It was anniversary night. We decided to go out for a drink or two. Dinner, too. It was about 8 at night, a very cold, breezy November night, rather warmer than it usually was at this time of the year. We drove to a place both loved- a good old Irish bar, where we first met. I met this beautiful girl two years ago. She was in her mid-twenties, I thought. We would meet here a for few weeks, till about a month later, when we went on our first date. I was the elder one, only by a few months though. It was an amazing dinner. It took me one full year to muster up the courage to propose to her. That was a little over a year ago. It was June 9th, the day we got hitched. The day we got married. One year later now, we were sitting, smiling at each other like teen lovers, sitting on the very chairs we first saw each other on.
We had a few drinks, but not so much to get us completely drunk. Slightly high, we walked back to our cars. It was past midnight, surely. We drove past the hotel we sat in just a few hours back, for our dinner. Our house wasn’t far away, about two miles. About half a mile away from the house, our car's front tire gave away. Flat. It was, of course, too late to find a mechanic. I had the tools in the trunk and so, I fixed the tire myself. I checked my watch. The hour hand was closer to 1 than to 12. I drove that half mile just thinking about bed. I was too sleepy by now. I parked my car. Simon Fernandez, a tall man of thirty, was standing at his gate. He waved as I got out of my car.
‘Wife told me was your anniversary. Had fun, huh?’
I smiled, and waved back. I never really liked him, but I didn't dislike him either. It's one of those feelings, neither hatred, nor liking. Right in between.
‘Thanks a lot, Simon. It's only just the beginning.’
He laughed his loud, rough, ape-like laugh. He turned away, seeing me walk toward the door. He was singing. Stayin’ Alive by the good old Bee Gees.
By now, my wife had already got into the house. I entered, but she wasn't in the hallway. She had already ran upstairs to our bedroom. I heard her footsteps. I followed her up, and she’d already changed into her night clothes.
‘That was quick.’ I said.
‘I’m super sleepy. You get into bed quick too, it’s very late.’
Something bad was going to happen. It was in the air, and I could feel it in my body. Something seemed to be pulling my heart down- it was being weighed down. Something bad was going to happen.
I woke up. 3 am. I woke up from a nightmare. A mangled body was at my feet. It was Simon Fernandez, and I'd killed him. A gun in my hand, a bullet mark right at the middle of his chest. It felt real. I touched the body, not thinking of all the consequences that would lead to. I felt no pulse, obviously, and I felt rather weird to even check for any. I heard a scream, feminine. For a moment, I assumed it was his wife. All sorts of explanations to all sorts of questions were running in my mind. I turned, only to see my wife. She was terrified, of course. She had the most blank expression on her face. Her tear stained face terrified me. Her scream terrified me. We went back home, leaving the gun there. She was sobbing, and I knew she thought I'd killed him. I hadn't, I guessed. I was sure, I hadn't killed Simon Fernandez. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. These thoughts were responsible for making my dream feel so real. My wife was sleeping, I thought. I got up to drink water. I didn't want to disturb her. It was after all, just a bloody dream (literally). I couldn't help but look out of the window, a light was shining in Simon’s house. A light was shining in my dream as well….. The light was shining in Simon's room. I knew it was his room because I’d been to his house once. It faced my room, and I knew it. I was in Simon's brightly lit room in my dream. Simon's room was brightly lit right now. Somewhere in my head, a voice said- A BLOODY DREAM, JORDAN! IT WAS A BLOODY DREAM!
I believed that voice. I drank a glass or two, and went back to sleep. I thought my wife wasn’t awake. She sniffed, the kind of sniff she would do when she cried. My wife was crying? Why? The sniff was unmistakable, yes. But, I thought it was my scared mind playing dirty tricks on me. SHE'S SLEEPING, JORDAN! Yes, she is.
I closed my eyes. Sleep wasn’t going to come anytime soon. Sniff, again. IT'S YOUR MIND. Yes, it was. This sniff seemed controlled, as though you're trying not to make the noise, but emotions get the better of you. SHE IS SLEEPING, JORDAN! Indeed. It was then, when I heard a scream; a scream from Simon’s house. HE'S ALIVE. IT'S YOUR MIND JORDAN! IT'S YOUR MIND…. IT'S YOUR…..
Sleep came…. It was my mind….
Or was it….?
I slept with these thoughts flooding my brain. Maybe I was only over reacting, I thought. I’d never had such a real dream (read: nightmare), ever. I hoped it was only just a dream. The sniff wasn’t real. The scream I just heard wasn’t real. The scream my wife screamed in the dream was not real. The dream was not real, obviously.
Sleep came, truly this time. I slept for an hour or two, woke up again, drank water, slept (this time I tried not to look out, and so sleep came quicker). I slept till about seven. My wife was already out of bed. A rare occurrence that, she usually would wake up an hour or so, after I woke up. Did my wife touch anything in Simon's house? I thought she was in the washroom. I don't think so. She didn't. No, she wasn't in the washroom either. I called out to her, she didn't reply. Amy was a fitness freak. She was probably jogging outside. I brushed my teeth. My fingerprints were on the gun. The gun wasn’t real.
I went downstairs after I was done. There she was, preparing coffee.
‘Morning!’ She was as silent as she was while she was watching Interstellar. Her favorite movie, her favorite actor, and her favorite director. She didn't let me utter a single word. She’d seen it without me. ‘Wait for the ending.’ She said that when we watched it together. Now, she wasn't talking either.
‘What's the matter, I-.’ I was cut off mid sentence by the ringing of my doorbell. Who's here so early?
Why was the police at my house, at seven-fifteen in the morning?
‘Hello Mr. Hill. Would you mind if we came in and had a talk with you?’
‘No, of course not.’
I welcomed them inside. They were the kind of policemen you'd see in a movie. A fat man, walking with a slight swagger in his step, and another thinner man, brisk in his walk, but with bags under his eyes implying sleeplessness. They both were men of their job surely. After they walked in, I looked out. I saw a police car outside Simon's house. Oh, so Simon did die! Well, fuck. I only hoped my mind was wrong this time. IT WAS A DREAM. EVEN IF HE'S DEAD, YOU DIDN'T KILL HIM, JORDAN.
I believe the voice, again. We sat down. They sat directly in front of me. I broke the silence, after my wife brought us glasses of water.
‘So what brings the police to our house?’
‘Murder.’ The fat one replied, with a smile.
‘Excuse me? Murder? Oh my god. Who?’
Another smile. ‘Simon Fernandez. Your neighbor.’
‘Any signs on the murderer?’
‘More than just ‘signs’ Mr. Hill.’ Smile upon smile upon smile. I didn't know what to reply to that. A faint ‘Uh-huh' left my mouth.
‘Mr. Hill, how long have you known Fernandez?’
‘About a year, maybe. Since he shifted here last year. August, I guess.’
Right about then, my wife sniffed. It was the sniff I heard last night. It could, obviously, be mistaken for a sniff while suffering from a cold. I wasn’t fooled, though; I knew she was upset. I couldn't guess why. The officers though, went on with the interview, as though they hadn't heard anything. My wife, and these officers, were now scaring me. The way she looked at me, was a though I was indeed the murderer. YOU'RE INNOCENT JORDAN! IT WAS A DREAM!
‘Mr. Hill,’ the thin one began, ‘I'm going to have to tell you this- we've spotted you going to Fernandez's house at about 2 last night. The CCTV in front of his house caught you there. Also we see your wife rushing in minutes later, and you both walk out a few minutes even later. It looked like she was pulling you, and you looked like you didn't want to walk. Well, we can't really say anything with that, as we didn't make out any blood on you. We have the murder weapon- a gun, and there are fingerprints on it. We're going to have to take fingerprints-from you and your wife.’
Amy had walked to right behind me by now. She hadn’t slept, at all. The dark bags under her eyes explained it. She had cried too. Surely.
They took the fingerprints, we had no problem at all. I knew I was innocent, I guess. I mean it was indeed a dream. Maybe.
After they took our prints, the thin man, Jason was his name, I think, took the slides and went outside. The fat man, Edward I guess, was silent all the while, and his silence scared me. My wife was trying hard to suppress her sobs. No, there was something she knew, and I didn't. She wasn't going to tell me, surely. I didn't bother to ask either.
Jason was back. The fat one (I’d prefer to call him that) got up. They exchanged a few words, a few smiles and then they turned to me.
‘Mr. Hill, were going to have to take you into custody for the murder of Simon Fernandez. Those fingerprints on the gun were yours.’
Oh, the realization! The fingerprints weren’t the only real things. The dream wasn’t a dream. The sniff was real. The scream was real. This wasn't a dream, though I wanted it to be one. My wife cried. No protests- as though she knew this was going to happen. I protested.
‘Officers. There's definitely a mistake, I was sleeping with my wife last night, in this house. I didn't wake up, until just an hour ago. I swear I didn't kill him. There's definitely-‘
They didn't like the fact that I was going to try and justify myself by just repeating myself and continuously say I was innocent. They put the handcuffs around my wrists. My wife was crying. She wasn't even trying to convince the police that I was wrong. She followed us out the door. There was a crowd outside. Amy was still following me, crying. Everyone looked at me, surprised. Amy behaved as though she knew I was guilty. I probably did too, but I was a stubborn bastard. I didn't want to believe that my dream was real.
But it was.
All this was.
I am a criminal, whether I like it or not.
I killed Simon Fernandez, whether I liked it or not.
I'm a murderer.