Disclaimer: I do NOT own Gracepoint or anyone or anything in it. That all belongs to Fox. I make NO money writing for this category.
Twenty-one year old Tony Baker stood on the cliffs overlooking Gracepoint's white-sandy beach. He closed his eyes as he listened to the sounds of gently roaring waves and calls of the migrating whales. Back then, when he was a twelve year old boy, when he was named Thomas Miller, the sounds would fill him with anticipation and excitement. Now, all it did was fill him with regrets and dredge up unhappy memories that haunted him in his waking hours. He was only a child, not yet a teenager, when his best friend Daniel "Danny" Solano died on this very cliff side. Caught up in a web of deception and lies, Danny was a victim of circumstances gone wrong. It was with a heavy heart that Tony returned to the place he once called home. Had he not been there that night, if neither of them had, then maybe Danny would still be alive today. He left behind two loving parents, a caring older sister, and a not yet known about sibling. It was just an accident. Tony hadn't meant to hit him with the oar. He only wanted to stop his own father-Joseph "Joe" Miller-from harming him any further. Joe was sick. Very sick. And it cost Danny his life.
Slow, steady footsteps began rising up the path yo the cliff. How long had he been standing there? Had it been an hour or two? Maybe it was more? He felt embarrassed that someone had snuck up on him. Living on the run had sharpened his senses and made him hyper-vigilant, yet this person managed to appear without him knowing.
"Excuse me?" A male voice wondered. "Pardon my interruption, but do you have the time?"
"Yeah, no worries." Tony checked his watch. "It's half past four."
He had bene standing there for almost two and a half hours. That had to be some kind of record.
"Ah, thanks. I really should invest in a watch or two."
"I'm always losing things."
"Mm." Tony looked back to the sea.
"It's beautiful, isn't it? One of the reasons why I love this town."
"It's something, alright."
Motion out of the corner of his eye caught Tony's attention and dragged it away from the stranger. A group of people-six adults, one young child, and an infant-were walking down the beach, carrying lit candles; hands up to protect the flames from the wind.
"A closer look?" The stranger handed him a pair of binoculars.
Curious as to why the man wanted to help him and how he knew what Tony was looking at, the younger of the males took the binoculars from him. He focused on the group quickly, used to using binoculars to watch whales as a kid and keep a look out for police as he grew older. He recognized familiar faces in the crowd and it made his heart stop. There was town priest Paul Coates, and Vince, the man who made skateboards for Tom and Danny all those years ago. At the head of the group was a couple he recognized as Mark and Beth Solano; Danny's parents. A young woman carrying the infant had to be Danny's elder sister, Chloe, and the man at her side appeared to be Dean Iverson; her, last Tony knew, boyfriend. The last of the group was a small raven haired boy, about nine or ten years old. He was clutching tightly to Danny's old teddy bear; his favorite toy growing up. That had to be the baby that had been conceived, yet not known of, at the time of Danny's death.
Tony's blood went cold and he gave the binoculars back to the older stranger. His legs suddenly could no longer support him and he collapsed to the ground.
"Are you okay?" The stranger asked, leaning down to him.
"T-Those people…" Tony couldn't find his voice as he swallowed the lump in his throat.
"The Solano family; mourners for the day." The man nodded. "They lost a child ten years ago to the day. Twelve year old Danny Solano. Struck down in an unfortunate accident. But…you already knew about that, didn't you…Tom Miller?"
Tony's head shot up at that, eyes covered in brown contacts narrowing. "How do you know that name?" his mouth was running dry.
"It's your name, is it not? Detective Miller's son? Or at least, it used to be. Right, Tony?"
"Alright, cut the shit." Tony ordered, standing up. "Who are you? Police? FBI? US Marshal?"
"No, no, none of that. I'm not surprised you don't remember me. My name is Raymond Clemmons. I'm an electrician…"
"No, I…I remember you now…you're that psychic guy, right? You had a brief stint on television a few years back…"
Raymond nodded once, slowly. "That would be me."
"What do you want from me? Haven't I suffered enough?" He ran a hand though his dyed black hair.
"I have a message for you, Tom. A message from Danny."
Tony glared. "I don't have time for this." He looked down at the mourners.
They were standing by the shoreline now; heads bowed as Paul uttered a sermon.
"I came here for a reason."
"As did I." Raymond insisted. "I have a message…"
"I'm leaving." Tony snapped. "Go waste someone else's time."
He began to walk towards the cliff side cabin where it all began. Where his father-that sick, disgusting man rotting in prison until he died alone-had made unwelcome advances on Danny, on a twelve year old child; the best friend of his eldest son.
"He doesn't blame you." Raymond called after him.
Tony stopped dead in his tracks and looked over his shoulder at the so-called psychic.
"Excuse me? I told you…"
"He knows it was an accident. You didn't mean to hit him with the oar. He knows how it torments you." Raymond was too persistent. "That night, your memories…you've been running so long that you don't even know who you are anymore; only who you were. Its okay, Tom Miller, Tony Baker; whoever you decide to be today. He knows it wasn't your fault."
"He knows why you're here; why you've returned to the abandoned house on the cliff." Raymond paused for a moment or two. "Don't do it. He's urging you not to do it. You've still got your whole life ahead of you." His voice altered with each word he spoke. "There's so much potential in you. Don't let your guilt consume you; don't let the hate and sorrow engulf you inside their flames. Do not suffer for the actions of your father. Do not put your mother through what my parents went through. Don't let the sins of your father take both of our lives. Jack Reinhold died and Susan Wright, or whatever her real name was, went missing because of him. Don't let him take you, too. You can fight this Tom. You can win!"
"Danny!" The name ripped from his throat before he could stop it.
That voice that he only heard in his dreams and haunting memories was speaking to him through the mouth of this stranger, this so-called psychic whom had never even met Danny in person. There was no way that a forty-fifty year old man could perfectly imitate the long-lost voice of a mere, not yet teenage boy.
"D-Danny Solano…?" He spoke softly. "Is…is that you…?"
"Who else, dummy?" Danny's voice laughed. "Of course it's me. Haven't you seen his show? He's not just a psychic. He's a channel. Spirits can talk to the living through him."
"But…they caught him…he's been sentenced…shouldn't your spirit move on?"
"I have a purpose left on this Earth. I can't move on until it's done."
"What purpose do you have? What the hell is keeping you here…?" He took several steps closer.
"Dummy Tommy." Danny laughed. "You mean you haven't figured it out yet?"
Tony shook his head, stopping inches from the so-called psychic-channel. Danny knocked on his friend's head.
"You always were a little slow to pick up on the obvious. I'm here to stop you from going in there," he pointed to the dusty old cabin, "and doing what you came here for."
"I'm sorry, old friend, but not even you can change my mind. There's no turning back, now…"
"Sure there is." Danny smiled. "Give me the gun." He held out a hand. "Go home to your mother and Dylan. You decided to die, did you not? You can also decide to live."
"How? How can I live with that I've done?" Hot tears pressed against his eyes. "You're gone, Danny. You're gone because of me…"
"Because of him. Because of Joe. Had he not done what he did, had I realized the mistake I was making before I made it…then I would still be here. Tom Miller, I swear to you, it was not your fault. Had you not come, he may have caught me. Maybe have done things to me and force me to keep quiet about it. He didn't want my parents, or you and your mother, to know what a monster he was. He may have even killed me, himself."
"You don't know that…"
"Neither do you." Danny smiled sadly, gently. "In the end, you tried to tell him, Detective Carver, the truth. With that man next to you…damn it, Tommy, you tried!"
I've never seen anyone else hit Danny.
"It wasn't enough…"
"I should have spoken up sooner; not tried to hide the evidence…I shouldn't have run away that day and took the focus off the investigation…off you!"
"You were scared." Suddenly his arms were around the quivering man. "I stake our friendship on it, Thomas Jacob Miller. I do not blame you. It was not your fault. You don't have to suffer anymore."
Tony burst into tears, holding tight to the man-the spirit of his best friend-as if his life depended on it.
"I'm so sorry, Danny…" He sobbed. "I'm sorry…so, so, so sorry…"
He repeated it like a mantra, sopping the man's dark denim jacket in tears. Minutes that felt like hours passed before he calmed down enough and Danny pulled back a little.
"The choice is yours, my friend. You can walk away and live, or resign yourself to die. I beg you to choose life. Death is not ready for you yet. It's not your time, Tom."
"It wasn't yours either."
Danny smiled sadly. "My time is up, Tom. It was wonderful to talk to you again…"
"Do…do you have to go…?"
"I'll find my way back to you, somehow, I bet you. It's your choice, Tom, and yours alone. Goodbye old friend. Take care."
"You as well, Daniel Solano." Tony hugged him again. "Goodbye."
"You were the best friend I could ever have." Danny whispered. "Thank you."
Raymond's body went limp, falling into the younger male. It took a few seconds for him to stir again, groaning.
"Tom?" He wondered.
"Yeah, I'm here."
It hurt to hear his voice again instead of Danny's.
"You spoke to him?"
"I did…" Tony laughed "You know, I used to think this psychic stuff was nonsense…I can't believe I fell for it so quickly, but…there's no mistaking that voice…those words…Thank you…"
"No need to thank me. I go where I'm needed and help where I can." Raymond stood up on his own feet.
Tom nodded. "I have to get going." He looked up at the graying sky. "You should, too."
"May I ask your decision…? Danny told me you had one to make, but he wouldn't tell me what it was…"
"I…can't answer that…" Tony turned away. "Thank you, Raymond Connelly. Perhaps we'll meet again…"
Tony turned to ask what he meant, but the man was gone. Tony shook his head and laughed; heading to the cabin as the first raindrops began to fall.
Hours later, when the rain was at last a heavy, mournful downpour and the bottle of scotch was down to its last drop, Tony Baker-Tom Miller-sat in the same spot on the couch that once held Danny Solano; moments before Joe Miller made his move and Danny fled. The cabin was eerily quiet; the only sound being the pitter-patter of raindrops on the window panes. A lit candle sat on the coffee table in front of him; flame twisting in a hypnotic dance. On either side of the candle sat a framed photograph. The one on the left was a copy of the last school photo ever taken of Danny Solano. The one on the right was of Tom and Danny in their soccer uniforms; arms slung around each other's necks.
Tony sighed as he took his last swig of scotch. Flame glowed tauntingly off the slick black metal of the colt .45 handgun in his lap; making the carved in words 'RIP Danny Solano' more pronounced. A note confessing his involvement in his best friend's death and his sorrow in such say on the couch at his side. He grabbed the note and dropped it onto his lap as he raised the gun.
"Danny, old friend…" He spoke to the muzzle. "I'm sorry." A single tear fell onto the note. "But I've made my choice…see you…on the other side, my friend."
The empty scotch bottle fell from his hand and rolled to the floor to shatter moments after a single gunshot rang over the cliff side.
Tragic news tonight out of Gracepoint. Following the decade old anniversary of the death of twelve year old Gracepoint native Daniel Solano, police have discovered the body of twenty-one year old Gracepoint native Thomas Miller. Police say Miller's death was the result of one self-inflicted gunshot wound to the temple. The body was discovered after an anonymous tipster reported hearing a single gunshot inside the Solano family's abandoned cliff side cabin near the death site of Danny ten years prior. Miller was found with a candlelight memorial to Solano. The two had been best friends since Kindergarten, and Solano's death obviously hit Miller very hard. A suicide note left behind by Miller proclaims that he accidentally struck Solano with an oar while defending him from Miller's father, Joseph Miller. Miller is survived by his mother, former Gracepoint Detective Ellie Miller, and younger brother Dylan-both last seen the night of Joe Miller's incarceration and have been missing since-, his uncle Owen Burke, and his father Joe Miller. Miller Sr. is currently in prison…wait…oh, I'm sorry…authorities have discovered Joseph Miller strangled to death by hanging in his cell at Bakersfield City Prison. Miller Sr. was in Bakersfield City Prison serving a life sentence for several counts including destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, attempted child molestation, and involuntary murder.
In other news, marine biologist Kathy Shea claims that the currently migrating whales will be in the Gracepoint are a little longer then usual for this time of year. Experts are baffled as to why this is the case this year and none others, but many believe that the whales are simply mourning the recent loss of two lives and the decade old loss of another…