Home > In Death #33.5 - Chaos in Death(8)

In Death #33.5 - Chaos in Death(8)
Author: J.D. Robb

“Justin doesn’t allow anything.” Gently, but deliberately, Arianna drew her hands away.

“You’re right, of course. But it’s natural to want to shield you from this kind of ordeal. I know how much you’d invested in these recoverings.”

“I haven’t heard an answer yet, Mr. Billingsly.”

“Dr. Billingsly,” he snapped at Eve. “And at that time of the morning, I was home in bed.”



“What was your relationship with the victims?”

Perhaps due to the fact that his face went red, Arianna answered for him. “Eton is one of our psychologists. He specializes in hypnotherapy. The process can help them through withdrawal, give them focus, and can often help them bring the root of their addiction to the surface.”

“So, did you do the ‘you’re getting sleepy’ with the victims?” Eve asked him.



“As Arianna can tell you, they were making excellent, even exceptional, progress.”

“When’s the last time you had contact with them—each of them?”

“I’d have to check my book. I can hardly remember off the top of my head.”

“Do that. Did you ever visit the building where they were living?”

His lips thinned. “No. Why would I? Instead of wasting time here, you should be out on the street, looking for the maniacs who did this. It’s obviously the result of violent addicts, people they associated with before they began the program.”

“Nothing’s obvious at this point. You’ve been very helpful,” she said to Arianna.

“Can you let us know when… Justin and I would like to arrange a memorial. We’d like to arrange for their remains.”

“Arianna,” Billingsly began.

“Eton, please. It’s little enough.”

“I’m required to inform the next of kin,” Eve told her. “I’ll be in touch once I have. You have transcripts of your sessions with them. They could help me. Doctor-patient privilege doesn’t apply when the patients are dead.”

“I’ll have them sent to you this afternoon. I’ll show you the way out.”

“We’ve got it, thanks.”

As they walked away, Eve glanced back. Eton had her hands again, his head bent toward hers as he talked rapidly.

“Asshole,” was Peabody’s opinion.

“Big, flaming ass**le with a big, flaming temper. Looks like he keeps in good shape. Bet he puts in plenty of gym time. And he wants Arianna Whitwood for his own.”

“Oh yeah, and she doesn’t want him for hers.”

“That’s a pisser for him. I bet she gave the vics a lot more of her time, attention, and affection than she gives Billingsly, which is another pisser for him.”

“Killing the hell out of them doesn’t change that. Would be a pretty murky motive.”

“Maybe, but I really hate him already. Plus, hypnotherapy. Who knows what he’s up to with that?”

“Why didn’t you ask for his transcripts?”

“Because he wouldn’t give them up, not without a warrant, which you’re going to put in the works while we head over to Get Straight.”

“Oooh, that’s going to be another pisser for Billingsly.”

“I can only hope it’s not the last.”

Chapter Four

They got little more from Get Straight but confirmation of everything they’d heard before, and more grief. Even as they stepped out into the air holding the first faint hint of fall, Eve’s com signaled. She recognized the first on scene on her screen.

“Officer Slovic.”

“Sir, we dug up a wit claims she saw someone near the rear of the crime scene, and observed him stuffing something in the recycler where we found the bloody protective gear.”

“That’s a break. How good a look?”

“She claims a good, solid one. There’s a streetlight, and she states she saw him clearly, and he was dancing.”


“That’s her statement, Lieutenant.” Eve heard the shrug in his voice. “Her description’s pretty strange, but she’s sticking to it, and doesn’t strike me as a whack job. Her apartment’s got a good view of the area, and she was up walking her kid—kid’s teething. She’s a short-order cook on parental leave. We got her on the canvass.”

“What did she see?”

He cleared his throat. “A monster. Possibly a demon.”

“Officer Slovic, are you actually wasting my time on this?”

“Sir, I wouldn’t, but she gave details, she had the time down, and she admits it sounds crazy.”

“Give me the details.”

“Male, medium build—she thinks—dark hair, wild and stringy.” He made the throat-clearing sound again. “Greenish skin, red, bulging eyes, contorted features, and prominent teeth, wearing a black cape and carrying a black satchel.”

“And this green, red-eyed monster was dancing in the streetlight.”

“And laughing, sir, in what the wit describes as a wild, guttural laugh. I believe her, Lieutenant, I mean about what she saw. It could be the subject was wearing a mask or a disguise.”

“Yeah.” Eve heaved out a sigh. “Will she work with an artist?”

“She’s anxious to.”

“Contact Detective Yancy at Central, and get her to him.”

“Yes, sir.”

She shoved the com into her pocket. “A green, red-eyed, cape-wearing monster.”

“Or possibly demon,” Peabody put in and earned a sneer. “I’m not saying I believe in monsters and demons, but somebody hyped up on Zeus, say, convinced he is one, gets in the gear to top it off. Since the wit only saw one man, and the evidence leans toward one man—he’d have to be hyped on something. Zeus not only makes you crazy, but it deadens you to pain, pumps the adrenaline.”

“Maybe. We’ll see it through.” She checked the time. “I want you to go by Slice, talk to the boss, the coworkers, and do the same at the twenty-four/seven. You can round it off with the diner they used as a hang spot. Maybe they had some trouble last night, or somebody followed them home. I’m going to swing by the morgue, see what Morris can give us. We’ll hook up back at Central.”

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