From Chapter 46: Ghost Rider from the Sky:
"Sh-h-h-h-h-h! Listen!" Eagle whispered, raising his palm upward to signal her silence. He got on his knees, putting his ear to the bare earth inside the mausoleum. "Vinny and Jerry are here in the cemetery, not far from where we are now. I recognize their gait."
"Who are Vinny and Jerry?" Janice whispered.
"Two guys you don't ever want to meet on eHarmony.com. I think they were the ones firing at us."
Each at their separate observation slot inside the tomb, Chief Eagle and Janice, even in the darkness, could see Vinny and Jerry, guns drawn, hurrying over the small hill heading toward the rows of red brick mausoleums, one of which included their hiding place.
"We can't run! They're too near. They've got guns!" Eagle exclaimed.
"Our door isn't locked!" Janice whispered.
Eagle surveyed the rickety, deteriorating caskets beside them, two stacks of family members going down into the earth about twenty feet. Reaching over the rusted hinges, he pulled up the lid on one, revealing skeletal remains inside.
"Get in! We've only got seconds. I'll put the lid down on yours. I'm getting in the coffin stack beside yours," Chief Eagle said. "Try not to make a sound. Lie perfectly still!"
"Like the person next to me?"
In the musty air inside, Janice could feel but no longer see the bones beside her in the dark coffin. Under her she touched what seemed to be shreds of rotted silk. When her hand brushed one of the dry bony skeleton fingers, she jerked her fingers away, raising a bit of dust.
Oh my God, I think I am going to sneeze, she thought. No. No. No.
She heard Vinny and Jerry break open each door of their row of tombs, moving closer and closer to their concealment. Wind Eagle and Janice had no method of repositioning the outside padlock to appear locked, once they got inside. The visual effect now was equivalent to a flashing neon sign stating: "This is the One You're Looking For."
When she heard Vinny and Jerry scrape open the aged door to their tomb, her heart pounded so hard she thought the thudding might even awaken the two-hundred-year-old bones next to her. She held her breathing. There was a metallic taste in her mouth. She reached over to hold the hand of the skeleton next to her.
Then there were two gunshots in rapid succession, two thuds and silence.
From Chapter 27: Had a Great Fall
In October 1879, white-haired artist Constantino Brumidi was seventy-two years old, weak from asthma, chronic diarrhea, and other ailments compounded by lingering effects of the fiercely cold winter of 1878 during which he was hospitalized.
He was painting the three-hundred-foot frieze around the underside of the Capitol's main rotunda dome. The artistic style was called grisaille, a white and gray/brown monochrome color scheme creating a three-dimensional effect that from a distance looked like actual sculpture...
Tourist crowds gathered to watch the elderly artist seat himself in a small cage-like box that was hoisted by a dome- roof-connected rope pulley to a small scaffold swaying seventy feet above the rotunda floor.
He completed half a figure on the frieze each day until it was time for him to be swung down again. Brumidi had painted in the Capitol building for about twenty-five years. His crowning artistic achievement was The Apotheosis of Washington, a spectacular work he completed across the dome of the main rotunda above the frieze in just eleven months.
Many Capitol surfaces awaited his brush, but he sensed intuitively that his artistic work was moving toward an end....
Beginning in September, with its days of teasing beauty, he had an increasing intuitive sense that his painting time might be much shorter than five years he projected to finish the frieze....
As Brumidi turned to retrieve a different brush, the chair torqued under him, pitching him over the side of the scaffolding toward the marble floor seventy feet below. As he fell, he made a desperate, successful grab at the last rung of his ladder, remaining suspended by his arms, cheating death, for about fifteen minutes. Watchman Humphrey Lemon rushed up the stairs, then descended the ladder to help the trembling Brumidi to safety.
Was the accident a divine preview of his final punishment, he thought? Or had God saved him as a warning, as a reminder so that he could try to make amends?
Brumidi did not return to the scaffolding October 1. His dramatic near-death experience left the artist badly shaken physically and mentally. He was in shock. As he rested at home, more disturbing thoughts plummeted through his brain as if his memory had been dislodged into darker corners, tumbled like his body in the fall....