Flashing his badge to the officer guarding the scene, Raines ducked under the yellow police tape and entered the house. The inside was just like Raines had imagined it - decorated tastefully, yet in a way that left no doubt that the owner had spent a small fortune on it. He paused briefly in the foyer to look at a framed magazine cover adorned with the face of Patrick Jane, the king of late-night cable charlatans.
Raines knew him mostly by reputation, though he had read the information Jane had given them after the last Red John murder - nothing but basic profiling dressed up in a fancy act, some interesting observations but nothing uncannily accurate. Raines looked back outside through the open door. But some people must have believed in his psychic powers, as evidenced by the horde of paparazzi already lurking around the house. Or possibly it was the killer who was the real celebrity here, Raines wasn't sure.
The bodies were on the second floor, and Raines followed an officer up the stairs. When they reached the landing, however, the officer simply nodded towards the door at the end of the corridor and turned back on his heels, leaving Raines alone as he fled downstairs.
The door to the bedroom was open, and Raines was still several steps away from it when he saw the familiar smiling face, painted in blood, greeting him from the wall. He swore softly under his breath before stepping inside.
Raines glanced at the woman's body on the bed, and then looked away. No matter how many times he'd been in this situation, it never got easier. Leaving the body for the professionals, he tried to focus on the rest of the room as he waited for his stomach to settle again.
There was a book lying on the floor, much loved by the looks of it, its well-worn covers now splattered in blood.
"It was her favorite." Angela Jane crouched down on the floor and picked up the book, idly browsing the pages. "She wanted to stay up to say goodnight to her father, but he was late and she fell asleep while we were reading. I'd just put her to bed when I heard the door open."
She set the book down in the exact same place and stood up.
She was a beautiful woman, exactly the kind of a girl-next-door beauty that Raines imagined a man like Patrick Jane would marry, her looks now marred by the dried blood matted in her hair and the dark half-moon bruise under her left eye. Raines tried to focus on her face, but his eyes were drawn downwards. There were finger marks on her neck, and the left strap of her nightgown had been torn loose, revealing the soft curve of her breast. Her torso was soaked in red, the blood dripping down her thigh all the way to her toenails, also painted red with blood.
Raines could taste bile in his mouth and turned away, only too late realizing his mistake. There was a sleepy voice from the bed in front of him.
He hadn't looked at the girl's body yet, hadn't been able to after seeing what had been done to her mother, but he'd overheard a couple of CSI techs talk about how the officer who'd answered the 911 call threw up in the flower bed afterwards. Children were always the worst.
Small pale fingers appeared from under the blanket, leaving bloodstains behind as they gripped the sheets.
"It hurts, mommy."
Closing his eyes to block out the images, Raines pushed past the illusion of Mrs. Jane and staggered out of the room.
There were pictures hanging on the wall of the staircase, and he focused on them until he found what he was looking for. It was a professionally shot black-and-white family portrait - the smiling Patrick Jane sitting cross-legged on the floor, building a jigsaw puzzle with his daughter, his wife looking over them from an expensive-looking designer chair. Her smile was more reserved than her husband's, almost uncomfortable, Raines noted. There were other, similar pictures as he continued down the corridor, each portraying a different scene of serene domesticity.
"They were taken for a story in Entertainment Weekly. I was against it, but Patrick insisted. He said it would be good for his career."
Raines took a deep breath and turned to look at Mrs. Jane again. Her wounds were gone now, and she was wearing a light gray cardigan over a white summer dress, just like in the photos.
She was holding her sleeping daughter - Charlotte - in her arms. The girl was wearing pale blue Winnie the Pooh pajamas, a mass of blonde curls hiding her face as she rested her head against her mother's shoulder. Mrs Jane whispered something in her ear and she stirred, sleepily rubbing her eyes. When she noticed Raines, she gave him a smile, and then slipped out of her mother's arms and ran down the corridor, disappearing downstairs.
Mrs. Jane gently touched a picture of her husband holding her and their daughter. "He always gets his way in the end."
Feeling still slightly nauseated, Raines left Mrs. Jane looking at the pictures and returned downstairs, stopping an officer as he passed him.
"The husband?" He asked.
The officer nodded towards the kitchen. "Over there. Just make it short, yeah? He was the one who found the bodies, and I think he's in shock. The paramedics want to take him to the hospital to be checked out when we're finished."
Patrick Jane was sitting at the kitchen table, looking nothing like the man Raines remembered from insomnia-induced 3 a.m. talk show rerun marathons. He was pale with a sickly pallor that made him look like he was just seconds away from collapsing, and his eyes were puffy and red-rimmed. He was wearing a shiny silk suit, and scarlet splatters of blood stained his hands and the front of his shirt. There was a blanket around his shoulders and someone had given him a cup of tea, but he was still shivering, the spoon making a quiet clinking sound as he held the cup between his shaking hands. He took no notice of Raines, his eyes fixed on his teacup as if he were trying to divine the future from the leaves.
When Raines entered the kitchen, the girl appeared again, running past him to the fridge. "I drew this," she said, pointing at a colorful crayon drawing of three stick-figures with happy smiling faces. "This is me, and this is mommy, and this is daddy."
The fridge door was covered with an assortment of magnets, photographs, drawings, shopping lists, and other odds and ends, creating a picture of a family miles removed from the posed and stilted images in the upstairs corridor.
"For Patrick, everything is an act, a show." Mrs. Jane appeared next to Raines and took her daughter's hand. She was now wearing scuffed jeans and a worn T-shirt, her hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. She led the girl away from the fridge, and then sat down at the table, opposite her husband. "But he was a good father."
Raines pulled out a chair, the sound finally rousing Mr. Jane from his stupor. He looked up, but his eyes were glassy, and it took him a few seconds to focus on Raines.
"Mr. Jane? I'm Detective Raines. I need to ask you a few questions."
Jane nodded absently as he pulled the blanket tighter around himself.
"I understand you weren't home tonight. Where were you?"
Mr. Jane set the teacup on the table and rubbed his face.
"I was meeting my agent. We went out to dinner to talk about a possible book deal, and when I came home, I--"
When he started talking, his voice was calm and controlled, but suddenly his eyes widened and he covered his mouth with his hand, looking like he might throw up. "Oh, god."
Raines turned around to see one of the LAPD officers standing in the doorway. The man made a gesture for Raines to follow him. When Raines looked back at Mr. Jane, he was staring into the distance again, his eyes unfocused as he rubbed the bloodstained wedding band on his finger.
"He blames himself. He thinks that he brought this on us by angering Red John." Mrs. Jane reached over the table and caressed her husband's face.
Raines pushed his chair away from the table and stood up.
"If you'll excuse me for a moment," he said, telling himself that he was talking to the nearly catatonic husband and not the dead woman sitting next to him.
When he reached the door, he paused and looked back. It was an odd scene, Mrs. Jane sitting by her grief-stricken husband, her hand resting atop his, the little girl sitting on the floor, playing with a box of crayons that had appeared from somewhere. Raines closed his eyes, and then opened them, but the vision remained. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure no-one was listening before stepping back into the kitchen. Over the years he had consulted psychics as well as psychiatrists, and there was a question he had to ask.
"Can you see them?"
Mr. Jane looked up, startled, as if he had already forgotten that Raines was even there. "What?"
"The dead. Can you really talk to them?"
On the floor, the little girl set aside her crayons and stood up, holding her new drawing. It was another stick figure, its red, smiling face eerily reminiscent of the one painted on the upstairs wall. She tugged her father's sleeve.
"Look, Daddy, look! Daddyy! You're not looking!"
Mr. Jane was quiet for a moment, his right hand again reaching for his wedding ring. Finally he looked away and shook his head.
"Of course not, Detective. There's no such thing as psychics."