by a flight of dingy brown steps climbing up to the street above. Bisbee was built on hills, and concrete stairs like these were everywhere, connecting to the winding roads above and below like a game of Chutes and Ladders.

According to Officer Billings, there was an entrance into the park halfway up. The witness had led Billings up this way. The place made Laura think of the inner city, Chicago or New York—a park made of concrete, suspended above the street on the backs of three locked-tight shops, their windows blank.

She looked up and saw the finials of a wrought iron fence and some treetops. Wondered how trees could grow there. She glanced at Officer Billings. “That street, where does it go?” Laura pointed to a street that curved up the hill around the edge of the park.

“Opera Drive? It makes a half-circle around City Park, doubles back up there.” He motioned to the road above, high on the mountain. Houses were strewn down the hill like items in a jumble sale.

“Let’s start here and walk the perimeter,” Laura said. Behind her, Buddy Holland snapped on latex gloves and young Billings followed suit. Buddy looked over at Laura, then pointedly back at his hands. Laura crossed her arms, tucking her hands under her armpits. She didn’t wear gloves until it was time to collect the evidence; wearing them tended to make her complacent.

They walked north on Brewery Gulch and followed the curving street up the hill, Billings filling them in on the witnesses’ discovery of the body and his subsequent trip back with them to the bands hell—any and all observations, large and small. Halfway up the curve, they came to an entrance into the park. From here Laura could see a long concrete oval with a basketball court, a playground, cement bleachers cutting into the hill on the right, and the band shell.

Billings’s voice trailed off into silence.

Inside the band shell, propped up against the back wall, was a tiny, forlorn figure. At first glance, it looked like a doll. From where she was, Laura couldn’t see features or details, but she could see the figure’s static nature, its lack of life. She felt the shocked presence of the men with her. The whole canyon seemed quiet, insulated from the world like a soundproof room.

She wiped sweat out of her eyes. Suddenly she wished the storm would come, bringing with it cool rain.

After a moment that seemed like a prayer, they continued up the hill. Sunlight glared off silver-painted roofs down below on the Gulch. Laura realized how thirsty she was. When they got back down, she’d ask for someone to send up some bottled water. They followed the wrought iron fence, looking at everything, paying particular attention to the ground. She could hear her own ragged breathing; they were up at five-thousand feet. They could see into the band shell, the horror closer now. It was unsettling how much the girl looked like a doll. Still too far away to be sure if she was real.

At the top of the road, they reached the flight of stairs that descended the hill along the south side of the park. If they walked down these stairs they would have gone full circle. In the corner, next to the steps, the tarpaper roof of the band shell gleamed in the sun, a shallow puddle from a recent thunderstorm in the center. Beneath, unseen, was the girl. The stench of death condensed in the humid air, cloying and undeniable.

The three of them stood at the top of the concrete steps, looking down at Brewery Gulch below.

A breeze touched Laura’s face and she smelled wild fennel. Behind her Buddy said, “I don’t think he came from up here. He’d block the road. It would be hard to get in and out. He’d have more of a chance of being seen.”

Laura thought he was probably right.

A cicada buzzed, hard and violent.

She was aware of the two of them looking at her. “Let’s go down the stairs.”

As they entered the park, Officer Billings headed for the band shell steps.

“Officer,” Laura said, “stay with us.”

He blushed at his lapse of judgment. “Sorry,” he said, quickly rejoining them at the entrance.

Laura stood still, facing out into the park. The body of the little girl would wait. Wordlessly, the two men stayed with her. She could see Detective Holland out of the corner of her eye. She hated dividing her attention between two people she didn’t know and the crime scene. If she had it her way, she’d be here alone.

Looking at the park with her back to the band shell, she measured with her eye the distance to the other end —approximately two hundred feet, maybe a little more. Inside the long oval of the park, the basketball court formed a smaller, concentric one. Near the wrought iron fences, there were cookie-cutter scraps of dirt, where the trees grew. She realized that she was in a natural amphitheater, houses all around, many of them looking down from the tall hills—a ready-made audience.

Laura closed her eyes, trying to summon the thoughts of a killer. Sometimes, if she narrowed her field of vision enough, she could see things from his perspective.

Laura knew he craved an audience, knew it from the evidence he’d left behind. Even as she tried to draw him in, think like him, her analytical mind ticked away underneath, logically picking up and discarding theories—the easiest way for him to enter the park, if the girl was dead or alive when he brought her here, and what he did last, just before he left.

The reason he had to dress her up like a doll.

A scrape of shoe on cement—Holland or Billings. Whoever it was, her concentration broke. The killer had something to say to her, but she couldn’t hear him. Maybe it was Detective Holland, his disapproval of her jamming the frequencies.

She would come back later, alone.

She turned and faced the band shell.

The 1916-era band shell was small and shabby with stuccoed-over cement. The stage apron stood a little over waist-high. Under the arch, the shallow interior had been painted pale blue—to represent the sky?—but was now overpowered by graffiti.

The body of the girl had been placed in the center, propped against the wall, legs out. Flies zoomed around her.

Finally, Laura looked directly into the girl’s face. Shocked, she thought, I know

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