Part 1 of 3 / Part 2 of 3 / Part 3 of 3
Special Methods / From the Past
by Heather Sparrows
Part 3 of 3
47 North Street was a small one-storey, rather shabby house in a district where mostly craftsmen and the owners of small shops lived with their families. Ichabod went past the house, rounded the corner and slipped into the small alley at the back of North Street.
He stood for a moment in front of the back door to Number 47 and hesitated. What he was about to do was trespassing. Highly illegal. He had no search warrant, and if the mysterious John Galloway should turn out an honourable citizen, his days as a policeman would be over. On the other hand, if Galloway or whoever kept the boy would harm or kill him now, because he hesitated, Ichabod would never forgive himself. Remained the question whether the boy was kept in this house at all. And this he could only find out by trespassing at the moment.
Very well he had taken "lessons" from Six-Finger-Louis, who was a very experienced "retired" burglar, something his superiors did not know of. They would disapprove anyway, but Ichabod thought there was no harm in knowing a few tricks. And now he was grateful for the lessons Six-Finger-Louis had given him, because they enabled him to open the back door without much noise (the lock gave almost immediately) and to slip into a small corridor.
Ichabod drew his pistol. All was silent, except for the odd cart or coach passing the street in front. Not a sound from inside the house.
He looked around when his eyes had adjusted to the dim light. A small corridor from the back door to the front door. Two doors on each side. And a wooden trap door, leading probably into a storage cellar. The corridor looked neglected, cobwebs and dust everywhere, the doors all ajar. The air smelled stale, of boiled cabbage, of a person who probably avoided water and soap and who never opened a window. Obviously Mr Galloway if it was Mr Galloway who lived in this house was not married and did not employ a housekeeper.
Carefully looking in all directions, Ichabod advanced to peek into all the rooms. To the right a room with a pump and a sink. A cupboard, a table with half a loaf of bread, some cheese, a knife, a dirty spoon and a bowl, a chair, a kettle. Nothing suspicious. The neglected kitchen of a man living alone, preparing his meals alone. No sound, except the humming of a fly which had fed from the cheese and now started again into the air, bouncing against the small grimy window.
To the left a small room with a rough, unmade bed and a chair with some clothes thrown on it. Mens clothing, trousers, a shirt, a coat hanging over the back.
Front room on the same side. Maybe thought as another bedroom, but there was a workbench, there was wood and there were carpenters tools. A half-finished door in one corner, a broken table and chairs in another. The room opposite at a short glance seemed to be a storage room. A jumble of more broken furniture, some baskets and suitcases, chests and boxes, bottles and crockery, everything covered with dust and cobwebs.
All rooms were empty, and there was still no sound. Remained the trap door.
It was set into the stone floor and it looked new, made from solid wood. It could be bolted from the outside, to hinder someone who might be down there from escaping. The bolts were heavy and well-oiled, as were the hinges. But although the trapdoor was closed, the bolts were not in place.
Somebody probably was at home ...
Something urged Ichabod on, while another part of him was scolding him as a damn fool. He carefully opened the trapdoor and looked down. With regard to how the house was built, he had expected a single storage room. But he looked down into an actual basement. He saw a corridor and doors leading to several rooms, the same as upstairs. Ichabod listened. Still no sound.
A sturdy ladder, also looking new, lead into the basement. Ichabod swallowed and climbed down, pulling the trapdoor closed behind him.
//Someone just has to latch that door to trap me ...// he thought, but his policemans instinct urged him on.
Two lanterns gave a dim light. Another sign someone must be home. Or would this someone leave the lanterns on for somebody he kept downstairs?
The floor was earth down here, the walls made from bricks. The door to the room on the right stood ajar. Ichabod carefully peeked in. The room was darker than the corridor outside, so he would not see someone in the room, but outline himself as an easy target for this someone in the light falling in from the corridor.
His eyes could adjust to darkness very well, and he slipped into the room quickly to make a short inventory. No one was hiding at a quick glance. There were bookshelves full of books, a chair and a desk, the desk also covered with books. It looked like the study of a scholar. Not something you would expect in a carpenters house.
What was it Dr Cattrell had said? "He told me he once had read in a book, in Old Greece men had been allowed to have boys in their house, to train and educate them, and he would like to do this himself. Amazing thoughts for an un-educated construction worker, dont you think, Constable Crane?"
Ichabod looked at the books, but could not make out titles in the dim light. Something next to a pile of books caught his attention.
It was a skull. Ichabod looked at it more closely. Small and round, small teeth, some missing, the seams between the different parts of the cranium not as firmly closed as on the skull of a grown-up person...
Ichabod felt cold. Should Dr Cattrell be right after all?
He would have liked to inspect the skull and the books around him thoroughly, but other things were more important now. If the boy was here and still alive, he had to find him and to get him out of this house...
The next room was empty except for a wooden pillar. From it hung manacles on chains. The walls were decorated with canes and whips, and they looked as if their purpose was not merely that of a macabre decoration.
//No feelings now, Crane. Just find the boy ...//
In the large room opposite was a well. The room was lit by more lanterns. Still no one was to be seen. But there was a faint sound, and it seemed to come from the well. Someone crying, not loud, the voice of a woman. Or a child.
Another of Dr Cattrells remarks came into Ichabods mind: "Galloway may keep the boy well at the moment." He had thought Dr Cattrell was referring to the fact that in his opinion at that time there had been no immediate danger for Jonathan. Instead he had given away the place where the boy was kept. Another of his little games with words. How much did Cattrell actually know? How far had Galloway trusted him? Maybe Cattrell had even been here! Seen the pillar, the whips, the books, the skull ...
//Find the boy, Crane. Get him out of here.//
Ichabod looked around again quickly and slipped into the room, hurried to the well and bent over the rim.
The crying stopped. Ichabod made out a small white face looking up at him from the bottom of the dry well. He put a finger on his lips.
At the same moment, he felt someone behind him, the warning cry from the well would not have been necessary. He threw his elbow and his whole body backwards, propelling himself away from the rim of the well and momentarily taking the wind out of his attacker.
John Galloway had felt very safe, he had not been prepared for an intruder. Finally, he had come to a decision what to do with Jonathan. He had been preoccupied with preparing to get rid of the stubborn, obnoxious boy, who had turned out to be a failure like the others. Thus his unwelcome visitor had the luck on his side. Galloways first attack was made on impulse, and Ichabods instincts were well trained.
He dodged the second attack. His pistol was useless at the moment, because he had no time to aim properly. Galloway advanced on him again, blocking his way to the door. The man was big and heavy set, and he knew the territory. Ichabod did not. So he overlooked the two steps which lead down to another part of the room.
He fell, landing hard on his back, his pistol slithering away into a dark corner. And then Galloway attacked him again, trying to jump upon him. Instinctively, Ichabod threw himself to the left. One thing was clear: this man was far much stronger than he himself, and Ichabod would be in serious trouble, should Galloway catch him. Galloway was warned now and would expect more unannounced visitors. He was prepared for the men Crawford would hopefully send, and worse: he might kill the boy before they arrived.
//Well done, Crane.// Ichabod thought, circling another pillar with manacles to escape the carpenter. //Only solution: Stay alive, keep him occupied. Better: Stun him somehow ... but how?//
The eerie thing was that Galloway panted and grunted, but he had not uttered a coherent word. The man was big like a bear, and also awkward. He would rely on his bone-crushing strength. Very well there was no use of playing chase with him. Ichabod would have to attack ... A thought went through his head: //A street rat will never fight fair!//
Galloway was taken by surprise again when Ichabod suddenly charged forward, jumping upon him. His skull connected with Galloways chin, and his knee found the exact place between the others legs. Ichabod had learned that he had to be fast to have a chance at all. He could not rely on his bodily strength as a lot of his colleagues did.
It worked. Galloway was stunned for a moment by the pain. He bent over, gasping for breath. Ichabod circled him. He had found his pistol in the corner and lunged for it, grabbed it and crashed the butt down on the big mans head. Galloway fell to the ground.
Ichabod did not lose time. He pocketed his pistol and dragged the motionless body over to the pillar, pushing him up into a sitting position and fastened the manacles round his wrists. He noticed that the they hardly fit Galloways thick lower arms. They had been designed with smaller wrists in mind than those of a grown man ...
It must be painful, and Ichabod hoped they would hold. He hurried back to the well.
"Jonathan Van Rijn?" he called down.
"Yes! Please let me out of here! Please!"
Ichabod looked around and noticed a contraption similar to those with which bales of goods were hauled from ships and into storage houses, only smaller. There was a sling, providing a makeshift seat.
He unfastened the rope and let the sling down into the well.
"Sit down into the sling and hold tight to the rope. Ill pull you up."
A few moments later, the boy was out of the well. He was pale and dirty, his clothes torn, his eyes in the dirt-streaked face wide with fear. The ghost of a sturdy, fair-haired boy with blue eyes and an open, freckled face. He could hardly stand.
"Im so thirsty." he whispered. "Who are you?"
"My name is Crane. I am a policeman. Come on, Ill bring you out of here."
//Damn, where are Crawfords men?//
He had to get the boy out of this house.
Ichabod looked down at Galloway, who still seemed unconscious. With his round, friendly face and hair so light it seemed almost white, the man looked open and gentle. Almost like a boy himself. It would have been easy for him to gain the confidence of a child...
//I will have to leave him here. I can only hope Crawford has sent a constable, maybe two, and these constables will be here soon, before Galloway can free himself. I have to get the boy out ...//
He took Jonathan around his shoulders and slowly moved with him to the door, when he heard steps. Only for a moment he thought that one of Commander Crawfords constables finally had arrived. The steps were too slow.
A sturdy figure appeared in the doorway.
"Well done, Constable Crane." A well-modulated voice with a British accent.
Dr Cattrell, still clothed in the rags he had worn in his cell, but holding a pistol, came into the room. Ichabod retreated, dragging Jonathan with him. The boy whimpered. No chance to reach into his pocket for his pistol now... The young constable discovered that he was not as surprised as he had thought, seeing the Doctor here.
"I advise you to stay where you are and to throw me your weapon, Young Man. Do not try anything heroic. Think of the boy. And keep him calm."
Ichabod did as he was told. Everything else would have been absolutely foolish. Jonathan was quiet. He was trembling, but he tried to be brave.
//He must have taken advantage of the turmoil Dr Chilton caused by throwing me out.// Ichabod thought. //But how? He must have planned his escape, and he must have had people who helped him ...//
"Thank you." Dr Cattrell said, retrieving with an unbelievably agile movement the pistol Ichabod had dropped between them on the ground. His own weapon never lost its target.
"What do you want? Why are you here?" Ichabod asked.
//He should be on his way. Crawfords men will be here any moment. But I know ...//
"I do not want to harm you, Constable Crane, or the boy. I will take Mr Galloway here with me."
Ichabod looked to Galloway, who opened his eyes and for a moment stared numbly at the two men and the boy in front of him, before at first recognition and then unspeakable horror showed on his face when he saw Dr Cattrell.
The man had kept a ten-year-old boy for over a week in a well in his basement, and God knew what more he had done to him. And it was to assume that someone who had pillars with manacles fitting for thin wrists and whips in his basement either had kept other small prisoners there or had intended to do so in the future. Nevertheless, all these things had to be clarified in a trial.
"No, you will not." Ichabod answered bravely. "John Galloway will have to answer to the law."
Galloways eyes, big blue eyes like those of a frightened child, looked at the man whom he had tried to kill and who finally had overwhelmed him.
"I dont want to go with him." he said to Ichabod, indicating Dr Cattrell with his head. "Please dont let him take me!"
He tore at the manacles, binding his wrists. They had been designed for smaller, thinner, weaker persons than he was, but pillar and manacles withstood his efforts to free himself.
"You are not in a position to contradict me, Constable Crane." Dr Cattrell stated calmly. "Of course, you represent the law. But I am my own law."
"You have no right to kill him!" Ichabod objected.
Dr Cattrell smiled a friendly smile. His voice was calm, conversational, when he clicked his tongue and shook his head disapprovingly.
"I dont believe you are in a position to give me orders either, Constable Crane. It seems you are playing for time. But that will not do, Young Man. Take the boy and leave. Take him back to his parents. Anyway what makes you think Ill kill Mr Galloway here? Leave him to me. "
"No!" Galloway cried, doubling his efforts to free himself, but to no avail.
"Your workmanship on this pillar is excellent, James." Dr Cattrell continued in his conversational tone, addressing Galloway, his eyes never leaving Ichabod and the boy in front of him. "Unfortunately you felt too safe. You neglected security, James."
"Please do not let him near me!" Galloway was nearly crying.
//In some respects, he is like a child.// Ichabod thought. //God, what is this?//
"If you do not take my offer, Constable Crane, I will shoot you and take James with me anyway in case you should want to ask me that next." Dr Cattrell now addressed Ichabod again. "You wanted to save Jonathan so much. Think of him. And of Young Ichabod. Did you never want to see that teacher of yours burn in hell? He beat you, Jonathan, did he not?"
"Yes." Jonathan whispered.
"And he did worse, Jonathan, am I right?"
The boy wiped his face with his hands. His confirmation was barely a whisper.
Ichabod closed his eyes for a moment.
"Leave the child out of this!" he demanded, pushing Jonathan behind his back and retreating even further, when Dr Cattrell advanced upon him. The muzzle of his weapon touched Ichabods chin.
"I am very sorry our interesting conversation must end now, Constable Crane." he said, his tone still light. And quicker than anyone could react, Dr Cattrell pressed his lips on Ichabods mouth.
To his surprise, Ichabod felt no horror or nausea. Dr Cattrell knew how to kiss a man. It was pleasant. Only Dr Cattrell heard the low moan the young man gave beneath his lips. Then Ichabod broke the kiss, bewildered, ashamed, his face burning. He was only glad that Jonathan was behind his back and hopefully had not seen the two men kissing.
"Excuse my untidy appearance." Dr Cattrell said, stepping back. "But the pressed circumstances did not allow me to present myself as I would have wanted to, Constable Crane."
Ichabod did not answer. His eyes blazed with indignation. And at the same time he felt strangely attracted to the Doctor.
"Come in." Dr Cattrell said, and another man, armed with a pistol and holding an axe, entered the room. Dr Cattrell did not look at him. His maroon eyes held the young constable.
Galloway started to cry.
"Be quiet, James." Dr Cattrell said. "And you go, young man, and take the boy with you. Do not try my patience."
Ichabod took another look at Galloway, still sitting at the pillar, sobbing and stammering: "Dont let him come near me! Im afraid! Please!" Then he looked into Jonathans small, dirty face. There was a fear and sadness in the boys eyes, showing that life for Jonathan Van Rijn would never be quite the same as it had been ten days ago ...
For a moment, the thought was in Ichabods mind that for this alone Galloway deserved to die. Then he tried to become detached again. He could only choose between Jonathan and his captor. And another look into Jonathans face strengthened his resolve. Once more he took the boy around his shoulders and walked him out of the room quickly, trying to close his ears to Galloways screams and Dr Cattrells last remark: "If you dont stop screaming, James, I will have to cut your vocal chords."
He pushed the boy up the ladder, through the trapdoor, out of the back entrance. When he and Jonathan came out of the small alley behind the house, they saw two constables hurrying up to them.
"You Constable Crane? Thank God, the boy is alive!"
"Quick!" Ichabod interrupted them. "Summon more men! Galloway is in the basement of No. 47! And Dr Cattrell and another man are with him!"
"Who? Dr Cattrell?! We got information he escaped from the asylum an hour ago!"
Whistles were blown, more policemen arrived. But when the constables entered the house from both entrances and hurried to the basement, they found it empty. No trace of James Galloway, nor of Dr Cattrell and his mysterious companion.
As soon as he had informed the two approaching constables, Ichabod and Jonathan went on their way to the City Watch. Commander Crawford sent a message to the Van Rijn family immediately.
He then asked the exhausted boy a few questions in privacy, before his parents would arrive to take him away. Jonathan told the two policemen that he always passed Galloways house on his way to school. He had known the carpenter and they sometimes had exchanged a greeting. So he had thought of nothing bad when Galloway had invited him into his house. Jonathan had had a brawl with other boys and had looked dirty and dishevelled, and Galloway had offered him to tidy himself up a bit. He also had offered him a glass of water. Jonathan then must have passed out, and when he awoke, he had been in a dark room. Galloway had been friendly at first, but had told weird things about Old Greece and he had touched him everywhere and demanded to be touched by Jonathan. When the boy refused, his mood had changed abruptly, he had dragged him to one of the pillars, manacled and beaten him and let him down into the well. He had not had much food and water. When Jonathan had promised to do what he wanted, he had been let out of the well, and Galloway had touched the boy again and demanded to be touched. Jonathan did as he was told and he had tried to run away when Galloway had been asleep, but he had been caught, and from this day on he had been in the well all the time. Galloway had told him that maybe he would let him out again one day, but that Jonathan had disappointed him very much, and so he would have to make sure that he would not run away again. Jonathan had promised to be good, but the man had not let him out again. Another man had come when the Constable had taken him out of the well, and he had taken the Constables pistol and ordered him and the Constable to go. Galloway had been very afraid of that man, and the Constable had not wanted to leave the carpenter with him, but he had had no choice, for there had been yet another man, who had helped the man the Constable and Galloway had called Doctor Cattrell.
"Thank you, Jonathan." Commander Crawford said, ending his questions. His face was friendly. "You have been very brave. Your parents will be here soon."
A quarter of an hour later the woman Ichabod had seen in Dr Chiltons office closed the boy into her arms. Jonathan had drunk some water and looked better already. Slowly he seemed to realise that the nightmare was over for him.
Mrs Van Rijn looked from Commander Crawford to Ichabod.
"How can we ever thank you?" she asked. Her husband, who looked a lot as Jonathan would look like as a grown man, shook Ichabods hand.
"Uncle Erasmus was right in asking the chief of New York Police to send you here!"
"I wanted to talk to you as well, but then everything came out differently ..." Ichabod interrupted himself and shook his head, as if to refuse the gratitude. He did not want to be impolite, he just felt completely worn out and exhausted. He wanted to be alone to sort out his thoughts, to come to terms with what had happened. Galloways cries still sounded in his ears, Jonathans frightened face, Dr Cattrells lips on his own how could he ever get order into this mess?
The Van Rijn family left. Ichabod knew that it was not over for Jonathan. Not really. His body would heal soon, but the damage to his emotions and mind would take longer. However, the boy was strong, and he was surrounded by people who loved him. He had good chances ...
"That was damn foolish, Crane!" Commander Crawfords voice pulled Ichabod back from his thoughts. "You could have been killed, and the boy as well! And yet if you had not intervened, it would have been too late!" Crawford looked more worried than angry. He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Yes, Sir." Ichabod answered.
"You confirm what the boy said?"
"Yes, Sir. Dr Cattrell came and ordered me to leave with the boy. I had managed to subdue Galloway, and he told me to leave the man to him. I had no choice. He would have killed the boy and me, had I not done what he wanted."
"And there was another man? Can you describe him?"
"Young, in his twenties. Tall and muscular. Black hair, very long and full. He wore it in a braid. Grey eyes. Regular features. He wore the uniform of a warden, so I think he helped Dr Cattrell to escape from Dr Chiltons institution."
"Probably." Crawford said. "And I found your message almost too late, because I had to answer to the Council with regard to Dr Chiltons complaint about your visits under my order. Now Dr Chilton really has reasons to be worried. The Council is giving him hell, because he let Dr Cattrell escape. The same goes for me, if Baltimore Police does not find him again very quickly. And Dr Chilton is afraid for personal reasons."
"Which is perhaps not unjustified." Ichabod answered.
"We have our hands full at the moment." he continued. "We have to find Galloway and Dr Cattrell and the man who probably is his accomplice. And we have to search Galloways house to find out what he was up to. The constables who entered the house in search of Galloway and the other two men reported that the basement is really weird."
"It is." Ichabod confirmed. "Pillars with manacles, canes and whips at one wall. A study with many books. And there was a skull, which looked as if it came from a very young person."
Crawford frowned. "This is worse than I expected."
"It looks to me as if Jonathan had not been the first child to be kept down there." Ichabod said.
"This could well be." Crawford said. "Dr Cattrell mentioned homeless boys whom Galloway allegedly paid for their services."
He adjusted his glasses and looked at Ichabod.
"There will be a lot of work for us during the next months, Constable Crane, and frankly, I regret that you have to go back to New York, because you accomplished what you were sent here for."
"Yes, Sir. I regret this as well." Ichabod answered.
Crawford stood and shook Ichabods hand.
"I like you, Young Man. You showed a great deal of courage, although your lone visit Galloway's house was damn risky! Good bye, Crane. Take care and watch your back!"
"Thank you, Sir. You as well."
Ichabod left, happy to be finally alone with his thoughts. He hoped the best for Jonathan. As for Dr Cattrell ... he did not think the Doctor would come after him. He would consider this rude. For the same reason, Ichabod did not think that Cattrell would inform his superiors that Constable Crane preferred men in his bed.
He thought of Galloway. The carpenter had beaten and abused at least one child and had kept him in a cold, dark well for over a week. Moreover, he was suspected to have intended to kill the boy, and he might as well have abused other children, maybe killed them. The manacles and whips pointed in that direction, as well as the small skull. It would have been interesting to hear what else Crawfords men would find in the carpenters house. He blamed himself that he had not been able to arrest Galloway and bring him to justice. Nevertheless to know the man at the mercy of Dr Cattrell and his accomplice made Ichabod shudder, when he recalled the fate of Dr Cattrells other victims. On the other hand somehow, deep inside, he was happy that Dr Cattrell had escaped. He felt guilty because of this thought, but he could not help it. And the Doctors touch of his hand, his lips on his own, claiming, demanding ... he could not help to become aroused by this thought ...
The next day, Ichabod left for New York and arrived there four days later. It was around noon, and so he went straight to the Watch House to submit his report. And to see Robert Williams, of course.
They could not fall into each others arms, as they both wished. Even when they were alone at the Watch House or somewhere in public, they kept a formal distance. But the lovers looks said more than any words could convey...
Hearing from his secretary that Constable Crane was back and had submitted his report, the High Constable asked Ichabod at once into his office and ordered him to wait while he read the report.
Having finished the document, he looked at the young constable a bit friendlier.
"Burgomaster Van Rijn has already received word from his family that Jonathan is with his parents and his grandmother again, safe and sound. And his nephew mentioned especially that the family has a lot to thank you for."
"I only did what you sent me there for, Sir." Ichabod answered.
//There it is again. You say something kind, and he becomes distant.// the High Constable thought.
"I am sure the Burgomaster will tell you personally how grateful his family is." he continued.
"Yes, Sir." Ichabod said. He felt as empty and tired as in Baltimore, when Mr and Mrs Van Rijn had expressed their gratitude to him. Why was this? Because he knew they had no idea that Jonathan would have to fight with his terrible experience for years to come? Because families never had any idea? That they always thought all was well when they had their lost loved one back alive?
"Your report says that this Dr Cattrell yielded his information about Galloway because you answered his questions about your childhood? That man really is insane. Why should he want to know anything about the childhood of someone who is a total stranger to him?" The High Constable looked puzzled.
"Dr Cattrell asks questions other people would not ask." Ichabod answered. He was a bit annoyed. The strain of the last few days showed. "If I remember correctly, he also asked Mr and Mrs Van Rijn strange questions. And I was sent to Baltimore to try my special methods because of his strange questions."
//There. He is being impertinent again!// the High Constable thought.
"Your work on the case was highly unusual." he continued, ignoring Ichabods slightly sharp tone. If someone was to take on a sharp tone, it was him. "You act on your own, relying on the hint of a dangerous madman. But it probably was the right thing to do."
This time, Ichabod said nothing, so the High Constable went on.
"And this Dr Cattrell escaped from the asylum, turned up in Galloways house and forced you at gunpoint to leave with the boy, before you could arrest Galloway?"
"So two, maybe three dangerous criminals, if you count the other man, Cattrells accomplice, went free?"
"I had the choice to take the boy and leave, or the choice to get shot, and Dr Cattrell would have gotten what he wanted anyway." Ichabod answered wearily.
"I see." the High Constable nodded. "Well, Cattrell, his accomplice and Galloway are Commander Crawfords problems at the moment. You did what you could. Thank you, Constable Crane. You may go now."
"Thank you, Sir." Ichabod turned to leave, glad that the questioning was over.
"Constable Crane!" his superior called after him.
Ichabod sighed inwardly.
"Go home now. Take a rest. You will report to duty as usual tomorrow morning."
"Thank you, Sir."
He went home. Katrina and Mary hugged him, glad to see him again. As the wives of men who worked with police matters, they had long ceased to ask any questions connected to their profession.
"Piece of pie?" Mary Williams asked.
"That would be wonderful."
"At your service, Constable Crane. Mission accomplished?"
Ichabod looked a bit embarrassed. Would the questions never end? But he could not be annoyed with Mary or with his wife.
"Yes. And no." And Ichabod would not say more at the moment. Katrina would learn everything soon enough from the Burgomasters wife. Now, that the boy was reunited with his family, Mrs Van Rijn would tell everyone who wanted to hear it and also the people who did not want to hear it how wise her husband had been in ordering the Chief of New York Police to send that strange young constable with his special methods to Baltimore to solve the case.
Instead of telling more about his work, he asked what they had done during his absence.
"Missed you, friend and husband." was all Katrina said and hugged him again.
When Robert came home, Ichabod was already asleep, but Robert thought there was no harm in trying. He slipped into the bed as well, took his lover into his arms and kissed him softly, woke him with his tender kisses, aroused him, gently made love to him. And Ichabod forgot everything: His bewilderment about Dr Cattrell, his pangs of guilt because of Galloway, the pain from the old wounds Cattrell had opened again. There was just Robert: His clean, healthy smell, his dark green eyes, his nimble tongue, the tender skin of his body, his strong hands and fine cock. Only now Ichabod felt how much he had missed his lover and friend, and in the privacy of their bedroom he told him everything: About Commander Crawford, about the asylum, about Dr Chilton and the wardens, about Miggs, and about Dr Cattrell. About Galloway and about Dr Cattrell again.
Robert listened intently without interrupting his lover.
"I would watch my back if I was that Dr Chilton." he finally said. "This surely is one of the strangest stories Ive ever heard. And I have listened to other strange stories from you, Ichabod Crane! I only hope you have heard the last of Dr Cattrell!"
Roberts hope, however, should not be fulfilled...
Two days after his return to New York, Ichabod was called to the High Constable again. The Burgomaster was present as well. His piercing black eyes again assessed Ichabod, who silently thought that neither the Burgomasters nephew nor his grand-nephew looked much like him.
"Well, Constable Crane," he said, "I understand that my family is greatly indebted to you. My nephew and my niece make it very clear that you succeeded in establishing some contact to this strange man in the asylum, and he yielded information to you about Jonathans abductor and his whereabouts."
Ichabod said nothing, and the Burgomaster continued.
"Commander Crawford endorses what my family tells me." He frowned, which looked menacing in an old man of his height. "But the Baltimore City Council also forwarded the complaint from a certain Dr Frederick Chilton, Head of Baltimore Asylum, to the content of accusing Commander Jacob Crawford, Head of Baltimore Police, to have sent a certain Ichabod Crane, New York Police Constable, to his asylum to question the inmate Dr Tiberius Cattrell. He complained that the said constable behaved rudely and refused to yield information to him about his conversations with the said patient. Furthermore he accuses said Constable Crane of disturbing the asylum routine to a degree which enabled said Dr Cattrell to escape. What do you have to say to this, Constable Crane?"
"It is correct that I refused to inform Dr Chilton about the content of my conversations with Dr Cattrell, because they were connected to an unsolved case." Ichabod said, and he thought: //I hope Commander Crawford fought back.//
"As far as I know, Baltimore City Council at the moment is verifying Commander Jacob Crawfords statement that Dr Frederick Chilton was trying to obstruct police procedures by trying to veto the admission of the said Constable to the asylum. Besides, a commission is now debating whether the security system in the asylum is sufficient, and whether there are enough male attendants. Furthermore, another commission has found irregularities in Dr Chiltons books. It seems as if money donated to the asylum by some of the richest Baltimore citizens mysteriously found its way into Dr Chiltons private pockets." The High Constable added.
"This is off the record, of course." He threw Ichabod a stern look.
Ichabod suppressed a smile.
The Burgomaster spoke again.
"Apart from your strange methods, Constable Crane, you perform your duties always correctly, punctually and regularly. So, with regard to your services to New York Police, I thought a rise in salary would be in order. We thought of one dollar a month."
"Thank you, Sir." Ichabod remained formal, although he was happy. //Flowers for Katrina and Mary. And a new vest for Robert. The green cloth he wants so much //
"By the way, theyve found Galloway." the High Constable again.
Ichabod suddenly felt cold.
"Found?" he asked hesitatingly.
"Yes. He is still alive. And Crawford got a letter from Dr Cattrell."
"That impertinence!" the Burgomaster threw in.
"How is he?" Ichabod wanted to know.
The High Constable shook himself. "The child molester, you mean? He was buried in a coffin, his mouth and eyes sewn shut."
"Horrible!" the Burgomaster again.
Ichabod shuddered. Dr Cattrells idea of punishing people who annoyed him ...
"I wonder how much they will get out of him." the High Constable continued. "Doesnt look good for him anyway. Police searched his house, and they found bones."
"Bones?" Ichabod asked.
"Human bones. The bones of children, in that library in the basement. Three skeletons so far. Two with their skulls bashed in."
Ichabod thought of the skull on Galloways desk. It had been intact. //Probably street urchins no one cared for and no one missed. I knew Jonathan was not the first child to be kept there. But why did he take a boy with a family now? A boy who would be missed? Because Jonathan was better educated and he had more hopes to influence him his way? Or because he found him attractive?//
"Horrible!" the Burgomaster repeated. His voice was shaking a bit.
"Apart from the stuff Constable Crane mentioned in his report, those manacles and whips, they are still sorting through the books and papers they found in Galloways basement."
//Strange.// Ichabod thought. //A part of me wants to be in Baltimore to take part in the procedures. But another part is happy that it is none of my business...//
The High Constables loud voice tore him from his musings.
"Gentlemen as these facts concern pending police procedures, it goes without saying that the information is strictly confidential!" Ichabod noted that his stern look also met the Burgomasters gaze.
"Yes, Sir." he said, and with a gracious nod the High Constable and the Burgomaster send him away to his duties.
A month later, the High Constable called Ichabod to his office again.
"I got a letter from Commander Crawford today." High Constable Van Beek said without an introduction. "Galloway was hanged two days ago. He confessed the murder of three unidentified boys whose names he gave as Casper, Samuel and Joseph, and was found guilty. He also confessed to having captured another boy, Jonathan Van Rijn. He confessed to have taken the boys to force them to perform unnatural acts with him, referring to misunderstood ideas about old Greece."
"Are there any hints as to where Dr Cattrell might be?" Ichabod asked.
"Not a trace of Cattrell and his mysterious accomplice." Van Beek answered. "Well, Commander Crawford asked me to inform you, and he expresses his gratitude for your help in this case."
"Thank you, Sir." Ichabod answered politely.
"Thats all, Constable Crane. You may go now."
An hour later, on his way home, Mad Johnny, the young man from the streets, about whom Ichabod had thought when visiting the asylum, suddenly stood in front of him. Robert sometimes had slept with Mad Johnny before Ichabod became his lover, and Dog Man, for whom Mad Johnny worked, was Roberts friend.
The young man held out an envelope.
"Letter for ya."
He pushed the letter into Ichabods hand and wanted to slip away, but Ichabod was faster and caught Johnnys thin wrist. He had a strange feeling about the message ...
"Wait a minute. Who gave you this letter?"
Mad Johnny shuffled his dirty feet and pulled up his dress to scratch himself. He smiled shyly at Ichabod.
"Custmer." Johnny finally said. "Gentleman. Very plite. Talked posh. Fine suit. Big face. Funny eyes, sorta brown, but light. Looks at me so strangely n asks me if it hurt the first time."
Ichabod had grown pale. He released Mad Johnnys wrist.
//This is not possible! He is wanted wherever he goes, and he is here in New York! Maybe even close at the moment!//
"When did you get the letter?"
Mad Johnny scratched his nose.
"Right some time ago. Asks me whether I dare go near a constble n told me what ya look like. Gave me good money! Ya know him?"
Ichabod nodded slowly. "Yes." he answered thoughtfully. "Yes, I think I know him."
"Lots a dead people round him." Mad Johnny said. "Fat man with his face cut right off. Woman with a half-eaten face. Man all cut up, evrything hanging out."
"He is dangerous, Johnny."
Johnny nodded and then shrugged, unimpressed. Some of his customers were dangerous, but this man had not been after him, despite his question. He was after the Constable, but not in a mean way. Otherwise, Johnny would not have delivered the letter. He felt such things ... He had thought of the constable sometimes. He would also have kicked the bad man who looked so friendly. A street rat never fights fair ...
"Must be off now, find me some more custmers." he said. "Ya know, if you n Mister Robert want a number three in your bed ..." He grinned saucily.
Ichabod gave him a stern look, but he suppressed a smile, despite his worry.
"Off with you!"
Mad Johnny hurried away. For someone who might have watched the scene in this vicinity, a street urchin had delivered a message to a constable and had been admonished by him, probably because of the dress, improper for a young man. And his instincts told Ichabod they had been watched ... Johnny had felt it too ...
Completely against his habits, he went to a guest house and ordered something to drink. At the moment, he wanted to be among strangers, to have company and yet to be alone.
He looked at the letter more closely. The paper was fine, white and strong, except for some fingerprints where Mad Johnny had touched it strangely comforting. The seal just a blotch of sealing wax, a bit smeared, as if applied in a hurry. The front side showed the words "Mr Ichabod Crane" in an elegant, gracious and yet strong handwriting. No sender was given.
Ichabod broke the seal.
"Dear Ichabod Crane," the letter began, "For some time I have thought about intensifying our contact, but I decided against it. The world is much more interesting with you in it. I will not call upon you and I trust you will extend the same courtesy to me.
I heard, Galloway has confessed and has been hanged. You have your special methods, Constable Crane, to make people talk, and I have mine. I apologise for depriving you of the opportunity to test your methods on James Galloway, but you must admit that mine have proved effective enough.
How is Young Ichabod these days, by the way? Three of his brothers did no longer need his help, but I hope it made him glad that he freed another one and brought about the downfall of their tormentor.
I would have liked to continue the interesting conversations we had down in the dungeon, when I still was Dr Chiltons guest however, this was not to be.
So I remain,
thanking for your precious time and effort
T. C., M. D.
Post Scriptum: Your lover must be a man of intelligence, taste, and discretion. I envy him. Under different circumstances, it would be my pleasure to meet him, I am sure.
T. C. "
Ichabod put the letter down onto the table before him and took a sip of his beer. He carefully looked around again, for he definitely had the feeling of being watched. But he could not detect anyone or anything suspicious ...
He went home, lost in thoughts. What was Dr Cattrell up to now? Did he intend to stay in the country, or would he leave? Had he left already? What to do? Was Cattrell to be trusted in his promise not to come after him? What to make of the Post Scriptum?
His remarks about Young Ichabod and his "brothers" had cut deep he had put into words exactly how Ichabod felt about the boys Galloway had killed and about Jonathan, whom he had abducted, beaten and abused.
And there was another question Dr Cattrell had been so precise in finding out about Young Ichabod his gift of deduction had been uncanny. Where did he derive his ideas from? What about Young Tiberius? Could he have a dark secret in his past as well, and what might it be?
The "Liberty", bound for Bremen, slowly left New York Harbour. As the weather was rough, most of the passengers were below deck, in the shelter of their cabins, and only a few watched their departure from the New World.
Two gentlemen stood a bit apart. One of them was Professor Horace Fell, Doctor of Philosophy, the Fine Arts, and Natural History. Ichabod would have known him under his true name, Dr. Tiberius Cattrell. He was en route to apply for the post of the curator of a famous museum in Florence.
The other was a tall young man in his mid-twenties, slender, but with wide shoulders. He had long hair, which he had bound back with a fine string of leather, and the black curly strands fluttered wildly in the wind. His face was handsome and strong, in earlier times it would have graced a coin, maybe but it also was haughty and cruel, and the first signs of a rakish life made themselves shown. All in all, he had the air of someone who was accustomed to having every wish fulfilled, every order obeyed, every whim respected, and should this on a rare occasion not be the case, he would take drastic measures to let this disobedience never happen again.
So far, he had not seemed to have noticed his companion, who had joined him shortly before the ship had left. Now he addressed him.
"What was so important, Professor, that you left the ship again almost at the last minute? And what was so important about it you barely made it back in time?"
"You are right, Mason." The Professor answered curtly. "It was important." And something in his voice even silenced the spoilt young man, whose father was the richest merchant in Boston.
No. He would never tell that he had to see the young constable again before he left, least of all Young Verger as long as Mr Crane would keep out of his way. That much he had promised to the little girl a bunch of hunger-crazed mercenaries had eaten in a time long ago, in a country far away, ravaged by war, where Young Tiberius had not been able to save her.
He would sometimes be near Crane, sometimes far away. But as long as he kept away from Dr Cattrell noli tangere circulos meos Crane and his loved ones would be safe from him.
He had other things to do ...
© 2002 by Heather Sparrows
Part 1 of 3 / Part 2 of 3 / Part 3 of 3
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Diese Fanfiction dient zur Unterhaltung und ist ohne jedes finanzielles Interesse.
Verantwortung und Copyright verbleiben bei den jeweiligen Autoren.
Die Figuren aus den Romanen Red Dragon,
The Silence of the Lambs und Hannibal gehören Thomas Harris.
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