Executioner – Chapter Thirty-Seven

NOT EDITED

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Monday: March 9, 2026
8:01 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, BREAK ROOM

Bo stirred a bit of creamer into his coffee, crossing his free arm over the counter. He bowed his head slightly, wishing he could go home and go back to sleep. He and Jensen planned on visiting Cecilia and Castor during their lunch break, but noon felt like an eternity away, and staying awake for the next eternity would be miserable.

Bo heard someone else walk into the break room. Jake, he figured, based on the general lightness that the lieutenant usually walked with. “Hi, Jake,” Bo greeted.

“Hey, Blondie.” Jacob squeezed the back of Bo’s neck before grabbing the coffee pot to pour himself a fresh cup. “How many cups this morning?”

“This is number three.” Bo cleared his throat, pushing away from the counter. “I didn’t sleep for shit last night.”

“Because…?”

“Saw Bridget again,” Bo said quietly. “The nightmares aren’t as often any more, so when they come around again…”

“It’s ten times worse than the last time,” Jacob filled in.

“Yeah.”

“Does Jensen know?”

“No. He’s worried enough about talking to Miss Beckenbauer. I wasn’t going to add another one of my problems to his plate,” Bo said. “We worry about the case first.”

Jacob nodded slightly. As long as Bo was talking to him about his problems, he wouldn’t complain that he was keeping the nightmares hidden from Jensen. “I know you already know who the killer is.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I was outside your house when Jamal left to look at the guy’s storage unit,” Jacob said. “I went with.”

You went with?” Bo asked.

Jacob smiled, nodding. “I did. Brother, hand to God, your boss taught me to pick a padlock,” he said.

Bo snorted. “Are you telling me you guys… bonded?”

“Yeah, kinda.”

“You and Jamal fucking Pitman bonded?” the blonde questioned.

“Yes!” Jacob laughed. “He’s not that bad of a guy. I see why you like to hang around with him. He just, you know… comes off as abrasive. Like, all the time.”

“It’s kind of what he’s known for,” Bo agreed. “He’s only nice to people he thinks deserve it.” He smacked the back of his hand against Jacob’s shoulder. “Welcome to Pitman’s inner circle, Jake.”

9:37 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, INTERROGATION ROOM ONE

“Thank you for coming out here, Miss Beckenbauer,” Jensen said, sitting down beside Bo at the table.

“It’s the least I can do,” Zoe Beckenbauer said, her voice quiet, her German accent soft. “Alonzo was a good man. He certainly didn’t deserve this.”

“How close were you and Mister Sáez?” Jensen asked.

“Closer than more celebrities and their assistants, I guess,” Zoe said. “It was a professional relationship, but we’d go out for drinks every now and then, and I didn’t run him ragged like some people might.” She cleared her throat. “He saved my life after one of my bodyguards was killed last year. We were, umm, we were pretty damn close after that. It felt like we were siblings rather than boss and employee,” she explained.

Jensen nodded, watching Bo’s hand as he silently jotted down shorthand notes of Zoe’s answers. “Miss Beckenbauer, when was the last time you saw Mister Sáez?” the younger man questioned.

“The Saturday before you found him.” She crossed her arms over the table, staring down at the cold steel. “We went to a children’s hospital in Chesterwick at the beginning of the day, and we went to Cliffburn that evening to have a couple drinks. He went back to his hotel room in… in Cliffburn, I think, and I went back to mine in Chesterwick. He had Sunday and Monday off. Personal vacation days. And then…” She trailed off, finally lifting her eyes to Jensen’s face. “And then we saw the news on Monday. It was announced as a suicide. I would’ve come down if I had known you were looking into it as a homicide. I…”

“We had a hard time getting the higher-ups to see the truth behind the case,” Bo said gently. “You couldn’t have known. It isn’t your fault.”

Zoe offered a smile. “Thanks,” she whispered.

“Miss Beckenbauer?” Jacob asked from the back of the room. “Do you happen to know what hotel he was staying at?”

“Umm…” For the first time, Zoe looked up at the bodyguard behind her.

“Sapphire Hotel in Cliffburn, ma’am,” the guard murmured.

“That one,” Zoey whispered.

“Do you know what his plans were for the weekend?” Jensen asked. “Would he have… gone out for drinks with someone else?”

“Alonzo wasn’t a big drinker. Whenever we’d go out, he’d have one drink and then switch to pop or water for the rest of the night.” She laughed softly, tucking her hair behind her ear. “Detective, let me paint you a quick picture of who Alonzo was. He was the kind of guy that would sit in the bar and work on the screenplay he’s writing. Everyone else is getting wasted and dancing, and Alonzo’s sitting in a booth with a five-subject notebook in front of him. He was taking time away so he could work on the screenplay.”

Zoe sighed quietly. “Can we… can we take a break?”

“Of course, Miss Beckenbauer,” Jensen said softly.

“Would you like something to drink?” Bo asked.

“Coffee?”

“Of course. Sugar? Creamer?” Bo questioned.

“Straight black,” Zoe said. “I’m sorry. I know you guys just want to wrap this up and get it over with.”

Bo shook his head, reaching out to lay a hand over hers. “Our job is to be kind and patient when we’re questioning friends of the deceased. There’s nothing to apologize for, Miss Beckenbauer. You’re allowed to feel grief,” he said. “I’ll be back with your coffee in five.”

12:00 PM; CLINSTONE SPECIALTY HOSPITAL, NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT

Bo sat down in front of the incubator, lifting his eyes to the doctor’s face. “How is he today?”

She smiled softly. “Good. He’s a fighter, Mister Austen. The blood transfusions have helped tremendously.”

Bo nodded slightly. “Do you have any idea how likely it is that he’ll have developmental issues?”

“I’m afraid there’s no way of knowing that at this very moment,” she said. “But we’ll be monitoring him as he develops, both physically and mentally. We’ll be on the lookout for disabilities and any other issues or complications that may arise,” she explained.

“Okay.”

“Where’s your husband?”

“At the station. He had a report to finish.” Bo smiled faintly. “He’ll be in later this afternoon, though.” He cleared his throat. “How’s Pollux?”

“Strong heartbeat and still developing. No signs of distress, and last I knew, Miss Delacroix’s bleeding had stopped nearly one hundred percent. If things stay like that for another few hours, she might be able to go home today, maybe tomorrow.”

“Good.” Bo reached into the incubator, resting his index finger beneath Castor’s palm, a silent dismissal of the doctor. She watched him for a moment, smiling softly before leaving the room. “We’re going to love you so much, Cas,” Bo whispered, his voice far too quiet to startle the baby. “So damn much.”

5:35 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN

“I finally sat down and read through the file you had for Miguel,” Bo said, leaning back against the counter as he peeled a potato, dropping thin pieces of the vegetable’s skin into the garbage.

“And?” Jamal questioned.

“Well, I did a bit of note-taking, and I noticed the wife’s cause of death wasn’t listed in the file. I dug around in some medical records to try and get my hands on that information.” Bo lifted his blue eyes to the older man’s face. “She died of total organ failure. The doctors couldn’t find an explanation. She was healthy one day, and the next day she was in a coma and there was nothing they could do to combat the quick failing of her organs.

“They did an autopsy and four different examiners tried to come up with an answer. Nothing,” Bo said.

“No wonder the guy’s fucked in the head,” Jamal muttered.

“Knowing how a loved one died gives you some closure. Not knowing at all is… Well, it’d drive me insane, to say the least.” Bo cleared his throat. “The other day, I mentioned that it was possible that this man was killing people because he believed they were possessed by Demons. I, of course, was joking and only said it to be a snarky asshole to prove a point to Jensen.” He set the potato in the bowl in the sink and grabbed another one, going back to peeling it. “I think there’s a possibility that there’s some truth to the theory.”

“Explain?”

“When the wife’s organs started failing, it started with her liver. It was the first thing to go entirely. After she died, Miguel actively became part of the church. He’d go every Sunday and he ended up at a church every single day, even if it was just to sit there. I called his old boss, told him who I was and that I was with CPD. I let him know that Miguel was a person of interest in an unidentified case, and I asked him why he fired Miguel.” Bo shook his head. “It wasn’t because of grief, Jamal. It wasn’t because he stopped coming in on time. Miguel was fired because he was convinced that some of the people he worked with were possessed by Demons, Demons that he claimed lived in their livers.

“So I did just a little more digging. Alonzo Sáez, Nadia Gibson, and Ed Hackman all worked with Miguel. For Alonzo, it was just a part-time job over the summer while Miss Beckenbauer was away on vacation. Nadia was a temporary receptionist. Ed was an accountant for the business.” Bo let out a heavy breath. “As crazy as it will always sound, I think Miguel Santángel is killing people that he thinks are possessed by Demons.”

“And the liver? That’s because… because he thinks his wife was possessed by one?” Jamal asked.

“It’s a possibility.”

“Why the execution kill style?” Jamal asked.

Bo lifted his shoulders. “I don’t know. I only speak one type of crazy, which is mine, and even I am not fluent in said crazy.” He let out a soft sigh. “I’ve been able to track his car between the victims. I have him on camera carrying Alonzo down the fire escape of the hotel. It’s evidence, and I’m going to hand it over to Jake tomorrow so we can arrest him. And then we’ll question him and find out if I do, indeed, speak a few words of his crazy.”

Jamal nodded. “Sounds like a plan, kiddo.”


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