CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 1946
"Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?" Marcel Marceau.
The man stood on the second floor balcony of the house that the crime scene was located in. The sun was up, the day was bright, and a gentle wind blew past him, disturbing briefly, what his rapidly thinning hair had left on his head. Hands clasped behind his back, he surveyed the backyard of the home with a careful eye, with a well trained, cautious look of indifference. Although one person lay dead the floor below, and the murmurs of his colleagues announced they had found another, he felt, pleasant. Except, pleasant wasn’t really the word he would chose to describe the feeling burning inside his chest. He still felt morbid, still felt depressed, was still angry with burning white emotions that filled every inch of his body. What he felt at that moment was not pleasantness, it was, perhaps, the only slight form of grudging acceptance he could outwardly, and inwardly, give. Conrad Ecklie, admitted, in his own way, at that precise moment, that his wife was indeed, dead, and he would, indeed, be alone for the rest of his life. It was a feeling he had felt before then, but, at those times, he had been too busy arranging Michelle’s funeral, writing her eulogy, to be bothered with it.
The man turned around, releasing his hands and gave a small sigh, most definitely one of a handful of meaningful sighs he had ever given in his life. It was, of course, privy to no one, as nobody was in the room that now lay before him as he stood on the balcony of the home in which two deaths had occurred, only hours previous. He did not like to admit defeat, but he had, been, defeated, in every way possible. The woman he had loved, had been killed, he was alone, and, he would never, ever, be in company like hers again. The love of a person’s perfect match was something that only happened once in a lifetime, as was the love of a person’s parents. He had lost both parents and lover, both parental and martial forms of love and companionship. What was left for him, was very little, save his aunt, and what he looked forward to, was not very much at all.
The murder was simple, breaking and entering, a robbery, a double homicide of the inhabitants of the home. They had been mid-wealthy retired couple who had lived in a nice house with two stories and a pool out the back. They had been alive, and now they were dead, and had been left, lying on the floor, dead, while the people who had shot them had scalped their home of anything that had a monetary value attached to it. It was a sad affair, but for someone, so indifferent as Conrad Ecklie, it was not a large bother. To him, it was just another part of his job, another crime scene to process, another villain, or two, to be discovered and hopefully caught. The haughty, angled features on his face displayed the perfect picture of dedication and caring, and did not betray the blinding rage that bubbled viciously in his gut, that yelled and screamed and roared that there he was, in the home of two people, who had now orphaned whatever children they had. He did not need reminding that, a fresh set of horror had been unleashed in those mere hours before. He already knew that whatever offspring the retired couple, had had, would now, be like him. Not exactly like him, though, because their children would be grown, would be more able, to deal, with the horror, the stress, the unending sadness. He had only been a young child when his parents had died, and, even he knew, that it had destroyed him forever, had changed his fate in a way nothing else could.
There was a scream downstairs, the sound of squabbling bodies, a roar of anguish, that pleaded for reprieve. Disturbed from his careful, but absent study of the upstairs room in front of him, the man looked up, and began to walk towards the stairs that would lead him to the source of the sound. His eyes fell on a young woman, probably in her mid twenties, only a couple of years younger than he was. She was smartly dressed, obviously someone who had already found her niche in the workforce, someone who was making money, enjoying her work, living her life, independent, free, happy. At least, earlier that day, she had been happy, earlier that day, she hadn’t known anything of the horrors in the house in which he stood. At the bottom of the stairs, he studied her for a few seconds, as she struggled against two equally as young policemen, two equally as young individuals, who, although not part of her family, knew more about the inside of that house, than she did. Of course, she must have been the girl in the photographs on the wall, the one who had smiled for Santa Claus and held up a framed certificate of some school based award.
Forcing himself to step forward, the CSI looked directly at the woman and painted a sympathetic smile on his face. One that was meaningful, calming, soothing. His eyes were cold, calculating, methodical, but his smile was meant to look real.
“If you would like to step outside Miss Ehrmann, we could sit down and talk.” Ecklie said, as the struggling body slowed, sagged, and hung there briefly, indefinitely, before the woman snatched herself away from the two policemen in movements that were sluggish with grief. The man watched her as, weeping, she turned around and took a seat on the steps of the porch in front of the house, ignoring the table and chairs that sat nearby, a set of furniture best reserved for afternoon tea and reading the paper. A handful of items, that indicated happier times spent with family, with loved ones.
Waving the two men inside, to wait, as his colleagues, the other CSIs, continued their work, Ecklie seated himself beside the woman on the steps, and the pair sat there quietly, for infinitely lasting moments. Clearing his throat as the young lady wiped her eyes with tissues produced from her handbag, the man looked at her, studying her features once more, waiting by as she steadied her breathing, and tried, valiantly, not to look like a complete wreck. Obviously, she had come over for a visit, for something, possibly after work. Of course, she hadn’t expected the police cars, the people milling in, out and about her parents’ home. No one expected both their parents to have died when only, possibly, brief days before, they had been alive. The woman was smart, because she had already gathered that there were no survivors. He didn’t need to ask, the man didn’t need to ask how she knew, because he saw the look in her eyes. It was the same look he’d seen in a mirror soon after the death of his own parents. An expression that went beyond describing, shone in the woman’s eyes.
“Both your parents, are dead, as the result of a suspected homicide.” the CSI said, putting his hands together and looking over at a young face that was now, stained with fresh tears. She knew, but he had to tell her anyway.
“Why?” the word came freshly out of her mouth, but the last letter got stuck, the message garbled as the woman tried to maintain a straight face, yes, continued to cry.
“As of yet, we are not sure of the particular motive.” the man replied, once again, indifference fighting to surface in his expression, but not succeeding. Most of his body, his mind, saw this only as procedure, only as a job, so he skirted around some words, and spoke others in their place.
Looking him directly in the eyes for the first time since she had arrived, the woman searched the CSIs face. To her, he was a realistic magic, the person that would, in time, have some, if not all, the answers. Her eyes, themselves, begged for something, anything, to ease her pain, her sorrow, the unyielding sadness which now sat within her own body.
At that moment, something twitched inside Conrad Ecklie. A mere thought flicked past his brain and was caught, ensnared, in the throughs of realism. Perhaps, it was the fact that the woman was in a similar situation to one he had been in, all those years ago, in his own home. Had he been five or so years younger, his parents would have been about the same age hers were. The man put a finger to his lips, one of the few childlike motions he had made in recent times. It was an issue of silence, the issue of a promise, also, to keep silent after what was said. It was brief, unadulterated, pure.
“My parents were murdered when I was eight years old. My wife was murdered, earlier this year. The pain, that you feel now, I know all too well. Mourn for the people you have lost if you decide to. Don’t become like me.” Ecklie said, and held out his hands, palms facing up, as if to indicate some sort of past injury.
“I am, forever scarred by what has happened to me. I will never be normal. You have been raised by people who loved you every moment, who treasured your every achievement. Do not let their passing destroy you.” the man finished, and fell silent, professionalism returning. What he had said was, strictly speaking, unprofessional, unwarranted, really, but that look in the woman’s eyes, the look that all was gone, all was lost, and would forever be lost, had prompted a rare act of generosity on his part.
Standing up, the man pressed a single finger to his lips in a repeat of what he had done brief minutes ago.
“I have to return to work. Direct any further questions you have to the policeman here. I will be seeing you later, at some point. Take care Miss Ehrmann.” He said, and went back inside, back up to the second floor, where he retrieved his kit and began processing fresh evidence, things, items, that had not, as of that point in time, been examined.
The woman cried, she sobbed, she made noises of grief, but she sat on the steps to the porch for some time afterwards, and, in respect, the people who had invaded the home of her parents, left her to her own devices. She wasn’t really, in the way, and they had already processed the outside for evidence. And so, she sat, inside the crime scene tape, on the steps of a house, that, to her, would be forever changed in her eyes, and yet, would still, hold fond memories. Eventually, time moved on, and she moved on, but, for that immediate moment in time, the most horrible moment in her life, the words of some man she would hardly, ever, see again, had left her without words. She could only suspect, only hope, that the strange man, who had shared something so intimate with her, had been able to move on as well.
It was a pity that he had not been able to move on. Forever scarred, and forever changed by the murders in his life that had occurred so close to home for him, Conrad Ecklie was the same man he had always been. A professional, indifferent, hard working man, who did his job with the upmost dedication, and cared about very few people, at all.