn't. Ms. Chilichothe—" Suddenly, the doctor understood. "The girl was supposed to be going to a group home in Salinas. But I just took Chilicothe's word."
"Do you remember the address? Or do you have it anywhere in your records?"
"It's in my records. But she was lying, wasn't she?"
"Maybe. But it's worth looking at."
They went from the living room to the doctor's office. Dr. Goodman was inside, holding a picture. Dr. Watanabe immediately took it from her.
Arteminski said, "Jenny, we need to—"
"That's where you found the note, wasn't it?" asked Dr. Goodman.
Arteminski was startled. He didn't remember telling her about the note.
Watanabe drew the picture to himself, but did not speak.
Dr. Goodman spoke again. "You put the gun in your mouth, and picked that up, and there was the note." She seemed to be looking far past either of the men.
"Gun?" interjected Arteminski.
"A revolver, from this drawer . . . " Dr. Goodman continued.
"Do you have a gun, doctor?" demanded Arteminski.
Watanabe finally spoke. "Yes. I did have one."
"You're not supposed to."
"It wasn't registered."
"Why didn't you tell me, doctor?"
"Well, it why should I? To give you something to arrest me for?"
"Where is it? You said you did have it."
"I threw it away. After I gave you the note, I drove to Highway One, and threw it into the sea."
"When did you get the gun?" asked Dr. Goodman.
Dr. Goodman persisted. "You got it years ago; that I saw. But when? Why?"
"Doctor, you don't have to answer that question, you know. And Jenny, I am the policeman here."
"No, I'll answer . . . I got it eight years ago. Someone I testified against escaped from custody. I wanted a gun now,, not after a waiting period. I won't tell you who sold it to me; I promised not to. The man was killed a few days later. I kept it locked away after that. In that drawer, incidentally . . . you followed my eyes, didn't you? That's how you knew which drawer, if the Sergeant didn't tell you."
"You may believe what you will," said Dr. Goodman. "Go on, Semyon."
Arteminski was amazed at how rapidly the man could rationalize. But he wasn't diverted from his path. "Who was the man you were afraid of?"
"Roberto Iturbe . . . Dr. Goodman, you recognize that name, don't you?"
"I identified him. They gave me a skull and I made a reconstruction from it. There wasn't any other way. The skull was very badly damaged. But there was nothing else left."
"But there's no record—" Arteminski started to say.
"My participation was off the record, Semyon. Hardly unusual for me."
Dr. Watanabe asked the next question first. "You aren't sure he's dead, are you?"
Arteminski answered, "Not any more. But I'm not sure he's not. And I'm not sure you aren't the bad guy, doctor. You still look good . . . Jenny, can we go now?"
"Not yet . . . could you go to the car, Semyon?"
He went to her car. She didn't come out for another hour. By the time she did come out, he had decided he shouldn't see her for awhile. At least, all of her. And as she looked at him, he sensed she saw the change in his heart. But he did not speak of it.
"What took so long?"
"Arguing with him. I told him he should go to Seattle and be with his children. He won't. He thinks whoever is doing this will stay here as long as he does."
"And who does he think that is?"
"Iturbe, maybe. Now. But he believes it."
"I don't doubt that he believes it . . . but I know that man is alive and I don't know that Iturbe is. He shouldn't be."
"No, he shouldn't be . . . I don't know. I know you don't really take my Art seriously, Semyon, but I read a connection to Iturbe. Before he mentioned it."
"Even if I did believe, couldn't that connection just be the gun? He bought the gun because of Iturbe?"
"Yes. That could be it, Semyon."
"What do you think? Do you think he's not our guy?"
"No, I don't. I'm sure of it. The killer wrote that note. I read that."
"He could have written the note. Even he isn't really sure he didn't. Not really. Jenny, he won't go to his kids because he's afraid he's the guy. I don't have to have any powers or arts or whatever to see that. He's afraid he's the guy, at least for some of them. Can you look me in the face and tell me different?"
"He's not sure he isn't the killer. But he did not write that note. I am absolutely certain of that, Semyon . . . " She started the motor. "I put wards on his house. He was a mused, but I think he will not efface them. I hope not."
"Enchantments. Harmless to people, but they will stop most spirit creatures, and some hostile magic."
"You think we're looking for a ghost?"
"I don't know. But whoever or whatever produced that note, has magic. Strong magic."
They didn't say anything else until she dropped him off. He was thinking of what he should say, but she said, "Call when you want my help again." And nothing more, before she drove away.