November 6, 2008: 2:15 PM
Greg and Catherine walked side by side. Catherine had her sidearm and badge clipped to her jeans. She held her cell phone and kept checking for a signal. Greg carried a stuffed backpack on his back. Both are hot, tired, and starting to get second-degree sunburns.
“Any signal yet?” Greg muttered.
“No,” Catherine answered.
Greg watched mirages of water come and go ahead of them.
“Greg?” Catherine said.
He didn’t respond.
Her voice sounded more distant the second time. “Greg, look at me. Greg?”
Greg turned his head. A giant vulture hopped along next to him, watching him with cold beady eyes. The desert beyond deformed into odd Technicolor angles. He was convinced that at any moment Beetlejuice was going to ride out of the sand on a giant worm.
“Is your name Frank?” Greg asked the vulture.
It didn’t answer.
He heard Catherine’s voice in the distance. “No, Greg, it’s Catherine. Open your eyes. Look at me. Greg, look at me.”
Blackness settled over the strange images.
Greg jerked awake. Overhead dusk
sent soft pastel colors shooting across the sky. He slowly blinked and tried to
wet his lips. Catherine appeared, kneeling next to him.
“You back with me?” she asked.
“What happened? I remember we were walking and then… I got nothing.”
“You passed out.”
“For how long?”
“A couple hours. How are you feeling?”
“Hungry, thirsty, would do anything for a cold shower. How about you?”
She smiled. “The same. Do you think you can walk some more? Until it gets dark?”
Greg nodded. She grabbed his wrist and helped him to his feet. The two started walking again.
May 21, 2011: Morgue
Finlay entered the morgue, finding Catherine and Doctor Robbins talking over Capri Martinez’s body. Their conversation dropped the minute she walked in, which made her suspicious of the two. She said nothing as she stopped next to Catherine and visually examined Capri’s body. She has many hickies in places she would have only let a lover go.
“What have you found, Doc?” Finlay asked him.
“There are a dozen stab wounds across her body. While she would have died from them in a few hours, they weren’t what killed her. Nor did the tubing around her neck. It wasn’t tight enough to strangle her, but render her unconscious instead. Someone knew exactly how tight it had to be to do that.”
“So what killed her?”
“I noticed she had a needle mark in her arm, the only one on her body. I sent blood to Henry and he came back with the tox results. She had a lethal injection of insulin.”
Finlay asks, “Was she diabetic?”
“Not according to her medical records.”
“How did you get those so fast?”
Robbins avoided the question.
“Whoever attacked this young woman was very, very angry.”
“Was there any sexual trauma?”
“She did have sex before she died, but no signs of trauma.”
“She has a lot of hickies. Someone liked her.”
Finlay noticed Robbins glance at Catherine. The older C.S.I. said nothing.
With a soft sigh, Robbins replied, “Yes. Someone did. Unfortunately, I had to send saliva and sperm swabs to Henry also.”
“Unfortunately?” Finally questioned.
Catherine asked him, “Did Bobby give you the ballistics report yet? It wasn’t a .44 was it?”
Finlay was now convinced there was something Catherine and Robbins weren’t telling her, and she wasn’t okay with that. “Why would you ask that, Catherine?”
“I don’t have the ballistics report back,” Robbins answered Catherine. “I don’t know—”
Finlay cut Robbins off. “Doc, you practically apologized for sending DNA for analysis, and Catherine, it sounds to me like you have someone in mind for who did this since you’re asking about the bullet caliber. What is going on here? What aren’t you two telling me?”
“In order for you to remain unbiased, Julie, we can’t answer that,” Catherine told her.
Suddenly Finlay understood what was happening. “You two want to clear someone of this murder.”
Their silence was a very loud yes.
Finlay sighed, but she also understood. “Who?”
“You have to remain unbiased, Julie, for this person’s sake.”
“So it’s someone I know?”
Catherine didn’t answer, but that also confirmed the question.
“Should I tell you to leave, Catherine?”
“I guess I should.”
Finlay waited for her to go and then turned her attention back to Robbins. “Was there more, Doc?”
November 6, 2008: 7:38 PM
Greg and Catherine walked in silence. Their sunburns had turned into second and third degree burns. Tired, hot, and suffering dehydration neither could walk in a straight line. Greg looked up and saw a farm ahead.
“Is that really a farmhouse or a mirage?” Greg asked.
The two were silent again.
“I’m sorry about threatening to shoot you.”
“I guess a day later is better than nothing.”
Greg stumbled and she caught his arm. He winced from the pain her touch caused.
“I am so hungry,” Greg complained.
“You mean your energy bar and apple juice aren’t cutting it?”
“Not really, no.”
“Nick is doing the exact same thing. So what is the bet about?”
She would have seen him blush if he weren’t already red. “What bet?”
“Come on. What’s it about?”
“That looks like a house. Is that the last place we passed?”
Greg heaved a sigh, but relented. “Nick and I know this girl. She said she’d sleep with whichever of us could get into this tangerine Speedo by New Year’s Eve.”
“Let me get this straight. You two boys are dieting so you can—”
Greg could now see that the farm wasn’t a mirage. “That is a house! I hope they have ice cubes. Lots of them.”
“I’d settle for some cold water and a phone.”
As the sun began to fade in the west, they had walked close enough to see their hopes had been for nothing. Dead, half-burned trees surrounded the burnt out shell of a house. They could see tops of a burned vehicles and farm equipment. The weeds had dried into shriveled husks, but still stood as tall as Greg. Behind the house was a barn, half of it burned and the other half standing at a slight angle.
“Is our luck really this bad?” Greg asked.
“It appears that way.”
“Should we sleep here for the night?”
“Yeah. Sure. Let’s try the barn.”
They wade through the weeds to the barn. At the back of the building broken bales of hay and straw have been shoved into a loose pile. The two walked to the pile and collapse into it. Both winced some when the hay poked their burnt skin, but they were too exhausted to move.
Catherine had almost drifted to sleep when Greg drowsily asked her, “When this place was on fire, do you think Capri gave the firefighters directions?”
Catherine started laughing. The more she thought about the question, the harder she laughed. Greg smiled, but he was too tired to laugh. He faded to sleep before her laughter died off into sleep.
May 21, 2011: C.S.I. Latency Lab
Sara compared fingerprints from the tubing. She glanced at Hodges sidling up to her.
He placed lab results on the table next to her, telling her, “You’ve got male.”
“I have mail?”
“No, you’ve got… You know what? Never mind. The hair is from an unidentified male. Does that work better for you?”
“Yes. Anything fascinating about him?”
“He’s brunette, dyed his hair black about six months ago, and doesn’t appear to be ingesting any heavy metals or toxins. There was no tag to run DNA.”
Those are disappointing results. “Thanks, Hodges.”
She turned back to her computer just as Henry ran past. The two watched him round a corner.
“Must be a fire,” Hodges said.
“Maybe you should go check that.”
Hodges didn’t catch her sarcasm. “Yeah.”
He left the room as the computer returned results. ‘No Match’ flashed on the screen; another dead end. Sara picked up another fingerprint – one she had found all over the apartment but was not Capri’s, and scanned it in. She hit search and turned her head to make a note on the notepad next to the computer. It beeped, showed MATCH, and retrieved Greg’s personnel file. Sara cleared the search and ran it again. It found the same match. She pulled another print from the stack she’d intended to run – from a different finger, scanned it in and started a search. Before she could even exhale, MATCH shows, and Greg’s personnel file pulled up.
“No…” Sara closed her eyes. Even as she wished this wasn’t happening, she was also trying to figure out how. How had Greg’s fingerprints ended up all over Capri’s apartment?