Everyone stayed silent as Elizabeth Hichavada (also known as Eli), a successful pianist in her 20s, started to press the keys in her piano. Most of the people watching her play at the theatre had their mouths open as a sign of their amazement of how a young woman, like Eli, can play such wonderful music. Normally, at 20s, teenagers hang-out with their friends in clubs and bars, travel to places with their partner, or drown themselves in work to make lots of money. But life for Eli seems different from all of her peers. Ever since she was still a kid, her life evolve around being a pianist. She worked hard to reach where she is right now, almost at the top. Well, almost.
As she press the keys gently and as she closes her eyes and feel the melody produced by her piano, all her hardships, starting when was still starting to play, flashbacks in her memory. All those wounds she got every time her mother will whip her just to force her to practice, all those criticisms she heard from people who doubted her talent, all those sleepless nights she have just to perfect a single piece, all of them! And because of that, she can’t help but smile thinking that all the pain from her journey paid off as she is now a world-renown pianist who travels around the world just to play her piano. Currently, she’s in Switzerland to perform her one-of-those-biggest-shows in her life, together with her fellow pianists.
As the audience are busy enjoying her music, shock filled the theatre as the almost perfect performance is interrupted by a very loud thud. Eli, who lost her concentration, stopped pressing her piano keys. Everything happens so fast and in an instant, a scream filled the whole theatre. She immediately searched for the source of the scream and immediately found it from a girl who is sitting on the front row. Horror is filled from the girl’s face as she was looking at something on the floor. And just like that, different screams from the people on the theatre emerged and they started to panic. Curiously, Eli tried to follow the girl’s gaze who is now frozen in her seat. Her jaw dropped as she saw a lifeless body of her fellow pianist who came with her to Switzerland, Philipp, was lying on the ground with eyes wide opened and blood scattered around from his body. From that moment, no words can describe the fear Eli was feeling as the eyes from the lifeless body is looking at her direction. Her knees felt numb and eventually, she found herself sitting on the floor with shaky hands and sweat started to flow from her forehead.
Seeing a dead body is a very traumatizing scene for her because when she was just 16 years old, she saw the lifeless body of her mother in front of her, the same with Philipp’s, with eyes wide open looking at her direction. She suddenly felt pain in her head; a pain like it’s about to crack, and just like that, she felt like she’s going to collapse. But before she completely loses her consciousness, she noticed a big letter “A” painted with a bloody red paint on Philipp’s forehead. And after that, total darkness enveloped her sight.
Eli was awakened by a continuous knock on her door. She slowly opened her eyes and tried to recall the things that happened before she passed out and as she remembers all of it, she suddenly felt uneasy. She massaged her head first before heading to her hotel room’s door to open it for someone who’s knocking from the outside. As the door opened wide, she saw Natalia, also a fellow pianist and the closest friend she had from her fellow pianists, was standing in front of her room with food in her hand. Natalia plastered a smile on her lips and Eli responded with a weak one. She asked her to come in and told her that she would take a bath first before they get into business. After a very quick shower, Eli returned to the living room where she left Natalia. She found her sitting on the couch, looking at something on her phone. When Natalia noticed Eli’s presence, she put her phone down and looked at her friend who is now trying to dry her wet hair.
“I am sorry about what happened in your performance”, she told Eli with an apologetic voice. It took her minutes to find the exact words to tell Eli how sorry she is for what happened. She knew that Eli really put her time and effort to prepare for her performance in Switzerland.
Eli looked at Natalia for seconds before she answered her, “No need to say sorry Talia, it’s not your fault anyway. I should be the one apologizing. Even if you’re not that close with him, he’s still your cousin.”
Silence filled in the room as they both can’t find the exact words to use to console each other’s losses. And that’s right, Philipp was Talia’s cousin. He was the son of the sister of Talia’s mother. Since their family is a family of musicians, both Talia and Philipp grew up as a pianist.
“So how do you plan on telling her mom?” Eli suddenly breaks the silence with her question.
“I still don’t know”, Talia answered while also thinking how she can actually tell her aunt that Philipp is already dead. Talia then added, “What seems intriguing is the letter ‘A’ painted on his forehead. And also, they informed me that the CCTV camera caught someone wearing a black hoodie jacket that was with Philipp before that incident happened.”
What Talia said caught Eli’s attention. It formed lots of questions in her head; who’s that hooded figure who was with Philipp before he died? What is his connection with him? Why did he killed Philipp? Is he really the one who killed Philipp? What is his motive? Is Philipp really his target? Then why did Philipp’s lifeless body dropped from above the stage during her performance?
As questions continuously popped out from her mind, she couldn’t help but become more curious and a little bit afraid. What if something liked that will happen again? She tried to erase those thoughts on her mind and instead of answering Talia, she went to her dresser to fix herself up. She was about to get her makeup kit when as she opens her drawer, she noticed that a black envelope is placed at the top of her makeup kit. She was filled with shock but tried to not show it so that Talia, who was with her at the moment, won’t be alarmed.
“Talia, you didn’t happen to use my dresser, didn’t you?” she asked her to confirm her whether that envelope is Talia’s or not. But then, Talia answered no and that’s when she was certain that someone sneaked in to her room, maybe while she was sleeping or while she was taking a shower. What shock her more is that when she held the black envelope, she can smell a very familiar scent, her mother’s perfume. With a shaky hand, she opened the envelope and found a piece of white paper with a bloody red painted words, “How do you like my surprise? -A”.
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