Horatio stood in the dark waiting room, looking down at Speed's parents with a heavy heart. Jonathan Speedle held his wife tightly while she wept. His eyes were misting, but he seemed determined not to let a single tear fall. "What's the situation, Horatio?" he asked. "Did we get anything from the press conference?"
"I'm afraid not, sir," Horatio said softly. "No one has come forward with any information, and the perpetrator hasn't left any new messages. We're re-interviewing Speed's arrest jacket, but we haven't found out anything useful so far."
"Is..." Betty Speedle choked on her words. "Is he... dead, Horatio? It's been almost two weeks! They say if you don't find someone within a few days it means..." She broke off, breaking into tears. "Is my Timmy dead?"
Horatio frowned. He'd been asking himself the same question for several days now. Their last message, "broken", had been left exactly eleven days ago. The chief was already hinting to him that he should probably start searching for a body rather than a missing person. Reason told him this was true. No message from the abductor, no ransom, no nothing. It was highly doubtful that Speed was still alive. But he couldn't force himself to listen to reason yet. He couldn't give up hope.
"I don't know, ma'am," Horatio said grimly. "I hope not, but we just don't know. We haven't found a... a body yet. We're proceeding with the case as if it were a kidnapping, not a murder."
Betty nodded, and Jonathan patted her shoulder reassuringly. "Find him for us, Horatio," Jonathan said. "Whatever happened-" He took a second to collect himself. "Bring him home."
Horatio understood. Even if all he found was a body, he had to find Speed so that his parents - so that he - could be at peace. He shook hands with Jonathan and kissed Betty on the cheek.
He watched them walk slowly away, then went back to his office. He picked up Speed's case file again. He'd been over it so often that he knew the contents by heart. Even knew the order every single interview note, form and photograph. The orphanage - their only lead - had been a bust. Of the fifteen children who were given up for adoption in the area of the former Walden home, nine were boys, and all were accounted for. All but one were leading healthy productive lives. The eighth had been killed in a car accident the year before. A few of the criminals Speed had arrested had been orphaned, but none of them were good suspects. They were either still in jail, or on parole, and each had an airtight alibi.
After that lead died, they didn't have anywhere else to go. He'd been over Speed's crime scene multiple times, and they'd gone back to find out if anyone remembered anything else about the day the Wright house had been vandalized. Nothing. There hadn't been a single call-in, not even a hoax call, in response to their press conference, and Horatio was running out of options. His team held up as best they could, but morale was on the ground. Not knowing where Speed was, or even where his body might be, was eating at all of them.
He looked up. "What is it?" he asked, standing up when he saw Calleigh's agitation.
"We found another message."
He was around his desk and out the door in a heartbeat. "Where was it?"
"A park about fifteen miles west of Palm Beach."
"Up for a drive?"
"My kit's already in the car."
Horatio rode with Calleigh to the park in question, Eric and Wolfe following behind. They arrived just before the sun began to set, and the message was easily read when they found it. It was painted on the inside of a weathered looking old shed near the center of the park. A few officers stood around waiting for them, and one came forward when they approached the shed. "You must be Lieutenant Caine."
"Yes, ma'am. CSIs Duquesne, Delko and Wolfe."
"Officer Davidson." She shook hands with Horatio and the other three, and pointed to the shed. "Nasty little shack they should have torn down years ago," she said. "A witness said that it's been here for decades. Probably since the park first opened."
Horatio nodded and looked inside. The shed was small, concrete floor with faded whitewash on the walls, now splashed with blood. The wall directly across from the door bore the third message: "ABANDONED". Horatio frowned. Timothy would be abandoned? Did that mean this was the final message, and he would be released? Horatio shoved down the premature flutter of hope, and forced himself to focus. "There was a witness, you say?" he asked as Eric started snapping pictures.
"Homeless fellow saw a man come out of there about four days ago. Couldn't give us a description except that he was tall and wearing all black. A couple of kids were the ones who called it in. Apparently, they were going to use it as a club house, but got scared when they saw blood on the walls."
"Mmmm. Do you mind if we use your database? I'd like to find out if there were any cases of abandoned children in this area between 1966 and 1968."
"Sure, come with me. I'll put a call through to the station."
"I've got the perimeter," she said, reading his mind.
Horatio followed the officer to the patrol car and listened while she put in her call. "That's right, 1966 to '68. Uh-huh. I'll wait." There was a long pause, and Horatio fought the urge to fiddle with his badge. He rested his hand on his hip instead and waited, trying to keep a lid on the waves of hope and anxiety rushing through him. More blood meant that Speed could still be alive. Aside from the message itself, the possibility was exciting. But the message had been written four days ago! He cursed the wasted time. "Yeah? Really?" She gave Horatio a thumbs up. "Right here in this park you say? Yeah. Thanks Ken. Uh-huh. Bye now." She disconnected. "Good call, Lieutenant. There was a child found sitting in a shed in this park in July of 1966."
"Did the report list his name?"
"He said his name was John, but the poor kid didn't know his last name. Said his father drove him out here, gave him a sack lunch and a water bottle and told him to wait in the shed 'til he got back. The bastard never showed up." She shook her head. "Damn shame. The kid was only six years old. According to the report, he waited in that shed for six days. He was half dead of starvation and dehydration by the time someone finally found him."
Horatio sighed. "PD never found his parents?"
"The department searched for the father, but no one was ever found. After he recovered, the boy was taken to a foster home. I'll give you the address."
Horatio thanked her and took the address back to the others. As before, there wasn't much evidence to collect. Any footprints that the kidnapper might have left would have been compromised after four whole days, and he had been as careful as ever inside the shed. Horatio briefed them on what he'd learned. "Wolfe, I'll need you to come with me to the foster home. I'll meet you two back at the lab. Call me if anything comes up."
They nodded, and Horatio drove to the foster home as fast as he could. It was a fairly small establishment, county-run, and it took a few minutes before they could get the attention of one of the clerks. Horatio introduced himself and got right to the point. "I need to know about a child who was brought here on July 23, 1966."
The clerk frowned. "We'd have to do a special search to find anything prior to 1980."
"Do it please," Horatio said. "A police officer's life may be at stake."
The clerk asked someone else to cover the desk, then left the area. He came back about twenty minutes later with a slim file. "Is this what you're looking for?"
Horatio inspected the file and Wolfe peeked over his shoulder. There was only a single sheet in the file, listing the date and circumstances under which "John Doe" had arrived at the orphanage, and the date he'd been adopted. "Just two months later," Wolfe said.
"That's right, not a long wait. There are no pictures accompanying these files?" Horatio asked.
"No, they didn't start keeping pictures here until '75."
"What about an address for his adoptive family," Wolfe asked, with a slightly nervous glance at Horatio. He'd proven himself pretty sharp on the few cases he'd worked in the last two weeks, but he was still uncertain and shy around Horatio.
"Those records are confidential," the clerk said. "You'd need a court order."
"A police officer is missing, and this person may be responsible," Wolfe said tersely.
"Then I'm sure you won't have any trouble getting a warrant for the records," the clerk said, glaring. "If you'll excuse me, I have work to do." He took the file back and went back to his desk.
Horatio scowled and headed back to the Hummer. "I'm sorry, Horatio," Wolfe said. "I shouldn't have-"
"You didn't do anything wrong, Wolfe," Horatio said. "We go forward. When we get to the lab, I want you and Eric to work on those messages again. Look for anything. Anagrams, initials, anything you can think of. I'll work on the warrant."
Two more days passed. The blood from the shed was Speedle's blood, mixed with the same preserving chemical that had been used at Speed's home, and at the Walden house. A warrant for the adoption records of their abandoned John Doe was in the works, and Calleigh was taking another crack at connecting the child with any of the files they had on record. So far, nothing had come up.
"We can't come up with anything on these messages, H," Eric reported.
"The best I can do with the first letters is 'Horticulture and Botanical Association' and a bunch of initials for people who have no connection whatsoever," Wolfe said, frustrated.
"Keep trying. And see if you can get a profile full from QD with more letters for comparison."
"You got it," Eric said.
Horatio's phone chimed and he picked up. "Caine."
"An Officer Davidson from Palm Beach County called for you, sir," came the desk sargeant's concerned voice. "She says there was a home invasion last night, and another case of vandalism. There were two eye witnesses this time, Lieutenant."
"We'll be there right away." He closed his phone and looked at the two men. "There's another message, gentlemen."
The home invasion had taken place in a peaceful neighborhood. The homes were large and extremely well kept, and the home of the victims was no exception. Horatio walked up the drive, past the manicured lawn, and stepped inside the house. A teenaged girl with dark skin, slightly disheveled hair and a large bruise on her cheek sat on the couch in her night dress. She held a small boy in her lap, also wearing pajamas, his pale face drawn and frightened, and his right hand cupped on his lap as if he were holding an invisible trinket of some kind. Both of them were trembling slightly, and it looked as if they had both been crying. Another, older Black woman, bearing a strong resemblance to the teenager, sat on the sofa across from them, wringing her hands and looking distraught.
An officer vacated the chair in front of the children and gestured for Horatio to sit. He did, and the girl looked nervously at him. "You must be Crystal." She nodded. "And you're Charles?" The boy only stared at him with wide, frightened eyes.
"Yes, this is Charlie," Crystal said. "Are you a CSI?"
"Yes," Horatio said, somewhat surprised.
"A Miami-Dade CSI?"
"Yes, I am." Now he was thoroughly confused.
She sighed with relief. "Show him, Charlie," she said. The boy stretched out his hand, and Horatio frowned. The boy's hand was cupped to hold a small pool of dried blood. "He... he said not to let him wash it until Miami-Dade CSI came."
"Mr. Wolfe." Wolfe stepped forward and gently swabbed the boy's hand. He took several samples, then nodded. "Okay, son," Horatio said softly, pulling an alcohol swab from his kit. He wiped the blood away and put the swab in another evidence bag. "Feel better now, partner?" Charlie nodded. "I know you're both very upset," Horatio said. "But I need you to tell me what happened here. Try to remember as many details as possible."
"The Peterson's are on vacation," Crystal began. "I've been babysitting Charlie for two years now, ever since my mom started working here." She glanced at the woman across from her, and Horatio nodded. "Last night, a while after I put Charlie to bed, I heard glass breaking."
"About what time was that, Crystal?"
"Ten o'clock, I think. It was about an hour after I put him down, and the news was just coming on. I thought maybe Charlie had come downstairs and had tried to get something to drink, so I went to the kitchen. That's when I saw the man. H-he was dressed all in black, and h-he had a gun. I started to go for the phone and..."
Crystal put her hand on the phone, but the intruder jerked her back and pointed the gun at her head. "Don't be stupid," he said. His voice sounded strange and gravelly. He grabbed her arm and dragged her, struggling, up the stairs. She started to struggle more fiercely when she saw where they were headed. He stopped and hit her in the face with the gun, then held it to her head. "You better start cooperating if you want to live, you hear me bitch?"
She nodded, and he dragged her into Charlie's room. The boy sat up, startled, when the lights came on. He started to cry when he saw the man holding Crystal. "It's okay, son," he said, his voice suddenly very calm and reassuring. "We're just playing cops and robbers, right?" He squeezed her arm, and she nodded. He shoved her to the wall and told her to sit down. "You want to play, too?" Charlie nodded, still frightened, and the man picked him up and put him into Crystal's lap. "Keep him quiet, and don't move, or I'll..." He looked at Charlie. "You'll lose the game."
He left, and Crystal stayed seated against the wall, holding Charlie and telling him everything was okay. He came back carrying a glass jar and a large paintbrush. He stood on Charlie's bed and painted the word "RAPED" on the wall in something that looked like blood. Then he turned to the two children. Crystal was crying again, and Charlie was starting to follow suit. "It's okay, son," he said. "Do you like these blankets?" Charlie nodded. He pulled the blankets off the bed and left them on a pile on the floor. Then he poured some of the red stuff onto the bed and smeared it with the paintbrush. He closed the jar and knelt in front of the two witnesses. He took Charlie's hand and pulled it forward.
"Hold it like this," he said, cupping his hand. Charlie obeyed, and the man rolled up his sleeve. He put his gun away and pulled out a knife. He cut his own arm and let the blood drip into Charlie's hand. Charlie tried to pull away, but the man held his hand steady. "Hold it," he said. "And don't let it fall." He pulled his sleeve back down when Charlie's hand was full, sheathed his knife and pulled off his right glove. He dipped his thumb in the blood, waited a few seconds, then made a thumb print on the wall beside Crystal's head.
He stood up and pulled out the gun again, holding it against Crystal's temple. "Listen to me carefully. You don't call the police for three hours. THREE HOURS, understand? I have friends watching this house, and if you call any sooner, I'll come back and do that to you." He pointed to the wall. "Don't let him wash his hands until the Miami-Dade CSI's show up. Clear?" She nodded. "Repeat it."
"D-don't call the p-police for th-three hours or you'll come back and..." She choked on her sobs.
"Or y-you'll come back and r-rape me. And don't let him wash his hands until Miami-Dade CSI comes."
Crystal's eyes had filled with tears again, and her mother came over to sit beside her, patting her back. "So, I waited until it was safe, and then I called the police." She fixed Horatio with a concerned, almost pleading expression. "Should... should I have called sooner? They said he was probably lying about people watching the house, but I-" She bit her lip, and Horatio shook his head.
"Don't worry, Crystal," Horatio said, wanting to reassure her. "He might have been lying, but he might have been telling the truth. You did what you had to do to protect yourself and Charlie." She looked relieved, and Horatio smiled. "Tell me, did you notice anything special about the man who did this to you?"
"Besides his weird voice? Well... he had on sunglasses, even though it was late at night. His whole face was covered with a ski mask, and he was wearing sunglasses so I couldn't see his eyes."
"Thank you very much, Crystal, you've been a great help." Horatio stood up and turned to one of the officers. "The bedroom?"
"Upstairs, second door on your right, Lieutenant."
Horatio led the way upstairs, followed by the rest of his team. "Seems a little weird, H," Eric said. "Why come completely covered up like that, and then leave us a blood sample and a finger print?"
"Apparently, he wanted us to find out who he is but he didn't want the kids to know. I'm sure we'll find out why soon enough."
They entered the child's room, and Eric went directly for the single, red fingerprint on the wall where the two witnesses had been seated. "Finally, something to work with!"
The bedclothes had been tossed to the side of the bed, and the room was exactly as Crystal had described it. Above the bed, the word "RAPED" was written in blocked letters, and blood had been smeared across the boy's mattress. Horatio swallowed hard, trying to remain calm. The paper note came immediately to mind. Timothy Speedle will be: He tried to stop himself from finishing the sentence, but it was too late. "Do you suppose he'll really..."
"I hope not, Calleigh. But we... we have to acknowledge the possibility. It's also likely that the kidnapper was raped at this house. We'll know more once we run this address through the database. I want to find out who owned it in 1966."
They collected their evidence and headed back to the lab to start processing. Eric went eagerly to process his fingerprint, Wolfe took over working with the messages, and Calleigh handled the address search. Horatio made a call to the judge to find out if his warrant for the adoption records had yet been issued.
Horatio was on his way back to CSI with a signed warrant in hand when Wolfe called him. "Yes, Mr. Wolfe?"
"There's something you should see."
"I'm on my way to the orphanage, Wolfe. Can it wait until I get back?"
"I think you would want to see it right away, sir," he said.
Horatio frowned. Something in Wolfe's tone worried him. "I'll be right there." He met Wolfe in Evidence Room 3. The young man looked up from the many photographs on the table when Horatio entered the room. "What is it you wanted to show me?"
"I've been looking at these messages," he said. "You see this one here?" He pointed to a full picture of the second message. "The initial letter is larger than the others, and I think that's what was throwing us off. But if you look closer, the 'O' in 'broken' is slightly larger than the surrounding letters."
"I see. Where are you headed, Mr. Wolfe?"
"Here, I'll show you this way. See, the first message? 'H' for hurt." He clipped one of the eight by ten shots of the letter "H" to the evidence board. "Then we skip the 'b' in broken and go for the 'o' instead." He put up the next letter. "Then, if we reverse the order of the next two messages, we get this." Wolfe put up the next two letters, and Horatio took a step back. "You see, Lieutenant?" Wolfe said. "This isn't about Detective Speedle. It's about you."
Horatio stared at the letters in horror. "H O R A". His name. It couldn't be mistaken for anything else. Somehow, someone had got hold of Speed, and was keeping him, or perhaps had already killed him, because of Horatio. His mind raced, as he tried to think of anyone he'd recently arrested that fit the age and background of the perpetrator. Nothing came to mind.
"Horatio?" Horatio focused his eyes on Wolfe. "Your phone's going off."
Horatio answered. "Yes, Eric?"
"There's something I think you should see, H."
Horatio swallowed. "I'll be right there." He hung up. "Excellent work, Wolfe," he said. "Document and report, then get together with Calleigh and start pulling my case files." Wolfe nodded, and Horatio went to the fingerprint lab, so dazed that he wasn't even sure how he got there.
"Take a look at this," Eric said, expression one of grim puzzlement. "I ran this print through the database, and nothing came up. But something about it looked familiar to me, so I tried something... different." He clicked a few keys, and the program flipped the image of the fingerprint horizontally. He ran the search again, and the database found a positive match. Horatio gasped when the picture loaded.
Oh my God. Eric took in Horatio's shocked expression and nodded. "I know, H. That's exactly what I said."
Speed nearly cried when he took his final bite of food. He was so weak, he barely had the energy to chew and swallow it down. He allowed himself a tiny sip of water and lay back down on the floor, feeling the concrete hard and harsh against his too-thin frame. How many days had it been? He couldn't count them. All he knew was the growing terror that he would die of starvation in a cold pit, never having seen Horatio's face again.
He finished the last of his water and closed his eyes, letting out a long despairing sigh. Some time later, when he thought that he would surely fall into a coma, the door finally opened. Speed turned his head, pushing himself up into a sitting position. He was too weak to do more. The black-clad man was back, and he had a thermos with him! He stood in front of Speed, holding the thermos out of reach.
"Good evening, Timothy."
"Good-" Speed's voice rasped dryly, and he tried to swallow. "Good evening, sir."
"This is for you." He handed the thermos to Speed, and Speed thanked him immediately. He started to open it, then stopped himself suddenly. The man nodded after a few moments. "You may eat."
"Thank you, sir." Speed opened the thermos and drank down the warm soup. He could feel it coursing through his body, and he smiled. He was so relieved to have been rescued from starvation that he would have kissed his captor's feet if he asked, even though the starvation was his doing in the first place.
"I'll bring you something more tomorrow." He left, and Speed sat and waited eagerly for more food to arrive.
Three days passed. Speed felt much better. He had been given two meals each day instead of one, and the man made him walk around the room twice each time he came. Speed was already gaining back some of the weight he'd lost when he'd been abandoned, and started strengthening his muscle tone, doing exercises on his own in between visits from his captor.
On the fourth evening, Speed stood up when he heard the door opening. He lowered his eyes "respectfully". He felt well enough to brave an attempt at talking his way out of this situation, and he wanted to start off on a good note. He responded to the greeting, and pondered how he could begin without getting hit. Before he could think of anything, his captor spoke.
"I think it's time we got to know each other a little better, Timothy." Speed frowned, but tried to train his expression to a safely neutral one. "I think it's time for you to find out more about me. Would you like that?"
Speed's first reaction was to say "no", but he wasn't sure if he was allowed to disagree. He had no desire to see the man's face. It would provide a reason not to let Speed live. He knew he had to come up with an answer soon, or he would be beaten for not answering in a timely manner. "I'd r-rather not know too much, sir," he said at last.
"Oh, don't tell me you aren't curious. Besides, if I thought you could be a threat to me by seeing my face, I wouldn't do it. Look up, Timothy."
Speed did as he was told, growing extremely nervous. Those words weren't exactly reassuring. The man pulled off his sunglasses, exposing bright blue eyes. Then he began to pull off the ski mask. Speed involuntarily closed his eyes, still believing that to see the man's face was to sign his death warrant.
"Look at me, Timothy." Speed gasped. That voice. He was shocked into opening his eyes. "Surprise!"
Speed gaped and took a step back. "No," he whispered, shaking his head. He couldn't... what kind of nightmare was this? Horatio? No. It couldn't be. It was Horatio's voice. Horatio's face. But... not. There were differences so subtle that Speed could barely put his finger on them. But... "Who... how?"
"Amazing, isn't it? I thought the same thing when I first saw him."
"Who are you?" Speed snapped, not verbalizing the rest of the question. And what are you doing walking around with Horatio's face?
The Horatio clone pulled out his discipline rod, and Speed stiffened. "I'm going to let that go this time, Timothy. But get your act together, understand?"
"Yes, sir," Speed said softly, cringing at the sound of Horatio's voice speaking to him so harshly.
The man came closer, and Speed lowered his head and closed his eyes, not wanting to see any more. "Now. Take off your clothes."
The rod came down on his shoulder and Speed cried out. "Take them off." Speed shook his head, backing away. "What's the matter, Timothy?" he asked, he shoving Speed roughly. The ritual tone was back. "You're old enough now. It's time you learned what it's like to get fucked like a grown man!"
Speed felt his heart start to pound. "Oh no," he whimpered. "Please, sir. I... I'm so sorry this h-happened to you, but please don't do this."
He glared, and Speed shuddered at the fury in the mirrors of Horatio's eyes. He struck Speed with the rod several times, beating him to the ground. When the blows finally stopped, Speed looked up into the barrel of a gun. “Get up.” Shaking, Speed forced himself to stand. The clone pushed the gun against Speed's neck, forcing him back against the wall. “I'm going to say it one more time, Speed. Take them OFF.”
Speed's stomach turned at the sound of his nickname in Horatio's voice coming from the other end of a gun. He slowly started to unbutton his shirt, hands shaking so hard he could barely get them undone. He hesitated, and the man pushed the gun hard against his throat. “Keep going.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and unbuckled his pants. He pulled them down, and pulled his briefs down next. He stepped out of the last of his clothes, shaking hard, and keeping his eyes shut tight. He didn't want to see. Couldn't watch Horatio do this to him, even though he knew it wasn't Horatio at all. The man grabbed his arm and whirled him around, shoving him against the wall. Panicked, Speed struggled, but he was too weak still from malnutrition and his long captivity. Nothing he did seemed to matter.
The man slammed Speed's hands against the wall above his head and pressed his body hard against him. "It doesn't matter if you close your eyes," he whispered. "You've already seen my face. You're going to hear my voice. You'll never look at him the same way again."
Speed's sobs broke forth then. He knew the words were true, and he felt a hurt and despair he had never known before. "Please," he said through his tears. "Please don't. Please. D-don't do th-this t-t-" His words dissolved into more sobs when he felt the man moving behind him, unbuckling his own belt. His body was wracked with sobs, and he tensed, still shaking violently.
"Stop it," Horatio's voice said suddenly. "Stop crying." Speed tried to obey, but he only cried harder, unable to do anything else. He hit Speed in the shoulder. "STOP it!! Stop!" He shoved Speed hard against the wall. "STOP!" Speed's tears flowed, and he shook violently, sobbing uncontrollably. A frustrated growl erupted from his captor, and he was thrown forcefully to the ground. Speed turned, afraid to keep his back to his attacker. He backed away, and the man with Horatio's face advanced on him with the gun pointed at his head. "TIMOTHY, STOP CRYING!"
Speed closed his eyes against the sight of Horatio's face, red and contorted with fury. Still unable to force himself to stop, he waited for the shot. After several seconds spent listening only to his own shaking sobs, and the heaving breaths of Horatio's twin, Speed felt the blow. It wasn't a gunshot. The rod was back, and the man pounded down on him in unbridled fury. Speed defended himself as best he could, but he was too weak to put up much of a defense, and he received more blows to the face and head than was probably safe.
Finally, the thrashing stopped, and Speed could again hear the heaving breaths of his attacker. He stayed curled up on the floor, afraid to move or even breathe. After a few minutes, he heard the sound of slow footsteps, and the door opened and closed. Slowly, when he felt it was safe to move again, Speed unfurled himself and confirmed that the lights were out, and the room was empty. He was glad of the darkness now. Even though there was no one else in the room, he was afraid of being seen - even by himself.
Limbs still shaking violently, he groped for his clothes and put them back on, wincing at every slight movement. His nose bled profusely, but he wasn't concerned with getting blood stains on his clothes. He just had to get them on. Now.
When the last button was fastened, Speed shoved himself into the corner farthest from the door, drew his knees up to his chest, lowered his head and let his tears flow until they wouldn't come anymore. Try as he might, he couldn't forget the image of Horatio's face, burning with a wild fury that was directed at him. He couldn't get away from the sound of the frustrated, angry cries as he delivered his vicious blows. A violent shudder coursed through him, and he gripped his knees more tightly, trying to force himself into as small a space as possible. I want to go home.
Name: Horatio Caine
DOB: April 04, 1960
Employment: Lieutenant, Miami-Dade County, CSI
Horatio stared at the screen in a state of utter shock. As if he needed further confirmation, he gazed at his own County head-shot at the top right of the record. The silence that ensued was broken by a gasp from behind - Calleigh's voice. He felt her come to stand beside them and he could hear the frown in her voice. "Why are we looking at Horatio's record?" she asked.
"It's the mirror image of the fingerprint from the crime scene," Eric said.
"Talk to me, Eric," Horatio said, finally breaking his silence.
"I couldn't find any hits on any of our databases," Eric began. "I even tried immigration, employment records, everything. But something struck me as familiar about the print, so I did some checking." He glanced sidelong at Horatio. "Not to say that I'm obsessed with your fingerprints or anything, Horatio, but I do have a some of the ridge detail for a few of my close friends memorized." Horatio nodded, trying not to show his impatience. "Okay, so I decided to flip the image and run the print again, and this is what came up."
"What does it mean?" Calleigh asked. "Did someone try to plant Horatio's fingerprint and get it wrong?"
"No, I don't think so. Remember the witness says she saw the perp put his own thumb print on the wall. H, this fingerprint was made by your twin brother."
Horatio looked at Eric as if he had completely lost his mind. "I don't have a twin brother."
"Sorry, Horatio," Eric said, his tone sympathetic. "But the evidence says otherwise. The person who made this print is your twin. It's a rare version of identical twinning called mirror image. Their DNA is identical, but the twins split later in the process than usual. It results in physical features that are mirror images of one another. It doesn't always include fingerprints, but this time we got lucky. If you could call it that."
Horatio tried to pay attention, but he could feel the blood rushing to his head, and he had a difficult time concentrating. "Horatio!" Horatio came back to himself and looked at Calleigh. "Are you okay? Maybe you should sit down."
"No. No, thank you. I need to check on something. Call me if anything comes up." He left the room without waiting for an acknowledgment. He walked blindly at first, not sure where he was really headed. Twins. Brothers. And he'd never known. And now, the man had Speed and was doing God knew what to him in the name of revenge - probably against Horatio.
Timothy Speedle will be: RAPED. The bloody word flashed across his mind, and he stopped in his tracks. No. If the kidnapper had really made good on what had been written in those messages, that meant... Horatio swayed, and someone rushed over and took hold of his arm. "Are you all right, Lieutenant?"
"I'm fine," Horatio said, forcing himself to stand on his own. "Thank you, officer." Horatio walked with greater purpose out to the garage. He drove the Hummer to his own home.
He knew exactly where to find the box. It was in the garage, at the top of several other boxes on a high shelf. He found a ladder and pulled it down, taking it back inside for inspection. The box contained several old documents, including his original birth certificate. It said nothing about a multiple birth, just as he had expected. The more recent copy that he kept in his office would have said something as well. He sifted through the other trinkets and memorabilia in the box until he found what he wanted.
He'd never read his mother's diary before. She'd only written in it when she was extremely upset, and even after her death, it just seemed like too much of an intrusion. Now, reluctantly, Horatio turned toward the beginning of the book and looked for his birth date. There was no entry on the actual day, but in May of 1960, he found a disturbing entry.
May 30, 1960
He took them today. I cried and cried, but he wouldn't budge. He says we can't afford two kids, and it's not his fault they were twins. I couldn't bear to separate them, and he promised that he would make the agency understand. They must be adopted together. He swore it. Maybe it'll be one promise he actually keeps.
Horatio stared at the page for a long time, unable to believe his eyes. First fingerprint evidence, and now his own mother's word? But... He flipped a few more pages, sighing heavily at the frequent references to his father beating her. He found another entry of interest to the case.
August 9, 1960
I can't find Ulysses. I found Horatio, and we managed to get him back, but I can't find Ulysses anywhere. He says they probably already set him up in a home, but I think he lied to me, and he put them in different orphanages. He always lies, I don't know why I ever believed him. I thank God every day that I found my Horatio before he could remember that I ever let him go. But my heart aches when I think about my other son. I'm afraid I'll never see him again. Or if I do, he'll hate me for giving him up. I just pray that he'll be placed in a happy home.
Horatio closed the book and placed it carefully in the box. His poor mother. He was grateful that she didn't have to know her prayer had not been answered. He left the house to check one more place - the hospital where his mother had given birth. He had to bother another clerk to do another special search, but no warrant was needed because the patient was deceased, and his mother.
"Here you go, sir," the pleasant young lady said, handing him a file.
Horatio inspected the birth records and took a deep breath. Multiple births - identical twins. Male. Ulysses Caine, April 4, 1960, 06:30 hours. Horatio Caine, April 4, 1960, 07:23 hours. He let out a short, slightly hysterical sounding laugh. He wasn't even the oldest.
Horatio handed back the file and tried to pull himself together. He wasn't sure what to do with the information he had just learned. He had a twin. A twin who had been through hell in the first few years of his life, and had decided to take it out on Horatio through Speed. He had to find him. Find them.
Horatio's phone went off, and he checked the screen. "Yes, Calleigh?"
"I thought you'd like to know, I found the names of the people who owned that house in 1966. Joseph and Lila Cummings."
"Good work, Calleigh. Did you locate their current whereabouts?"
"In a way. They're both dead, Horatio. They were killed in a home invasion in 1975. They had two children, John and Jason, both of whom disappeared on the night of the murder. It was assumed that the children were taken elsewhere and killed later, but their bodies were never recovered."
"Yeah, no kiddin'. But get this. Both kids were adopted from the same County agency."
"Don't tell me."
"Yup. This ought to put some fire under that judge," she said.
"I'm headed there now," Horatio said. "Page me when you get the go ahead."
Horatio made a u-turn and headed for the foster home. He was shocked to see several squad cars parked outside when he got there. He flashed his badge and entered. Crime tape was being rolled out in front of the clerk's counter. "Horatio Caine?"
Horatio looked up at the sound of his own name. "Yes?"
A detective held out his hand. "James Woods. I was just about to call you."
"Oh? What's going on here?"
"You're on a case involving words written in blood, right?"
"That I am," Horatio said, working to hide his eagerness. "Show me, Detective."
"Right this way." He led Horatio under the tape, down into the archive room. Several tall file cabinets were lined up along the walls. "Perp came in with a gun just before closing yesterday. Dragged one of the clerks to the archive room, and tied him up right back here.
They reached the back area of the archive room, where the clerk that had refused to show him a file the other day sat sweating and trembling nervously while a uniformed officer offered him a cup of something hot. The walls were not strewn with blood this time, but there were two messages: "TORTURED" and "IGNORED".
Horatio forcibly pushed aside the thought of Speed being tortured for the moment. Detective Woods cleared his throat, and the other two men looked up. The clerk looked embarrassed when he saw Horatio, but sat up straight all the same, and tried to put on a brave face. "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" Horatio asked.
"Sure," the clerk said.
"You were working the late shift when you were attacked, correct?"
"Yeah, just like I told the officers already. He forced me to open the archives, dragged me back here and started painting the walls with blood."
"Did he say anything? Do anything remarkable?"
"Not at first, but after he finished painting the walls, he started to get a little weird."
He put the glass jar down and pointed the gun at he clerk again. "Show me the files from the Cummings adoptions."
"There's a ton of Cummings-"
"GET off your ASS AND SHOW ME!" The clerk showed him where the "Cu" files were kept. He forced the clerk onto his knees and started rifling through the files. "Where is it?" he muttered. "Where the fuck is it?" He pressed the gun to the back of the clerk's head. "You have three seconds to tell me where the abuse cases are. One."
"L-look, man, I don't know. That's all I-"
"Wait, wait! I th-think there are some other files in the back. There's an unlabeled file cabinet no one ever looks at."
He made the clerk show him the files, and started searching again. Soon, he seemed to find what he was looking for. He pulled out a thick file and shoved it into the clerk's arms. "Hold this and don't fucking hide it again. Make sure it gets to Miami-Dade CSI."
"Then he hit me over the head, and when I came to, the cops were already here."
"Where's the file?" Horatio asked.
"We bagged it for you," Woods said.
"Perfect." Horatio left the room, meeting Calleigh on his way out.
"Well, hello," she said, surprised. "I got your warrant."
Horatio smiled. "Thanks. I got my file. And there are two more messages in there to be photographed."
"Consider it done."
Horatio took the hefty file back to the lab and looked it over with Eric. "Quite a case file," he said.
"Indeed." Horatio read through the file, frowning deeply. The paperwork contained no less than twelve separate complaints from the Cummings household. Most were from John Cummings, who had been adopted into the family two months after having been found abandoned in an empty park shed. The complaints were mostly for physical abuse at first, but after 1970, when John wold have been ten years old, complaints of sexual abuse began. There were no fewer than six complaints of sexual abuse against Joseph Cummings, and numerous reports of physical abuse from both parents.
"Take a look at this, H," Eric said. Horatio noticed his face was also extremely grim. "The second child, Jason, was adopted in 1969, at age four. He was abused, too, but not as often, and never sexually."
"But the sexual abuse against John didn't start until he was ten years old," Horatio said. "Jason would have turned ten the same year the Cummings' were killed in the home invasion."
Eric looked keenly at Horatio. "Do you think they could have killed them?"
"I'm not sure. But I'd certainly like to get a look at the police report." Eric nodded and got on his cell. Horatio continued to look through the files, frowning deeply when he reached the photographs. There were several photographs of a boy that could have been Horatio. The report spanned years, and there were pictures of him at age 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12. He was slightly thinner than Horatio had been at those ages, but there was no mistaking the resemblance. His face had a grave look which he'd seen on many children who had been forced to grow up too fast. His body in each of the pictures had been bruised and battered. In the most recent sets of pictures, Horatio saw close-ups of his arms, which had been burned by cigarettes.
He pulled over Eric's portion of the file and found the pictures of Jason. The little blonde boy was also thin and incredibly serious. In all of his pictures, spanning four years, his body bore several bruises, though far fewer than John's had. A memory flashed into Horatio's mind - crouched over Raymond, squeezing him tight, shielding him from their father's blows. He shut the file and stepped away from the table, staring out onto the walkway.
"They'll be faxing us the police report in a few minutes, H," Eric said. "You all right?"
"Yes, Eric. I'm fine. Do me a favor. See if you can get an age progression on Jason's picture. I want him found."
"Will do, H."
Horatio left the evidence room and went to check on his other team members. Wolfe had followed up on the typed note that had been left behind after the first message, but nothing distinctive could be found. Generic printer on generic paper with generic ink that any person almost anywhere could have printed. The envelope was mass merchandised as well, of course, and Ulysses had been too smart to seal it. Not that it would have mattered, when they shared the same DNA.
Horatio made it to Valera in time to find her mystified over her findings on the blood from Charlie Peterson's hand. He explained the situation to her, and she filed the samples under the name John Cummings, with special notes attached.
When it arrived, Horatio pored over the police report from the Cummings home invasion. There appeared to have been only one assailant. He had forced his way in from the back door, killed Joseph and Lila with a gun registered to Joseph himself, and apparently forced the children out of the house with him. Jewelry belonging to the family had been found at a pawn shop in a nearby town, and all the cash in the house had been stolen. As Calleigh had already told him, the children had been assumed dead. Authorities searched for them for several months, but when they weren't found, they declared the orphans deceased. The home invasion case had long gone cold.
Horatio studied the crime scene photos, and the evidence logs carefully, but he could see nothing about the case that indicated anything had been missed by the original investigators. No physical findings were left at the scene, and the only fingerprints anywhere were those of the family. Horatio wondered why no one suspected that the missing children had played any part in the murder. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that their case file was buried in an unmarked drawer, he thought.
Horatio found Calleigh at one of the computer labs, avidly reading her screen. "Did you find anything more about the Cummings family?" he asked.
"I did," she said with a smile. "Joseph Cummings was apparently a highly respected member of the community. Gave to charity, big in politics at the time. And take a look at this. Shortly after he adopted his first child, he started making huge donations to the orphanage. Look at these figures."
Horatio's eyes widened. "Looks like hush money to me," Horatio said.
"Not only that, but according to one small community newspaper, one of the agents at the foster home resigned after twenty years of service for the facility. All he would say about it was that he didn't like the policies anymore."
"Wait a minute, David Brent? I know that name. That was the agent who filed all the abuse reports for the Cummings children."
"All? Well how many were there?"
"Fourteen in all," Horatio said.
"Phew!" Calleigh whistled. "Well if that isn't dirty dealing, I don't know what is." Horatio nodded. He told her his suspicions about the home invasion. "Do you think you can prove they did it?"
"I doubt it," Horatio said. "But I'm not interested in solving a cold case. I just want Speed back."
He looked up. "Yes, Mr. Wolfe?"
"We found something on the younger boy, Jason."
Horatio and Calleigh were on their feet in a flash. "I'm right behind you."
"We ran the age progression through the database, and came up with a picture that matches almost exactly. Funny thing is, it wasn't in any of the criminal databases." They joined Eric in one of the digital labs, and looked at the projection of his screen.
"He's going by Peter Underwood now," Eric said. "I found him in a customs database."
"Yeah. Apparently, he's dabbled in overseas trading."
"Trading what?" Calleigh asked.
"Gems," Eric said.
"The guy owns a chain of jewelry stores," Wolfe explained. "He gets some of his pricier items from overseas, and has them cut here in the states."
"Hm. Do we have an address?" Horatio asked.
"He's got stores up and down the East Coast," Eric said. "But there was a grand opening right here in Miami about three weeks ago."
"Well, well. Let's pay Mr. Underwood a visit."