For Addison Grace, catching serial killers was always more than just a job—it was her entire life. She caught her first killer at the age of 13. Now, she’s all grown up and taking down these sickos is second nature to her. When Agent Phillip Rossum offers her a chance to make a living doing what she loves, Addison has a choice to make: Work for the FBI under the ever-watchful eye of Agent Rossum, or stick to her guns and go it alone…
Age Rating: 18+
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The thin glass wall did nothing to hide the stench, although she could barely smell it after 20 minutes had passed.
Every once in a while the moldy smell of sweat and frustration would waft into her nostrils and she would remember where she was, she would just remember.
Her glossy brunette hair was pulled over one shoulder so she could hold the phone between her ear and shoulder.
Her usually wide innocent eyes were narrowed and menacing looking, peering right into the man across from her.
There was a blank pad of paper in front of her and a pen clasped between her fingers, although she had no intention of using it.
Addison Grace held a plastic black phone to her ear and gazed through the tiny holes punctured into the Plexiglas window.
She was positive that she was staring into the eyes of a murderer, but she needed that last shred of evidence, she needed him to give something away.
That last month she had spent reading up on everything she could about this man.
She knew everything there was to know about him from when he was a child until his arrest, but even with all that knowledge, she needed something to point her in one of the many directions she was looking in.
“They’ve got you in here for life anyway, what difference does it make?” She didn’t plead, or whine, she simply reasoned with the man.
“So, you are here to offer me a deal? Is that it? No cops ever questioned me about this shit ‘n then they send you in here to try and sweet talk me into confessin’ to a crime I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout?
“Sorry, doll, that ain’t happenin’.”
His gruff voice seemed to accentuate the stubble on his face. It was slightly turning grey at the temples and around his chin.
His mouth seemed to be in a constant smirk, like he was keeping a secret, and it caused slight wrinkles to form beside his eyes and on his forehead.
Framing his large face was brown hair cut close to the scalp. His brown eyes narrowed as she looked at him, but did not speak.
Seconds passed that turned into minutes, the silence caused the smirk to slip away, but he remained tight-lipped, so much that his lips almost disappeared from the tension.
Addison knew visiting hours were dwindling down, but she felt like he was about to crack, she knew she had him.
A piece of sweat dropped from his forehead down to his chin, and he broke eye contact for a split second to look down at his hands, but Addison saw it and immediately stood and walked toward the door.
Three bangs sounded out from the Plexiglas window, and Addison turned around. He motioned for her to pick up the phone, “Where you goin’? I ain’t told you nothin’!”
“Actually, you told me everything I need to know. Have a wonderful rest of your life, but don’t get too comfortable here, I see some maximum security in your future.”
His face completely changed in place of his confident smirk was now just cold, hard anger.
His brows furrowed and he slammed the black plastic phone on the glass in front of Addison. He continued to wail on it until two officers each took one of his arms.
She saw him struggling and yelling as they pulled him away. She calmly hung the phone back onto the receiver, straightened her skirt and walked out of the dingy prison.
The beat-up Honda she drove was patiently awaiting her return in the visitor parking lot. Her Louboutins clacked against the cold pavement as she confidently returned to it.
The door opened easily after Addison’s hip collided with it. She hit the key into the ignition and turned the heat all the way up, then rubbed her hands together in front of the vent to try and warm up.
From the carpet to the roof, Addison kept her car immaculate except for the file keeper on the floor in the back seat, when she could feel her fingers again she arched her back and grasped the folder then pulled it into her lap.
She slipped her glasses onto her nose and opened up the accordion file.
There was only one name under the ‘D’ section. She pulled it out and smoothed it over her lap. Dredon, Paul was the name at the top of the paper.
Stapled beside it was a color picture of the face she had just finished staring into.
Pages upon pages of information Addison flipped through before she found the one she was looking for, it was something that she had only printed out on a whim.
Her chewed-off nail quickly scanned the information until she found what she was looking for. She kept her finger steady while her other hand rummaged in her purse for a highlighter.
The lid she placed in between her teeth as she removed the body and colored over one single line.
The paper folded up easily into three sections, and she slipped it into an envelope. On the front she wrote two words. She had written these two words many times before, so much that her hand almost did the motion automatically.
Writing this was almost a therapeutic experience for her, it meant her work was over, it meant a job well done.
She then slipped the finished product into the side pocket of her purse and placed the accordion file back in its place.
The stretch of highway was long and busy, but Addison glanced at the gas gauge and the light was shining an orange beacon of danger – “shit.” She whispered to herself. She had sworn that she checked the gauge before she left.
The first exit only had one station. The pumps were old and there was a sign out front informing her to “pay inside before pumping.”
Addison opened her wallet and desperately searched through it for some cash. Every pocket was more disappointing than the last. In a last-ditch effort she pulled open her glove compartment and looked through it, again nothing.
In a final act of desperation, she pulled out her wallet. The slots were full of credit cards, not all of them hers. She had picked up a few bad habits when she was younger and kept them up just in case she ever needed them again.
Her thin fingers landed on a black Amex, “Why, hello Donald Black, today you will be my father.”
Addison unbuttoned her blouse until a bit of her red, lace bra peaked through. She fixed her hair and placed her glasses back inside their Prada case.
Bells chimed as she walked into the station, and a blast of warm air cleared the hair from her face.
“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The cashier smiled at her.
“Hi there! Could I get a fill-up on pump number two?” Addison placed the shiny blue plastic card on the counter and slid it over to the man.
She traced a hand down the collar of her shirt, but there was no need, his eyes were already there.
He swallowed hard and took the card in his hands, “Um, I think there’s a mistake, this card belongs to a Donald? You sure don’t look like a Donald to me.”
Addison laughed sweetly, “of course I’m no Donald, that’s my father! The deal is, he pays for my gas, and I come visit from school every once in a blue moon.”
“Well, we’re not really supposed to do that…”
“Oh, please, will you? I would give you mine, except I am so scatterbrained and I left it on my bedside table. My boyfriend and I got into this huge fight before I left and –”
She choked up a bit and let tears form in her eyes, “We broke up. We’re done now for good! But now my gas light is on, and that’s all I have in my purse, and I’m just trying really hard to keep it together right now.”
The cashier with a nametag reading ‘Luke’ handed her a tissue because she had allowed some tears to escape. He nodded at her and swiped the card, “don’t worry, it’ll be our little secret.”
She smiled at him and dabbed the corner of her eyes, “Thank you so much, Luke! Without you I would be stranded on the side of the highway freezing my butt off!”
“Oh, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too long before someone was all too willing to stop and help.”
He handed her a receipt with a wink and she smiled back, “Even so, I sure do appreciate this. I need to start remembering to put my credit card back in my wallet after I use it!”
Luke insisted on following her out and filling up the car for her. She blinked innocently at him when he was done and slowly waved goodbye.
Once she was back on the highway the drive was quick, or maybe it just felt that way.
The excitement was churning in her stomach as she pulled into the security checkpoint and handed them a fake ID.
In the parking lot, she pulled on a thick hat and tucked her hair into it, then she pulled a trench coat over her shoulders, buttoned it to her chin, and threw a scarf over the top for good measure.
The leather chairs were comfortable, and even though she was sweating inside with all her gear on, she didn’t dare take it off. Finally, she saw a teenage boy pushing a steady metal cart filled with manila envelopes and boxes.
Her foot slowly pushed her purse out until the left front wheel caught on it and the cart stopped.
As the freckled-face boy walked around to see the problem, Addison slipped the envelope onto the cart and picked up her purse without a word.
Seeing nothing in its path, the mail boy continued to push the cart. He weaved through the cubicles and offices picking up and dropping off various packages until he came to the very last office.
It was dark and looked like no one had been there for days, so he placed the single, white envelope in the center of the messy desk; it simply had two words written on it: Agent Rossum.
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Phillip Rossum stepped out of his sleek black Buick and ran his fingers through his thick, dark hair. He stretched his sore muscles and heard a few pop with reluctance.
The crisp air stung as he sucked it in through his nose, but he welcomed the freshness in it. The earth beneath his feet felt solid and frozen and he pulled his jacket tighter to him.
Agent Brogan approached to his left while speaking into a cell phone.
“Yeah, we figured as much. Alright, thanks.” He flipped the phone shut and tucked it into his pocket, “That was HQ, they want us back ASAP.”
Rossum squinted at the local police department in front of him, “Makes sense, we’ve finished up here anyway. I’m pretty sure they can take it from here. What’s the urgency?”
“They want you to interview some killer on death row; he’s suspected for a couple cases that are cold, but still open.”
He slipped his sunglasses back on. “Good thing this one was close to home, it’ll be less than an hour back.”
Brogan nodded, “Why don’t I drive? It was a late night for you, this way you can get some shut-eye before you have to rush out again.”
“I just might take you up on that.” They folded into either side of the car and Rossum’s eyes were shut as soon as he hit the headrest.
It seemed like no more than five minutes have passed before Brogan was nudging him awake, “Sorry for waking you up, sir, but I was wondering if you wanted to go back to the office, or to your house?”
“The office is fine, Alex, thanks.” He readjusted his seat so it was upright and shielded his eyes from the setting sun.
Rossum sternly walked into his office and shut the door behind him. The chair behind his desk was untucked and he flopped his body into it.
His office was just as he had left it. Papers from cases he had been working on strewn all over, but there was something new.
There was a single white envelope in the center of his desk and he held it in his hand. There was no postage, no return address, just his name neatly written on the front.
The handwriting was meticulous and familiar to Rossum. It was unsealed and he pulled the pages out and smoothed them over his desk.
Newspaper clippings of a series of murders were on the first few pages.
The next page had a picture and a name, “Paul Dredon, 30 years for unlawful imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest. Lovely man.”
He turned the page over. There was a single highlighted passage: Kurtis Hector Dredon leaves his farm to his only living relative Paul Martin Dredon, located at 764 Oreander Drive.
Rossum spread the papers out on the desk and searched the crime in the national database.
All of them in the area and none of them solved, “Are you trying to tell me…” He pulled his phone off the receiver, “Debbie, could you please patch me through to the mailroom?”
The line went dead for a moment, “Can I help you, Agent Rossum?”
“Yes, did you deliver an envelope to my office today?”
“Yes, sir, I did. Is something wrong?”
“Well, there’s no postage, and I was wondering if you might know who sent it?”
“I don’t know how that could have happened; we only deliver the outside mail.
“All interoffice mail or mail that’s directly dropped off goes to reception, then people have to show ID and sign it in. It must have been some sort of mistake. I don’t know what happened.”
Rossum pursed his lips, “I do.” He redialed Debbie, “Could you possibly pull the reception surveillance and email it to me right away?”
“Video? Is there a problem, Agent Rossum?” Debbie’s voice sounded shaky with worry.
“Everything is fine, Debbie, there was just a piece of mail left on my desk today and it’s very important that I see who left it.” Rossum already knew who the culprit was, but he needed to be sure before he proceeded.
Rossum was restless as he waited for the footage. He repeatedly clicked the refresh button on his browser until Debbie’s name was bolded at the top of the inbox.
The footage was clear, and, although she was trying to duck the cameras and hide her face, there was one shot as she turned to leave that he paused on. It was unmistakably hers; he had basically seen that face mature.
The phone was in his hands within seconds, “Boss? It’s Rossum. We have to talk about Project Grace.”
Agent Mortimer’s voice was gruff, “Is there another one?”
“I’ll have to check it out, but I think so. Can you send Agent James to the interview with the killer? If this is what she thinks it is, I had better head out there sooner rather than later.”
“Yes, yes, I’ll ring James right now. Call me after you know what’s going on at the scene, only then will we talk about Project Grace, and don’t mention it to anyone before then.”
Rossum was already on his feet and grabbing his briefcase, “Yes, sir, I will call you as soon as I know anything.”
He dropped the receiver and hesitated before clicking off the video footage. Addison Grace’s large green eyes seemed to stare directly into him, “This time,” he thought, “This time we meet in person.”
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