Apologies! For taking such a long time to come up with the sequel. I guess it’s only when I attempt writing fictions that all the work in the world awaits me to honor them. I was engrossed in lots of stuffs happening lately, but now am back and hope you guys like it! J
You can read first part here- DECODING 1
I was shocked to learn that they took me in for questioning and that Miranda had said that she suspects some guy who was to be attending the prom along with Allison. This time I was taken into a room which had a different ambience altogether. I was left there alone for approximately an hour. I knew that I was being observed and ensured not to give them too much doubts and invite trouble for myself. They could be observing through the cameras or the glass walls. Finally, they came in for round of questioning when they realized that it will not be of much help.
“Why do you suspect Miranda?” Mr. Joshua enquired.
I smiled and replied that- “It is not a doubt but am sure. Infact we all should have been by now.”
“State the reason why do you think she would harm her own sister when she has lost her entire family already?” questioned Mr. Taylor.
“That is for you to find out.” I said showing a complete disinterest as I felt the investigation was going snailish.
“We request you to co-operate Ms. Miller” said Mr. Joshua when a knock distracted all of us.
There was a man in his late fifties. Short by stature, he entered the room smoking a cigar and the left hand held onto his back. All I remember is being in a state of shock and I froze. I couldn’t believe that I am seeing someone I detested for 9 long years. He looked the same apart for some hair loss. A hurricane of questions and thoughts ran through my mind. But, I knew that I had to remain calm because the last thing I wanted was him to recognize me. Introducing himself and offering a handshake Mr. Murray sat adjacent to me. I looked at him and replied without giving a chance for slightest of the doubts- “Katherine Miller”. Throughout the questioning I could say that he had failed to recognize me. After all it was many years now and he would have been very happy to leave all of it behind unlike me. All my life I had been petrified that this very person may find out my whereabouts and today when I was doing the most right thing he had to be there and screw it all up. I always believed that he was solely responsible that I had to become Katherine Miller against the Evelyn Carter that I truly am.
After some more questioning when I felt that I could no more pay heed to the lame questions, I asked- “Can I do the talking without any interruption for 10 minutes. I am sure it will only be of help.”
They seemed to be a little out of place but I did not care to wait for a yes. I continued- “The first time this doubt raised was when Miranda said that she was unaware of Allison’s accident.”
“Reason?” asked Mr. Murray.
I took a deep breath I revealed- “Grace had told me that she learnt about Allison’s state through Miranda’s roommate, who claims to have got the information through Miranda herself. So, why did Miranda tell us that she was unaware of the whole thing?”
“How can you zero down on her as a suspect merely with this doubt?” Mr. Taylor questioned.
I continued- “Miranda claimed that she has directly come from Dayton. The reason for suspicion is that I spoke to her almost an hour and half before she came to the hospital when she claimed to still be in Dayton.” (Saying this I showed my call lists from the Phone.) “It is very evident that it’s not possible since Dayton is atleast a three and a half hour drive from Cleveland. Logically there can be only two facts. Either despite lying about the location she could be innocent or she is completely guilty. I know it is the latter because of the soil on the floor.”
“Soil?” said all the officials unanimously.
I continued- “Yes! It was the same soil I had seen when I met Grace in the hostel. She had pointed to the corner of the building which was right below the window of the room where Miranda stayed when I asked about it.”
“I am afraid that has nothing to prove in this case” said Mr. Murray.
That was no surprise. My Dad always told me that this man would never agree to things easily only to find out later that Mr. Murray couldn’t since he always involved in the wrong stuff. My Dad Benjamin Carter served the FBI for 19 years until one fatal day he was found dead in his office. Mr. Murray had found him collapsed in his chair late night with a single shot on his forehead. The FBI ran an investigation and within a week declared it a suicide. Not only was I sure that it was untrue but I had some information to prove that too. Needless to say, I had grown up listening to the crime cases and the way it was solved. One thing my Dad always believed was that any crime can be solved with a chain of facts that comprises all the events occurred in the exact manner as it had occurred without making an allowance for possibilities. The only step was to find out the exact series of events that took place. I had done just that to find out that my Dad’s sudden death in his office was no accident but a planned murder. I was only 14 then and had invited danger to myself by mentioning this to the same Mr. Murray who right now sat before me and then was a colleague of Dad’s.
Regaining my senses and ensuring not to maintain too much of an eye contact with him, I continued- “Well! That has got everything to do with this case provided you had observed the same soil all over Allison’s hospital room after Miranda arrived. Also if you had cared to notice the same in my red gown which Allison wore to the prom. It was the same soil which was found in Miranda’s room when I went to enquire about her.”
There was a bang on the desk by Mr. Taylor. “For God’s sake Ms. Miller, Are we exploring this case with basis of a random soil? A girl is in coma. I hope you realize that. What you are saying just seems like a co-incidence.”
“Go on” I said “Tell me your suggestions on this one considering how important you feel the case is. You guys didn’t even know about a twin sister who existed. Did you?”
Response to this was a mere silence.
“I guess I can continue then” I said “If you had observed vigilantly you would find that the soil is not in a powdered form like any normal soil but like granules. When I stepped into the restroom after Grace had washed her feet, I had observed that the soil hadn’t powered off or dissolved in water which was strange. It still retained its original form. My knowledge says that it’s because it is aqua soil which is used for the Aquariums.”
I knew they did not have a clue as to what I was talking about. The officers today were so unlike my Dad whose traits and knowledge had helped him solve cases and today is helping me for sure. Continuing I said- “Allison had gifted Miranda an aquarium just a week ago. I also remember listening to a conversation Miranda had with Mr. Fletcher our Gardner about the kind of soil to be used for the aquarium and that she was planning to decorate it.”
By now, Mr. Joshua seemed to be listening rather attentively. Mr. Taylor looked surprised and Mr. Murray just stared at me. The same way he did when I told him about the information. After which, I had received numerous death threats since people responsible for my Dad’s murder opined that I knew something that I probably shouldn’t have. It was finally decided by United Sates Marshal Service that I will have to enroll for a Witness protection program. That is how the Evelyn Carter from LA, California turned out to be Katherine Miller in Cleveland, Ohio. I always knew that he was somehow involved in it but had also accepted in the 13 years which followed that I am too small to be fighting the people involved in it.
Again realizing that I am getting unfocused I continued- “When I was in Miranda’s room talking to her roommate, I couldn’t help but notice the new additions in the Aquarium which was the Beautiful Singapore Guppies. All the fishes were hale and hearty. I am mentioning this exclusively because Miranda’s roommate had just arrived after a weeklong vacation. Hence, the question is if she was out for a week and so was Miranda attending a cultural fest which had begun three days before according to the sources I know; how is it that there are new fishes and as lively as before. The aquarium still did not have any filtering mechanism in place and had 15 fishes in it. If the aquarium wasn’t cleaned and there was no food for last 3 days it is obvious that the fishes should have died.”
Mr. Joshua interrupted and asked-“Do you know where Miranda is now?”
“The last I saw her was in the hospital” I answered. “I don’t know if it is only Miranda who is responsible for this. But I am certain that she has a role in it. Moreover as a person she excels in hiding emotions. I say that because I had overheard Allison and Miranda quarrel over me. Miranda blamed me for their sisterly relation falling apart. But not for once did she actually behave with any anger or negativity towards me. Even though I don’t know the reason I suspect that this whole thing was meant for me. Allison was pushed from the behind and her entire attire was mine. I suspect a big possibility of a mistaken identity”
They all looked at one another and took down some points.
That was when I took a deep breath and said- “My gown was a full sleeved one and the right sleeve is in tatters. Well! I not only found bruises in Allison’s right hand but also opine that the person who pushed her also tried to hold onto her after realizing the mistake. But I guess it…”
The distraction now was of loud footsteps near the door. As we turned around we saw some men barge in. The next thing I knew was that 5 Senior FBI officials who came in had handcuffed me and thanked Mr. Murray for helping them find out a criminal who was responsible for mass murders. I couldn’t follow a thing that was happening and in the process of being dragged out I sensed that Mr. Murray probably too didn’t. The police car I was in sped off the next second. There was no room for any questions. Things were happening too fast to sink in. I sat quietly until the car came to an abrupt halt. A man in his late forties entered instructing everyone to move out after removing the handcuffs.
“Here” he said to me “Take these documents. Go through it carefully Ms. Holmes.”
I felt a little relieved and told- “Sorry, but I guess there is a mistake officer. I am..”
Just in time he interfered and said-“I am sorry. Let me tell you that from now on you are Olivia Holmes from Charlotte, North Carolina. Remember not to get into any of such activities without informing the officials from witness protection program. You have no idea what you are putting yourself and us into.”
I was baffled. All I could manage saying is “I was just trying to find out .. Ok! You cannot do this to me again. I am not going to relive my whole life with a new identity yet again in some godforsaken Carolina...”.
He was all the stronger when he interfered this time and said- “You have left us little choice dear and who said you are going to Carolina. Did I not tell you that is where you had lived your childhood? Say so when anyone asks about your upbringing. Right now you are enrolled for a college in Ithaca. Any queries call me on this number” he said handing over a card to me. “Have a safe flight”.
I was immediately deported to Ithaca, NY. Even though I didn’t have a chance to bid a final Goodbye to Allison, for the last two months, I have tried to follow every minute detail of the proceedings. Miranda and a friend of hers have been found guilty and have been charged with murder under Penal Code 187. Mr. Murray has taken all the credit for the investigation being successful. The case had been solved the exact way as I predicted. Allison had been pushed through the stairs by Miranda and her friend who were under the influence of alcohol assuming it was me. The prank had turned fatal since Allison had got seizures after hitting her head onto a rock. They had both left her to die all through her seizures.
Two weeks ago, Allison succumbed. She never woke up from the deep sleep she had gotten into. As I told earlier, I sometimes wish I could cry my heart out. I guess until she was alive atleast I could relate to the “Katherine Miller” I once was. Now, it makes no difference. But, I promise myself that Olivia Holmes is going to achieve something that Katherine and Evelyn failed to.
As I enter the busy street in Ithaca, I again become one among the crowd thinking to myself that if I could solve a case like this, I am sure I can find out my Dad’s killers too. I am done with different identities and want to reach out to that one person who is a basic reason for all of it. As I walk into the fog engulfed park I whisper to myself- “Mr. Murray! See you soon!.”