The St Demetrios Orthodox Church was a long rectangular building with a single cupola. Behind it was a graveyard, a small neighborhood cemetery, easily a hundred years old. There was a waist-high brick wall surrounding the courtyard, which was accessible by a double wrought-iron gate. In the light thrown from the headlights of the sector cars and departmental sedans, the headstones cast long shadows over the grounds, as well as onto the walls of the row homes on either side. The flashing lights projected images nearly ten feet tall, giant specters overseeing the dead.
As Jessica approached the scene, Nicci Malone came jogging up to her side. Nicci pointed to a young couple standing near one of the sector cars. They looked terribly frightened.
'These two were walking up the street about a half-hour ago. They said they were not really paying attention but when they got here to the edge of the block they saw someone walking in the shadows to the center of the cemetery. They said it was a man carrying something heavy over his shoulders.'
'Did they get a good look at the guy?' Jessica asked. Nicci shook her head. 'Too dark on that side. But they still watched what he was doing. They said he dropped the parcel to the ground, unwrapped it. When they saw that it was a body, they froze. Then they saw the man position the leg, propping it up on one of the low headstones.'
Jessica knew what came next. She remained silent.
'Then, according to our witnesses, the man jumped high into the air and came down on the leg. The woman said she heard the sound of the breaking bone all the way on the other side of the cemetery.'
A news helicopter roared overhead. Jessica wondered what this grotesque display might look like from above.
'What about the vehicle? Did they get a look?'
Again Nicci shook her head. 'They were both pretty much over the edge at this point. We were lucky they had the wherewithal to call us.'
Jessica glanced at the street corners. She did not see any police cameras. This was not a high-crime or high-drug-traffic area. She looked at the walls of the stone church. She did not see any surveillance cameras there, either.
When she stepped into the gated graveyard, Jessica saw the corpse, the now-familiar signature. The body was nude, a white middle-aged male, shaved clean. There was a band of paper around his forehead. The left foot rested on the headstone. Jessica crossed over to the plot, aimed her Maglite at the dead body, and saw the sharp bone protruding from the skin, just above the left knee. She thought about the line from Danse Macabre.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
You can hear the cracking of the bones of the dancers.
Then Jessica leaned in, moved the victim's left leg a few inches, directed the beam of her flashlight at the headstone. At the top she saw:
O THEOS NA TIN ANAPAFSI
The name of the person in the grave was Melina Laskaris.
She angled the light to the victim's right hand, which was on the ground, palm up. On the ring finger she saw a small tattoo of a donkey. It was the seventh animal, which meant there was one more to go.
Before Jessica could stop her - and she didn't really want to stop her - Nicci Malone stepped forward, knelt down, pulled off the bloodied white headband. When Jessica saw the victim's face, the triangle was complete.
The dead woman was Lina Laskaris.
Her killer was Eduardo Robles.
The accomplice, the harmony in this horror show - the broken body sprawled before them in this crumbling graveyard - was Detective Dennis Stansfield.