Darkest Fear Page 71

“How can you say that?”

Myron lifted his palms to the skies and grinned. “Look around you.”

For the first time, something dark flicked across Stan’s face. Myron saw it. So did Win.

“Let’s continue, shall we?”

Stan said nothing.

“You go into hiding and start counting your problems. One, your father is a murderer. You’re selfish, Stan, but you’re not inhumane. You want him off the streets, yet you can’t tell on him. Maybe because you love him. Or maybe there’s Win’s credo.”

“Not this time,” Stan said.


“Win’s credo doesn’t apply. I kept quiet because I loved my father and because I believe in protecting sources. And I can offer proof.”

“I’m listening,” Myron said.

“If I wanted to turn my father in—if that would have been in my best interest—I could have done it anonymously.” Stan leaned back and folded his arms.

“That’s your proof?”

“Sure. I didn’t do the selfish thing.”

Myron shook his head. “You got to go deeper.”

“Deeper how?”

“Turning your father in anonymously wouldn’t help you, Stan. Not really. Yes, you needed to put your father behind bars. But more than that, you needed to be redeemed.”


“So what would answer both those needs? What would put your father away and put you back on top—maybe even more on top than before? First, you had to be patient. That meant staying hidden. Second, you couldn’t be the one who turned him in. You had to set him up.”

“Set up my father?”

“Yes. You had to leave a trail for the feds to follow. Something subtle, something that would lead to your father, and something you could manipulate at any time. So you took a fake ID, Stan—the same way your father had. You even took a job where people would spot the disguise your father used and hey, maybe you could also tie in your dad’s old nemesis the Lex family in the process.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“You know what bugged me? Your father had been so careful in the past. Now all of a sudden he’s leaving incriminating evidence in a locker. He rents the kidnap van on a credit card and leaves a red sneaker in it. It didn’t make any sense. Unless someone was setting him up.”

Stan’s look of disbelief was almost genuine. “You think I killed these people?”

“No,” Myron said. “Your father did.”

“Then what—?”

“You’re the one who used the Dennis Lex identity,” Myron said, “not your father.”

Stan tried to look stunned, but it wasn’t happening.

“You kidnapped Jeremy Downing. And you called me and pretended to be the Sow the Seeds killer.”

“And why did I do that?”

“To have this heroic ending. To have your father arrested. To have yourself redeemed.”

“How the hell does calling you—”

“To get me interested. You probably learned about my background. You knew I’d investigate. You needed a dupe and a witness. Someone outside the police. I was that dupe.”

“The dupe du jour,” Win added.

Myron shot him a look. Win shrugged.

“That’s ridiculous.”

“No, Stan, it adds up. It answers all my earlier questions. How did the kidnapper happen to choose Jeremy? Because you followed me after I left your condo. You saw the feds pick me up. That’s how you knew I’d spoken to them. You followed me to Emily’s house. From there, any old newsman worth a damn could have figured out her son was the sick kid I told you about. His illness wasn’t a secret. So Jeremy’s being taken is no longer a coincidence, see?”

Stan folded his arms across his chest. “I see nothing.”

“Other questions get answered too now. Like why did the kidnapper wear a disguise and make Jeremy wear a blindfold? Because you couldn’t let Jeremy identify you. Why didn’t the kidnapper kill Jeremy right away, like he had the others? Same reason you wore the disguise. You had no intention of killing him. Jeremy had to survive the ordeal unharmed. Otherwise you’re no hero. Why didn’t the kidnapper make his usual demand not to contact the authorities? Because you wanted the feds in. You needed them to witness your heroics. It wouldn’t work without their involvement. I wondered how the media was always in the right spot—in Bernardsville, at the cabin. But you set that part up too. Anonymous leaks probably. So the cameras could witness and replay your heroics—your tackling your father, the dramatic rescue of Jeremy Downing. Good television. You knew the power of capturing those moments for all the world to see.”

Stan waited. “You finished?”

“Not yet. You see, I think you went too far in spots. Leaving that sneaker in the van, for example. That was overkill. Too obvious. It made me wonder how neatly it all came together in the end. And then I started realizing that I was your main sucker, Stan. You played me like a Stradivarius. But even if I hadn’t shown up, you just would have kidnapped someone else. Your main dupes were the feds. For crying out loud, that photograph of your father by the statue was the only picture in the whole condo. It even faced the window. You knew the feds were spying on you. You threw the truth about Dennis Lex right in their faces. Surely they’d go to the sanitarium and put it together. And if not, you could somehow get it out in the end, when they had you in custody. You were all set to cave in and tell on your father when I came through in the clutch. Me, the dupe du jour, saw the truth up at the sanitarium. You must have been so pleased.”

“This is crazy.”

“It answers all the questions.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s the truth.”

“The Davis Taylor address you used at work. It was the same address as your father’s in Waterbury. So we would trace it back to him, to Nathan Mostoni. Who else would have done that?”

“My father!”

“Why? Why would your father change identities at all? And if your father needed a new identity, wouldn’t he shed the old one? Or hell, at least change addresses? Only you could have pulled it off, Stan. You could have hooked up the extra phone line with no problem. Your father was pretty far gone. He was demented, at the very least. You kidnapped Jeremy. Then you probably told your father to meet you at the house in Bernardsville. He did what you said—for love or because of dementia, I don’t know which. Did you know he’d arm himself like that? I doubt it. If Greg had died, you’d probably look worse. But I don’t know for sure. Maybe the fact that he fired shots just made you look more heroic in the end. Think selfishly, Stan. That’s the key.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies