Title: If These Walls Could Talk
Disclaimer: Don't own a thing...not even the computer I'm using to write it...it's my dad's...
my dad doesn't own CSI either...just in case :)
A/N- Hello All! I'm back! As many of you have been patiently waiting...I have been working hard on this story...and I have to say I'm quite excited about it. It promises to be a true CSI masterpiece! So...without further adue...here is chapter one!
Chapter One – Picture Windows
There was an orange glow coming from the front picture window. The light cast a warm glow across the front porch, bathing the wooden rocking chair in a soft glow. It gave the home a warming touch, a welcoming feeling, which effectively swept over all who looked upon it. The home looked cozy and inviting.
The house itself was typical of the homes in the neighborhood. It was even typical for the Las Vegas area only multiplied by three. It made the man feel sick just looking at it, to think there was only a family of five living inside the high brick walls, behind the broad clear windows, and under the high lofted ceilings. It made him sick to think the house he'd worked so hard to maintain, to call home could easily fit within the two car garage just to the right of the front door.
The late February driven wind whipped around his slight frame. Though tall, he was denied the husky, strong build he'd admired on his father and his older brother. Puberty had been cruel to him; genetics had mocked him, had laughed wickedly as he looked in the mirror. Every time his eyes stared into the looking glass he heard the harsh criticism of his father, he saw the downcast gaze of disappointment from his brother. Even worse, he felt the absence of a mother, of a nurturing relationship he knew her presence would have brought.
The cold wet of the air worked hard to sting his eyes, worked hard to bring him to his knees. But the cold of the air was only met with a fiercer cold, with a fiercer sting as the man stood stock still at the end of the driveway. The black pavement that was the driveway winded up the slightly sloped lawn to a garage sure to house the newest model of a very high end vehicle. With a house this immaculate, it was safe to assume the cars were of the same social class.
He'd had his eyes on this house for weeks. The two-story home was a mansion compared to the two bedroom white stucco ranch in Henderson he had the audacity to call a home.
The red brick framed house, a style becoming more popular though still quite uncharacteristic of most homes in the Sierra Nevada stood tall against the black backdrop of the starless evening sky. The front door of beveled glass and dark stained cherry wood, illuminated from the inside foyer, shed a faint glow across the large expanse of the front porch. The walkway leading from the porch was well maintained. Seasonal shrubs had recently been planted along the narrow concrete path in hopes of the early arrival of spring. The smell of fresh mulch permeated the air and mixed with the lingering smell of recent rains.
The large window to the left of the front door showed the expanse of the family's formal living room. The warm glow of yellow light flowed out from the curtain covered glass. He could barely make out the shapes of the two teenagers moving about. He'd gotten to know them, had actually become well known by the whole family.
He knew it would be easy to do, just go and knock on the front door. They were even expecting him for dinner. It would be rude to be late.
The gloves he wore did little to dissuade the cold as he pulled his hands from the pockets of his coat and walked to the front door. The warmth promised on the other side of the door was more than welcoming as he pressed the doorbell, the melodic tones ringing throughout the house. He could hear the pitter patter of raindrops returning to the surface of the earth as he stepped under the overhanging of the front porch. He'd just missed the latest downpour.
Within seconds the door was opened, shedding light on the slender figure on the porch.
"How is she tonight?" he asked, his eyes falling gently on the smiling face of the woman before him.
"She's doing a little better," the woman nodded. Diane Harris. She was a petite woman; her blonde hair pulled back in its normal ponytail caused her big blue eyes to burst out in exuberance. "Would you like to see her?"
He nodded slightly as he stepped into the warm house. It was a drastic change from the chill outside. February had been a fierce month this year.
"Can I take your coat?" she asked, her eyes glowing.
Again, he nodded silently as he removed his coat and handed the well worn garment to her. He watched as she hung it in the hall closet just to the right, beside the front door. He took his thread barren gloves and stuffed them into the pockets of his loose fitting jeans.
"She's doing better?" he asked following the woman up the winding stair case.
"Mmm hmm, her fevers come down this evening. She even woke up a little while ago and ate a bit of soup."
"That's good. That's good," he smiled arriving at the closed door to the little girl's bedroom. He took in the sight of the plaster made plaque bearing the girl's name as it hung in the center of the door. It was obviously hand made and done so with great care and precision. Each letter was colored a different deep pastel hue, and supported on backdrop of deep purple. He hesitated only slightly as his host opened the door and lead the way inside the dimly lit room.
The hissing of machines quickly filled the silence plaguing his ears. The quiet beep of a heart monitor reverberated in his head, the occasional humming sound of the IV releasing the blissful pain relieving drugs joined in the chorus. There, lying sound asleep was seven year old Emily Harris. Her tiny frame was curled into a tight ball underneath a thick layer of blankets.
"She's been cold all day," Mrs. Harris whispered as she laid another blanket over the sleeping child. "She's sleeping more and more."
"That happens as the leukemia progresses," he nodded in response, he'd done his research. Gently his eyes fell upon the frail girl. Her brown curls, now starting to grow back in after the months of chemotherapy had ended, was damp around her scarlet splotched face; it was evidence of the recent fever spike. IV's ran from a pole beside her bed and into the back of her hand.
"The nurse was in this afternoon. She says she's as comfortable as she can make her," the mother shrugged, her eyes resting on her daughter. The months and years of battling this unbeatable disease were weighing on the mother's shoulders. Her eyes were weary, full of the burden of the little life before her. "I don't know what else to do for her."
"I think you can take comfort in the fact that you've done all you can," he said as he stood at the foot of the bed. The bright colors of the room seemed dull to him. The vibrant life that was once in the room was slowly leaving, fading away.
"Well, dinner's just about ready," she turned to leave the room. "We should get to it."
He could get away with it.
He knew he could.
He'd planned it all out, had made sure every "T" was crossed and every "I" was dotted. He knew what he had to do and how it had to be done.
It was only a matter, now, of actually doing it.
It wouldn't take much.
The dinner was the best he'd had in years. He'd never tasted cooking quite like Mrs. Harris's. Her homemade spaghetti sauce was quite possibly the best in the country.
The company of the Harris family had been well received. He'd kept up with the quick witted conversation of the son, Nathan, though the news of the most recent sporting events struck him as boring and mundane. But still he kept up with the topic. He'd even managed to keep up with the rapid speed at which the daughter, Hannah, talked. The gossip about who was dating whom, and who had dumped whom was very tiresome. He did consider himself a pro within the Harris household, though, and was able to keep up with the pace with very little effort. He'd even humored Mr. Harris by delving into a conversation on the current standings in the stock market. It was all rather redundant and boring, but he knew how to be good company. He took pride in the fact that he was always a polite house guest.
After helping himself to a second serving of spaghetti, he even helped Mrs. Harris clear the dishes from the table. He smiled to himself as he heard the teenagers arguing for control over the television remote and then heard Mr. Harris intercede and stand master over his castle. He peered into the den from his place in the kitchen. Frank Harris sat prominent in his brown leather recliner. The man looked out of place in the slightly rustic décor of the family room.
The night had been rather predictable and sickening at the same time. He could feel his insides revolt at the thought of what he knew was coming.
He heard the sink disposal come to life and watched as Diane threw in the few remains of the evening meal; the bit of left over hamburger not used in the spaghetti sauce was no good to her anymore.
It was the same routine every time he joined them for dinner.
The kitchen in which he stood was every chef's dream. All the latest in cooking equipment stood out in shiny chrome against the deep maple finish of the cabinetry. The large double ovens, the countertop stoves, the state of the art refrigerator were all pleasing to the eye and easily worth as much as he'd make in a lifetime.
"I want to thank you for dinner," he smiled helping her load the matching state of the art dishwasher.
"You're welcome anytime," she smiled. She turned back to the double stainless steal sink and immersed her hands in the soapy water fishing around for more flatware. Her eyes journeyed into the vast darkness outside the window overlooking the backyard. Her mind was quickly swept away, her attention pulled to something outside. "You know, Emily always wanted a dog…" she trailed off. Her voice was soft; she was clearly in another realm. "I wish I'd gotten her a dog," she sighed turning to face him.
He vaguely heard the flatware clatter to the ground as he grabbed the woman by the neck. He knew how to bring her back to the present reality. He knew exactly what to do.
He wasn't sure when things had changed. He just knew they had. All of a sudden the comfortable feeling he'd been experiencing was now a feeling of panic and utter fear. The look in the eyes of the family in front of him was haunting and terrifying. The realization that it was he who'd put that look in their eyes was even more horrendous.
He looked down to his hands as they hung lifeless at his side. He was suddenly aware of the cold weight he was holding, yet its identity remained foggy.
His eyes lowered to take in the mystery within his grasp.
It was covered in blood; the stainless steel blade once immaculate and shiny was now a solid color of red. Blood dripped from the tip of the blade as the weapon hung limply in his grip.
His once blue pinstriped shirt was now splattered with blood. His Levi's were a matching be-speckled smeared mess. The bodies of Nathan and Hannah Harris now lay lifeless on the floor before his feet.
He was in the master bedroom. He'd only looked into this room a few times, had never really entered it, and had never had a reason to…until now. The white sterility of the room put him on edge, brought his already heightened temper, past its boiling point.
Somehow between now and the time he'd been helping Mrs. Harris with the dinner dishes the family had been gagged and their hands bound behind their back. Now he stared into the faces of Frank and Diane Harris. Tears streamed down their faces, their throats were choked by the sobs unable to escape their mouths.
The power he felt over them was invigorating, intoxicating, a natural high. He'd never felt anything like it before. It was a complete euphoric experience.
It wouldn't take much now to finish the job.
It was getting late; he wanted to get home before Conan O'Brien came on. Slowly he stood from the recliner Frank had graciously given up, allowing him the honor of sitting in, and turned off the television. His hands were raw, sore from scrubbing them. But, he'd managed to get what little blood had soaked through his gloves off.
His clothes had been ruined, but he'd managed to find a pair of pants from Frank's closet that would fit him fine. The shirt he'd pulled from the same closet was much nicer than the shirt he'd arrived in.
He liked his new clothes.
The cold February air was a slight shock to his system as he slowly exited the quiet home, a small bag containing his soiled clothes and a variety of leftovers hung loosely in his hand. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he zipped up his coat and walked down the front walk.
He rubbed his gloved hands together, hoping to bring warmth back to his extremities.
It was a quiet night in a quiet neighborhood. Many of the homes in the community were warmly lit, the families within watching the evening news, or even a late night talk show.
He could feel the slight hint of spring in the air; the smell of desert primrose tinged the cool breeze and flirted with his nostrils.
He strolled down the road, toward the bus stop, stopping only to allow a passing car the right of way.
It had been easier than he thought. It had taken little effort and had practically gone off without a hitch; he'd remembered to do everything as he'd planned. Of course there was the little fight Frank had given him, but that was easily handled.
And then Nathan. There had been a fire in him. He was scrappier than he'd expected.
The bus stop was within sight now, the street light casting its orange haze over the small shelter. It wasn't as warm as the Harris' home, but it still managed to be slightly inviting.
The night air was refreshing. He smiled to himself as he breathed in the cool air, filling his lungs with the sweetness of the night.
He was still reeling from his dinner date. His endorphins had switched into overdrive and had yet to release him from their tight squeeze and invigorating hold.
Spring was sure to come early, he thought taking in the view of the distant city. The lights of the Strip made the sky dance with color. It was the aurora borealis of the desert.
He loved Las Vegas this time of year.
He stopped at the intersection, gazing at the now clear sky, gazing with disdain at the threatening dark toward the west. But, for now the stars were out in mass.
He saw the bus pull up to the curb, right on schedule. He could easily be home in time for Conan. He thought better of it though. Stepping onto even a minimally populated bus could be dangerous.
It really was a good night for a walk, he thought as he stepped off the curb, his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He smiled to himself, again marveling at how easy the night had been, as he felt the now familiar weight of the knife in his hand. He wasn't sure why he was so scared at the beginning of the evening.
It had been so easy.
It had all been so easy.