Title: Gun In My Hand, Tears in My Eyes
Author: Paula Stiles
Rated: PG-13 (for one dead mathematician)
Spoilers: Pilot, Justine

Summary: Creegan tried to kill Hinks--but someone beat him to it.

Disclaimers: The characters and Touching Evil universe belong to the USA Network. I'm just taking a couple of the guest stars out for a test drive. No harm intended. No money made from it.

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Past the reading lamp, past the dog. Gun in my hand, tears in my eyes. I don't even know why I bother to sneak up the stairs. I'm going to kill him. Suicide or burglary-gone-wrong, who cares what the scenario is? It's first degree murder either way.

It's as if he were waiting for me when I come up behind him. He turns around slowly in his chair, that bland, mathematical certainty in his eyes. Hinks is a man who calculates people like imaginary numbers, insane digits. "What can I do for you tonight, Detective? I was expecting your more volatile colleague." He stands up. "Would you like some coffee?"

"I'd rather you sat back down." I loom over him even when he's standing. He's a small man, with small dreams that invoIve tormenting and killing small children. He looks bemused when I bring my latex-gloved hand out from behind my back and point the gun at him. "I said, sit down."

He sits, cringing a bit, but it's all an act. As he does, he glances at his cellphone on his desk. I can't let him use that. He's trying to play me along the way he would roll a set of dice, until he can get the advantage again. Well, he's just come up snake eyes. "What do you want from me, Detective...I didn't catch your name?" The tone is ingratiating and dismissive at the same time. "Are you here for my confession?"

"Why? You planning on giving me one? Turn around." His face twitches--the numbers aren't rolling quite right. Yeah, I have that effect on people. Maybe it's the Brit-in-America thing. Maybe it's just me.

Hinks turns around, facing his neat, hospital-cornered desk. "A confession under duress like this would be useless, you know. Even if I had anything to confess. I don't understand why you're all persecuting me like this. I'm an innocent man." His tone is flat, as if he were reciting a list of statistics.

I don't answer. You'd think he was talking to a naughty child. He'd have made a brilliant hostage negotiator. He sounds so calm and understanding, while understanding nothing. We might as well be on different planets for all the connection between us at this moment.

He looks startled when I come forward to kneel beside him and put the gun to his head, aiming at a slightly upward angle the way a suicide would. "What are you doing?"

I'm not going to waste time answering him; I owe him no explanations. Bad enough to watch him disappear into the woodwork like some murderous termite, intent on hurting someone else's child in some other town, but it's my own child at risk now. I have to act. I must act. Judy could go into labour at any moment. He has to die before our baby comes into this world. I cannot risk him hurting my beautiful child.

"What is wrong with you people?" he says, sounding fearful now, but peevish, too. "You're as crazy as your colleague. Creegan? Was that his name? Did he put you up to this?" I'm mucking up his orderly little world. His sterile, loveless universe. I try to tell myself that this is somehow right. It's a sacrifice for my child. I lay everything I am, everything I've ever believed in about justice and mercy on this bloody altar to save my child. It has to be right.

"Look, if you leave now, I won't tell anybody you were here. I promise." His tone has turned wheedling and conciliatory. It has the effect of cool reason on my hot brain. Reason from a psychopath--what delusional universe have I stumbled into? I teeter, unsure, hesitating. Maybe he's right. Maybe there's another way. Maybe I *can* force a confession out of him. Maybe we can get more evidence and put him away without this last resort.

And then he breaks, lifting his hand to reach for the cellphone on his desk. The thing that brought me here uncoils inside my head, filling my will with murder, tightening my finger on the trigger. The gun bucks in my hand, knocking his head away from me and blowing his blood and brains all over the wall. I stand up slowly, in an echoing silence. I put the gun in his hand, sitting him upright again, head slumped forward. It all looks so neat, just like him.

Back down the stairs, past the dog with a gentle pat on the head, past the reading lamp and out onto the quiet street. The gun is gone, but the tears are still in my eyes....tears in my eyes, but I no longer know whom they're for.


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This page was last updated on 05/8/2004