“Another one,” said Helena. She leaned over to extinguish her cigarette in an ashtray shaped like a pig. She’d brought it from home; smoking wasn’t technically allowed in the Violet Hill City Council chambers, but as the mayor she considered it to be the least of her concerns.

“Yeah,” said Chief Strong of the VHPD. “We found her in her bathroom. Marble, this time, not granite like the Smithson lady.” He cleared his throat. “We think. It’s not like we had a minerologist chipping at them.”

“We’ll hold her at Memory Fields along with the rest of them, for now.” Annette, city council member #4, was owner and operator of Violet Hill’s most robust growth industry: the local tombstone maker. They’d been concealing the victims in her back lot for three weeks.

“That brings us to, what, 17?” said Helena, lighting a new Marlboro with the smouldering stub of the old one.

“18,” said Strong. “You’re forgetting the Kettering girl.”

“Right,” said Helena. “Anette. How much longer can we keep this under wraps without creating a panic?”

“I’m not know for statuary, Helena. People are starting to ask questions. I’ve already turned down three offers to buy one of them.”

“We haven’t had any missing persons reports aside from the two already on the books,” said Strong. “But we’ve been lucky. This one might be too much.”

“Dammit, that’s not good enough!” cried Helena. “Women in my town are turning to stone, and I can’t have this town dissolving in a panic!”

“The only connecting thread we’ve found is the anti-aging skin cream found in the abodes of the various victims,” Strong said. “But there’s no trace of the actual products anywhere to be seen. And they’re not even the same products.”

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