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- While alone, Sabrina suffered a devastating headache. 
- Brent admitted to Claire that he had rejected her advances because he felt vulnerable due to his prosthetic leg. With the air cleared, they finally shared a kiss. 
- An ashamed Danielle scrambled to cover up evidence of her drinking. 
- Helen, out on bail, insisted upon preparing a nice meal for herself and Don, and she even braved the press outside their home to go shop for it. 
- Cameron returned to the office late at night to drop off a recording device for Trevor. He heard noises in Molly’s office and, upon entering, was shocked to see someone there.
- Trevor came to the office to pick up the device, but he failed to notice that something had happened behind the closed door of Molly’s office. 


Pink brushstrokes slash their way across the summer sky, transforming the blue canvas foot by foot. In the backyard of the small house on Pickford Street, Claire Fisher has her legs curled up beneath her on the outdoor sofa as her tentative kiss with Brent Taylor melts into something more passionate. 

When they part long enough for each to draw a breath, a smile curls the ends of Claire's lips. 

"That was... unexpected," she says. 

"Yeah. Sort of."

The gleam in his eyes draws her in, and their faces are pulled together once more. Their mouths are only millimeters apart when Claire speaks up. 

"Maybe we shouldn't be doing this," she says, "with the twins being upstairs and all."

"Good call. Yeah," Brent responds, but the look on his face says otherwise -- that another instinct entirely is rapidly taking over. 

  Claire Fisher

"Just a minute more," he adds, and Claire offers no protest. They kiss again, and something about it feels so natural that she could almost swear she hears music playing-- 

"Is that your phone?" she says, abruptly breaking the kiss. 

"Yeah." Brent reaches for the cell phone in his pants pocket, and the electronic jingle grows more pronounced as he pulls it out. He bows his head apologetically. "Dammit. It's the station."

"Take it." As a nurse, she understands full well that calls from work cannot simply be ignored, no matter how inopportune the timing. 

"Commander Taylor," he says as he lifts the phone to his ear. "What? Where?"

Claire's body stiffens as she watches him take in whatever he is being told. She already knows that it cannot be good. 

"You can't be serious," he says, bolting to his feet. "Jesus. Yeah."

She swings her legs off the sofa and watches. 

"I'm on my way," Brent says into the phone. Claire stands as he finishes the call. "I guess I need to call a cab. Can you--"

"I can stay with the boys," she says. "Just go. Is everything all right?"

"No." His fingers tighten around the phone. "There's been another murder."

Her stomach sinks. "What? Are you sure it's--"

"Yeah. There were bloody footprints at the scene again." He swallows hard. "The body was found in Molly's office."


“Thanks for picking that up,” Molly Taylor says as she piles the used silverware on top of the dirty dishes. “It was delicious."

Danielle Taylor moves from the table to the counter, where she refreshes her cup of coffee. “Glad you liked it. I was just in the mood for Thai tonight."

“It was a good choice.” Molly sets the plates down beside the sink and opens the dishwasher. “This isn’t the place we usually get Thai from, though, is it? Jasmine Thai?"

Danielle stops mid-pour. “What? Oh. No, I called and—“ She tops off her coffee cup and places the pot back on the burner. “They said it would be an hour-long wait, so I went to another place instead."

“Oh. Just wondering. It was great, though.” 

The shrill ring of the house phone cuts through the quiet mood in the kitchen. Danielle puts down her coffee and answers it as Molly loads the dishwasher.

“Hello? Yeah, she’s right here.” Danielle holds out the phone to Molly. “It’s Brent."

Molly’s heart rate spikes as she reaches for the phone. Brent doesn’t normally call the house line; they tend to trade text messages regarding the twins and logistics. Immediately she fears that something has happened to one of their sons.

“Hi. What’s going on?” she asks as she brings the phone to her ear. 

“I need to tell you something.” His voice is a tone that she recognizes well: his crisis-management mode. There is a sharp edge to it, like panic is threatening to break through but he is forcing it back. 

“Are the boys okay?"

Danielle looks up with alarm at that question and then waits anxiously for more information.

“It’s Cameron,” Brent says. “He’s dead."

“What? No, that can’t— Cameron? How?"

“A custodian found him.” Brent pauses in a way that speaks volumes. Whatever comes next is going to be bad, too. “In your office?"

“What?” Molly’s head suddenly goes light, and her limbs tingle. “I don’t understand. What happened?"

Brent sounds pained as he speaks the next piece of information: “There were more of the footprints there. Stamped in blood."

Molly feels a rush of tears behind her eyes. “Who would do that?"

“What’s going on?” Danielle asks, right at her side now. She places a hand on Molly’s arm to steady her and helps Her into a chair.

“It’s Cameron,” Molly says breathlessly. “He was killed."

“What? He was just here today—"

“I wanted you to hear from me,” Brent says. “I’m just getting  to the scene now."

“Should I come there?” Molly asks.

“No. Not yet. We might need to ask you some questions later. Just sit tight. I’m so sorry, Mol."

She manages to conclude the conversation robotically, but not without asking Brent to provide more details as soon as he has them. She isn’t even sure that she wants to know them, but she also can feel herself grasping blindly at anything that might explain this senseless tragedy.

“What the heck happened?” Danielle asks as Molly hangs up the phone. “Was there an accident?"

Molly shakes her head. “It was the— the killer. Brent said they found those footprints there. They found him in my office."

“Oh my god.” Danielle drops her head into her hands, clearly attempting to process the shock, too. “What kind of sicko would kill Ryan and then Cameron? They aren’t even— it’s not like they are connected."

“I know. I…” Molly thinks of Cameron, the dutiful assistant who so often made her laugh with some off-color remark or surprised her with an insight that made it clear he had a bright future as a designer. She saw him at the meeting not too long ago. He can’t be gone.

She feels the tears pushing through, and then a sob rocks her body and the floodgates open. Danielle leans in and wraps both arms around her.

“They let her out on bail,” Molly says through her tears. “They let Helen out, and now this happens."

“I know. It’s terrible.” Danielle draws a deep breath. “But maybe…"

Molly looks up. “What?"

“Nothing,” Danielle says. “Let’s just wait until we know more. I’m so sorry."

Molly cannot help but continue crying. It is the only thing that makes sense right now.


Spencer Ragan is already flustered when he gets off the elevator and hurries toward the loft he shares with his brother, but he is even more thrown when he finds the door unlocked and steps inside.

“I thought Philip had a dinner tonight,” he says when he spots Sabrina Gage in the middle of the floor with numerous prints and frames spread around her.

“He’s at it now. He asked me to get these pieces together for the exhibition he has coming up."

“Oh.” Spencer heads to the kitchen sink and washes his hands before moving to the refrigerator. “So he just left you here alone all night?"

  Sabrina Gage

“I guess so. Yeah. He said you were going to be home a while ago, actually."

“I had something to take care of. How much longer are you going to be?"

Sabrina glances up, her hands holding the backing of a photo frame. “I have a few more to do."

“Great.” He gets a bottle of water from the refrigerator, uncaps it, and takes a much-needed drink. As he does, he eyeballs Sabrina’s work, his annoyance intensifying.

“This really has to get done tonight?” he asks.

This time, she pauses fully, setting down the materials. There is an expression of genuine hurt upon her face, as if he has just insulted her personally.

“Philip asked me to get it done,” she says.

Spencer simply sighs. He thinks of calling Philip to ask if he can have Sabrina do this tomorrow, but it isn’t worth the energy. He decides to take his laptop and get out of the way but then realizes it is nowhere to be seen.

“Crap,” he mutters. “I left my bag in the car. I’ll be—"

When he looks to Sabrina, he sees her wincing in what appears to be severe pain, with two fingers held up to her temple.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

“Nothing.” Her suddenly gritty voice belies that assertion. “Just a bad headache.” She clamps her eyes shut.

He points to a kitchen drawer. “There’s Advil in there if you need it. I’ll be right back. Don’t steal anything."

“I work here,” Sabrina says, her discomfort still apparent. “I’m not going to steal anything."

“It was a joke. Mostly.” Keys in hand, Spencer exits the loft, not even bothering to close the door behind himself. 

Objection Designs

Brent stands against the wall as the paramedics wheel out the stretcher bearing Cameron’s body, sealed inside a black bag. He has been in this office and knows it so well that he finds himself continually looking around, attempting to place it in its new context as the scene of a brutal crime. 

“What’s it looking like?” Brent asks Detective Harris once the stretcher has passed. 

“Blunt force trauma to the head. No doubt about it,” Harris says, hands on his hips. “His skull was bashed in pretty badly."

Brent takes in the sight of the blood spattered over the gray carpet and the white wall. “Jesus. I’m just glad Molly didn’t have to be the one to find him."

“Yeah. It’s a nasty scene."

“The lamp?” Brent asks, gesturing to the sleek black lamp that lies on its side on the floor, its top askew. 

“Looks like it."

“That feels off,” Brent says, mindful not to speak too loudly in front of the other crime scene investigators and staff currently filling the office. “The last two murders, the methods looked so deliberate. Sandy James was killed with an ice skate, and Ryan Moriani’s scene looked like it was staged to be a replica of his father’s murder."

“This seems sloppier,” Harris agrees with a nod. 

“And I don’t get how Cameron connects to those two. They both worked at the arena, were close with Jason Fisher… The closest thing I can come up with is that Cameron dated Jason’s best friend."

“There’s something else.” Harris leads him across the room, where two red footprints are stamped atop the carpet. By now, Brent recognizes their form well: they were clearly made by the same pair of men’s shoes used to leave marks at Sandy and Ryan’s murder scenes, too. 

“Whoever did this wanted us to know there was a connection,” Brent says. “We just have to figure out what it is."

“That’s not all."

Harris kneels down beside the prints, and Brent follows suit. 

“It isn’t blood,” Brent says as he studies them more closely.

“Not at all. It’s paint. So whoever did this came here planning to leave these."

“Maybe a copycat."


Despite the wine he consumed earlier, Brent feels entirely clear-headed now, as if the adrenaline of the situation has jolted him back to sobriety. It seems like a lifetime ago that he was enjoying a casual summer evening with Claire in the backyard. But now there has been another death, and this puzzle has grown even more complex — and he knows what he has to do next.


“This really is a delicious cut of tri-tip, isn’t it?” Helen Chase says — it isn’t really a question, despite the phrasing — as she cuts the meat on her dinner plate.

“It is,” Don Chase agrees. The couple sits at their dining room table, a space they rarely use these days; they tend to share their day-to-day meals in the kitchen, and it isn’t often that they entertain anymore. But the spread Helen has prepared this evening, from the steak to the roasted vegetables to the crusty rolls, apparently called for greater formality.

“You know,” she says after she finishes chewing a bite, “sitting here like this, eating a lovely meal — I’m almost able to forget everything that’s going on."

Then you’re very lucky, Don thinks. He finds himself studying his wife the same way that he has countless times in the past several days. Despite their long marriage and partnership, he has seen her differently since her arrest — or, perhaps, he has been trying to see her differently, to see if there is something he has never noticed, something that would make it possible for the accusations to be true.

“I’m glad you’re able to do that,” he simply says before focusing on his dinner. He has no idea how he is supposed to make small talk when a trial for two counts of first-degree murder looms ahead of them.

  Helen Chase

Luckily, or maybe unluckily, the burden of filling the silence is soon lifted off him, as the dull buzz of activity outside their house explodes into something akin to a roar. 

“What in the world?” Don says aloud, rising from his chair.

“I wonder what’s happened,” Helen says. She follows him to the entryway.

Don peers out the front window and, after nearly being blinded by flashbulbs firing off in the dark, sees that they have a pair of visitors. Another set of lights whirr in the driveway.

“Police!” comes the cry that accompanies the heavy knocks on their door.

Don looks over at Helen, whose face appears frozen in horror.

His stomach rumbling, Don answers the door. Brent and Detective Harris stand before him.

“Brent, what’s going on?” he asks nervously.

Brent regards Don for only a split-second before addressing Helen. 

“Helen Chase, your bail has been revoked,” he says.

“What?” Helen says, the word nearly lost inside a gasp.

Brent pulls out a pair of handcuffs. “And you’re under arrest for the murder of Cameron Kelley. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you…"


Could Helen really have killed Cameron?
What is the connection among the three murders?
Will Claire and Brent pick up where they left off?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

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