Fade to Black
Part 7

All disclaimers and notes may be found in the introduction.


I can hear Toby moving around in the living room. I told him it wouldn't
take long, that Lisa and I never unpacked last night when we came over. I
tell him all I want to do is grab my duffel bag and my briefcase.... and
pack a bag for Josh. How can Lisa do this? How can she work knowing when
her cell phone rings, it's because somebody died? Donna died today. My
god, Donna died today.

It doesn't take more than ten minutes to stuff some clothes in a bag for
Josh, but when I step back out into the living room, Toby's sitting on
the couch, with his hands on his knees, surveying the papers and pictures
Lisa left spread over Josh's carpet. Coming in, it took a real triumph of
will not to stomp those stupid pictures into the carpet. Are there
picture like that of Donna..... of Lisa..... I've got to stop this....
I've got to stop this. How can anyone take pictures like that? How can
anyone do that? How can anyone with any sort of humanity....... "Toby,
let's go." Dammit! He's not getting up. He has this sort of interested,
sort of disgusted look on his face, and he doesn't get up. "Toby, please,
Josh needs..... "He does get up then. He gets up and piles Lisa's papers
inside the empty briefcase on the floor beside them. Toby, what do you
think you're doing?

"How does she know what these mean?" I don't know, Toby. Can we go now? I
don't want to think about those pictures. I really don't. Please, can we
go now? "Is there some sort of manual, or book, or something that
explains the logic of a serial killer?" I don't know. Why would I know
this? Toby, I want to go back. I want to keep an eye on Josh. I do not
want to think about those pictures. "If there was, it would be at the
Hoover building, wouldn't it." No. No, it wouldn't. Her office was at
Quantico..... she gave lectures..... I think I said that out loud. Toby's
got this thoughtful look on his face now. "Want to take a side trip?" He
sounds really concerned when he asks. Toby, don't be concerned, just
let's go back to the White House. "If there was some sort of book, it
would be in Virginia?" He's giving me this look now. How would I know, I
just......

"The house..... She and Jamie work out of her study sometimes......
on...... stuff like this....." That night last year.... I was just going
to bring Lisa some coffee...... those pictures..... they were just
children. How can anyone do that to another human being? How can they do
this? God, if you're up there, I'm having some trouble with this one.
Could you maybe clue me in here?

Toby's talking now. Toby's talking, and I wasn't paying attention.
Something about going to my house. Toby, I don't want to go to my house,
I want to go to the White House. I need to talk to Josh. I need to see
Josh. I don't want to go to my house. He's still talking though, and
leading me down to the car. I don't want to go to my house. My house
doesn't have Lisa in it, and so there's no reason for me to go to my
house. Can't we just go back to the White House now?

*

He's sitting in Lisa's chair, and I know that there are a half dozen cars
filled with FBI agents and Secret Service sitting outside, but I'm not
okay with being in here. Toby won't budge though. He's been reading for
hours now, and I can't keep myself from pacing the length of her study
over and over and over and over again. At one end of the room, there's
this picture of Lisa and Donna sitting on her desk, and it bothers me
that I can't quite remember where it's from. Josh is just off to the
side, so I know I must have taken it, but for the life of me, I can't
remember where.

Ten steps. Ten steps and I'm standing in front of the far wall. There's
one shelf that isn't covered with books. I think she keeps family
pictures on the shelf to remind her that most people are nice, but I just
wish they weren't there. They keep reminding me I ought to call her
mother. Jamie called her dad on the drive to Arlington, but I have to
call her mother. I wonder if anyone called Donna's parents, or her
brother. I didn't even realize I was crying until I glimpsed my
reflection in a picture frame.

Behind me, I can hear Toby standing up and walking over to the shelf he's
reading his way through. If nothing else, I finally know what's in all
those journals she keeps in here. They're descriptions of interviews.
Interviews with these.... these things......I don't know what Toby thinks
he's going to find, and I'm not sure I want to know. Can't he just leave
this to the..... the professionals! We do not know what we're doing, and
reading her notes is not going to give you some fabulous insight. Can we
go back to the White House now?

"Sam, listen to this." He's holding one of those damn journals. Can't he
see I don't want to listen to that? ".....the Reverend believes he is a
crusader for God, thus the choice of victims he felt threatened his
cause....." How can you read those like they're some textbook? I can't
listen to this, Toby. I just...... I do not want to hear Lisa's thoughts
on some serial killer. "......by placing a crucifix in their hands, he
believed he was protecting them from evil. It was a symbol of......" That
photo, the one of Lisa with her father, I wonder how old she was. She
must have still been with the FBI, because they're grinning like crazy
and holding their badges. It must have been right after she graduated. I
was still in college them, and she'd already finished law school.

"Are you listening to this, Sam?" No, Toby, no I'm not. I'm trying very
purposefully not to listen, because I really don't want to know why
someone would want to do that. I can't wrap my mind around the idea, and
I don't want to. Besides, trying to understand this monster isn't going
to bring Lisa back. It isn't going to bring my wife home, and it won't
bring Donna back, so what do I care? I'm pacing again, and Toby's
reaching for another journal. It's been hours, and I'm sure they're
wondering where we went, and the stack of books on Lisa's desk is growing
higher all the time, but Toby doesn't look ready to leave yet. On my next
pass by the desk, I notice that he's got pages marked. He's got pages
marked, and that's what he's reading to me. Why does he have pages
marked?

"......... the UNSUB leaves clues for the investigators because he wants
a chase. He wants us to be worthy of his crimes. He likes the feelings of
power, of outsmarting the government, the FBI....." Look at my face Toby,
I don't care about this. There's a picture of Sarah, and the girls. I
think Lisa took it at the reception. They look so sweet. ".... the
trinkets and knife left at Agent Sattler's home were meant to reward him
for a job well done. He was telling the FBI that he found Sattler to be a
worthy adversary......"

Something shiny on the shelf by her law texts. Out of curiosity, and a
need to do something other than listen to Toby read from Lisa's journals,
I walk over, and bend down a bit. Her reading glasses. I wouldn't have
noticed them if the light hadn't caught them. The sun must be coming in
at an angle now. I certainly didn't see the glare before. Wait, wasn't
she wearing her reading glasses this morning? I could swear she was. To
examine the pictures, I know she had on her glasses. How did they.......

"........bears all the signs of a crime of passion, however, Mr. Young
leaves the scene with the undeniable mark of an organized killer. Ressler
characterizes such patterns as restricted to two killers, one organized,
one disorganized......" I reach out, to pick up her glasses, as if they
could speak up and tell me how they can to be here, but when I run my
hand over the shelf, I stop cold. "...... more likely draws attention to
the passion Mr. Young holds for his cause, for his killings. He wants to
make a passionate statement to the world, however, his intelligence
forces him to leave a very organized scene behind him....."

My hand closes around the cold object, and I know what it is before I
even open my hand to look. Her wedding ring. How did...... "Sam, that's
it! I think we can take this and start to figure out..... Sam?" She was
here. She was here, and he might have been here too. Wait, if she was
here after..... He brought her here. Why would he bring her here? There
wasn't that much time between when they disappeared and when Toby and I
came. Only a few hours, and the house is under surveillance, so how did
he.......

Toby jumps out of his chair, and I jump out of my skin at the sound..
Some of our things are still boxed up in the attic, and the crashing
sound emanates through the house. What if they're still here? Lisa might
still be here! I can't stop my legs from dragging me through the living
room, and I'm halfway up the steps before I hear Toby yelling at me. I
don't care. The door's open, and suddenly, I can't remember if I shut it
yesterday after the thing with CJ and the pictures. I'm almost sure I
did, but I was in a hurry......

A pile of boxes, the ones with Lisa's old dishes, are strewn about the
floor. I guess that was the noise we heard, but I don't know if...... The
window is wide open, and the curtains, they're fluttering in the wind.
It's cold up here, and I know I didn't have the window open yesterday. I
hear Toby on the stairs behind me, but I can't turn around. My footsteps
make a funny hollow noise on the wood floors, and I guess I usually wear
sneakers when I come up here, because I never noticed it before. The
window..... There are these odd circles on the sill and on the floor
under the window. No, not circles, more like, ovals maybe. It takes me a
long moment before I realize what they are.

Toby's hand comes to rest on my shoulder then, and I know he's looking at
them too, because I hear the deep rumble of his voice fill the quiet
pounding in my head. "Blood."

 

Fade to Black - 8

 

 

 

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