CHAPTER ONE


"I told you, Harris, we don't need the FBI involved in this!" A gruff voice bellowed from the hallway.

"Lt. Bristol," his companion replied calmly, cautiously, "Three victims in two days. The Butcher murdered three in two days. We need to catch him as quickly as we can and we cannot do that alone."

"Yes, we can, Detective." Bristol seethed in apparent frustration, balling his firsts, "I'm pretty sure we can."

"Step down from your high horse, Lieutenant," Philippa Harris told him, in a tone Bristol didn't quite recognize, "You know we can't solve this case. Half the city'll be dead before we'd be able to catch him. With the BAU, he'll be caught soon enough."

Bristol then took out a cigarette as he stared down at Detective Harris. He muttered something under his breath as his hands began to search for his lighter. But before he could question Philippa about his missing lighter, the door opened to show a frazzled officer.

"Lt. Bristol, Detective Harris, the BAU have arrived. They are in the waiting area," The officer—a young sergeant in his late twenties named Zach or something—managed to say before catching his breath, "I have offered them tea and coffee."

"Thank you, Sergeant Willows," Philippa addressed him curtly before exiting briskly. Bristol followed her, albeit slowly, as he fumbled with the match he found inside his drawer.

"One day, Lieutenant, you'll end up burning this whole office down." Oliver Bristol rolled his eyes at the younger, lower-ranked Detective. Who was on a high horse now?

"Yeah, yeah. One day, Harris, you'll end up getting laid off," It was the best comeback he could think of. He was still electrified with nicotine and whatnot in his system. Bristol wanted to be out in the field, searching for the Butcher. But he couldn't because Harris had decided that the BAU had to intervene with his plans.

"One day, Lt. Bristol, is not today."


"Good afternoon, Lt. Bristol. I am Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner of the BAU," a tall, dark-haired man extended his hand. Bristol did not return his handshake; instead, Detective Harris did.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Hotchner. I am Detective Philippa Harris and this is Lt. Oliver Bristol. He is still quite stressed and tired, so please do forgive him," Philippa, who was about two heads shorter than Hotchner, looked honorary and dignified despite (or maybe because of) their height difference.

"This are SSAs David Rossi, Derek Morgan, Emily Pretniss, Jennifer Jareau and this is Dr. Spencer Reid," Hotcher continued, gesturing to each member of his team.

"Since introductions are finished, let's get started with business," Philippa nodded at the BAU team and ushered them to take a seat.

"Are there any leads? Or even people whom you might think are leads?" Pretniss—at least, that was what Philippa thought the dark-haired woman's name was—inquired.

"All the journalists are in hiding, except for a few." Pretniss then nodded, as a brown-haired male took down notes.

"Have you talked to any of these journalists?" Asked the brown-haired male—Reid, Dr. Reid, Philippa corrected herself.

"No, I'm afraid. We've been trying to contact them, but only one of them answered." Judging from the team's looks, Philippa continued, "Tierra Perry; her roommate was one of the victims. However, Lt. Bristol thinks that she might be too traumatized to give any proper answers. She's been visiting the department since the day of Aliss Laughlin's death."

"Do you think she'd visit today?" Pretniss pressed, a sliver of what seemed like hope in her eyes, "It would be hard investigating without the journalists' and the police's cooperation."

"I think so."

"Then I believe we've climbed a rung," Pretniss concluded.

Philippa then shot Bristol a smug glance. The lieutenant just continued smoking his cigarette half-heartedly as he glanced at the clock.


"Nadine, it won't kill you to go outside," Tierra almost chocked on her laughter. It was quite ironic for her to be coercing the very outgoing Nadine to go outside. Serial killers just had that effect of lowering optimism and energy.

Tierra Perry just had to be that stupid to have experienced the opposite effects.

"Funny joke, Tierra!" Her roommate called from inside their apartment. The apartment that they had once shared with Aliss.

"Come on! I'm needed at the PD. I'm scared to walk down the streets alone, too, you know," The journalist was getting a bit listless. She was needed by the police, after all. That fact sent warning messages to her brain and yet, she still continued to write.

She had to be extremely stupid.

Tierra was contemplating on her actions when Nadine's head peeped from the open door.

"Alright, I'll go. I might be murdered while you're gone."

"Thank you for seeing the light, Nadine."

The walk to the police department was a quiet one. The only sounds were that of leaves rustling in the wind. The streets were empty but the stores were filled with people attempting to find so-called "refuge."

"I wonder if anyone would go to my funeral if I died," Nadine mused out loud, glancing at Tierra.

"I wonder if anyone would remember me if I died," her friend replied as she thrust her hands in her pocket, "Probably people would remember me…As the stupid journalist who was practically waiting for Death's calling card to fall from the sky or something."

"Tell me, Nadine; was—am— I really being stupid?" Tierra continued, even though she didn't care if her questions were answered or not. Of course she was acting foolishly. Anyone could see that…but was she acting too foolishly? Foolishly enough to bet her life on some stand that no one cared about anymore?

"I honestly don't know. Maybe we've all been fools."


"Ms…Perry?" A short, blonde-haired girl came running to Tierra. Others quickly followed, "May I—we— please have a word with you?"

"Of course, Ms…?"

"Harris. Detective Harris."

"It would be an honor, Detective Harris," Tierra shook the blonde's hand, as an act of common courtesy, "Uh…Would you mind if my good friend Nadine could tag along?"

"Yes, I would mind, Ms. Perry. If your good friend would like, she could stay in the department with some of the BAU team members for a while," Detective Harris replied icily, tiredly, "Please come this way."

The department looked just as cold and weary as Detective Harris' tone, Tierra observed. Police officers hung limply, waiting for something to do except smoke and drink coca cola. Even the furniture looked dead, with threadbare couches and a semi-broken coffee vending machine.

When they passed a hallway, pictures and posters of wanted criminals stared at her with their painted beady eyes. It seemed to take eons and eons until they had reached their destination; a room filled with unfamiliar faces.

Tierra took a good look at each of them. There were two dark-haired males, one of them with an unshaven face; there was a brown-haired male than couldn't have been any older than she was and there was a dark-skinned man looking serious as he jotted down notes.

"Ms. Perry, correct?" When she nodded, the dark-haired man who then introduced himself as 'Aaron Hotchner' continued, "We would be asking you a few questions."


'Done with interrogation, Nad. Meet me by the vending machine. :-)'

Tierra pressed send a little too roughly on her phone. The questions weren't hard and she could've answered them easily, but somehow, the words couldn't come out. Truth be told, Tierra didn't know why she still wrote in a world where writing meant death. She just couldn't say that because they were profilers and profilers wanted facts.

Tierra Perry had no facts. She just had passion.

They just wouldn't understand.

She found Nadine in front of the vending machine, chatting with the brown-haired male from the conference room. How he got there before she did, Tierra didn't know. Perhaps there was another hallway besides the one she passed.

"Hey, Nadine," Tierra greeted her friend as she began inserting money into the vending machine. What she needed right now was a strong cup of coffee. After the paper cup was nestled in her hands, he turned to look at Nadine's companion.

"Good afternoon, Mr…?" She then prompted.

"Reid. Dr. Spencer Reid," He nodded shyly at Tierra. He was probably one of those geeky types who generally didn't like being around people. He had hardly talked during her quote-and-quote 'interrogation,' but he seemed very valuable to the BAU.

"I see you've met Nadine," If Tierra learned something from being a journalist; it was to never let a conversation die. This Dr. Reid had a story and it was a story that could come in handy in the future.

"Indeed, we've been discussing chess tactics," There was a sudden shift in Reid's bodily gestures; a sudden burst of excitement, "I told her that if she'd move her pawn to—"

"Sorry to cut your conversation short, Ms. Perry and companion, but the police found another victim."