The next morning when I drove to work, I saw some police cars and a wide yellow tape wound around the area. Media vans and TV reporters swarmed the premise.
What the hell happened here?
The sun was coming down too harshly; I retrieved my sunglasses and wore them, that way no one would find out who I was staring at. I glanced up towards the troublemaker window, Jackson was staring right at me, he smiled and waved. I didn’t bother waving back. He was back in his old room.
I approached towards the entrance slowly. Paul appeared to be stressed and talking to a police officer who was scribbling something on a memo, his co-worker sipping on a latte. I entered the hospital building to find all the nurses being questioned.
A group of people had already crowded the elevator area so I decided to take the stairs. I climbed up, two at a time when Marvin almost crashed into me on the third level. He grabbed both my shoulders as if stopping me from walking further. His face looked like he’d seen a ghost. “You might want to turn back and leave.”
“What happened?” I asked.
Marvin let go of me as I walked further. There were photographers outside a room, their cameras flashing with an intensity. I saw Aaron speaking to the officers. His forehead creased into a worried line. I felt bad for him, it seemed like Aaron hardly got any rest and that was one reason why he never dated normally like other men. Just then his eyes narrowed down on me and a line of relief crossed his face.
I walked further towards them and I placed my hand on Aaron’s shoulder. “What’s going on?”
He didn’t answer, just continued to stare at the people around us. It was unlike Aaron to be this disturbed about something.
“That room? What’s in there? Why are the police here?” I asked him.
“Riley, don’t!” He called out to me but it was too late. I stepped aside, walking towards the room and I knew that the scene before my eyes would haunt me from this day forward.
It was a body hoisted up against the ceiling by a rope. The body’s hands remained at his sides, hanging in the air. The eyes gouged out completely, making it look like two black holes. Even with the eyes gone, I could still recognize that face.
There was no blood on the floor nor the carpet. Not one drop and that’s what made it hard for the forensics to collect evidence. I remembered Dave, the frown that he always walked around with. It was gone.
The room started spinning before my eyes. The forensic team was doing their job, taking samples, writing notes and casually chattering like they weren’t standing next to a horrific scene. Guess this was like any other normal job to them. My eyes then landed on the wall behind him that was smeared in blood. When I looked closely, I realized that it wasn’t just blood smeared randomly. There were letters that spelled out something.
Let’s Play A Game :)
“Ma’am, I would like you to step aside. This is a crime scene.”
“Here’s your coffee.” Aaron handed me a steaming cup with a chocolate donut. I didn’t bother telling him that I’d lost my appetite after what I’d seen in the room earlier. Aaron could cut a stomach open and still be eating a KFC bucket in under ten minutes. That’s how most doctors worked here.
“How did this happen?” I asked him, taking a sip of the coffee. “I’d seen Dave just yesterday in the recreational room with Owen.”
Aaron’s expressions were grim once again; his eyes looked tired and had light bags underneath them. We were seated right outside the hospital cafeteria in plastic chairs far from the mental ward. A gurney with a covered body wheeled through, while a middle aged lady followed crying hysterically. The covered body seemed small; perhaps it was the lady’s child who died due to accident or sickness. Tragedies were so common here at the hospital that no one batted an eye. People died each second of every minute of every day, but when I watched random bodies being taken to the hospital morgue downstairs, I often wondered how they died or how their life used to be before the accident happened.
“Nurse Tara went to serve David breakfast this morning and she realized the door was unlocked like someone had broken into his room.” Aaron’s low voice pulled me out of my thoughts. “We lock the doors of each patient every night and the head nurse checks it, always. So I’m not sure how this could have happened.”
“How could anyone do something like that?” Images of Dave’s hanging body flashed through my mind.
“Unless, it’s someone from the hospital. He is playing with us.” Aaron said, his voice lowered in a whisper.
“He?” I asked. “You’re saying it like you know who did it.”
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s Jackson.” He whispered. “It’s written all over the crime scene.”
“What?!” I whispered back. “How can you be so sure? As far as I know, Jackson was in his room.”
“It’s the similar pattern of the murder scene. A body hanging from the ceiling, eyes gouged out and a message scribbled on the wall, almost challenging the officers and the detectives to try and find him. That’s his style.”
“But why would Jackson...?”
“Jackson has made a dozen of enemies here, and David just happened to be the first on his list. Jackson is not easily pissed off, but if anyone gets on his bad side, he never forgets.”
“I don’t believe that Jackson could go to such an extent.” I said.
“Are you trying to defend him, Riley?” He took a huge bite of the donut, glaring at me accusingly.
“I’m not defending him.” I explained. “I just think that we shouldn’t just accuse him of something without having valid proof.”
“It was my bloody mistake to let the state keep him in this hospital. We could have deported him off to a remote island.” He began browsing through his iPhone. “Then again, there’s no guarantee that he won’t break out of it too. He’s like this problem child that no one wants to keep.”
“I still think we are jumping to conclusions.” I said.
Before Aaron could say anything further, a lady in a posh suit approached us. She was a middle aged lady, probably in her forties. Her dark hair was tied in a bun and had the powerful look about her, the type that said ‘don’t-mess-with-me’
“Dr. Aaron Shaw, correct?” She raised her hand towards him in a handshake which Aaron shook.
“That’s me, and this is Riley Frazier. She’s one of our best staff.” Aaron said with pride. It always made me happy when Aaron introduced me as one of his best staff.
She shook hands with me, “I’m Detective Alicia Ramirez. You can call me Alicia.” She passed us a smile, one that was both warm and businesslike. “Miss Frazier, I hear that you have been assigned to Jackson Wolfe since a few weeks, is that right?”
“Yes, that correct.” I said. “I’ve been his assigned Nurse for a while.”
The detective and Aaron exchanged looks and I wasn’t sure what that was about. To me she said. “I’d like to question you about a few things if that’s okay.”
Detective Alicia trotted away, her high heels clicking as she walked. Aaron placed a hand on my shoulders. “Tell them the truth, Riley. Don’t hide a single detail. If you remember anything, just talk to them.”
I smiled and reluctantly followed the path the detective had left down the hallway. I wanted Aaron to come with us but a ward boy began speaking with Aaron, and I watched them rush hurriedly towards the opposite side. I couldn’t bother Aaron again, I had to handle this on my own.