Special Methods

by Heather Sparrows

A "classical" "Sleepy Hollow" Slash Story, featuring the by now famous pair Ichabod – Horseman.

A "Silence of the Lambs" / "Sleepy Hollow" crossover.

Mild Slash, i. e. sexual contact between men is implied.

Otherwise: A dark story ... but romantic.

Pairing: Dr Tiberius Cattrell / Ichabod Crane

Everyone will know and recognise the man I call Dr Tiberius Cattrell in this story. He has many names, but is originally the creation of author Thomas Harris, masterfully brought to life on film by Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Demme and Ridley Scott – so far.
Fewer people may know Ichabod Crane, originally Washington Irving’s scarecrow schoolmaster, transformed by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp into a New York Police Constable with a lot of inner demons.
The following story is set in the early years of the Nineteenth Century.
People may hate me for it, but I found the idea irresistible to put this famous man some people think of as a monster two hundred years in the past. The other name? Just a whim. And – maybe this is only the imagination of my warped mind – I have always seen certain parallels between the female Special Agent and the Constable – apart from their family names both naming birds.
Readers will recognise a few other characters and know to whom they belong. The people you haven’t met before are my own creations.
And now: Enjoy!

Constables Crane and Moran had just ended their shift when Mr Williams, the High Constable’s secretary, approached them.

"The High Constable wants to see you at once, Constable Crane."

Ichabod Crane, who had been glad his shift was over, sighed inwardly. He was tired and hungry and had looked forward to getting home. His colleague Moran, a rotund, middle-aged man, threw him a half quizzical, half pitying glance and left them alone. Ichabod watched him leave, before he turned his attention to the secretary.

"Thank you, Mr Williams. I will go to him at once." He threw the High Constable’s right hand a "do-you-have-an-idea-what-he-wants-of-me?" look, as two other constables, whose shift just started, entered the room.

Mr Williams shook his head slightly. "Ah – could I trouble you to take this along to him, Constable Crane?" The small, elegant secretary held out a sealed letter to the young constable.

Ichabod’s dark eyes met the secretary’s eyes. He took the letter, and their fingers touched for a moment, as if accidentally.

They had been lovers for about two years now.

Ichabod knocked at the door to the High Constable’s office, and on entering, found his superior in the company of the Burgomaster. He greeted the two men respectfully and put the letter on the desk in front of the High Constable.

Instead of answering his greeting, the Burgomaster, a tall old man, who had a strong resemblance to a bird of prey, scrutinised the young man from his considerable height with piercing dark eyes. Burgomaster Van Rijn towered over most other men, and he loved the intimidating effect his dark clothing, his height and piercing gaze had on some people.

Ichabod knew him for this, and he met the assessing gaze calmly.

The Burgomaster frowned, because the young constable stood his ground. There was doubt in his eyes.

"You think him right for this task?" he asked the High Constable brusquely.

High Constable Van Beek, being much shorter than the Burgomaster, but sturdier, with a hard, pock-marked face, turned his attention away from the letter he had been reading, and faced Ichabod.

"A special case demands a special method." he answered. It sounded grudgingly admiring. "And Constable Crane likes to put his special methods to the test."

They are talking about me as if I was not even here, Ichabod thought. I don’t like it ... Not at all. There must be something very serious at hand ...

"Don’t you, Constable Crane?!" his superior asked impatiently, when there was no reaction from the young man, interrupting Ichabod’s thoughts.

Ichabod caught himself quickly.

"I did not know you addressed me right now, Sir." he answered respectfully.

The High Constable gave him an irritated look. Why did he feel reproached by the impertinent young fellow?

"But if I knew more about the case in which special methods are required, I would be glad to give you my opinion, Gentlemen." Ichabod continued.

"You have heard about the case of Dr Cattrell?" the Burgomaster asked in his blunt manner.

"The Baltimore Cannibal". Ichabod affirmed, speaking the grisly word matter-of-factly. He paused for a moment. "I have heard the name, but I am only vaguely familiar with the case."

He sounds interested, but he is cautious, the Burgomaster thought. He has of course studied every detail of the case he could get his hands on. At least, this would fit the picture Van Beek gives of him. He was right, although there had not been very much information by the newspapers to be taken seriously. For once, reality had been far worse than the fantasy of the newspaper correspondents ...

"So far, he has admitted to killing three men and one woman, eating parts of their bodies." High Constable Van Beek explained grimly, for the time being unwilling to give away any information that had not been in the papers.

Ichabod shuddered inwardly, but remained outwardly calm. Only his eyelids moved more rapidly for a moment. So what I read was true ...

"I thought Baltimore Police caught him?"

"We have problems in Baltimore." the Burgomaster explained. He looked directly at the young constable. "I have problems in Baltimore. And Dr Cattrell is part of these problems. My sister’s grandson did not come home from school, and Commander Crawford of Baltimore Police informed me they have reason to believe that Cattrell knows that someone holds the boy captive and who this – person is." He looked worried and old as he spoke.

"How could he know something? As far as I know, he was captured a month ago, and he was in prison when your grandson disappeared. When – by the way?"

"The boy has been missing for three days now. And so far, no attempt has been made to contact our family, to collect ransom or the reward my nephew has set out for anyone who might give us a clue as to where the boy could be. Only Cattrell hinted at knowing something about Jonathan’s whereabouts. And gave us hope the boy is still alive."

"And do you think it possible?" Ichabod asked cautiously. "Don’t you think Dr Cattrell might only be after the reward – or some other advantages? And what is your opinion about the idea that your grandson has been abducted?"

The Burgomaster bared his long horse teeth, as if he wanted to tear up the throat of the man or the men who had harmed his family.

"Commander Crawford is no fool. If he thinks there might be something to what this – Doctor says, I believe him. Besides – the only advantage I see for Cattrell is that his hanging might be postponed for a while! Otherwise, I only know that my sister and my niece are in terrible anguish, and I want the boy to be found! And to be found in good health!"

"I understand this, Sir." Ichabod answered, and somehow, this seemed to calm down the worried old man.

"One of the men Cattrell killed had been strongly suspected of having murdered a child." he continued.

"Did Dr Cattrell hint in any way at the idea that these cases might be related?" Ichabod asked. He himself had learned to mistrust such obvious relations, but his superiors often did not.

"It might be accidental, and it embitters me to rely on the whims of a convicted murderer, a madman even, but I want each hint to be followed." the Burgomaster answered.

"Of course." the young constable agreed. "But there is one point I do not understand so far: If Dr Cattrell might know something about the people who hold your sister’s grandson captive, I still do not see the reason why Baltimore Police needs our help." He knew well that with this question he had poked the stick into the wasps’ nest. But if his superiors had decided to assign him to special missions since he had solved the Sleepy Hollow murders, he wanted to know as much as possible about what would await him in a new case and why he was sent. It was difficult: They sent him away to find out the truth, relying on his wit and his scientific methods, but on the other hand they did not like him asking questions ...

"The problem is: Cattrell is playing games." The Burgomaster continued, pacing the room, stopping abruptly in front of the young constable. "He now suddenly refuses to talk to my niece, my nephew and my sister!"

Ichabod shook his head. This did not make sense. He knew the Burgomaster and the High Constable were aware of this as well and somehow hoped he would find a reason for the murderous doctor’s behaviour.

An interesting prospect, he thought ironically. But certainly a challenge ...

"Jack Crawford, Commander of Baltimore Police, will be able to tell you more." the High Constable added.

"You will leave tomorrow." the Burgomaster said as his final word, concluding the conversation, overriding any possible objections. "And may God help you find Jonathan!"

"And your special methods." the High Constable added.

With these words in his ears, Ichabod was free to go.

Four days later, an exhausted Constable Ichabod Crane from New York Police presented himself to Commander Crawford, Head of Baltimore Police.

Jack Crawford, a tall, slender man with a gaunt, ascetic face, despite his uniform more resembling a man of science than a police officer, looked sharply at the scrawny, dishevelled young man from New York. His clothes were still rumpled from the long journey, his face pale, almost as pretty as a girl’s. The first moment Crawford felt angry and betrayed by his New York colleagues, but then he relented.

From what Van Beek had said, he had expected a middle-aged man, someone appearing more professional and experienced. But long years of service had taught him never to underestimate people. The man was older than he had seemed at first glance, more in his late than in his early twenties. His fine features spoke of a sharp mind and a certain tenacity. And behind the fussy, slightly prissy behaviour Crawford sensed an inner strength, growing, developing ... Strange, but undeniable. Besides: The missing boy’s grand uncle was the Burgomaster of New York, and Van Beek would send his friend no fool to aid him in such an important case ...

Crawford folded his hands on the rough desk in front of him, after he had offered the young man a seat.

"I will make you familiar with the case as briefly as possible. – Seven days ago, nine-year-old Jonathan Van Rijn vanished on his way home from school. The family’s and our efforts to find him so far have been unsuccessful. The Van Rijn family excludes motives of revenge, and I believe them. Mr Van Rijn is a merchant in cloth, well to do, but not wealthy and influential enough to get in someone’s way."

He saw Ichabod’s doubtful look.

"We have investigated, Constable Crane, and investigated again. Unless there are very dark secrets in this family, we have no reason to assume revenge or enmity as a motive for an abduction. So I must admit we have no clue whatsoever who might keep the boy. If someone still holds him at all."

"You fear the worst?" Ichabod asked.

"We cannot exclude the possibility that Jonathan is already dead, by accident or by whatever reason." Commander Crawford answered bluntly. – "Enter Dr Tiberius Cattrell, who is awaiting his trial as the special guest of honour in our local asylum. Cattrell gave hints that he believes Jonathan to be still alive. Furthermore, he hinted at knowing who might have abducted the boy, and he wished to see Jonathan’s parents."

"So you rely on the word of a convicted murderer?" Ichabod had to ask this question, although it was disrespectful.

Crawford did not seem to mind.

"We cannot afford to disregard a hint which might save the boy’s life, Constable Crane. "

"Of course not." Ichabod agreed. "And it goes without saying that the boy’s family grasped the straw."

"Yes." Commander Crawford confirmed grimly. "They got permission to visit him, and he told them about an acquaintance, James Galloway. Galloway’s desire for company goes towards young boys, as Dr Cattrell says."

Ichabod drew in his breath with a hissing sound. Almost inaudible, but Crawford heard it, although he was not sure what to make of it.

"Cattrell left no doubt about the boy’s life being in danger." he continued. "And then he started to play his game: He did not say anything about where Galloway could be found. Instead, he asked the parents horrible, unbelievable questions they refused to answer."

"Such as?" Ichabod asked.

"Whether Mrs Van Rijn had breast-fed Jonathan herself, whether she had enjoyed it, and whether her husband had drunk from her breasts as well." Crawford recited, without showing any embarrassment. Ichabod shook his head, as if in disbelief.

"Which brings me to Dr Cattrell himself," Crawford continued. "First of all: A committee of doctors tried to assess him, I spoke to him – and we cannot be sure whether he speaks the truth or whether he plays with the hopes of two parents in despair and sends Baltimore Police after a chimera. I admit: he has pulled a ring through our noses and is jerking us around."

"Would he be capable of such a thing?" Ichabod asked.

Crawford looked straight into his eyes. He began to like the young man, who listened intently and asked few, but precise questions. In contrast to his New York colleague, High Constable Van Beek, he was not annoyed about the young man questioning permanently what he said. Commander Crawford did not feel his authority endangered by sceptical or critical questions from the people he worked with.

"Unfortunately, yes." He bluntly answered Ichabod’s question. "Dr Cattrell is no average man. He is learned, well-bred, charming, with the manners of a real gentleman. His intellectual capacities are far above average. So he makes his own rules, rules no one knows except him. But everyone has to obey them."

"I see." Ichabod said thoughtfully, and it did not sound like a mere phrase.

"Imagine now this gentleman equipped with the agility and ruthlessness of a beast of prey –"

"— and the same tastes." Ichabod finished the sentence. With somebody else, the last remark could have had the air of being eager to impress a superior with his sharp wit. But not with this young man here ...

"And the same tastes." Crawford repeated affirmatively. "But with a kind of quirky morals. – Two years ago, the famous opera singer Maurizio Petrelli was found dead in a coach on the outskirts of Baltimore. His face was missing. Someone had carefully peeled it off. Someone with highly developed surgical skills. Dr Cattrell later said that it was done while the victim was fully conscious, and that this was the cause of death."

He paused and looked at the young constable who had opened a ledger and had begun to take notes. He seemed very serious and professional, fully occupied with listening and jutting down important details.

The young man looked up, and behind the unruly mass of black hair, the pretty face, the dark, burning eyes, Crawford felt the sharp mind at work, something he often sorely missed in his colleagues – and sadly in the learned doctors, who had given their opinion in this case as well.

"Only this year we found out what might have put Cattrell against Petrelli: The latter had an unhealthy interest in female children. Mrs Carrington, a widow who had been Petrelli’s landlady, told the police he had approached her two nine and seven-year old daughters. "

"After two years?"

"After two years. – And there is more: We had another girl missing, who was found dead later on. The missing girl’s shoes and a locket she had worn were found among Petrelli’s possessions. Whether he murdered her we cannot say for sure, because she never turned up so far, neither dead nor alive."

Ichabod nodded thoughtfully, and Crawford continued. "Two months after Petrelli, a certain Joseph Lister was found dead in his room. He resembled a famous Italian painting of Saint Sebastian. I do not know whether this means anything to you – ?"

"A martyr. Killed by countless arrow wounds." Ichabod threw in.

"Right." Crawford confirmed. "The victim was known by men of a certain – persuasion. An informant told us that he lived from threatening to inform the families of some of his richer and more indiscreet – customers, and being well paid for his silence. – The third victim was Sarah Stuyvesant, a nurse at the Sisters of the Holy Cross, better known as Sister Constantia, strongly suspected of sometimes molesting hapless patients – which one of her fellow sisters confirmed. The Mother Superior admitted to having admonished the deceased in this regard. Sister Constantia was savagely attacked on her way to the dormitory, obviously bitten to death, her face and other parts of her body torn away, as if she had been attacked by a savage animal."

"A nun? In the secluded area of the hospital, serving as the Holy Sisters’ living quarters?" Ichabod shook his head again.

"Dr. Cattrell sometimes used to take on the duties of a colleague at the hospital." Crawford informed him. – "Victim number four:" he continued relentlessly. "Samuel Prendergast – one of my men. He and Cattrell had been friends. Prendergast had been secretly suspecting him of the murders the police force had to deal with. He had made a lot of notes which he played into our hands. But Prendergast tried to be too clever."

"Did he try to blackmail Dr Cattrell?" Ichabod asked.

"Correct. – He made a double move – to get enough money from his former friend to leave the police force – and to deliver him into our hands anyway."

"So despite what he knew from his notes, he underestimated Dr Cattrell." Ichabod stated.

"Correct." Crawford repeated. "His landlady found him – eviscerated. Some of his inner organs were missing – the heart, the liver, the brain."

"Is there any proof, Dr Cattrell actually – ate them?" Ichabod asked. "His name ‘The Baltimore Cannibal’ – is it justified in any way?"

Crawford cleared his throat.

"The evening before we found Prendergast, Cattrell had entertained a few guests for dinner: Professor Lawrence, the head of our university, Medical Department, Mr Geoffrey, our Burgomaster, and their wives. The main course was a pie Dr Cattrell had made himself."

Ichabod turned very pale, and Crawford noticed that his hand holding the ledger tightened its grip. It seemed as if he tried to suppress a gagging sound.

"How did you find out it was him?" he asked when he had caught himself again.

"Bad luck for him, good luck for us." Crawford admitted. "I could not sleep that night, so I found Prendergast’s notes in the mail at night instead of in the morning. I alarmed all the men I could get hold of, and as I said, we were lucky. Cattrell’s coach had had an accident. He tried to get away on foot, but we caught him. Even before we found Prendergast."

Crawford pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes, as if giving all this information to Ichabod had exhausted him.

"High Constable Van Beek told me, Dr Cattrell had admitted to have murdered the people you named. And to eating parts of them." Ichabod’s sentences were more a question than a statement.

"This is true." Commander Crawford confirmed. "Confronted with Prendergast’s notes, he admitted everything, but said he regretted nothing. In his opinion, these people were to die – not so much because of what they had done, but because they had annoyed him."

"Annoyed him?" Ichabod asked.

"He said, Petrelli had been a bad singer, and it had been pure torture to hear him sing Händel. Lister had been a parasite, Sister Constantia a bad nurse, upsetting the patients, and Prendergast a Judas."

"So he wants to better the world, or maybe his world, ridding it of people he finds – undesirable?" Ichabod asked.

Crawford shook his head.

"It is not that easy, unfortunately. – As I said, he killed his victims, because they annoyed him somehow. They violated rules only known to him. So the reasons he gave for killing them may not necessarily be right. As I said, he likes playing games."

Ichabod frowned.

"We put him into the asylum." Crawford continued. "And now he comes up with that talk of said James Galloway, who might have the boy."

Ichabod looked up from his ledger, straight into the policeman’s face.

"Is there any proof of Dr Cattrell’s statement about such a person? – Did you look for a person of that name?"

"Of course we did. But to no avail." Crawford said.

"In your opinion, Commander Crawford – what might Dr Cattrell be aiming at? What will he gain from playing games with you? With the boy’s family? You say he is mad, but –"

Crawford got up and Ichabod did the same, closing his ledger.

"Some delinquents, Constable Crane, find it amusing in a perverted way to play tricks. They want to show how clever they are. But I do not even know whether this is the case with Dr Cattrell. Maybe he is only playing for time to scheme his escape. And he knows quite well he cannot play this game forever."

Ichabod nodded again.

"And why of all people should he talk to me?" he asked.

"Why not?" Crawford bluntly asked back. "You are a ‘neutral party’. He refuses to talk to the head of the asylum, Dr Chilton, or to any of his colleagues. He leaves no doubt that he thinks of them as – idiots. He refused to talk to Jonathan’s parents, probably because they refused to answer his questions. He also refused to talk to me. I have been Prendergast’s superior."

"And why do you think he will talk to me, Commander Crawford?" Ichabod repeated his question.

The Commander thought for a moment, then he said in a very decisive tone: "Constable Crane, on my conscience I cannot advise you to question Dr Cattrell. – On the other hand you might be the last hope of a family in despair."

"And why do you advise me then not to question Dr Cattrell?" Ichabod asked.

"For various reasons." Crawford answered. "First: Do not underestimate him physically. He is quicker and stronger than you might think, and he does not know any scruples to hurt another human being. I lost three of my men before we caught him. – So I ask you to follow all instructions to the letter, Dr Chilton may give you with regard to security."

Ichabod nodded a third time.

"Second: My idea is, Dr Cattrell also preys on other people’s minds and emotions. In my opinion, his questions to the Van Beeks had no other purpose. – So my advice is: Do not let him into your mind, Constable Crane."

Ichabod looked openly into Crawford’s eyes.

"What did High Constable Van Beek tell you about me, Commander Crawford? I repeat my question: Why does he, why do you think I’d have a chance Dr Cattrell would talk to me?"

Commander Crawford answered Ichabod’s open look.

"He described you as – different. He said you have a way to make people talk."

Ichabod thought this over for a moment.

"Letting him into my mind might be the only way to get access to him." he said.

"And that’s the point." Crawford confirmed. "This is why I do not like the idea of you meeting Dr Cattrell at all. You open up to him, he will get access to you – and God help you, Constable Crane. I do not need to tell you that we all have sore spots or dark places in our minds we do not like to be touched. You are a policeman. And I assume Dr Cattrell will go for these places. His ability to find them is uncanny. – At least be careful!"

"I will." Ichabod promised, knowing at the same time this would be impossible. "One other thing, Sir. I’d like to have the documents on all the cases related to Dr Cattrell – drawings of the crime scenes, Prendergast’s notes, everything. Would this be possible?"

"I had hoped you would want them." Crawford said. He went to a small cabinet and took out a ledger and four briefcases. "You will understand however, that they are not to leave this office."

Ichabod spent the next three hours in a corner of the spacious office, using the windowsill as a table, studying, making notes, engrossed in the cases, only stopping out of politeness, when the Commander invited him for lunch. During the meal, he was silent and thoughtful.

He spent another hour in his corner at the window, then he handed back the documents.

"I am finished for today." he said. "But maybe I’ll have to reread passages ...?"

"The documents will be at your disposal, Constable Crane." Crawford promised. "If you should want to look up something before you’ll visit Dr Cattrell tomorrow –"

"Today, Sir." the young man corrected him.

Crawford looked at him.

Why do I like him? Yes, he reminds me of Prendergast. The same eagerness. But he is different. Prendergast was ambitious, he thought of how his career might prosper when he gave us Dr Cattrell. At least it seemed that way, until we found out that he was playing with two decks of cards. – This young man here is not ambitious, not for himself. I don’t know what Crane is after, I really don’t know ...

"You should rest before you see Dr Cattrell. Nothing is gained if you present yourself to him exhausted. You might spoil more than you’d do good."

Ichabod looked at him, and the Commander was shocked by the dark eyes. One moment the look of a frightened child, eager to bring something unpleasant behind him, the next moment coldly resolved.

"Every moment might be important for the boy." he said, and it was clear he meant it.

Without any further word, Crawford took a sheet of paper and wrote down a few lines, signing it and putting sand on the ink, blowing it off and handing the paper to Ichabod, who folded it carefully.

"This is your permit to see Dr Cattrell. – But at least have a short rest before you present yourself at the asylum, Constable Crane. And – good luck!"

That same afternoon, Ichabod went to the asylum. He had rested a bit, but had been unable to sleep. Instead, he had carefully read all his notes again. But frankly, he had no idea how to obtain the required information – if there was any information to be obtained at all.

The asylum was a huge, dark, forbearing grey stone building at the outskirts of town. It looked like a fortress. Ichabod, although working in another huge, dark building holding prison cells and sometimes strongly resembling a madhouse, felt cold.

He went up to the giant door and knocked. A burly warden in a black uniform asked what he wanted and lead him through a long, whitewashed corridor into Dr Chilton’s office.

"Dr Chilton will see you soon, Sir." he said.

Doesn’t he have a secretary? Ichabod wondered. There must be a lot of paperwork.

The office looked empty and cold, despite the big oaken desk and rows and rows of books along two walls. The polished surface of the desk was perfectly empty, and the books – as far as Ichabod could see at a short glance, all dealing with various illnesses of mind and body – looked as if they had never been read. So the whole impression of the room was one of staginess.

This is just an official room for visitors, designed to impress them, Ichabod thought. He must have another office where he really works. Alright. But somehow it looks so – unreal.

His thoughts were interrupted by Dr Chilton’s arrival.

Dr Frederic Chilton, the Head of the Asylum, was a small middle-aged man with a receding hairline and bad teeth, but foppishly dressed in a light grey suit and a canary yellow vest. Normally Ichabod would have approved of the man’s neat appearance: His clothes were clean and well-pressed, his shirt fresh and white, his shoes well polished, and what was left of the hair was combed correctly and cut à la mode. But the foppish clothes and haircut clashed badly with Chilton’s pale-grey, unhealthy complexion and the bad teeth. A strong smell of lavender perfume assaulted Ichabod’s nose, but behind it he could smell the unpleasant odour of sweat, resulting from fear and insecurity. – The man seemed as phoney as his office.

The air of self-importance around Dr Chilton was almost visible when he read Commander Crawford’s permit to grant the bearer of the paper access to the inmate known as Dr Tiberius Cattrell.

He threw the paper on his neat, clean desk.

"So you think you can make Cattrell talk, Constable –" he looked at the letter again – "Crane?"

"I’ll just try, Sir." Ichabod answered.

Dr Chilton allowed himself a pitiful smile, saying You will see what will come of it.

"Very well." he said aloud in a tone which made perfectly clear that he was a busy man and could not be bothered further. He pulled a bell rope.

The burly warden who had lead Ichabod into the office, came in.

"Norton – Constable –" again a glance on Crawford’s permit – "Crane here – from New York" – Dr Chilton’s voice was full of contempt now – "has the official permission to visit Dr Cattrell. Take him down to the cells."

"Very well, Sir."

Ichabod indicated a slight bow towards Dr Chilton and started to follow the warden, when the Doctor called him back.

"Oh, Constable – Crane – a word of advice." he threw in the young constable’s direction. "Keep to the wall. Do not go near the bars of the cage. You are not allowed to hand anything to the prisoner or to accept anything from him. – Do I make myself clear?" All this was said in an annoyed voice, indicating You are so incompetent, you won’t know these things which any dumb schoolboy would know.

"If something should happen to you, Constable – Crane," Dr Chilton continued and bared his bad teeth for a moment in the caricature of a nasty smile, "I will wash my hands of it."

"Thank you for the warning, Dr Chilton." Ichabod answered with another light nod of the head. He felt quite well that Dr Chilton had expected him to be more respectful of his position, but nothing in the man evoked any respect in Ichabod. He understood that Dr Chilton felt annoyed by the police, sending a specially assigned constable to question one of his inmates, but he found that the doctor in his high position had no reason to be that rude to him. In his opinion, a very clear sign of Chilton’s insecurity.

Ichabod shrugged off his antipathy and tried to focus on the task for which he had come: To visit Dr Cattrell and to get information from him.

He followed the warden along the corridor and down many flights of steps. They passed a window, and Ichabod saw a small walled garden, where some people idly moved about.

"Some of the lighter cases." his companion explained. Ichabod saw that these patients were considerably well clothed and properly nourished. Not doubt they came from rich families who seemed to pay a lot to have the retarded cousin, the "impossible" uncle, the unloved brother, the old father out of their way...

"You also have female patients?" Ichabod asked, hurrying further downstairs behind the warden.

They stopped their descent and went along a short corridor which ended at a strong oaken door, reinforced with locks, bolts and bars.

"In the other wing." Norton answered the constable’s question. His face was immobile, but for a second there had been a lecherous gleam in his eyes, which made Ichabod shudder inwardly. He had heard of a case where the owner of a private asylum had turned the women’s tract into a brothel. And he did not believe that this scandal had been an exception. It seemed to be a frequent occurrence that inmates – in most cases female patients – were abused. But there rarely was any actual proof. If they would say anything about it at all – who would listen to a person considered to be mad?

He snapped back to the task at hand. Concentrate, Crane!

From behind the door he could hear muffled howls, screams, shouting, crying.

The warden turned to Ichabod.

"You ever had to do with the criminally insane before?`"

"No." Ichabod answered truthfully.

Norton shrugged, impassively.

"You do what the Doctor told you and you will be alright."

He banged at the door. Keys were turned, bolts and bars slid away, and another burly warden came into view.

"Visitor for Dr Cattrell." Norton explained. "Police." he added, when the other warden questioningly raised his eyebrows.

Without a word, the new warden stepped aside to let Ichabod enter, carefully closing the door behind him, sliding the bars and bolts into place again, turning the keys.

The noise, no longer muffled by the thick door, assaulted Ichabod’s ears.

"Security!" the warden explained, shouting over the noise. He had seen the young constable’s look at the bolted door.

This is worse than a normal prison, Ichabod thought. Much, much worse ...

"Doctor’s in the last cell!" Then warden motioned with his outstretched arm along the corridor.

Ichabod swallowed, realising that the man would not come with him. The wardens seemed to go in there only if their duties made it necessary. So he went into the corridor alone.

It seemed endless, and the noise and the smells were terrible. Ichabod tried not to hear the howls and cries, the sobs, the prayers, the curses, not to see the creatures in chains, clad in rags, or just a shirt, or being stark naked. Human beings like himself, following him along the length of their cages, some trying to throw themselves at the bars in utter fury, clawing for him like caged and badly treated animals...

Fleetingly he thought of charming, harmless Mad Johnny, a young male prostitute, sauntering through the streets around the New York Harbour in a ragged red dress. Johnny was lucky. He had people who cared for him, and he was not aggressive –

Another disturbing thought jumped at him: A group of boys, running after another boy – one had found the rhyme "Ichabod Crane goes insane!", and they all had taken it up, chasing him –

"I can smell your cock!" A voice hissed, close to him.

Ichabod flinched, torn away from his bad memories.

A scrawny, middle aged man, stark naked and almost bald, threw himself against the bars of his cage, spitting at Ichabod, missing him.

I have come too near to the bars. – Unforgivable! I have to concentrate!

Ichabod forced himself not to run the last few steps that brought him to the cell in which Dr Cattrell awaited his visitor.

He had not been sure what to expect after Commander Crawford’s report, after Dr Chilton’s warnings and after the turmoil he had just passed, but surely not this:

A man of middle height, clothed in a shirt and grey trousers, both torn and dirty now, but made from expensive cloth, wearing heavy chains on his wrists and ankles and also an iron ring round his neck, was standing in the last cell. Despite his dishevelled appearance and the heavy chains, he stood erect, apparently unconcerned by his surroundings, like a gentleman in his study, welcoming a visitor.

Ichabod’s sharp eyes noted the burly frame, which spoke of bodily strength. Dr. Cattrell also appeared agile and quick, and the young constable had to think of Commander Crawford comparing the Doctor to a beast of prey.

The Doctor had a massive head, the planes of his face appearing coarse, almost brutal at first glance, and yet a sharp, strong mind showed in the high forehead, the noble nose, and above all in the big eyes, which had a strange, maroon colour. The sharp intelligence and the unbroken strength radiating from the man set him sharply apart from his fellow inmates. In regard to the wretched creatures around him, this man appeared perfectly sane.

The look of the other’s eyes was friendly, but thoroughly scrutinising, and Ichabod felt that they tried to see more than his outward appearance. The Doctor tried to see into his mind, into his heart – and Ichabod thought of Commander Crawford’s warning.

For a moment, the two men did not move, only looked at each other. Ichabod could not help to notice that Dr Cattrell’s posture, despite his strong body, despite the chains and the undoubtedly bad treatment, was elegant and light.

"Good afternoon, Dr Cattrell." Ichabod finally broke the silence. "My name is Ichabod Crane."

"Good afternoon, Mr Crane." Dr Cattrell’s voice was well modulated, with a British accent, clear and not very deep. "How might I be of service to you?"

As if I had come to consult him in a medical matter, Ichabod thought.

"I have come to ask you about the boy who has disappeared – Jonathan Van Rijn."

A smile formed around the corners of Cattrell’s mouth, and there was a quizzical gleam in his strange eyes.

"So you are one of Crawford’s men." It was no question, it was a statement.

Something told Ichabod to be honest.

"Not really, Sir." he answered.

Dr. Cattrell’s eyes opened a bit more.

"New York Police sends me."

"And what interest does New York Police have in this case?"

"The boy is related to the Burgomaster of New York."

Dr Cattrell slightly bowed his head, gracefully appreciating the information.

"I see. You have credentials, no doubt?"

As a citizen who was questioned by a member of the police force he had the right to see credentials, so Ichabod took Crawford’s letter which Dr Chilton had given back to him out of the inner pocket of his coat and held the written side towards Dr Cattrell.

"Closer." the Doctor asked. "Closer, please!"

He seemed to enjoy the young constable’s uneasiness. When the young man finally had come close enough to the cage so Dr Cattrell could read the short letter, he winked at Ichabod. The young man suppressed an urge to flinch back.

Dr Cattrell smiled again. The whole encounter seemed to amuse him. A small distraction from the boredom of his captivity in the dungeon here.

"I am impressed." he said mockingly. "Ichabod. The Inglorious, Son of Phinehas, as told in the Book of Samuel. A scrawny little Crane from New York."

Ichabod, who had heard enough taunts and insults from his comrades at school, his fellow students, his colleagues and thugs and pimps as well during his career, ignored the taunting remark.

"You told Dr Chilton and Commander Crawford you knew who might have the boy, Dr Cattrell. You gave a name: John Galloway." he stated.

Dr Cattrell’s maroon eyes took the young man in. Their gaze was not unkind.

"What did my neighbour say to you when you passed his cell?"

"I beg your pardon?" Ichabod was completely taken aback.

"My neighbour, Mr Miggs." Dr Cattrell repeated patiently. "What did he say to you?"

Somehow, Ichabod knew better than to ignore this question. He swallowed.

"He said: ‘I can smell your cock’."

"Louder please. I could not understand what you said."

"’I can smell your cock!’" Ichabod repeated in a louder voice.

He is toying with me, he thought. Shall I just leave? – Then the boy will die – if he isn’t already dead anyway...

Dr Cattrell lifted his massive head and closed his eyes. The nostrils of his strong nose widened, as if he were actually taking Ichabod’s scent amid the smell of dirt, urine, vomit and excrement.

"I cannot." he said after a moment, his strange maroon gaze focusing on the young man again. "But I can say that you take great care to keep yourself clean."

Ichabod had to admit to himself that it was true. He set great store by cleanliness, not only for reasons of health, about which he was well informed as the foster son of a doctor and through his medical studies; not only out of consideration for Robert, who was very clean himself – no, also because there had been a time in his life when he had slept in his clothes, when he had involuntarily wet himself and had only possessed one set of garments –

"’Cleanliness is next to Godliness, isn’t it, Constable Crane?" Dr Cattrell continued. "The well-scrubbed son of a god-fearing family, I presume?"

Ichabod smiled bitterly to himself. Then he lifted his head. He did not want to enter into a conversation about his family background.

"Will you help us find the boy, Dr Cattrell? And the man who might have abducted him?"

The man in the cell lifted his eyebrows. Then he shook his head slightly and clicked his tongue.

"Such a stubborn young man all of a sudden." he said, more to himself, then turning his full attention to Ichabod.

"You have been considerate, courteous and receptive to courtesy. And now I see a bumbling policeman. Stubborn, tenacious. – What would you gain, Constable Crane, if I helped you find the boy? A promotion? The respect of your superior, who did his colleague Jacky Crawford a favour and sent the most dispensable of his constables to Baltimore? – Or do you have new, ambitious methods, new ideas in fighting Crime and want to put them to the test? Hm?"

Ichabod closed his eyes for a moment, to calm his emotions and thoughts, to protect himself against this sharp-sighted constant needling, like a succession of arrows, of which every single one had found its mark.

"You see a lot, Doctor." he said finally. "But you did not answer my question."

Dr Cattrell shook his head again. The smile had vanished from his face.

"I have no reason to cooperate with a young, ambitious policeman. Some time ago, a policeman called himself my friend – and I had to eat his liver with some broad beans and a nice glass of red wine!"

With these last words, he gave a hissing sound. Ichabod now actually flinched back, because this irregular behaviour came so unexpected.

"And with regard to questions, Constable Crane," the Doctor continued, now polite and charming again, "You did not answer mine as well! – But let me have another guess: Do you want to save the boy, because you actually want to save another boy? – Do you want to save Jonathan from what happened to unfortunate Young Ichabod?"

For a moment, Ichabod stood motionless, staring in horror at the man in the cell. How could a human being have such insight into the deepest, most hidden thoughts of another human being, a person he had known for a few minutes now and never seen before?

"Touché, I see." Dr Cattrell continued, his voice calm, a bit bored. "No, my young, scrawny Crane, I shall not help you. Fly back to New York. Fly, fly, fly –"

Dr Cattrell’s voice dwindled off into silence. His maroon eyes took on a faraway look, and Ichabod saw that the audience was at an end. He had lost. He had achieved nothing. There was no help to be expected from Dr Cattrell, and unless Baltimore Police would find him by chance, Young Jonathan was lost.

Slowly, Ichabod turned around and began his long way back to the entrance door, past the cells.

Miggs lay in a grotesquely crooked position on the dirty floor in his cell, touching himself. Just as Ichabod passed his cell, the small man came, and with a quick fling of his wrist threw the come right into Ichabod’s face.


Ichabod flinched and wiped his face. He drew up his shoulders but did not halt his steps.

One man began to howl with laughter about what Miggs had done, another screamed abuse at Miggs, another sang, another prayed, and above the turmoil Ichabod heard the astonishingly strong voice of Dr Cattrell:

"Constable Crane! Come back!"

Ichabod would have liked to run away from the howling laughter, the screams and shouts, and first of all from Dr Cattrell’s voice, from even more humiliation, to the exit, away from this hell – but new hope made him hurry back to Dr Cattrell’s cell.

The Doctor stood as near to the bars of his cage as his chains would allow, his manacled hands gripping the bars as if he wanted to tear them away.

"I did not want this to happen, Constable Crane." he shouted above the turmoil, "That was unspeakably rude!"

Ichabod, deeply upset, emotionally driven to the brink, nevertheless felt a steely resolve he rarely had experienced so far.

"Then answer my question, Dr Cattrell! – What do you know about the disappearance of Jonathan Van Rijn and about his alleged captor, James Galloway?"

"Not now." Dr Cattrell answered. "Come back tomorrow. Not in this pandemonium here. Mr Norton and Mr Sanders will be here in a minute. And they will not come alone. – Galloway may keep the boy – well – at the moment. – Go now!"

His last words lashed out like the crack of a whip and made Ichabod hurry along the corridor, past the laughing, screaming, cursing, raging men in the cells, to the exit, to safety.

Norton and his colleague hurried in and tried to re-establish silence and order among the inmates by thrashing and beating whomever they could reach. Thus Ichabod left the asylum almost unnoticed. The wardens all seemed to be occupied in the closed tract, and in the empty corridors behind the big oak door he only found an old janitor. Ichabod tried to calm down a bit and summoned all the authority of his office as a police investigator. It convinced the janitor enough to show him out.

Once outside the walls of the asylum, Ichabod leaned to a tree and took a few deep breaths. He was well aware that a few passers-by on foot and horseback threw him frightened glances. The young man with the pale face, the wild dark hair and the slightly deranged clothes might as well be one of the lighter cases from the asylum they had forgotten to lock back in. The impression must be even stronger because he leaned against that tree, a vacant stare in his eyes, mechanically gnawing at the knuckle of his right wrist. Of this, however he was not aware.

Dr Cattrell lowered himself carefully onto the straw in the corner of his cell. It was not advisable to attract the attention of Norton or one of his colleagues at the moment. So far, they had not touched him yet. He did not give them any reason to do so, but he was sure they also had their orders from Chilton to leave him alone. Chilton wanted his brain. Undamaged. And as long as he was still alive, Chilton wanted to study him, to assess him.

The thought amused Dr Cattrell. Pompous little Frederick Chilton did not even have the mental capacities to study a housefly.

But the young man – what a surprise! A beauty for a good painter. He seemed to be aware of it, but it seemed to embarrass him more than anything else. A shy, frightened child and a sharp mind at war. Bravery and strength, appearing quite unexpectedly. And tenacity. Others would have been crushed by what had been thrown to him. But not this young man. He had stood his ground, although every arrow had found its aim. This was something Dr Cattrell had not encountered so far. Besides, the young constable had remained polite and respectful. But obstinate. – He had taken Miggs’ insult remarkably well. Such commitment to the cause might deserve a bit of co-operation on his part...

It would be interesting to talk to him again. Maybe he would give the young man what he wanted. That was to be seen ...

Ichabod returned to the City Watch to report to Commander Crawford, who listened attentively and made notes. He kept himself calm, as if he had expected no other outcome, but at the same time he made it clear that Baltimore Police was working the case under a lot of pressure.

"Our own search has shown no results so far." he recapitulated. "There is pressure from the Council. – We cannot have Cattrell playing this game forever. And I cannot stall procedures much longer without presenting any results."

"In your opinion – how much longer?" Ichabod asked.

Crawford thought for a moment.

"I think the Council will give us three more days." he finally answered. "The public wants to see one monster punished at last. Whether it is the right monster in this case, and whether another monster may still be loose, is of no concern to them."

"So with your permission, I’ll go back to the asylum tomorrow and hope he’ll keep his promise." Ichabod said.

"It is one more chance we have." Crawford agreed. "We must grab for every straw in reach, like the drowning man."

Ichabod went to the small hotel room he had rented and threw himself on the narrow bed. His head was spinning, and at the same time he was very tired.

He thought of Jonathan. What was the boy going through? He did not dare to imagine. This would be detrimental. He had to keep to the facts. What was it Dr Cattrell had said in parting? "He may keep the boy well at the moment" – and what exactly did that mean?

Ichabod could not help but to think of how the boy might feel. Frightened out of his wits? Abused, hurt? – God, they had to find him, simply had to –

He felt he would panic if he did not stop. For the first time, he felt sincere doubts about being the right man for this task ... What if he actually was a bit insane? Why had he remembered the boys who had been taunting him as a child just now? – That strange doctor – he had pushed him far. Ichabod felt as if he had been mentally raped, drained, abused – and yet it had been a strangely fascinating conversation. The insight and the mental capacities of this man were absolutely uncanny. Ichabod knew he would be playing a dangerous game ... It would cost all his strength, everything that was Ichabod Crane would be put to the test ... But he had to. He wanted to save the boy!

He thought of Robert and felt how sadly he missed him. He missed the warmth of his lover’s body, the comfort of holding him in his arms, touching him and being touched, his kisses. He would have liked to hear Robert’s opinion of the case. And Katrina’s and Mary’s opinion. It would be good to have them all here – his lover, his wife and her lover. But this was impossible, of course.

Calm down, Crane. Use your brains.

He read his notes again, until he finally fell into a light, restless sleep.

It was cold. But not entirely dark. It smelled musty. Of earth. He was in a place deep down below. And it seemed forever. Had he ever been elsewhere? Had there been other people, except the big man? The big man thought he was God, but he was the Devil...

He had screamed and cried as if he would never stop. But he had stopped in the end, and had started to think. Brick walls around him. One brick wall. A round brick wall around him. He should have been nicer to the man, he should have let him caress and touch. But he could not. It had been nasty. Oh, the man had been so friendly, but when he refused, the big man had become nasty, beat him and put him down there. Would he come back?

Jonathan was hungry and cold. And frightened. But there had been the sun, there had been his father, his mother, his grandma. There had been rain and puddles and he and Joseph Schneider walking through them, Mr Roberts scolding them – would they miss him? He missed them, he missed them all bitterly, even dry, boring Mr Roberts, who always looked like a scarecrow in his grey suit and who kept himself so erect one could think he’d swallowed a stick. It was better to think of Mr Roberts than to think of Mother ...

Jonathan Van Rijn decided. He wanted to see his parents, his friend, all the people around him again, he wanted to see the sun, walk again through puddles. Maybe if he was nice to the big man now, when he came back, he would let him out again ...

The next morning, Ichabod presented himself early at the asylum and was asked to wait by a warden, this time in the corridor. Dr Chilton obviously had another visitor.

From the visitor room Ichabod heard his agitated voice.

"Madam, this is completely out of the question! Even if I had him taken out of the high security ward I could never allow you see him alone! Never! This man is more dangerous than you could ever imagine!"

"Dr Chilton, believe me, I would not have come and asked this of you if I saw another way! But I want to know where my child is, and if this – this man can tell me where my boy is, I will answer his questions!" answered the voice of a woman. She sounded despaired and determined at the same time.

"I repeat, this is out of the question!" Dr Chilton’s voice again. "Does your husband know you are here, Mrs Van Rijn? And your mother-in-law?"

The woman did not answer, and Dr Chilton continued, with a note of false comfort in his voice.

"It would be better if you went home now, Mrs Van Rijn. Think of your husband and the old lady. Do you want to upset them even more? We are working on the case, so you will help us most if you let us do our work."

The door opened, and a small, dark-haired woman came out. She was perhaps in her mid-thirties and pretty, but now her face was haggard, and she had deep shadows under her eyes. She hurried along the corridor, brushing past Ichabod without seeing him, ignoring the warden who followed her to see her out.

For a moment, Ichabod wanted to call after her, but he decided to remain silent. What would he have said to her? That Baltimore Police was actually working on the disappearance of her son, but to no avail so far? – But he was now more determined than ever to go back to Dr Cattrell and play his game – even if it would cost him a lot.

Dr Chilton received him in a bad mood – regarding what he had overheard, Ichabod thought he would.

"For how long does Captain Crawford think he can play this game? For how long am I to be his usher for visitors he sends to Cattrell, disturbing our routine and upsetting my patients?" he asked testily. "Well, I have complained to the Council, and this fruitless nonsense will be over soon!" he added triumphantly, and Ichabod almost thought to hear the clatter of surgical instruments in his voice. Even more than yesterday, he found the head of the asylum unfeeling, pompous, and overbearing. He wanted the dangerous Doctor off his back, put to trial and hanged as soon as possible, to get back the dead body to dissect the brain. And why not try to study him a bit as well while he was still alive? Whether Dr Cattrell actually could give valuable information which would perhaps save a life did not seem to interest Dr Chilton in the least. But Ichabod kept himself calm and did not show his aversion against the doctor.

"Commander Crawford wishes me to make one last try with Dr Cattrell." he said.

"I do not see of what use that might be." Dr Chilton answered. "You had your chance yesterday. Did he dismiss you? – By the way, I am entitled to know about the content of the conversation. I want a copy of your notes!"

I saw it coming, Ichabod thought. Alright. I’ll give him the formal answer.

"I am afraid I cannot divulge the results of my questions to Dr Cattrell to you. These are police procedures, and as long as the case is not closed, the statements of a witness are confidential." he said firmly, looking Dr Chilton straight in the eye. There had maybe a trace too much arrogance in his voice.

"You little –!" Dr Chilton stopped himself in time, thinking that this impertinent, pesky young constable would report to Crawford if he did not cooperate, and maybe this would throw a bad light on his position as head of the asylum ...

"I could demand from Commander Crawford he reveal the statements to me!" the doctor said, but he sounded defeated. "I could deny you access to my patient – but why should I waste any more of my precious time arguing with some – constable?"

Ichabod merely bowed, and with a last contemptuous look at him, Dr Chilton rang for the warden. Ten minutes later, Ichabod found himself again in front of Dr Cattrell’s cell.

Dr Cattrell stood at the same place as the day before, burdened with his chains, unsmiling, but friendly.

"Good morning." he greeted Ichabod. "So kind of you, Constable Crane, to come again."

Ichabod returned the greeting. He looked in the direction of the neighbour cell, which he had found empty today, which astonished him, because he had anticipated another attack from Miggs.

Dr. Cattrell followed his gaze.

"Miggs is dead." he explained. "Did our charming Dr Chilton not tell you?"

"No." Ichabod shook his head. "What happened to Miggs?"

"He swallowed his tongue." Dr Cattrell answered, and Ichabod suspected that the Doctor had been involved somehow in the unfortunate Mr Miggs’ sudden demise.

But why? Did he want to punish Miggs, because he threw his sperm into my face? – No – I think he did it because Miggs violated the Doctor’s rules –

"Dr Cattrell," he began matter-of-factly, "I have come because –"

"Was I right?" Dr Cattrell interrupted him. "Do you want to come to terms with Young Ichabod by saving Jonathan?"

He is right, Ichabod thought. But how on earth does he know? – The truth – he might know when you lie – but maybe he will give truth for truth?

He took a deep breath.

"Yes, Dr Cattrell, you are right." He answered.

"Do not let him into your mind ..."

The Doctor nodded. His strange maroon eyes took the young constable in, and the meaning of his look was inscrutable.

What if he only has his fun toying with me, with us for nothing? Ichabod thought. The days go by, and each day is a day the boy loses – and he is gaining time, postponing his trial and execution. But he must know he cannot play this game forever –

"If I had nothing to trade at all, or if I thought it was too late already, I would not waste Commander Crawford’s and your precious time, Constable Crane." Dr Cattrell finally said, as if he had guessed Ichabod’s thoughts. There was a mild reproach in his voice.

"Then tell me what you know, Dr Cattrell!" Ichabod asked urgently.

Dr Cattrell only clicked his tongue and shook his head.

"I have no good perspectives, Constable Crane." he continued. "The boy may be saved, I go to the gallows. – Oh, do not bore me with a sermon about how I could lighten my burdened conscience!" he added, when he saw Ichabod open his mouth to cut in. "This would be beneath you, Young Man, and fruitless as well, because the boy himself and his welfare are of no interest to me."

"So what is it you want, Dr Cattrell?" Ichabod asked, trying to keep his voice polite and calm in the face of Cattrell’s cruel frankness. Besides, he tried to suppress his outrage. How could the Doctor think he would give him a sermon?

"You might as well argue that if the boy dies and his abductor is not caught, I shall go to the gallows anyway, and you are right. I know quite well I cannot bide for time forever, Constable Crane, but I want to play this game properly once, before I go to my doom. And you, Young Man, seem to be a worthy partner."

Partner. Not opponent. Me – his partner? His accomplice? In what?

Ichabod’s anger surfaced for the first time.

"No more enigmatic remarks, Dr Cattrell, please. – What is it you want? I am not permitted to grant you anything from the authorities. If you aim in that direction, I suggest you talk directly to Commander Crawford, for I am not his messenger boy!"

"Do you know you are beautiful when you are angry?" Dr Cattrell asked with a light smile.

Goodness! He even knows – Ichabod thought. This remark, an attack from a complete different angle, made him almost loose his nerves. He mocks me because I sleep with men. Cheap! But he stood his ground, outwardly calm, coldly looking back into the inscrutable maroon eyes. He did not know how long he would be able to stand this ...

After a while which seemed endless, Dr Cattrell continued to speak, his eyes unblinking, the stare of a beast of prey, his well modulated voice calm and even.

"I want to play this game fair. I will ask you a few questions, which I expect you to answer truthfully. I will know when you lie." He made this last remark matter-of-factly, as if there could be not doubt whatsoever about his words.

"In return, I will tell you all I know about the boy’s captor and where to find him and the boy. – Quid pro quo, Constable Crane!"

Ichabod hesitated.

Just as I thought all the time ...

"Time is running out now, Constable Crane." Dr Cattrell remarked quizzically. "Tick – tock – tick – tock – for Little Jonathan, for me, for Jacky Crawford and for you. – I am waiting for your answer, Young Man!"

"Do not let him into your mind ..." – Too late ...

Ichabod took a deep breath.

"Ask your questions, Dr Cattrell."

Dr Cattrell bowed his head politely, like a fencer in the old times, before beginning a duel. Appreciating and assessing at the same time.

"Tell me, Constable Crane, where were you born? Where did you live? Who were your parents?"

Why on earth is he interested in my life? Ichabod thought.

"I was born in a small village in Massachusetts. My father was the local reverend." he answered.

"What kind of a man was he?" Dr Cattrell’s voice was friendly, but demanding.

"He was very strict, very distant." Ichabod answered.

"And your mother?"

"She was good and friendly. She loved life. And nature."

Keep the answers as short as possible ...

"Your parents’ marriage – was it a happy one?"

Ichabod shook his head decidedly. "No. They were not happy together."

"Why not?" That soft voice with the demanding edge again.

You cannot fool him, Ichabod thought. He knows how to ask. What to ask ... Maybe he sees it in your face –

He hesitated for a moment, before he continued.

"My mother’s beliefs differed from those of my father. She was very open to life, to nature. She knew a lot about herbs and plants and how to cure diseases with them."

"In other words, she was what people call a witch." Dr Cattrell bluntly said.

"Yes!" Ichabod said firmly, trying to suppress a trembling in his voice.

"And your father? How did he take to your mother’s beliefs?"

"He was angry about her. I saw him open the Bible and push her into a chair at the table to make her read it. "

"And surely he ordered you to read the Bible as well."


"And what happened to your parents, Constable Crane? Did they live unhappily ever after?"

Ichabod closed his eyes for a moment. That cultured, friendly, gentle, and yet needling, drilling voice!

Sleepy Hollow again – damn it! – Or should I be grateful?

He swallowed.

"My father accused my mother of witchcraft, she was tortured and executed." he answered. His voice was without emotion.

"How old have you been when this happened, Constable Crane?" the Doctor asked on.

"Seven. I was seven."

Dr Cattrell nodded, as if he wanted to say Didn’t I know it?

"Anything else, Constable Crane?" the gentle voice prodded. "Is there more?"

Ichabod hesitated. There was a pause. How can he possibly –? Isn’t that enough?

"Constable Crane?"

Oh please!

"They took her away during the night." Ichabod whispered. "I was still a boy, I did not know then – I wanted to look if she was back. I thought she would come back. And so I got up and looked for her –"

He stopped.

"And what did you find?"

Very few people know. Katrina. Robert. And Mary. The others who have known, my father, my foster parents, are dead now.

"What did you find, Constable Crane?" Dr Cattrell’s voice was calm, but relentless.

"The cellar." Ichabod’s voice was almost inaudible. "I was not allowed to go there. But I wanted to find her –"

"And what did you find?" The question again.

"A room with machines and instruments. I did not know what they were for then –"

"What machines and instruments?"

"Torture instruments." Ichabod whispered.

"Go on." Dr Cattrell merely said.

Ichabod closed his eyes. He had never told anyone in such detail ...

"There was something in the room like a statue. An iron maiden. And she had human eyes. I tried to open the thing – and when it opened, my mother was in there. – She was dead."

"What did you feel, Constable Crane?"

Ichabod looked at his tormentor.

"Nothing." he said, bewildered. "I fainted."

"What did you feel?"

"Nothing, I told you!"

"You are not fainting now, Constable Crane. What do you feel now, thinking of what happened? That moment, what do you feel?

No, no, please no!

"What do you feel?"

Something opening – a last door – a door with locks and bolts – a door to a flood of pain – drowning.

"It is not true." Ichabod said in a small voice. He stepped back, not from Dr Cattrell’s cage, but from an iron maiden containing his mother’s dead body, twenty years in the past.

"Please, it is not true, please! I want my mother! Let her not be dead! I want her so much – He killed her! He will kill me as well –" Ichabod whispered.

"And what do you feel?" The calm, emotionless voice of Dr Cattrell – relentless, cruel.

The thin small boy with the dark frightened eyes drowning in pain – the young man opening his heart to him, extending a hand, pulling the boy to himself – finding words –

Together we can make it, Ichabod – not going insane –

He smiled and felt that his cheeks were wet. Ichabod wiped his face with his hands, but stopped when he saw the Doctor’s face.

He, Constable Ichabod Crane, was not in Troubridge, Massachusetts, seven years old, finding his mother’s dead body. He was in an asylum, questioning a dangerous, maybe insane criminal, to find out about another dangerous criminal, to save the live of a boy –

And the monster stood still, his eyes closed, as if savouring the young man’s anger, pain and despair, and also his victory.

He cannot feel for himself. He had to know my emotions. He can feel them only in waking them up in other people –

"Thank you, Constable Crane." Dr Cattrell said.

And that’s all?!

Ichabod’s dark eyes became cold, his face hard. It was a change some of the people Ichabod had questioned had been able to witness. And they had found that they had underestimated the modest, almost shy young constable.

"Now it’s your turn, Doctor!" he demanded. "Quid pro quo. Tell me about John Galloway!"

Dr Cattrell opened his eyes. There was something like interested amusement – and a bit of respect in them. And he played the game fair.

"John Galloway was one of my patients. He works as a carpenter, and he came to me, because he had had an accident at the construction site where he worked then. A beam had fallen on his shoulder and dislocated it. He seemed content with what I had done for him, for two months later he came to me again and had a gash in his skull closed. He told me he had had a fight with another worker and he had been sacked from the construction site where he had worked. Half a year later I needed the services of a carpenter in my house and thought of Galloway. He did his work very well. We talked, and from this day on he really began to interest me. A remark about boys he made aroused my suspicion. – You see, Constable Crane, I am not married, I don’t have a family, so I can indulge in my little whims. I began to follow him, and I found out my suspicion was true: he paid street urchins to abuse them."

If he cannot feel, and he says, Jonathan’s fate is of no concern to him, why did he kill one child molester and watched a man who is another one? Ichabod thought. Aloud he said: "And what makes you think the boy is still alive, Dr Cattrell?"

"Your turn again, Constable Crane." Dr Cattrell answered with a smile. "How and where did you live after your mother’s death?"

Again! Ichabod thought, but he saw he had no choice.

"I lived with my father."

"How did he treat you?"

"He beat me a lot. I had to learn chapters from the Bible and he made me recite them in the evening, every day. And when I made a mistake he beat me."

"Did your father live alone with you?"

"There was the housekeeper, Miss Avery."

"How did she treat you?"

"She drank. – I had to help her with the work in house and kitchen, and I could never do anything right."

"Did she beat you as well?"


"Did you go to school during that time?"

"Why, yes."

"Did you like it?"

Ichabod smiled a bitter smile.

"Why do you smile now, Constable Crane?"

"Because the question is difficult."

"And this makes you smile? In how far is it difficult?"

Devil, Ichabod thought. Is this actually worth everything? – But the boy ...

"Constable Crane?"

"Wait! Just a moment please, Dr Cattrell! – It is difficult – I liked learning, but –"


"— the other children –"

"What did they do?"

Nothing can be hidden –

"They ran after me calling me ‘Witches Spawn’ and ‘Gypsy Bastard’ – my mother had been a gypsy. They threw stones at me and mud."

"How do you feel, Constable Crane?"

Again ...

"Sad. Lonely. Helpless. Angry."

Abruptly, Dr Cattrell changed the subject once more.

"I told you, Galloway and I talked one day while he was working for me. He made that remark about boys. 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, don’t you think, Constable Crane?"

"Unusual." Ichabod agreed. "And dangerous."

You have to pay a lot of attention to remain with him ...

"Why dangerous?" Dr Cattrell asked immediately. "He said nothing but ‘train and educate them’. Why do you think this dangerous, Constable Crane?"

Every word a trap ...

Puzzled, Ichabod fell silent.

"You told me about the other children, who pushed you out of their community." Dr Cattrell continued. "Have you been the only one to be treated like this?"

"Yes, I was the only one."

"I see. – And what about the people who trained and educated you, Constable Crane? Your teacher. He must have seen how they treated you. Did he admonish the other boys? Punish them? Defend you?"



"No, he did not defend me. He punished them when they were too loud and behaved too unruly."

"And with regard to you? How did he behave towards you – the outcast?" Dr Cattrell emphasised the last word ever so slightly.

Outcast, yes. That’s the right word...

"Did he punish you as well?"

"He –"


"I remember – he used the same words James Galloway used – as you told me: ‘I’d like to educate you properly’."

"And did he, Constable Crane? What did he do?"

Damn! He is right! Yes, I want to save Jonathan from that man, because it is personal! Because of what happened to me ...

"What did he do, Constable Crane?"

Ichabod remained silent.

"Did he abuse you?"

Ichabod nodded.

"What did he do exactly? Did he go all the way?"

Ichabod did not answer, which seemed to be enough for Dr Cattrell – for once.

"And what did you feel, Constable Crane?"

Ichabod smiled a bitter, tortured smile. But he knew the answer.

"I was ashamed. And it hurt. But I also felt good for something at least."

He managed to look into the chained man’s strong face. The gaze of the maroon eyes was steady, inscrutable, the features open, attentive, serious. A slight quiver of the nostrils. The alert beast of prey –

"Did you ever try to run away?" he asked.

Ichabod shook his head.

"Why not?"

There was nowhere to run ...

"Because I thought he would really like me one day." Ichabod answered. A tear rolled down his cheek, and to his surprise, Dr Cattrell’s manacled hands made a gesture as if to touch the young man’s face.

"And did he?"

Ichabod shook his head.

Even now it hurts so much ...

"I hoped, I wanted it so much – but he just used my body."

"You were lonely. You gave all you had to give for a bit of warmth and care – your body was taken and nothing was given in return." The words were compassionate, but the voice remained calm, even, without emotion.

Ichabod turned around to the rough brick wall, lifting his head, so the tears he felt come up would not drop down on his coat.

It sounded so trite, so flat – and yet there was so much pain behind it.

As if you had ever been the only one this has happened to! Ridiculous, Crane! – The boy, Jonathan – you have to help him –

He faced the Doctor again.

Dr Cattrell stood, his eyes closed, taking a deep breath.

"This is what Galloway thinks," he continued, without looking at Ichabod, "- that ‘love’ can be taught. He will teach and educate the boy to ‘love’ him. But you would not call it ‘love’. You would call it training – in the sense of training an animal."

Goodness ...

"How do you know?" Ichabod asked.

Dr Cattrell opened his eyes, looking directly at Ichabod.

"He told me, Constable Crane. – And what does it imply? – Come on, Young Man, think for yourself!"

Ichabod overcame his bewilderment quickly. It was not easy to follow Dr Cattrell, but he tried.

"It takes time – education will take time." he said.

"Right! Well done!" Dr Cattrell encouraged him.

"But how long will he be patient?" Ichabod continued. "When will he dismiss his ‘experiment’ as failed?"

"I should say this depends on how much resistance the boy shows." Dr Cattrell answered. – "How long did you live in this miserable circumstances, Constable Crane?"

Another abrupt change of subject. – Will this never end? Ichabod thought.

"When I was ten, my father died. And the doctor from the next village came for the death certificate, because our own doctor was ill. – He and his wife took me in as their foster son."

Dr Cattrell nodded, thoughtfully.

"Tell me about the doctor and his wife, Constable Crane. Did they beat and abuse you as well?"

"No." Ichabod’s voice sounded warm when he spoke. "They were very good and decent people. – They had lost their own son. The Doctor took me home with him. And she – his wife – when she first saw me, she took me into her arms! I was scrawny and dirty and frightened, and she loved me just because I was there!"

"You filled a need." the soft voice said.

Ichabod breathed deeply to calm himself. He did not want to show how much the unconditional love of his foster mother had meant to him and meant to him still.

"She filled a need as well." he answered the Doctor. "And they never made me feel as if I was just – a substitute."

"Then you probably were not." his advocatus diaboli said. "I assume you were not asked whether you wanted to go with the Doctor?" he continued.

"I asked him, in fact!"

"So you had given up on your teacher?"

Ichabod thought for a moment. "Yes, I think so."

"And your teacher? How did he react, hearing you would go away with that Doctor?"

"He was not pleased, but he didn’t do anything."

"He did not fight for you, as you maybe had expected?"

Ichabod thought again.

"I do not know whether I expected him to fight for me. I wanted to get away. He did not protect me from the other children as well. He just – did it with me."

Dr Cattrell nodded again.

"But the Doctor and his wife, they cared well for you?"

"They gave me everything! Not only food and clothes and a good education – Father taught me how to swim!" A smile cleared Ichabod’s face in remembering.

"You are beautiful when you smile, Constable Crane."

Ichabod shook his head as if to reject the compliment, which again had caught him unawares, like a blow.

"Dr Cattrell –"

"Was this difficult for you?" the Doctor interrupted him. "Was it difficult for you to trust him? To have confidence in yourself?"

Ichabod shook his head again after thinking for a moment.

"I was afraid of people, but never of water."

"So did you like it, or did you just do it to please your Father?"

"I liked it."

He relaxed a bit and put his ledger in which he had scribbled some notes about John Galloway down on the floor. Unconsciously, he hugged himself.

"Tell me the rest of the story, Constable Crane." the Doctor asked him in his abrupt manner. He came as near to the bars of his cell as his chains would allow him.

"The Doctor sent me to school. He liked me. He also let me help with his patients. He taught me about medical things and herbs and plants. He sent me to University later." Ichabod was not aware that he spoke more like a ten-year-old boy than a grown-up.

Dr Cattrell nodded again, as if impressed. "So I get it that there have not been any more problems with teachers and other children in your ‘new life’?"

"No. I even had a friend."

Ichabod smiled again, as if remembering his friend. Dr Cattrell, however, for the time being was more interested in what he had said about his further development.

"Where did you attend University? And what did you study?"

"Harvard. Medical Sciences, Natural History and Philosophy."

Dr Cattrell gave an appreciating sound, but then shook his head.

"And why are you a constable now, Mr Crane, instead of being the hopeful aspirant to a brilliant university career in some field? Or instead of having taken over from your foster father, living the quiet life of a country doctor? – I presume that the latter option was his plan for you. What went wrong, Mr Crane?"

The question everyone will ask. And rarely anyone understands –

"You are right, Dr Cattrell. But there was an incident at the university – a prank – a student died – it was an accident – but it was obvious that they sent the wrong student away for it – someone who was poor, instead of the real culprit, who came from a rich family."

"Was it you who was sent away unjustly?"


"But you were close to the student who was sent away?"


The maroon eyes held Ichabod’s, and the Doctor seemed to believe him.

"So this act of injustice, done to another student who was not even your friend enraged you so much you left Harvard?"


"And your foster parents? How did they take this?"

Ichabod hugged himself again.

"Mother was already dead. And Father and I had an argument. He said he regretted having taken me in, when he saw that I would neither listen to him nor to the professors at Harvard, and that I would not go back to the university. I left the house and we never spoke to each other again. Long after his death I received one of his diaries, where he had recorded how he found me and had taken notes about my development. There was also a letter. He asked me to forgive him his harsh words."

"What did you feel when he said he regretted having taken you in as his foster son? What do you feel now?"

Ichabod wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He felt drained, completely drained.

"He had given me back life, and now he said it had been a mistake on his behalf. He was disappointed in me. Of course, Mother had not been dead that long, she had been suffering so much, and we had not been able to help her. Father missed her, as I did – but why had he to pull away the floor under my feet?"

What do you feel when you say this, Constable Crane?"

"It hurts. It still hurts so much." Ichabod’s voice was hardly audible.

"And you did not relent?"

"Not after what he had told me!"

"Of course not. – And do you still think your decision to give up your studies, which had deeply disappointed your father, was right?"


"You did never regret it?"


The dark, glowing eyes, the wild hair, the fine pale face, the almost pleading gesture with open palms – how exquisite this young man was ...

Dr Cattrell approached the bars even more.

"Do not try to lie to me, Constable Crane!" And admonishing finger.

"I could not stay at the university! I could not bear the injustice! I tried to find justice and reason somewhere!"

"With the New York Police?" Mocking, teasing.

Ichabod did not answer. He felt cornered, helpless.

Dr Cattrell had reached the bars. His voice was low, melodious.

"You know, Constable Crane, that deep inside, when you are trying to please the Burgomaster and the New York Chief of Police, or even Jackie Crawford, in reality you are trying to please your father the Reverend who made you learn Bible quotes by heart and beat you for each mistake, who had the power to kill you, as he had killed your mother!" Dr Cattrell spat out the last words, and every single one was like a blow.

"You know you are still trying to show your Foster Father that your decision was right? – You know that you are trying to please your teacher, who put his thing into your innocent little asshole? Whom you gave all you had, and who never loved you for it anyway?"

"Stop it!" Ichabod cried, but Dr Cattrell went on, relentless.

"You are married, Constable Crane, I see it from the ring on your finger – but the man you do sleep with on the side now – do you try to please him as well?"

Everything began to sway – cold, nauseating dizzyness – Ichabod gave a strangled sound and turned away from Dr Cattrell, but only for a moment. When he turned back to the Doctor, his dark eyes blazed, and Cattrell felt with relish the strength and passion radiating from the young man.

"The answer to the first part is yes, I am married, Doctor Cattrell! But I will not answer the second part! – And now you tell me where I can find the boy – and John Galloway!"

He was not sure whether he now had spoiled everything – refusing to answer questions ended the game – refusing an answer to the second part of the Doctor’s question could be interpreted as an answer –, or whether Dr Cattrell had heard his words at all, because the Doctor stood immobile, as if lost in thoughts...

What a temper! the Doctor thought. And strength! And a sharp mind. It would be a gift to have him in his bed, to explore the secrets of his slender body, to talk to him, long conversations – a worthy opponent – and one day – a quick death. If he had behaved, there would be no suffering for him. And more secrets of this wonderful body would be explored. He would eat Ichabod Crane’s heart. And his brain. – But would it not even be better to keep him alive – ?

A commotion at the entrance made both the Doctor and the Constable turn their heads.

"Dr Cattrell –" Ichabod immediately turned again to the man in the cell. His voice was pleading, urgent.

But Dr Cattrell looked past him, facing the small group approaching them.

"Dr Chilton, I presume." was all he said.

Dr Chilton came hurrying along the corridor, accompanied by Norton and another, even taller and burlier warden, presumably the man Dr Cattrell had called Mr Sanders. Dr Chilton’s face bore a look of righteous outrage and excitement at being able to exert his power.

"Visiting time is over, Constable Crane!" he announced triumphantly.

"I am not finished." Ichabod objected.

"In my opinion you are finished. The Council has put an end to this fruitless nonsense!"

"Commander Crawford –"

"Commander Crawford has not been cooperative, so I did not see any reason why I should be cooperative any longer! You can tell him this!"

Dr Chilton produced a paper from his breast pocket and handed it to Ichabod. It was an order of the Council, approved by the Magistrate, to take up legal procedures against Dr Tiberius Cattrell. As the accused had already admitted to the murder of ..., the trial would be held tomorrow at nine o’clock ...

"A copy of this document will have reached Commander Crawford by now." Chilton added. "The Council will not tolerate further impediment of the legal procedures – which means that you can go back to New York and make yourself useful in catching a few burglars and arrest some drunken louts, Constable Crane!"

Ichabod rarely had wished so much to slam someone against the nearest wall than this overbearing pompous little fop with his bad teeth. He suppressed his anger and tried to reason, although he doubted that Chilton would even listen to him any longer. And even if he listened, would Dr Cattrell answer his last question, or even get the chance to do so?

"Dr Chilton, five more minutes please!"

"You have wasted enough time! – Out!" Dr Chilton pointed to the exit with a dramatic gesture.

The two burly wardens advanced on Ichabod, took his arms and half dragged, half carried him away from Dr Cattrell’s cage, down the corridor, accompanied by the screams, ramblings and shouts from the other inmates.

In the general ruckus no one had taken any notice of Dr Cattrell, who now raised his strong voice over the noise.

"You forgot something, Constable Crane!"

How did he –? Ichabod did not finish the thought. He reacted quickly. With one movement, he shrugged out of his overcoat, leaving the wardens with the empty garment, stormed back to Dr Cattrell, who held Ichabod’s ledger through the bars of his cell. The young man snatched it from his hands, clutched it to his chest. Everything happened so fast that neither Dr Chilton nor the wardens noticed that Dr Cattrell’s manacled hands touched those of the young constable for a moment. It was a touch on purpose, a caress –

He could as well grab you and break your fingers, tear out your arm or whatever – Ichabod thought, then the wardens were upon him again, and this time hard hands grabbed him so painfully, he almost dropped the ledger he was still clasping against his chest. He was dragged out of the ward for good now – to the entrance – and pushed out, dragged through the inner yard through the exit, and pushed so hard into the street that he fell and scraped his hands and knees.

Something flew into his back. It was his overcoat. He hastily put it on again, collected the ledger, got up and brushed off his knees.

Could he –?

Ichabod went along the way back to town and opened his ledger. The piece of crayon he had used to take his notes must have become lost during his hassle with the wardens. Or Dr Cattrell had it. At least he had used it.

On a free page Ichabod found a hastily scribbled address and one single word:

47 North Street

Ichabod closed the ledger and started to run. He dodged passers-by, rounded corners, crossed streets without looking. Coachmen shouted after him, he inadvertently pushed a dignified elderly gentleman aside with one shoulder. The man shouted after him, about young men who had no manners – he had not heard the young constable’s breathless apology.

He burst into a tobacco and wine shop near the Watch House and asked for a pen and paper. Hastily he scribbled a note, and the merchant’s apprentice was sent to deliver the message, addressed to Commander Crawford immediately.

The boy, happy about the generous tip, was barely on his way, when the young man hurriedly left the shop again, after having asked directions for North Street.

Ichabod knew that what he intended to do was foolish. It would have been much more sensible if he had gone to the Commander himself and let him handle the procedures. Maybe Dr Cattrell had given them a false hint after all. But in his heart, Ichabod knew that the Doctor had given him the truth. And why did he ask him to hurry, after acting all the time as if there would be no hurry at all? He felt that Jonathan must be in immediate danger now. Dr Cattrell allegedly knew that man, John Galloway, and maybe he had good reasons to think that the boy would come to harm now. His instinct told Ichabod that there was no time to lose ...

The boy ... well-nourished, well dressed, educated – so beautiful – and spoiled. He had hoped this boy would see sense, would see what he could do for him. Brighten his education, teach him about Old Greece – about the bravery of the Spartans, about their Gods, their art ... The others had been uneducated, dirty – ah, you could never trust them! One had played the game – and had tried to run away at the first opportunity. He had had to punish him severely – and the little bastard had gone away for good – to Hades. – Could he dare to give Jonathan another chance? Oh, Jonathan would play the game for sure now, give him pleasure, if he took him out, not to be put into the cellar again – but for how long? They were all ungrateful, greedy, selfish little bastards, unable to appreciate the gifts he could give them, the experience, the knowledge ... He was not sure about what to do with Jonathan yet. But it would be a waste to keep him downstairs any longer ...

Half an hour after it had been delivered, Commander Crawford found the message. He had been summoned by the Burgomaster on behalf of the complaint Dr Chilton had lodged and had been informed that Dr Cattrell would now be put to trial immediately. Reading Ichabod’s note, he lost no further time and ordered two of his sergeants to go to 47 North Street and to arrest an individual called John Galloway on the suspicion of having abducted ten-year-old Jonathan Van Rijn.

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. Men’s 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 policeman’s 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 carpenter’s 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, don’t 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 Cattrell’s remarks came into Ichabod’s 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. Galloway’s first attack was made on impulse, and Ichabod’s 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 Galloway’s chin, and his knee found the exact place between the other’s 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 man’s 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 Galloway’s 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. I’ll 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.

"I’m so thirsty." he whispered. "Who are you?"

"My name is Crane. I am a policeman. Come on, I’ll bring you out of here."

Damn, where are Crawford’s 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 Crawford’s 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. Crawford’s 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."

Galloway’s 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 don’t want to go with him." he said to Ichabod, indicating Dr Cattrell with his head. "Please don’t 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 don’t 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 I’ll 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 Ichabod’s 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 Ichabod’s 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: "Don’t let him come near me! I’m afraid! Please!" Then he looked into Jonathan’s small, dirty face. There was a fear and sadness in the boy’s 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 Ichabod’s 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 Jonathan’s 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 Galloway’s screams and Dr Cattrell’s last remark: "If you don’t 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 Galloway’s 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 Constable’s 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 Chilton’s 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 Ichabod’s 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. Galloway’s cries still sounded in his ears, Jonathan’s frightened face, Dr Cattrell’s 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 Crawford’s 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 Chilton’s institution."

"Probably." Crawford said. "And I found your message almost too late, because I had to answer to the Council with regard to Dr Chilton’s 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.

Crawford nodded.

"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 Galloway’s 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 Ichabod’s 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 Crawford’s men would find in the carpenter’s 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 Cattrell’s 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 Doctor’s 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 Ichabod’s 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 Galloway’s house and forced you at gunpoint to leave with the boy, before you could arrest Galloway?"

"Yes, Sir."

"So two, maybe three dangerous criminals, if you count the other man, Cattrell’s 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 Crawford’s 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 Burgomaster’s 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 I’ve 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!"

Robert’s 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 Burgomaster’s 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 Jonathan’s 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 Crawford’s 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 Chilton’s books. It seems as if money donated to the asylum by some of the richest Baltimore citizens mysteriously found its way into Dr Chilton’s 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, they’ve 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 Cattrell’s idea of punishing people who annoyed him ...

"I wonder how much they will get out of him." the High Constable continued. "Doesn’t 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 Galloway’s 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 Galloway’s 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 Constable’s 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 Burgomaster’s 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.

"That’s 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 Robert’s friend.

The young man held out an envelope.

"Letter for ya."

He pushed the letter into Ichabod’s hand and wanted to slip away, but Ichabod was faster and caught Johnny’s 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.


"Cust’mer." Johnny finally said. "Gentleman. Very p’lite. 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 Johnny’s 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 const’ble ‘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, ev’rything 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 cust’mers." 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 Chilton’s 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.
Au revoir,
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 smiled.

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 ...

The End?

Feel free to write me at kargoo at arcor.de.

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