Disclaimer: The only character in this story that belongs to me is the narrator. Everyone and everything else belongs to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuiker and whoever else legitimately owns CSI. I am not making any money by writing this.
Title: Hide and Seek
Rating: PG-13 or T, whatever.
A/N: This is a one shot, unrelated to my other stuff. Reviews appreciated.
A/N2: I re-uploaded this to fix a couple mistakes. Obviously I intended this fic to have a stream of consciousness feel, but on re-reading I discovered that I missed some errors that were unintentional, and have now gone back to fix them. Otherwise it's the same.
I've never been so frightened in my life. The sirens are coming closer, fast. Obviously there must have been some kind of silent alarm. Are there cameras, too? I can't see any, but I couldn't see the alarm. There's blood on my hands. There's blood on my clothes. There's blood on the security guard.
I killed him. I've never killed anyone before.
Shit. Now the cops are here. They're taking it slow, or maybe it only seems that way. I can hear my heart beat in my ears and it's slow. Too slow. This isn't what I thought I thought murder would feel like. I thought I would feel different, like I've crossed some kind of line and now I'm a new breed, but I'm still just me. All I feel is scared. I need to get out of here, before the cops see that guard. Shit.
I run further into the store. There must be a back exit, I know there must, and there is, but it's locked and there must be a key but now the cops have seen what I did to the front door and they've seen the guard and they're going to start searching. They'll have their guns out and they'll shoot me, and I can't let that happen. I'm too young to die.
There. That closet, I almost didn't see it, maybe they won't either. Hide and seek, like when I was a kid. I was good at hide and seek. Once I hid so long everyone stopped looking and I waited and I waited and no one called Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, so I stayed where I was, I wanted to win and I did, but it got dark and I was so scared and alone and when I finally came out I couldn't remember where I was. I got home alright that night, and my old man beat the crap out of me for scaring my mother, but I won, and I got home. I get into the closet and it's deep, which is good for me. I push back past the supplies and get behind some boxes and kind of crouch.
I'm just in time, I can hear the cops talking, calling for more cops, I guess. Their feet are loud on the linoleum back there, but maybe I'm just imagining things. Maybe they'll leave. No. The guard is dead. I watch TV, I know how it is, they'll call in the detectives and the flashing lights and the reporters, and I'll be in this damn closet for hours, and I sure as hell won't get a chance to crack the safe and there goes my rent money. If they don't catch me. What did they need a guard for, anyway?
The cops are right outside the closet now. Will they check it? I'll be okay if they just open the door, I think. If they actually come in I'm fucked. Two cops. Could I shoot two cops? Am I actually planning to kill someone else? I've never killed anyone in 32 years, I've never seriously wanted to, unless you count a couple bar fights, but I cool down fast once I get my licks in. I'm not a bad person, right? But I killed that guard, and now I'm really ready to kill two cops. I could get the death penalty for that, but only if they catch me. If I get out of this alive I'm on my way to Mexico.
I tighten my grip on the gun, but it's slick, my hand is sweaty and there's blood there. There's blood everywhere, I can smell it, it's making me sick. Never mind that, be ready. I want to wipe my hand but they're opening the closet door and I can't move. A light flicks through the closet, they're shining a flashlight at me and it doesn't seem fair but this is not hide and seek after all. Then just as I think the coast is clear I see it in the circle of light from the flashlight. Blood, I've tracked in blood like breadcrumbs. They'll find me. Trying to be silent, I tense my finger on the trigger.
And they go away, they didn't see it and I have to hold my breath because I have this sudden horrible urge to laugh. To laugh myself to death, I know, and I can't do it, I have to hold it in but I'm shaking with it now, I have to be making some noise and maybe they'll hear me and kill me or I'll kill them and I can't stop, I'm digging my hands into my face to keep the noise in. What kind of police do we have in this town, anyway? Can't see bloody footprints when they shine a light right on them. I should be getting more for my taxes.
I'm calming down, I've got the laughter under control, and now I'm tired, really tired. I want to get rid of that footprint in case someone comes in here again, but maybe moving around like that would get me caught and maybe no one will come in here. Why would they? No, I'll just wait. I'll be awake and alert and silent and just wait it out, and then it's off to Mexico.
I'm glad I decided to wait- this place is full of people now. I can hear them thumping around out there. Their radios are squawking and crackling and their cameras are flashing. They are joking with each other about a softball game, and I can't help but be offended. Shouldn't they be paying more attention to the dead guard? It seems disrespectful. Am I the only one with any sympathy for him? Because I am sympathetic, I never planned to kill him, he just showed up and he was shouting at me and I can't go to jail. He should have just let me go; I wouldn't have had to shoot. I wonder if he had a family, anyone waiting for him at home tonight. I hope not. I'm not feeling guilty enough to turn myself in, though. I mean, the whole point of killing him was to keep myself out of jail. It would almost be disrespectful to his memory not to get out of this.
What are they doing out there? What takes so long? The guy is dead; it's pretty obvious what happened. This isn't one of those locked room mysteries, these guys aren't Sherlock Holmes, lucky for me. Have they taken away the body yet? I hope so. My feet are falling asleep, hunched up like I am. That's no good; I have to be able to run for it. Well, not run for it. But walk away fast, as soon as they leave. My car's about a block away. Will they know it's me that quickly? On TV they would. They'd have an APB out in five minutes and roadblocks and everything too. My fingerprints must be there. I had to take off my gloves to fiddle with that damned safe. But how often do you see roadblocks? Probably that guard isn't important enough, probably things move slower in real life. I bet I could just drive away smooth, not speeding, just driving. I wish my Spanish was better. Probably I'll learn, though.
I think about the bloody footprint some more. Did I track blood all the way in? Is it really like breadcrumbs, or was it just the one smear? If I left a clear trail they'd have caught me by now, right? And they haven't so I must be safe. There must not be any reason to go in this closet. No trail. I start to relax, but then I think: maybe they just haven't seen it yet. It seems ridiculous, but this isn't TV and those cops weren't too observant before, they had their light right on the blood on the floor and they didn't see it. Maybe there's no trail. Maybe they are all blind like those first two. Maybe one of them will see it now, some little smear of blood leading straight into the closet. Maybe they're pointing at it right now, just outside the door, and they're all drawing their guns and standing off to the side and they'll blast in and that'll be it.
I tense, waiting for it, but it doesn't happen. Another minute goes by, and it still doesn't happen. Maybe I'm safe. I can only wait, anyway. How long have I been in here? It feels like days. I pawned my watch last week, and it's too bad, because it was Indiglo, I could have read it in here. An hour, maybe? Two? Three? Or only a few minutes? My shirt is soaked with sweat. If I sweat at the rate of one drop per minute… No. I was never very good at word problems, and at the rate I'm sweating now this equation is meaningless.
I wait. I shift my position. So far, so good. They haven't seen the blood. There wasn't a trail. If there was they would have found me by now. I am safe, so I will stay safe. Anyway, I have four more bullets in this gun. If they haven't found me yet, they won't. I will stay safe.
God, my leg is all pins and needles. I've been in this closet for centuries. I stand, slowly and quietly. It hurts, but I have to be able to move. I tense my muscles and relax them. I learned that trick in a movie, and I hope it works. Is all my knowledge from movies? I read, sometimes. I do. I got good grades in school, even had a little college. But they don't teach you anything about hiding in closets from the cops. All my training is from the movies, and playing hide and seek. I think: everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten, and then I have to smother another laugh. Why is this funny? Nothing about this is funny. I'll laugh later, when I'm lying on the beach, safe and sound in Mexico.
My head itches. It's driving me nuts, no matter how much I scratch it won't stop itching. When will this be over? It's quieter out there now; I think they must have taken the guard away. I can't hear the cops talking, or the radios crackling. It might be safe now, but no one's called Ollie Ollie Oxen Free. I'm going to have to judge the end of this game for myself. I have to be patient. I've never been good at that, but this would be a good time to start. I don't want to have to kill anyone else. I don't want them to kill me. I scratch my head again, and my elbow hits the box I am hiding behind. It makes a sound, and I freeze, and my heart is so loud I have no doubt they can hear it outside the closet.
It has a thick door, but I could hear them talk, I could hear the radios. It isn't soundproof, and they must have heard me. How could they not have heard me? My breathing is unbearably loud. I'm practically gasping for air in here. I'm smothering. Why is that? I hold my breath 'til I'm dizzy, but no one opens the door.
I let out my breath, and then it happens. The door handle turns. It's dark in here, but I have been imagining that sound all night, and there is no mistake. It turns and a sliver of light falls across the room. It doesn't fall on the blood smear. It doesn't fall on me. I might be okay, still, if I don't move. I want to move, though, I can't stand to just stand here anymore, I'm tired and I want this game to end. I slowly raise the gun, but I wait, I don't know how many people are still out there. I don't want to be killed.
The door opens wider, and a shadow falls across the sliver of light. I steady the gun, waiting, hoping. There is a shrill ringing and I almost jump, I almost shoot, but it's only a cell phone. The figure in the doorway silences the ringing. He says "Grissom" abruptly and I realize that's how he answers the phone. What happened to hello? His mother should have taught him better. He moves away, and I'm saved by poor cell phone reception. My heart is still pounding, and the door is still partly open. Maybe I'm not safe. I'll have to be very still now, so they will forget this closet and leave me in peace.
But they haven't forgotten, someone else is coming in now and it isn't Grissom with the bad phone manners, it's a woman, and I wonder if I could kill a woman. She's shining a flashlight and I wonder why she doesn't turn on the light, but of course that would be the end of this game for both of us, so it's good that she doesn't. She raises her arm and wipes her forehead with the back of it, and I'm glad to realize that it really is warm in here. It's reassuring, I haven't lost my cool, I'm just in a hot closet, and I'm grateful to the woman until her light lands on the blood.
She turns away and I think she's going to realize I'm there, call out to someone, but she's opening a big silver case and pulling out a long Q-tip, and swiping at the blood. I know she can't really be cleaning it up for me, but that's what it feels like and I decide I like this woman. She freezes, then, looking at the blood, and I know that I have lost. It was a breadcrumb after all, because she isn't even looking around, her light is rising slowly but steadily in a direct line to me.
For a moment she stares at me and I wish I could read her expression but the light is all behind her, she's backlit like an angel and she's reaching for something at her waist and it's a gun, and I can't help it if she's an angel I don't want to die so I squeeze the trigger and the sound is so loud in that little room. Was it this loud when I shot the guard?
She's dropped her gun now, and she's slowly drifting to the floor and there's more blood already and I think it will cover up the trail but that's silly, they know I'm here now and I have to move.
Time is standing still again, or maybe it's just me. I can't move, I'm staring at the woman, light from the hallway is falling on her brown hair and the blood is spreading and it's so red and she's shaking and I realize she isn't dead yet and maybe I should shoot again but then the door is full of people and there's a noise, a noise so loud it hits me like a punch. Then I realize something really did hit me and something warm fills my mouth and then the pain slams in, and I never realized there could be so much pain.
My legs are weak and something is hitting me again and again and I know it must be over. I lose. The man who shot me is just standing there looking stupid with his gun held out and I wonder if that's what I looked like when I shot that guard and I see that he's only a kid with spiky hair and I wonder why he isn't moving and why I'm not moving and I realize I am, I'm slowly sinking down and there is no air there is only pain but I can still see.
I see the man stand there with his gun out and I see a bearded man push past him and lean over the woman, kneel by her like he's praying and maybe he is. I see the man who shot me lower his gun and stand there shaking and he's only a kid after all. I see the blood spreading across my shirt and I see the floor so dark and hard, and I see my mother's face as it all fades away.