TCI

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IAA: Huge swaths of the high plains lay under snow that first fell in November, but it was a dry cold and the roads were clear. From the air Headwater looked like an abstract map drawn in fine black ink on paper bleached an unearthly white.

IAB: The victim was found by a man named Tashunka, who was older than the town of Headwater yet still a boy of the People when the Golden Gift came to Wanica in the final hunt. The biggest animal he ever killed was a coyote baited with a rabbit he caught in another trap.

IAC: Tashunka almost didn't see the girl. Her body was dangling at a roadside attraction that had always bored him. On a map somewhere one line terminated on another. Three states came together at this place, but even when there was no snow Tashunka had never seen any lines.

IAD: What caught his eye was not so much that the dead girl was naked but how her head and arms bent slightly back, and how her feet didn't touch the ground, as though she were nailed to an invisible cross. So he backed up his truck and parked in the little tri-state corral.

IAE: There was another set of tire tracks in the snow and two sets of footprints which became a tangled net near the body. Tashunka halted his approach to leave the site clean for the sheriff, but he could see no movement of the girl's chest and no condensation from her mouth.

IAF: The dead girl was too pale to be one of the People, but she was certainly White Wing of the Church of Green Dome. Her ponytail gave that away. And Tashunka wept with frustration that he could not do the simple kindness of closing her frozen eyes staring out upon eternity.

IAG: Then Tashunka recognized the dead girl: Kimberly Zinter. He wept more deeply, knowing why she was murdered and guessing who the killer must be. Of a certainty the unhappy union of the Red Wing and White Wing of the Church was finished. He retraced his steps to the truck.

IAH: An hour later Tashunka returned with Sheriff Roddy Walker to the little fenced-off area nigh to the road. The tri-state marker was a wooden beam embedded in the ground, one foot square with a sloping top, and Kimberly's back rested on this, held fast by her frozen blood.

IAI: The sheriff told deputy Bill to start snapping pictures while deputy Bob followed Roddy around with a notepad and took down a running commentary. "I need to steal your sole with my camera, Chief," Bill said, "so lay it out there." Tashunka smiled and lifted one leg.

IAJ: Bill got a photo of the bottom of both the old Indian's boots to make sure they could differentiate his footprints from that of the perps. Then Tashunka was left behind as Bill methodically photographed his way to the girl's body. Roddy and Bob followed in his wake.

IAK: Old Tashunka watched from the road. When the sheriff and his deputies completely surveyed and documented the murder scene they all pitched in, lifted Kimberly free of the survey marker, and laid her gently on a foldaway stretcher that sheriff Walker had brought with him.

IAL: Tashunka was surprised to hear the sheriff shout an oath. Roddy has read the plaque that Kim's body was covering and realized they were at the exact place some surveyor decided the corners of two states ran flush against the border of a third. That made the case Federal.

IAM: Then they walked the body out of there, pausing a moment for Tashunka to get his first close look at it. "This was Kimberly Zinter," he told them, and he put his fingers on her face just long enough to melt the eyelids so he could close them. "I've seen her at Temple."

IAN: The sheriff dug around in the glove box of his truck and came back with a manila folder containing a photo, which he compared to the dead girl's blood-streaked face. "The gentleman is right, boys. This was the local girl the FBI was looking for. One of the two, anyway."

IAO: After the deputies carefully loaded the body of the girl in the canopy of the department's green 1940 Dodge half-ton truck, Bob said, "So this wasn't gonna be our case from the gitgo, even if she wasn't lying dead spread out over three states. What do we do now, sheriff?"

IAP: "We're going to do our job 'til somebody says different, Bob. Go back to the marker and start walking around it in a spiral that grows four feet wider on every turn. Try and find something that could be the murder weapon. Looks to me like that would probably be a knife."

IAR: Tashunka said, "I remember when you were just a boy, sheriff, and I remember when you left us. None of your men are Greendomites. You might not be up on Church politics and they can't help you. I don't know who did this terrible thing to the girl but I can tell you why."

IAS: But inactivity had cooled the sweat under Roddy's coat and he shivered in the face of a stiff wind from the frozen plains. "This is not the place, Tashunka," he said, "This body must go to our little hospital. Meet me at the station in an hour and I will listen to you."

IAT: After that Sheriff Roddy drove deputy Bill and the body around the large hill near the crime scene which was named Green Dome. It was almost five thousand feet above sea level, but only eight hundred feet above the town of Headwater, and never green at all in January.

IAU: "I just can't win, Bill," Roddy lamented. "Half the male population of Headwater between 18 and 45 is off killing Japs and Krauts and Eye-talians. Things were getting real quiet around here. Then the FBI sets up shop and stay all summer. Now I got my first homicide."

IAV: They passed the stretch of national grasslands where the Bureau parked their trailer but there were no lights on, no smoke from a wood stove. Bill said, "The FBI was here last summer but now people are saying they saw some G-men back in town, staking out the bus station."

IAW: "Our victim and another girl named Sofie Krause were in custody somewhere for half of last year, but they escaped and made the FBI look ... hell, they are incompetent. But they wouldn't kill the girl for doing that, if your thoughts are trending on those lines, Bill."

IAX: Roddy drove around the northern slopes of Green Dome and Headwater came into view, the biggest town for a hundred miles around. The population was down to a thousand, now owing to the war. Bill asked, "What do you want me to do after we give the body to Dr. Wahkan?"

IAY: "Develop the film and file it," Roddy told his deputy. "Then get back to the scene and help Bob look for the murder weapon. I didn't see any prints leading away from the marker so I figure the perpetrator either tossed it or kept it. Either way is a good thing to know."

IAZ: The town's one doctor was Wahkan to the People, but the whites called him Plenty Practice. No one had ever died under his knife, but not even a local legend such as Wahkan could call back the dead. "Kim Zinter," he said when he saw the bloody corpse. "Heartbreaking."

IBA: Dr. Wahkan donned a pair of rubber gloves. "I have never carried out this protocol for you, Sheriff, and for your father of happy memory only five times." He felt behind the girl's head and discerned the bump had opened to become a bone cup as he knew it would last year.

IAB: "I saw her last year," said Dr. Wahkan. "And also the other girl, the one named Sofie. They both had the same symptoms."

"Symptoms?"

Dr. Wahkan gently rolled Kim's body a half-turn so Roddy could see the open bone cup and the bristle of black pins, like little hairs.

IAC: "I'll be damned," Roddy said, when the doctor lifted the girl's ponytail away so he could see.

"We call this the Change," Dr. Wahkan told him. "Naturally both girls were alarmed when it started to happen to them, but they were safe. It is known among the Kuwapi people."

IAD: "I told Kim and Sofie it had been present among some members of the Red Wing for a human lifetime and more, but they wouldn't listen to me. I tried to explain it to their mothers, but they insisted on a second opinion. Now Headwater is infested with the outsiders."

IBB: ""Headwater is a good place, Doctor, but my hand is forced simply by where the killer chose to leave the body. I must report to the very outsiders who have made things not so good for us over the last few months. Please help me learn who did this to her, and why."

IBC: Tashunka waited outside the sheriff's office long past when Roddy said he'd meet him, trying to stay warm inside his running truck. Roddy apologized for the delay and invited the old fellow in for some fresh coffee. "Doctor Wahkan had some interesting things to say."

IBD: Tashunka followed the sheriff inside and sat shivering in his seat until the coffee was ready. "And what of the three stupid white boys who took a bullwhip to a plains Indian and didn't think he'd have friends who could think of doing something far worse in retaliation?"

IBE: "The three stupid white boys were still there looking perfectly miserable until they laid eyes on the dead girl. That seemed to make their whole day. Would that Headwater had a bigger hospital. They wouldn't tell me what was so funny. I figure you're about to tell me."

IBF: Tashunka leaned back in his seat nursing the coffee. His eyes landedon a photograph of the elder Sheriff Walker, now deceased. Two years already? "Everyone greatly loved and respected your father, Roddy, both White Wing and Red Wing alike. I was there at his Final Rite."

IBG: Roddy flushed with sudden anger. "And I, his only son, trained to replace him, was not permitted to be there at his precious 'Rite' because I don't believe in fairy tales about angels and sun gods and killing relics and I made the mistake of letting everybody know that."

IBH: "Sheriff, if you allow your heart to grow black then you will take everything I tell you as coming from the left hand with the damned. What you call the 'killing relic' sets the Church of Green Dome apart from all other faith assemblies. It is divinity which can be seen."

IBI: Roddy glared at him while he took another sip of coffee, then lowered his eyes. Soon he was calm again and said, "You are absolutely right, Tashunka, and I know how important the relic is in the life of your Church. So let us call it by its right name, the Golden Gift."

IBJ: "You know Mark Lange was the first Prophet of the Church, and Wanica was his Apostle. When Wanica died, Prophet Lange chose Peter Twofeathers to replace him. Then Lange himself died, making Twofeathers the Prophet, and he in turn chose Klaus Hansen to be the Apostle."

IBK: Roddy nodded. "Yes, the authority moving from White to Red Wing and back, over and over so long as heaven and Earth last. That was the theory, anyway. It worked like a charm until the day the authority actually moved to the Red side and the White side didn't much like it."

IBL: Tashunka said, "Red and White wings swap power but the Golden Gift stays in the Red Wing. God gave it to Wanica, who gave it to Twofeathers. Hansen says the Apostle should have it. Twofeathers thought it would quiet things to give it up, but he gave it to Gabriel Shybear."

IBM: "Gabriel Shybear. That explains how he got his whipping. He said his house had been ransacked too. They must have been trying to beat the Golden Gift out of him. It's a good thing I never embraced the Green Dome Church as my own, Tashunka. It's much too violent for me."

IBN: "It gets better," Tashunka said. "The instant Twofeathers said Gabriel Shybear was the new Extraordinary Lay Minister of Final Rites half the Bunners stood up and walked out of the Temple. That must have been the Prophet's cue to lance the boil and bring things to a head."

IBO: Roddy smiled at Tashunka's use of the word "Bunners". By strict canon law all Greendomites had to wear their hair in a ponytail, even the men, but in the White Wing this ponytail was done up in a bun, even the men. He shuddered at how close he had come to being a Bunner.

IBP: Finally Tashunka dropped his bomb. "Peter Twofeathers declared that he was setting aside the central discipline of the Church in a single case so that Jerry Shybear could be wed to Kimberly Zinter. Klaus Hansen himself left in protest, along with all the other Bunners."

IBQ: Sheriff Roddy Walker leaned forward, rendered speechless, as Tashunka knew he would be. Even people who had nothing to do with the Green Dome Church knew about their biggest hobby horse. For a time the Mormons had polygamy. The Greendomites have mandatory cousin marriage.

IBR: Roddy knew a deep current of racism ran among the Bunners but the requirement for consanguineous marriages kept a firm lid on it. Kim Zinter was fourth generation White Wing at least, she'd have no kin among the Red Wing. Her marriage would have blown the door wide open.

IBS: As though he could read Roddy's mind, Tashunka said, "Apostle Hansen would see this marriage between Jerry and Kim as a horrible disease infecting the body of the Church. Their children would have marriageable cousins in both wings and it would just grow worse from there."

IBT: Deputies Bill and Bob rushed in just then and threw a Cellophane bag on the sheriff's desk containing the murder weapon. "Found it," Bob said, "Just like you guessed, throwing distance from the body." The blade was thin, flexible, nothing more than a steak knife perhaps.

IBU: Roddy picked up the bag and frowned with disappointment. "This game isn't as fun when the other side isn't even trying to win. Not a run-of-the-mill Sears Roebuck kitchen knife: no, something handmade, something an admirer would make special just for the Church Apostle."

IBV: Erik Zinter fought in a world war before they starting getting numbers. He was one of the merry but homesick doughboys who went into battle late in 1918 singing and whooping with all the enthusiasm of a college football team pouring out onto the field just before kickoff.

IBW: They came with six hundred aircraft plus one hundred forty-four tanks under Col. George Patton. Three thousand pieces of field artillery unleashed by the Allied side and countless bombs dropped from the air tore the battlefield into a pock-marked pigsty filled with mud.

IBX: The Germans withdrew but they fought a rear-guard action with a ferocious bite. Erik took two rounds from a Bergmann Maschinenpistole 18/1 that shatters the bone in his upper left arm and he developed gas gangrene in the field hospital lying just out of range of enemy fire.

IBY: The amputation was performed in less-than-ideal circumstances. Afterward Erik rode a train to Paris with a hundred other casualties. The same train carried soldiers fresh off the boat back to the Western Front, which had become a vast machine for mangling and killing men.

IBZ: In Paris Erik met a Red Cross nurse whose name-tag bore a surname he recognized. While she changed his dressings Erik learned that Clara was of the Brannens who had stayed behind in Pennsylvania when the wagon train went west so she knew little about the Green Dome Church.

ICA: Soon they knew they shared the same great-gramma: second cousins. That plus her all-American girl-next-door good looks interested Erik. Clara was pleased how Erik maintained a good attitude despite his misfortune. He didn't feel sorry for himself even after losing an arm.

ICB: There was pain but right on through it Erik maintained a deliciously wicked sense of humor. They could not talk for long but Clara passed along to him the address of her parents in Pennsylvania after he declared he wanted to stay in touch with her when they went home.

ICC: Their pen pal relationship gradually blossomed into something they thought was love. In 1922 Erik drove halfway across the country in his Model T. It took a full month. He used the Yellowstone Auto Trail and aside from two big auto repairs he averaged five dollars a day.

ICD: Part of this money came from his veterans' "bonus" of sixty dollars but some employers went out of their way to give returning vets seniority. Erik had accepted a job in Headwater painting houses using his remaining arm, and spent three years laying aside for the wedding.

ICE: In Clara’s hometown Erik sold his tin lizzie to pay for the wedding. Pennsylvania was the first anti-cousin marriage state, but only first cousins couldn’t get hitched, not second ones. And they were so obviously in love both of Clara's parents gave their nuptial blessing.

ICF: Erik's parents back in Headwater were a harder sell. After the train ride west he became the black sheep of the family for passing over a perfectly good (albeit horse-faced) local first cousin for a beautiful second cousin from back east. Why, any heathen would do as much.

ICG: Kimberly Zinter was born to Erik and Clara in 1925. Kim knew her two best friends Sofie Krause and Dory Twofeathers from as early she could remember, as far back as the economically frothy days of 1928 when they shared the same nursery while even their mothers found work.

ICH: By 1932 the Depression really started to bite. Clara was fired first, but soon even Erik was jobless. Builders found applicants with two good arms suddenly willing to paint. Still, Erik retained the good spirits that had endeared him to Clara in that Paris hospital.

ICI: There are rich seams of bituminous coal inside Green Dome hill and under Headwater itself but the geology of the area is so folded and jumbled there has never been an economical way to reach it by drilling a straight shaft. The coal would be exposed only in spots.

ICJ: During the Great Depression Erik Zinter created twisting passageways through the bulk of Green Dome. By day other men followed in his wake to reinforce the tunnels with timber and remove the coal. In the heart of the Great Depression, Headwater experienced a boom.

ICK: Great heaps of black gold from the mines began to piled up on docks in Chicago. Suddenly the unemployed, unemployable Erik Zinter had a brand new brick red Ford Model B, his first automobile since selling his Model T, and he also completely paid off his modest home.

ICL: There was enough money left over to send Kim to the excellent Green Dome parochial school to be with her friends. So affairs stood for ten years. Then coal miners stumbled across Erik’s dead body and learned that Erik had been in possession of the most sacred Church relic.

ICM: The Golden Gift was returned to Peter Twofeathers but this sparked the current tussle between Red and White wings. Sheriff Walker recalled the recent death of Erik Zinter and he yearned to dodget the duty to notify Clara Zinter of the discovery of her daughter’s body.

ICN: How does one break it to a newly-widowed woman that her family has now been entirely wiped off the face of the earth? The young woman who answered the door was not Clara Zinter. Her hair was a dark ginger. She had light green eyes, icy green, striking for being rare.

ICO: She had a pretty face but she was a little too chubby even for the time before Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy made skinny sexy. "Are you--" Roddy was looking at the spitting image of the deceased, Kimberly Zinter, standing in the doorway, patiently waiting for him to speak.

ICP: He pulled out his file to be sure. Identical. He was not aware that Kim had a twin sister. "Is Mrs. Clara Zinter at home?"

"Mother isn’t here," the young lady said, "I swapped places with her. Mom’s with her own folks in Pennsylvania. You’re Sheriff Walker, right?

ICQ: I’m Robyn. Do you want to come in? I’m sure you have a few questions and it will be better than standing here in the doorway."

"Don’t mind if I do," Roddy said. He took off his hat and stepped in. The hardwood floors were covered with throw-rugs. He could smell the gas furnace.

ICR: A radio was playing "I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and Robyn turned it down.

"Please, Robyn, if you could turn the radio off. It’s hardly appropriate for what I must tell you." The girl complied, and invited the sheriff to be seated.

ICS: A small coffee table between them. Robyn smoothed out her plaid dress and Roddy saw that she wore bobby socks. "You were about to tell me that you found the body of my sister," Robyn said, "and that she had been brutally murdered."

On one level Roddy felt relief.

ICT: His duty to notify the next-of-kin had been mooted. But Robyn had stated things she should not know. "You don’t seem too cut up about it," Roddy said, taking a small notebook and pen out of his jacket liner. The sympathetic bearer of bad news was a detective again.

ICU: "When did you know your sister was dead, Miss Zinter? Did an old Indian fellow pay you a visit today?"

"Just Robyn, please," she said. "One name. Robyn. Not Miss Zinter. Nobody else has visited me today, Sheriff Walker. I find it difficult to say how I knew she had died.

ICV: I mean I could tell you, and it would be true, but you would believe I was insane."

Roddy said, "Robyn, this is a murder investigation so I exhort you to hold to that thought, that whatever you tell me must always be the truth. Now, as for believing you are insane:

ICW: I’m already having trouble with your attitude toward the news that your twin sister has been murdered."

"Sheriff, have you ever heard stories about identical twins who seem to have a link that defies any explanation? You know, the ones who were separated at birth.

ICX: They never met, yet they led lives with coincidence piled upon coincidence, with the same type of job, and even the same type of spouse?"

"Robyn, are you’re saying you and Kim had some kind of radio in your head that always let you know what was happening to the other?

ICY: Because if that's what you're trying to tell me, young lady, I wouldn’t believe you were insane. I would run you in to the station for further questioning, for knowing material facts about this case with no plausible explanation why." But Robyn was shaking her head.

ICZ: "That's not what I'm trying to tell you, Sheriff." She stood up and walked over to her record collection, where she pulled a ten inch 78 RPM record from its sleeve. Holding it up for Roddy she said, "This is Kim. And in every instant of time, a copy is made of her.

IDA: By the time she’s seventeen Kim is quite a stack of records. But something happens to her that she can’t explain. Maybe she starts skipping. Her friend Sofie over there is another stack of records who starts skipping too. The music store says nothing is wrong with them.

IDB: But Kim’s mother is a stickler for high fidelity and she won’t take that for an answer. She quits her job at the music store and takes Kim to Lusk for a second opinion, and she convinces Sofie’s parents to do the same. Next thing you know both records are in quarantine.

IDC: There's six months of tests but nobody ever figures out why Kim and Sofie skip. Soon they realize they’re never getting out of quarantine, so they escape, but that's a whole other story. Kim Zinter changes her label and becomes Robyn. Sofie Krause changes her label to Hunky.

IDD: Soon Hunky is back with Doriel, and Robyn is back with Gabriel. Robyn and Gabriel want to get hitched, and the Prophet says he can swing it. But the Apostle says, ‘Will no one rid me of this troublesome platter’ and the Deacon takes a kitchen knife to her.

IDE: Now enter a blue-eyed black-haired dreamboat named Mike. Eight feet tall! Somehow he reaches back into that stack of records named Robyn and pulls out a disk from after the Deacon stole it, but before he broke it. Robyn fell silent and waited for Sheriff Roddy to reply.

IDF: Finally he said, "You win, Robyn. People as growing stacks of records? That’s too batshit crazy to take you downtown or lock you up. The Deacon did it, you say? Paul Bergin?" She nodded yes. "You didn’t give me enough probable cause to even check him out."

IDG: Robyn said, "My sister was killed with a knife from Bergin’s kitchen, one with a distinctive handle. Tomorrow is trash pick-up day. If you dig in his garbage can you'll find the whole set. You won’t even need a search warrant since he has already thrown it out."

IDH: "Now that I can use," Roddy said. "Kim’s body was found on the tri-state marker, which makes it a federal case. Whoever killed her did that on purpose. That’s why I’m trying to break this case before the FBI gets here, on the principle never give a perp what he wants."

IEA: Young Mark Felt had been with the Bureau just one year but the quality of his reports filtering back to Washington from Texas had brought him to the notice of the Director, J. Edgar Hoover. On the eve of Special Agent Felt's transfer to DC Hoover telephoned him personally.

IEB: Felt tried to maintain a respectful tone with the Director but he knew he was in for disappointment. The San Antonio field office was deemed a punishment detail where agents were sent to be toughened up, and it was particularly hard on agents who were married.

IEC: When it came it was every bit as bad as he thought it would be. Felt's transfer to Washington to work on counter-espionage was put on hold until he solved a simple homicide in the middle of the country. Hoover took this one personally; and so, natch, the FBI did as well.

IED: "You'll be coordinating with Special Agent in Charge Clyde Tolson on this one," Hoover said. "Do you know him?" Felt could only answer that he knew Tolson was the SAC at a division of the Bureau known only as DECON, but none of his associates knew what the initials meant.

IEE: "In Clyde's pretty little head," Hoover said with a nervous chuckle, "DECON stands for Domestic Enemies Containment, Observation, and Neutralization. But to me, you, the other agents and most important of all, Congress, Tolson heads up the Special Projects section."

IEF: "I understand sir," said Felt. "But what if, by some misfortune, my work runs at cross-purposes to those of SAiC Tolson? Which case takes precedence?"

"Yours, of course," said Hoover. "You are to mesh with Tolson as best you can, but your reports must come straight to me.

IEG: "Also you will have the complete cooperation of the local law enforcement community, such as it is. Not even Tolson has that. But bear in mind that Headwater is a small town at the ragged edge of nowhere. You will be shocked to find it lacking in most basic amenities."

IEH: Hoover wrapped up with a few more details, saying Agent Felt this and Agent Felt that. In twenty years Mark Felt would draw close enough to J. Edgar that he would just be called "Felt" but he'd never be on a first-name basis like "Clyde" which was just fine.

IEI: Mark Felt did win one important concession. He received permission to draw a Bureau sedan so his wife Audrey could proceed to DC as originally planned while he took his own car north through most of Texas and three other states to fix this burr under the Director's saddle.

IEJ: One summer head up the Big Muddy to St. Louis and hang a left. Now you're on the Missouri, the longest river in North America. Go upriver past Sioux City, Iowa and hang a left again on the Niobrara. Head west until you're walking in a dry river bed. You missed it. Back up.

IEK: The Squaw River is a shorter tributary of the Niobrara, yet it has a year-round flow despite winding across the most arid grasslands of the high plains. Bison used to reliably congregate at the edge of the Squaw River to drink, and the hunters of The People knew that well.

IEL: On a ridge above Headwater is a pillar of rock carved by wind to look like an Indian woman carrying a papoose in her papoose, hence the name Squaw River. Just west of town the river bends around the south and west flanks of Green Dome and pours from an underground cistern.

IEM: Headwater is where the river begins, but it's also where the railroad and pavement ends. Other than a few dirt roads and old wagon tracks, north, west and south of town is the biggest void in the lower forty-eight states. Mark Felt learned that when he found no motel.

IEN: Headwater has nothing for tourists, even when it wasn't wartime and there were tourists to be had. The view from the top of Green Dome was out over thirty-five miles of nothing. If you were from out of town it meant you were there to get hitched and your family put you up.

IEO: Special Agent Felt drove to the strip of land where Hoover told him the FBI had dropped a trailer. It was unoccupied. Felt let himself in using a spare key he had obtained from the Wichita field office. The kitchen was still a kitchen, but the living room was a workspace.

IEP: He checked the trailer's two bedrooms and saw they contained two cots apiece. So the trailer could sleep four agents. Before anyone else arrived he shat, showered, and shaved to make himself presentable once again after two days and two nights on the road.

IEQ: When he was finished Felt was still alone in the trailer, so he helped himself to the files that were stacked on the desks. One of them, with brittle yellowed paper that Felt instinctively handled with great care, was a report on the final days of the US Army's Fort Price.

IER: The report contained pages from the commanding officer's journal and testimony of the one surviving soldier. In August 1864 the army established Fort Price six land miles (and ten river miles) downstream from Green Dome two years before the town of Headwater was founded.

IEQ: Capt. John Smalley commanded a company of mounted rifles detached north from the 6th Cavalry regiment. He maintained good relations with the local Indians who were named by the Sioux the Kuwapi, or the Ones Who Were Chased Out, but who called themselves simply The People.

IER: Smalley considered The People to be peaceful, but they were so poor they had nothing to sell except women. "Fort Price ain't exactly a charity outfit," he was often heard to say. At the end ten Kuwapi women lived at the fort. They were kept as busy as the cavalry was not.

IES: In 1866 eight white skins came mounted on horses, cracking whips, two on Point, two on Flank, and two on Drag, a cook with his own wagon in the rear and a man riding way out front picking the best path for five hundred animals bulkier than any game animal save the bison.

IET: The whites drove their herd to a large island in Squaw River where the best grass grew. They did this without the basic courtesy of offering Chief Wanica one or two head as toll. Miffed, the Chief dispatched hunters to take payment in kind with a few well-placed arrows.

IEU: The eight white men fired back. Two Kuwapi hunters were killed, which was more than Wanica could afford to pay to learn how the strange new animals tasted. The Kuwapi withdrew halfway up the eastern flank of Green Dome and watched as the herd was driven to the north bank.

IEV: Mark Felt stopped reading the Fort Price file when he heard the sound of a vehicle's tires crunching up to the FBI trailer. Felt had already met Clyde Tolson at the handshaking ceremony the previous year when Hoover inspected his graduating class but this fellow wasn't he.

IEW: When he came indoors Felt thought the man looked more movie gangster than g-man, investigatee more than investigator, and somewhat later he learned he was one of the very few liberal Democrats to be accepted into the Bureau. "Are you William Mark Felt?" the newcomer asked.

IEX: Felt, who had been sitting ramrod straight in his chair, now stood ramrod straight on his feet and extended his hand. "Just Mark Felt, please." And the newcomer remarked on their mutual good fortune, for he was Bill Sullivan, and two Williams would have been confusing.

IEW: Sullivan approached the desk to see what Felt had been reading, amused by Mark's body language which seemed to dare him to say something derogatory about the presumption. "Ah yes, Cowboys and Indians," he said when he saw the material a bit closer. "How far did you get?"

IEX: "The Indians dropped a couple cows," Felt replied, "and the Cowboys dropped a couple Indians. If you hadn't shown up, Bill, I'm sure I would have plowed my way through to the part where the US Army lost their fort. A lifetime ago. Is this one of Tolson's special projects?"

IEY: "DECON," Sullivan said. "Domestic Enemies Containment, Observation, and Neutralization. I'm sure the Director told you this was Special Projects but my advice to you is to play along with Special Agent in Charge Tolson on this. At least until you break the murder case."

IEZ: Felt silently absorbed this and nodded once, clearly accepting the advice. He donned his overcoat and said, "Where is Tolson, by the way? I've only just arrived from the San Antonio office and the Director gave me almost nothing in the way of a brief before I departed."

IFA: "Tolson is waiting for you at what qualifies for a hospital in this tiny hamlet," Sullivan said. "It's practically a one-room log cabin. He's with Dr. Ian Trochmann. I'll take you there, but I won't be staying. I'm still looking for the other fugitive, one Sofie Krause."

IFB: As Bill Sullivan drove Mark Felt to the hospital to take over the murder investigation he pointed at the mountain to the right. "Green Dome is not even one of the five highest points in the state but summit to base it's twice any other. That's where the Indians retreated."

IFC: "And over there," Special Agent Felt said, pointing left over the dashboard, "must be the north bank of the river where the cowboys managed to get their herd. What happened next? You got me wondering how the Army lost a fort and why Tolson gives a damn about all this."

IFD: Sullivan shrugged, because the report was incomplete and he truly didn't know. "I guess it was like the little brother to Custer's Last Stand. One thing that really strikes me about the Indian wars was how the Indians gave as well as they got. We beat them with numbers."

IFE: "Numbers, and time, and the fact that they weren't really as blood-thirsty as people make them out to be. Did you ever hear of something they did called 'counting coup' ? No? It was the wartime equivalent of touch football. They went to war like we go to ball games."

IFF: They arrived at Headwater's only hospital where they saw a plump nurse in her fifties wheeling out a shivering boy with bandaged stumps where his feet should have been. She was followed by Deputies Bill and Bob wheeling out one boy apiece, each with identical injuries.

IFG: Sullivan led Felt up the walkway and made the first introductions. "Felt, this is nurse Ella Fader, and in the wheelchair is young Scott Hilling. Ella, this is FBI Special Agent Mark Felt." Felt couldn't help grinning at her name. She shook her head to warn him off.

IFH: After that Sullivan introduced Deputy Bob Lurz pushing Johnny Sunkel, and Deputy Bill Holsinger pushing Larry Porter. Felt wondered aloud why they were being rolled out to see the snow. Bob said, "Agent Clyde Tolson was of the mind they needed fresh air for about an hour."

IFI: Felt remarked on the similarity of their injuries. Agent Sullivan said, "The Indians here used to believe if they could make a captive scream his shade would be their unwilling servant in the afterlife. Some still remember. So not the touch football you mentioned earlier."

IFJ: "Ah, there you are Felt," SAIC Clyde Tolson said when they went inside. Felt remembered his oblong face and searing gaze from last year at Quantico when he inspected the graduating class 15 with Director Hoover. "Special Agent Mark Felt, this is Sheriff Roddy Walker."

IFK: Mark decided to hit the ground running. As he shook Roddy's hand he looked at his watch and said, "Sheriff, it's quarter of four and I am now assuming responsibility for this investigation. The Bureau expects your full cooperation and coercion is never my preference."

IFL: "Special Agent Felt, this department will pull out every stop to cooperate with your investigation. I just wonder, why start with this case? A few years ago there was a murder over the state line. My father reported it up to the Bureau but was told to handle it locally."

IFM: Felt said, "I don't know the particulars of your father's case. In this one the deceased is already involved in a DECON investigation by Special Agent in Charge Tolson, and whoever perpetrated the crime left her body across three states, deliberately goading the Director."

IFN: Tolson appeared pleased by Felt's can-do attitude and that he didn't need to be reminded of his preferred term for the Special Projects section. He suspected Sullivan was instrumental there. Sheriff Roddy introduced another man, still wearing scrubs, as Dr. Wahkan.

IFO: And still another man was donning scrubs. He was introduced as Dr. Ian Trochmann, part of Tolson's DECON project, preparing to perform the autopsy all over again for the federal side of the house. Roddy didn't think there'd be much of the girl left after that.

IFP: Wahkan raised a bloody gloved hand and said, "You'll understand if I don't shake your hand, Agent Felt." Tolson said, "Dr. Wahkan has completed what is no doubt an excellent autopsy but that makes both him and the Sheriff, privy to information that I consider sensitive."

IFQ: Felt was puzzled. "What do you mean, sir? What did he find?" Dr. Wahkan removed his gloves in a careful, clever way that avoided any contact with his skin and started to remove his overgarment, knowing that he was finished.

He began, "The deceased was a Caucasian female.

IFR: The deceased was known from her appearance as one Kimberly Anne Zinter of Headwater, eighteen years of age, high school student, vocalist in the church choir. Fingerprints were taken." Looking at the sheriff he also said, "The deceased's next-of-kin have been notified."

IFS: "The deceased has been dead for approximately eighteen hours with little evident decay as she was discovered outdoors in sub-freezing weather. I counted thirteen deep knife wounds to the chest. Six of these wounds pierced the heart and were the proximate cause of death.

IFT: The actual cause of death was exsanguination, or in layman's terms, the deceased bled out. The size of each wound suggests something larger than a pocket knife but smaller than a hunting knife."

"Please get to the good part, Doctor," said Tolson, spinning his finger.

IFU: Dr. Wahkan sighed and got to it. "Protruding through the scalp at the back of the head of the deceased is a small structure of bone resembling a cup in the shape of the letter 'D' with the flat side toward the neck. Inside the cup are more than fifty small black bristles."

IFV: "That is the sensitive information," Tolson said. "Nurse Fader is not to know, the deputies are not to know."

Roddy Walker paced over to Kim's body and took a look at the bone cup himself, again, and feigned surprise. Once again, he said, "I'll be damned."

IFW: Tolson saw the smug grin on Wahkan's face and realized he'd been tricked into unnecessary spillage of the information. Roddy could have been sliced out of the loop as well, but now it was too late. He decided to retaliate. "Have you seen that bone cup before, Doctor?"

IFX: Wahkan said, "Last May the girl's mother brought her to me. Her friend came in too, accompanied by both parents. The skin was not broken, the girls only had bumps on their heads. Their folks didn't like what I told them so they went to another doctor for a second opinion."

IFY: "What did you tell them, Doc?" Tolson asked. "That it was just a tick bite? Did you even take X-rays? We both know you did not. That leads me to believe you have seen this strange bone cup before, perhaps many times before. Doctor Wahkan, is that, in fact, the case?"

IFZ: After considering his reply, Doctor Wahkan said, "If I answer one way, I'm lying to a federal agent, which is a crime. And if I answer another way, I'm breaking doctor-patient confidentiality. So you will understand my position when I don't speak of this to you at all."

IGA: "You should be more worried about losing your license to practice medicine after failing to help me shut down what could very well be an infectious outbreak."

"Agent Tolson," growled Wahkan, "if you believed the girl was contagious you wouldn't even be in the building."

IGB: To this Clyde had nothing more to say. Dr. Trochmann flashed a raised eyebrow and wry smile at Tolson, as if to say, He's got you. "Excuse me, sir," said Felt, "but do you think this girl's bone cyst or whatever it is will have any bearing on the murder investigation?"

IGC: Tolson said, "This bone cyst and how the girl got it is part of the DECON investigation in Headwater. Her murder complicates things somewhat. It becomes a Bureau case, but we're not currently set up to carry it out. I put in a call to the Director, and here you are.

IGD: There is another young lady with the same bone cup, a Miss Sofie Krause, and I presume she's still alive and hiding somewhere in this very, very small town. So, Special Agent Sullivan, I thank you for fetching Special Agent Felt, but you know what, and you know when."

IGE: "I do indeed, Agent Tolson," said Sullivan. He put on his gray fedora, tipping it in turn to the sheriff, the two doctors, and Felt as he made his farewell. Before he left he turned to Tolson and asked, "And the six people freezing outside, sir, shall I send them back in?"

IGF: "Not now," Tolson replied, and he made a small gesture to Trochmann. The DECON doctor took up an electric reciprocating saw and proceeded to separate Kim's head from her body, heedless of the storm of blood and gristle that he unleashed or the loud objections of Wahkan.

IGG: Sheriff Walker found a sudden need to be outside and Sullivan followed him. Dr. Wahkan said, "Agent Tolson, my prayer is that you find whatever you are looking for quickly, and never again return to Headwater. Not even uncivilized men treat their dead in this manner."

IGH: In the awkward silence after Dr. Trochmann decapitated Kim Zinter's body and Dr. Wahkan's anguished objection to that, Sheriff Roddy Walker heard Special Agent Mark Felt's stomach growl and guessed the man might not have eaten since breakfast. He invited Felt to dine out.

IGI: Felt heartily agreed, so long as the sheriff remembered not to talk about the case in the restaurant. That gave Roddy very little time to bring Felt up to speed. He had decided on Bea's Chicken Inn only five blocks east of the hospital. Headwater wasn't a large town.

IGJ: Roddy took him over in the half-ton truck and Felt invited him to spill out what he had uncovered up to that point. Roddy said, "We have what is very likely the murder weapon, and it has fingerprints. We have many photographs of the scene with tire and boot marks in snow."

IGK: Roddy pointed out of the windscreen to the left. "That house coming up is the home of the deceased. I made contact with her twin sister there, one Robyn Zinter, who is not a resident of Headwater. She already knew Kim was dead and described circumstances of that death.

IGL: I didn't bring her in because I knew this was going to be the Bureau's case from the gitgo. And some of the things she said were pretty crazy." "After we eat I want to visit a judge. I want you to get a warrant to arrest Robyn Zinter. Let's see how crazy she is then."

IGM: Bea's Chicken Inn was kitty-corner to Robyn's house. When Roddy pulled into the parking lot he gave Felt one more item from the case. "I wanted to let you know we have a lead on the owner of the murder weapon. My deputies are set to move tomorrow unless you call it off."

IGN: "Why would I do that?"

"The source of the lead was the aforementioned Robyn Zinter. But the lead is too good to risk passing up."

"Do you think she's indulging in misdirection, sheriff?"

"I can't figure her out at all. She expresses zero sorrow for her sister. None.

IGO: If I understood her correctly, Agent Felt, this Robyn is not choked up over her sister's death because she's somehow a copy of her sister from just before she was murdered. She's intelligent and sweet but half the things that come out of her mouth make no sense at all."

IGP: "I can't wait to meet her," he said. "But first, Bea's Chicken Inn, you say? Did you know I haven't had a bite since early this morning in Witchita?"

"Then you're in luck, Agent Felt, homestyle fried chicken is Bea's forte. I wanted to put Headwater's best foot forward."

IGQ: When they went inside and were seated in a booth Roddy remarked that the place was much less busy that it used to be on weeknights. "Coal mining was the mainstay of the town and that's drying up."

Felt said, "I heard wartime meat rationing will start in a month or two."

IGR: Roddy nodded. "Places like this won't close up, but they'll have to collect ration cards from customers and put them all together to get resupplied. I suppose it'll be even less crowded then." He shrugged. "Tell me about yourself, Agent Felt. Why did you choose the FBI?"

IGS: "I have a law degree," Felt said, "and I was leaning toward the intersection of business and government, but the war intervened. In wartime our country becomes, temporarily, a military dictatorship with all hands on deck. So as with your coal miners here my work dried up."

IGT: "So your background was not criminal law," Roddy surmised.

"Well, make no mistake, Sheriff Walker, I was immersed in criminal law at Quantico. But the crimes that draw my attention aren't the kind that happen in little towns like Headwater. I want to go after spies."

IGU: The waitress came to take their order, and both men, knowing they would later visit a judge at his own home after working hours, refrained from ordering wine. She took the menus but left the two silver half-dollar coins that had been on the table when the men were seated.

IGV: "The people who ate at this table before us were from the Red Wing of the Church," Roddy said confidently.

"How do you know?"

He gestured at the two coins. "Those half-dollars. 1942. The mint mark should be D for Denver, but they'll both be O because the die was worn."

IGW: Mark Felt looked at both coins and confirmed that Roddy's guess was true. "How strange. But what's the connection to the Red Wing?"

"There's a fellow I know who runs a pawn shop, he brought these to my attention. Normally a mint mark of O would make these collectible.

IGX: This fellow looked into it and found out the Denver Mint had struck about a hundred of these flawed fifty-cent pieces before their quality control spotted the problem and halted the run. But there are many more than a hundred of them circulating here in Headwater.

IGY: Everywhere you go in Headwater you'll see them, always from the Red Wing, usually retirees living on social security, this old fellow gets a tube for his radio at the hardware store and leaves some half- dollars, that old lady gets her hair done and leaves another stack."

IGZ: "Do you think somebody in Headwater is actually counterfeiting coins?"

"If they are, Agent Felt, I really don't see how they would profit by it. If you melt a silver half-dollar down you get about a half-dollar's worth of raw silver bullion."

IHA: "But Pawn Shop Guy says the little O under 'In God We Trust' makes it collectible."

"Sure, if there was only a hundred of them. There's probably a hundred thousand of them now and they're breeding. I chalk it down to one of the many unexplained things about this town."

IHB: "There's more?"

"There's much more, Agent Felt, as you'll find out after we eat and the judge eats and Robyn eats and we go visit them. Take Squaw River for one. It's the only stream in the tri-state area that flows year-round from its source. Geologists cannot explain."

IHC: Felt chuckled at that. "So the Church is named for Green Dome, but nobody knows what makes it so green. You might be right about all the unexplained things in Headwater. Just before we met I was reading that Chief Wanica and one boy somehow fought off a dozen armed men."

IHD: The waitress arrived with their food. The sheriff withheld his reply until after they were served. He said, "My guess is Special Agent in Charge Tolson is running that mystery to ground. But I don't want to break your rule and talk about active cases while we're eating."

IHE: They stopped conversing and ate while Mark Felt expressed his appreciation for the food with grunts and eyebrow gestures. After a time Roddy asked, "How many spies have you caught, Agent Felt?"

"None so far," Mark admitted. "I've only been with the Bureau for one year.

IHF: Half of '42 was spent at the Academy and in DC, and for the rest of the year I was in Texas in hot field offices doing little more than interviewing references people had listed when they applied for government jobs. Hardly the exciting life of a G-man that I envisioned."

IHG: "How's the pay?"

"About sixty a week,"

"Not shabby at all, Special Agent Felt."

"What is shabby is having to pick up and move every few months. My wife Audrey and I were in the middle of another move to DC so I could catch spies like I wanted, but I got diverted here."

IHH: "How long have you been married?"

"Just four years, Sheriff Walker. The Director moves G-men around for no better reason than to 'toughen them up' and he will never understand the toll it takes on the families of those agents. Somehow my beautiful girl puts up with me."

IIA: Scissors, paper, rock, two out of three times, and Deputy Bob Lurz had to be the one to climb into the garbage truck at the place where 6th made a little jog north and 7th took its place. Paul Bergin lived on N Street and 6th. Deputy Bill Holsinger drove down to L and 7th.

IIB: The fellow driving the truck and the fellow dumping the cans were duly deputized. At O street Bob was told that Paul Bergin was making a last minute addition of a grocery bag to the can already out on the street. Two more pickups and Bob had this grocery bag in his hands.

IIC: "Jesus Christ, Bob, you reek!" gasped Bill when his partner piled into the truck with the evidence.

"All in the line of duty. Look what we got." He let Bill peek inside at a wooden knife block. The handles were the same as the murder weapon. One blade was missing.

IID: "So it's Deacon Paul Bergin for sure," said Deputy Bill. "I'm with the sheriff on this one. When the perpetrators make catching them this easy it's no fun at all."

"There should be nothing fun about any of this, Bill," his partner admonished. "Kimberly Zinter is dead."

IIE: At the sheriff's station the deputies, Roddy Walker, and even Special Agent Mark Felt donned gloves before the knife holder was removed from the grocery bag. Photographs were taken. One blade was removed and photographed next to the tagged murder weapon for comparison.

IIF: The knife handles were not identical, but that was to be expected in a hand-crafted set. Everything was dusted for fingerprints and photographed as well.

Felt began to interrogate the deputies as though he were some pricey high-caliber city lawyer Paul Bergin might retain.

IIG: "Are you sure this came from Mr. Bergin's house, Deputy?"

"I counted four stops after I got in the truck. There are three houses on 6th between the Bergin place and where I crawled inside."

"But did you actually see that you were in front of his house?"

"No, Agent Felt.

IIH: I was inside the garbage truck."

Deputy Bill shook his head when Felt glanced at him. He had also been well out of sight. "But the driver of the garbage truck and the pick-up man both said they saw Paul Bergin throw this bag in his trash can," he said.

"Sheriff Walker, I'm pleasantly surprised by what you've managed to get so far, but do you see the glaring hole in our case?"

III: "I can give you their names if you wish, Agent Felt. The trash men were deputized for this operation. That gives them legal standing."

"It also gives them elevated responsibility, Bill," said Roddy, "and I hope you explained that to them when you swore them in."

IIJ: "That doesn't matter, Sheriff," said Felt. "Please pick them up and see Judge Porter again. We might have just enough now to fingerprint Mr. and Mrs. Bergin."

Roddy walked over to look at photographs pinned to a cork board.

IIK: "And if his boots and tires match what we posted here, Special Agent Felt, then we will have a little bit more than just enough."

Felt nodded. The case was only starting but so far it was moving quite to his satisfaction.

IIL: But the homocide investigation experienced the first headwind from Judge Karl Porter when he declined to allow the sheriff to bring the Bergins in for fingerprints as he had previously ruled for Robyn. He mused, aloud, that the case was becoming a fishing expedition.

IIM: If Special Agent Mark Felt was disappointed it didn't show. "Let's go visit the Bergin place anyway," he told the Sheriff outside the courthouse. "I want to see if I can shake something loose."

"Do you want Bob and Bill to tag along?" "No, I need them to make a phone call.

IIN: Tell your men to get the number of Bergin's plates, then have them go up to the temple and take photographs of his tire treads."

"Oh, we already have Bergin's plate on file," Roddy said. "He doesn't think the wartime speed limit of 35 miles per hour applies to deacons."

IIO: Agent Felt smiled in admiration. "Sheriff, this is one of the smallest towns I've ever seen, but the way you run your department is a G-man's dream." When they arrived at Bergin's home Mark Felt took copious notes beginning with the fact that no vehicle was present.

IIP: Felt thought the most striking thing about the woman who answered the door was how singularly unattractive she was. If she hadn't worn a dress Mark might have thought Deacon Paul himself was standing there. He cleared his throat and identified himself and Sheriff Walker.

IIQ: "Yes?" she snapped. "How may I help you?"

"Is Mr. Bergin at home?"

She shook her head. "Paul works at the Temple. I'm his wife Ruth."

"Perhaps you can help after all, Mrs. Bergin. It seems a young woman was attacked with a knife recently."

"Good God, is she well?"

IIR: "It's hard to say at this point," said Felt. "What I can tell you is that we think we have the knife that was used in the attack. It has a very unique wooden handle. It's hand-crafted, you see. Only a very few sets were sold, Ruth, and we think you might have one of them."

IIS: Ruth gasped. "You can't think that I, that Paul did this."

"Not at all ma'am. A criminal investigation is much like tracing out every rabbit trail even when they just come to a dead end. If you show us your own kitchen knife set then the sheriff and I will be on our way."

IIT: "We never bought our knife block," Ruth said. "It was made by Owen Bergin when Headwater was first settled and has passed down from father to son ever since."

Felt made a note of that on his pad, then broke into a smile. "You see? I knew we must be wasting our time."

IIU: "I'm sorry, Ma'am," said Sheriff Walker, "but we had to be sure. Still, do you mind if we take one little peek at what you do have?"

Mark Felt admired how Roddy caught his little game and slid right into his role without clashing gears. And Ruth went inside to fetch it.

IIV: The fact that Ruth didn't know she was missing her knife set was recorded in Felt's notebook. As he expected, she returned emptyhanded and Felt recorded that too, not so much that he didn't know it, but for the affidavit he would have the sheriff type up for Judge Porter.

IIW: "I don't understand," Ruth said. "I used a knife from the block just this morning when I made breakfast for Paul and the children, but now everything is gone."

"Oh no, Ruth, that's just what I didn't want to hear," Roddy said "But I'm sure there's a good explanation."

IIX: "Ruth, do you mind if the sheriff and I come in so all the heat in your house doesn't escape through the front door?"

She thought about that for longer than Felt liked but in the end Ruth nodded and opened her screen door to let them in. She asked them to sit on a couch.

IIY: Roddy thought Ruth's home was very similar to Kim Zinter's place in size and design but different in almost every other way. There were no decorations at all, no paintings, no rugs, not even a single knick- knack. Only two books were in sight, a Bible and the Green Book.

IIZ: Another difference: when he visited Robyn she was playing music, but here it was silent. No record collection, no Victrola to play them on. Roddy marveled how religious folk were so keen on a life in the hereafter when their life here on Earth was so miserable, by choice.

IJA: "I see you don't have a radio, Mrs. Bergin."

"There's only one station in town, Sheriff, and more often than not they play race records. Paul says that's the devil's own music. Why, even the children in the Temple high school are playing that garbage if you can imagine."

IJB: "The girl who was attacked sang in the Temple school band," revealed Felt. "Do you know somebody who might have stabbed her because she sang race music?"

Ruth's eyes said yes but she shook her head no.

"It was very generous inviting us to come indoors, Ruth," he said.

IJC: "I have no right to ask this of you, and don't believe for an instant that we really think you attacked the girl, but if I could just get one print of your thumb I could compare it to what we found on the knife and completely eliminate you as a suspect in this case."

IJD: The sheriff had to restrain himself from whistling in admiration at Agent Felt's performance, it was so beautifully done. Ruth would be thinking of self-preservation in the face of her own husband framing her for the crime. And Roddy thought that wasn't far from the truth.

IJE: "Will you have to take me down to the station for a thumbprint?"

"Not at all," said Felt, and he used his pencil to make a thick dark spot on a page in his notebook. "Are you right or left handed?"

"Right, of course," Ruth said, as though southpaws were somehow immoral.

IJF: And so with Ruth Bergin fully and freely willing, Special Agent Mark Felt rubbed her right thumb in the spot of graphite, then flipped to a fresh page in his notebook and rolled her thumb across it to get a perfect print. He dared not close the book until it was lacquered.

IJG: "This schoolgirl who was attacked, she was Erik Zinter's kid, wasn't she?"

Felt stood up from the couch still holding his notebook carefully open. He said, "I've been careful not to say too much and upset you, Mrs. Bergin.

"I suppose it couldn't be helped," she sniffed.

IJH: Sheriff Walker scrambled to his feet at that remark and politely asked Ruth what she meant by making it.

She said, "I think only a believer would fully understand me, but Erik was putting our most holy relic to common purposes, digging coal! Our God is a sovereign God."

IJI: Roddy made eye contact with Agent Felt, who raised his notebook a bit and shrugged. He already had what he came for.

Roddy said, "So God wasn't content to take Erik's life for what he did? He had to take the life of his daughter as well?"

Ruth was shocked. "She's dead?"

IJJ: "Yes, Ruth, she's dead. What a terrible thing for Clara, don't you think, losing her entire family? But whoever did it has a death wish. He elevated it to a federal case. It was already the Chair if I caught him..."

"...but the Bureau always gets its man," Felt finished.

IJK: Judge Karl Porter was directly descended from Alfred and Caroline Porter, who were part of the first wagon train to set down roots in Headwater. In any other town of the West, where family trees actually fork, this would be like tracing one's family back to the Mayflower.

IJL: From his corner office on the second floor of the courthouse Judge Porter could look down upon his ancestral family home on the north bank of the river. Most of the land of the homestead had long been sold off for the homes and apartments of the northwest quadrant of town.

IJM: The courthouse was five blocks away from the sheriff's office on the same little island in Squaw River that formed the heart of the town. The sheriff himself was in Porter's chambers making another run at Paul Bergin, and this time, Porter suspected, he just might get him.

IJN: The judge glanced once more at the Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant submitted by Sheriff Walker. On a personal level he didn't like where this investigation was going. Paul was the deacon of the Church and the Bergins, just like the Porters, were Headwater Old Guard.

IJO: The Church of Green Dome had secrets, the judge well knew. Something happened last summer to bring three agents of the Bureau sniffing around. After a few weeks they had abandoned their trailer outside of town but the death of this girl brought them back with a fourth man.

IJP: FBI Special Agent Mark Felt was seated at the table next to the sheriff. The judge already learned, the last time these two men appeared before him, that Felt had assumed responsibility for the case. He asked Agent Felt why his name did not appear on the Affidavit.

IJQ: "Your Honor, when I assumed overall direction of the case for the Bureau the Sheriff had already acquired a quantity of evidence. The Affidavit before you summarizes the entire case to this point and only Sheriff Walker could testify as to how all the facts were obtained."

IJR: "And do you foresee a time when the Bureau will no longer be acting in co-operation with local law enforcement here in Headwater?"

"Certainly, Your Honor. The individual or individuals responsible for the crime will likely be transported for arraignment in Kansas City."

IJS: Judge Porter said, "Then with the view of hastening that blessed day please lay out your new evidence."

Mark Felt nodded at the sheriff. Roddy opened a briefcase and removed a knife in a cellophane bag, a page from Felt's notebook, and two closeup photographs of these.

IJT: The sheriff said, "Your Honor, Mrs. Ruth Bergin, the wife of Paul Bergin, was kind enough to allow Special Agent Felt to take an impression of her right thumb and as you can see, it perfectly matches the single thumbprint we dusted on the weapon found at the crime scene."

IJU: "What in the name of God would make Mrs. Bergin give you her thumbprint, Sheriff, and why isn't she named as a suspect?"

"I think, Your Honor, the answer to both questions is the same. She was shocked to find her set of kitchen knives had gone missing on garbage day."

IJV: Judge Porter growled while he chewed on that item for a moment. Yes, the sheriff, or Agent Felt, or both, would have led poor Mrs. Bergin to think her own husband was framing her for murder. Still, what's done is done, and it was legally airtight. "What else do you have?"

IJW: The sheriff reached into his briefcase and removed two more photographs. "Your Honor, Paul Bergin's vehicle is parked at the Temple and is under surveillance by my deputies. You can see here that his tire tread matches the tracks we found at the scene of the homicide."

IJX: The judge looked at the photographs and remembered that under wartime rationing Paul Bergin could only own four tires plus one spare. Karl realized the sheriff had enough to justify an arrest warrant. He could hardly refuse after signing one for Robyn Zinter on much less.

IJY: "The court finds probable cause to believe a felony offense, to wit, the unlawful killing of Kimberly Zinter with malice aforethought, has been committed. The arrest of Mr. Paul Bergin at any hour of day or night is so ordered." Karl Porter's law clerk began typing it up.

IJZ: "Special Agent Felt, will it be sufficient to confine your search for more evidence of the crime to the home of Paul Bergin?"

Felt replied, "No, Your Honor. If Mr. Bergin was a layman his house would have been enough. But as a deacon he has access to the whole Temple."

IKA: "Very well, these are the rules of the People for your search: Let's assume Bergin is hiding evidence in the Temple. When you make the arrest you will have his keys. Any door that is locked, but his keys can open, you may enter and search."

"Thank you, Your Honor.

IJB: The Bureau accepts this limitation on the search."

"Proceed with caution, Agent Felt," he said. "The Church of Green Dome is the very lifeblood of Headwater, and the Church was already going through its most difficult passage in nearly eighty years before this happened."

IJC: "The words of Dr. Wahkan and Sheriff Walker have already sensitized me to the plight of the Church, Your Honor," said Felt, "and I will take great care. But if those troubles somehow led to the killing of Kimberly Zinter, I don't know how even more trauma can be avoided."

IJD: Special Agent in Charge Clyde Tolson was waiting in the second-floor courtroom with Special Agent Sullivan when the sheriff and Felt emerged from the judge's chambers. "It's not carte blanche," said Felt when he handed Tolson the documents, "but it's the best we could do."

IJE: When Tolson finished reading he said, "Edgar knew what he was doing when he put you on the case. For six months we couldn't get one foot in the Temple door."

Felt hoped he only heard that wrong. It sounded like Tolson didn't give two floating turds for the dead girl.

IKA: The town of Headwater, true to its name, sits at the source of the Squaw River. Paved road starts there, as does the railroad. No one ever spends the night in Headwater because no one ever passes through. Even the FBI had to crane off a trailer to have a place to sleep.

IKB: The Church had steadily lost adherents since peaking in 1917 but there were still many congregations scattered across America and even some in Europe. When families of the deceased came to Headwater for the Last Rite often the only place for them to stay was the Temple itself.

IKC: The C Wing had six modest rooms which were offered to visiting families for their brief stay of a day or two. Klaus Hansen had never given them much thought. As far as he knew or cared the beds made themselves, so he was startled to find Dory and Gabriel cleaning the rooms.

IKD: "What is this?" he demanded.

"It goes with the position of Extraordinary Lay Minister of the Last Rite," Gabriel replied. "Somebody has to get the rooms ready."

"What's she doing here?"

"Cousin Dory is pitching in."

"I only want to see Red Wingers here on Wednesdays."

IKE: Dory and Gabriel, being Red Wingers both, made as thought to leave, but Klaus said, "Not you, boy."

"I'll pick you up at five, cuz," said Dory on her way out. When sha was out of earshot, Klaus said, "Where's the Golden Gift?"

"It's in the Temple, as we agreed."

IKF: "How do I know that's true?"

"This is the Temple. Liars have no part in the life to come."

"Show it to me."

"Mike told me to only bring it out at need."

"Fuck Mike. You need to show it to me."

Gabriel unlocked a supply room. A red cookie tin sat on a shelf.

IKG: It was empty but Gabriel thought it was perfect. When che reached outside of the universe it always looked like somebody chopped hez hand off with an ax, which would need explaining. Gabriel produced the relic and to Hansen's eyes it looked like che pulled it out of the tin.

IKH: "How do I know that's not just something you whipped up in metal shop and painted gold?"

Gabriel squeezed the relic. The hissing shifted down in pitch as the black rip in reality grew, drinking in the light and air of the room. Hez ponytail tossed in the growing breeze.

IKI: Klaus Hansen had never been so close to the Golden Gift in operation and was entranced with the sheer otherworldliness of it. Gabriel was amazed at hez self-restraint for not slicing the man in half where he stood.

Dory saw the sheriff's deputies smoking and joking outside.

IKJ: "Hello officers," sha said.

"Afternoon, Dory," said Deputy Bill.

Neither he nor Bob could guess why sha was grinning and not even trying to hide it, but sha knew why they were there and what was coming. Meantime sha got into Peter's station wagon, which was har car now.

IKK: Four hundred feet below the temple, on the north side of Green Dome, was Peter's house and that was Dory's too now that he and Jaroah were in Heaven. Hunky and Robyn waited for har there. It was quite a step up from a tree house. They could see the FBI trailer from there.

IKL: Dory drove the '41 Chrysler Town and Country down the icy nine percent grade to har love nest and fell into Hunky's tree limbs.

Robyn rolled her eyes and said, "Could you hold off long enough to drive me down to the library? I want to leave a surprise for Special Agent Felt."

IKM: "Alright, Gabriel," said Hansen when the thrill of the Golden Gift wore off, "put it back in the can and lock this room back up."

IKN: When it was done Klaus told hem to hand over the key and the look on his face seemed to dare hem to show even a twinge of insubordination, but he got nothing. "Who else has a key?"

"Deacon Paul," replied Gabriel. As though summoned by an evil spell Paul Bergin joined them.

IKP: Looking somewhat distraught, he said, "Ruth just phoned. The sheriff and an FBI agent visited our home."

"Let's take this to my office," said Hansen, making a gesture to hush. Klaus took him by the shoulder and led him away so they could speak with more privacy.

IKR: In the office, he asked Paul, "What did Ruth say to get rid of them?"

"Get rid of them? She invited them to come inside!"

"Jesus, Paul, what did she tell them?"

"She didn't tell me that. But she did ask me why the knife block she used this morning was gone."

IKS: "How did you handle that?"

"I said I didn't know anything about it. The knife block is at the landfill and no one will ever find it, but Ruth said she let them take her fingerprints, and that makes me wish the knife was squirrelled away with the clothes and other stuff."

IKT: "What's done is done," Klaus said. "Even if they found the knife and trace it to Ruth, so what? She had no motive to kill the girl. She probably doesn't even know her."

"What if they come here next?"

IKU: "That is a very good question, Paul. So now, I think, is a good time to be out in Headwater tending to the flock as deacons must."

When Paul went out to his parked car he saw the same deputies Dory had greeted only a few minutes earlier, but he did not stop to chat.

IKV: Instead, he tried to get back inside the Temple. Sheriff Roddy Walker and Special Agent Mark Felt intercepted him at the door.

"Sheriff, would you do the honors?"

Roddy said, "Paul Bergin, you are under arrest for the murder of Kimberly Zinter. Hold out your right arm please."

IKW: Paul was too shocked to move, so Roddy grabbed his jacket sleeve, cuffed his bare wrist, then made Paul face the wall. After both arms were cuffed behind Paul's back Roddy patted him down, removed his wallet, and unlatched the carabiner key chain looped to his belt.

IKX: He handed both of these to Felt, then handed Paul himself off to his deputies. "Fingerprints, new home, not a word, boys."

Special Agent in Charge Tolson was just coming up with Agent Sullivan.

"Do we knock?" Felt asked them.

"No need," said Tolson.

IKY: "This is a public house of worship." He pulled the huge doors open.

"Gabriel Shybear," Agent Bill Sullivan said when he saw who was standing inside. Tolson knew who Gabriel was from Sullivan's reports but he had never actually seen hem.

IKZ: "Aren't you supposed to be on some island shooting Japs right now?"

Gabriel shook hez head and dug out hez draft card. "The Army didn't think I was man enough, Special Agent Sullivan. Navy too."

"Gabriel, what are you doing here today of all days?" Roddy asked.

ILA: "I'm here every day now, Sheriff. There's been some changes. I hold an office in the Church. Extraordinary Lay Minister of the Last Rite." Only Felt could find his voice after that news, simply because he missed the import. "We have a warrant to search the Temple."

ILB: Gabriel said, "Uh-oh, I better tell the Prophet," and che jogged backwards up the broad carpeted hall through the center of A Wing, facing the sheriff and the FBI agents, until nearly reaching the drum-shaped Sanctuary in the center of the Temple. Che knocked on one door.

IKC: "Prophet Hansen, some gentlemen are here to see you."

Klaus stepped out of his office, prompting the sheriff to say, "You're the Prophet now? What happened to Peter Twofeathers?"

"I've been given to understand he is dead."

"Not dead," said Gabriel. "He lives in Heaven now."

IKD: "Gabriel, are you talking about another homicide?" asked Roddy.

"No, Peter and his wife volunteered to go. So did the Prophet who came after him, if you think about it."

"Hold your tongue, boy!" blurted Hansen. "No one cares to listen to your addled nonsense!"

IKE: With a sudden, awkward silence, Sheriff Roddy Walker stepped in to make all the required introductions. "Mr. Peter Hansen, this is Special Agent in Charge Clyde Tolson, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and with him are Special Agents Mark Felt and Bill Sullivan.

IKE: "I need to talk to both of you," said Felt, "but first, we have an order to search the Temple for evidence pertaining to the murder of Kimberly Zinter."

Klaus demanded to see the order and Tolson let him read it. He glanced at the keys in Felt's hand. "Where's Paul?"

IKF: "On his way to county lockup," Roddy said.

"I will hold you fellows to the absolute letter of this search warrant," he said. "You may search only in the rooms which are locked with those keys."

The offices of Klaus and Gabriel were unlocked and so were off-limits.

IKG: But the Bureau agents went through Paul's office like a tornado and yielded a pair of boots in a desk drawer. Roddy bagged them, tagged them, and locked them in his truck. Three other rooms were filled with a great deal of material that appeared to be from an earlier age.

IKH: After a quick glance at the contents the sheriff offered Felt an explanation. "B Wing is set up like a museum of Church history. Or at least it was. This looks like the material that was on display there."

"Only the history of the Kuwapi," Gabriel said. "We're in the New Reich."

IKI: "That's a damned shame," Felt said, holding up a broken arrow. "Some of the relics are damaged."

They moved to the hallway that ran around the circumference of the Sanctuary and did a third of a turn to the right, checking for more locked doors, before entering C Wing.

IKJ: The room that Gabriel and Dory were cleaning was not locked. The other guest rooms were searched and found to be devoid of any evidence.

"What's behind that door?"

"That's a dry hole, Agent Sullivan," said Gabriel.

"It's just my broom closet." Che locked eyes with Klaus.

IKK: Nevertheless, Special Agent Felt found the appropriate key. Like Gabriel said, there was nothing within but cleaning supplies. Felt shook the red cookie tin sitting on a shelf but heard nothing, and opened it to make sure it was empty. Klaus seemed both puzzled and relieved.

IKL: After that the sheriff and three Bureau agents headed down the wide carpeted stairs to the basement cafeteria. The Prophet, lagging behind, asked Gabriel, "How did you know they would search?"

"I didn't know, Mr. Hansen, my newlywed wife did. Robyn knows all, sees all."

IKM: There wasn't much of interest downstairs, which was open and airy, even in the kitchen, but the supply room was locked and everyone gravitated to there.

"Is this the room from your report?" asked Tolson.

"Mecca," Sullivan said.

Tolson gestured for Felt to pop it open.

IKN: Mecca turned out to have the same broken piano, hymnals, mason jars, and stacks of Green Dome coloring books that Gabriel had seen before when he took Robyn and Dory in the supply room.

Bill Sullivan pointed at the plywood board at the back wall. "Flashlights, gentlemen."

IKO: The board was moved aside, and presently the three G-men were standing around the rock cairn that formed the uttermost summit of Green Dome.

Tolson said to Sullivan, "If the kids were in such a hurry to clear out when Paul caught them why are all the stones back in place?"

IKP: "That is a very perceptive question," Sullivan said. He began looking for the easiest stone to move.

Felt didn't like the sudden turn in the murder investigation into an area where he hadn't been briefed. Tolson's agenda was intruding. A stone fell and Tolson went in.

IKQ: Felt heard Tolson utter an oath that was most unbecoming of an FBI agent. After Sullivan ducked inside the cairn items started getting tossed out: a dress, shoes, bloody clothing, rubber gloves. Felt shouted for them to stop but Tolson was frantic. "There's nothing here!"

IKR: After the search under the altar fell through SAiC Tolson left the temple and took Sullivan with him. Special Agent Mark Felt was fine with that. Conflicting agendas were never productive. He helped the sheriff document the evidence that had been tossed out of the cairn.

IKS: That left only the B Wing of the temple to search. It was set up as a historical museum, although under the new management of Prophet Hansen the Kuwapi contribution to the Church of Green Dome had been stripped out. Some of the more valuable pieces were missing entirely.

IKT: Something about B Wing stayed with Mark Felt for the rest of his life. Perhaps it was the variety of genuine articles dating back to the Civil War. Perhaps it was the way Sheriff Walker explained what he was looking at. Agent Felt found the experience profoundly immersive.

IKU: Deacon Paul had nothing to say, and he declined to make his phone call to a lawyer or anyone else. FBI Special Agent Mark Felt was content to let Bergin stew in the county lockup overnight and he called it a day. The sheriff dropped him off at the library on 17th and V.

IKV: When Felt wasn't in counter-surveillance mode he slammed to the full reverse and became a man of precise routine. His ritual at the end of the workday was always to sit in a library, summarize the events of the day, and mail it to Dotty back in DC. Somehow this Robyn knew.

IKW: That day had been more eventful than any since Quantico, and it took Felt longer than usual to summarize events for Dotty on the stationary Robyn had provided. When he was finished, Felt spotted a book on the table with a note taped to it, inked in a neat feminine hand.

IKX: The note said: Dear Special Agent Felt, Well done on the bust, but there were two sets of footprints at the scene of Kim's murder and you've put away the low-hanging fruit. The other fellow is smarter and has (or rather he will have) an unexpected ally within the Bureau.

IKY: Meanwhile, to compensate for the unfortunate renovation of B Wing at the Temple, I bring your attention to this excellent account of the Red Wing's part in the origin of the Church of Green Dome. It might explain the behavior of your supervisor SAC Tolson. Enjoy!

IKZ: Robyn Felt glanced around the library to see if Robyn was watching. How did she know to leave the book at just that table and not another one? The title of the book was "Island in the Sky: The Life of the Kuwapi People" written in 1925 by Jashen Shybear and it was rather thick.

ILA: Opening the book was a mistake. Before he knew it, the librarian came around to inform him the branch was closing and he had made not the slightest effort writing his report to Dotty. He did note the Dewey number on the spine of the book so he could find it again.

ILB: At roughly the same time that evening Dr. Wahkan received an honored guest in his office. The visitor said, "Dory told me you found something on Kim's body and hid it from the FBI."

"Yes, Teacher, certainly," said Dr. Wahkan, and he retrieved a small object from his desk.

ILC: It was rubbery on one side, and looked like one end of the Purple Cable on the other. He gave it to Michael.

Michael asked, "Does anyone know about this?"

"No one saw it, Teacher, and I didn't write it up in a report. Dory was very specific about that."

"Thank you, Doctor.

ILC: This device doesn't really belong in this time and place, you see. It comes from about fifty years from here, after a great many changes that you would find difficult to fathom."

"Teacher, may I ask what it does?" Michael smiled gently. "It has two purposes, Doctor Wahkan.

ILD: This side looks like a big brown mole because that's easier to explain than an electrical connector coming out of your head. But it's also very much like a radio transmitter."

"How wonderful," said Wahkan. "I don't believe I've seen a single tube smaller than that gadget."

ILE: "Yes. Vacuum tubes are useful but in a generation they will seem as quaint as whale oil lamps. I gave Kim this 'gadget' so I could capture all her experiences, even to the very instant of her death. It was a promise I made to her when she agreed to be killed."

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Strangers In Paradise