Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Spoilers: Nothing specific, set mid third season.
A/N: Each chapter is told from a different point of view. I owe enormous thanks to M and J who are to wonderful beta readers.
WE WORK CASES objectively, without letting personal feelings enter into it. That's what the book says and that is what I am doing. But in spite of all the objectivity, some cases are different from others. I try to regard them all equally, the victims deserve that. Every case is treated as special and unique, but even I cannot help being more interested in some cases than in others. I hate to admit that, but it's true. When Brass called me about a case which would become a very special case for me and I think for the entire CSI night-shift, my interest was immediately peaked. A quadruple homicide in an inner city apartment. This was one of those cases that demand the full attention of the entire team. Thankfully we didn't have any other active cases at the moment, so after I told Brass that we would meet him at the apartment complex, I went out to get my team together.
The apartment was located in a bad part of town. It was the kind of neighborhood where nobody really cares what's going on next door. Usually the arrival of police sparks the interest of the neighbors. I suspect the only action the arrival of patrol cars and officers prompted here was the rapid stashing away of drugs and other incriminating objects. The building was run down, but still somewhat maintained. We met Brass in the entrance hall of the ground floor.
"Hello, Gil!" He skipped lengthy greetings. I like that, small-talk at work usually distracts. "A neighbor went to collect a debt from Mr. John Delaney around nine p.m. tonight. The door was ajar, he went in and found Mr. Delaney dead on the floor, he called the police then. Officers found three more bodies, those of the wife, Mrs. Gwen Delaney, and that of their four year old son Gordon Delaney, plus the body of an unidentified female, about thirty years old, Caucasian. Officers are going round as we speak, talking to the neighbors, but it's like usual, no one saw anything, no one heard anything,"
None of us spoke as we went up to the fourth floor, apartment 426.
The corridor had been sealed off with yellow crime scene tape. Detective Vega was already there, waiting for us.
"Jim, Mr. Grissom," he acknowledged us, ignoring the rest of the team. "The father is in the living room, son in the kitchen, the mother and the unknown female are in the bedroom. The coroner has already started on them,"
"Let's divide up. Sara, Nick you take the living room, Warrick you take the kitchen. Catherine, you and I will be working the bedroom,"
The apartment was tiny, too small for three people living there. The bedroom was at the far end. Before we had even entered I noticed a biting smell in the air.
"Do you smell that?" I asked Catherine.
"I do. But I can't say for sure what it is, some kind of acid maybe," Catherine was right. When we came into the bedroom, the smell became more pronounced. On the bed were the bodies of two women, both covered in chemical burns. David was already there, examining the bodies. He looked up when we came in.
"From what I can tell without an autopsy, both women died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The burns are probably from some kind of concentrated acid. It was applied post-mortem, judging by the lack of bleeding and the fact that there is no sign that they tried to get it off,"
"If they were shot, it didn't happen here," Catherine said after examining the linens. "There is hardly any blood or brain matter on the bed,"
"There's a blood trail on the floor," I pointed out. "In the direction of what looks like the bathroom,"
"Weird, these women look like the killer displayed them, but the father in the living room hasn't been posed,"
"Maybe they were the intended target and the husband was just in the way. The killer or killers come in, see that the husband is there. That wasn't planned so they kill him and then move on to the women," I laid out a possible scenario.
"Maybe," Catherine went on to examine the bed side table.
"Fifty Dollars in here, two rings, we can rule out robbery as a motive,"
"Robbery is about objects our killer had a personal agenda. And they have left us a note," I pointed to a white envelope taped to the mirror opposite of the bed. I bagged the envelope in the hopes of getting valuable evidence such as fingerprints or DNA off it.
The next few hours we spend processing the entire apartment, for every room bore evidence of the murders. What I didn't see then and actually didn't see until very late, was that these four homicides were merely a visible symptom of something much more terrible.