-“I’m sorry”. The pathologist said.
The words were swirling in his mouth like bullets when pushing the trigger. I was staring at him, watching his lips making little motions that were big enough to dump a hefty rock on the left side of my chest. The only rhythm I was feeling was the rhythm of my heart, getting crushed like an annoying fly. The doctor was still giving his traditional speech about the time and cause of death. But I didn’t listen to any of that. I was succumbing to the heaviness of my head. I was mute. I was very sad.
-“You should tell the rest of your family. And you better start the funeral procedures as soon as possible.” A hand was patting my shoulder. Even though the police officer was standing right in front of me, all I was really seeing was my sister in her most beautiful dress, waving at me.
-“Goodbye sis”. I whispered despite the fact that my lips were sore and pasted. I could hardly eject a word.
The police officer was gone before I even realize it. I was standing alone in a raw hall. I turned my head to the right, there was a large size sign reminding me again of something that doesn’t need to be reminded; “The morgue”.
My remorse was emitting poison in my veins. For a moment, I felt anemic.
-“I should’ve never shown her the documents… I should’ve never shown her those photos…I should’ve not…” I was repeating desperately and continuously the same sentences until I was out of that gloomy place. For a few seconds, I forgot my home address. The panic attack swooped down on my pulse then quickly moved to my brain in order to jam my settings. It was more of sadness than fear. But the unshakable feeling of terror was getting the best of me.
I was leading a peaceful normal life, and then I accidentally swallowed the wrong pill. Do we really decide for ourselves? Do we really choose our destinations? Or, is what we choose, is the chosen for us? On this earth that is dating approximately to four thousands of million years, I only wanted one thing: calm and tranquility. But it was too much for a history teacher like me. I don’t lie and I don’t hurt people if I didn’t count the time when I punched a man with a rose tattoo on his cheek ; thanks to my skills at martial arts. But still, I’m a good citizen. Why would bad things find me within hundreds of criminals who are specialists in all sort of shady businesses? Why would misery overlie my carrier? I had questions, but no answers. I had doubts, but no convictions… I had proofs, but no clues. I was pushed to an affair like a prisoner pushed to his cell. I had dreams and now I have fears. I’m jobless, but fortuitously I’m not broke. And there it was a brand new chapter: ambiguity of a sudden death. Was I the author? Hell, no I wasn’t. I was only a character who doesn’t know his role yet. I was missing many facts. But one thing I wasn’t missing: my sister wasn’t suicidal. My sister was so pacific, so gentle with everyone and anything including plants. Why would she put an end to her life? She wouldn’t.
-“Do you need somebody to give you a ride?” A disembodied voice said.
A mid thirty woman appeared. She had an authority aspect emphasized with the sillage I smelled, when she approached me.
-“I believe it was a homicidal”.
-“I’m an ex-detective. We can talk about it all, on our way to your house.”
I shook my head swiftly with my red puffy eyes slightly closed, indicating that I had no idea where was she going. But, she was my only shot and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. If that means something, it only means that there was hope for me to get my mission well done. And my mission was to find my sister’s killer.
-“Just so you know, I have trust issues”. I said with a fake smile.
-“So do I”. She replied with a silvery tone.
-“Let’s go then”.
We got into her grey Mercedes, and then the talk began.
-“See, like I’ve told you, I’m an ex-detective and …”
-“But you’re so young. Why did you leave your position?”
She heaved a deep sigh and said: -“I didn’t. They made me do it”.
“Surprised” was written on my forehead. In fact, I never knew how to hide my emotions.
-“The state… It’s a long short story and for now we better focus on more important things like your sister’s death”.
-“I’ve been following this kind of incidents lately and my intuition tells me that someone was sewing something that is not pretty. Your sister isn’t the only victim. There are three people killed so far and they all died in weird circumstances just like your sister.”
-“I know.” I said with a wobbly voice.
The woman that I didn’t even ask her name, was a little shocked, but happy even though I didn’t know what’s so happy about all of that.
I continued talking, but this time I was confident.
-“I found some things unwittingly and…”.
-“Shit! Stay down and hand me the gun beneath your seat!” She shouted.
-“What is going on?”
-“My dear, this isn’t the right time to ask questions. We’re been followed and I guess they’re trying to remove us from their list. We know too much.”
-“ What we’re going to do?”
-“Just stay calm. I can deal with this. This was my job”.
When we dodged the mafia-looking-classic car, I released a long breath. She was driving to the hills and she seemed like she knew where she was heading.
-“We’re going to my safe house. We can no longer visit your home. As you can see, it’s a little bit perilous.” And there it was my answer without even asking her.
-“A little?” I said in a taut manner.
-“Anyways, getting back to our main topic; what do you know? Or let me put it this way: What do you have against them?”
-“Wait! I need to know exactly who are they, you keep talking about this anonymous group and it makes me more nervous.”
-“Well, they’re not a group. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a secret society that worships money and power. Their ultimate goal is to reach the summit, to break the records and to be unbeatable.”
-“This sounds familiar to me…Something like Illuminatis?”
-“No, it has nothing to do with that. Now, tell me what kind of documents you have!”
-“…Some odd photos and papers with big numbers.”
-“Okay, it could help us. How did you find these goodies by the way?”
-“Last week I was leaving my history class, and then a man in a dark blue suit was rushing to the director office carrying a satchel. He dropped the documents and I went after him with the scattered papers in my hands. But I couldn’t find him. I decided that I will leave them in the reception but when I took a look at them. I changed my mind. I knew something was fishy.”
-“Okay, I understand.”
When we finally arrived at her house, it was already dark.
-“Make yourself comfortable”. She said.
-“You know after I found those documents, I started getting weird private calls…One time, I thought I was being robbed by someone who has a tattoo on his face! But when I thought about it, I knew something was off”.
-“Wait, wait…What have you just said?”
-“I thought that a man with a tattoo was stealing me…”
-“How was his tattoo? Describe it for me please!”
-“It was a rose on his cheek.”
-“This is a relevant detail!”
-“Was it the same man in the suit?”
-“I don’t know. It could be.”
-“I’m going to study those photographs and papers. I’ll provide you in the morning with the maximum of information I could extract from them. For now, you can rest. It was an exhausting day for you.”
-“Your room is upstairs; the one on your right.”
-“Okay! I got it.”
I had terrible nightmares and I couldn’t sleep. At 4am, I joined the detective in her study room.
-“My name is Sarah by the way”. She raised her head smiling at me.
-“Nice to meet you Sarah. So can I help you with something?”
-“Indeed, you can. What was your sister’s birthday?”
-“The fifth of June, 1997”.
-“Well then, I guess I discovered the answer to one of my questions.”
-“I feel like we’re living one of Agatha’s novels.”
-“Look, your sister didn’t die because she knew about the documents; you could’ve died instead of her. You’re the one who found it at the first place.”
-“Meaning; your sister was involved with this society. One of their membership conditions is that you must be in your twenties and you will absolutely agree to obey any of their leaders’ commands. Your sister wasn’t aware of the degree of seriousness of their contract…The punishments were very severe that it could lead to death.”
-“What? No, my sister wouldn’t do such a thing!”
-“I know you’re shocked, but this time you have to trust someone and it’s got to be me”.
-“And how did you figure out all of that?”
-“That’s why I was an ex-detective. Like I said, it was my job.”
-“Okay. Can we go to the police now and tell them everything?”
-“No, not yet, we have to show them other concrete proofs.”
The investigation was on and I was impatient to get rid of the weight on my shoulders.
At 9am, I was drinking tea while Sarah was still working on the case.
-“Yeeeessss!” Sarah screamed.
I ran to the other room to see Sarah’s victory. And what a victory it was!
-“You should hear this!”
-“Tell me!” I was thirsty to know about it.
-“One of the bank accounts on these papers you gave me belongs to Julio: their leader. See, Julio have been transferring millions of dollars to this bank account which also belongs to the man with the tattoo: Edwardo. The interesting fact about this; is that Julio have been giving money to Edwardo three times at row. The first time was a coincidence with the first murder…The second time when, the twenty year old Frank was found dead in his kitchen. And the third time, when your sister died. But they can’t all be coincidences. Can they?”
-“You’re super smart!”
-“Now, all we have to do is go to the police and they’ll take it from here.”
-“That’s it my dear! Bad people always leave marks behind them, because their intelligence is slightly covered by maliciousness.” She laughed.
The nightmare was gone and so was my sister. But I had to move on.
Sarah became my best friend. She tried to fill the gap in my heart, however, the gap was always there reminding me, just like that big sign of something tragic…
-“I’m sorry”. The pathologist said.