There was nothing exceptional about the night of July 8th, except for a forecast of seven to fourteen days of above one hundred temperatures. Of course, D.B. knew that heat waves often did brought out citizen’s tempers, which meant that sooner or later it was going to become very busy.
He thought for a moment about that as the elevator lifted him up to the lab. With a soft ding, the doors opened and he walked off. As he passed through the reception area, he gave a nod to the officer behind the front desk. The man returned it with friendly smile and quiet ‘hello.’
D.B. turned into the hall, passing the work board. He glanced at it, feeling content with the number of cases which had ‘solved’ written across them.
He turned into his office and sat his satchel on his desk as he walked around behind it. He was about to take off his jacket when Greg ran up to the door and stopped. D.B. could tell he needed him for something.
“Come back in five minutes.”
“Actually, I can’t… do… that…” Greg trailed off.
What has he done? “What’s do you need, Greg?”
Greg smiled apologetically, and continued. “I’ve been waiting for you. There’s a triple death in Summerlin and I’m the last C.S.I. here.”
“Where is everyone else?”
“Someone has been calling prank crime scenes in all day and day shift got swamped, so they had a bunch of calls left when Nick got in. He agreed we could take them, before we also got hit with a bunch of calls. So he delegated for you, doled out the calls among us, and the others are on those calls. He gave me some too, but the cops at this crime scene have been there all day and they are probably going to be really… Uncooperative?”
D.B. smiled at the real reason Greg wanted him to go. “So really you want me to go to deal with the fire-breathing police officers?”
“I’ll meet you out front.”
“Thanks.” Greg hurried off.
D.B. sighed. So the nightmare week had begun…
The house in the Summerlin suburb was a modest ranch-style. Three police cars were parked in front of the house, each with an officers leaning against the car. Greg stopped the C.S.I. SUV behind their cars and all three officers turned their heads to glare at the C.S.I.
“Well, this ought to be fun,” D.B. quietly said, careful not to let them see his lips move. “I’ll do the talking, you hang back.”
“Gladly,” Greg replied.
The two C.S.I. climbed out of the SUV.
“It is about God damned time!” one of the men, Officer Courtney, bellowed as the two climbed out. “Where in the hell have you two fucking been?!”
“It was a busy day shift that overflowed into the night shift,” D.B. calmly explained.
“We’ve been here since one this afternoon!” another growled at the two, “Hell, the ME has already been here and taken the bodies. What the hell!?”
“I am very sorry you fellas had to wait so long. This is not a normal day for us and there are days we’re just as strapped as you guys are. Please, accept our apologies.”
That seemed to cool the men’s temper a little.
“The house was cleared hours ago,” Officer Courtney told D.B., and then told the other two officers, “You two go on home. I’ll wait for them.”
“We can wait,” the third officer offered.
“Naw. No sense in all of us losing sleep tonight.”
With a cordial exchange of ‘good night,’ the other two left.
“Thank you for staying. We’ll be as quick as we can so you can get home too,” D.B told the officer.
He nodded but he didn’t look any happier. The two C.S.I. headed for the front door. Both retrieved their flashlights from their vests as they entered the dark house. The raunchy scent of decay hit them first.
“How long have were the bodies here?” D.B. asked.
“I’m sorry, D.B., I don’t know much about this one. Like you told those guys, this was from day. It was shoved in my hand as Nick left to cover two others and one that had just came in.”
“Nick…” D.B. shook his head. “Some people do too much work because their part insane and part workaholic.”
Greg chuckled. “Best description of Nick in less than 140 characters.”
The two began searching the house with just flashlights. They found where the bodies had been. The area had three markers left by the M.E. The rug had some blood stains, bits of flesh, and brain matter.
“There isn’t much blood,” Greg commented.
D.B. crouched down and shined his light closer. “And you don’t know how long the bodies were here?”
“No. Why? What do you see?”
“Not only is there not much blood, but these flecks are completely dry.”
“Not the primary.”
“No. Not the primary.” D.B. stood and they kept walking.
The two came into the kitchen and both heard footsteps somewhere in the house. They glanced at each other.
“Hello?” D.B. called out.
He waited but there was no answer.
At the back of the house they heard a toilet flush. D.B.’s lips tightened with anger. Greg looked at the ceiling.
“I am going to have his badge!” D.B. snarled as he stormed away.
Greg went back to processing the kitchen. He didn’t want to be anywhere near when D.B. handed the officer his head for using the toilet at a crime scene.
D.B. stormed down the hall toward
the sound of the toilet bowl refilling. It was coming from the dark master
bedroom. In passing he noticed the room had a sliding door that opened into the
backyard, and was standing open – likely how the officer had gotten to the
restroom unnoticed. A sliver of light shone from under the closed door,
reflecting on the polished wood floor of the bedroom.
D.B. stopped at the door and pounded on it with his fist. “Open this door!” he bellowed.
There was no reply.
“Hey! Get out here. We have to have a chat!” D.B. demanded.
Something cold pressed against the back of his neck, followed by a man telling him, “Very slowly put your gun on the floor.” And then he heard the hammer of a gun click.
D.B. realized in that second that whoever this was had used flushing the toilet to lure him into the room by himself.
“Do it now,” the man ordered.
D.B. slowly pulled the safety strap off, withdrew his gun from the holster, and sat it on the floor.
“Take off your vest and put it on the floor with your wallet. Make sure they can see your name when they come in here.”
“What do you want?” D.B. asked.
The cold end of the gun pressed harder into his neck.
“Do not speak.”
He obeyed the man’s order.
“Now, we’re going out the door, without one word, or any attempt to do anything I would be happy to shoot you for.”
D.B. did as he was told. They crossed the backyard to a six foot privacy fence. The two went through the open gate into the alley. A dark colored car with an open trunk waited for them.
“Get in the trunk.”
“Tell me what you want.”
“Did I tell you to speak?” The gun was pressed against his neck again. “Or should I just shoot you now?”
“I just…” D.B. stopped when the gun moved up to the base of his skull.
Slowly he climbed into the trunk and laid down. He looked up at the man, finding he wore a mask. The man shut the trunk lid, closing D.B. in dark.
He heard footsteps go around the car. The car door shut and the engine roared to life. The car lurched forward, forcing D.B. to brace himself. The man made a sharp right, again forcing him to brace himself, and then sped up.
‘Why did he kidnap me?’ repeated through D.B.’s mind.
Common for him, Greg was so focused on processing the area where the bodies were that he lost track of the hour that D.B. didn’t return. He remembered he had left when he heard footsteps come up behind him.
“That was the quietest lecture I’ve ever heard you give,” Greg joked.
“What?” an unfamiliar voice asked.
Greg turned, finding Officer Courtney, the alleged lectured officer, standing behind him.
“Why… Are you still here?” Greg asked.
“Because you two still are. How much longer is this going to take? I have a 6 A.M. shift and it’s already one.”
“One?” Greg looked at his watch. “It’s been an hour?”
“Yeah. So… How much longer?”
“D.B. went to the back to talk to you.”
“Who’s D.B.? And about what?”
Great. A new guy. Greg answered, “The other C.S.I. with me. He left to talk to you about using a bathroom at a crime scene.”
“Excuse me! Look, I realize you C.S.I. think we’re just stupid cops, but I know better than to use a restroom at a crime scene!”
Greg’s stomach dropped. If the officer hadn’t been in the bathroom, who had been? And where was D.B.? That unanswered questions left him with an unsettled feeling something very bad had happened to his supervisor.
Greg started to the back of the house, calling, “D.B.” with each step.
“What’s wrong?” the officer asked.
“Find D.B.!” Greg ordered and then continued calling for his supervisor.
The officer went the other direction to search for D.B. Greg’s search brought him to the master bedroom. The light shining under the bathroom door revealed the outline of objects on the floor. Greg walked up and shined his light on D.B.’s Gloc, wallet, vest, and cellphone.
Greg spun around and ran to find the officer.
D.B. kept track of the ride in his mind, counted turns, and listened for any unique sounds. If he was able to get away, he was also determined to find the kidnapper and throw him in jail for a long, long time.
He heard an echo of the car engine as it entered a cavernous enclosed area. He heard the tires crunch across glass or plastic. The car stopped and the engine cut off. He heard the man walk around to the trunk and with a soft beep, the lid popped opened a couple inches.
“Get out,” his kidnapper ordered.
Several turns earlier D.B. discovered there was nothing in the trunk he could use to attack the kidnapper or help him get the upper hand in some way. All he could do was obey for now until he saw an opening of some kind, so he climbed out of the trunk. The only light in the open building they were in came from the car headlights. Through a wide open door D.B. could see the starlit night sky that stretched out for miles. That told him that they were nowhere near Las Vegas.
“Walk.” The man motioned the direction to walk.
“What is this about?” D.B. asked.
The gun moved up to D.B.’s face and the man tilted his head. “Please, give me a reason to just kill you. Any reason. I really want you dead.”
D.B. turned around and walked. The headlights lit a corner of the building and a ladder. The man motioned D.B. up the ladder. The climb led them to a rickety catwalk. They crossed the building to a permanent ladder that led to a mezzanine. At the top of the ladder the man stopped him and switched on an electric lantern.
There was cot waiting on the other side of the mezzanine, with restraints bolted to the cot’s metal frame. Between them there were holes in the floor. A few of the holes still had equipment extending down through them but had been disassembled to prevent the machinery from ever working again. The man pushed him forward, toward the cot. D.B. glanced up, noticing that most of the skylights had been broken out.
“Sit on the cot and put the leg restraints on.”
D.B. hesitated. Why had he been brought up here, to the top of a warehouse? This didn’t make any sense. Most kidnappers hid their victims where they couldn’t be seen or heard.
“Maybe we could talk about—”
“Did I say talk?” the man snapped, pressing the gun against D.B.’s head. “We can do this my way, or your way – but your way ends up with you dead right here and now. Mine might give you a chance to live through this, although I wouldn’t get my hopes up, Grissom.”
Grissom? This man thought he was Gil Grissom? D.B. was torn between revealing he wasn’t Grissom and keeping quiet – which was more likely to save his life?
He decided to make sure he’d heard the man correctly before settling on a choice. He almost turned to ask the man, “What did you say?”
“Sit down on the bed and put those restraints around your ankles now, old man.” The man shoved him, making D.B. stumble toward the cot.
D.B. slowly sat down and put the leg restraints around his ankles.
“Tighter. You know that’s not tight enough. I don’t see those socks bunch, it’s not tight enough.”
He tightened the ankle straps.
“Lay back and put that left restraint around your wrist.”
The kidnapper put the safety on the gun and slid it into his pants waistband. He walked up to the cot and fastened the right restraint around D.B’s wrist, tightened the left, and fastened a restraint across D.B.’s chest. He double checked each restraint to make sure they were secure.
“Do you think I’m Grissom?” D.B. quietly asked.
The kidnapper stood and pulled off his mask. He was a young, and probably handsome, man in his late twenties. But at the moment he looked like a mangy homeless young man. He had a full, unkempt, messy beard and matted, greasy, dark hair. He looked sickly and like he hadn’t slept much for some time.
“Shut up, asshole,” he growled at D.B., and then walked over to a corner.
Now D.B. noticed an I.V. pole with an intravenous regulator pump on it. The man hung four I.V. bags on the pole and worked the tubes through the regulator.
“You called me Grissom. Do you think I’m Gil Grissom?” D.B pressed
The man did think he was Grissom. D.B had seen pictures of Grissom and they looked nothing alike, so how could this man mistake him for Grissom? And his vest and I.D. badge clipped to it clearly read ‘Russell’ – hadn’t the man seen that?
“Look, son, I’m not Grissom. My name is D.B. Russell. I don’t know you. I don’t know what this is about.”
“You’d say anything to save your ass, wouldn’t you?”
“I am not Gil Grissom. He-He quit almost four years ago. I am not him.”
“And I’m the queen of England.”
“I am not Gil Grissom!”
The man rolled the pole over to the cot. He sat an overturned crate next to the bed and picked up a bag from under the cot. He sat it on D.B. and pulled out supplies to start an I.V. line.
“What are you doing to me?”
The man didn’t answer. D.B. reactively tried to pull away when the man grabbed his arm and tightened a tourniquet around his arm. He grimaced as the man searched his hand for a vein.
“Why do you want Grissom dead?”
“Do you always refer to yourself in third person?”
“I am not Gil Grissom.”
Finding a vein he quickly and expertly inserted the needle and secured it to D.B.’s hand.
“You’ve done this a few times, haven’t you?”
“I was going to be a doctor until you destroyed all that.”
“I am not Gil Grissom,” D.B. stressed.
The man didn’t stop his preparations. He connected a line from the regulator to the end of the I.V. cap, opened the regulator, and punched in settings. He snapped the door close and secured it. The man looked down at D.B.
“Did you know that certain painkillers and sedatives speed up dehydration if fluids aren't replaced?" The question was a taunt, letting D.B. know what he had planned for him. "When the pump battery goes dead, you'll wake up, and get to feel what my mother did. I find it strange that there are people who believe dying of dehydration is peaceful and painless – it isn’t.
“I don’t know why you’re doing this.”
“You know why. It was all over the news. You convinced my family that you were the best there was, that they shouldn’t pay the ransom because you would find her, and bring her home. You lied and now you get to pay for that lie.” The man headed for the ladder back down to the catwalk. “Feel free to scream when you wake up; there isn’t anyone around for at least twenty miles. Oh, and please struggle. That will speed things up.” He turned to start down the ladder and offered D.B. a sadistic smile. “We’re supposed to have high temperatures in the hundreds for seven days straight. The same weather that my mother had to suffer through when your mistake left her to die of dehydration!” He started down the ladder.
D.B. lifted his head to continue arguing about his identity. The room and departing man spun. He tried to keep his eyes open, but that was a fight he knew was lost. He let his head fall back. A roaring white noise deafened him and then a warm sensation ran through his body as his heart pumped a sedative through.
“I’m not…” D.B. muttered, “Gil Grissom.”
Then he was asleep.