CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 805
Picture prompt: Write a ficlet inspired by the following image: Forest & Creek.
“No, no, like this. God, Conrad, what kind of friendless childhood did you lead?” Michelle said, laughing, and trying to show him again, by slowly moving her hands, so he could match his movements, a young children’s clapping game. He copied her with intense concentration, obviously frustrated that he hadn’t yet mastered something so simple, when he had long been the king of his own world.
The young couple stood in the waters of Lake Mead, at a comfortable depth where they could float, if they chose to, or could stand, the water coming up to a little above their waists. The woman stood, shivering gently against a fresh summer breeze with a slight chill, and for a moment her arms were illuminated with goose bumps, before vanishing under the basking light of a pale, blazing, summer sun.
So they tried again, and, seeming to have caught on a little more, their hands matched in a rather perfect rhythm, creating wet slapping sounds as they met. She had sung the song that accompanied such a game, earlier, but thought it better to teach him the movements first, and the story later. And eventually, a silly smile overtook his face as he completed the clapping game fully. A few minutes later, they were singing merrily, together, his voice rough and husky, hers angelic, and sweet. Suddenly, with a rare twinkle in his eye, Ecklie’s right hand left their game and plunged into the water, lifting, to flick a little in her direction. He watched her shriek with indignation and laughed out loud, stopping briefly, momentarily, for a fraction of a second, to wonder silently at the noise he had just made. In the end, he gave her just enough time to splash him back, and thus, the water fight ensued.
Years later, with a death and many more memories having rushed by him, into his past, Ecklie, the orphan, and the widower, stood crouched before a crying young girl. He carefully, and gently, scraped her fingernails for evidence, and processed her with an evident care. Of course, she was only, just, someone innocent, who held evidence, and who had joined the ranks of the various orphans that death left behind, but he had to, at least, look like he gave a crap. The cameras would arrive soon, and already he was planning a press conference in his head. The grandmother had been a couple of hours away, visiting a sick friend, and child services themselves were at least an hour away from arriving too. The Dayshift and the child ended up in the break room of the lab, because no one was available to take her, she had been checked by the paramedics, and, then, there was nothing left to do. He had processed her after all, supposedly she trusted him, and so, while he could have been working on important case evidence, to catch a killer, he was left to babysit a small child, who kept crying.
Eventually, he leant close to her, as they sat at a table, and cleared his throat, so she looked up.
“I’ll teach you a game, and a song. You might still feel bad, and upset, but maybe you can use it to make you happy.” he said, and doubted, whether, in her state, she would understand any of what he had said. But the girl nodded.
So, while they waited together, alone in the room, and united by the strange bond that was, that could be, death, Conrad Ecklie passed on the knowledge he had of a children’s clapping game that he had never known in his own childhood, but had been taught in one of the happiest moments in his life. Later, there was a press conference, and talking, and investigating, and the catching of a killer. Each time he saw her, each time he met with the grandmother and the girl, to discuss, to inform, to watch and inspect, at her offering, they would play the little game of hand clapping and singing. Except, she did most of the singing, and he did most of the clapping, and he allowed her to get carried away with the tune, and the movements, because she needed to be happy, because she deserved any happiness that she could get. She was just a witness, just someone that crucial evidence had come off of, but seeing her happy, felt more right, than having sat there at that table, on that day, and done nothing much at all, except follow procedure and offer her an apple and a drink. While he was no more happier having passed the information about the clapping song along, at least, he had done his job, and helped a victim, even if it was in a way he rarely used, and never, really, preferred, at all.