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By Marie Writer All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Adventure

Chapter One

She stood in front of the board with a web of pictures and scribbled bullet points written in red, a heavy contrast against the blanch whiteboard. Her eyes were wide as she felt the individual stares of each person in front of her.  Still, she kept her head held high and spoke with authority and assurance, only glancing at the clock as the seconds ticked by every so often. “-and so, in reading his letters it’s clear to see that he gets just as much pleasure of writing it out and sending it to loved ones, that he gets from the murders themselves…”

Running her tongue over her bottom lip, she pushed her long dark hair over her right ear and cleared her throat, feeling the increasing pressure to make a good case. Quickly, she grabbed at the projector clicker and pressed her thumb over the right arrow button.  The slide to her right, which was once an image of a ragged, gray haired man, turned to a picture of a handwritten letter. In her left hand, she used a red laser pointer to indicate to where she was going to begin.

“After addressing the parents of Francis McDonnell, Fish proceeded to detail a gruesome torture, ‘I whipped his bare behind till the blood ran from his legs. I cut off his ears -- nose --slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then. I stuck the knife in his belly and held my mouth to his body and drank his blood.’”

She swallowed hard as she looked back at her observers to read their responses, disgust and discomfort.

“As you can see, Fish was entirely lucid during the cannibalistic murders.”  She stated plainly as she glanced back at the clock, nearly 3:30… two minutes.  “Now he does this repeatedly with several other young victims.” Quickly, she clicked the arrow button several times in succession.  The slides rapidly changed to several different images, one each after each click of the clicker.

The slide rested on a picture of a beautiful young blond girl, “Most notoriously, was the murder of young Grace Budd.  Fish posed as a gentlemanly man joining Grace’s family for lunch and a business proposal. Answering an ad that the ten year old's brother, Edward, put into the newspaper on a Sunday May 27, he made a house call a few days later with the intentions of later kidnapping Edward. However, Gracie, with her sweet manner and beautiful features, inadvertently persuaded him differently. He convinced the Budd's to allow him to take her to a ‘party’ but instead took her across town, on a train, to a remote house in the middle of nowhere. There, he assaulted her - strangling her to death - before dismembering her and taking parts of her with him. He ate her flesh in stews over the next nine days.”

A soft progression of groans of disgust and sighs of sadness fell upon the large room as she finished her monologue.  “Now, think back about the theories of criminality and associate them with the patterns displayed here, with Albert Fish, and we have a very complicated case.  Many experts believe his criminality is based in his genetics, a matter of Contemporary Trait Theory.  Biological Positivism claims that, ‘criminality is the product of abnormal biological traits’. However, plenty others theorize that it’s a matter of Choice, a rational thought in a demented mind.”  She glanced at the clock, 3:30.

“This is what’s difficult about the job.  Determining what applies to each criminal- especially serial criminals. Patterns are formed in serial criminals and in order to predict their next move, you not only need math but you need to understand the criminal.  You need to understand why…” She finished and clicked the arrow one last time, the slide went black with little white lettering spelling out, ‘END SLIDESHOW’.

A soft round of applause followed and she looked back over the group of people watching her.  Every young adult in front of her had an open laptop in front of them. They sat in a tiered auditorium that was in all chestnut wood décor and dark red carpeting. She placed the clicker and laser pointer on the tall podium in front of her and closed up her binder with all her notes. Smiling at her audience she nodded her thanks at their appreciation as she breathed a sigh of relief.  Just as the applaud died down, a tall Asian man, in a tweed jacket and blue jeans, walked up on her left, standing from his spot at his desk in the corner.

“Thank you, Agent Scully.” He offered his right hand and she shook it firmly as she thanked him in return. 

As she stepped away from the podium for him to take his usual placement behind it, he addressed his students. “Does anyone have any questions for Agent Scully?”

All of the hands in the room shot up in the air and the professor looked astounded, turning to look at the dark haired woman.  She simply smiled and shook her head as she turned to look up at the tiered rise of faces. “Does anyone have any questions that don’t involve me working with aliens?” She clarified.

Most of the young men’s hands went down, leaving merely 1/3 of the students with hands up.

Or being partners with ‘Agent Mulder’.”

The last comment left only three hands still raised.  The professor pursed his lips and shook his head at his students in disappointment. “I’m so sorry, Willa.” He muttered to her and she merely shrugged, a smile firm on her face.

Agent Willamena Scully faced the room of students and indicated to the woman at the front of the class.  The red head, caught in the middle of cleaning the lenses on her red glasses, hastily replaced them on her nose and cleared her throat, “How valid are the wiretapping accusations in the news stories, lately.  Is the FBI really acting as the new NSA and tapping our phones?”

“No.” Willamena replied firmly as she folded her hands in front of her. “Wiretapping is one of our most sensitive techniques and is strictly controlled by federal statutes. It is used infrequently and only to combat terrorism and the most serious crimes. In fact, Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 2516, contains the protocol requiring all law enforcement officers to establish probable cause that the wiretaps may provide evidence of a felony violation of federal law.” 

“So, reasonable suspicion isn’t enough.” The red head stated as she shifted in her seat, the old chair creaking under the weight transfer.

“Not for a wiretap, no. Reasonable suspicion doesn’t get you much further than a Terry Stop.” Willamena established.

The red head blushed, realizing she should have known better.  She nodded numbly and remained silent as Willamena pointed to one of the two remaining students with questions, first pointing to the young man. “Yes, and what’s your question?”

“So, officially, what do you do?  Are you in the office a lot, or do you actually get to do field work, like in the ‘Fugitive’…?” The burly man asked in a deep voice as he scratched his scruffy face with one hand, he gestured wildly with his other hand as he spoke. Following his question, soft murmurs of laughter filled the otherwise silent space.

“There’s no ‘typical Friday’. Agents in our field offices, for example, could be testifying in federal court one day and executing a search warrant and gathering evidence the next. Over the course of a week, they might meet with a source to gather intelligence on illegal activities; make an arrest; and then, back in the office, talk with their squad members and catch up on paperwork.”

“Okay, but-”

“Ben, for the sake of time, we’re going to let Alyssa ask her question.” The professor interrupted and pointed to Alyssa, a dark haired woman with bright blue eyes and a tightly wrapped scarf around her neck. Ben looked displeased but obeyed and kept his continuation to himself.

“So, you’re a behaviorist.”

“Yes,” Willamena replied.

“How accurate are your theories on a person.  And do you analyze everyone, now that you’re trained to?  Has it ruined your life?”

Slightly taken aback by the bluntness, Willamena barely contained a small laugh but choked it back by clearing her throat.  “Well, it sometimes is difficult to ‘turn off’.  But it all comes to determining what’s important and what’s not.  Like, if I know someone is lying, it’s important to be able to determine if the lie is significant enough to call them out on it.” She paused to take a breath and swallowed, “as for if it ‘ruined my life’…” her eye twitched but a small smile graced her lips, “no, it hasn’t ruined my life.”

As the class filed out of the room, one or two stopped to talk to the professor about assignments as Willamena packed her messenger bag with her files at the professor’s desk. She barely heard the conversation but it was ended with, “Thank you, Professor Yuen…” Once the room was empty, he came up behind her.  “Willamena,”

“Michael,” she greeted and smiled up at him as she remained bent over the desk and zipped up the bag.

“Thanks for doing this, coming up to speak to the class – I know you’re busy.”

“Sure, no problem. I can always make time for a friend…”

He smirked but discontent flickered through his eyes. “I can’t believe the entire class only had ‘X-Files’ questions for you.” He scratched at his scalp irritatingly; his perfectly parted, graying hair shifting with each pass. “It’s embarrassing, really.”

Willamena hastily placed a gentle, comforting hand on his forearm. “It’s not a problem.  The last name really is a running joke wherever I go, especially if they know I’m FBI.” She slung the bag strap over her neck so that it rested on her shoulder and crossed her body. “Besides, not the whole class.”

He laughed, “Three out of thirty-seven is hardly enough to defend them.”

“Michael, don’t worry about it.  They’re just kids.” She smiled and started walking for the double door exit to the main hall, glancing at the clock she’d been staring at so often during the lecture, which was fastened to the lintel above the door – 3:45.

Professor Yuen stepped ahead of Willamena in order to open the door for her, holding it open before stepping out behind her.  “Would you like to get a coff-”

“Agent Scully,” the last student from earlier - with books in her arms - stepped from behind the door after it closed behind the two older adults.  Yuen appeared startled and looked at her in surprise then in recognition and expectation.

“Alyssa,” Michael greeted.

“Professor,” she returned but her eyes remained on Willamena. “Agent Scully, do you have a moment?”

Michael attempted to cover his disappointment but nodded as Scully replied, “Of course- I’ll catch up with you, Michael.” The professor nodded again and took his leave. “How can I help you… Alyssa, right?” She asked timidly.

“Yes, Alyssa Campbell.” She balanced her books into her left arm as to reach her right hand out to the FBI agent. “I need to talk to about a possible investigation.”

Willamena cringed even as she shook the bright eyed student’s hand. “Oh, Ms. Campbell, I’m sorry… but, well you’re one of Michae- Professor Yuen’s students, yes?”

“Yes, I am. But-”

“Then you know I can’t discuss ongoing cases.”

“No-no, it’s not a case yet. But it should be.”

The hall quieted as all the students dispersed through the rest of the University by other classes, libraries, or running off to their dorms. It became just to two women in the magnificent passage.  Large pillars separated the large floor to ceiling paned windows. A single red runner stretched from the one end of the marbled hall to the other.

“Ms. Campbell-”

“No one will listen to me, I’ve gone to the police, the mayor… everyone.  You’re my last chance at getting this thing to go public.”

With the sun glaring through the large window, Willamena narrowed her eyes. “What is this about?”

Alyssa glanced over her shoulder before looking both ways in the massive hall, “Let’s get coffee.” She suggested, adjusting her hold on her stack of books and notes in her crossed arms.  

Seeing Alyssa struggle with her books, Willamena subconsciously responded by adjusting her bag on her shoulder. “Alyssa…”

“I’ll buy, I just need a few minutes of your time.”

Willamena took a deep breath through her nose and exhaled it slowly as means to stall long enough to consider her response.

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