For the second time this night, the Philadelphia Police Department processed a crime scene at this address. Dozens of personnel moved like silent ghosts through the now brightly illuminated spaces.
Outside, Jessica and Byrne stepped into the shadows. When they were alone, out of earshot, she turned to him, her anger at being left out of the loop seething within her. 'You've got about five fucking seconds to start explaining all this.' 'I know you're upset.'
'I'm way past upset,' Jessica said. 'When did you set all this up? Yesterday?'
'No,' Byrne said. 'Bullshit.'
She paced. Byrne gave her time.
'Jess, trust me on this. The arrest was real. Diaz and his team had evidence that the tattoos were mailed to my address. They also had hair and fiber evidence from my van. They came in hard to get me. I was completely blindsided.'
'What the hell were you doing here?'
Byrne looked at the house, then back. 'I'm not sure my answer is going to be good enough for you.'
Another pause. 'I knew the answer to all of this was locked inside Christa's mind. I knew time was short, but I had to work that angle.'
Jessica just listened, deciding not to tell Byrne that she already knew about the evidence Diaz had. But she now realized that it was Drummond who had planted the evidence, hoping to buy himself more time tonight, counting on the arrest of Kevin Byrne.
'When we got to the Roundhouse they patted me down,' Byrne said. 'They took my cellphone. Russ Diaz started scrolling through the calls I'd made today. He also saw the folder that holds the photographs. He saw this.' Byrne held up his phone. 'I hadn't really looked at it before. When I did, it all fell into place.'
Byrne tapped the screen, showed Jessica a picture. In it, Christa- Marie stood on the steps of a huge stone building. Next to the scarred oak doors was an inscription. Byrne tapped the screen again, enlarging the words.
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
Jessica looked at Byrne. 'This is what Drummond said at his leaving party.'
'And this picture was taken at Convent Hill,' she added.
Jessica recognized the place. It was in the photograph that she had found in Joseph Novak's journal. The photo captioned with the word Hell.
'Drummond had been to Convent Hill to visit Christa-Marie. That was where he got the inscription. From the Roundhouse we called the Prentiss Institute and had them look through the records. Michael Drummond studied with Christa-Marie. Both he and Novak were her students on the day when Gabriel Throne was murdered.'
Jessica took a step away, absorbing the new information. She turned back, her anger far from dissipated.
'I had my weapon out, Kevin. More than once.'
'Something could have gone really wrong, really fast.'
Byrne pointed to the six SWAT officers gathered on the grounds. They had a direct line of sight to the eastern side of the mansion, the side where the kitchen and the music room were located.
'At no time were you in jeopardy, Jess. They had Drummond in their sights through the windows. If he had made a move toward you they would have taken him down. We just hoped it wouldn't be before he talked. We had to get him to make the admission.'
'Why? What are you talking about?'
Byrne held up a CD in a crystal case.
'What is that?' she asked.
'It's the whole event. Christa-Marie has a very sophisticated recording studio upstairs. The music room has six microphones in it. Mateo is up in the studio now. He's like a kid in a candy store.'
'You're saying everything that happened in there was recorded?'
Byrne nodded. 'When Drummond got here tonight he slipped upstairs, into that room, started the whole process. It's all on here. Christa-Marie playing Danse Macabre, including the background of Drummond's sick recordings of death screams. He finally got his magnum opus.'
Jessica's head was spinning. 'What about Lucy?' she asked. 'I don't care how good the SWAT guys are - Drummond had that razor at her throat.'
Byrne looked away for a moment as the ME's transport van pulled into the long drive. He looked back.
'We didn't plan on Lucy,' he said. 'I had no idea she was here.'
Ninety minutes later, with the house sealed and guarded, Byrne was waiting for Jessica in the large circular drive. They would head back to the Roundhouse to begin the long process of piecing together the horrors of the last few weeks.
Jessica stepped through the front door, closed it behind her. She looked at her watch. It was 2:52.
It was All Saints Day.