The day after the murder of Sally Rhodes, one of my old friends, I picked up the newspaper. Being in town gave me an advantage. I wasn’t about to let some uptight agent take over the case. I lacked any leads on the cast—doubting she could do better. On November 13th she came by my house.

“I’m Special Agent Marla Monroe.” She said, in ASL. Her translator, whose name I didn’t know, informed me. “I’m aware of your connection to the case.”

I let them in the house, she continued. “You knew Ms. Rhodes, correct?”

“I did, yeah, and I’ll find who killed her.”

“That might be a little difficult, seeing as the killer left nothing—except her bones.” She shot back. “I’m here as an asset to help the case. We don’t need some cannibal on the loose.”

Chuckling, I crossed my arms. “How? How can you help?”

“They don’t call me a special agent for nothing.” She winked.

“Fine. You win.”

At the police station, Agent Monroe’s approval rate varied. How could she figure out anything before we could? The last person to see Sally alive was her niece, Madeline. She was at the station. Agent Monroe took over the interrogation. I watched from behind the glass. She didn’t appear tense. I turned around, almost running into Detective Gordon.

“Can you believe this? The first real case in Ambers and this agent takes it over.” She commented, coffee in her hand. “I heard she does cases all over the world and has taken down more criminals than anyone in law enforcement.” She paused. “I don’t buy it.” She headed towards the break room. Following behind her, curiosity struck me. How did Agent Monroe manage such a track record? I’m not a Detective, but a CIA Agent. Or, was. Being blacklisted is the reason I’m here. Ex-CIA.

“Are the cases rigged? That’s why she’s been able to solve so many?”

Detective Gordon scoffed. “I don’t think she staged murders. Although, something is up with her. I aim to find out what.”

“I’m in.” Then added: “She came to visit me yesterday.”

“Suspicious indeed.” She sipped her coffee. “Listen, I don’t want her to know what we’re up to. No one else can know.”

I agreed. We had to find out the truth behind Agent Monroe. Somehow . . .

The following day, I ran into Agent Monroe at Moonlight Magic Bar & Grill. One of Ambers’ most popular hang-outs. I’d come with a date from Lez Nation, a dating app. She and her translator came over to us.

“Oh, how nice to see you—Shane?”

Nodding, I glanced at my date. “You too—Marla. This is Selena, from the Cities.”

They shook hands. She turned back to me. “Can I talk to you—alone?”


Beckoning her translator to stay behind, she led me to the women’s bathroom. The bathroom didn’t have stalls. She locked the door. She talked, as best she could, anyway.

“I’m not normal. But, I have a connection to you. You know the killer.”

 “Are you accusing me of covering it up? FYI, I’m not like that.”

She crossed her arms. “Listen to me. We’re both in danger. Being reckless won’t help you—or your friend.”


She nodded. “The person who killed Sally Rhodes is here.”

 A shrill scream pierced the air, from inside the bar. We were safe behind the bathroom door, but what about the rest of them? She kept her hand on the door, keeping me from going out.

“Let me out!” I couldn’t push past her. My ears started ringing and buzzing. I covered them, seeing a sly smile on Agent Monroe’s face. “Who are you?”

She knelt down to me. “A special agent.” The buzzing and ringing stopped. Returning to my feet, I stumbled to the door. She kept her back to it. “Stay here.”

“No. I have to protect Selena.”

She grabbed the edges of my jacket. “It isn’t safe . . . yet.” I shoved past her and back into the restaurant. I spotted an all-too-familiar pink jacket behind one of the chairs. The killer was here.

Was.” Agent Monroe said, reemerging from the bathroom. She picked up the pink jacket. “You know it is . . .” She handed me the jacket. “. . . and where to find her.”

Weaving the soft fabric through my fingers, I folded the jacket over my arm.

“Tell me something, Agent Marla Monroe—how’d you know it was her?”

Her eyes met mine. She did some sign language, but requested no translation. She stopped, heading out the door, her translator came over.

“She asked you to come by her hotel room tonight. Here’s the key.” He handed it to me, following her out. I rejoined Selena.

“I have to do something. Can we reschedule? I’ll be in Minneapolis for a photoshoot.”

She crossed her arms. “As long as we go to a five-star restaurant.”

“Deal.” I headed out the door, not to follow Agent Monroe, but to bring the jacket to the killer—one of my closest friends—Lexi. I knocked on her door, alerting her greyhound, Giselle. She let me in. Handing her the jacket, I wanted to ask outright about Sally. Turns out, I didn’t have to.

“It was me, okay? I killed Sally. I ate her flesh, everything except her brain. I couldn’t control myself.” Her face in her hands, she sat on the couch.

Sitting beside her, I put my arm around her shoulders. “Lexi, talk to me. Why?”

She dug in her pockets, taking out a vial of pink, glittering liquid. The label read: Miracle Serum. Nothing else. “Take it. I used it, then I couldn’t eat. I don’t know how it works, but it made me crave blood and flesh. Sally came over and—”

A bullet burst through the window, almost hitting her. Then another. We ducked, avoiding the next round. I grabbed one, showing it to Lexi. It was gold, pure gold. The shots came to a halt. Bullets scattered the floor. Pounding started on the front door.  I stayed with Lexi until the person disappeared. I had to see Agent Monroe. I drove to her hotel, using the key card, I entered her room. The lights weren’t on and an uneasy stillness came over me in the quietness.

“Hello? Agent Monroe?”

Her translator appeared, turning on a light. “She’s out. She’ll be back in a little while.”

“Do you mind if I stick around until she comes back?”

He shook his head. “Not at all. My name’s Seth, by the way. I haven’t introduced myself to you.”

“I’m Shane McCallister, if you didn’t already know.”

He chuckled.

 Agent Monroe busted into the door. “I failed. I failed.” She repeated, over and over again, throwing her gun down. A gold bullet shell popped out of it. She saw me and paused. “Shane.”

 “You? You tried to kill Lexi?”

“She isn’t human. Don’t you understand?”

I crossed my arms. “Of course. I take it half the other people you’ve put away weren’t human either?”

She sighed. “I came here for a reason. I guess you’ll figure it out if I don’t tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

“I’m special because I have ESP. I can hear the voices of the dead, send you thoughts and her yours. Also, see into the future. That’s why I’m here.”

“Right.” I replied. “You’re joking.”

“I’m not. Your phone is going to buzz in two seconds.”

 It did. A text came from Detective Gordon. “You know what it says, right?”  She nodded. “Agent Monroe, have you seen this?” I handed her the vial of Miracle Serum. She stayed silent. “Lexi took it. It’s how she became . . .”

Seth pulled a gun out, He pointing it at me. “Hands up, McCallister. You know too much.”

“Seth, put the gun down.”

He shook his head. “No. I gave her the serum. I set up Marla to come here and face something she never faced before—something undead.” He cocked the trigger.

“Get down!” Agent Monroe attempted to shout, his finger pushing the trigger. Marla went, a shot in her arm. “Maybe she’ll communicate with you in the afterlife.” He attempted to pull the trigger—it backfired, hitting him instead. He growled, hitting the lamp and the door, but me. I dragged Agent Monroe out the door.

“This way.” She pulled me along, while listening to Seth’s plan. She tracked his movements. Outside the hotel, I spotted Lexi, with Detective Gordon, by a police cruiser. “We need to move.” She led me out, the police station across the street. Detective Gordon fired off a couple shots. I pushed on the police station doors, to no avail. Seth appeared behind us. In the distance, Lexi stalked him.

“Are you ready for your last goodbye, Special Agent Marla Monroe?”

“No. But, you are.” She signed to him. Lexi jumped on his back, forcing him to the ground. A couple of officers appeared, cuffing him.

“Good work, Agent.”

She smiled. “You too.” Detective Gordon came over, unharmed, saved by her bulletproof vest. Seth landed in prison. He admitted to fabricating about half the crimes Marla solved—with the exception her ESP.

 A couple months later, a question came to me. It’s been haunting me for over a year: “Can I talk to my fiancée?” She agreed, with one condition—“You can be my new interpreter.”

We shook hands. “Deal.” 

January 17, 2020 14:09

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