Death of a Poetess

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A private detective solicits the aid of a psychic to find the suspect of a murder.

Submitted: November 02, 2014

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Submitted: November 02, 2014

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DEATH OF A POETESS

The case was closed like her mouth stuffed with a handkerchief. Justice was elusive tothe Virgilio Family. Katherine  was found in a ditch somewhere below the a bridge in Las Pinas with a knife through the spine of her neck, her arms bound by the seat belt of her car and her mouth stuffed with a handkerchief. Her car was missing. She was missing for about five hours. In those five hours, the Virgilio Family found no peace. What happened to her and why would they do this to her?

Kat  was a copywriter at a leading advertising agency in Makati. She was also an award winning poet. She was fine featured and her skin the color of dusk..

It was an evening with her colleagues and boyfriend at Libis. She and her boyfriend had been on for years. They were having drinks at the bar and some oysters with cheese topping. She was very animated and wore a blue chintz dress. They talked about the coming French Film Festival and how they would kita kits this weekend to watch marathon the whole weekend.

Kat dropped her boyfriend off at Sucat where he lived and would catch a a jeep going home. He had been driving all the while and when they parted ways he gave her a kiss before leaving her in the car.. He almost forgot to give back the keys and tossed them to Kat who caught it with a laughter. She was mildly drunk. She was beautiful with long hair and dark limpid eyes .And she was happy. She wrote free verse along the influences of Denise Levertov and was very philosophical about things. She believed death was a choice and always expounded on how this came to be. She can be very persuasive.

There were no signs of forced entry into her womanhood. Still, people believed otherwise and even thought this may have been the motivation thinking that the family hushed the whole thing up. But truly, beautiful as she was, it was still a case of her missing car. There were signs she came home that night and left again, perhaps to buy pandesal.

By dawn there was the sound of sirens.. Her body was found in the ditch. Her boyfriend Dario was inconsolable and lamented to take his own life to follow her but was assailed by the realities of the need to find her killers from the various motivations that they could come up with. A harmless poet. Who would have wanted her killed from work or even outside work..

She drove a Totyota Altis and in itself was an eye catcher in the downtrodden village of Las Pinas.It may just have been the car. Days later the car showed up with signs of having been attempted to be burnt where identities could indemnify the perpetrators. Strangely, the motive would still have been the car. But who were these people?

The matriarch of the Virgilio Family,  hired a private firm to further the investigation in the light of shutting off the case like tossing her body aside all over again. By this time they weren’t angry anymore, simply sad and slow in movement. Their rage were caged and trapped inside their hearts. They could not even name it: injustice.

He was a private investigator with a degree in criminology. He had formerly been a seminarian but shifted with an eye towards taking up law school but through this path. Criminology fascinated him. It was raw and palpable. He could see how things happened first hand like being in the front seat of a movie theatre. No, he didn’t want police work. It was tainted and too structured for him. He wanted no colleagues. He wanted to think clearly for himself.

The Virgilio matriarch approached him with a hefty sum if he could solve the mystery of her daughter’s death.

It took him a month, two months, three. He was still working out. He was still physically fit but soon the whole thing was taking its toll on him and he stopped pumping steel. He started drinking. His assistant , a young girl whose night education he was paying for now ran to and fro the local tindahan to buy him beer and cigarettes. She adored him and didn’t like what this case what doing to him. As though she were up against the girl who died, herself. Lisa liked working in his house and fantasized a time he would be so drunk he’d actually seduce her and take her to his bed and deflower her. What can you say, she was a girl with shallow dreams. One look at his smiling face and tanned, buffed arms, his brown curled up hair, he was an archangel with a sword of honor. He was very honorable and never took payola. He was beautiful.

Lisa had her own theories. The suspects lived nearby , panicked and left the car. That was Sistio’s theory too.

Various callers gave their own opinion about Kat. From one of these callers Lisa got hold of an information. There was a very , very good psychic who lived on an island in the south who could be of help. Lisa got her information on where to find the female psychic and when she asked the woman caller  who she was , she hung up abruptly.

And so she told him about the call. Sistio listened while dunking a bottle of beer. You need a break Sistio, she reminded him. Go over there and see what’s brewing? she teased.

Sistio laughed too, but with bitterness and cold appraisal of what he was about to do. He hadn’t proven this psychic could do anything, yet and he was a Catholic. This was the dark arts. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe, it was that he believed and negated them.

For the first time in his life he didn’t know what to do. He had never fallen in love and for awhile he was in love with the psychic for some unknown reason. Lisa looked at him and felt she had lost him for awhile. After months turning pictures like puzzles in his hands he was somewhere else now. .

He shaved, packed his things and brought his portable Bible with him. Lisa drove him to the airport.

“See you in a few days boss.” she chided.. Sistio was unusually quiet about the whole thing as though he could not admit to himself that he was doing this. But he was because, and he hated to admit it to himself, he had no more answers.

He landed in the main island and found a boat that would take him to the exact island Lisa directed him to. It was a long boat ride and he was exhausted. Passing by tall jagged limestone cliffs, he took photos of the terrific scenery. Pellets of water mottled his camera lens and he was wet all the way through. He sat on the prow of the small boat shooting pictures from time to time.

He arrived at sundown. It was a small cove, really. The sand was white and so fine it sluiced through his fingers. He dropped his pack , took off his shirt and swam into the cool green water. He dunked into the water and when he stood up he realized he was alone.

Then he espied a woman coming out from the coconut trees. She was collecting shellfish on the sandbar.. Her hair was long and covered her face. Then she stood upright and waved at him, signaling him that he was expected. He couldn’t see her face from afar but he waved back . She took her pack with her and his shirt. He wasn’t sure how old she was but she was a bit stooped, as though her spine were sad. She then went back to the coconut  trees and disappeared from sight.

Sistio swam for awhile and was feeling very much at peace with himself. He went back to the shoreline and lay down on the sand contemplating the sky. For the first time in his life he felt like a man as though the whole island were an aphrodisiac unleashing his desires.

He went towards the coconut trees. The ground was covered with coconut tree fronds splayed about like matting. Further at the back of the small island was a hut and there was light inside. The woman was busy tossing sticks into a fire pit in the ground. She had a grate on top of the pit and began to place a pot on top and stirred it.

His shirt was drying on a wire and he went inside the hut. He found his pack on the floor next to a cot. He lay down on the cot and slept . When he woke the sun had been replaced by stars over them. She walked towards him. She was young and dark. Her face looked familiar as though he had seen her in a dream where you wake up and completely forget what it was you dreamt about..

She led him to a low table on the floor of her hut where they squat and ate a delicious meal  of crabs, fish and a soup from the shellfish she collected from the beach. She peeled a crab and slipped it into his mouth. She laughed and it sounded like a bell.

“I have questions.”

Shhh, she quieted him and laughed some more. She gave him soup in a crystal bowl. It was so spicy, he almost spat it out. She laughed some more. She was very happy as though she had been alone for a long time and had just been with someone.

Then they were playing tag on the sands. She ran into the water and he tried to catch up with her. He almost drowned .but she caught him in the undertow ,her long hair flailing in the water. He could see her face worried and particular. Together they went back to the hut. He dried himself by the fire as she dried her own hair with a towel. Not one word was spoken between them.. She kissed him, on the lips. She felt like ripe fruit. He had never kissed a woman in the mouth before. He wanted more of her and he sucked on her mouth as though it were the water of life. He made love to her as though he knew how ,intuitively, knowing every crevice of her body like a map he was taught to keep to mind.Why do I know you?

Their lovemaking was in a manner of forgetting. It was all very veiled and contradictory. There were no promises of answers and yet he felt the answer was so near he felt it as he reached the climax of his passion for her.

Morning came and he felt refreshed as though he had been given a massage the night before. There was not an ache in his body and he felt good about himself. He did not wait for answers from her. He simply kissed her cheek for she lay beside him still asleep. He had to leave, he could feel the answers coagulating like puzzles turning to form a figure in his mind. The boat came and he tossed in his backpack in.

On the boat, he was once again wet from the tide that threatened to overturn the boat but couldn’t. He was busy thinking, thinking, thinking.A thought struck him. He looked back at the island and shivered.

“Wa-ay. Wa-ay nagabalay dira. Si Tandang Inday matagal nanag napatay kag.Nagliyab iya nga balay

“Hay, sin-o nga baeng…?” He opened his backpack to open his file which he had been bringing everywhere for he did not want to miss any idea that would arrive to him. She appeared in the picture as she did that night. Beautiful and laughing. Her eyes laughed hard and yet she sounded light as a bell.

A detail entered his mind. The security guard of the village where she lived said something about a bunch of boys who bought spare parts of cars. He and Lisa rounded up the place but found nothing to further implicate them save for the fact that the security guard thought they were rather naughty boys whom he would catch drinking at night, and making trouble to passersby especially those in trycicles.

Find me.

Through the smoke of the mirror

I envy death

It stares back at me

With the shadow of a bell.

He returned home, found Lisa filing his stack of papers inside boxes. They visited the old shack selling old dubious spare parts and pretended to be bulk buyers.They searched about but found nothing in the sheds.

And then he saw it, a blue chintz piece of cloth almost eaten by cinders. It was caught on a piece of protruding metal flapping in the wind.. He surreptitiously pocketed it and gave Lisa a glance that they should get going.

The police were all over the place by morning of the next day and more evidences appeared.

Sistio returned all files back to the Virgilio Family but asked to keep the portrait of Kat ,laughing..

 


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