Silence: the only thing Louis heard as he ambled up the beaten down staircase to the moldy, century-old hotel besides the shuffling of his colleagues' feet behind him. His gun was locked within his fingers tightly as his eyes pierced around the hotel's hallway, trying to find some sort of life; a clue that would lead him to his proper destination. His eyes darted left and right, right left, and the process would repeat again.
"Stop," he whispered, coming to a sharp halt as he let his right hand take full possession of the pistol, his left hand raising upward to command the others to stop alongside with him. He shook his attention away from the endless floor ahead of him and focused on the fifteen men behind him. "This is going nowhere. I've heard nor seen anything that could lead me to suspect someone here is in a near death situation - and I doubt we're going to. Who was the one who received the call?"
A man cleared his throat, raising his hand sheepishly. "I did, sir. I swear to you that what I told you is exactly what I heard."
Louis rubbed his temple with pure aggravation. 'Poor Liam and his naïve senses,' he thought as he stared the man down with those piercing cerulean eyes that were known to petrify the bravest of men. "Liam, you cannot drag our squad out to every location you believe we are going to catch Styles! Do you know how many teenagers call on a daily basis and send us to these bizarre places as a joke?"
"Sir, I-" Liam began, his eyes filled with nothing but sorrow and regret. Louis showed no mercy.
"No, quiet! You put our-" Now it was his turn to be cut off - not just by Liam, but by the enter squad.
"Stop! Hands behind your head," were the only things that rung through Louis' ears as he steadily turned on his heels, his gun still directed straight ahead in the direction that his squad had now been interested in.
There stood a man - no, not even that: a teenager, by the looks of it. His entire face was shielded by the shadow the moon was causing from shining from the window behind him, but even then he could tell the teen was lean and a had a flock of wild ringlets. The colors were undetectable, to Louis' dismay; his entire face and body continuing to shine with the charcoal color.
His thoughts were shattered the minute the boy darted around the corner of the hallway, his never-ending legs being a tremendous asset to his escape. Louis stood there in a state of shock - that is until Liam, with a smug look spread across his face, slapped Louis against his shoulder, obviously waiting for a set of instructions. "So?"
That one word coming from Liam was enough to get under his skin.
"Check out the room he came out of, go! Don't just stand there like fools! I'll go after the kid," he yelled, not wasting another second before he took off in the direction the kid did.
It worried him that he was more invested in seeing the face of the teenager with the stick figure than capturing a criminal. But then again, curiosity is needed to be a good detective. He pushed back that feeling of shame and proceeded to bolt through the hallways, his breath hitching furthermore with each bloody footprint he came across.
"Get a grip, Tomlinson," he scolded himself, his voice near a pant at this point. He seriously needs to look into Liam's request of working out at the downtown gym.
It seemed as though the hallways, the twists and the turns, would never stop. Louis felt his sides begin to ache from the heavy breathing and his throat seemed to be on fire: he was about to give. That was until he came across an unwelcoming dead end.
Where did he go?
Never in his six years of being with the NYPD had this occurred; no one has ever fled his runs. He was surrounded by hotel rooms, flickering lights, bloody footprints, and a wall. No other person lay outside the doors besides him. It hasn't been a mere minute and his mind is already jumbling with insecure thoughts. One question seemed to overpower the others: where did he go?
"Sir!" He blocked out the voice - or his mind did, actually. "Sir, dear God, the body-"
"He escaped," were the last two words that parted from his lips before he tore his gaze away from the bloody footprints soaked into the coffee colored rug and gave Liam a look of disappointment; disappointment that simply ran through himself and himself only.
"But the footprints stop here," Liam paused and pointed towards the floor, his pointer finger gesturing towards the last two footprints that came to a stop as they met the wall, "it's impossible. He has to be here."
With one last glance at the stained striped wall and a flummoxed Liam, he turned around and made his way to the crime scene, his gun tucked safely within its pouch. He ignored Liam's protests to stop walking, he ignored the voice in his head that told him how badly he fucked up, he ignored the visuals of the bloody footprints that entered his head with every step closer he got to the scene.
"Louis!" CSI Niall Horan cried, his cheery voice causing Louis to cringe. He never could understand how someone managed to be so happy whilst surrounded by death and criminals. "You look like shit, mate."
"Tell me about it," he grumbled with a roll of his eyes, peering over his shoulder to glance at the crime scene. True to his word, the place and the body were as gruesome as Liam had said. On the inside, Louis felt nauseated - but he managed to maintain a straight face as he spoke to his friend. "When did she die?"
"'Bout eleven p.m." Niall paused and motioned Louis to follow him as he made his way over to the body. "You see those scratches on her face?" He waited until Louis confirmed his question with a quiet 'yes' before continuing. "They were done post-mortem. The weapon was thick, as you can see, probably a centimeter in width. Deep, too."
"Point is, she suffered," Louis concluded, gulping back the guilt in his throat.
"Tremendously. Poor gal. She was pretty, too."
He couldn't take it anymore.
Louis gave Niall a short nod and excused himself from the crime scene, ambling his way out of the hotel room and into the stuffy hallway. He needed some fresh air, he wanted to know why this case was affecting him so much when other cases done by Styles himself didn't, he--
His thoughts where smashed yet again by a voice and a tug to his wrist; a voice that he knew all too well.
"Eleanor, hello," he greeted her flatly, detaching his wrist from her grasp.
"With a serial killer out there, I figured you would have been more spooked," she teased, smacking at her gum as she always does when speaking to him: one of her most annoying habits, but he has to love her nonetheless.
"With a serial killer out there, I figured you would have been doing your job alongside Niall," he counter, his voice -and every other part of his body- on edge. Not wanting to come off as rude, especially to him girlfriend, of all people, he added, "love."
Louis and Eleanor had been together for a few months now. Everyone in the office saw them as the 'It' couple and supported them through thick and thin. To say that he was happy with his relationship was almost truthful. Keyword: almost. If Louis were to be honest with himself, he wanted to call it off with Eleanor a long time ago, but could never find the time. The Styles case was driving him insane with every minute it went on unsolved. Who could live a peaceful life when a well-known serial killer was roaming the streets of New York City? Not him.
"Louis, are you listening to me?" He drifted off again. Lovely.
"Definitely. Look, love, I need to catch up with Liam right quick. Go do what you have to do and I'll meet you when you're through." And with that he darted off to where Liam could be: the place where the lad escaped. He knew Liam better than he knew himself. Louis knew damn well that the mystery was not just bothering him, but his co-worker as well. "Still getting to you, hm?"
"Liam, you know the rule."
"Call me Louis when no one's around, yeah, yeah. You've gotten me use to calling you 'sir', I suppose." Liam shook his head and Louis simply smirked it off. "How did he do it? Do you think it could have been Styles?"
Now it was Louis' turn to shake his head. "No, not at all. Not unless Styles has dropped a minimum two hundred pounds and has now grown a few inches, I'd say the person we saw was not him at all. Maybe it was an acquaintance of the victim? Maybe they were followed and the person we saw saw something they didn't think would happen? Hell, maybe this is a kid that is trying to impersonate Styles? The possibilities are endless."
"We'll find him, Louis. These murders won't go on much longer."
Louis chuckled solemnly and trudged his way towards the window on the opposite side of the hall, gazing out of it as if the moonlight could offer him some sort of comfort. "So you've said for the past year now. I have a feeling Styles will never stop. Ever."
"Talk about major pessimistic thoughts," Liam snorted as he heard the sounds of camera shots going off as well as a thick Irish and American accents; the crew, Niall and Eleanor were coming. "This will be over before Eleanor ends up driving you nuts."
Boy, did he love Liam.
He continued to gaze out the window as the voices drew nearer. Just as he was about to turn away, a figure caught his eyes; the same lean figure that had his heart racing and mind jumbling not too long ago. The lad was bolting down the alley and out to the street, his once dark body now illuminating with color: chocolate brown curls, dark colored clothing, and skin that seemed to be not too pale, but not too tan either.
And then he was gone.