When the Dead Awaken

By Camilla Sandman

Spoilers: Small references to all past seasons. This story is set some undetermined time after season 4.

Disclaimer: CSI and its characters belong to CBS and are certainly not mine. I'm merely borrowing them for some non-profit fun and misery.

Feedback is adored. Archiving is fine as long as headers are kept.

Author's note: Please do note that I use British/Australian spelling. This differs from American spelling in some ways (such as realise - not realize, honour – not honor) so please keep that in mind while reading.


Be silent in that solitude,

Which is not loneliness- for then

The spirits of the dead, who stood

In life before thee, are again

In death around thee, and their will

Shall overshadow thee; be still.

Edgar Allan Poe (Poem)

Better drown your sorrows than teach them how to swim

- Norwegian proverb


Sara slept, and slowly, slipping out from the corner of her mind, the dream took over, shrouding away reality.

She dreamt of the dead.

In her dream, they did not know they were dead, did not know their bodies were no more. Sleeping, the dead thought they were only dreaming, a dream they did not know they could never wake from. There was nothing to awake to; there was only the everlasting night that housed the dream.

She dreamt of the murdered.

In her dream, they walked among the other dead as grey shadows, robbed of voice and tears. They were mist in the night, unable to rest and unable to dream. They were dead, but not asleep. Their whispers howled in the wind, demanding justice, demanding vengeance, demanding rest.

She dreamt of the murderers.

In her dream, they were not there, but lurked just beyond view, always behind her in darkness and never in the light. Their whispers always died when she tried to listen. Always, always she sought them, but she did not know what she sought. Shadows in the mirror, whispers in the wind, reflections on the water. Never substantial, never truly there.

She dreamt of herself.

In her dream, she did not sleep. She worked, she sought, she desired, she waited, she listened and always, always the dead came to her. Laments for the dead sang in her blood and she tried to help them, tried to understand what they sought. She imagined their pain and felt it also. She never slept and always dreamt.

She dreamt of herself and awoke, cold and shuddering in the dwindling daylight. The phone was ringing, sound harsh in the otherwise silent room. Even before she answered, she knew who it was.

The dead were calling.

The night was already old.

The sun had long since died beyond the horizon and the darkness had staked its claim on Las Vegas, making the glittering lamps of the city seem almost desperate in their attempt to keep light in the world. The thin crest of the moon seemed reminiscent of a pale smile, but what the man in the moon would find amusing was a mystery.

Grissom had formed his own theory when he was young and used to watch the night sky. Safe and high up on the sky, the man in the moon could observe humans never changing while the world changed around them. Up there, the man was the scientist in his white tower, always observing, always distant. The thought had attracted him then.

He had forgotten it since and he barely looked at the moon this evening, for he had another smile to understand.

The dead smiled, but what had made this woman smile in death he did not know. She had been beautiful once, face framed by dark curls and blue eyes that would have sparkled in life. Now they merely stared lifelessly at the sky. Her hands were read with blood, held up in a gesture of – Pleading? Defence? He wasn't sure. There were no defensive wounds and the blood was from the shot in her abdomen. Perhaps she had tried to stop the flood of blood. But why then had she raised her hands? It was almost as if she was showing the blood to someone before she died.

But to who and why?

He tilted his head slightly, taking in the whole picture. The dead, smiling and with hands raised, resting in the grass of a Las Vegas garden, one foot on the path, as if she had been on her way to the door, but been shot halfway there and had fallen over.

She was young, too young. Her clothes had been soaked by blood, but seemed expensive. Her shoes were soft leather and had kicked up earth. At her attacker or in the fall?

"The man of the house found her," Brass said from somewhere behind him. "Says he came out to empty the trash and nearly tripped over her. Didn't hear anything, or so he says. He claims to have no idea who she is."

"It took time for her to die," Grissom replied. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to envision the scene. "She is a few feet from the door. There is no evidence to suggest she has tried to crawl or move."

"You think she would have tried to?" Sara asked, coming out from the shadows. He smiled in greeting, but she did not smile back. She looked pale against the darkness, almost ethereal.

"If you were dying, would you not try to live?" Grissom replied, meeting her gaze. Sara frowned slightly, but did nod after a moment. A moment later, she bowed her head, shielding her eyes from him and turning her attention to the camera. The flashlight seemed almost intruding in the dark as it swept over the scene.

He wondered for a moment if he truly should have called her to assist on this, but her number had been the one he had dialled without thinking.

Shaking the thought, he turned back to the dead girl and her wide-open eyes, staring up at the moon and the blackness beyond. She had died, but how? By whose hand? And why?

"Why didn't you try to live?" Grissom whispered and the dead merely smiled back at him.