Disclaimer: 'CSI' and its characters are the property of CBS and Alliance/Alantis Networks, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's note: This story is very dear to me. I hope it isn't too depressing, but I do advise you to keep your tissues within reach. Enjoy!

English is not my native language. If you find an annoying writing error in this story, please email me (instead of mentioning it in a review) and I will correct it immediately.

When the Voice is Quiet

By Karin

A black bird hops on the pile of dirt. It is looking for food in the turned up soil. It likes it here. There are hardly any humans, and the silence makes a welcome change to the commotion of the never sleeping city Las Vegas.

Just when it's about to start its dinner, it hears footsteps approaching on the shingle. The raven is in doubt. It wants to stay here, but it's afraid. Its instinct immediately takes over, telling it that humans aren't to be trusted. Even if the person in question is just a cute little girl. With loud flapping of its wings, the bird flees the scene.

The girl startles when a raven flies up. Unconsciously she takes a step back, afraid of the big bird. She's small for her age. She's nine and a half years old, but she looks not older than eight. She has sleek, dark hair that falls on her shoulders and big dark eyes in a pretty, doll-like face.

She turns up the collar of her red coat. It's cold and late, almost dinnertime. She's the only one on the graveyard. Most people have gone home to prepare dinner or rest after a long day of work. She has come straight from school, later than expected.

The setting sun will soon make place for the full moon. Big trees that surround the graveyard cast large, dark shadows on the graves. She shivers. Something in the whole ambiance of this place makes her feel uncomfortable. She gets the childish feeling that the trees are watching her, ready to grab her and pull her inside where no one will ever find her.

She jumps when she hears the creaking sound of dead branches. A squirrel dashes past her feet. She chuckles softly about her own paranoia, about her lively imagination. Nevertheless she can't stop peering around, and her pace quickens. She has memorized the way. Left, straight ahead, then right. Until she stands face to face with a small tombstone.

She takes off her backpack and places it on the ground. She doesn't care that the grass is wet due to the last downpour, nor that it can run on her cute yellow skirt. Even the muddy ground doesn't bother her. Without thinking twice she flops down next to the grave.

Sitting cross-legged she looks at the gravestone. It's beautiful, made of white marble. The letters of her mother's name have been engraved with the outmost precision. She traces the letters, feeling the cold stone under her fingertips. A small smile plays at the corners of her mouth.

"Hi mom," she says calmly. Her eyes don't betray any feelings; her face is blank. "I've taken along some wild flowers. I know how much you love them."

She thoroughly removes the other flowers. They are withered, not worthy to lie here and decorate her mother's grave. A frown appears on her face when she finds a single red rose between the withered flowers. It's still fresh. She wonders what it's doing there, who has put it there. It's a beautiful rose, apparently placed by someone who cared a lot about her mother. Maybe one of her mother's friends…

With a shrug she puts the rose straight, and then arranges her own bouquet of wild flowers with their buds to the stone. She also brushes away the leaves that have covered the grave. She then nods her approval. Now everything is neat again. She likes it when things are arranged.

Her fingers linger tenderly on the grave. It's almost as if she can feel her mother's warmth, her mother's presence. A confusing and uncomfortable feeling wells up in her as the thought of her mother lying underneath her creeps into her mind. It disturbs her and immediately she pulls back her hands. As if she burned her fingers.

She does not want to think of her mother lying there. She does not want to think of her mother at all in that matter. She tries to shake off the disturbing thoughts, and quickly puts her mind on something else. School. That's a safe subject.

"I have a surprise for you, mom."

She takes a piece of paper out of her schoolbag. It's crawled in a childlike handwriting. It's almost unreadable, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is the A+ on the right top of the paper and the note saying: 'Excellent.'

She holds up the paper in front of the gravestone as if she thinks her mother can see it that way. "Look mom, an A+. The teacher says it's the best essay she has ever read." Her face is beaming with pride and her voice can't hide the satisfaction. "She wants to make a copy of it, so she can use it as an example for everyone else. Even for the other classes. Good, huh."

After holding it up for just a few seconds longer, she smoothes the paper, folds it up and puts it back in her schoolbag. "The teacher didn't even make a remark about that picture I glued upside down. I thought she would, but she didn't. You were right. I…"

The last words die on her lips and slowly the smile disappears from her face as a sudden, vivid memory of her mother and her filters through her muddled mind.

They're sitting at the table, cutting out pictures and sticking them to the essay. She sharply holds her breath as she realizes that she has glued the picture upside down. Tears of shock and annoyance appear in her eyes.

Her mother laughs. But when she sees the tears that glisten in her daughter's eyes, she quickly throws an arm around her and pulls her closer. "It's okay, honey. Just a small mistake, nothing to worry about. Your teacher won't even notice." Her mother kisses her forehead. "You're my darling. Never forget that."

The warm voice of her mother sends a stab of pain through her entire body. A sorrow, so real and intense that she gasps for breath, settles in her stomach. Sudden tears burn in her throat. She fights to control herself, because she doesn't want to cry. She needs to be strong, to be a strong girl, and strong girls don't cry. She has come an end, she's not about to start now.

She tries so hard, swallowing the tears and the lump in her throat. She has not cried since that terrible accident. Eleven days already. Almost two whole weeks without shedding a single tear. She managed by suppressing every thought, every image of her mother and her together. Especially the images of the day her mother…

She shakes her head. She can't put her mind to say that word. She's not ready to deal with the truth. It was wrong of her to come here, because by sitting here staring at her mother's gravestone, every memory comes back to haunt her, to be experienced all over again.

Despite her desperate attempts to block them, the horrible images flash before her eyes.

Her mother lying in the corridor, a gunshot wound to her chest. Blood is pouring out of the wound, soaking her mother's shirt, forming a pile on the ground. Her eyes, wide open of terror and pain. The colorless lips forming a name. Her name. And the hand with which she tries to pull her daughter closer. The hand, covered with blood, that falls down before it can reach her as the life leaves her mother's body.

The despair she feels as she sits next to her mother, holding her cold hand and talking to her as if nothing has happened.

The paramedics pulling her away from the scene, their hands trying to save her mother's life. But it is too late. There's nothing they can do for her. She could have told them that.

The look in the paramedic's eyes as he looks up to the police woman holding her. And the arm that's being wrapped around her, together with the woman's compassionate voice: "Poor child."

All of the painful memories hit her hard. She squeezes her eyes. "No, I don't want to remember," she moans. She folds her arms around her knees and franticly rocks herself back and forth. "Please, don't make me remember."

Blood on her clothes, on her hands. Her mother's bottomless eyes, staring past her. A hand on her shoulder guiding her to a chair, where she waits and waits. Minutes go by, soon followed by hours. She doesn't speak. She doesn't move. She's just sitting there like a statue; her hands are clutched together in her lap.

A gasp of terror behind her. A man saying: 'No. Please, no.' She knows the voice, but she doesn't react. The man kneels down next to her mother's body, taking her hand. Shock is displayed on his face. He looks so tired, so old suddenly. She doesn't know him anymore. This is not her father. And that is not her mother.

She tries to push the memories back, but no matter how hard she tries, her efforts only bring them back full force.

The funeral. The sky clears up after days of clouds, and a watery sun casts a warm glow over the people standing around the grave. She knows most of them. Her mother does not have many acquaintances, only a few good friends.

The casket being lowered into the ground. The tears in her father's eyes, the sobbing behind her. She doesn't cry. The tears won't come. With dry and hollow eyes she stares at the grave, while everyone else gives his grief free rein. She can't help but feel guilty, as if by not crying she's betraying her mother. But she can't cry. The pain is there, the sorrow as well, but she's so afraid of showing it. She can't. She just can't.

Everything she wanted to forget, every horrendous memory… They all flash before her eyes. Suddenly she is overwhelmed with emotions. The same emotions she bottled up so well. It was easier to hold them back than to give in to them.

A tide of panic surges through her, her heart is racing and shivers run down her spine. Her hand moves up to her mouth, trying to hold back a scream, but the sorrow is stronger than she is and so she opens her mouth.


Her heartrending scream pierces the stillness of the graveyard. Birds fly up, startled and frightened by the despair in her voice. Squirrels shoot into the trees and a single stray cat runs away as fast as it can.

Then everything falls silent. The birds stop twittering. The wind drops. Leaves that have been lifted by the wind, played with, fall down on the ground. They lie still, just as still as everyone here.

Dark clouds pass over. The weather perfectly suits to her mood, but she doesn't notice any of it. Her thoughts are with the terror of the past week.

"This isn't true." She shakes her head violently, trying to dismiss the idea. Her cheeks are wet of tears, but she doesn't seem to notice, as if she doesn't realize that the tears have begun to flow. "This can't be true. My mother can't be dead. Please, I don't want her to be dead."

After suppressing every memory deep in her mind, after the denial of the past couple of days she finally has to acknowledge the truth. Seeing her mother's name engraved in the stone and realizing that she's really buried underneath her, she can't deny it any longer. Her mother is really gone. She died exactly eleven days ago, leaving her little girl all alone. Nothing will bring her back.

The truth is hard, very hard. A sickening feeling overtakes her, and she feels like throwing up. She doesn't know what to do with the feelings raging on inside of her. They are tearing her apart, fighting to get the upper hand. Sorrow, despair, anger… Feelings she never felt before, but are now so intense that they threaten to overwhelm her, threaten to draw her into a whirlpool of emotion.

"No! No! NO!"

She raises her head, fixating her gaze on a point in the sky. Her eyes are two depths of misery and pain. "Why did you have to take my mother! Why?!" Desperate tears are streaming down her face. "She had done nothing wrong! Why didn't you take someone else? Anyone."

The words gush from her lips. She knows in her heart that she's being selfish and unfair. She would never do to anyone what was done to her, never make someone feel what she is feeling right now, but the pain is too strong. It's talking for her.

"Why did you have to take her?" she yells. More tears follow. After all these days she finally gives into the pain. It's so violent that she feels like she's choking, but it clears the way for the unrestricted utterance of her distress.

"I want my mother to comb my hair. I want my mother to tell her stories about her work. I want to hear her laugh. I want to hug her, tell her that I love her!"

She takes a handful of soil and raises her arm, holding it up to the sky. "All I have left is this! Dirt!" She tosses it away. "I don't want this. I want my mother back! Bring my mother back! Please, bring her back. I will do anything. Just bring her back." She starts to cry heartbreakingly. 'Bring my mother back!"

She buries her face in her hands, and waits. She waits for a sign that will tell her everything is going be all right. However, there are no answers, no explanations or solutions. Absolutely nothing. Only a depressing silence surrounds her.

Then, as if someone pulled a switch, she heatedly brushes away her tears, leaving dirty muddy streaks on her cheeks. She looks up again. This time her face is contorted with rage. Anger has taken over the sorrow. It's much easier to deal with anger than the feeling that is eating away her soul. This one she can control, use to fight off the pain and despair she's feeling.

"I say my prayers every night. I prayed to you to keep everyone save. Why didn't you? Why do you have to be so mean? You're not good. You're bad. You're evil." Her eyes are flashing when she screams violently: "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! I HATE YOU!!"

Uncontrolled, in a blind fury she tosses her schoolbag away. Books and notebooks fall on the muddy ground. Pencils and pens roll over the grass. She doesn't care. Nothing matters anymore. But then she sees her essay lying in the mud. Raindrops have made the ink run, making it unreadable. A big stain of mud has covered the place on which the A+ was written. She stares at the sheet on the ground. She was so proud of that essay. The one that her mother and her made together.

While sobs well up in her throat, she picks up the paper. Tears fall on it, mingling with the raindrops, making the ink run even more. She tries to wipe away the mud, but the harder she tries, the worse the paper gets. It's of no use. She can throw the essay away.

"I'm sorry, mommy. I'm so sorry." She holds the sheet close to her chest. An overpowering feeling of guilt and regret clearly shines in her dark eyes. And immediately the sorrow returns, twice as hard. She drops on her knees. Her fists are clenched; her eyes are burning. Tears rage on, blinding her vision.

"Mommy?" Her voice breaks of emotion. "Mommy, I need you. Please come back. I love you. I love you so much."

Pressing her small body to the ground, she embraces the grave. "I want my mommy back."

The earth smothers her sobs, but her small shoulders heave as they wrack her body. She cries for everything she has lost. Her mother, her dearest friend, the safety of her childhood. Nothing can ever bring that back. Her mother is gone. She is alone now.

When the tears are finally spent, she huddles up, tucking up her knees and throwing her arms around them. That's how she stays there. Her cheek against the cold stone, offering coolness for her flushed face. The crying has exhausted her. She closes her eyes...

To Be Continued…

I hope you liked this story. Please write a review to let me know what you think of it and if you would like to read the next part. Thank you! - Karin -