24 years ago – State Prison – Florida
I observe these FBI agents who came to witness my execution with a clinical detachment. They hold out hope until the end that I will confess to all my crimes, but I will take my secrets with me. This will add to my growing legend: I, the most prolific serial killer in the United States, even though I refuse to reveal the exact total number of my murders as the New York Times pointed out at the end of my trial resounding. They only know a small part: twenty-seven seems insignificant when I have killed more than a hundred women!
With a small smirk that I can't hold back, I hold the youngest's resentful gaze. He is so expressive, it is a delight to read the torments that inhabit him: what an idea also to promise the families of the disappeared that he would bring them the answers that some of them have been looking for for years. Only I know where the bodies are hidden.
“You should ease your conscience,” he tries again, his fists clenched in clenched frustration. And bring peace to families. This will in no way atone for your atrocious sins, but you would at least do one good deed before presenting yourself for your final judgment.
As if I could believe in this elaborate nonsense to keep the populace on a leash... No, with my IQ  of 140, I am above all that: I am my own god and follow my own rules. But this agent is convinced that the relatives concerned could find comfort if they knew where the bodies of their daughters were. What stupidity when the autopsy will reveal everything I could have done to them during their lifetime... and after their death... knowing that for the oldest, there really won't be much left to study...
- I don't see the point, I replied in a low voice to force him to bend towards me in order to hear me. Thanks to them, I will be immortal in people's minds because they will think of me every day until the end of their lives, not to mention their offspring afterwards. Well, the ones they have left. And I rejoice at the idea that my work will be told endlessly thanks to my book.
—It’s immoral! he explodes angrily. How could a woman befriend a monster like you? This journalist, this Ann Rule  is sensationalist and elevates you to star status!
— But I hope so! I retorted with satisfaction. In my genre, I'm going to be a celebrity. May at least my death serve something for my name and my posterity. This is the positive side of my arrest, because the release of the book is scheduled for tomorrow when all the media will announce my execution. The publisher guaranteed me that it would boost sales like crazy.
I can't hold back a little mocking laugh at the disgusted expression of the agents.
— You're not a star, the youngster replies again while the senior maintains a stubborn silence. Your last victim survived and will have a good life while you rot six feet underground!
- Shut up ! immediately tells his partner in a dry tone.
— But look, at least I erased his damn smile! He can't leave with this satisfaction anchored in him, it's not fair!
Indeed, anger invades me. And denial too. None of my prey could escape me. Even less the last one!
“You’re lying and it’s pathetic,” I replied, disdainfully. Virginia is one of the victims for whom I was sentenced to death…
“No, we made people believe it because it didn't change much in your case,” he exulted, spitting in my face. Virginia Winslet did indeed die on the table of the surgeon who was trying to save her. For a few seconds. However, in view of the abuse you subjected her to, the doctor signed her death notice and hid her under an anonymous name when he managed to resuscitate her. A Jane Doe  who was able to rebuild her life in secret. She moved to Austin where she can finally purge herself of the evil that is you. The young woman you thought you killed is free to live again while you are not. So go to hell and burn there for eternity!
Impossible. No one can escape me. I feel the rage swelling within me at this blatant maneuver of deceiving me. Because it can only be that. I want to question them to counter their statements, but they leave the room to take their place behind the glass despite my questions. I've always been a good judge of human nature – it's served me well in choosing my prey – and I sense that the young agent isn't lying just to annoy me. If Virginia survived, then I can't leave now. Not on an unfinished work, not on a failure!
However, the guard designated for my execution presses his cursed button and electricity courses through my body in a wave as violent as it is painful. With fury, I focus on the young agent whose displayed contentment horrifies me to the highest degree. It’s his face with its glowing gaze of angry satisfaction that I stare at before a black veil envelops me…
I feel myself leaving my body but... I'm floating. I'm still here ? How is this possible when I see the prison guards taking away my remains: my execution has nevertheless taken place? I am dead but still alive in another form? Have I become a ghost? Galvanized by this hypothesis that I would never have believed in until then, I realize that I can move “consciously” when I am the young agent who annoyed me a few minutes before. So I attach myself to him as he leaves the room, chatting with his colleague.
— We will not have been able to provide the answers that the families were waiting for, he declares with muted anger, but at least his last victim will finally be able to sleep again. She no longer has anything to fear from this monster.
So he really wouldn't have lied? I'm going to watch it because it will inevitably lead me to her in one way or another: I want to find out the end of this story. If Virginia is indeed still alive, I must complete my work... I don't know how my new reality works, but it doesn't matter, in fact, the main thing being that I can finish what I have started by any means. which means. I have just created a “new life” for myself too: it’s up to me to make the most of it.
15 years ago – Austin – Texas
I float between two worlds, rooted in my will for almost a decade. Everything pushes me to go “beyond”, but I have not finished my work here on earth. Because a victim escaped me. Worse, she survived and rebuilt herself by becoming a psychologist in order to help victims of assault. She has a life while I held hers in my hands. However, she had no right to exist even though I had condemned her! Especially since I was partly executed because of her. If the police officer who stopped me for a faulty flasher hadn't accidentally discovered it in my trunk, no one would have linked me to my crimes. It is therefore unacceptable that she can take advantage of this world that judged and rejected me. Because who are they to decree that what I do is wrong?
At my trial, the prosecutor portrayed me as a bloodthirsty deviant animal. As if man were not a beast in himself. This civilized society is hypocritical, because only the strongest dominate. The desire to kill is present in me – as in every man – and it is not a right-thinking morality that should prevent me from doing so. Because unlike others, I have control over my impulses: I ride them to get the most out of them and so that they don't make me do anything. Just ask my neighbors who all described me as “a discreet, very polite and kind man”. Without the evidence provided by Virginia's case, I would have been acquitted, I am certain: the jurors had difficulty in matching the description given by the prosecution with the good man of his person, reserved and courteous that I played throughout the trial.
It took me a while to understand how my new “dimension” worked. But over the past year, I have managed, by following the young FBI agent, to find Virginia. He called her regularly but I didn't know how to reach her. Finally, he couldn't resist the urge to go see her discreetly when he was in Austin. To the extent that I monitored him whatever he did, I was finally able to find my unfinished work, and I attached myself to it instead of the agent. Since then, I have been observing her in order to find the flaw through which I can finalize my masterpiece. Over time, I realized that I was holding on to this new reality because of my anger. In fact, my rage fuels me and allows me to resist the “Call” that I hear regularly. This time, I want to make sure that Virginia is indeed dead. No emergency doctor in this world will be able to bring her back after what I put her through! And while we're at it, I'm also going to settle the score with this haughty agent who dared to tell me to burn in hell: if I have to go, he'll be on the trip too. This will only put my book back in the spotlight. My story will regain the spotlight if the last survivor is finally “caught up” by her destiny. Tragedy sells. And I love seeing the cover of the book telling my life story in store windows. For thus, I am immortal in the memory of men. Only, I have not yet found a way to be able to act in the reality of my prey: yes, I can monitor it but not physically reach it, which frustrates me greatly. However, I have no doubt of finding the solution, I am deeply convinced of it: until now, I have never denied myself the slightest desire. The proof is that I didn't really die. It is well that I must complete my work to completion!
As these thoughts loop through my mind as I “wander” through the park waiting for Virginia who usually comes there for her morning jog, I observe the people with curiosity. Who are they ? What are their deepest unspeakable desires? I have always wanted to understand what could motivate human beings, and this new state allows me to learn a lot: how different people can be when they think of themselves away from the gaze of others...
Suddenly, screams ring out and... I feel like I finally have my chance! A man is bringing back a child who fell through the ice covering the lake. The kid is limp and someone is trying to administer first aid while waiting for an ambulance. I then see a flash of light illuminating the sky. It looks like a shooting star, which slips inside the toddler while another line of light escapes. Is this a way to get back into the material? I know instinctively that this is my solution, the one I've been waiting for all this time. I would have preferred another choice, but ultimately, it can be much more practical: children are so much easier to control.
So don't worry, for you, the kid won't be dead. He will survive thanks to me. However, you'll probably prefer that he drowned after all... because he's going to be everything I was denied to become. Laughing at my own reflection, I sink nimbly with jubilation into the blue body of the child whose soul has just escaped: quickly, I must return before “the door closes”! Rescuers attempt cardiac massage after removing him from the icy water of the lake. Now it's my turn: it's going to be a pleasure to mold this six-year-old to become my host and... my puppet. I'm going to model it to complete my work which was stopped far too soon!
But I'm not the only one to have invested in the place, if I may say so. At the same time as my arrival, another spirit wanted to replace the kid's soul and is already partly in place. It's not complete and neither am I. We struggle to gain the upper hand over each other but to no avail.
— By God, he's convulsing! Hold it tight! I'm trying the defibrillator! In charge… Get out!
The rescuers panic and the urgency can be heard in their voices. But I know that I will survive: there is no question of letting this opportunity pass! I've been lurking for so long, waiting for such a possibility. I hear “the other” urging me to leave, arguing that I have nothing to do here, that I must return to the celestial vault. And him, then? How would he have more legitimacy than me? Just like me, he's a parasite taking over someone's body, right?
I hold on with all the strength of my will that has kept me going until then and the “other” ends up proposing a compromise. Because we cannot be two separate entities fighting for control of this body which will eventually fail if we do not find common ground. To the extent that he feels that I only want one thing – to return to matter – he suggests that we each abandon a part of our essence to form only one with what will remain of us. He specifies that reincarnation is more difficult than it seems and that he will teach me how to become one with the possessed body.
I have to decide quickly because, in any case, the child's body is wasting away and will not be viable for either of us if we don't get him going again this second. There is no advantage in reincarnating in a vegetative body... Reluctantly, I accept and melt into the "other" with the fierce determination to learn everything I can from him in order, then, to finish my job - even if I will have to wait a few more years before I can do it. For now, he has to replace the kid's essence and "absorb" me, but I intend to become the dominant one in the future.
- Yes ! That's it, he's back! We need to take him to the hospital immediately! Hold on, Patrick!
The rescuers rush to the ambulance, followed by the crying and terrified nanny. Obviously, how could she have anticipated that the ice would break under the toddler's feet? I learn from “the other” that it was wanted by the soul who had just left. The latter had chosen to incarnate on Earth in this child who was to make the soul of his parents evolve through the ordeal of a painful loss. But then, what does “the other” have to do with it? Ah, he was chosen to help parents rebalance their energies by taking the place of the little one.
If they needed to experience great suffering, that's no problem, I'm going to help them evolve!
Okay, not necessarily in the sense that “the other” means, but whatever the Milky Way wants, as he says. Because what matters is MY will! It's the last coherent thought I can muster before I lose myself in the 'other' as we merge into one. He is stronger than me, and above all, seems to have mastered this process. But if he thinks he's muzzling me, he's wrong: I won't let it happen and it's me who will control us in the long term. I'm going to learn, I just have to find a way. But I always get there...
Patrick Ryan Jr.
10 years ago. Austin–Texas
“ — If you cry, your mother will fire your tutor and we will be rid of her. She is too nosy and bullies us all the time under her rigid authority. Say she's mean. That way, we'll finally be at peace. »
“ — Go ahead, hide your mother's jewel in the maid's coat, it will be good for her. She has no right to refuse to serve us. »
“ — That's it, ransack the flower beds, that will annoy this stupid gardener: we can kill the earthworms if we want. »
For as long as I can remember since my "accident", I have heard this voice in my head that pushes me to do things that I know deep down are not right. But I realized that when I obeyed Him, things worked out the way I wanted them to, and then I could do whatever I wanted. So, I ended up following and applying his advice which turned out to be very wise. The first year, it hardly manifested itself but little by little, it became omnipresent and now accompanies me on a daily basis.
It's the only company I've ever needed, because it's the only constant in my life. I saw a bunch of nannies, tutors and domestic workers parade by. But in truth, I am alone. Isolated in this vast house which means that my quarters are in one wing while my parents share another. Besides, the only time I see them is at events with other adults. At that time, I have the right to their full attention during press photo sessions because I am the heir to a powerful political clan.
I don't know why, but I haven't felt any emotion since I almost died. Or, on the contrary, I experience too strong ones. Like anger. That I had to learn to hide from the eyes of the world in order to play my role within my family. It was the voice that helped me by advising me what to say or do in order to get what I wanted while remaining under the radar. She also explained to me that I would not be complete without her because my mind is a mixture of essences of which she has become the dominant one. Even if I don't understand everything, I believe her, because I know deep down that I am not normal, which would be unacceptable to my parents who take great pride in the perfect image that our family offers to the world. Company. It’s their “goodwill” to use their favorite expression when they talk about us among themselves, forgetting that I am present during their evening debriefing. They discuss the contacts and maneuvers they have undertaken with so-and-so in order to support my father's political ambitions. My mother helps her as best she can because they are "a team", the latter being ready to do anything to serve the family's projects. As a result, I do not exist as a person in their eyes. On the other hand, I am the heir who "will have to follow in his father's footsteps when the time comes to take up the torch", as family tradition dictates. So I had to learn to put on a good face at the right time, and the voice guided me well every time the need arose. Not only by giving me the strategies to follow to achieve my goals, but also by explaining to me everything I didn't understand about my parents' motivations towards me. This allowed me to be left quietly in my corner except during obligations aimed at fulfilling “family destiny”. The Ryan clan has accumulated their wealth since the gold rush by growing it over time into a real estate conglomerate. Our illustrious family has a governor or senator in each generation to establish a lineage worthy of French aristocrats.
Over the years, I have developed two real passions. The first turned out to be astronomy. I am irremediably drawn to the stars, particularly the Rosetta Nebula: even though I cannot see it in the night sky, the photographs I have been able to find fascinate me. In the photos that I have been able to observe, I see a rose that calls to me. As it is a leisurely pastime, my mother was more than happy to give in to my whims and offer me books and telescopes allowing me to observe the stars… as well as the people around me. The voice was right: it's crazy what I can discover when people don't know they're being observed. It's way better than any TV show, actually.
The second was anatomy. Ditto, my mother was more than happy to offer me all the most cutting-edge books at the start of my pre-adolescence: as long as I don't disturb her in her social activities and I don't make waves, I have the field free. In addition, it reassured my parents about the “genius heir” they had fathered. Reading such things before ten years is unusual and they brag about my great potential in front of their friends. However, I already know that my path is clear and that I will not be able to indulge my passions as fully as I would like. Also, I take advantage of it while I can.
But theory is one thing, and practice is another. I want – no, need – to understand the mechanics of a living being. And I will finally be able to devote myself fully to it because, for my eleventh birthday, I obtained the small laboratory that I coveted for my experiments.
“ — You see, you will be able to perform a vivisection. Trust me, it's the most intense feeling you'll ever feel ! »
I believe the voice that speaks to me and I already know where to find my first subject of study. This is where my telescopes came in very handy. Spying around, I could see that some neighbors had had a litter of puppies. It shouldn't be too complicated to steal one and study it in the secrecy of my soundproof lair to which no one but me has access. The contractors have just finished transforming the space that was reserved for my tutor, the latter having left last month due to my entry into boarding school at the end of the summer. The icing on the cake according to my mother, it's a good way to make me responsible by forcing me to maintain it myself. Above all, I see that I can do what I want there without anyone being able to find anything wrong with it. I now have to think about how to get rid of the remains of my experiment when I'm done with it, but I'm not really worried about that. Because the voice knows how to make soda to dissolve flesh and bones.
“ —When you have enough expertise, we can move to another level. But for this, you need to train and practice. A lot. So as not to get caught. I will pass on to you everything I know and you will have to appropriate my knowledge by practicing. But, believe me, it will definitely be worth it ! »
The voice promises me extraordinary sensations, like “only the power of life and death over another living being can provide” according to it. It's a shame that I won't be able to enjoy my gift continuously, but I'll have even more fun coming back during the school holidays. Planning is also part of the fun of the experience and I have a feeling I'm going to have fun...
 Intelligence Quotient.  Ann Rule was a crime reporter who volunteered at a suicide crisis center. There she met Ted Bundy and hung out with him for years before writing a reenactment of his case: A Killer So Close .
 Generic name given to unidentified female people in the USA.