Isobel’s face scrunched with incredulity. “Potter?” she asked.

Gwen’s head snapped toward Isobel. “Houdini, Isobel,” she all but shouted. “Harry Houdini. The friggin’ Handcuff King!”

“Okay!” Isobel threw up both hands, nearly dropping the keys. “Sorry!”

Gwen snatched for Isobel’s wrist, aiming the light toward the lock again.

“I’ve since learned that picking a lock is a lot like talking to a guy,” she said. “Sometimes all you need is just the right amount of . . . force.”


Isobel’s mouth fell open in the same moment the shackle popped free. Quickly Gwen stood.

“Here,” she said. “Take these.”

Isobel rose, still gaping as Gwen shoved the instruments into her hand.

Checking over her shoulder once, Gwen yanked the lock from the gate and gave the metal doors a light shove. They eased open with a low and rusty groan.

Gwen hurried in.


“C’mon,” she said, turning back. “I think I hear a car coming.”

Isobel stooped to grab the case full of tools, then darted through the gates. She had heard it too, the hushed monotone hum of a vehicle’s slow approach. Together, she and Gwen turned to push the gates shut, and while Isobel held the iron doors steady, Gwen threaded one thin arm through to snap the padlock back in place, effectively locking them inside the cemetery.

“Quick,” Gwen whispered. “Get down. Doesn’t have its lights on, so it’s gotta be a cop.”

Isobel backpedaled away from the gate, searching for somewhere to hide. She froze, though, when she realized that she was standing right in front of Poe’s grave.

Shaped like an enormous white chess piece, the monument stood taller and wider than a person, raised off the brick walkway by a square-cut stone base. Embedded in the center of the memorial was a portrait of Poe embossed on a giant bronze medallion. His eyes, two chiseled holes, seemed to watch her with an expression that in the mix of shadow and light looked nothing short of stricken.

It took her back to the vision Pinfeathers had shown her. Poe’s final moments played out again in her mind’s eye, like a horror movie she couldn’t turn away from.

“What are you doing?” Gwen rasped, rushing to her side. “I said get down!”

Grabbing hold of Isobel’s wrist, Gwen pulled her behind the side of the monument that faced away from the front gates. Together, they pressed their backs against frozen stone, the contents of Isobel’s backpack digging into her spine.

Isobel squeezed Gwen’s arm. She pointed at the elongated Siamese-twin shape their shadows cast against the side of the tomb directly across from them. They sank down in unison, their shadows melding into one, blending in with humpbacked silhouettes of the surrounding stone markers. Staying low, they balanced on their haunches, listening to the sound of squeaky brakes as the car eased to a halt.

A flashlight beam shot past them, slicing through the darkness. Like a searchlight, it trailed down the walkway and over the slabs of stone. Isobel huddled closer to Gwen, pulling her own shoulder in from where it had been poking out on one side of the grave. Isobel held her breath, and she could tell that Gwen was doing the same.

A sudden scratchy burst of static erupted from what sounded like a two-way radio. A man’s voice broke through the fuzz. “Unit ten, we’ve got a call for backup at the harbor.”

Isobel strained to hear, unable to help but wonder if the call had anything to do with her disappearance. She had no doubt that her father would have contacted the police by now. Had he already called Mom, too?

“Copy that,” a voice answered. “Just checking on old Westminster. It’s still quiet over here, so we’re on our way.”

The flashlight beam made one more arc over the cemetery before bouncing away. Beside her, Isobel could feel Gwen releasing her breath in a slow exhale.

Isobel began to relax too—until one last burst of static zipped through the air, carrying with it a snatch of melody, a woman humming. Three notes, haunting and beautiful, drifted through the cemetery before a motorized drone, like the sound of a power window rolling up, cut it short.

Isobel knew that melody. The lullaby.

Quickly she craned her head around the side of the grave. She glanced toward the front entrance of the cemetery just in time to catch the red glow of the patrol car’s taillights as it slid out of sight.

Isobel gripped Gwen’s leather case of tools to her chest. “Did you hear that?”

“Yeah,” Gwen answered in a whisper. “But whatever it is, I doubt it’ll keep them busy for long. Let’s go before someone else circles by.”

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