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Old August 15 2009, 06:29 PM   #1
happyharper13
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Psychic

TITLE: Psychic
CHARACTERS: Greg, Sara
RATING: PG
GENRE: Supernatural/Surreal, Tragedy, Friendship, Casefile, some hybrid of poetry and prose
SUMMARY: "Sara -- still stunned -- just nodded as cloudy lines grew cloudier still. She had never watched a suspect die from the inside out before." Greg uses his "gift" from Nana Olaf to teach Sara a lesson in objectivity. A oneshot in magical realism.
DISCLAIMER: If I owned CSI or any of its characters, Greg would get more screentime, Warrick wouldn't be dead and Yo!Bling would be canon. Insert other conditionals




Final Author's Note:
This story is a bit... weird, but I'd love it if you read through it. It can be a bit confusing, but it all makes sense in the end (or at least it's supposed to). It's also the first real story I've ever written that wasn't for class. I think the last story I wrote before this one was like sophomore year of high school for an English project. Reviews are always love, but this story is still probably 10x more important to me, or at least 10x more entrenched in my heart, and reviews on this one would, subsequently, mean a lot more to me than reviews on any of my other stories. Basically, I would be eternally grateful for feedback on it. (Now that I'm done being a review whore) enjoy! Also, I generally am pretty conscientious about my grammar, but the style here is a lot more free-form.





Harper

Psychic
0


"I wish I could understand why." Sara looked, dejectedly, over at the room, where two bodies laid. She added softly, "I wish I could get in their head and understand why they do it."


"No you don't."


She looked up at Greg, who sat in the chair down, also waiting to process the evidence.


"There's never an easy answer. A person's mind is complicated, and scary. You can never really understand, because you can't see what they see without judging how they see it."


She stared at him quizzically, unsettled by his cryptic comment.


"I want to understand."


"Fine. But it's not what you expect. You can't know a person's mind and then judge the crime objectively."


"Yes I can."


"Wanna bet?"


"Yes."


He walked over and took her hand; she faced the adjacent room and her mind swirled.


1


You sit on your deathbed and cry because, you say, the world passed you by, but mourn because, you know, you passed the world by.


You never bothered to look out your window and throw bread crumbs to the wind. You only threw dynamite, because you wanted to watch the explosion – colorful, like the spontaneous combustion of someone else's dreams. Was it really spontaneous, or was it inevitable, in your world, you wonder.


You were in it for the ride, you say, and hell, you rode it to the sunset. You rode it to the limits of combustible kaleidoscopic dreams; a modern James Dean, you thought, even though you never knew James Dean.


But still, the picture of a rebel without a cause went flipping through your mind as you flew, high as a kite, like Harry Chapin, in that song you used to hear on the radio, about the guy who wanted to be an astronaut and met his high school sweetheart one night while he was driving his cab.


Just like that, you think. And, just like that, you go. Just like that, you remember that that really is you, high as a kite, flying down I-95, every fifth-mile as flat as your impending deathbed.


"So how was the ride?"


2


You glance at your neighbor as a brief noise greets your ears, but you can't place it. She looks ghastly – ghastly and sad – but still drop-dead gorgeous, until you see the melted pieces of red Camaro embedded in her hair.


"So how was the ride?" she asks.


There's no anger in her voice, just chilled acquiescence – chilled like the iced tea and pumpkin pie your grandmother would make you on a hot summer Sunday afternoon, without the affection the maid faked when she served it to you with the vague hope you'd put in a good word for her.


And you think about that pie, the creamy silk gliding down your throat, its transition eased by relative deficit in crispy shell, paper-thin, filo-like pieces pressed together but kept apart with delicious yet seemingly intangible grease. You always asked for more crust, but your grandmother said it wasn't proper, everyone could only get their share, the perfect pie slice, and besides, excess crust didn't suit her palate, and the maid never bothered to refuse her.


You think about the pie, and how your mutated lips will never taste it again. But then again, you don't need lips, only a tongue, and tastebuds, and maybe you aren't alive anyways.


Yet another reason you never liked either; no palate for the diverse, the chewy, the textured pieces that broke up the boring, pretty, mundane smooth of a savory desert.


"Your life can't be all speedbumps," your father would say as you begged for more crusty pieces, and you would stare at him with what he called the "teenage attitude look," rolling your eyes, but you would say, "speed bumps have nothing to do with pie."


And then it would be him who rolled his eyes, as your grandmother chastised you both with a brief glance of perplexity in her all-knowing stare. It was the first and last time you saw her cold stare break, and after that she always chastened, and switched subjects and took another sip from that bitter, unsweetened, iced tea left at lukewarm, when your father mixed speed bumps with pumpkin pie crusts.


3


Your neighbor clears her gravelly throat with a sore bleat, and you happily switch your thoughts to the more tangible and attractive topic laying feet away.


"How was the ride?"


She asks again, in a louder voice with a hint of resignation replaced by a small tone you can't quite place.


"Was it all you wanted?" she questions, the small tone increasing.


"What?"


"The ride," she asks. "Was it everything you hoped it would be?"


The ride, you think. What ride? Is life ending this quickly? Are you really stuck in limbo with a half-Vixen, half-Camaro, waiting for something more?


"More?" you ask.


She laughs. It's a gravelly laugh that turns into a hacking cough quickly enough to make you jump.


But it's when you jump that you see it's not quite a jump because you're lying down. Down. You didn't think you'd be lying down in limbo. You always subconsciously assumed it would look like those long miserable lines at Target, with the brightly-colored tabloid magazines, the ones that your dad would scoff at, with slightly more volume than necessary, and that would be filled with photos taken out of context to seem more scandalous than they really were, and gossip that you knew was rarely true, but that you couldn't help crane your head to see, but then turn around and find your father staring at the same image, only to scoff more loudly than before.


"What trash," he said again.


And this time, the shopper in front twitched a little, her body disagreeing with her mind's decision to consciously ignore surrounding conversations, not to be a nosy eavesdropper.


You rolled your eyes, the same way, but this time out of his eyes' reach, and turned back to the magazines. They were interesting.


He stared at the twitching arm, too sleep-deprived and zoned-out to notice the line in front moving. A twerpy little kid – the kind a parent would call precocious, looked up at you with beady bright green blue eyes, the kind he whispered to you the kid was lucky to have, that were the only reason he could get away with being annoying, by being "cute" – and asked, "Whatcha reading?"


Stupid enthusiasm, your father would say. He grunted, glared and pretended not to hear.


Then the stupid little kid asked his mom, "Mommy, is that man the kind with the face and the black and the white who makes the box shape and don't talk?" and you wonder why the kid doesn't just come out and ask if your dad is a mime.


Again the Camaro vixen asks if the ride was what you'd wanted, and this time you appreciated her eloquence; she didn't waste a breathe.


So that's what you said, because you're tired of the way people ask follow-up questions when you don't say what they think is enough, so you might as well say it all.


And you say it all. You say it was a hell of a ride, and that you're just like her because you didn't waste a breathe. But she sighs and says you don't know what you're talking about.


You sigh too because maybe you don't.


4


She never touched a car, never rode life fast, but she still walked it like a roller coaster because no one else could see the bumps and dives. She walked the bumps and dives like you rode them, but not in a Camaro.


It was because, she said, she didn't have to keep her eye on the road.


"Why?" you ask. Why look forward when you can't look forward into the sunset, see your future lying out in front of you?"


"See your future in front of you?" she asks. "See your future in front of you like the long grey stretch that looks blacker than it is, two yellow flat lines piercing through only to tell you which way is right, which is left and which way is wrong, at the pretty sunset you'll never reach? I'd rather look sideways."


Sideways. You look sideways and all you see is her, and the red Camaro pieces a bit brighter this time, and she a bit stranger.


She looks sideways right back at you, and you feel like she's checking you out, but you start off looking at her hands, clenching the blanket and you realize it's really you who's trying to check her out because she turns her eyes to you with an expression that you again can't quite place, but that makes you shudder nonetheless.


You don't just feel naked and cold under that cool stare, but bewildered, and almost amused, because you don't remember being looked at with quite that expression for a very long time.


In fact, it's your grandmother who last gave you that look, that look of wonder, but somehow you can't quite remember when.


She turns around quickly and says, "I'm tired."


She seems to sleep forever, though you wonder if she's really sleeping and how she even can sleep, always putting the cover over, she tosses and turns.


You wonder if she's tossing and turning for the same bizarre reason she's stuck here in limbo with you. You always knew you'd end up here, but something about her strikes you as innocent, nave, maybe too nave.



She reminds you of hearing about why the newborn babies were baptized before they died, like you saw on some cheesy old movie back in the day on some date, and you wonder what it is they're trying to save. It strikes you as absurd that a baby would really have a chance to sin.


You sure don't remember being a baby. Your mother used to talk about how you’d always hide your bedtime stories and blame your blankie when you were a baby, but you don't remember anything about that. In retrospect, you wish you did, but that would probably just make you sadder, thinking about your family, and how they've probably already found out you're dead.


You always assumed you'd wind up here, lying in limbo, because you didn't do anything worth going anywhere else.


So you were here, waiting for the other person in the room to speak. But she didn't, so you wonder yet again why she's here, and she strikes you as similar to the newborn, the one who doesn't deserve a chance to be baptized but who also doesn't have the chance to do good or do bad, so instead she just is, tosses and turns to live the life in her sleep that she never lived before, and really never will.


5

Like a caterpillar inching up a reed,
In the middle of a tornado,
You do not waver
In the wind
With each breezy breathe
That ought strike a blow
At those precious convictions.
Obstinacy, strength
Pugnacious integrity
Ease you up the web you spin of dogmatic ideals for yourself and no other
So that when your casket falls,
Swaying with each gust,
Faint rainbows not yet revealed by hard, strung cocoon exterior
You can say to yourself,
"At least I went down swinging, believing"
The question mark is lost in the wind
You live your life on overdrive
Do your work, pay your tithe
All in reluctance, acquiescence
Laugh at life but never ask why
Greet the new season by changing your clock
And regretting one less hour to get drunk that night
Greet life with a yawn
A shudder and a sudden trill
As you wait in that long line,
Impatiently for something to happen
But it never does
Blissful in ignorance
Acquiescent in apathy
Of a world too dull and complex
And slow-moving for your taste
You push the crowd to move
Yell at the traffic of comrades equally secluded behind steel, glass minds
Never bothering to be glad that they all don't go down like dominoes because you sometimes wish they would
So you could stack them up in a pile on the side of I-95
Or, had you more time,
Or rather had you not used up all the time you never realized you had,
To try to balance them out on those rough beige highway walls
And see which ones fell over
Probably the ones balanced more precariously on the road, weighed down more heavily with fried chicken and inevitably unaccompanied
Your face turns flush,
You feel, as you stare at the pare loose slab of skin hanging off your arm and turn your thoughts elsewhere.
You lived your life at 100 mph
Going only forward
Should it really shock you that you reached your destination so soon?
You smile at the world that's dying in your arms because you know it never was yours to begin with
Somebody's, surely, it was, you say
Yet it irks you more than it ought when you realize you can't say whose it was
Effort, that's all you needed
A push, a pull, a shout, a whisper, a yell, a grab, a dance
A day spent standing and spewing your heart out to all who would listen to what was really in your heart
Because, at one point, it's in every heart
Give voice to your compassion,
Why didn't you?
Give voice to the heartstrings that refused to yield after too many miles at warp-speed, radio set to apathy
Do you know when it was that you changed the channel?
Give, take, shake, make
Your world quake
Under the puppeteer strings
of your compassion


Did you ever?


No, and that's the problem


Your apathy is thick like a milkshake, thicker than the exhaust spewing out of your Camaro as it grinds to a half, breathing its last – and your last – inebriated breath. Your last breathe is pure whiskey and exhaust, pleasure and impatience. Not another breathe is uttered in the split-second it takes you to stop.


Stop. Where you really moving to begin with? Stop. You say you were, going, but moving? Stop. Moving; going places? Stop. What places?


It's her asking again, you realize; interrupted by the ticking, clock tolling. Is your time in limbo down to the ticks, tocks and stops of this ambivalent clock, you wonder. But where?


Does time really fly, you wonder, or does it just stop, tick tock, sitting in the passenger seat of your crushed Camaro, only to be blown to pieces altogether. So now time is gone and so are you, so the only question you can't drive out is, "where's the Camaro?"


Acquiescence


Icy cold streaks down your cheek like lightning that you reach out for to savor the texture as it soaks into the vacant, swollen vessel of other hypothermic dreams, left out in the cold, -- but not by you, you say.


The ticking grows louder and you don't bother to look for the IV pump tolling its last for a man that went out like James Dean under the headline, "Drunk driver kills two."


6


Sara sat back, jolted by the images, thoughts and memories of the man in front in the adjacent room.


"I meant it when I said I was psychic. I am. I just choose not to use it. That's why."


Sara -- still stunned -- just nodded, as cloudy lines grew cloudier still. She had never watched a suspect die from the inside out before.


"Ultimately, when you go in there, you're still you. You can't turn off your prejudices, or your judgments. And you're a pretty judgmental person."


Grissom said objectivity was key. That just meant that Grissom didn't -- couldn't -- know a victim quite so intimately.


Finally, she could see the reason. This was why they collected evidence. It's not just that it doesn't lie. It was that its truth couldn't be interpreted and blurred by the investigators' own judgments and prejudices.


Sitting back, listening to the flat line of one heart monitor, joined by the second, in the hospital room, Sara understood.


She stared down at the blank note paper. She made to collect the scrap metal embedded in the head of the female pedestrian, now a DB, and tried to set aside his own judgments once more. She had spent more than enough time in the perp's head.


Greg looked out into the hospital room, waiting and listening. One would have thought that telepathy had more to do with the full moon, or some mystical spice or such. Yet, really, it just happened. Every once in a while, he would just slip into a mind -- one that was not his own.


He hadn't been lying when he told Grissom about his Nana Olaf and gift.


Had he the choice, he would have chosen another gift. Seeing the inside of a person's mind was no pleasantry, and it was never objective.

-------

Reviews are love (especially on this story). This one was the first real story that I wrote and I would especially love feedback on it, whether it's positive or negative.


Harper
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Old August 15 2009, 09:42 PM   #2
MacsGirlMel
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Re: Psychic

nice work
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Old August 31 2009, 04:28 PM   #3
BlueDiamondStar
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Re: Psychic

great one. i liked. a litte mystic and interesting. i liked the thought of Greg being psych.
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