Diver Down

 

home / season five / episode seventeen / act III

   

11/184 West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

Lyle stopped outside the door and pulled his gun from the holster that he wore under his jacket. Stretching out one hand, he tried the knob and was surprised to find that it turned. Slowly pushing the door open into the room, he stepped inside, his gun still at the ready, and sidled along the wall so that nothing and no one, and particularly not Jarod, could sneak up behind him. As he reached out for a switch of any sort that could light the dark room, the door slipped from his grasp and, before he could grab it, slammed shut. As the lock clicked into place, the room was brightly illuminated and, after blinking rapidly several times, Lyle saw that the room was completely empty. Looking back at the door, however, his face froze for a second or two and then began to do that terribly slow crashing trick which Arctic ice floes do so spectacularly in the spring. There was no knob on his side. He had most definitely heard the lock click. He was trapped…

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Jarod picked up the photo and stared into Joanne Hactar’s eyes. Propped up against the mound of pillows on the bed, he tried to put himself into the situation that she would have faced, hoping to find some clue to the person who killed her. For some reason, this was more difficult than such a situation generally was for him. It was incredibly frustrating and what was worse; he had no idea what was causing it. Still, there was some damper, some block on his usual capabilities and it was beginning to annoy him. He was diving down every avenue that he regularly used to produce results but all were failing him on this occasion. Pulling his thoughts back to the image in front of him, he tried to work out what Joanne had gone through. All he could discern, though, was the sense of panic that she felt as she was repeatedly forced into the fresh, blue water.

“Jarod! I’ve spoken to you twice.”

“Huh?”

“Oh, intelligent answer.” Faith walked away from the window and curled herself up on the edge of the bed at his feet. Jarod laughed a little, as much at himself as at her, and wondered briefly if she was the cause of him not being able to concentrate on this pretend.

“Sorry, what did you say that I missed both times?”

“I asked what you were planning to do to the man who killed Joanne.”

“Why do you think she didn’t just drown accidentally?”

Jarod looked up at her, an expression of surprise evident in his eyes. “Surely you know. You can probably even tell me who did it, and how.”

“But first you tell me on what you are basing your belief that she was murdered.”

Jarod got up and walked over to the desk. He grabbed the coroner’s report and came back to sit on the bed, opening the folder between them so that she could read the notes he had made in various places.

“First, there are two classes of drowning - death in fresh and salt water. The two show very distinct differences during an autopsy. If we take the story that she went out for a swim and drowned there, we could naturally expect her body weight to have increased by approximately 6%.” Jarod sat back and, without looking again at the folder, began to recite the facts, as he knew them. Faith hid a smile and watched him from the end of the bed.

“Salt-water drowning also results in damage to the lung surfaces. Within the lung, it would be expected to find frothy white foam, slightly colored by the blood that would seep through the alveoli. On the other hand, drowning in fresh water results in the body weight increasing about 16.5%, levels of adrenaline in the blood increase, and there is a reduced level of oxygen in the blood.”

“And this is what Joanne showed?”

Jarod nodded abstractly before glancing at her again. He eyed her for a moment, noticing for the first time that she had grown from a good-looking girl into a very attractive woman and also noting, this time with an inner shudder, that there were some striking similarities to the victim he was trying to learn more about. Jarod dragged his mind, with some difficulty, back to the situation at hand, he thought about her statement. A thought, however, made him change the topic slightly and he narrowed his eyes slightly as he looked at her.

“Do you know who it was?”

“Don’t you?”

“I have suspects, of course.” Jarod thought quickly through the three interviews he had had earlier that day. “But I can’t be sure.” He sat back and watched her for second or two. “But I would lay money on the fact that you know.”

Faith allowed her usually somber expression to break momentarily and, for a split second, Jarod thought she had smiled. It was gone, however, before he could decide whether he had really seen it or only imagined it. Reaching over, she picked up the book on diving Andrew had lent Jarod the day before and held it up to show him as he sat, watching her.

“He did.”

“Harrison? But why?”

“Oh, come on.” Faith raised an eyebrow as she watched him. “You’ve suspected him from the beginning. You tell me why.”

“But I’m sure you’ll explain it so much better.” Jarod let a smile play around the corners of his own mouth while he waited to hear what her response would be.

* * * * * * * * *

11/184 West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

Lyle slammed the palm of one hand against the wall and was startled by the lack of sound it made. He banged the butt of his gun, and perforce also the side of his right hand, against the door in the hope of attracting attention but the sound died as soon as he made it, as though it was scuttling off into some corner and trying to deny its very existence. In anger, he kicked the wall. Hard. Finding that that made no impact, except on the toe that it injured, he stepped back several paces and aimed his gun at the point where he remembered the lock and knob being on the other side. After a second, he pulled the trigger. Ducking to avoid the bullet that bounced off the door and, after dancing gaily around the room, buried itself into the wall beside his head, Lyle was forced to recall his sister behaving in a similar way in the shipment container. Lyle’s face sank into a glare and he growled something insulting but inarticulate under his breath, which, had there been anybody present with good enough hearing, would most definitely have shocked them.

Giving up on the chance, for the moment, of getting out of the room without help, he turned to look at his environment. All that the room contained, other than himself, was a bed and a television set. Lyle stood near the door and shouted as loudly as his lungs would allow him, but the sound seemed quiet even to his own ears. The memory of the empty street and the equally empty building that he had entered now came back to haunt him and, dejected, he slipped the gun back into its holster and walked over to the bed. He was about to sit down when his watch beeped loudly at him. Looking down, Lyle remembered that he was due for the shots that he gave himself every day and, of course he had no chance of having them here.

An idea suddenly struck him and, reaching into his pocket, Lyle pulled out his mobile phone. Activating it, he pressed the first few numbers of his father’s office at the Centre but a voice from the phone prevented him from dialing further. He pressed the phone to his ear in order to hear what was being said.

“We’re sorry; your cellular service has been deactivated. Please contact your provider for additional information.”

Lyle groaned loudly and threw the phone into the corner of the room, where it satisfyingly smashed into a large number of small pieces. Having briefly enjoyed the pleasantly aggressive act of destruction and recalling himself to his desperate situation, Lyle allowed himself to fall backwards onto the bed with a loud groan.

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Sitting up on the bed and pressing her back to the wall, Faith looked at him for a few seconds before beginning her explanation. For some reason, the look he received made Jarod feel somewhat like a boy caught in mischief but he ignored the sensation and met her look with one of his own.

“First, it was mostly jealousy,” Faith began. “You said that Marvin told you Joanne had been a very shy girl. When Andrew began making fairly blunt suggestions to her, she refused to listen to him and, despite having always kept out of his way, she now did it more than ever. Then there was her ability. She would have had no difficulty in gaining a place on the Olympic team, and even Andrew admitted that she was good enough for it. Unfortunately he knew that that would mean he would lose the control he had over her. That would have meant that she would have been out of his control. He couldn’t bear the thought of it. So, out of a combination of jealousy and a need for control…”

“…he killed her,” Jarod finished thoughtfully. “And how?”

“You could probably work that out yourself.”

Jarod shook his head. “Let’s pretend, for a moment, that I can’t.”

“You’re the only one of us who pretends, Jarod.”

Faith looked down at the bedspread for a moment, tracing the pattern of it with her finger and wishing that he wouldn’t depend on her as much as he seemed to be. It wasn’t as though he could take her with him to the next case, or any of the ones after that. Besides which, her glimpses into Andrew Harrison’s head had shown her a mind that she didn’t like at all and she wasn’t enjoying absorbing his emotions. Still, she could feel the frustration that was in Jarod’s mind and, out of the friendship that had developed between them, she felt as though she should help him. With a sigh, she continued, trying to repress the annoyance that she could detect in her own mind.

“He asked her to come to the pool one night for a private training session. She would have refused but was too scared to do so. When she arrived, he grabbed her. She fought,” Faith pulled out the photos from the autopsy report that showed the bruising clearly, “but he knocked her out and dragged her to the pool. He held her underwater until she stopped breathing, wrapped her in an old blanket and put her in his car. Then he went home. Early the next morning, he drove to the beach and dumped her body into the water. Then, only a few hours later, she was found. By then, of course, she had been dead for several hours.”

This wasn’t fair on Jarod at all. He sat back and looked at her in amazement, his eyes wide with astonishment and his mouth open in such a way that it could have been used to trap flies, had there been any present.

“Should I ask how you know? I mean, I might have got some of it eventually but only after forcing a confession out of him.”

She looked at him, one eyebrow slightly raised, and he felt the same emotion of the naughty child run through him again.

“Actually,” he said hurriedly. “Forget I asked.”

“So what are you going to do to him?” Faith’s voice was stern as she prodded him to reveal any plans he might have for getting his confession.

“I don’t know.” Jarod stood up and dropped the folder on the bed. “But I know just the place to think about it. Let me introduce you to one of my all-time favorite restaurants.” He held out his hand to her as across his face suddenly flashed one of those grins which always made people think he’d been overdoing things and should try and get some rest.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

“You look terrible, Syd. What’s wrong?”

He walked into the room and dropped into the chair opposite her, his eyes not seeing her until she posed the question.

“You’ll look terrible soon too,” he promised as he handed over a piece of paper that he held in his hand. “Broots found that. I left him hunting up anything else that might relate to it.”

Miss Parker took the single sheet of paper from him and rapidly ran her eyes down the lines of text. Pushing her chair back from under the desk, she got to her feet, refusing to meet Sydney’s eye.

“Parker, where are you going?”

She turned, as she reached the doorway, and waved the page in his face. “I’m going to make sure that my father knows about this. After all, Raines can’t just come in and claim that he is the person who is really in charge of the Centre, not now that my father’s Chairman. And he won’t let it pass without a challenge, I’m sure.”

“But Parker, your father…”

He watched as she walked through the doors and they closed behind her, leaving him alone. For the sake of sorting out his own thoughts, he finished the sentences anyway.

“You’re father doesn’t need to worry. With his power, there’s nothing Raines could do at this point in time anyway, even if he might be deluding himself with such ideas.”

* * * * * * * * *

11/184 West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

Lyle sat up on the bed and glanced once more in frustration around the room, hoping to find some way of escape that he might have missed before. The movement, however, sent pain coursing up his arms and effectively interrupted the search. Looking down, he couldn’t restrain a gasp as he saw the thing on the end of his left arm that could hardly deserve the name ‘hand’ anymore. The skin was stretched tightly, grotesquely, over his hands and under it, blood was rapidly pooling. His four nails were turning yellow and appeared to be attached to his hand only by tiny flaps of skin. After a moment, he also looked over at his right hand. Along the side, where he had slammed it into the wall, was also rapidly filling with blood, some of which was beginning to ooze out through several small cuts caused by the hardness of the surface.

Lyle stared at his hands for several moments; the shock of what he was seeing made him temporarily forget the pain. The agony of it all came back, however, when he began to stand. One foot was unable to bear his weight and, sitting down with a gasp, he used his uninjured foot to ease off his shoe and knock it onto the floor. Using one of his sausage-like fingers appeared to be impossible but, doggedly persevering, he caught the elastic around the top of the sock with the edge of his finger and, regardless of the agony, peeled it away. The sock was wet and, as soon as his foot was free, large, red drops began to scatter themselves around the room. Bending down, despite the fact that this caused his vision to blur, Lyle fumbled with his inadequate finger usage as he picked up his shoe and looked at the soft, cream leather inside it that was now stained a bright red.

With a shudder of horror, he dropped the shoe and sock back on the floor. It took a moment for him to gather his determination before he could finally get to his feet, screaming aloud as the agony from his foot flashed up the length of his leg. Immediately as he stood, however, his sight began to blur and the muscles in his eyelids flickered until he was completely incapable of seeing anything in the room. Taking a hesitant step forward and trying to place his weight on his injured foot, he staggered and, as he fell, cracked the side of his head loudly on the television. Consciousness took one look at where he lay, seized its chance, and fled…

* * * * * * * * *

International House of Pancakes
Naples, Florida

Jarod looked down, a smile curling the corners of his mouth, for a moment at his serving of Apple Crisp with the additions of three flavors of ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate crisps, hot fudge sauce, wafers, pieces of strawberry, and, of course, topped with a cherry, before starting to eat it with pleasure. Faith hesitated for a longer moment before shrugging and beginning to eat her own share. He glanced up at her as she picked up the glass of water that she had insisted on ordering, although Jarod had tried to introduce her to something more exotic.

“Come up with anything yet?” Her eyes danced again although she wasn’t looking at him.

“Not yet. I’m a little…distracted right now.” To cover his own embarrassment, Jarod picked up his glass and downed half of it at one gulp. He was about to say something else when a voice from a short distance away caught both their attention.

“Well, if it isn’t the little girl from the railway station. How are you, darlin’?” The man staggered slightly as he made his way across the floor and put his arm around Faith’s shoulder, his breath almost making her feel both sick and slightly faint. Not that it was unusual. Bobby had often come to see her in that state, unable to face her any other way. Still, she didn’t like it now.

“And I guess you’re her brother?” The man turned and, leaning down a little, stuck out his hand for Jarod to shake. “I can see the resemblance.”

Faith was about to respond when she happened to glance up at Jarod's face. It had such a combination of emotions written on it that, for a moment, she considered laughing out loud. She suddenly felt a greater understanding of a feeling that he had been trying to hide from her - embarrassment at the ease with which she had solved a problem that he had been unable to completely decipher on his own. Remaining in her seat, she watched as he began to deal with the situation in his own, unique way.

The man was still leaning down when Jarod stood up and pushed his chair back, facing the partly drunken figure. Even when the stranger eventually straightened up, the message having finally reached his partly sodden brain that he had to do so, Jarod towered over the diminutive figure and Faith could feel the eyes of several other people in the restaurant fixed on the scene in a way that made her feel slightly uncomfortable. Despite it all, however, Jarod gave no sign that anybody else could have any interest in what was happening other than Faith or himself.

“No,” Jarod's voice was quiet and yet menacing enough to reach the sodden senses of the figure in front of him. “Not her brother.”

For a moment the man froze, the words wandering randomly around in his brain until they reached the part where logic was stored. Arriving, they began to drill their way in, resulting in a headache that would, if it were possible to measure such a thing, definitely be a world-beater. As the meaning hit home, the man blinked several times, a look like that of a stranded goldfish on his face as his mouth opened and closed. As effectively as a bath in icy water, soberness tapped drunkenness on the shoulder and, when it turned around, punched it quickly in the face. The man’s eyes registered the shock that he felt before turning and walking away as quickly as possible. Jarod calmly reseated himself and recommenced eating. With a napkin, he wiped the corners of his mouth and then, putting it back on his lap, picked up his spoon and swallowed the last mouthful of his dessert.

“Uh, Jarod?”

He glanced up at her and drained his glass. “Yup?”

She shook her head and finished the food in front of her. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Do you want to leave?”

“Do you mind?”

He smiled at her. “Do you have to ask?”

* * * * * * * * *

Prefect Hotel
Naples, Florida

Faith sat herself on the one bed that the room boasted and watched as Jarod took off his jacket, hanging it on the hook behind the door.

“So, did you come up with anything yet?”

He glanced at her with the sort of grin that would get most people locked away in a room with soft walls. “Hmm, possibly.”

“But you aren’t going to do it.”

The phrase caught Jarod by surprise, although, when he thought about it, the fact that Faith knew what he had been planning made perfect sense. He looked across at her and tried to read the expression on her face but reflected that he would have had more success trying to figure out the thought processes of a flamingo and gave up.

“You obviously don’t like my idea.” He tried to keep the resentment out of his voice and sat on the end of the bed beside her. She picked up one of his hands between her own and gently began to stroke it. “There are better ways of making him tell the truth. You realized that last time we were together. You can’t keep doing that to yourself - or to other people.”

Images of the faces of some of his victims suddenly flashed into Jarod's mind and, grudgingly, he was forced to agree with her.

‘Your crusade for the little guy is backfiring. How does it feel to face the consequences?’

‘I spent an entire life simulating reality. Consequences, they feel pretty good.’

Jarod shook his head sadly as the four-year-old conversation replayed itself in his mind. Perhaps sometimes the consequences weren’t quite as good as he had once thought.

“So what do you suggest we do?”

“Well, you don’t need him to tell you how he did it. You know that now. You just want him to admit that he did it.”

Jarod nodded slowly, hoping to catch up with her train of thought eventually but unsure whether he would completely be able to do so. As she started to explain her idea, he listened intently and nodded with seeming intelligence whenever she paused to draw breath.

* * * * * * * * *

Home of Andrew Harrison
Naples, Florida

Jarod eased open the window of the house and gently helped Faith over the ledge and into the room before climbing in himself.

“Graceful,” murmured Faith as he crawled over the slightly higher than expected window ledge. Jarod tried to glare at her but the glare melted into a grin that was clearly visible in the light from the flashlight she held.

“His room is…?”

“That way,” Faith pointed towards a doorway where the door itself stood half-open and through which the occasional muttering could be heard.

Jarod stopped for a moment and glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “I could have used you with me more often.”

“You weren’t emotionally ready to deal with me before now.” She responded seriously to his bantering and he felt that his humor had about as much chance of surviving around her as a whelk had in a supernova. Not that he mentioned it to her. He didn’t need to. She could always figure it out for herself. He shrugged and, checking that he had everything, made his way silently towards the door.

For several seconds the two stood in the doorway of the room and watched as the man slept. Jarod hesitated. This, he had to admit to himself, was the bit he didn’t like much. He wasn’t used to depending on other people for his confessions and, wonderful though Faith’s idea had sounded when they talked about it in his hotel room, his enthusiasm was now dwindling at a remarkably rapid rate. Faith slipped one hand into his and squeezed gently.

“Is it going to work?”

His words were like a breath of wind but she didn’t need to hear them to understand his concerns. She thought for several seconds, probing the mind of the sleeping man in front of them, before answering.

“Yes.”

Her own words were just audible but insufficient to disturb rest. For several seconds she watched while Jarod stepped over to the desk in the room, almost silently turned on the light and put a piece of paper and a pen on the surface before rejoining her in the shadows of the room.

Faith reached into Harrison’s mind, mentally searching through the emotions to find the vague hints of that feeling which she had sensed earlier. Locating the sense of remorse he felt for his actions, buried under his self-conceit and justification that were so strong she could hardly repress a shudder of disgust, she began to magnify it, forcing him, even in sleep, to confront what he had done. Jarod watched, unable to guess what was going through the man’s mind and waiting for the signal so he could play his role in the night’s activities. Finally it came as Faith nodded.

“Andrew,” Jarod began in a soft voice that could be heard by the figure on the bed but was insufficient to truly rouse him. The man on the bed had begun to twitch slightly in his sleep but the voice stopped him for a moment.

“I know that you did it, Andrew. I know that you killed her.”

“No, no.” The denial was weak and muffled and Jarod glanced at Faith. Her eyes were trained on his face, her mind entwined with his, and she nodded again.

“I know you feel guilty about it too, Andrew. You might try to deny it but I know you regret doing it; you regret taking a life.”

The figure mumbled something else but his face was buried in the pillow and Jarod couldn’t make out the words.

“But I can help you get rid of the guilt, Andrew. All you have to do is this. Get out of bed, Andrew. Get out of bed and go over to your desk. On that desk are a piece of paper and a pen. Sign your name on the bottom of that sheet of paper and go back to bed, Andrew. Then the pain will go away.”

The moonlight streaming into the room had shifted since they had entered and Faith, standing further inside the room than Jarod, was quite clearly visible. As he stopped speaking, Jarod reached out a hand and pulled her back against him so that both could melt more easily into the shadows.

Jarod hardly breathed as the figure on the bed threw back the sheet, got up and, unsteadily, walked to the table. Picking up the pen, he signed the sheet along the bottom, where a line had been put for that express purpose. As he finished, Jarod lowered his head to whisper in Faith’s ear.

“Is he still asleep?”

She shrugged slightly. “Sort of.”

As she finished speaking, the man at the desk turned, about to get back into bed, in accordance with Jarod's instructions. Something, however, caught his eye and he looked directly into the corner where the two people were hiding. Jarod's grip on Faith’s shoulders tightened as the killer took a step towards them.

“What are you…?” Andrew began in a voice that gave no hint that he had been asleep only a few moments earlier. Jarod’s mind ran rapidly through a series of scenarios that would give them the best chance of escape and came quickly to the conclusion that the best method would be to leap forward and tackle the man to the floor. As Jarod watched, however, Andrew’s eyes began to glaze over and his actions took on a slow and almost dreamy motion. Within a few seconds his knees crumpled underneath him and he fell to the floor, his eyes closed and his breath coming slowly and evenly.

“What…?”Jarod turned Faith to face him with a look of confusion on his face.

“He was still asleep. Sort of.” She shrugged and turned away slightly. Jarod kept hold of her and forced her to look at him.

“Is he okay?” His voice, though soft, was full of meaning.

“He’s fine. Fast asleep again, and absolutely fine. What are you so worried about him for, anyway? Let’s just go.”

Jarod glanced over his shoulder and then back at Faith. Despite what the man had done, Jarod couldn’t help feeling bad for what had happened to him and he was a little surprised at Faith’s seeming want of concern or emotion.

“Get the paper and turn the lamp off.”

Without really understanding why, Jarod did as he was directed and then watched in amazement as the man, shivering slightly but still with his eyes closed, got up off the floor and climbed back into bed, curling himself up tightly under the covers.

“Now, are you ready to go?”

On to Act IV

 
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