Veronica held the suicide note in her hand. “Evan! Do you recognize this paper?”, she asked him. “Er.. No”, he said, as though he had asked her the most difficult chemical equation. Veronica always thought Evan was too handsome for his brains. “This is glossy paper! The one Sonia used for making greetings and letters for her clients!”, she reminded him. Sonia was an artist and a painter by profession. She even made cards. There was no home in Rosewood street that did not have a painting made by Sonia on its wall. She was clearly the best artist in town.
“But why would someone use such an expensive paper for writing a suicide note?”, questioned a baffled Evan. “Exactly!!”, said a triumphant Veronica, “I strongly suspect someone asked her to write it! If she’d have to write it, she’d use her own personal diary! She never wrote anything anywhere else!”. Evan still thought she was conjuring a likelihood of improbable events. “What about the sleeping pills?”, he again tested her. Veronica took the packet in her hand. She turned it back and saw it had no name. “Ha! What else do you need as evidence! These weren’t sleeping pills! They have no name! This is just another clue to mislead us!”, muttered an infuriated Veronica. “I guess you should leave now, Evan. See you next morning.” She coldly signalled him to leave. Without a word, he left.
Veronica entered Sonia’s room. She saw their bed, their childhood toys, their pictures. Some of her unfinished paintings. Veronica was about to cry. She opened Sonia’s wardrobe. She saw twelve presents which were never opened by Sonia. All distinctly wrapped in red. She opened each one of them. A soft toy, a wrist watch, a new phone, a key chain, a dress, a Valentines’ card, a book, paintbrushes and other painting paraphernalia, a bag, an expensive pen, a diary and a showpiece. Each present was almost red in colour and had a note pinned to it:
With love from
Veronica’s mind was sprinting. “Who is E.R.?”, she strained her brain. “Oh, Evan Russell”, she reminded herself. The gifts were sent to Sonia on the fourteenth of every month, for almost a year. However, the last gift had come to her six months ago. No gifts after that. “Strange”, she thought. Next, she checked Sonia’s phone. The last messages indicated that she had had a heated argument with Evan over something. Her last message to him was: “GET LOST! NEVER SHOW ME YOUR FACE AGAIN”! Evan’s reply: “YEAH! NOT EVEN WHEN YOU DIE!” Little did he know it would happen way too soon. Maybe Sonia was too stressed because of him and hence didn’t open his gifts. Was he the one who killed her?
The next morning she landed up at the Roberts residence to inquire what exactly happened that day. The fifty year olds considered Sonia like their daughter. Mrs. Roberts began to sob. “Sonia used to visit us regularly. However she had stopped visiting us since the past few months. Last night I decided to meet her as my friend wanted a painting for her new home. The door was left ajar. I went inside only to find her d…dead”, she began to weep bitterly. “Then she called me. We called the police and even informed you.”, Mr. Roberts completed the story, “However, we did not call Evan, he came by himself”. Veronica told them what she told Evan- she strongly suspected that Sonia was killed. “What?”, Mr. Roberts yelled out of terror. He sat there, transfixed. Veronica continued, “I shall not spare her murderer”, she growled with vengeance. “I still wonder how Evan came to know”, Mr. Roberts seemed to leave no stone unturned to direct Veronica’s attention towards Evan. “If it is him, today shall be his last free day”, said Veronica.
“First Edward, then Sonia!”, Mrs. Roberts was crying her heart out. “Who is Edward and what happened to him? Is this connected to Sonia?”, she asked out of utter curiosity. She thought she was nearing a treasure in the form of a clue. She had been connecting the dots ever since she saw the presents in Sonia’s wardrobe last night. All forces were evidently working against Evan. Were Evan, Sonia and Edward involved into this? Was Evan the culprit? Who killed Edward? She listened curiously to Mrs. Roberts.