Ray got out of the Denali and made his way over to the crime scene. As he ducked under the crime tape he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest and winced harshly bringing a hand to his chest, however to his relief, he realised the pain had subsided as quickly as it had come on. He was beginning to become accustomed to them now, experiencing them about four or five times a week. His doctor had told him they were perfectly normal with the medication.
When Ray finally reached the car he'd already found Sara taking photographs of the entire scene. David was crouched by the driver's door inspecting the body which sat inside. Upon seeing Ray, David looked up and smiled at Ray.
"Single GSW," he said in his usual cheerful manner. "Right between the eyes."
"I don't think we'll have any trouble identifying the body," Ray told him as he looked at the familiar face which sat lifeless in the driver's seat, a neat bullet hole where his 'third eye' could have been located. "Juan Menard, forty-four years old, leader of the gang known as Los Ángeles de la Muerte."
"Formerly known as Los Ángeles de la Muerte," Sara corrected him. Reminding Ray that they had taken out the main gang ringleaders in one swift shift.
"The bullet's a through and through," David commented, lifting the head forward and looking at the rear exit wound. "It looks like your bullet's embedded in the headrest."
"We'll have the car towed back to the lab," Sara stated.
"What's your estimated TOD?" Ray asked David.
"Liver temp was ninety-seven point five. He's been dead less than an hour."
"I don't get it," Sara said, perplexed. "Norma Wainwright admitted to killing him, why are we continuing to investigate."
"We tested her hands for GSR," Vartann had suddenly appeared behind Sara. "We didn't find any."
"Maybe she washed it off?"
"If you're going to turn yourself in to the authorities, you don't wipe away the evidence," Ray stated. "I can only think of one reason for someone to turn themselves in for a crime they didn't commit."
Sara nodded, catching on to what Ray was thinking. "She's covering for someone."
Detective Vega knocked quietly on the door to a small house located in North Las Vegas. Even though it was now seven-thirty, Vega knew not to burst in loudly at this time in the morning as he thought back to the black mark against his name he had obtained several years ago. A tired woman answered the door; she was wearing a sleeping mask on the top of her head and dressed in a robe and slippers. She didn't look pleased to see the two of them at all.
"Can I help you?" She asked irritably.
"Mrs Ellis, I'm Detective Sam Vega, homicide and this is CSI Nick Stokes, we're here to ask you a few questions surrounding your husband's death."
"Don't you guys communicate at all?" Vega could sense the annoyance in her voice. "I already talked to some police guys earlier and I just need some time to think over what's happened."
"Ma'am, we believe to have found a new lead in the investigation," Nick hadn't entirely told her the truth. In reality, they were acting on an assumption and a pretty big one at that, however even if it was a little sketchy, it was certainly something.
"Go on then," she reluctantly invited the two officers inside and ushered them into a sitting room. The room they saw was filled with many bouquets of flowers and pictures of the Ellis family in far happier times. This was a disadvantage of visiting a victim's family home after they had been informed of their death; it made the guilt feel even worse. "So you gonna sit around all day or are you gonna ask me something?"
"Mrs Ellis, was your husband receiving any threats at all prior to his death?" Vega asked. "Through letters, phone calls, anything which suggests someone had a grudge against him?"
"Apart from a few graffiti problems with kids down at the church, none at all. Matthew was not the kind of man to stir up trouble, I can't think of anyone who would want him dead, let alone murdered in the most brutal way possible." Vega felt certain he saw a few tears descending down Mrs Ellis' cheeks.
"Did your husband ever mention this man at all? His name is Joseph Huyt," Nick handed a picture of Joseph Huyt to the bereaved widow who shook her head.
"Never seen or heard of him."
"What about this man, Greg Sanders?"
"Now he deserves a place in hell after what he done to Marlene and her bo..."
"CSI Sanders was excused for that incident, just answer the question. Has your husband spoken of him recently?" Nick growled in anger which invoked surprise from both Vega and Mrs Ellis.
"No, no he hasn't."
"Okay Mrs Ellis, we've got just one more question," Vega spoke, "did your husband wear a necklace or a pendant of some sort?"
"Yeah, he always wore a pendant with a cross on it; he'd never go out without it. Why's that relevant?"
"We believe it was taken from him, the first man died in a similar manner to your husband. He was Jewish and his Star of David pendant was also taken."
"It helps us with our investigation. Thanks very much for your time Mrs Ellis."
"We're sorry for your loss..." Nick began before he was interrupted by Mrs Ellis and shooed away from the home.
"Don't give me that nonsense," she ushered them out the front door, slamming it behind them.
"Well, at least something good came out of that," Nick sighed.
"What would that be?"
"Well, we can confirm our cases are connected and secondly, none of the victims knew each other at all, I'm starting to think that Joseph Huyt and Matthew Ellis are just random targets."
"But why are they so focused in getting Sanders then?"
"Like I said earlier, I think the previous two victims, were just practice."
Greg wiped his eyes wearily as he continued to search online for any more information regarding the National Gathering and the Blood Eagle which could be useful in any way. The information he could find wasn't any more helpful, as it highlighted stuff which Peter had already told them about. He managed to find more research on some Norwegian websites; however he knew he didn't know the language well enough to understand what it was saying.
An unceasing thought had made its way to the front of his mind. He was a target, or maybe, he was the target. He pondered on what Nick had said earlier how the two victims had just been practice. Practice? Was his fate destined to be more horrific than the two who had already died before him?
He had to hope that they would find the perpetrators before he became their next victim, but forensically; they had nothing, except possibly a white van which could be found anywhere else in Vegas. He hoped they were wrong, he hoped that the deaths and the letters were unrelated, or that it was all just one horrible nightmare.
"I'm going to be taking off now," he heard Peter say behind him. "I fly back to Los Angeles on Sunday morning, so if you need my help before then, just give me a call again." Greg simply nodded.
He wanted to say something like 'thanks for your help,' but instead he found himself asking more questions. "Why me? What have I done which has supposedly betrayed my ancestry?"
"Peter sighed and looked at him gravely. "If I honestly knew the answer to that, I would tell you. I'm sorry."
Greg had nothing more to say to him. Peter wordlessly took his coat and his suitcase and silently left him to carry on his research. For the next hour or so, Greg sat there, just pondering on the recent events. It seemed every step they made in the investigation took them a step further away from the truth. With a groan he folded his arms on the desk and rested his head on top of them, allowing his frustrations to send him to sleep.
"Catherine!" Mandy caught a flash of red hair walk past the prints lab and she dashed outside to catch her up. "Catherine, I've got print results back from the gun used to kill Juan Menard."
Catherine turned round and smiled at her, "go on then, let's see them."
"Well the prints on the barrel of the gun all belong to Norma Wainwright," Mandy reported to her, "however, I found a partial on the trigger and it's not a match to Norma."
"So she is covering for someone then," Catherine concluded seeing satisfied with the results. "I'll go and pass the results on to Brass."
"Wait, wait there's more!" Mandy called out to her as she turned away. "Selma found some epithelials on the trigger, most likely dried sweat. Not a match to Norma Wainwright but our donor is male and has seven alleles in common with her."
Mandy saw Catherine think for a moment and then her eyes lit up, as she assumingly was able to finally figure something out. "Now that makes sense," she told herself. "Thanks Mandy," she added, taking away the results off her hand and dashing off in the direction of PD.
Mandy herself began to turn around and head back to her lab when she realised she had just knocked into somebody causing them to drop their papers. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" she panted as she frantically bent down to pick up the papers accidentally knocking heads with the person she'd just bumped into.
"Whoa, watch it Webster!" Nick teased, helping her pick up the papers he'd dropped.
"Oh god Nick, you're bleeding," she cried out as Nick realised that his nosebleed had been spurred on by the knock.
"Don't worry about it Mandy, it'll stop in a bit," he assured her.
"I'm so sorry!" She began blushing as Nick stood up again.
"No sweat, no sweat, I was on my way out of here anyway."
"I thought you were still working the Matthew Ellis case?"
"Yeah, well we kind of don't have many leads for it, and I need rest now... and food, so I'm calling it a day. You know, you should do the same you look exhausted."
"I was on my way out actually," she admitted grabbing her handbag.
"Well let me escort you back to your car then," Nick said, in a mockingly posh voice as he grabbed Mandy by the arm and frogmarched her out to the car park.
"Why is Lucius here?" Norma Wainright demanded to Brass and Ray who sat on the other end of the table in the interrogation room. Norma was wearing the standard orange clothes, it was obvious that she had been crying recently again. Her fifteen year old son, Lucius, sat beside her, his eyes not making any contact with the officers who sat before him.
"Mrs Wainwright, I think you know why Lucius is with us," Brass replied firmly.
"We found your prints all over the gun," Ray told her. "However the only print we found on the gun is not a match to yours. Furthermore, we found DNA on the trigger, nerves can cause abrupt perspiration. This DNA was not a match to you, but you have seven allele markers in common."
"What you might call 'protecting someone', is what we call 'Obstruction of justice,'" Brass explained to the woman who seemed unnerved at what Brass was saying. "It also comes with a maximum of twenty years in prison. Is that what you want?"
Everyone in the room knew that the last sentence was not aimed at Norma Wainwright as a deathly silence descended upon the interrogation table, only interrupted by the ticking of Ray's watch. Norma opened her mouth to speak but she was interrupted.
"I did it," Lucius spoke up firmly.
"Lucius, what are you doing?" Norma questioned her son's actions.
"I said I did it. I took the gun from your bedroom door, I followed him away from the police station, I found him parked on the side of the road and I shot him. I shot him point blank straight between the eyes." He recapped his story tears began to well up in both his and his mother's eyes. He accentuated the way he had killed in cold blood and felt no remorse in what he had done.
"Please, don't! I already lost your sister this week; I can't lose you as well!"
"I did it for her mom!" Both of them began to bawl as they realised they probably would never see each other again besides behind a glass screen. "I did it for Claire!"
"Please captain, take me instead!" She begged to the homicide detective.
"I'm sorry Mrs Wainwright, I can't do that," he replied sorrowfully.
"We're sorry for your loss Mrs Wainwright," Ray tried saying pitifully trying to ease the situation although deep down he knew that the words meant nothing as he observed the weeping Wainwright's last moments that were worth living.
Sara returned from the ballistics lab having dropped off the bullet she had extracted from the headrest of Juan Menard's car. As she entered the locker room a muffled bang could be heard as Bobby fired a bullet from the gun which Norma Wainwright had handed in. She sat down on one of the benches and pulled out her cell phone. No new texts. No missed calls. She exhaled deeply as she put her phone back in her pocket and stared blankly at the lockers opposite her.
"Where is he at the moment?" A deep, soothing voice echoed into the locker room, Sara wiped away her eyes, not wanting anyone to see her in this state, and turned to see Ray standing in the doorway.
"Caracas," she replied, trying not to sound bitter. "He's out there for at least another two weeks, depending on how quickly the bugs... do their thing."
"Do you miss him?"
"Every day," she replied honestly. "I come home from work every morning, hoping he'll be waiting there for me, dressed in that silly fishing hat. I wake up every morning hoping he'd have come home during the day and slept on the couch, not wanting to wake me up. Or that I'll get a call from him telling me to go and pick him up at the airport."
There was a momentary silence only disturbed by another muffled bang from the ballistics lab. Ray spoke up finally, "we closed the case. The son confessed to killing him."
"I know we're not supposed to take sides in an investigation, but... I can't help but feel sorry for the Wainwrights."
"I know what you mean, sometimes good people have to pay the price, and it's just... tough," Ray found himself lost for words and said nothing more. The two of them prepared to go home for a minimal amount of sleep. It had been a particularly long shift which had started with the stake-out, yet that felt like a hundred miles away.
"Guys, I don't mean to stop y'all from leaving," Bobby Dawson poked his head through the doorway. "Come and take a look at this."
Bobby whisked them back to the ballistics lab and gestured for Ray to look under the microscope.
"The bullet on the left is the round I fired from the Wainwright's pistol," Bobby explained to them as they compared the bullets under the microscope. "The bullet on the right is the round extracted from Juan Menard."
"The striations don't match," Ray commented, "they're not even close!"
"Are you sure?" Sara asked dumbfounded.
"I'm positive Sara, I double checked and everything," Bobby said, picking up the Wainwright's gun. "This pistol was not used to kill Juan Menard."
"Okay Lucius, I'm tired, I'm sure you're tired, my CSIs have clocked out on overtime so let's get this over with quick okay?" Brass spoke to the teenager firmly, indicating he was not playing games.
"Look, I already told you, I killed the bastard!" Lucius hollered back.
"No, you didn't," Brass talked him down, passing over a photo of the bullet comparisons which Bobby had pulled up. "The bullet on the left was your bullet, the one on the right, the one used to kill Juan Menard. The grooves on the bullets don't match, which tells me that you didn't kill him." Brass glared at Lucius who skulked back in his seat. "Come on Lucius, cut the crap and tell me what really happened."
"I wanted to be a hero," he whined, reluctantly admitting he was not Juan's killer. "I went out for a walk after we saw you release him, I saw him dead, in the car at the side of the road. I was angry that someone had beaten me to him, so I went home, took out my mom's pistol. Fired a round in the sky and told her I'd killed him, hoping she'd go to the police."
"But why Lucius, why would you want to make yourself into something you're not?"
"I wanted to be the hero! I wanted to be the one who avenged Claire; put that bastard in his rightful place. The guy who really shot him, he shouldn't be imprisoned, he should be honoured, when he dies, he deserves a place in Arlington, he deserves a public holiday after him, he's my hero."
"I've never had much time for heroes myself," Brass admitted to him, Lucius simply sat in front of him scowling. "You know what I want you to do? I want you to follow Officer Langley, I want you to call your mom to take you home and I want you to stay at home okay, no more heroes' business."
"Trust me, when you're older, you'll be thanking me," Brass concluded the interrogation and directed Lucius to be escorted away by Officer Langley.
He left the interrogation room and yawned deciding that it was time to call it a day. Catherine suddenly emerged from the observation room and approached him. "What now?" she asked.
"What now?" He repeated the question. "Now, I'm gonna go home, put my feet up and grab myself a nice beer and you should do the same. You've been working eighteen hours now and you know Ecklie's gonna be pissed at handing you your overtime cheque."
"But what about the investigation?"
"Lay it to rest Catherine; we'll carry on with it tomorrow okay?"
She paused for a moment before agreeing reluctantly, "fine. I'll see you tomorrow then."
Greg was awoken by a high-pitched chirping sound. He opened his eyes, assuming he would wake up in his apartment and shoo the birds away from his balcony but to his surprise he found himself waking up behind his desk back at the lab. The chirping sound had actually been a ring, signalling that Greg had received a text; he opened his cell phone and saw that it was from Amy Griffin. Deciding that the text could wait he stretched and had a look at his watch.
Nine pm? He realised he must have been asleep at his desk for at least eight hours and that he would be back on shift in just three more.
"Oh good, you're awake," a distinctive Irish voice called out to Greg. He turned and saw that it belonged to Kayleigh Monaghan, the detective he had worked with on a case two weeks previously concerning a woman who had been flattened by her fridge. "Come on, I've been told to take you home."
"Thanks for the offer," he replied. "But there's no point really, I'm back on shift in three hours..."
"I've been told you have tomorrow off, come on, you're going home, get your things ready we're leaving in five minutes."
Greg opened his mouth to protest but he knew it would be no use. With a bit of effort, he heaved himself out of his chair, closed down the computer and locked his office. He followed Monaghan to her car, the case he had been working on earlier wiped away from his mind.
It was dark by the time Greg had returned to the apartment. He thanked Monaghan for the ride home and made his way into the apartment. The lights in the corridors had been switched off, and his ascent up the staircase to the fourth floor was mostly in darkness, but this was now a usual routine for Greg as he made his way back to his apartment.
He fumbled with his keys for a moment but found that the door opened surprisingly easy. When he entered the apartment he found the lights were off and the room was freezing. Damn it, he thought to himself, forgot to turn the air con off. He ditched his crime kit on the table and headed to the kitchen for some food. He opened the fridge and decided that there wasn't enough in there for anything proper. He'd order pizza instead.
At that moment, the home phone began ringing. Groaning, he presumed it was from the crime lab asking to do another shift despite just being sent home. Hold on, they never call the home phone. He answered the phone cautiously. "Sanders."
"You better watch your back, Hojem."
A sudden wave of dread hit him full on and he slammed the phone down. The door is always a bitch to open. He dashed to his bedroom. I never leave the air conditioning on. He pulled out the pistol which lay in his bedside drawer. I restocked the fridge yesterday. He cocked the gun and headed warily to the one room he hadn't checked yet.
He burst open the bathroom door and stepped inside pointed his gun around the room. There was nobody in there, at least, nobody who could harm him. Greg looked on in horror as he saw the Blood Eagle slumped up against the bathroom wall. The body's back was turned, but blooded silver wings had sprouted from the sides. Slashes were apparent on the back and if Greg could see its face, he would be sure it would be screaming in pain.
The walls of Greg's bathroom were decorated with words spelled out in a crimson red 'paint'. He thought he heard a small noise sound out behind him as he read the words embezzled on his walls.
DON'T. TURN. AROUND.
He heard the noise again which made the hairs on the back of Greg's neck stand on end. The noise got louder, whatever it was was approaching. Greg took a deep breath, it was now or never. Tightening his hold on the trigger of his pistol, he turned around...
TO BE CONTINUED
A/N: I bet you all hate me at this moment for leaving this story on a cliffhanger. Well, you're gonna hate me even more, because I've timed this perfectly to coincide with my vacation. Yes, unfortunately this does mean that you're going to have to wait longer for the next part! :P This story will be continued in Sirens (1x07) which will be published on Friday, August 12.
I know, I deserve to be Blood Eagled for it, but I hope you enjoyed the story and keep the reviews coming in everybody, the feedback for this story has been fantastic and I'm very grateful to all of you for it!