Capturing Fate (Fatal Truth #2) - Abbie Roads


Ohio, Mid-May

The stench of stale sweat hung so heavy in the air Dolan Watts could taste the last corrections officer’s body odor. He swallowed the urge to gag. There was no escaping the greenhouse effect of being trapped in a window lined room five stories above Petesville Supermax prison.

Petesville was a squat, ugly building, a place devoid of goodness and mercy. Its layers of razor-wire fence were flimsy barriers against the monsters caged inside. After six months of long hours, low morale, and lousy policies, Dolan knew that to be the truth.

He’d volunteered for shitty undercover gigs his entire career with the FBI. He never would’ve thought being a corrections officer would be the worst one.

Sweat slid down the channel of his spine, collecting at the top of his standard-issue utility belt. The uniform was old-school polyester, hotter than a hair suit on a hundred-degree day. Without letting go of his loaded rifle, Dolan raised his arm and wiped the sweat off his face with his sleeve.

“This is miserable.” He shouldn’t have said anything. Shouldn’t be talking to Snake. And that’s as far as his ode to sanity went—knowing he shouldn’t have an imaginary friend and shouldn’t be talking to it. Because when he talked to Snake it encouraged his cold- blooded companion to talk back, and that led to conversations, and conversations led to Dolan believing Snake was real like he had when he’d been too little to know better.

As an adult, Dolan balanced on the threshold of insanity with his imaginary friend. He sometimes tried to ignore Snake, but if he was being honest, he didn’t want Snake to go away. It had always been him and Snake against the world.

You’re the one who volunteered for this job. Snake spoke inside Dolan’s head, his tongue flicking against Dolan’s skin.

He inhaled and grabbed for some patience. “I know.”

You could work that racketeering case in southern Ohio. Snake shifted, coiling his small body tight against the crook of Dolan’s neck.

“I know.” He sounded like a petulant child.

You could investigate the recent string of men missing in Columbus.

“I know.”

There are so many interesting cases you could work right now if only you’d learn how to get along.

“I. Know.” Dolan kept hold of his rifle with one hand and settled the other over Snake’s body to shut the creature up. Underneath his fingers, he could feel the reptile’s dry scales and delicate features flex into his touch. He looked down at his hand that seemed to hold nothing, yet he felt Snake’s body. All his life, he’d never been able to see Snake, but he could always feel him and hear him. “But this is Killion. Adam fucking Killion. If I crack this one, my future is golden. I’ll land any gig I want.”

Any gig where you can work alone. Snake’s tongue tickled along Dolan’s neck, taking the sting out of his words.

Dolan took his hand off Snake. The creature was right. Dolan didn’t like people. Period. As crazy as it sounded, he only trusted himself and Snake.

Five stories below, the door to the prison opened, and three men walked out. Dolan gripped the rifle with both hands. His eyesight was beyond exceptional. Where the COs in the other towers had to use binoculars, all Dolan had to do was focus, and he could see everything.

It was like a bad joke down there—a corrections officer, a psychiatrist, and a prisoner walked into the yard.

He could make out each man in detail. One was a CO Dolan didn’t recognize. One was the prissy prison psychiatrist. The last man—the inmate—Adam Killion.

“What the hell is he doing outside his cell?” he half yelled at Snake, as if the creature would have an answer.

Killion was walking in the fresh air and sunshine. Well, not exactly walking, since his ankles were shackled, forcing him into a slow shuffle step. He wore the typical navy-blue prison-issue jumpsuit that on him looked tailor-made—nipped and tucked in all the right places. As he moved, he closed his eyes and held his face to the sun, but even that innocuous gesture looked malevolent coming from him. He was an apex predator outside his cage, tethered on a flimsy leash. Any moment, he could snap and slaughter everyone.

Dr. Edward Payne, the psychiatrist, walked close beside Killion. Too close. He looked at Killion as the man spoke, and there was something about that, something about his rapt attention upon Killion.

He’s too familiar, Snake supplied, sliding partway around Dolan’s neck, then back again as if