was almost the end of shift and Catherine was glad to be done for the night. Having
just finished the paperwork on the last case, she flipped through one more time to make sure she hadn’t missed anything. The case had been frustrating as hell. There
was almost no physical evidence, and what they did find put them no closer to finding the perpetrator. With nothing to go on, the team had filed the case as “unsolved” and turned in their
reports. Catherine gathered hers together and headed toward Grissom’s office to turn it in.
When she got to the door, she
reached forward to turn the handle and open it, when suddenly Sara came storming out.
Catherine hurriedly moved out of the way so as not to be trampled as Sara marched out of the office and down the hall,
slamming the door to the break room behind her. Poking her head in the door of
Grissom’s office before stepping in, Catherine shook her head.
“What did you do to piss
her off this time?” she asked, adding the papers to the growing pile on his desk.
Grissom lifted his face out
of his hands long enough to glare at Catherine. “I’m not even sure!”
he sighed, frustrated to no end. “Every time I say anything to her, it
seems to end up in an argument!”
She smiled wryly. “Well, not every time.”
shot her an acid look. “Did you come in here just to harass me or was there
was taken aback at the venom in those words.
Griss,” she shot back. “That could be construed as slander, and you’ve
actually been in a court room, remember?”
tossed the report at his chest before turning on her heel and heading for the door.
She stopped in the doorway for one last shot.
know, if you weren’t such an ass towards her, she might actually stay, instead of constantly making threats to leave.”
head snapped up, realizing the full meaning of those words, willing her to explain, but she’d left. He got up and headed straight for Sara’s workstation, only to find it empty. He searched the locker room and the break room, but to no avail. The
only sign of recent occupation was the semi-fresh pot of coffee and some spilt sugar on the counter. He’d just missed her.
he convinced himself it was for the best. He didn’t have the emotional
strength to start another argument right now. Sara’s emotions, when she
let them show, were like a sledgehammer. If she swung hard enough, she could
put a dent in anything.
* * * * * * * *
her months of research, she immediately recognized the faces of Sara and Catherine as they marched out of the lab to their
cars. Under their evident irritation, they both looked tired.
smiled. “Get your rest, ladies. By
this time tomorrow, you’re going to need it.”
turned the key and started to pull away, hoping that they’d do better on the next case than the others had. They’d done well on the last one, but it looked like they’d be needing some help, and she was
more than willing to give it to them.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * *
* * * *
waited before entering the lab at the start of shift the next night. She’d
deliberately missed assignments. After last night’s spat with Grissom,
she’d decided that if he was going to continue to treat her like shit, she’d return the favor. She glanced at her watch. He’d be done by now. Hoping beyond hope that he’d paired her with Catherine, she headed inside. She was met in the hall by most of the crew coming out of the break room, assignments
ya this evening, Sar.” Nick came over for their customary sibling-like
Nicky. Running a little behind. I
slept late.” She smiled and took the punch on the shoulder in good humor,
knowing he didn’t believe her for a second. “Mom,” she cried
to Catherine, “he hit me!”
come come, now.” Catherine smiled at being pulled into their little game. “Don’t drag me into it. You’re
a big girl.” Drawing a laugh from Warrick, she continued. “But, just as a precaution, I’ll have to separate you.
Come on Sara, you’re with me. DB in Laughlin.”
are we handling Laughlin’s cases?” Sara asked after throwing a last
punch at Nick, who headed in the other direction with Warrick.
Laughlin is swamped and they begged for our help. Revel in it while you can. You know how much they hate having to ask for help.”
giggled as they approached the car, silently saying a “thank you” to no one in particular for a smooth start to
* * * * * * * *
at the scene, a townhouse not far into Laughlin city limits, Catherine stayed behind for a moment to grab her kit from the
back of the Tahoe. Sara grabbed hers from near her feet and went ahead into the
house. Brass was there to brief her.
over here,” he said, pointing to bedroom apparently used as a gym. “Be
prepared… it’s kind of gruesome,” he warned.
played it off. It wasn’t often she became nauseated on a case. But when she opened the door, it wasn’t the smell of blood that took her aback. It wasn’t the position of the body sprawled out across the floor on his stomach in a pool of his
own blood that had her suddenly rooted to the spot. It wasn’t even the
blood spatter in every which direction on every wall, including the ceiling, in mass quantities from the stripes in every
which direction on the victim’s back that rocked her into shocked silence. It
was the idea formulating in her mind of what would drive a person to whip someone so brutally and then stand there and watch
him bleed to death.
Catherine’s exclamation from behind her brought Sara back into reality.
not hard to lay this one out, is it, Cath?”
not hard to guess at what happened here, no.… But we can’t lay it out until we have evidence,” she answered,
“so, let’s get started.”
not to disturb any blood spatter on the floor, Catherine got out her camera and started taking photos of the scene. Assured that the coroner had done his job, Sara concentrated on the body.
After taking the photos, she rolled him over. There was no sign of any
other injuries, but she’d leave that to Doc. Robbins.
Sara,” Catherine came over to the body. “Anything other than his
doesn’t look like it. Help me roll him back over…. Look at the stripes! You handled the Lady Heather case, right? What kind of weapon would do that? It
looks like a whip, but that doesn’t explain the really deep wounds. They’re
almost like stab wounds.”
a cat-of-nine-tails whip. That also takes care of the parallel stripes,”
Catherine noted knowledgeably. “But let the paramedics take him to Doc. He’ll
be able to tell better than us. Meds!”
immediately, 4 paramedics came in with a gurney and lifted to body out of the room while Catherine and Sara started on the
* * * * * * * *
sat in his office, sorting through the last of the current paperwork. He knew
it shouldn’t have taken him this long, but thoughts of Sara and the anger that had flashed in her eyes before she’d
left his office the previous night kept creeping into his mind. He knew he’d
been an ass towards her, but he didn’t know how else to act around her. He
couldn’t seem to make her understand that work and relationships had to be kept separate. Sara and his career were the two most important things to him, but he had to give them both the attention
they deserved in their own time.
thoughts were interrupted when his cell phone started buzzing across his desk.
he answered methodically.
Cath. The scene you gave us is another dud.
No prints, no hairs, nothing. Just the vic whipped to death…”
in a pool of his own blood,” she continued, except now she was in his doorway.
Grissom looked up as he closed his cell phone.
called on the way from the autopsy room,” she explained. Making her way
to the desk, she tossed him a photograph of the scene. “This is the only
thing we could find that might give us any clues as to who did this.”
at the spatter on the walls, he saw what she meant. “That’s an odd
void,” he said, “not a body void. What is that?”
a message void,” Catherine said, sliding another photo onto the desk. “We
connected the dots for you.” She smiled as Grissom gave her a little smirk.
20 15,” he read aloud, more to himself than to her.
do you make of it?” she asked, unable to read his expression.
sure.” He made for his library-like bookshelf, but before he could even
get close enough to read the smaller titles, his office phone rang. Knowing the
receptionist wouldn’t put it through unless it was urgent, he answered.
any headway, Dr. Grissom?”
is this?” he asked cautiously.
may call me Miriam. I asked you haw the case was going.”
have information for us, Miriam?”
I can tell you that Sara and Catherine didn’t find much, except that klepto-scumbag lying an his own blood. But I presume you got my messages.”
tensed at the thought that this person knew his team and was momentarily frightened for them.
But realizing he had a golden opportunity in front of him, he knew he had to stay cool and collected.
we did…” He was treading carefully.
“I only thought it fair to warn you. I’ll call back in one
hour. You may ask questions, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll answer
them. Have your crew ready. I’ll
have another message. Oh, and Grissom, God Bless.” Click.
got up and looked at Catherine, standing by his bookcase looking confused but intrigued.
get the entire team in the conference room, ASAP. Bring pictures from this case
and every other unsolved case in the last two months. She’s calling back
in an hour. I want everyone here in fifteen minutes so we can prepare.” Leaving Catherine rooted to the spot, he sprinted down the hall to confirm a hunch.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
Looks of confusion darted across the table as Grissom walked into
the conference room, silencing any conversation. Sitting at the head of
the table, he set his load on the floor before addressing the group.
fifteen minutes ago, I received a call. The woman said she had information on
the case, but I think she has more than she’s willing to give.” Referring
to a notepad, he relayed the conversation to the group, getting a mixture of confusion and excitement in return.
said we could ask questions and I’m anxious to hear what yours are, but first I want to show you something.” He pulled out the same photos that Catherine had shown him earlier. "Look at the message there: Ex 20 15. Now look at these photos.”
the pictures were passed around the table, Sara looked up. “These are the
photos from the last homicide.”
now look at the enhanced version of the same shot,” Grissom prompted.
looked down and a moment later Grissom saw her eyes widen as she read, “Ex 20 14.”
Chapter 20, verse 14. ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’” Grissom
quoted the Bible. “Remember the vic…”
vic was having an affair!” Warrick sighed through clenched teeth. He slammed his fist on the table for emphasis, disappointed he hadn’t put two
and two together before now.
this one,” Nick said, holding up another enhanced photograph. “Ex
Chapter 20, verse 3. Who remembers something about our vic in this case?”
ensued for a moment, but even so, Grissom could hear the wheels turning in their minds as they fought to remember the almost
month old case. Suddenly, realization dawned on Sara.
was Hindu!” she exclaimed, looking at Grissom for praise, but getting none. He
addressed the group instead.
‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,’” he quoted. “Commandment
up,” Nick muttered, earning him a kick in the shin.
we’re dealing with a crusader,” Catherine murmured. “Killing
looked for similar cases in other cities. Apparently, Vegas is her third stop. She started in New York, and then moved on to Miami.
Ten kills in each city, one for each commandment, and sadly, number four is always a minor.” Grissom spread his research out before him.
four?” Nick asked.
‘Honor your mother and father.’” Catherine said mournfully. Everyone
knew she was thinking of Lindsey.
the current case is commandment…what?” Warrick asked, as much to change the subject as anything else.
seven. ‘Thou shalt not steal.’
Sara, did you notice anything familiar about the vic?” Grissom asked.
but I couldn’t place him,” she said, clearly frustrated.
isn’t this the suspect from that casino robbery last month in Laughlin?”
Warrick asked, recognition dawning.
“Yeah! He disappeared after questioning,” Nick noted, looking at the photos Sara had
shot earlier in the shift. “Apparently he didn’t get very far.”
established a pattern and it’s very well thought out. Lots of symbolism. She kills every twelve days, and only in ways mentioned in the Bible: whipping, burning,
and even stoning.” Grissom passed around information on Miriam from the
tons of symbolism here!” Catherine’s eyes darted up and down the
sheet. “She doesn’t kill in order of the commandments, though. She takes out the most grievous first: steal, cheat, lie, kill. Then she goes after the smaller ones, the ones virtually everyone is guilty of. She leaves the verses…”
Sin City is her third stop. Three is a huge number in Christianity,” Sara
noted. “Figures she’d save her biggest stop for number three…”
she let her voice trail off.
we’re allowed to ask questions, I want to know why,” Catherine said emphatically.
“Even in doing this, she’s not making the world a better place. She
has to realize this.”
want to know how she chooses her victims,” Nick chirped in. “And
why is she communicating with us? It’s almost like she’s helping
us catch her.”
right, hold on,” Grissom all but yelled as chatter increased. “First
of all, I can’t take all your questions at once. So write them down and
we’ll ask her later.” He paused to hear the scribbling of pen on
paper. “Second of all, Nick, I don’t think she’s communicating
so that we’ll catch her, so much as she’s trying to make a point. And
third, I’ll be taping this, but I want a copy for each person, Archie. I
know you’ll all be able to pick up on something different.”
that moment, the phone rang.
* * * * * * * * *