Murder By Design

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Chapter 8

It was a day and a half before the agents were back in Washington D.C., and then another fourteen hours or so before either of them even attempted to go into the office.

The pair took over one of the conference rooms on the same floor that their bullpen was on, as well as obtaining all of the case files concerning this particular killer - around three boxes worth of paperwork - markers, pens, thumbtacks, and of course the essentials:

coffee, and two dozen of Scarlett Leone’s chocolate-chip pretzel cookies.

“Let’s get to it.”

Several hours later, the pair were exhausted. The coffee was long gone, and the cookies had been gone for even longer.

“Nothing.” Jackson said, flopping back down in his chair dramatically. “Abso-frakking-lutely nothing.”

He stood up and began to pace around the room, only adding to his theatrics.

“I mean, come on! Could this Pandora dude be any less helpful?” He pointed at the words written on the board - they had transferred the words onto a piece of paper before pinning it onto the board.

To find what you need, take 4,216 steps up the road of growth.” He mimicked, irritated, as he spun around to look at Leone again, his arms flailing out as he moved. “Well what we need is a name, or a description, or a damn address or -” he cut off, looking at Leone in surprise, which quickly morphed into an excited grin.

“What?” Leone asked warily. “What did you come up with?”

“What?” Jackson asked, playing innocent as he teased his friend. After all, it wasn’t all that often that he figured out something before Rob did. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“RJ…” Leone said warningly.

“It’s an address.” Jackson blurted out, too excited to hold it in any longer. He was grinning like a cheshire cat at the thought of having finally beat Pandora.

“4,216… that’s the street number.” Leone said, catching on quickly.

“And when we were in Pennsylvania, we were on South Progress Avenue at one point.” Jackson added. When Leone looked at him in confusion, he added, “You were asleep in the back since it was my turn to drive.”

Leone nodded in recognition of the fact. “Okay, so 4216 South Progress Avenue equals 4,216 steps up the road of growth.” he said. “So who or what is there?”

After tapping away at the keyboard for awhile, Jackson looked at his partner, puzzled. “No one. There is no 4216 South Progress.”

Both men paused for a minute, before Jackson broke the silence. “Ok, so we obviously missed something.” Leone said as they looked over the riddle again. “What was it? What did we miss?”

“Take four thousand, two hundred and sixteen steps up the road of growth.” Leone said, reading the riddle again, before throwing up his hands in frustration. “Okay, you know what? I give up! I’m done playing by the rules here!”

Jackson laughed in relief. “Oh, thank god. So what’re we going to do?”

“Are there any other roads in the area that would fit the riddle?” Leone asked, and RJ practically jumped on the computer to find out.

“Yes!” he shouted happily a few minutes later. “Got it - there’s a 4216 North Progress.”

Leone gave a grim smile as he grabbed his jacket from where he had thrown it earlier. “Let’s get going then.”

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