Authors: Kelley Armstrong
As Amos answered, I had to fight to keep from staring at the picture. Because I did indeed recognize the subject. He was the killer in my vision earlier that evening.
“… name is Ciro Halloran,” Amos was saying when I forced my attention back on track.
“And this was the man taking photos of Mr. Gallagher?” Gabriel said.
“That’s right. Halloran disappeared three days ago. A friend suspected foul play, saying Halloran had been investigating someone dangerous. When we went to Halloran’s apartment, we found these.” He waved at the photos. “It became clear who Halloran’s target was.”
“And in what capacity was Mr. Halloran ‘investigating’ my client?” Gabriel asked.
Amos said nothing, which meant he didn’t know.
“You identified Ricky as the person Mr. Halloran feared based solely on the fact you found these photos in his apartment. Is that correct?”
“If you expect me to answer your questions, your client had better be ready to answer mine.”
“So I’ll assume Mr. Halloran’s friend did
identify Mr. Gallagher as the man Halloran was worried about. You arrived at that conclusion based solely on finding these photos.” Gabriel’s expression said that was flimsy grounds for stopping Ricky and that he was being generous when he finally said, “All right, ask your questions.”
The questions were exactly what one might anticipate. Did Ricky know Ciro Halloran? Did he know why Halloran would be taking photos of him? As I’m sure Amos expected: the answers were no, no, and no. Gabriel had asked him to wrap up the interview when Amos’s phone rang. When the detective got off the call, he said, “That was the judge. The search warrant’s signed. Let’s move this chat to your apartment, Richard.”
Gabriel argued against the search, but not strenuously. Ricky knew better than to keep anything incriminating in his apartment. If he needed prescription medicine, he’d have a copy of the script on file. He didn’t own a gun, legal or otherwise. As for
alcohol or cash, the police wouldn’t find more than a six-pack of beer in his fridge and a hundred bucks in his sock drawer.
As we left the office, I murmured to Gabriel, “Can I ride with you?”
“Should we both?” Ricky asked, too low for the detectives to hear.
Gabriel shook his head. “Don wouldn’t want you leaving your bike here. We’ll meet you at the apartment.”
We climbed into Gabriel’s Jag. The moment he’d reversed onto the road, he said, “Who is Ciro Halloran?” and I told him.
“So you had a vision tonight?” he said when I finished.
I winced. I’d been telling myself Gabriel wouldn’t expect me to call him at midnight to report a vision. I’d been wrong. I knew I’d been wrong. I just …
“I didn’t want to bother you,” I said. “It was late. I figured it could wait until morning.”
Gabriel said nothing for the rest of the drive.
The detectives had called in officers to help with the search. Too many officers, given that Ricky’s student apartment was maybe four hundred square feet. They were being assholes, making a scene where he lived. Except he didn’t really live there. He spent more time at my apartment or his dad’s house. This was just his legal address. We didn’t tell the cops that. We simply waited in the living room while they searched.
They’d been at it nearly an hour when Amos slapped down a pile of unopened mail in front of Ricky.
“Care to explain this?” he said.
“I hate paying bills?” Ricky said. “Nah, I have a busy schedule and that’s my triage system. I tackle the stuff I recognize right away—like bills. I toss out the obvious junk mail. If I’m not sure what it is, I pile it up until I can go through it.”
“Go through it now.”
“No,” Gabriel said. “That’s an invasion of privacy. If you saw something in there you’d like to discuss—”
Amos plucked out an envelope and slapped it on top of the pile. It was a personal letter, hand-addressed to “Rick Gallagher.” The return address was illegible, the envelope having gotten wet, the ink badly smeared.
“You don’t open
letters?” Amos said.
“People think they can make contact with the club through me. I’ve also been in the papers lately, with Liv, which means even more unwanted mail.”
“That return address isn’t water damaged,” Amos said. “It’s just an ink smear, deliberately done. That’s suspicious, which is grounds for me to ask you to open it.”
Ricky glanced at Gabriel, who gave a reluctant nod. Ricky opened the envelope and took out a single page, also handwritten, unaddressed and unsigned. He read it aloud:
I know what you did. I’ve been watching you. You’re going to screw up, and when you do, I’ll be there to make sure you pay.
Ricky snorted a laugh.
“You find that amusing, Richard?”
“It’s like a bad movie script.” Ricky put the letter down. “I’m sure you’re going to say this is from Halloran. With the part about watching me, it might very well be. So go ahead and do your handwriting analysis or whatever. Even if it’s him, I have no idea what he’s talking about. I’ve never met the guy. Never heard of him.”
“Are you sure?”
Gabriel cut in. “It would not be the first time my client has been harassed by a stranger for his membership in the Saints
motorcycle club. Citizens looking to exercise a tendency toward violence often focus their attention on perceived lawbreakers, in hopes of provoking a confrontation. Such individuals are almost always in need of psychiatric care. The fact Mr. Halloran has disappeared suggests he is one of them.”
“Or that your client is responsible for his disappearance.” Gabriel’s voice dropped, dangerously. “Perhaps you should clarify, Detective. If you are accusing Mr. Gallagher of a crime, I would like that stated, so I know where we stand.”
“Are you familiar with the murder of Lucy Madole?”
Gabriel’s blank expression answered for him. At one time I’m sure he’d tracked every local murder, ready to leap and offer his services when a suspect was arrested. He no longer needed to do that. If a suspect wanted him, they knew his name.
familiar with the case. Lucy Madole was a doctor, only two years older than me, who had been murdered in a neighborhood where no one should be wandering around at night.
I’d paid attention because the
’s articles had pissed me off, suggesting Madole might have been in that neighborhood selling prescription drugs to “former associates.” Not because the suburban-raised, Harvard-educated doctor had known gang ties. Rather, the insinuation seemed based solely on the dark tone of her skin.
“I know the case,” I said. “As for what it has to do with this letter …”
“Dr. Madole left behind a husband.”
“Sure. I remember that.”
“She didn’t take her husband’s name. Women nowadays don’t seem to like doing that. Madole was her birth name. Her husband was Ciro Halloran.”
The vision flashed again in my mind. Ciro Halloran carving up a young fae.
Lucy Madole had been beaten and knifed to death.
“I presume there’s a point here, Detective?” Gabriel said.
“Oh, I think you see my point, Walsh. Dr. Madole was killed in a part of town she’d never have visited on her own. A part she was obviously lured to. As a doctor, she had access to drugs. Your client sells—”
“If you are going to finish that accusation, you had better be able to support it with evidence.”
“We both know he does. His family business does anyway, and the rest is hair-splitting. Dr. Madole was no dope dealer. But she was young, with heavy college debts. And your client? There are a couple of ladies at the precinct who get all giggly when his picture’s in the paper. So apparently he’s the kinda young man who might have been able to persuade Dr. Madole to sell him a few pills. The kind who might also get pissy if she feels guilty and tries to stop selling them to him.” He turned to me. “Wasn’t your fiancé killed a few months ago? Beaten and stabbed to death?”
“Her ex-fiancé, James Morgan, was beaten and strangled,” Gabriel cut in quickly before I could react. “Which I know well, as the person accused of his murder. A charge that was dismissed when the real killer, Tristan Crouch, turned himself in. You are very clearly suggesting that my client murdered Dr. Madole. I presume you have the evidence to charge him.”
Amos said nothing.
“No? Then I believe we are done here. Please conclude your search, and if you have further questions for my client, I’ll expect them to come with an arrest warrant.”
Gabriel left when the police did, and he glanced at me, his mouth tightening when he realized I wasn’t following him. He gave a slight chin jerk, telling me to come along … and I looked away. After he was gone, I texted him, saying I’d tell Ricky about
Halloran and work the case tomorrow. If he wanted to talk then, let me know.
He didn’t text back.
I told Ricky that it’d been Halloran in my vision, killing fae.
“Gabriel should be here,” he said. “We should all be discussing this.”
“He knows. He’s fine.”
“I just think—”
“He’s fine. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”
Ricky shook his head and picked up a textbook as I settled in at my laptop. He drifted off to sleep shortly after that. When he woke at five, seeing me still at my laptop, he said, “You do realize there’s no point in both you and Gabriel being up all night researching the exact same things.”
“I’m sure he’s asleep by now.”
“You know he’s not. You two—”
He took a deep breath and then met my gaze. “I’m not saying I’m worried about Amos tying me to this murder, but I’d kinda like both of you working this. Together.”
He held out my phone. I took it.
abriel had been home for an hour now, and for nearly that long he’d been standing in front of his fifty-fifth-floor window, staring out at the city with a tumbler of Scotch. He hadn’t touched the drink. He wouldn’t, even if he’d never wanted it more in his life.
No, that wasn’t true. There’d been one other time he’d wanted it this badly, one other night he’d spent holding a glass, staring out this window. When Olivia left.
She’d only been away for two weeks, and he’d known she was going. It was a motorcycle trip with Ricky, a much-needed vacation after they broke the case against her parents, discovering that Pamela had indeed murdered four people and Todd let himself also be convicted for the crimes, because she’d done it for Olivia, as part of a deal with the Cŵn Annwn to cure Olivia’s spina bifida.
It was not surprising that Olivia had needed to get away after that. But it hadn’t felt as if she was fleeing Pamela as much as fleeing him. Getting him out of her sight after he’d abandoned her when she needed him most.
It was a mistake.
Except it hadn’t been. Not really. The mistake had been that he hadn’t listened to her messages and known she was in trouble. But the reason he hadn’t been listening? That was no mistake.
Tristan had just told Gabriel that he was Gwynn, and he’d refused to believe it. Matilda’s jealous lover? The man who’d betrayed both her and Arawn? Dishonored their friendships? The man who’d brought about Matilda’s death through his own selfishness and blindness and arrogance? Gabriel was
He’d rejected the idea. And then he’d rejected Olivia. He’d laughed at her suggestion that they were friends. Left her standing by the roadside in one of Chicago’s worst neighborhoods. Told her not to come into work the next day.
Later, when Ricky had come by the office, trying to set things right, Gabriel had sent him away.
A few nights before that, Olivia had woken from a nightmare vision of being alone and trapped and needing Gabriel and he would not come, and he had said he’d never do that. He would be there for her. Always. And when she called, alone and trapped and needing him, where had he been? In his bed, ignoring her calls, wallowing in a pit of jealousy and selfishness and arrogance.
No, he was not Gwynn at all.
His hand tightened on the glass. He looked down, swirled it, considered. Squeezed his eyes shut and saw Olivia that morning before she left. Showing Lydia her new tattoo. A moon for Ricky. A moon for Arawn.
Gabriel had followed her out the door and thought,
I won’t let her leave. I’ll say something.
Then his gaze had dropped to her ankle, where her boots covered the tattoo.
She’s made her choice. Branded it on her skin. And it’s the right choice. The one that makes her happy.
The trip had lasted exactly as long as it was supposed to, and when it ended, she’d come back to work with him, as it had been.
Only not as it had been.
He’d started losing her when he’d laughed at the notion they were friends. When he left her on that roadside. Then he’d sealed the loss when she’d called and called and, yes, he did come—came running as soon as he heard her messages—but it’d been too little, too late.
He’d spent the intervening months telling himself it was better this way. What was the alternative? That he keep jealously consuming her time and attention with no intention of taking more, of
In that moment, at the office, as she’d been leaving and he’d wanted to speak, it wasn’t just the tattoo that stopped him. He’d wanted to say, “Stay,” and nothing more, because he didn’t know what more to say.
I don’t want you to go. I want … I want to try …
I want to go back to the beach. Before Tristan came. I want that moment again, and I want more than that. I want you to tell Ricky goodbye. Be free of him so I can try to make this more. But I can’t guarantee anything. I can’t guarantee it’ll work or that I’m capable of more, capable of being anything you need, capable of knowing what you need, of making you happy. I probably can’t.
I’ll try and I’ll make a mess of it, and you’ll leave for good, finally say “Enough” and walk out.
Gabriel had never had a relationship with a woman that lasted beyond a night. No person had ever gotten as close to him as Olivia already was, and he’d screwed that up time after time, which proved he really wasn’t cut out for more, was deluding himself if he thought otherwise.