Veronica rushed to the Roberts. Only Mrs. Roberts was at home. Veronica rang the bell. Mrs. Roberts asked her to get in. She seemed pleased to see Veronica. “How are you, dear?”, she asked her. “Mrs. Roberts,”, she continued in a grave voice, “We both are in the same boat now. We’ve lost a loved one; we can help each other feel better.” “Yes, my child”, said Mrs. Roberts. “I am sorry to ask this, but when did Edward…”, asked Veronica, hesitatingly broaching upon the subject. “14th September, 2013. It’s been six months, but it seems as though it was yesterday. He popped in too many sleeping pills, just like Sonia. Sad that both met the same fate at the end. Sonia also stopped visiting us after that. i suddenly felt I lost two children and not one”, she sobbed. Veronica was convinced that Edward’s death had something to do with Sonia.
Veronica observed their house. It seemed as though many paintings had been removed from the walls. “What’s wrong with the walls?”, asked Veronica, hoping to change the topic. “Edward removed all the paintings in the house before ending his life. Maybe he was too angry. He never shared anything with us though”, Mrs. Roberts said. Veronica was intrigued. Everything had to do something with Sonia and Edward! She thought of moving around the house, looking for some distinct clue. “May I use the washroom”, she asked. “Oh yes. Go straight and then left”, Mrs. Roberts showed her the way. Veronica saw the house- a clean kitchen. One door had Edward’s name on it. The peculiar ER shone, gilded on the door. This too was made by Sonia. Veronica had guessed it right. ER was none other than Edward Roberts.
There were many things kept in the messy room. Piles of books covered with dust. It seemed as though it had become their store room. There was another pile of scrap newspapers. On top of these, was a blue coloured diary. Veronica peeked closer. It was Sonia’s diary! But what was Sonia’s diary doing in that room? She had been looking for this diary since days. Her quest was finally over. She slid it in her bag. She saw an old picture on the wall. It had Edward along with a girl somewhat his age. It was a familiar face, thought Veronica. She went back to the living room. She asked Mrs. Roberts about the picture. “Oh, that’s Edward’s favourite cousin. They both loved each other a lot.” Veronica barely maanged a smile and said “Oh okay.”
The bell rang. Mr. Roberts was back. He was startled on seeing Veronica. “Hello”, Veronica said. “Hi. Are the postmortem reports out, dear?”, he asked. Veronica replied in the affirmative. “The doctors are lying, though. They say she died of an overdose of sleeping pills. I know that they are lying!!”, she said, her face red. “Or maybe you’re thinking too much”, Mr. Roberts remarked. “Oh, John”, Mrs. Roberts signalled him to keep quiet. “Thank you, Mrs. Roberts”, said Veronica before leaving, “it was a pleasure talking to you”. “Do visit us often”, said Mrs. Roberts. “Sure”, Veronica smiled and left.
Meanwhile, Evan was waiting for Veronica outside the house. “What are you doing here?”, she looked at him with disregard. “I am guilty for behaving that way with Sonia… I want to help you, Veronica, in finding the culprit”, he said. “Okay. Come in”, she asked him to follow her. “I have assembled many clues about the murderer. He/she or maybe they, are close”, she said. There was a sparkle in her eyes today. “What have you deduced?”, he asked her.
She went inside and quickly brought the three paintings that she had taken from Dr. Pristine’s clinic. She removed Sonia’s diary from her bag. “I suspect he gifts had been sent to Sonia by Edward Roberts, the Roberts’ son,” she said. “How can you be so confident?”, he asked her.
“These paintings”, she showed him the first one. “See this carefully. Do you see this door? This door looks exactly like the door of Edward’s room. His door has ER written on it. Sonia too has painted ER in bold here. This word reads DANGER. Sonia thought he was a danger or threat to her. That is why she made this painting. I assume Edward sent the presents to Sonia and pestered her to marry him. She did not agree because she loved you. Now you see why she wanted you to marry her? This could have saved her life from Edward! Edward might have threatened to kill her if she didn’t marry him”!
“Oh no”, said Evan with a sigh. He felt the guilt pangs pricking him deeper than usual.