A/N: I have had this story for a long time now, and I have fiddled back and forth whether I should publish or not. I have been in a terrible funk lately, and I have lost my mojo to write, for fun and for my job. Not much has been working to get my mojo back, so I thought about this community and how it inspired me to write. I know that a lot of people have left this fandom, and there might not be much interest, but what the heck, right?

I do have about seven chapters completed of this story and I hope to continue this story at a slow, steady pace. I tend to rush my storytelling, and I want to try and not do that with this story. Plus, I want to keep my interest and mojo.

So, anywho, here is the start of the story. Like I said, I've been toying with the story for a while, so it is not in direct canon with the timeline of current events. It's just a story with characters I like to give a voice, which reminds me...

DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything related to CSI. Mea culpa. Also not edited.


PROLOGUE
November 2006
Harold Cummings couldn't believe he was out of that room, and as he gasped for every labored breath he took, he found a sliver of solace that he would not have die there.

He wished he knew why he was meant to die. He was asked over and over how intelligent he thought he was. How aware he was of his own faults and failures. How stupid he was to believe that no one would ever discover that he was a fraud.

Now all he could think about is how he took fresh air for granted, because nothing ever tasted so sweet. Even as he felt the coppery taste of blood trickle down the side of his mouth.

"Who... the hell... were... you?" he gasped to the sky above him. He laid on the ground helpless just waiting for the inevitable. Discarded like junk in the middle of nowhere. Throughout his entire career he unceasingly and charismatically delivered upon the pulpit how eternal life awaited the righteous man. Sure, he had human foibles — but what was more important? The message or the messenger?

But he knew the true answer: Money. It's always money.

Now he laid alone and bleeding. Only the nocturnal sounds of the desert enveloped him. Not his fame. Not his fortune. Not his faith. Eternal life seemed meaningless while in pain in the middle of fucking nowhere.

His faith. He thought about that so much in that room. That room that enveloped him in nothing but silence. "You need silence for atonement," he was told. Those were the last five words he heard from another human being (save the voices he heard over and over in his head) in... Days? Weeks? My God, it could have been months for all he knew. He never knew how long he was in that godforsaken room. It was almost a relief when the man forcibly released him from that prison.

Too bad he cut him up all over his weakened body before he did so. And as the knife ripped through his flesh upon his arms, chest and face, the man. ... or was a ghost?... said... The beating left him bleeding but the man... that ghost said...

Nothing.

Alone. Bleeding. Barely breathing. Dying. No one would know he was dead. Did anyone know he was gone? Would anyone care? God, would he hear another voice before he took another breath?

At least he could think of one notion of solace. Not in that room, he thought to himself. I'm not in that room.


TBC