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“It’s usually worth the price of admission.”

“I’ve got Dickerson sweating in the box. Literally. I think he’s been taking the serum—or a version of it. And I think he dosed himself real good two nights in a row. It’s got him strung out. I’m about to go in for the second round. Peabody’s bringing Rosenthall into Observation, in case we need an interpreter for the science.”

“I’ll go find them.”

He gave her a tap on the chin, then strolled off—as at home in the cop shop as she was, she thought.

She cracked the tube, took a long drink, then walked back to the interview room. When she stepped in, Dickerson was standing in the far corner, facing the wall. His shoulders shook.

“Dallas, Lieutenant Eve, reentering Interview. Jesus, Ken, man up.”

“That’s Dr. Chaos to you.”

She arched her eyebrows at the rough sound of his voice. “Now we’re getting somewhere. Have a seat, Doc, and we’ll—”

He turned. She’d thought little could genuinely surprise her at this stage of her life and career, but she froze in shock.

His face rippled in front of her eyes. Sickly green, it twisted itself until the jaw locked at a grotesque angle. His teeth sharpened; his eyes protruded and bulged in their sockets, and began to gleam red.

“And I’m not a man.”

She heard the snap and crack of migrating bones as his spine seemed to warp. “I’m a god.”

She pulled her weapon. “What you are is under arrest.”

He leaped at her. She got a stream off, was sure she struck midbody, but he was so fast. She had a fraction of a second to prepare, and used the force of his body ramming hers to go down, kick up, and send him flying over her and into the wall.

He careened off, bloodied, and nimble as a spider. This time when she fired, he jerked. Then he smiled.

“Oooh, it tickles! I’m so much stronger now.”

“So I see. But not pretty. You’re smart.” He would attack again, she thought. There was too much animal in him not to. “You’re in the middle of Cop Central. Even if you get through me, you won’t get out. You’ll die here.”

“I can’t die. But you can. You’re an insect to me. All of you. Weak and breakable.”

“He’s still in you. The weak and breakable Dickerson.”

“Not for much longer. He cried over the girl, but he enjoyed killing Billingsly. He’ll enjoy killing you. We’re going to carve out your heart, and eat it.”

She fired again, kept firing. It slowed him, caused him to stumble, but he came on.

The door burst open. Roarke rushed in, steps ahead of Peabody and a swarm of cops. Chaos whirled, snarled—jittered from the stun streams.

“Go down, you fuck!” Eve shouted.

“Allow me.” Face cold and fierce, Roarke rammed his fists into the twisted face. Right, left, right again.

Blood streaming, body spasming, Chaos went down.

“Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ.” Eve muttered the oaths—prayers—as she snapped on restraints. “I want leg irons,” she called out. “Now. Peabody, keep your weapon on him.”

“Believe me,” her partner responded.

“I want him shackled, in a cage, before he comes to. Isolation. Let’s move!”

“Are you hurt?” Roarke gripped her hand as she rose.

“No. I’ve got to get him contained. I’ll be back. And hey, thanks for the assist,” she added as she moved aside to let some of the men lift Chaos.

Roarke watched her go, then glanced down at his raw knuckles. “Ah, well.”


Eve found him waiting in her office, settled in her ratty visitor’s chair with his PPC. He set it aside when she came in, and with one look at her face, went to the AutoChef, programmed coffee for both of them.

“He’s dying.” Eve dropped down at her desk. “Multiple organ failure—Louise had that one. And he’s got a brain tumor for good measure. They’re not going to be able to save him.”

“I’m trying to be sorry, as you seem to be.”

“He was an idiot—Dickerson. Jealous, ambitious, reckless. But he wasn’t a murderer. Or not until he started taking the serum. His version of it. He’d improved it, so he thought. He was going to impress the girl, his boss, the whole fucking world. Now he’s dying because he unleashed something in himself that perverted what he was, what he wanted. Something he couldn’t control.”

Roarke sat on the corner of her desk, facing her. “He would have killed you.”

“Yeah. What he became was as addicted to killing as Dickerson was to the serum. As the people Rosenthall’s trying to help are to the illegals. Rosenthall’s with him now—pretty much crushed. Dickerson’s barely able to talk, but we got all we need to close the cases.”

“It’s never just about closed cases for you.”

“Four people slaughtered. And now we’ll have five bodies. Dickerson was dead the first time he took the serum. He just didn’t know it. He asked Darnell to come into the lab. He was so proud, had to show off. Had to hope she’d see how special he was, and want him the way he wanted her. Instead, she disapproved, told him he had to go to Rosenthall, had to stop.”

“She would have recognized the addiction,” Roarke concluded.

“Yeah, I’d say. She was black-and-white on it. If he didn’t tell his boss, she would, because he was making himself sick, she said.”

“And that only made him take more.”

“He promised he’d do what she said, then increased the dose. To prove to her he was better than Pachai, better even than Rosenthall.”

“And Chaos was born.”

“I guess that’s true enough. He says he thought the murders were a dream, a hallucination.”

“You don’t believe that.”

“No,” she confirmed. “I don’t. He knew what he’d done. He just couldn’t face it on one side, couldn’t give it up on the other. Dickerson told us Billingsly was trying to hack into Rosenthall’s computer when he got to the lab.”

“Jealousy again.”

“The green-skinned monster.”

Roarke started to correct her, then shrugged. “Well, in this case.”

“And this case is closed.” She finished off her coffee, set it and the sadness aside. “I need to write it up, and I promised Nadine I’d give her a head start. I don’t know why.”

“Friendship, and because you know she’ll be fair and accurate. I’ll leave you to it then, find myself a spot to finish a bit of business. Tag me when you’re done. We missed breakfast altogether. I’ll take you to lunch—whenever.”

“I can grab something. You don’t have to wait around.”

“Eve.” He touched the shaggy tips of her hair. “I’d just stepped into Observation when he turned around. I saw what he was, or what he was becoming. We never quite see everything there is, do we? What I did see was the delight—the murderous delight on his face. I didn’t know if I’d get there, get to you, in time.”

“I’d stunned the shit out of him,” she began. “And yeah, he might’ve gotten a piece of me anyway. You finished him off real nice.”

“Well then, you’d loosened the lid. I’ll wait for you.” He leaned forward, touched his lips to hers. “Always.”


“Guilty. And when we get home tonight, we’ll take care of that arm.”

“I know what that means.”

He laughed, kissed her again. “You’ve had it cradled since you sat down.”

She glanced down, saw he was right. “I guess it took a knock in there.” She released it, took his hand to examine his knuckles. “You, too.”

“Then we’ll take care of each other.”

“Sounds good.”

And it did, she thought, when he’d left her to find his quiet spot. Before the work, she rose, walked to her skinny window. She looked out at New York—safe, for the moment, from one of the monsters who hunted.

And stood awhile, holding vigil for the dying.