Show, don't tell
He wasn’t sure if he was still asleep or had finally woken up. His head was still heavy and thoughts disoriented. The blinding flash was still playing into his eyes. He tried to sit up. Saline lines and blood channels entangled him from all sides. The steering wheel had crushed right into his ribs, but they don't really hurt. The morphine was good. He doesn’t remember what had caused that accident, he wasn’t drunk, he knew. Did he see her face? Oh, damn her. Roscoe rubbed his sore head a little and sat up straight. The room was different, not something he had expected himself to be in. A lighter shade of purple adorned the walls while the roof was bright white. There was no furniture in the room, except for the bed he was on.
Getting rid of all the pipes running in and out of him, Roscoe swung his legs off the bed and stood up. Strangely he was not wearing his jeans and jacket but clothes that patients wear in hospitals, the ones that are open at the back and have tiny strings to keep the two parts from flying freely. He had no memory of getting to this room. The last thing he remembered was that he was in his car and suddenly he saw her waving at him from the sidewalk.
"Come on, Mr. Wilbur. Think," he said to himself.
“Hello,” Roscoe called hoping to get some reply. None came. In fact, so far he hadn’t heard a whisper from around him. Wondering if he had become deaf he rapped on the wall. No. He could hear that.
He was just running all the events that might have led to his being in that room when he caught sight of a dresser on the other side of the bed. Was it there before? He couldn’t be sure but there was something on it. Roscoe went to see and found an envelope. A regular white envelope with his name on it, handwritten. He knew the handwriting. It belonged to her. But that was impossible. Hurrying to see what was inside he ripped the top of the envelope and pressed the edges a little to widen the opening before peeping in. There was a paper inside. Using two fingers like tongs he retrieved the paper. It was plain foolscap paper with a few lines written on it.
I know where you go every Tuesday. It's time to face the music.
Her handwriting! His words, but her writing! He told her all these when they had fought the last time. But why would she write those and put it in an envelope? Most importantly, how could she? Roscoe scratched his head while pacing up and down. The letter was caught in his hands like a bouquet, the top flared while the middle was crumbled in his fist.
“I got to get out of this place,” he mumbled, rubbing his bearded chin. Making a mental note of shaving, he turned to the door.
“I have no idea what on the earth this place is, let alone where,” he said, looking around. “I miss my phone. Never mind. Music! Face the music. What guts!”
As if on cue came the sound of music. He started at first backing to his bed, but then croaked his head to listen. A piano. The notes tended to flatten or sharpen from their intended frequency.
"Out of tune and rusted strings," he thought. Being a musician by passion, he could tell the condition of an instrument just by listening to it. He listened to the music being played casually, occasionally glancing at the paper in his hand. By and by, the music changed and he straightened, wide-eyed when he heard the last few bars.
That tune. He knew that tune. He had heard it being played every Sunday morning for five years. How he hated that tune and how she loved it. He could relate the notes by heart. But what on the earth was she doing here in this godforsaken place? Did she bring him here? But how? Damn it. It's just simply impossible.
Determined to know further, Roscoe came out to the corridor. The corridor was decorated in a similar fashion: light purple walls and bereft of any pieces of furniture. The broken music seemed to be coming from down the corridor. With hurried steps, he followed the music, his mind already working how to deal with her, permanently this time.
The flowing music brought him to a room at the end of the corridor. The door was open, a white silk curtain flowed with the breeze. It was the same one he had seen in William's living room. Roscoe stepped into the room, careful not to disturb the pianist. She was sitting with her back to him, her pale thin fingers gliding over the keys. Her slender neck gently curved to her bare back that her gossamer dress framed perfectly. He recognized that dress. His gift to her on their first anniversary. Roscoe's finger almost itched to touch her. But then her betrayal surfaced in his mind. Grinding his teeth he stepped around her.
"You?" Roscoe's jaws fell open. His feet took him a few steps back involuntarily. "You? Kelly, what are you doing here? Where is Jessica?"
The lady stopped playing and looked up. Her otherwise round perfect face had a ragged hole above her highly arched right eyebrow like a bullet had exited through it.
"Of course, I am not Jessica," Kelly smiled.
"That note," he said. "Who wrote that note?"
"Jessica did," Kelly answered reluctantly.
"And this tune?" he asked. "How come you are playing this tune?"
"She taught me," she said with a shrugged.
Roscoe gaped at her. "Impossible."
Kelly grinned lowering her head without losing sight of him. Her eyes took shape of half moons. "She is here."
"Here?" Roscoe looked about the soulless room. "Where?"
"Behind you," the voice said.
Roscoe wheeled to look behind him and found his wife Jessica.
"It can't be. It just can't be," he cried. "You... you are dead. DEAD I tell you." He screamed.
Jessica raised a crooked brow. "How?"
"How? I killed you. Put a bullet in your head myself. You..." He paused, then whirled about and looked at Kelly. "I killed her."
Kelly giggled and then burst out laughing.
The light appeared diffused and there was a sound nearby. Roscoe fought to open his eyes as he gradually surfaced. The bright light... The flash! Was he in the car? Was he going to crash? Again? He jumped to save himself but something gently pushed him back to the bed.
"Come down, Mr. Wilbur," a man was saying. "You are safe."
Roscoe blinked a few times. A man in a doctor's white coat was bent over him and pulling at his eyes. He nodded and straightened.
"Well," he said to someone beside him. "He is awake."
"Wha... What happ... happened?" Roscoe asked.
"You had an accident," the doctor replied. "You are in the hospital and out of danger. This is detective Smith. I'll leave you in his care."
After the doctor left, Smith came forward.
"Why did you want to kill Jessica?"
Wilbur stammered trying to find a way out when Smith raised his hand showing him a mini-recorder.
"We have your confession in here," he said. Looking at Roscoe's baffled face Smith explained, "since you weren't cooperating with us, we used Trapanal, a Truth drug, in layman's term, on you. You dropped enough clues for us to take you apart. Now, why did you want to kill your wife?"
Roscoe swallowed. "She ... She was having a relationship with William. And..."
"No, you idiot," a female voice said. Roscoe startled to find his wife. She stepped forward. "I went there to teach piano to his sister Kelly."
"A lie," Roscoe rose to protest but fell back on the pillow with a painful jolt in his ribs. He realized it was not morphine, like he had earlier thought but a drug-infused dream. "I saw you with him. You were leaning in his arms, weeping for he was leaving town and he was comforting you."
"What an idiot you are," Jessica said folding her arms over her chest. "It was Kelly, not me."
"They are both of same age and build," Smith said. "You mistook one for the other and shot Kelly."
"But... But..." Wide-eyed and confused, Roscoe looked for an argument all over the room. "But that dress," he finally said, "it was the one I gave you. It was you. It had to be ..."
"Yes the dress was mine but," Jessica quickly added before Roscoe could open his mouth. "But it wasn't me in it. I had lent it to her for the evening."