Chapter One

For two weeks the Observer watched Will. Habits were noted. Personality traits were glaringly obvious to the Observer’s nimble mind. Will was a simple man with no close family and few associates. He had no girlfriend, as long as you didn’t count the inflatable toy under his bed. Being currently unemployed, there would be no employer to miss him. Any friends had not made contact with their comrade in the week the bug had been on his phone. He rarely used his flip phone for calls and never sent any texts. Online friends would notice if anything happened to him but gamers come and go. His Facebook status was never updated. Even Will’s sense of humor – such as it was – had been written out in painstaking detail. Nothing was left to chance. The profile had to be perfect or this could be disastrous.

Will’s home was a simple bungalow-style cottage with the stereotypical retired, nosy neighbor sitting on her front porch across the street. The backyard had a nice garden with a very handy tool shed where Will spent his offline time. The Observer had explored the shed, discovering many helpful items for his plan. He chose the two which would work the best.

The forecast was for rain tonight. Rain was a double-edged sword, it had been both an ally and an enemy in the past. Tonight it would serve as his ally. Since it was a Friday night, Will would be on his way home from job hunting to spend the evening playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with fellow cyber geeks who had no real life outside of the computer. The Observer arrived an hour before Will was due. He took his time preparing everything in the home from setting up in the kitchen to unscrewing the light bulbs in the hallway. He sat on a wooden chair in the spare bedroom and sipped from the tube coming from his backpack. It would only be a short wait. The Observer knew his target all too well.

Ten minutes later, he heard the garage door raise and lower, then the soft shuffle of Will as he entered through the kitchen. The Observer quietly got up from his seat, noiselessly crossing to the hallway. There was a crinkling sound which was not made by the hunter, but the hunted.

“What the hell is this doing here?” asked Will. The Observer smiled as he moved like a specter in the shadows of the hall. “Bobby? Is this a joke? I don’t get it.” It was not Bobby moving swiftly and silently into the room. All Will saw was a figure dressed in black from the top of its head to the tips of its toes, seeming to fly at him. An instant too late, Will saw the metallic glint crashing down as his own screwdriver pierced his heart.

The lips of the dying man moved making the word “why” even though the only sound was the gurgling of blood from his mouth. The last thing he saw were two of the bluest eyes he had ever seen staring into his as life dripped away like the blood leaking from his body. The Observer breathed a sigh. His fun was over.

“It’s all in the cleanup,” said the killer, with neither sorrow nor remorse in his voice. There was an eerie happiness as he began to whistle a lively tune, wrapped the body in its own tarp and took it to the victim’s waiting car.



“Who was the idiot who came up with the idea of making one cup of coffee at a time? If you’re only going to drink one cup, why bother?” asked Abby Chilton to no one in particular. She was glaring at the new coffee maker in the break room.

“Don’t ask me, Tiny,” said Marcus Shon. “I just work here.” Both shared a laugh, even though neither one thought it was really funny. It was why they got along so well in this high stress environment. They were two of the few who knew how to laugh. “Time to make the doughnuts,” sighed the Korean American. “Later, Tiny.”

Abby gave him a casual wave as she ignored the new single cup coffee maker with its prepackaged coffee, grabbing a filter out of the cabinet. She poured coffee grounds into the waiting paper, not measuring the amount. She had two simple rules about coffee. Rule One: If it is called something you cannot pronounce without sounding like a total douche, it’s not coffee. Rule Two: If you can float a horseshoe in it, it’s about ready.

Needless to say, hardly anyone else ever drank the coffee she made. Abby suspected this was part of the reason there was a new coffee maker in the room. What a bunch of pussies. No. Wait. I can’t call them female genitals. They are merely intimidated by my ability to digest vast amounts of caffeine, and this particular neurosis led to the purchase of a new device which would allow them to maintain a level of self-esteem elusive in their personal lives so much so they needed to control this situation at work to maintain their illusion of stability. Smiling to herself, she thought, Pussies would work fine on their psych profiles and save a lot of time.

“I know that smile,” stated a tall, lanky blonde. “What are you calling them today? Neurotic? Sociopathic? Bed wetter’s?”

“Pussies,” said Abby.

“Accurate. Not very PC, but accurate,” said Barbara Johnson. Looking at the new coffee maker, she taunted, “I knew you’d hate it. That was one of the biggest selling points to Jeremy. Jeff loves ours at home.”

Abby had to smile. “Glad I could help.” Jeremy was her boss who did not think she was needed most of the time and made every effort to make her life a living hell. It was hard enough being a woman in the Federal Bureau of Investigations without others going out of their way to make it harder. Abby also had two other strikes against her from Jeremy’s point of view. She had given up something the bureaucrat had always wanted, but never achieved. Abby had been one of the finest field agents, doing some of the most detailed profiling many had seen. She was very good in the field and had a knack for sensing a situation, being able to tell what to do and when to do it. Pure instinct. She was on her way to working with some of the greatest minds of the Bureau at the Behavior Analysis Units. She voluntarily walked away to use her talents internally. As talented as Jeremy had been, he knew he was not on the level of the BAU, but Abby could have been.

This led to the other reason her boss tormented her. Abby had a PhD in psychology. That meant all the type-A alpha males and females hated being sent to see her. She was the shrink. They had to jump through her hoops to be unshackled from their desks. She was notorious for making them feel small doing it. It was how she got the nickname from Marcus: Tiny. Only she, Marcus and Tina got the joke. Everyone else thought it was because she was not overly tall. Let ’em think what they want. If any of those assholes try to call me Tiny, I’ll hand them their balls.

Agents and analysts tended to steer clear of her as Abby stared at the coffee maker, waiting for her witch’s brew of caffeine to be completed. As the coffee maker beeped, causing the pleasure center in her brain to create a rush of anticipation, a voice blasted away all those good feelings.

“Good morning, Chilton,” said Jeremy Mathis. “How are you today?” The question was merely an empty gesture intended to open a dialogue. Abby wasn’t one for idle chit-chat, but she always made an exception for Jeremy. She knew he really didn’t care how she was so she made an extra effort to tell him all her joys and woes.

“This PMS is a bitch, Jeremy,” she began and kept going. “I’m feeling a little bloated. Other than the female stuff, I’m feeling happy with my life. The new apartment is really starting to feel like home. Now if I can lose these last nine pounds to get back into the size four dress I wore last year, I’ll be great. I looked good in it if I do say so myself. That dress got me laid!” She always found ways to make the Special Agent in Charge of the Knoxville Field office feel uncomfortable. He made her life hell; she made him blush. She considered it a win-win.

“Thanks for the over-share, Chilton,” he replied, trying to be funny. “You always know what not to say. But you say it anyway.”

“It’s my gift,” she retorted.

The boss got down to business. “As much as I love our verbal sparring matches, we have a situation and both of us need to get to work.” Taking a mug, he went to the single cup machine to make himself some kind of cappuccino which would have turned Abby’s stomach. He watched her pouring her coffee. “How do you drink that shit? At least put some cream or sugar in there?”

Abby took a long, slow sip of her coffee. It was bitter and strong. “Coffee is an art. It takes time and effort to create the right taste and combination of flavors to sooth the troubled soul one must conquer each morning before the day can be faced with sufficient stamina.”


“Colombian coffee commercial,” smiled Abby. “I saw it one morning while checking YouTube for coffee references to throw at you.”

Jeremy sighed. “Grab your battery acid and come with me. You really need a life.”

“Tell me about it. But as long as I have you to torment, I’m good.” Getting serious, she asked, “So what’s going on? And why are you asking me? Your ass must really be in a sling if you need my help.”

Walking through the cubicles to the end of the hall, the pair turned a few heads. It was infrequent for them to have more than the most perfunctory conversations. Seeing the two walking to the conference room was a rarity. Abby was accustomed to looks from men. Anyone would describe her as pretty without being strikingly beautiful. Her hair was in a constant state of flux. This month it was nearly shoulder length brown with blonde highlights with the barest traces of red. Abby knew she looked good and took pride in her appearance while trying not to obsess over it. She had a figure which was well proportioned to her five foot five frame. She had breasts which were big enough to be noticed, not so big they got in the way. Abby liked her behind which she resisted referring to as her best asset. Too puny for her sense of humor. The hours in the gym had worked well to avoid the thirty-something softening she had seen in so many happy, suburbanite soccer moms. Neither the softening nor the soccer mom lifestyle were in the cards for her. This was her life.

Entering the room, Abby left her smartass attitude for professional mode. There was someone she did not know standing there. One of Abby’s greatest strengths was also one of her greatest weaknesses. While she had been bantering with her coworkers, she had been adding to their profiles. She could see things in people others missed. On the flip side, she could not stop seeing things in people others missed.

Marcus, she noticed, was wearing the same pants he had worn the day before. His normally pressed dress shirt had been folded as could be told from the sleeves. It was from the go-bag he kept in his car. He had left on time yesterday while avoiding a long conversation with her or prolonged eye contact. Conclusion: Marcus finally got past second base with the woman he had met at Starbucks two weeks ago.

Barbara tried to sound casual this morning. As the office manager, she always looked professional. Her clothing was immaculate and makeup was perfect. Hair was well coiffed. She looked to the world to be ready to face any kind of bureaucratic bungle which came her way. However, she was not carrying herself as confidently as usual. Her shoulders were slightly slumped. The sound of her heals on the tile floor of the break room told Abby her normal gait was less crisp than usual. No known work issues. She had mentioned her husband, Jeff, but not her daughter, Rachel. No mention of the report card from two days ago or bragging about all the A’s. Conclusion: the report card was not filled with A’s as she had expected.

Jeremy was less cruel in his wit this morning. There was something going on. He was never nice to her; however, he knew she had some skills he needed from time to time. When he did not use sarcasm to an extreme, he needed her to get in the head of someone else. Escorting her to the conference room meant this was the man behind the less-rude boss.

She looked over the newcomer. Tall. Six feet. Between two hundred and two-ten. Short, blonde hair with traces of gray on the temples. In good shape. No facial hair. Intelligent, striking green eyes. No real facial expression yet. Poker face. Charcoal gray, two-piece Brooks Brother’s suit. Not tailored. Royal blue dress shirt sans a tie. Black Kenneth Cole shoes. Nice, but not too expensive. Lapel pin from the University of Tennessee. College grad. Holding himself with a level of confidence you do not normally see in a visitor to an FBI building. No weapons under his suit coat. No badge on his belt or pocket. Unlikely LEO. Law enforcement officers like to show their badges so others know they are on the job, too. A good Seiko watch. No wedding ring, but there is a mark on the finger. No tan line. Divorced. More than a year. Less than five since the muscle has not grown back. Making an effort to look middle class. Something is not quite right. There is more to him than this.

“Abby Chilton. Allow me to introduce Michael Sims. Mr. Sims has an issue he wanted to share with the Feds.” The way Jeremy said the last part told her those were Sims’ words and not his. He hated it when people referred to them as “Feds” and knew Abby would catch it.

“Ms. Chilton. A pleasure.” Sims’ voice was somewhere between tenor and baritone. Nothing uncommon. There was a subtle twang to his voice which sounded native east Tennessee.

“Mr. Sims. It’s Agent Chilton,” corrected Abby. “What seems to be on your mind?”

“My apologies, ma’am. I meant no disrespect. Mr. Mathis told me you were the local psychologist. I didn’t know you were an agent, too.”

“Long story. Let’s make this easy. I’m Abby. Do you prefer Mike or Michael?”

He smiled a very disarming smile, totally throwing her off. “It’s Mick.”

Damn! The smile and the name are too cute. Focus Abby. He’s not that cute. “So tell me, Mick, what brings you here and got you all the way up to the top floor?”

For the first time, he looked unsure. “I don’t think you’ll believe this; but I think there is a problem in Oak Ridge.” Oak Ridge captured Abby’s attention. She looked at Jeremy, who nodded.

“Really, Mick? And why would a nice Knoxville boy like you be worried about Oak Ridge?” asked Abby, trying her best to sound charming.

“Miss Abby, are you making fun of me?” asked Sims. He was not sure how to take her and it showed.

“Not at all, Mick,” replied Abby. “It simply seems like something unusual to say.” Don’t call me Miss Abby! That is way too distracting!

“The father of one of my students works at Y-12. Robbie has been out of school for a week and no one can get in touch with him,” Mick explained. “I even went by their home; but no one is there.”

A teacher. Makes sense. But where?

“Are you a professor at UT?” asked Abby, but instantly knew she was wrong by the chuckle.

“Not my kind of teaching. Too much politics. I’m one of the technology teachers at the STEM Academy. It’s the downtown high school for..,” began the teacher.

“For science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM. It’s a public school with a private school curriculum. Very progressive.” said Abby while thinking, Impressive. A technology teacher. Cute and a good heart. Time for a background check on Michael Sims. Focus, Abby. You really need to get laid.

Both men in the room looked impressed. Jeremy raised an eyebrow. “I read a lot,” she said in explanation. She had read everything she could about east Tennessee when she had gotten the assignment to Knoxville. Knowing the schools was only part of the research.

“You don’t have a student there?” asked the impressed Mick.

“No kids. Just a career,” replied Abby. “Now about Robbie?” She could see Mick was giving her the once over. Twice. Stop looking at me and get to the point. Well, you can look a little; but not too long because there is work to do. I really need to show more cleavage. Note to self: hit the gym at lunch.

“Robbie is a great kid. Very smart.” Sims sounded worried by his tone. “He built his own notebook computer first semester. His parents are very involved. It makes absolutely no sense they would disappear without a trace. No word to the school. No nothin’!” That was the first time his grammar slipped into Tennessee slang.

Jeremy had enough. “Mr. Sims, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will ask someone to look into this and, if there is anything to tell you, I will make sure someone gets back to you. Agent Chilton, will you please get Mr. Sims contact details?” Jeremy left the room, obviously not impressed.

Bless your heart, Jeremy! It was one of the few southern phrases she had adopted into her vocabulary. She was certain she had used it wrong, but didn’t care.

“Why do I get the feeling I was brushed off?” asked a slightly annoyed Sims.

“Don’t let it bother you. He brushes me off all the time,” said Abby, in a placating tone. “I’ll make you a deal. Why don’t I do a little bit of checking and get back to you? If you’ll give me your number, I’ll let you know what I find.”

A card appeared in his hand. “I’m in school until about five. After that is good, or before 8:30 in the mornin’.”

Abby removed a card from her card case. She turned it over and wrote her cell number on the back. “This is my cell. If you hear anything else, please call,” she shared, trying to remain professional.

Mick smiled again. “I will definitely call if I hear anything. How do I get out of here? I’m going to be late for my first class.”

“You must be escorted at all times,” replied the psychologist. “I’ll take you down.” I hope he didn’t hear the double entendre. The sparkle in his green eyes told her he may be thinking about something more salacious than an elevator ride as well. When they reached the lobby, Abby held out her hand. “Thank you for stopping by Mr. Sims. We will keep you informed.” She sounded overly-professional.

“Thank you very much, Agent Chilton,” replied Mick, with equal over-formality. “I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.” Abby felt a tingle as he shook her hand and retreated through the security checkpoint.

I hate suit coats. It is totally impossible to check out a cute butt when they wear those!


Chapter Two

The Observer was dressed in an unremarkable t-shirt and jeans. On his kitchen table were the remains of his breakfast. It was the most important meal of the day. In high spirits after his Friday night’s exploits, he treated himself to his favorite morning meal – Eggs Benedict. There was something about the Hollandaise sauce over the soft poached eggs that made them taste phenomenal.

Sitting before him, were several dice which would make his Monday even better. A roll of a twenty-sided die came up with the number fourteen. It was a number that had not come up in quite a while. Why couldn’t he ever get the elusive eight? The next dice to be cast were five six-sided dice totaling nine. Two coins were flipped. Both heads. The penultimate die was six-sided which came up three. On his last throw, an eight-sided die with eight colors was tossed onto the table with pink being the color of the day.

Time to go. The fates had given him direction to his next target.



Abby stayed in the lobby, staring after the man she had just met. There was something going on with Michael Sims, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Was he as nice as he appeared? Was there something darker going on behind those gorgeous, green eyes? Or was it that it had been over a year since anyone had caught her attention? Was she being paranoid? Maybe he is a very nice psychopath who has caught my attention, thus answering all my questions at once. Who says, ‘thus’? You really need to tone down the vocabulary a little bit.

 Turning to the bank of elevators, she continued her inner musings. Why does something have to be wrong with him? Well, there are the last three relationships which ended in disasters. Could they have something to do with it? While I’m talking to the voices in my head, why are you asking yourself questions to which you already know the answers?

The elevator opened to the investigations unit of the Knoxville field office. It was nine and the office was starting to show the barest signs of life. Abby tried to make it through the office with a minimal amount of conversation. She knew most people were put off or intimidated by her and she didn’t really care. There were some things more important than being Miss Congeniality. Besides, if she didn’t talk to them she wouldn’t profile them.

As she passed the desk of Special Agent Rupert Michaelson, he called to her. “Hey Abs. How did it go with the paranoid teacher? Is he a little nuts or a real head case?” Rupert was fresh out of the academy on his first field assignment. He was eight years younger than Abby, but never missed a chance to flirt with her or check out her chest. He was about five feet, nine and in great shape, but that was to be expected since he was still in his twenties. Michaelson would be a good middle of the road agent, he would never be great. It was sad Rupert thought he stood a chance with her.

She barely broke stride, smiled, and said, “Jury’s still out, Rupert; but, if he is a head case, I’ll give him your number so he can join your support group.” Walking toward Jeremy’s office, feeling his eyes checking her out, she called loudly without looking back. “And call me ‘Abs’ again and I’ll tell everyone the reason behind your bed wetting issues.”

Rupert laughed, noticing others were looking at him. “She was joking,” he said, more defensively than he intended. “Tell them you’re joking, Abby!” She didn’t even look back.

At the end of the row was the door of the triple sized, corner office of the Special Agent in Charge. As the SAC, Jeremy had an open door policy. By “open door” he meant his door was open but if you walked in you better have something worth his time or he would hand you your head. Abby didn’t care, she always walked in. The office showed much about the man to Abby’s well-trained brain. The first time she walked in fifteen months ago, she knew he was going to be a pain in her ass; but he was going to be easy to torment and manipulate.

Their first meeting could have been much better. She had left her last posting at the San Antonio Field Office and had completed the testing with certifications to become a “Traumatic Incident and Grief Support Specialist.” It was the Bureau’s fancy name for “The Bitch Who Will Listen to You Whine and Tell You How Long You Will Be Shackled to Your Damned Desk Before You’re Allowed to Go Out and Shoot Someone Else.” She really preferred the honest title. It was so much more graphically descriptive. The instructor teaching the course offered a courtesy laugh when she suggested it but said the original title was fine. Some people can be such bureaucratic assholes with hardly any sense of humor. Oddly, Jeremy and the instructor had that in common.

The field office SAC had greeted her with the warmth of a polar bear who had been stuck on an iceberg for a couple decades. “Based on the picture in your file you are Abby Chilton,” said Mathis. No chit chat. No hello. No kiss my ring. You are Abby Chilton. It told her he was not one accustomed to being questioned. He made statements. Everyone said, “Yes, sir!” and did their Nazi boot click. She hated Nazis.

Making a show of looking down at her badge, she replied, “Why, yes I am, sir.” She had a way of saying “sir” which made most men think she had called them an asshole. “You are Special Agent in Charge Jeremy Mathis.” Two could play this game. Now, what could she profile? He was five foot, eleven and about two-hundred pounds. A little soft in the middle, but not fat. The diploma said he graduated from the University of Chicago with a Criminology bachelors in 1987. Very cliché for the FBI. No law degree. His academy certificate was in 1989. Two year gap means he may have washed out of law school. It would make him in his mid to late-forties. He had a slightly receding hairline with plenty of gray. Jeremy had the gaze she had seen countless times in the FBI. The look on his face said, “Get the hell away from me! If you try any of your mind shit on me, I’ll shoot you.” It was the standard look she expected to see as a new counselor.

Looking him in the eye, she said, “You also have no desire to put up with a shrink on your floor, in your office, or at your building. I also suspect you would prefer not having any in the Bureau at all.”

Mathis raised an eyebrow. He was better than most who usually told her off. He was smarter. “At least we’re beginning with a clear understanding of where we both stand,” he said with a little less liquid nitrogen in his voice. “You laid my cards on the table for me. What else can you deduce – other than the blatantly obvious?”

A challenge? This would be fun. What was the easy stuff beyond the physical? He was married with three kids. The wife looked pleasant enough; but nothing to get excited about. He likes red heads. Mental note: change hair color to red in six months to see how it messes with his head. Two kids were grown or in college and one was in high school. The oldest was a son. He is likely Jeremy, Jr. based on the initials JR on the base of the fairly happy family portrait. The second oldest was a daughter – Rebecca. Prettier than either parent. Adopted? No. She has mom’s ears. Not much of dad in her. Good for her. The youngest was the jock – Robert. Cute kid playing soccer.

Office décor often told more than most people realized. First thing was the color. It was a standard light brown, but not the same as everywhere else. He had some individuality, but did not vary too far from the standard. The desk was larger than most SAC desks and looked to be non-government issue. It was a deep, dark mahogany with about an extra six inches in width. Several compensation jokes came to mind, but she let them pass. On closer examination, there was a large, hidden flat screen on the right side of the desk built into the desktop allowing him to examine her file while seeming to not look at a screen. There was a wireless mouse on the left side of the desk as were several pens. Left handed. His papers were in neat piles. Organized. There were three chairs in front of the desk which were nowhere near as comfortable as the luxurious chair from where he ruled his tiny dukedom. A separate area with a couch and two larger chairs around a coffee table was situated so the three desk chairs could be moved to be part of the more intimate setting. These chairs were given to the less important individuals when the more relaxed location was used. Why did she suspect she would never be offered any of the comfy spots?

“Are you sure you want me to do this? It makes people uncomfortable.” Abby knew his answer before he said it. She was tempting him in the only way she would ever tempt him.

Jeremy took the bait, the hook, the line, the sinker and part of the fishing pole. “Please, Agent Chilton. Indulge me,” he said with a trace of condescension. He would pay for that.

“You asked for it, sir,” she rejoined. “You are in your late forties. You are happily married. Same wife for more than twenty-four, but less than twenty-eight years. Three children. One is still in high school. You have a degree in criminology and considered getting a law degree. You show some subtle narcissistic tendencies. You are left handed and like having information nearby without others knowing. You know your job and are very efficient as an administrator. While you have no problem using intimidation when you need to, you also know when to create a more casual atmosphere while still keeping others in their place and on the defensive.” The repeated “you” was part of her mind game.

To his credit, Jeremy never showed any sign she had gotten anything right or wrong. He would be a badass at poker if he ever loosened his tie. After considering her for some time, he said, “You may be somewhat useful. You see much others miss, but I need to tell you I’m not…”

“A narcissistic asshole? I know. I wanted to see your reaction when I called you one,” said the psychologist with a smile. “Nice poker face, by the way.”

“I heard about poker,” said the SAC, with a smile. “Maybe I should study it.”

Abby had been surprised to hear the man make a joke. “I can teach you some of the basics, Jeremy. But I don’t gamble. It is not any fun when you always know what the other person has in their hand.”

Thus, the complicated relationship between the SAC and the woman who could ground his agents had begun. Today’s meeting was not much different than the first. Abby sat down without waiting for an invitation. Jeremy, knowing she was there, continued typing something on his hidden computer. She could wait, too. There weren’t any appointments on her schedule until ten.

“So what did you see in there?” asked the boss, without stopping his work. “Anything untoward?”

“’Untoward’? Word a day calendar?” asked Abby, trying not to sound impressed. He didn’t even look up, so she answered his question. “He appears genuinely concerned about his student. I didn’t see anything that makes me think he is anything more than a teacher wondering about what the hell is going on at Y-12. Except…”

The “except” made him look up from what he was doing. “Yes?” he asked, crinkling his forehead. He looked at her a long time and asked, “Is your radar jammed by a cute guy?” Even if he hid it on his face, she could hear the smile in his voice.

“No. My radar is not jammed by a ‘cute guy’,” she replied, perhaps a fraction of a second too quickly. “There is something he is not telling us. I’m going to get Marcus to dig into the internet and see what we can find without a warrant.”

Mathis slid a manila folder across the desk to her. The tab had a typed label: Sims, Michael “Mick” Arthur. His middle name was Arthur? He did not look like an Arthur to Abby. Adonis was a better middle name for him. FOCUS! It was thicker than she expected. The folder that is.

“When did you do this?” asked an impressed Abby.

Mathis had a well-earned, smug look on his face. “Yesterday, when he called for an appointment. Marcus is very thorough. But you already knew that.” Jeremy was referring to the occasions she had Marcus do some snooping on agents who were having some issues.

“All part of my job, sir.” Asshole. Abby hated it when he looked smug.

“I need a profile on him. I called Walker. He’ll stop by the kid’s house and look around. Let’s see how long it takes Wilson at Y-12 to e-mail me back about the dad. This is a local matter unless something is related to Oak Ridge.” Apparently, Jeremy had not totally blown him off after all. Detective Walker was their Knoxville Police contact and Wilson was head of security at Y-12. Was there something to this?

“I have three agent interviews today, but I’ll make some time between them. Are you worried about this, Jeremy?” Abby was curious. It could be he was being his usual over-efficient self.

“I’m hedging my bets, Chilton. I’ll worry when there is something to worry about.” With those words the impromptu meeting was concluded. Abby rose to leave when he asked, “What does your gut tell you?” He had never asked her that question; but this was the first time he had really used her talents other than internally.

“My gut tells me I need to know more about Mick before I jump to conclusions,” she replied cautiously. “But there is something going on.”

“I agree,” said Mathis. He was beginning to look worried.

Copyright 2014 Doug Romig

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