A Case of Crisis Apparition|
Greg averted Judy’s pointed gaze as he hurried past her position at the front desk on his way to the locker room. He was late again.
If anyone asked why, he’d tell them the truth: this time it really was the traffic!
It was kind of pathetic, too. He had already come to the lab, had even played a stupid board game with Hodges when he realized he had forgotten his crime scene kit at home.
The locker room was starkly empty, as it usually was whenever the often-tardy Greg managed to arrive. His footsteps bounced, echoed off the tiled floor and walls. He was sure that most…no, the entire team was probably already receiving the night’s debriefing from Grissom. Or maybe they were already off on their individual cases.
Greg sighed and hurried to open his locker.
He was met by an avalanche of old clothes from yesterday. Greg remembered that in his hurry to leave last night, he had just shoved everything inside instead of organizing it all. And now he was paying the price.
“Fucking…” Greg muttered as he held up a stained shirt, “clothes.” He folded it and tossed it to the bottom of the locker, then reached for his camera that had escaped his locker with the rest of the flood.
The room was still quiet.
Too quiet, Greg chuckled to himself.
Just like all the horror movies he knew and loved.
That’s when he became aware of somebody else’s footsteps loudly resounding in the silence.
Greg shut his locker with a crashing bang and grabbed his silver kit, ready to greet whoever it was that had joined him.
Suddenly, Nick passed by twenty feet ahead, disappearing behind the opposite line of lockers at the end of the row. His head was down and he gave no indication that he had seen Greg.
“Hey, Nick!” Greg called out as Nick’s form vanished from view.
Greg hurried to catch up with him, desperate to find out what he missed and if Grissom was pissed.
But Nick was nowhere to be found.
Greg was confused as he peeked into each deserted aisle. He could have sworn he had seen Nick, in the flesh and blood, just moments ago. But there was no indication that anyone else at all besides Greg himself was in the room.
An unnerving chill ran through Greg’s veins when he remembered that he hadn’t heard the door open.
Greg hurried to the break room, but on his way he was surprised to see the lab in a chaotic frenzy. People – scores of people – were rushing this way and that way in frantic motion.
When he reached the break room, he found Grissom and Brass in deep conversation. Sara and Warrick were seated, both looking concerned and puzzled.
“What’s going on?” Greg asked as he slid into a seat next to Sara.
Grissom’s voice answered. “Greg, we’ve got a major case tonight.” He looked oddly calm in relation to the expressions of Sara and Warrick.
After a pause, Grissom continued. “Nick was abducted from his crime scene at 11:17 P.M.”
The world seemed to tumble on its side, Grissom’s words an unexpected blow. But the same chill from earlier unsettled Greg again when he recalled, in shock, what the clock on the locker room wall had read when Nick’s figure passed by: