Authors: John Lutz
Rags stepped to the side and let loose with the shotgun, spinning da Vinci completely around in a spray of blood. Beside Beam, Sweeney's nine millimeter banged away. The blue crush cap once worn by the young motorcycle cop went spinning into a corner.
Da Vinci was sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front of him. The back half of his skull was missing. He bent forward, as if he might attempt to touch his toes, then fell to the side.
Rags kicked aside da Vinci's gun, needlessly keeping the shotgun aimed at his fallen body. Sweeney advanced, still holding his nine in both hands, pointed down at da Vinci. Procedure.
Looper opened the lobby door and came halfway in, gun drawn, and scanned the scene, taking everything in.
His eyes lingered on da Vinci. “Holy shit!”
He holstered his gun, then signaled to someone outside, and came all the way in, followed by two EMS paramedics lugging equipment. They glanced at da Vinci's body.
“Not that asshole,” Sweeney said.
“Upstairs,” Rags said. “I'll show you.”
Looper couldn't stop staring at da Vinci's corpse. “Jesus!”
“That thing still work?” one of the paramedics asked, pointing to the elevator door peppered with bullet holes.
“Try it,” Beam said.
The paramedic did. It worked.
“What about Nell?” Looper asked.
“She's upstairs,” Rags said. “She's okay. Somebody else isn't.”
More uniforms streamed into the lobby. Two rode the elevator up. Others went thumping up the stairs. A crime scene investigation team would be here soon.
“We better get upstairs, see Nell,” Beam said.
They waited for the elevator to return to lobby level.
“Helen will need to be told,” Looper said, glancing back at what was left of da Vinci.
Beam was surprised by Looper's insight and sensitivity. Must have shown it.
“I think he was in love with Helen,” Looper said. “And she felt the same way about him.”
“They were in love,” Beam said. “He must have known she was slow poison. It works that way sometimes.”
“Well,” Looper said, “she'll have to be told.”
Barely five minutes had passed since da Vinci had been shot. Outside in the night, the city was alive with sirens.
“My job,” Beam said.
The city soon became itself again, a sprawling construct of chaos seeking its own balances and levels. And justice. Business was conducted, for the most part legally. Trains and subways ran more or less on schedule. Trash was picked up on designated days, late or early. Crime was committed, collars were made, defendants cut deals or stood trial, and were convicted or walked.
Adelaide Starr was released from custody, as well as jury duty. Her book debuted at number three on the
New York Times
nonfiction bestseller list. Television talk show appearances led to the starring roll in a new musical about Evita PerÃ³n.
Helen Iman left the NYPD within a year and became a profiler for the FBI. She became involved with a former agent, and they bought a house together in Virginia, in a secluded, wooded area not at all like New York.
Terry Adams lost the use of his right arm, but he continued his acting career with more success, beginning with a role as an Argentine general who was Evita PerÃ³n's secret lover.
Nell and Jack Selig were at opening night, applauding.
A month after da Vinci's death, Nell quit the NYPD and married Jack Selig. Nell had saved Terry's life, but not their love and trust for each other. She'd made her choice around three a.m. in the crackling darkness of her apartment living room, and she and Terry both knew it.
The Evita PerÃ³n play is still running, but with its third cast. The Seligs spend time in New York, but live most of the year in Europe. Selig manages his investments on his computer, and finances construction projects in France and Germany. Often he does this from an office on his yacht. Nell is reasonably happy.
Beam slipped back into retirement, and a deepening relationship with Nola. Neither of them fears or yearns for the past, but Beam spends much of his time at Things Past. He's developed a passion, and a discerning eye, for antiques. He and Nola expanded the shop, and moved into an apartment on the same block. They are more than reasonably happy.
While they deal in antiques, they live for the present and future, and don't do a lot of thinking or talking about Harry, or Lani, or Beam's former life as a homicide detective. They have friends, most of them in the antique business, or collectors. They meet at conventions or auctions, and now and then go out for dinner, or travel together. Their friends notice nothing unusual about Beam and Nola, other than they don't have a cute story about how they met.
Occasionally Beam wonders about the one Justice Killer victim, Bradley Aimes, who was shot with a bullet that matched none of the guns found among da Vinci's effects. But he doesn't wonder a lot.
Gina Dixon moved away to attend college in California.
She majors in Criminal Justice.
Don't miss John Lutz's next spine-tingling thrillerâ¦
IN FOR THE KILL
Coming from Pinnacle in 2007!
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Copyright Â© 2006 John Lutz
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