One Man's Worth
The next morning…
Martha was sitting at the bar inside her kitchen waiting patiently for her granddaughter, Alexis, to come down from getting changed after playing a round of laser tag with her famous father, the great Rick Castle. Martha decided that she wanted to take Alexis out to the mall so that she could pick out a new dress for the prom which was coming up in a few weeks. Alexis had gotten invited by the newest kid in school, who was really sweet and cute. He was also very popular with pretty much everyone, including the head cheerleader and football captain. This allowed Alexis to grow popular too and she loved it.
Rick suddenly walked into the kitchen, still dressed in his laser tag gear. He aimed the gun toward her and pretended that his mother was an unwanted guest in his home, which didn't always seem far from the truth.
Rick spoke up first asking, "Mother, what are you doing here? I thought that you were planning to take Alexis dress shopping on Saturday. Don't you have a date with someone?"
"First of all dear, today is Saturday, which might explain why Alexis wasn't in school today," she explained. "Second, I do not have any dates lined up for right now. I am too busy studying my lines for the show. I don't need the distraction. What are you up to today besides trying to annoy me? Are you going to go visit Kate?"
Just as he was about to explain that there were no new cases, his phone rang, and seeing that it was Beckett, he looked at his mother with a surprised look on his face.
He answered the phone saying, "Castle speaking. Tell me we have a new case. I could so use one right now."
On the other end of the line, Beckett responded, "Meet us at 121 Eastwood Street. Castle, a detective has been murdered. We're really going to need your help with this case. A lot of people are going to want answers."
"I will be there right away," he said as he hung up with her. "Mom, I have to go. This is going to be a big case. Help Alexis find the right dress, but don't let it be too revealing. I don't want to give her new boyfriend any ideas."
Martha answered, "Richard, please. I know exactly what kind of dress to look for. She will be the belle of the ball."
"Goodbye, Mother," he said and he shouted up a quick goodbye to his daughter, then left.
About twenty minutes later, Castle had arrived at the address Beckett had given him and he began to walk down the pathway toward the house. He noticed that the house was pretty big and didn't see how a cop could afford this place on a cop's salary. As he entered the entry way and walked into the living room, he saw the body of Detective Murray, a man whom he saw almost everyday at the station, lying on the couch. He saw that he had three bullet wounds, one in his leg, one in his stomach, and one in his head, the last one obviously being the kill shot.
As he was taking a closer look, Detectives Ryan and Esposito walked up behind him and began filling him in on the case. He looked at them and then over at Beckett, who was talking with Lanie.
Esposito began first saying, "It takes a lot of guts for someone to kill a cop, but it looks like whoever did this wanted the man to suffer. No one cared much for Murray, but he definitely didn't deserve to die. Beckett has to go visit his parents after we are done here."
"I used to work with Murray while we were both in Narcotics, but I didn't really know him," Ryan said. "He thought that he was better than all of us and he was arrogant. No one liked him, but he was good at his job. We worked some pretty tough cases together. Esposito's right. He didn't deserve to be killed like this."
At this point, Beckett had joined them and said, "No, he didn't. I want to know more about his cases and Ryan, since you know him a bit better, I want you to run a background check on him. There are a number of reasons why someone may have wanted him dead. I want to know why. It may be how we find out who the killer is. Esposito, Castle and I are going to talk to his parents and I want you to talk to his partner. He hasn't arrived yet, which doesn't seem right. It shouldn't matter if the man is arrogant or not. You don't ignore your partner."
Just as Beckett was giving these orders, Castle noticed a message on the wall, written with what looked like blood. It said, "One to go. I have saved the best for last."
"That isn't creepy at all," Castle said.
Ryan responded, "No kidding. It is kind of a strange message to write, but it looks like whoever the killer is, is planning on killing again."
"According to Lanie, the blood is most likely Murray's. She said that she noticed some tares in the skin where he was shot in the stomach that looks like they could be from a hand reaching inside to get blood on his hands. We need to find whoever did this before he kills whoever he plans on killing next."
Both Ryan and Esposito headed off to do what they were asked and Beckett turned to talk to Castle.
She said, "So, Alexis told me that she was worried that you are going to try to scare her new boyfriend away. I take it that you don't approve of the guy."
"Everybody thinks that he is so cool," he said. "Even the nerds in the school seem to like him. He seems perfect, maybe a little too perfect. Does that seem weird to you?"
"I think that you are just overreacting like you always do when Alexis finds a new boyfriend," she answered. "I think that he sounds sweet and ...."
"You don't even know the kid," he cut in. "Alexis is only seventeen and he is eighteen. I don't know anything else. He could be a serial killer for all I know. Do you think that you could run a background check on him? His name is Sky Carson and he is a senior..."
Beckett cuts in, "Castle, get a grip. You know darn well that your daughter can take care of herself and besides, I highly doubt he will turn out to be a serial killer. I think she's safe and no, I will not run a background check on him. Now, we are going to go talk to Frank Murray's parents and I need you to be focused. Telling anyone's loved ones is always hard, but having to tell the loved ones of a cop is much worse. Lanie said that he died very slowly and in a lot of pain. I just want to lie and tell them that he died quickly."
"You will know exactly what to say when the time comes," Castle said comfortingly. "You always do."
What no one at the crime scene was aware of was that there was a hidden figure near the crime scene, taking pictures of Detective Ryan. At the moment he was talking on the phone outside the house. Then, he got into the passenger side of the car after Esposito got into the driver's seat and they drove off. She looked through the pictures she had taken while she was there and then put the camera back into the bag she had taken it out from.
As she got up to leave she whispered to herself, "It's almost time to make you pay for killing Mike. No one does what you did and gets away with it."