Who did it?

Fiction Jul 20, 2020

Beep! Beep! Beep! Ugh. I turn off my alarm and rub my groggy eyes. 7 am is too early for a person to wake up. Anyway, duty calls. I get out of bed reluctantly and jump in the shower. The warm water wakes me up completely. I head downstairs for breakfast. Oh no, I’m out of milk. While driving to the grocery store, I wonder, who’d have thought a girl like me would have ended up in Venice! Such a small yet magnificent city. Well, to be fair, all this happened too quickly and too unexpectedly, swept me off my feet too. How does a normal girl like me get a job offer from Mr. Anthony Valentino, the CEO of one of the biggest firms here in Italy?  And how do I not accept an easy, well-paying job in a foreign country offered to me exclusively by such an infamous man? So, the next thing I know, I’m on a plane to Venice and I’m more excited than I am intimidated.

I wait in the queue to pay for the bottle of milk. I notice a few people whispering and one person points towards me! The audacity! And then I see why. Oh… I see my face on the local news channel on the small box television and apparently, I’m wanted by the police and they even have a reward for me! So, of course, my first thought is to run away. But I keep my calm, wear the hood of my hoodie to avoid the attention I'm grabbing and buy the milk and rush back home. I never thought I’d fall in trouble. I mean I work on the clean side of the company; I’m not involved in the other type of business that also happens at the firm. To be fair, here, in Italy, every firm does have other business going on too. And Mr. Valentino respected that. He never once told me I should get more involved in the business. He treated me as if I were his own daughter. His son, Victor too treated me as if I were his little sister. I was always out of trouble and to be honest, their family felt a lot like my own family. I sit down, switch on my television, and tune in to the news. “The Valentino’s have been murdered and the police suspect it was an inside job. Their accountant is the number one suspect.” I instantly freeze. They're suspecting me? "Her fingerprints have been found at the crime scene and what seems to be the murder weapon" Murder Weapon?? What would even be my M.O? They treated me like one of their own. I burst into tears.

After a while, I try to recover. I lost them. I bet it was Pedro Russo who must've ordered one of his men to kill his rivals. Why aren't the police suspecting him! I quickly pack my bags, even though it might seem to confirm their suspicion, I must. I need to figure this out myself. I leave a note for the police, knowing they'll come knocking my door in a while. I write in my note that I'm not guilty, I'm just scared and I'm grieving because I lost my family. I know they won't believe this but at least I must try to come as clean as possible.

It takes me an hour to drive to a safe house. Of course, Anthony had a safe house for me. He'd warned me that if things got tough and the police or Pedro was involved, I should protect myself and not worry about them. Who killed this man? I understand that this type of business gets you a lot of enemies but... He was so kind, and he took care of everyone. I never heard him raise his voice at anyone. He was calm and smart. And to kill everyone, Mr. V, Victor, and his wife Sara. That's just brutal and ruthless. I really need to get to the bottom of this. I need to get justice for them. I need to find the truth.

_____________________________________________________________________________

It's been two days. I have grieved in my own ways. I have also gotten nowhere in my search for the killer. The TV here reminds me of them, how warm and comforting they were. I miss them. I have drawn maps on the wall, made my own list of suspects but nothing has helped. I have no hard evidence at all. I have now decided that I must sneak into the Valentino's residence with my spare key to find more answers. But I must plan it out because the police will be guarding it and they will know if the crime scene has tampered.

An hour later, I am in their house. everything there reminds me of the sweet memories we all had together. The fireplace, the dining room, the living room, every place has me thinking about the times we laughed about stupid things. I know the police found my fingerprints on a few of the things in the house and even on the table where Mr. V's head was banged till, he died and even his son's. So that got me thinking if any other part of the house has any blood stains or traces of the son's wife. I move around carefully and follow a path made from blood and head near the study. the study was a forbidden room and even the police haven't been able to get in there. But Mr. V had given me a spare key. just me, not even his son. That was suspicious but I accepted it anyway. What I find is horrifying. There are papers scattered everywhere. Things have been moved around a lot and a lot of them have been broken. It looks as if someone was frantically searching for something, but I guess they didn't find it because one drawer was untouched. I opened the drawer and find what the killer was looking for. The will. the handing over of the business and all the properties. I also find a blank sheet under it. Wait, it's not actually blank. It is... embossed? with dots and dashes! Morse code! Mr. V had taught me Morse code a few months back and he had said it was the language of the genius. I quickly figure it out. It says, "S, if you're reading this, I must be in trouble. Just know, that Gianna is alive, and she will come looking for this. Protect it at all costs.

Gianna? The wife who died 10 years ago? The one whose car drowned in a river? Her body was never recovered... She's alive?? What a twist. Mr. V used to tell me about her all the time.

"Give it up!" I hear the police yelling at me. Oh, shoot! I try to explain but they don't understand much. My Italian is very very bad even after so many years of staying here. They handcuff me and drag me to the police station. The will is folded in my back pocket, I only handed them the letter with the Morse code. They take me to an interrogation room and seat me down. The guy they send in speaks English, thankfully. I narrate everything. I even show him the will I had so carefully hidden. He could have acted against me, but I guess the story was far too interesting for that. He then calls for a Morse code expert who confirms what I'm saying. Finally, I think to myself. I'm going to get out of here and now the police will handle Gianna. But there were other plans. They keep me overnight and almost torture me because they don't believe me. According to their records, Gianna is dead.

And then it dawns upon me. I remember seeing a red scarf in the study. and I had seen the same scarf worn by Sara a few days ago. "Sara killed them!", I scream. I explain my theory. Sara knew that Gianna is alive. She knew that Mr. V knew too. So, when she went into Mr. V's study that day, she fought with him about his will and how I was getting a lot of the business and she wasn't getting enough. She was his daughter-in-law; it was justified that she got more than some stranger. But he didn't agree. So, she pushed him against the cabinet, and she didn't know that he would hit his head. Just as she realized what she'd done, her husband walked in. He saw it happening. He was going to call the police and the ambulance when she told him what happened, the whole truth. He then assisted her to look for the will. After many failed attempts, they accepted their fate. They planned it all out. They planted the whole house with shreds of evidence against me to take revenge. Then Sara pushed her husband against the same cabinet, and he bled to death next to his father. While she went to the secret storeroom and swallowed the cyanide pills and died there. I urge them to go look at the hidden CCTV behind the fourth plant and next to the third shelf.

After a while, I'm proven right. Everything I said was true. Every detail. They are stunned and shocked. Little do they know, I watched everything while it was happening, the CCTV had been planted by me and I'm the one who'd told Sara about the will.

Shikha Punjabi

DJLIT Editorial Co-committee member

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.