It must be her.
Ang lakas ng tibok ng puso ko. I wanted to tell them my deduction but I was afraid. Baka kasi mali ako at magkaroon sila ng impression na nagmamarunong ako.
Napatingin ako sa kanila na abala pa rin sa pictures at handwriting ni Ms. Bianca mula sa notebook niya pero napaiwas din agad ako nang makita ko ang mga mata ni Hiro. I closed my mind to hid my thoughts from him.
Napabuntong-hininga na lang ako dahil feeling ko ay sasabog na ang utak ko anytime. To think na wala pang isang lingo ay naka-encounter agada ko ng isang murder case.
“Papunta na rito sina Sir Hayate at Sir Ryuu,” sabi ni Akane sa amin at after a few minutes ay dumating na nga ang dalawa. Pareho naman silang umiling kaya nagkatinginan kaming anim.
“Bakit, Sir? Anong nangyari?” tanong ni Ken.
“This case took a complicated turn,” sagot naman ni Sir Ryuu. “Nalaman kasi naming ang pagkamatay ni JC, her boyfriend, is a possible murder case, too.”
Nagulat naman ako sa narinig ko. However, unlike the rest of us, Sir Hayate looked bored. Did he already solve this case?
“What did you find, Sir?” tanong ni Reiji.
“Contrary to what Bianca had told us, there are witnesses saying she pushed him, leading him to be run over by a car.”
Akane and I gasped after hearing that.
“So, is this an act of revenge for what she did to JC?” Akane muttered. “That means, mas may dahilan silang tatlo na patayin si Ms. Bianca.”
“Yes,” sagot ni Sir Ryuu.
Pagkatapos no’n ay lumabas muna sila sa kwarto para magtanong naman sa guests na nasa pool area pa rin kung saan sila hinold. Hindi naman ako mapakali sa narinig ko. Kung kanina, ayos na ‘yong isip ko, ngayon, mas lalong gumulo.
“Let’s reduce the number of suspects,” biglang sabi ni Hiro kaya napatingin kami sa kanya.
“I think, mataas ang probability na si Bea ang killer,” Akane stated while looking at the photos. “Siya kasi ang nasa banyo before the murder happened. Sinabi niya na umihi at nagsuka raw siya for ten minutes. And Akemi, you saw her right?” Tumango naman ako. “Baka alibi niya lang ‘yon at ang totoo, pinatay na niya no’n si Ms. Bianca.”
“Pero wala siyang dalang kahit ano noong nabangga niya ako,” sabi ko naman. “I mean, ‘di ba wala sa crime scene ang murder weapon? That means . . . that means, posibleng nasa murderer pa. She didn’t have anything with her that time. And besides . . .”
“B-besides, ang hinahon niya noong nabangga niya ako. I mean, parang hindi siya galing sa pagpatay ng isang tao. She—”
“No,” matigas na sagot ni Ken at ngayon ko lang siya nakitang gano’n kaseryoso. “Don’t underestimate a killer’s behaviour. Some of them can remain calm even after killing someone. Some can hide their pleasure and mask them with other emotions. Those kinds are the worst.”
“He’s right,” dagdag ni Reiji. “We shouldn’t carelessly conclude just based on one’s expressions and demeanor.”
“S-sorry,” mahina kong sabi at napayuko na lang ako.
“Don’t worry, ganyan lang talaga sila ka-strict pagdating sa cases,” bulong naman ni Akane. “Sige, Akemi, ituloy mon a ang sasabihin mo.”
“Uhm, y-yeah.” Huminga ako nang malalim. “I think bandang 8:00 PM, noong nagkabanggaan kami, ay sa garden siya didiretso dahil doon siya nakatingin pero hindi ko na nakita dahil pumasok na ako sa C.R.”
“O baka naman bumalik siya sa banyo noong papasok ka na sa cubicle, nee-chan. She could kill Ms. Bianca in that span of time.”
“Maybe. May narinig kasi akong humawi ng shower curtain noong time na ‘yon. Pero ang ipinagtataka ko ay kung bakit hindi sumigaw si Ms. Bianca. If she was stabbed in the heart, that means she was facing the person who opened the curtain.”
“It could also be Elle,” Hiro surmised.
“She’s in the pool for two hours. During the time of the crime, she said she was outside to get her towel. Think about it. She must be getting the murder weapon from her car, and when I last saw her, she went to the comfort room, which was before the crime occurred.”
“Wait, pumasok siya sa C.R? Bakit hindi ‘yan kasama sa report nina Sir Hayate?” tanong ni Akane.
“Right. Nakita nga namin siya,” dagdag ni Ken. “Pumasok siya for one to two minutes at lumabas agad. Pero nakatapis siya ng puti at walang kahit anong bahid ng dugo ro’n.”
“But don’t you think the most suspicious one is JL?” sabi naman ni Reiji. “She went inside the house, specifically in the kitchen. There are a lot of things there that she could use as a weapon.”
“Pumasok ba siya sa C.R.?” tanong ni Riye pero nagtinginan lang ang tatlong lalaki.
“We’re not sure.”
“At bakit?” sabay taas ni Akane ng kilay niya. “Huwag n’yong sabihing nakatingin lang kayo sa mga dumadaang babae sa inyo?”
“Ken did,” biglang sabi ni Hiro kaya nakatikim ng matinding batok si Ken mula kay Akane.
“How about Ms. Bianca herself?” Natigilan sila nang nagsalita ulit si Riye. “It’s possible that she felt guilty for the death of her boyfriend. Maybe she decided to kill herself before she gets killed. And then sinet-up niya lang si Ate Bea para makaganti, kung siya man ang tingin niyang nagpadala ng death threat.”
Dahil ang daming input ay sumakit lang lalo ang utak ko. Lahat sila may motive at hindi rin concrete ang alibis nila. But what if that person was really the murderer?
“Hey, detectives.” Napatigil naman kami nang marinig namin ang boses ni Sir Hayate sa earpiece namin. “Gather here at the crime scene. I’m going to evaluate your findings.”
Pagkarinig ko no’n ay agad akong kinabahan. I’m sure alam na niya at ng officers kung sino ang murderer pero dahil kasama ito sa subject namin ay kailangang kami ang mag-solve nito without their help.
“They are here,” bungad ni Sir. “Let’s see if you can uncover the murderer’s identity.”
The three suspects eyed us and they must be thinking that he was joking.
“Them?” sabay pamaywang ni Bea. “Are you sure?”
“Shut up,” Hiro retorted and Bea suddenly stepped back. Maski ako, natakot ako sa kanya bigla.
“You’ll get used to it,” bulong ni Akane. “Ganyan talaga siya pag may case. That’s why he’s called ‘Akuma’ by other students and teachers.”
Akane smirked. “Devil.”
Nagsimula namang magsalita si Hiro at ni-narrate niya ang mga sinabi namin kanina. Bawat bitiw namin ng mga salita ay nagiging defensive ang tatlo at nang matapos ay lalo lang silang nagmukhang galit.
“And now? Who’s the killer? Say her name and I’ll freaking slap her!” sigaw niya. Siguro dala na rin na pangalan niya ang nakasulat doon sa dying message ni Ms. Bianca.
“For god’s sake Bea, shut up!” Elle yelled while glaring at Bea.
“You two better shut up. You’re embarrassing,” pagsali ni JL.
Wait . . . that person . . . did she just . . .
“It’s . . .” Ken’s voice faltered. Bukas ang isip niya at nababasa ko kung anong pangalan ang sasabihin niya. No. It’s not her. “It’s J—!”
“It’s Elle!” sigaw ko pero agad ko ring tinakpan ang bibig ko nang ma-realize ko ang ginawa ko.
All of them looked at me and I could see a variety of expressions from their faces.
Elle scoffed. “What the hell? Me? Why would I kill her?!” Natakot naman ako nang unti-unti siyang lumapit sa akin. “You’re spouting nonsense kid. I’m gonna sue you! All of you!”
Hindi naman nagsalita sina Akane at nakatingin lang din sa akin sina Sir Hayate at Sir Ryuu. It felt like they were evaluating me kaya huminga ako nang malalim para kumalma. Gusto kong magsalita pero hindi ko alam kung paano sisimulan at hindi ko na rin marinig ang paligid dahil sa sobrnag lakas ng tibok ng puso ko. I need to calm down.
“The murder weapon,” Hiro suddenly said. “There is a high probability that it is still on your car, wrapped in your towel, right?”
Elle’s face turned pale. “A-anong pinagsasabi mo? They already checked my towel and there’s no blood in it.”
“Of course. Because that’s a different towel.”
Nakatingin lang ako kay Hiro habang nagsasalita siya. He just cornered the suspect with just a few words. And somehow, I felt relieved that we had the same suspect in mind.
“You encased the murder weapon with the first towel and you hid it behind the second towel, which you wrapped around your body. That case, nobody could see the weapon.” Bigla naman siyang tumingin kay Sir Hayate. “But somebody did.”
Nakita ko namang bahagyang ngumiti si Sir Hayate. What was that?
Napatalon ako nang marinig ko na naman ang inner voice ni Hiro. How come he could invade my mind even if it’s closed? I need to be more careful around him.
“Uhm, actually, itinuro na rin ni Ms. Bianca kung sino ang pumatay sa kanya,” sabi ko kaya napatingin sila sa akin.
“Huh? Then . . . si Bea nga ang pumatay?” sabay tingin ni JL kay Bea. “Paanong naging si Elle?”
“Yes. At first, Bea ang mababasa natin mula sa point of view natin. However . . .” Naglakad ako sa loob ng cubicle at humarap sa kanila. “In her point of view, it is written as eaq.”
I heard collective gasps from the suspects and police officers, while Elle just stared at the bloody letters,
“I’m sure you already know what it means, Elle Abigail Quezon,” I said while looking at her. “And by the way, you’re wearing your bikini inside out. I could see a dot-sized blood stain on it.”
“H-how on earth did you see that?” she muttered as she stared at me, as if I was a ghost.
Natahimik naman siya at yumuko. After a few seconds, tears were already streaming down her face.
“He shouldn’t have died,” she sobbed. “Hinatid niya noon si Bianca but it turned out na nag-away sila that night. I was on the other side of the road but they didn’t see me. I was about to call them pero . . . pero bigla na lang niyang tinulak si JC. She killed him!” Her misery was replaced with rage. “I’m his best friend but I love him more than what she felt for him. Hindi ko siya mapapatawad! That’s why . . . that’s why . . . I sent her that letter. That’s why I killed her. She deserved it.”
After her confession, the police officers handcuffed her and she silently surrendered herself. Napahinto naman siya sa harapan nina Bea at JL.
“You must thank me,” she smirked. “You didn’t have to get your hands dirty. That bitch deserves her death.” Muli naman siyang yumuko. “I just . . . hope he could forgive me.”
Habang palayo siya nang palayo sa amin ay parang lalong bumibigat ang pakiramdam ko. Our primal emotions could really drive us to do such things. Love is a frightening motive.
“Are you, okay nee-chan?” Napatingin ako kay Riye na kumapit sa braso ko at tumango na lang ako sa kanya habang nakangiti. “It hurts a bit, right? Looking at someone who commits a crime for the sake of others.”
“Yeah,” I muttered while looking at Elle.
“By the way, nee-chan, you did great,” she smiled.
‘Believe her. You really did great.’
It was still hard to believe that he just complimented me, but it felt good. And again, how could he read my closed mind?
‘Thank you,’ I replied.
“You’re finally smiling, nee-chan,” sabi ni Riye at lalo akong napangiti.
I didn’t know being a detective was this interesting.