Chapter 1 - PROLOGUE
In August 2005 the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a conference in San Antonio, TX, with experts from a wide range of fields to discuss the topic of serial murder. This was the first real attempt made by law enforcement and academics to share their thoughts and experiences about those individuals prone to killing more than once in clear, cold, and calculated ways.
At the same time, unknown to most at the conference, twenty sleep deprived high security prisoners, male and female, were being transported on a scratched and beaten up white bus to a government research facility in rural Wyoming. All of the prisoners were considered psychopathic and each one had a total kill count of over twenty-five.
Each prisoner was heavily shackled, wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle, with not much more than a foot for movement between opposing limbs. When they arrived at the gray stone compound at sunrise they were greeted by a cadre of armed guards dressed in green and brown military fatigues and escorted through the gates and behind the imposing and somber walls.
The prisoners were hurriedly led underground, down a dark and grimy ramp between two cement walls, and out into a wide and sterile underground corridor lined with white tile and lit only by buzzing and flickering bulbs every fifteen feet. The prisoners, although curious, still marched in line with the obedient boot stomps of the damned, their shackles rattling and scraping along the floor.
At the end of the corridor was an open thick green metal door with an embedded circular glass window, which led into a small room. The guard in front stepped aside and ushered the prisoners inside with the barrel of his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
The prisoners stepped through the doorway and broke line, squinting as they found their own space in the large bright circular room. The walls were bare with the exception of an ominous gray air vent towards the ceiling, opposite the door. The vent cover had flecks of rust around the bottom corners and was noticeably askew.
Once all of the prisoners were inside, their shackles were removed at gunpoint, and they were ordered to take off their orange jumpsuits, leaving them naked and primal, disoriented by the powerful fluorescent lighting. The shackles and jumpsuits were taken away and the door was locked.
Before the prisoners could assess each other and their environment a sudden hiss erupted through the vent and the smell of almonds permeated the room. Many pairs of desperate eyes caught site of a lone black gas mask sitting on the floor, directly underneath the vent.
In San Antonio, they’d just sat down for coffee.