The Beast in the Painting
LAHAT kami natulala. How come it is a suicide?! Halatang murder ang nangyari. There were signs of struggle!
"Nakausap mo na ba ang mga police?" I asked. Mary Rose and I are not friends but she is a good person. She doesn't deserve this. What she deserve is justice!
Tumango si Daeril. "They said it is final. She was the one who strucked the knife in her head because of too much stress and pressure as the student council president." Malungkot na kuwento ni Daeril.
"This is not right. Something is not right." Ani Chaos habang nagiisip nang malalip.
"There's nothing that we can do, Friday. Mr. Albert held the case na dapat ay sa akin. When he gave me the reports, it states that Mary Rose committed suicide." Daeril explained.
Wait, Mr. Albert? The new principal, Mr. Alnand Timothy Albert?
"Bakit naman niya hahawakan ang case ni Mary Rose? Baguhan palang naman siya ah." Effie said.
Tumango si Daeril. "I don't know either. Mary Rose and the principal hate each other. May mga gustong event si Mary Rose this school year pero dinecline ni Mr. Albert."
"You should have said this to the police." Matix implied.
Daeril sighed. "I told you, Mr. Albert is the one taking care of the police na dapat ay ako. I can't say those things to them lalo na't si Mr. Albert ang magaalaga sa case."
Naawa ako bigla. Daeril and Mary Rose are close friends. "Let us handle this, Daeril."
Umiling si Daeril. "For now, there is nothing you can do, but maybe in the coming weeks, you'd bring justice to her." Makabuluhang sambit ni Daeril.
What is he talking about?
Daeril continued, "besides, Mr. Albert knew that Chaos, Effie worked with Matix to find Friday. He was mad. Dapat daw ay kinausap niyo ang mga school officials. He wants to meet you at the principal's office today."
Kinabahan ako bigla. He..wants to meet us..kasama ba ako? Sana naman hindi. The new principal's aura is freaking me out!
"Teka, kasama ba ako? at mapapahamak ba sina Chaos dahil sa paghahanap saakin?" I asked.
"Yes, kasama ka and yes, mapapahamak sila. The principal's rules are clear. No solving of murders."
"Then why ask for out help earlier about Mary Rose? Alam mo nang mananagot kami." Chaos asked with furrowed eyes.
"I freaked out. When I saw Mary Rose at her office, with her blood, nagpanic ako at kayo ang unang pumasok sa isip ko."
"Then we will solve this. For Mary Rose." I said, determined.
Marahas na umiling si Daeril. He acts scared. "Do not go against the principal. You don't know what he'll do to you."
"Is he the one responsible for your face?" I randomly asked. Bigla nalang iyon lumabas sa bibig ko. I know what happened to his face kaya nga hindi ko alam kung bakit natanong ko iyon.
Daeril stilled but behind his mask, I could see his eyebrows furrowed. "I told you, my dad is the one who did this. The principal and I don't talk much. I'm talking based on what happened to Mary Rose. You are special to me, Friday. Ayokong mangyari sayo ang nangyari kay Mary Rose." His voice quivered.
He lost a friend so I understand why he is so frustrated. I understand why he wants to protect me.
"I am with Friday more than you are, so rest assured, I'll protect her." Chaos said.
Tumango si Daeril at lumabas ng tambayan namin.
"You heard Ocampo, don't go against the principal. So, we will rest the case for awhile and then we will bring justice to Mary Rose." Chaos spoke amidst of the silence.
THIS IS nerve-wracking! Nasa labas kami ngayon ng principal's office at hinihintay na mag vacant si Mr. Albert. Nakahilerang nakaupo kami sa labas.
Tahimik lang kaming lahat dahil siyempre, alam na namin ang mangyayari. It could be termination, community service or verbal warning lang.
Lumabas sa office ang dalawang estudyante, mukhang magjowa at nagaaway.
When the sign returned to vacant, agad kaming kumatok at pumasok. When I saw Mr. Albert, my heart raced because of nervousness. He was reading some folders habang sumisimsim ng kape.
He looks young. Too young to become a principal.
"Mr. Albert." Effie called. She looked nervous too.
Mr. Albert looked up at tinignan kami isa-isa. When our eyes met, agad ko iyon iniwas. He is freaking me out.
"Sit down. I've been meaning to talk to all of you." He said in a deep accent.
Umupo kami. Sa left side, kami ni Chaos at sa right side naman, ay sina Matix and Effie.
"S-Sir, Daeril said you wanted to talk to us." Saad ni Effie.
Tumango si Mr. Albert. "I heard that you were solving murders even before I cam here. Kaya pinasama ko si Ms. Cortez. A report came to me yesterday that you—" tinuro nito sina Chaos, Effie at Matix, "solved a case."
"Our friend went missing, sir. We panicked." Chaos simply explained.
Hinampas niya ang table. "Kahit na. Hindi dapat iyon maging rason para suwayin ang rules ko!" He shouted.
"It was a natural reaction, sir. That is how everyone would react if one of their friend is missing." Paliwanag ni Chaos.
"That is how a dumb student would react. You could've called me or any teachers. Hindi ka dapat nagmamaang-maangan, Mr. Salazar. You are just a student."
Yumuko si Chaos and tighten his fist. He's angry.
"A janitor told me that someone is occupying the storage room im the basement. Kayo ba iyon?"
Oh no. Pati ba naman iyon kailangan malaman niya?
Nang walang sumagot, hinampas ni Mr. Albert ang lamesa. "Answer me." Madiin niyang utos.
"We're not the ones occupying the storage room, sir." Matapang na sagot ni Matix.
Mr. Albert looked like his not convinced by Marix's answer.
He called someone from the intercom and a janitor entered the room. "Yes, sir?"
"Bakit ikaw ang nandito? I asked for Morales." Sabi ni Mr. Albert sa bagong dating na janitor.
"Busy po si Morales, sir. Ako nalang po."
"Check the storage room in the basement. Tignan mo kung may mga gamit then report back to me." Ani Mr. Albert.
"Opo, sir." Magalang na sagot ng janitor.
Hala, hindi pa naman namin nilock ang storage room. Paano kung malaman ni Mr. Albert na ginagamit namin iyon? Edi wala na talaga? Lagot na kami!
Ilang minuto pa kami naghintay hanggang sa bumalik ang janitor. "Wala pong kakaiba sa storage room, sir. Mga kakaibang gamit pang sports na ginagamit ng varsity ang naroon, sir." Sabi ng janitor.
Bahagyang nanlaki ang mga mata ko sa sinabi ng janitor.
Effie and Chaos looked shocked as well. While Matix, slightly grinned.
Natigilan ang principal at pinaalis ang janitor.
"If a report came to me again that are solving crimes again, hindi na verbal warning ang ibibigay ko sainyo." Pananakot ng principal at pinaalis na kami ng office.
Nang makalabas kami, I turned to Matix. "What did you do?" Mataray na tanong ko.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
"Bakit walang napansing kakaiba yung janitor? Inalis mo ba gamit natin doon?" I asked.
Matix grinned. "Friday, I locked the storage room para walang makakapasok doon," he continued," and the janitors, bigyan mo lang sila ng pera, tiklop ang mga iyan."
"What?" I asked.
"I paid every janitor three hundred pesos each kapalit ng pananahimik nila tungkol sa paggamit natin ng storage room. Ganoon din ang students. Hindi nila sasabihin ang sekreto natin, hindi ko sasabihin ang sekreto nila." Matix smirked.
"You are smart." Manghang sabi ko.
Matix grinned widely. "I know."
"Aaaah!" Sigaw ng isang estudyante.
Tumakbo kami at nakita naming nagkukumpulan ang mga estudyante sa isang classroom. We pushed our way towards the front and there it is..
The couple earlier, yung nagaaway paglabas ng principal's office.
They are lying in their own pool of blood while a cutter is in each of their hands. Mukhang nagpakamatay sila.
"This is murder." Biglang sambit ni Chaos.
Kumunot ang noo ko. "Why? They are holding cutters on their hands." Punto ko.
Luminga linga ako sa paligid. "No signs of struggle. Mukha namang nagpakamatay nga sila."
Effie intervened. "I know them and it is not suicide, Friday."
Why do they keep saying it is not suicide?
Matix took a picture of the bodies holding the cutters. Aalis na sana kami para pagusapan iyon nang may mahagilap ang mga mata ko.
"Effie, anong section mo?" I asked.
Tumingin ako sa gilid ng classroom.
"Matix, anong section mo?"
"10-B" sagot ni Matix.
Tinuro ko ang painting na nakasabit sa uluhan ng dalawang bangkay, "may ganiyan na sa classroom niyo dati pa?"
Kumunot ang noo ni Matix saka pinicturan ang painting. "No. Walang ganiyan sa classroom namin. Hindi mahilig sa painting ang adviser namin."
A painting is fine pero hindi ito normal na painting. It's a beast painting.
"AS I SAID, it was murder." Ani Chaos.
"Then explain to me why it was murder." Sabi ko. Nasa tambayan kami ngayon at pinaguusapan ang nangyari.
Tumingin si Chaos sa larawan na kinuha ni Matix. "The female student is Ella and the male is Roy."
Chaos rolled his eyes. "Ella is left handed but the cutter is on her right. Roy is right handed but the cutter is on his left hand."
Tinaas ko ang kilay ko. "Then the suspect got wrong?"
"Obviously but it may be something else." Ani Chaos.
"What?" I asked.
Sinenyasan ni Chaos si Effie na magsalita. "The victims possibly killed theirselves but they were probably ordered to kill their selves."
"Who could have ordered them?" Matix asked.
"The beast." Simpleng sagot ni Effie at tinuro sa larawan ang painting.
"If the beast killed them, he wouldn't mess up their hands. The beast is strategic and smart. So, me and Effie's deduction, the couple might have been ordered to kill their selves by the beast and messed their own deaths to make it look like it was murdered."
Oh, I get it. So Ella placed the cutter on her right hand and Roy placed the cutter on his left to make it look like he was murdered. To send a message that someone ordered them to kill their selves!
"What explains the painting?" I asked.
Matix spoke, "I hacked the school's student files. Ella is actually a painter. So does Roy. They are both part of the art club. They must've painted the beast painting to tell us that they are in contact with the beast."
"So we were not the only ones that the beast threatened?"
"Could be." Ani Chaos.
"How are we going to explain this to the police? That they are ordered to kill their selves by an anonymous serial killer who calls himself the beast." Sambit ni Effie
"Well, Effie, your father is the one holding the case." Saad ni Matix.
Pinakita ni Matix ang laptop sa amin. It's a cctv video down the hallway kung saan nay mga police, at ang ama ni Effie ang namamahala sa case na ito.
"Effie, tell your dad that this is a murder. Panigurado ay suicide ang irereport nila rito." Sabi ko.
Tumango si Effie at umalis. Sinundan namin siya ni Chaos habang si Matix naman ay nagpaiwan sa tambayan.
When we reached the 10-B classroom, wala na ang katawan. Kaunti nalang ang estudyante na naroon at maraming mga police. Kasama na ang ama ni Effie.
"Dad!" Tawag ni Effie.
Lumingon sa amin ang ama ni Effie at nagulat. "Anak, tungkol ba ito sa amin ng mommy mo? Huwag kang mag-alala, aayusin ko ito. Aayusin ko ang pamilya natin." Anito.
"Shut up, dad. I'm here to tell you that what happened to Ella and Roy is a murder not suicide."
"Of course it's murder. Bakit naman siya magiging suicide?" Tanong ng ama ni Effie at tumawa saka ginulo ang buhok ng anak.
What does he mean?
"What?" Tanong ni Effie.
"We already catched the killer, sweetheart. Umamin na siya at nakita namin sa cctv. Siya ang huling pumasok sa 10-B classroom. Mga kabataan nga naman ngayon oh. Puro pagpatay na ng kapwa ang alam" Anang ama ni Effie.
"Who is he?" Tanong ni Chaos.
Tinuro ng ama ni Effie ang lalakeng nakaposas na kamay. He was looking at our direction. They way he looks at us, like he's asking for help.
There is no way he's the killer. Maamo ang mukha niya.
"Are you sure he's the killer?" Tanong ko.
Tumango ang ama ni Effie at nagpaalam na umalis.
When I looked at the student earlier, nakapasok na siya sa police car but something took my attention. A tattoo on his neck. It looks fresh dahil namumula pa ang leeg niys.
The tattoo is a figure of a beast.
Then he wrote something on the police car window.
HE IS TWO STEPS AHEAD
I looked at Chaos and Effie. Looks like they saw it too.
He is two steps ahead and we are all aware of that.
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