Amber (sirenofodysseus) wrote in through_the_red,
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Penguin Prompting Party: Day Twenty-Five

Title: Respect
Rating: T
Word Count: 1,389
Summary: you should always pay respect to the dead.
Warnings: Character deaths.
Prompt: a fic in which everybody dies.
Prompted by: redandgallifrey


--
I—

The floor beneath your feet is wet, and every single step reminds you of stepping into a small puddle after a gentle rainstorm; the slight squish-squash of your sole hitting the newly colored carpet, the brief moisture that soaks through your pant legs to your thin ankles, and the slight irritation at the silent knowledge that you will have to burn your favorite pair of dress pants.

But you don’t really mind.

The knife, colored with life, dangles precariously in your pale fingers.

With a twist of the head, you survey your surroundings with a predatory grin; the once chipped white walls bleed with five times your happiness, and the lifeless bodies that are arranged perfectly with their glassy stares finding each other almost make you gleeful enough to bring a sixth into your little murder party.

But you don’t.

Everybody is dressed to impress, and even you, in your blood stained tuxedo and red splotched tie cannot help but appreciate the serene scene of death before your very eyes. None of them expected to be slaughtered at your hand.

But they were, and in the reflective silence, you admire them for the worthy adversaries that they were—because nobody else could play a mean game of cat and mouse like they did. You then acknowledge each individual by name, as if you actually knew them, for you know that you should always pay your respects to the dead.

And into the shadows of the night, you watch and wait for somebody to discover your newest masterpiece to the world.

II—

Detective Emily Johnson grips her weapon close, as she throws open door after door within the decrepit manor home, that had once seen much better days. She beckons her brunette partner closer with a single finger, while Emily reflects on exactly why they are there.

The next door neighbor, Kris Howell had called the San Francisco Police Department about hearing the faint echoes of gun shots and screams coming from the joint home of Ana Freeman, Bree Conner, and Leah Tyler.

Although the neighbor often handed them false tips (and half of them landed within the California Bureau of Investigation), the Chief had sent her and Devon down to check the legitimacy of the statement out.  However, five minutes into their consistent shoulder throwing, Emily grows bored and she feels that she can lower her weapon slightly, just until they find themselves on the second floor via a set of beautifully polished wooden steps.

The white, paint peeling doors are all shut except for one—and the carpet beneath her feet reminds her of freshly fallen snow—the stuff she has seen in person.

                “Cover me.” Emily mutters, as she steps down the long hallway dotted with large broken windows and emerald green curtains. Devon says nothing, as they approach the open door with apprehension and Emily counts to three in her head before she barrels her way into the room.

If she was not gripping her gun tightly, it would have fallen from her fingers—for this is the first Red John case she has ever seen, and her light dinner churns within her stomach at the red smiley face and then the lifeless bodies lying on the bed. 

                “Oh my god.” Devon whispers, and Emily cannot help but agree.

There are three bodies.

There is blood everywhere.

This is a Red John case.

With a shaky hand, Emily goes to call it in—her hand is on her sleek phone, when a meek voice gives her pause.

                “Basement.”

Emily is not sure what the word means beyond basement, but the voice signifies that one of his victims is alive and she has to keep her alive.

                “Check.”

Quickly, she approaches the bedside and bends down to feel for a weak pulse in any of the victims.

There isn’t one—their skin is ice cold to the touch.

Devon grasps her gun tighter. “I think she wants us to check the basement, Emily.” 

                “She’s dead, Devon.” Emily responds bitterly. “They are all dead.” It’s the first time she has seen death in this magnitude, and she cannot help but feel completely unprepared for what their next course of action should be. “I have to report this.”

                “I want to check the basement, Emily.”

Emily knows her partner is persistent—one of the hardest workers in the department—and will not agree to doing anything else until after they have both checked out the basement. “Let me call this in first.”  Devon nods, and Emily glances back down at her phone.

III—

The basement air is cold, and damp.

Their flashlights shimmer off the wet white walls nestled with the gossamer of spider webs, as the rain plops down from the ceiling. Emily briefly wonders why a person would even try to visit the basement, as she eyes a particularly large spider scuttling across the cracked concrete floor.

It only takes a few moments for the detectives to realize that the small square basement is completely empty and bare, except for a rather large macabre painting that seems to fit the entire house perfectly. Emily turns to her partner, and frowns. “There’s nothing here, Devon. Are you satisfied?” Devon is wearing a frown, as she stares intensely at the macabre painting of two skeletons draped in white cloth, and slowly shakes her head.

                “I studied this paining in college.” Emily blinks, because the connection between the murders upstairs and a rather grotesque painting is lost on her. “I don’t have time to explain right now, but I have the strongest feeling that something is behind this painting.” Emily opens her mouth to argue with her partner, when Devon continues to speak. “Trust me on this one.”

Emily nods and up close, the faded painting gives her the creeps.

                “Do you remember the name of it?” Emily asks out of curiosity, and Devon shakes her head.

                “It’s been years, really.” Devon softly explains, while her fingers dance across the once spectacularly colored golden frame, which is now dull by years and years of dampness and yanks. The painting, no matter how much muscle she puts into it, does not budge though something squeaks from behind the painting. “Damn it.”

                “You better hope there isn’t a family of mice hiding back there, Devon.”

Devon frowns. “I’m not wrong.”

                “I loathe mice.” She just hates creepy basements in general, and them standing here does not make her feel any less apprehensive about the serial killer that could be running around the house still. “It’s just a painting, Devon. Come on.”

                “If we could knock through the wall…”

                “You’d find a mouse family,” Emily responds. “We’re not knocking through the wall. We’re going upstairs to wait for further instructions from…”

                “Something is behind this painting.” Devon interrupts. “I just know it.”

Emily shakes her head, and approaches the painting again. “There is absolutely nothing behind this painting.” Her fingers touch the well-worn canvas. “It’s only a painting, and…” Something clicks from beyond the painting as her fingers skim one of the skeletons, and Emily jumps back in surprise as the painting swings toward her and reveals a dark paint-chipped hallway, with only one white door at the very end.

                “What do you think is back there?” Devon asks her.

Nothing good is on the tip of her tongue, but Emily continues forth into the unknown without a response.

IV—

Nothing good was right, but it cannot even begin to describe the grotesque scene before her very eyes, and Emily finds herself grasping to hold onto the vile contents of her stomach as she leans against the white door, and repeats: “oh my god” over and over again.

She eyes the five lifeless bodies—two females and three males—dressed to the nines, and each of the bodies are tied to the once white chairs (which now are stained red). The table is set for a party of six, the walls around the white room are plastered with five smiley faces, and the carpet beneath her feet breathes red onto her white shoes.

She tries not to notice the number of slashes each victim has, but the number is automatic—fifteen.

 Devon stands next to her in the only acceptable answer to this brutal act: silence.

For, they also respect the dead.  


Tags: character: grace van pelt, character: kimball cho, character: other, character: patrick jane, character: red john, character: teresa lisbon, character: wayne rigsby, fandom: the mentalist, genre: angst, genre: murder, penguin prompting party
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