CSI: Obsession

Bible Thumper (Cont.)

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Chapter 4
* * *  * * *  * * *

“Dr. Grissom, I presume?”

“Hello, Miriam.”  Grissom glanced at Archie to make sure the tapes were rolling.  Archie gave a thumbs up.

“Is the whole team there?”

“Yes, Miriam, everyone is here.”

“Even the lab rat?” 

Greg blushed at the reference commonly used to describe him.

“Even Greg,” Grissom answered, being cautious.  He didn’t want her to think he was rushing her.

“Actually, I was referring to Hodges, but it’s good that Greg’s there, too.  More fieldwork will be good for him.  He won’t be working much in DNA.  Wouldn’t want him to get bored.”

Surprised and worried looks were passed at the thought that she knew them by name and occupation, even personality.  Grissom held up a hand and sent a look that said to stay calm and listen.

“If you’re ready to ask questions, I’m ready to talk,” Miriam prompted.

“I presume the name ‘Miriam’ was hand chosen for your, uh…”

“Mission?” she finished for him.  “Yes, it held a special significance to me.”

“I must say, choosing the name of the sister of Moses was clever,” Grissom said, spelling it out for the crew.

“I didn’t choose it.  It was given to me by God to emphasize the importance and divinity of the mission,” she said coldly.  “But, good work.  You’ve caught on quicker than the others.”

At this, Warrick passed a notepad towards Catherine and Nick with the words “Joan of Arc complex” scribbled on it.

“Why the Ten Commandments?” Grissom asked.  “Why not the Seven Deadly Sins?”

“I do not question the wisdom of God.  I am simply his servant,” Miriam answered in good humor.  “But I think it’s fitting.  The Ten Commandments are the very law of God. These blasphemous heathens have flouted that law.  The punishment is just and deserving.”

Catherine held up a notepad with the word “forgiving” on it.  Grissom took the hint.

“But isn’t yours a forgiving God?” he asked.  “Why go to such an extreme?”

“Because they have turned their back on their Creator!” she exclaimed.  “They’ve had plenty of chances to change their ways.  ‘The wages of sin is death.’  God’s word, not mine.”

Seeing that she was becoming aggravated, Grissom retreated.  “Okay, so how do you choose your victims?”

“I wouldn’t call them ‘victims’ so much as ‘the condemned.’  They choose to become unclean by committing the sin, and they choose to remain that way by not cleansing themselves.  They can’t claim lack of knowledge because there’s an entire book on laws and atoning for sin.”

“Leviticus,” Grissom cut in.

“My, you are well read!  I’m an instrument of God, being used to carry out justice.  To answer your question, however, it is simple research and observation.  Kevin Sampson was easy.  He was already a suspect in the casino robbery.  From his recent spending habits-all in cash- it was obvious he had the money.  I only had to find him, which compared to New York and Miami, was easy enough.”

“Did you communicate with authorities in other cities?”

“I did, but they didn’t catch on.  They didn’t pay enough attention to detail, so they weren’t able to understand.”

It was funny… Grissom got the impression that Miriam was slightly disappointed.  But before he could ask anything else, she took back control. 

“I think that’s enough for now.”

“What about your message?” Grissom interrupted.

The line was silent for a moment.

“Don’t rush me, Dr. Grissom.  This is a dangerous game.  I’d hate for you to lose too badly...  My message is this: Jer 35 17.  Good luck, and God Bless.”  Click.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

Chapter 5

* * *  * * *  * * *

Immediately, the silence was broken as the room erupted in conversation about what they’d just heard.  Archie stopped the tapes and ran to make copies while Grissom pulled a Bible from the stack of books on the floor.  Sara glanced his way to see him lost in thought.

“Hey, Griss!” she called over the noise.  “What’s up?  You’ve got that look.”

The others stopped their chatter to hear his response.  They all knew “the look.”

“Did you get that message?” Nick probed. “ ‘Cause it was lost on me.”

“Jeremiah, Chapter 35, verse 17,” Grissom said without looking up.  “ ‘Therefore, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’”

“I’m still lost,” Nick shrugged, looking to Warrick for confirmation, who shrugged in return.

“Think!”  Grissom leaned forward.  “The tribe of Judah… that’s us.  Jerusalem… that’s Vegas.  She’s playing God with us right now.  She’s saying we’re not listening to her.”

“Is she insane?!  We just played 20 Questions with her!”  Sara exclaimed in frustration.

“That’s jus it, Sara.  We determined the direction of that entire conversation.  We wanted the answers to our questions, and we never gave her the chance to truly make her point.  You’ve got to start thinking, Sara!  You’ve got to dig deeper!”

Silence ensued as the team watched for Sara’s reaction.  To no one’s surprise, Sara got up from her seat across from Grissom, leaving all her papers on the table, and left the room, her eyes filling with tears.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

“Grissom, you ass!” Catherine near screamed, when everyone had returned to their workstations and Nick had run after Sara. 

After Sara had left, an awkward silence had filled the room before Catherine had them all get to work on the analysis of the recording.  Now she was in Grissom’s office, pacing the floor, and giving him a piece of her mind.

“Catherine, please,” Grissom pleaded.

“Please what?  Look, I don’t care if you’re my boss.  I don’t care if you fire me, but you had no right to call Sara out like that!  You embarrassed her in front of the ENTIRE lab!  You’ve got to stop punishing her professionally for personal issues!”

“Whoa!  Okay, hold it.  That’s not  what’s going on here,” he cried in his defense.

“Don’t tell me that, Grissom.  Do you know where she is right now?  She’s in the locker room with Nicky, crying her eyes out because she thinks you hate her.”

“I don’t hate her!  It’s just the opposite, Catherine, and you know it!”  Grissom challenged.

“But she doesn’t, and she’s gotta hear it from you.”  Leaving Grissom to his thoughts, Catherine left his office and headed to her own workstation to listen to the tape.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

When Catherine got there, she barely had time to sit down, let alone push the play button when Nick rushed in.

“Cath,” he panted. “Sara’s… gone.”

“Gone?!”  Catherine sat straight up in alarm.  “Gone where?”

“She went…to the home…of the…last vic,” he managed.  “To talk…to the wife.  I couldn’t stop her.”

As soon as the words were said, both CSIs jumped as they heard sudden footsteps run in the opposite direction down the hall.  Grissom had evidently overheard the conversation because now he was headed to the parking lot to chase after Sara.

Catherine slouched and laid her head in her hands, rubbing her temples.

“Great,” she moaned.  “Sara’s gone to the sadistic wife’s house and Grissom is running after her.  Just great.”  She leaned over her desk and grabbed her radio, requesting backup to arrive at the house.

The last victim was a man by the name of Victor Simmons.  He’d also been found whipped to death in his home in suburban Vegas, near Henderson, and it was now assumed that Miriam had killed him for adultery.  The wife had become infuriated when the team told her they’d found nothing and filed the case as unsolved, screaming at them to get the hell out of her house.

Now, it was all Catherine could do not to rush over there and make things worse.  She was almost desperate enough to pray that nothing went wrong.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

Chapter 6

* * *  * * *  * * *

It took every ounce of concentration Grissom had to keep his eyes on the road and not envision terrible things happening to Sara.  If anything happened to her, he’d never forgive himself.  At one point, he even made promises to no one in particular that if she was okay, he’d never hurt her again, that he’d love her with every bit on the attention she deserved and more.

Arriving at the house, he pulled up behind Sara’s Tahoe and got out, heading for the door, his weapon drawn.  The door was cracked.  Using his foot he nudged it open and crept in, listening.  He heard the soft click of the safety being flicked off of a pistol to his left, then Sara’s voice saying, “Mrs. Simmons, you don’t want to do this.  Think about Victor. Would he want you to do this?”

Heading in the direction of Sara’s voice, Grissom tried not to make any noise.  He heard Mrs. Simmons yell back at Sara, “Why should I give a damn what Victor thought?  He obviously didn’t love me enough to keep his pants zipped!  And now he’s dead for it!”

Grissom turned the corner, coming into the room right behind Mrs. Simmons.  He could see Sara across the room, her weapon drawn as well, pleading with Mrs. Simmons to put her gun down.

“Mrs. Simmons,” Grissom said, causing the woman to spin around in his direction.  “We’re only here to help you.  We just want to ask some questions.”

She swung back to Sara, who nodded her agreement.  Grissom took a step toward the woman.

“Come any closer and I’ll shoot her!” she threatened. 

Sara looked at Grissom with eyes that said not to move.  Realizing she was going to try another tactic, Grissom nodded and stayed where he was.

“Mrs. Simmons,” Sara began walking slowly towards her, but the woman panicked at the sudden movement and the growing sound of sirens in the background.  She fired the gun.

The force from the bullet in Sara’s chest caused her gun to go off as well, hitting Mrs. Simmons in the head as Sara’s arm went up, blood spattering Grissom’s glasses and shirt.  Putting his weapon away, he ran to Sara and kneeled beside her, bringing her head to his chest and rocking her.

“It’s all right, Sara.  Backup is here and paramedics are coming.  I’m not going anywhere,” he said, holding her hand.

He heard the police come in and announce themselves at the door.  Calling out to them, he told them to call for an ambulance.  Putting their weapons away, one officer called for medics on his radio while another came over to assess the situation. 

By the time Grissom finished telling them what happened from start to finish, the meds arrived and brought two gurneys, thrusting Grissom aside to lift Sara and push her to the ambulance.

“I’m going with her!” he cried, climbing in beside her before the doors closed.  Grabbing her hand as he sat next to her, he got out his phone and dialed Catherine’s number.

“Willows,” she answered.

“Cath,” he said, not even trying to hide the emotion he felt right now, “tell everyone to get to the hospital, now.  Sara’s been shot.”

* * *  * * *  * * *

Chapter 7

* * *  * * *  * * *

Nick was the first one to rush into the waiting area. 

“Where is she?” he demanded of Grissom.

“She’s in surgery.”  Grissom stood up as Catherine, Warrick and Greg hurried in about ten steps behind Nick.  “When I got to the house, Mrs. Simmons had already pulled the gun.  Sara had her weapon drawn as well, in self-defense.  We tried to calm her down but the woman was in hysterics and when Sara tired to walk towards her, she panicked and pulled the trigger.” 

“Why didn’t you do anything?!”  Nick cried, running at him and pounding at Grissom’s chest with this fists.  Catherine pulled him back and sat him down as he started to sob.  After a moment he looked up.  “I’m sorry, man,” he eked out.  “It’s just… She’s my best…friend…you know?  I…”

“It’s okay, Nick.  I know,” Grissom sighed.  “There was nothing I could of done, short of taking the bullet for her.”

‘And I would have done that if I could,’ he added silently.

* * *  * * *  * * *

Two hours later, the doctor came into the waiting area and walked toward the team.

“How is she?” Nick asked.

“She’ll be fine.  Sara is out of surgery and is resting right now.  The wound was deep.  She was lucky it only punctured a lung.  A centimeter to the right and she’d be dead.”

The team breathed a sigh of relief.

Nick asked, “Can we see her?”

“She’ll be asleep, but I see no reason why not.  One at a time, though.”

The group all looked at Nick, but it was Grissom who painfully said, “Go ahead, Nick.  You need it more than we do.”

Nick smiled his thanks and followed the doctor.

* * *  * * *  * * *
”Are you okay, Griss?” Catherine asked.  “I would have asked earlier, but…”

“I know, Cath.  But to answer your question, I’m really not sure.”  Grissom leaned back in his seat, rubbing his temples.  Catherine sat beside him. 

“Well, talk to me.”

“I had no idea what to expect when I went into that house.  Sara was pissed at me-again-and I wasn’t expecting to be the knight in shining armor, just to be there.  I wish I knew how to act around her.”

“Griss, you don’t have to be the white knight.  Just be nice to her for a change!  You have to-” She jumped as her cell phone went off.  “Hold on, Grissom.  Willows,” she answered.

“The woman died, Catherine.  I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t have to look anymore.  My job just got a whole lot easier.  Ex 20 6.  See you in ten days.  God Bless.”  Click.

Horror crossed Catherine’s face.


Slowly, she closed her phone and turned to Grissom. 

“Which commandment is Exodus Chapter 20 verse 6?”

“ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’  Why?”

Catherine’s head and shoulders dropped.

“Cath, what’s wrong?  Who was on the phone?” Grissom asked, more urgent now.

“It was her.  She’s here somewhere… Mrs. Simmons died, Griss.”

It suddenly dawned on him what that meant.

“Take everyone back to the lab.  Find out everything you can about the way this woman works.  I’ll stay here with Sara; she can’t be left alone...  I don’t want to have a face off with this woman, but if it comes down to that, we need to be ready.”  Getting up from his seat, he walked as quickly as possible, without any outward signs of panic, to Sara’s room.

“Nick,” he called, poking his head in.  “Catherine needs you.  Miriam called again and we need to close this before anyone else gets hurt.”  He deliberately said nothing about the message.

Nick nodded and headed out, but stopped once he reached the doorway, looking back at Sara.  She was sleeping, facing the door.

“I know, Nick.  I’m glad she’s okay, but I’m worried too.”

“That’s not why I’m worried about.”  Nick turned to look Grissom in the eye.  “Don’t hurt her again, Griss.  I saw her in the locker room and she was torn apart.  I love her like a sister… Take care of her, or I’ll have your ass.”

Grissom nodded.  “I will, Nick.  Now hurry, or Catherine will have yours.”

Nick turned and left, while Grissom went in to see Sara.  She’d rolled over toward the window.  Grissom sat in a chair and took her hand, stroking it with his thumb.

“I’m sorry, Sara.  I never meant to drive you to this, to hurt you that much.  You have to know that.  I never meant to hurt you at all.”

Grissom spoke softly so as not to wake her, but when he squeezed her hand, he could have sworn he felt her squeeze back.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

Chapter 8

* * *  * * *  * * *

“Okay people, listen up!” Catherine shouted over the din.  “We have a criminal to catch… forensically, of course.”

The team was assembled in the conference room and Catherine had taken Grissom’s usual spot at the head of the table. 

“Heard you got an update, Cath,” Nick said.

“I got a call from Miriam.  She’s keeping to her schedule, so we’ve got ten days to make sure she doesn’t hurt anyone else.  Now, I want to-“

Catherine stopped short as Conrad Ecklie burst in.

“What the hell are you people still doing here?  Your shift’s over!  Get out of my conference room!”

Warrick looked at his watch.  It was noon, well into day shift.

“I’m well aware of what time it is, Ecklie,” Catherine spat, “but we’ve got a major multiple homicide that has hit urgent status, so get the hell out of here so we can put this psycho behind bars!”

“Careful… You could get fired for talking to a supervisor that way,” he smiled.

“No, Ecklie.  I could get fired for talking to my supervisor that way, and he really doesn’t care.  Lucky me.  So unless you want to get fired for interfering in another one of our cases, you better get your ass out of here!”  She punctuated her tirade with a gesture.

Ecklie’s smile faded at her frankness and turned to a scowl as he backed out of the room.

Greg turned to face Catherine.  “That was brilliant!”

“Well, I’m not in the mood to put up with any shit.  A killer with a connection to God has brought this case way too close to home.  We’re getting close guys.  Certain circumstances are forcing her to change her plans, and she’s getting sloppy.”

Greg looked confused, so Warrick spelled it out.

“She’s already told us too much about herself.  In the first phone call, she said she’d already done New York and Miami.  With ten kills, one every twelve days, that’s 120 days.  Just about four months.  You can’t stay in a hotel for four months, unless you’re loaded.”

“So we look for records of leased homes of four months in New York, Miami, and Vegas, not to mention registered drivers licenses.  Then we compare lists,” Nick finished.

“Beautifully explained, Nick.  That’ll be your job.”  Catherine smiled.  “Greg can help you.”

“Me and my big mouth,” Nick muttered.

“Also,” Catherine pointed out, “we know that she’s going for number five next.  ‘Thou shalt not kill.’… She told me on the phone,” she explained when looks of confusion were passed her way.  “She was there.  She was at the hospital when she called.  That’s the only way she could have known what happened.  We know she’ll be nearby scouting.  This time we’ll be ready for her.”

“What about us?” Warrick asked.

“We’re going over that tape again.  There has to be something we’re missing.”

* * *  * * *  * * *

Sara awoke to a throbbing pain in her chest.  She rolled onto her back and slowly opened her eyes.  The room was bright and she shielded her face to look around, only to see someone sleeping in the chair next to her bed.  Looking closer, she was surprisingly pleased to see that it was Grissom.  Somehow, her anger melted away at the thought that he’d stayed the whole night to make sure she was okay.

Still, she realized that it would be awkward when he woke up.  She’d been pissed at him for what he’d said, and her pride had kicked in when she decided to go talk to Mrs. Simmons.  Yet, somehow, he’d found out where she’d gone and ended up saving her life. Her thoughts drifting back to the events in the house, she felt the throbbing in her chest again and moaned.

Suddenly, her cell phone rang from near by.  Sara looked around and saw a paper bag on the nightstand.  She winced as she twisted to reach the bag filled with her personal effects.

“Sidle,” she answered.

“Glad to hear you awake, Ms. Sidle,” said a cool voice Sara immediately recognized as Miriam’s.  “How are you feeling?”

“Sore,” Sara said truthfully.

“Oh, I’m sorry.  I’ll send a nurse up to see about that.  You know, I’ve missed seeing you around, Sara.  I truly must say that I’m sorry my mission has put you out of work.  But, to make it up to you, in seven days, I’m going to give you the crime scene of your life.  One all your own.”

“Why do you keep hurting people?” Sara asked.

“Oh, Sara, I’m disappointed in you,” Miriam tsked.  “You always seemed like the kind of person who wanted justice to be served.  I guess I was wrong… It really is a shame.  Well, goodbye, Sara, and God Bless.”   Click.

Sara slammed the phone on the bed, but was sorry for it immediately afterward as the pounding in her chest worsened with each movement.  “Damn it!” she yelled.

“Who was it?”

Sara jumped at the sound of Grissom’s voice beside her.  “God, Grissom!  You scared me half to death!”

“Sorry,” he said, leaning her back and covering her back up with the tousled blanket.  “You shouldn’t move so much, or it’ll hurt worse.”

“Thanks,” she sighed.  “I’m just frustrated.”

“Which brings me back to my question.  Who was on the phone?”

“It was her, Griss.  It was Miriam, and she’s going to kill again.”

“Calm down, Sara.  Tell me what was said.”

Sara began to relay the conversation back to Grissom.  By the time she had finished, his face was extremely pale.

“What’s wrong, Griss?”

“I need to call Catherine.  Excuse me.”  He walked to the other side of the room while dialing Catherine’s number.  As hard as Sara strained, she could only hear bits of the conversation.

“…Confirms what she told you…seven days…she was here, maybe still is…I know…Yes, Sara’s still the target…I won’t…only if she asks.  I can’t lie to her, Catherine.  I won’t…Okay, good.  Bye.”

“What was that all about?” Sara demanded as he made his way back to the chair beside her bed.

“Catherine is using all the info we have to locate Miriam,” he answered vaguely.

“You’re avoiding the question.  I’m a target?  Seven days?  What’s going on?”

Grissom sighed, and then looked at her with sad eyes.  “I didn’t want to say anything until you were at least out of the hospital…Miriam called Cath right after you got out of surgery.  She told Catherine that in ten days, Exodus 20:6 would be carried out.  ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

“Wait she told me seven…” her voice trailed off.  “I’ve been asleep for three days?!”

Grissom nodded.  “When Mrs. Simmons shot you, your gun went off as you flew backwards. … She died, Sara”

Sara laid back in shock.  “ ‘The crime scene of my life,’” she whispered, as she grasped the meaning of it all.  “So, you’ve been here for three days to make sure she didn’t accelerate her schedule,” she said a moment later, more of a statement than a question.

“No, Sara!  I’ve been here for three days because I was worried about you!  Because as many times as I’ve hurt you, and as hard as it may be for you to believe, I care about you and …”

Their conversation was interrupted when a rather squat nurse came in the room.  “Okay, Ms. Sidle.  How are you feeling?”

Grissom put his head down, half out of respect and half out of embarrassment.

“Fine.  A little sore maybe, but fine,” Sara lied, not wanting any fuss.

“Your friend mentioned you were sore.  I brought some Tylenol.”  Grissom’s head snapped up as the nurse turned to leave.

“My friend?” Sara asked nervously, suddenly remembering the phone call.

“Yes, the lovely woman downstairs.  So polite.”

“What did she look like?” Grissom demanded.

“Fair skin, reddish-brown hair, dark eyes.  Very pretty.  She sounded very concerned about you, Ms. Sidle.  You’re very lucky to have such a good friend,” the nurse said from the doorway.

“Yeah, lucky me,” Sara mumbled.

Grissom got up and crossed the room.

“Gil, wait!” she called, panic in her voice.  “Don’t go!”

He turned, startled at the use of his given name. He held up his phone.  “Just calling Cath.  I’m not going anywhere.”  He flashed a small but rare smile.

As Grissom was on the phone describing Miriam to Catherine, Sara laid back in the hospital bed thinking.  A month ago-hell a week ago-she would have died for the attention she was getting from Grissom, now that she nearly had.  She wondered what he was thinking now as she watched him come back to his chair.

“I think that Tylenol is making me drowsy already,” she said mid-yawn, turning on her side to face him.

“Well, you’ve been a good patient, you deserve some sleep.  I’ll be here when you wake up.”  Grissom leaned over and gave her hand a squeeze.  Sara held it as she closed her eyes and smiled, drifting to sleep with the picture of his smile and the sound of his words “I care about you” floating in her mind.

* * *  * * *  * * *

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