The lab tables are arranged like a maze, a labyrinth of glass mirrors that shine with all the colours of the setting sun. He finds himself somewhere between the middle and the end, mute and desolate.
Speed is sitting atop the table beside him (table, wall, mirror) face blue with eyes sealed shut. The tapping of his bare heels resonates like a steel drum and causes spider cracks to scatter outward from the pressure points. Eric's attention focuses on the tag wrapped around Speed's big toe and he shudders to the beat.
"Is this goodbye?" He speaks the words but hears no sound come from his mouth.
Speed says nothing and Calleigh blinks twice before taking her 8mm and placing it inside her scarlet red (bleeding?) mouth.
Her eyes are vacant but still Eric cries, "it doesn't work! It doesn't work!" even though it does. The noise blasts through his brain, made all the more deafening by the fact that it's the only thing he can hear and she shatters before his eyes- a stray shard slicing through his left hand viciously. He clutches it to his chest and stares at the grainy floor.
Pieces of Calleigh are littered about, shades of orange and red in the fading sun that gleams fiercely from all angles. Eric looks back to his hand to find it leaking milk. Confused, he licks at it, grimacing when the taste turns out bitter.
When Eric looks up from his hand, hours later it seems, Speed is waiting and watching with closed eyes and a sense of anticipation. Everything is black and velvet, the mirrors made suddenly useless in the dark.
He feels pressure against his back and turns to find Horatio pressing a gun to the base of his spine- sunglasses on and head tilted in concern.
Wasn't it a knife? He wonders, and watches as his thoughts echo silently only to be mouthed (spoken? Why couldn't he hear?) by the now sunglass-less Horatio. Eric shrugs and H passes the bloody knife to Ryan, who cleans it again and again with his shirtsleeve before slipping it into his eye.
They're in the jewellery store. Looking around, however, Eric discovers 'they' has turned into him and Speed. The other man, however, is once again passive behind the counter. Eric is lying horizontal, staring into a sky with a moon and a sun that both give off florescent red light. He looks down his body and sees a tag attached to his toe.
There are vibrations to his left and he turns his head to discover Marisol looking back, telling him something.
Her skin is thin and translucent, eerily shaded beneath the sun's light and the moon's glow.
A chilly hand on his right arm causes him to turn away from his sister and face Speed's blank gaze. Eric tries in vain to pull away, but the cold grasp only tightens and Marisol is behind him shouting loud enough that it reaches through the fog, grasps onto his brain, and shakes for all its worth.
Open your eyes.
So he does.
Earlier that day…
The morning brings only stale milk and a shattered glass that he accidentally knocks off the table when he's startled by the phone ringing.
The ringing fades into the elevator background music of his mind as he stares, transfixed, at the pieces and the patterns they make against his grainy floor. They catch the light of a rising sun and cast it back into his eyes sadistically.
The silence doesn't register, but when the phone rings again he abruptly answers and leaves. The pieces lay forgotten around the table legs.
Work is long.
The man's (victim's) eyes were glued shut, his body found in a particularly busy parking garage. Unsurprisingly, no one saw anything. The whole of the level he is on (level 2) is secure, but he can see cars bustling about outside his little world.
Apparently, lives are still lived when people die. Eric doesn't stop to wonder how that works for other people.
He weaves through the maze of cars that weren't allowed to be taken home because the segments of yet another victim have been scattered throughout the area. It's his and Horatio's case, Calleigh and Ryan ended up in a hotel with an apparent drug overdose. It doesn't turn out to be that simple he discovers later, they rarely end up with even a semblance of simplicity, but for once Eric wishes he'd ended up with the quieter case.
Once they piece together the other victim, somewhat, Eric takes a lunch break. It's two in the afternoon but there is no way he's eating. He visits Speed's grave instead. It is quiet and sullen, much like Eric himself.
He doesn't kneel, not this time, but says a quick prayer before lying on his back beside where Speed must be lying, only six feet under the ground. He closes his eyes. The phone rings, and Eric's gone before he can say a proper goodbye.
Nothing new there, though.
H insists they head back to the crime scene and Eric sits passively while the other man drives. The radio thrums soft and subtle, the colours outside seem abnormally subdued- matching Horatio's voice when he mentions something about fingerprints they need to confirm the theory of a murder-suicide.
Horatio never says pointless things, never indulges in small talk, and for once Eric is grateful. The song switches, steel drum overriding melody, and then their parking garage is laid out blank and dull before them.
Unfocused, or perhaps too focused, Eric follows a trail of fingerprints away from the bodies to the stairwell that leads to the other parking levels. The fingerprints crawl up the door to the handle and as he turns it and looks over his shoulder for H, his body twists unnaturally.
The heat of another person presses against his back and his right hand is suddenly incapacitated. The knife is sharp, he discovers as his left hand goes up to defend himself. Eric yelps as a line of fire crosses his palm and his flashlight clatters to the ground.
Horatio calls, but the other man only pulls him backwards through the door- arm around his neck and knife positioned at the base of his spine. One wrong move and he's paralysed, dead, unable to fight back. The position seems odd to Eric but he keeps his mouth shut and his eyes hooded.
The man, realizing his terrible positioning no doubt, turns them so that he is the one climbing backwards up the stairs and pulls Eric with him. Horatio, gun pointing and sunglasses on, stands perfectly poised before them. When the man with the knife stumbles backwards, Eric drives a foot back and up before throwing himself forwards down the stairs.
It hurts, and his hand screams when it scrapes against the stairs to stop his descent, but the noise of Horatio's gun in his ears hurts worse. H jumps over him, secures the man (suspect), and calls for help.
Eric sits up, dazed with ears ringing, and tells H he wants to go back to the lab. One searching stare later and the redhead acquiesces.
Back at the lab, hand cleaned, wrapped, and stitched up, it's all business. Things make even less sense, but the knife-wielding man seems to be unrelated to their original case and the pieces get forced into the semblance of a puzzle slowly and methodically. When he finally glances up, he sees Calleigh and Ryan coming back from their safe crime scene and heading to ballistics.
Calleigh gives a tired smile, but her posture is one of tired resignation. Resigned to yet another sleepless night, as he himself is. Ryan nods and wipes his hands against his pants repeatedly, as if there is something there that will simply not go away.
When they leave his view, he finds himself staring through a piece of evidence yet again. The forearm of their chopped up victim displays a sun and moon tattoo with knife marks strategically placed in what appears to be a code. His eyes blur as he yawns, placing his chin in his arms and squinting in one last valiant attempt to force his mind to focus.
It works about as well as his attempts to say a final goodbye to Speed, somewhat better than his attempts to hide his anger at Hagen, and a little worse than his attempts to reconcile with Ryan about the nail incident.
In a troubled silence he falls asleep while Horatio watches from behind glass walls.