Sosa is on the couch with a semi-naked girl on his lap, her lips and tongue are all over his face. Weed smoke occupies the air. Another girl on the second couch rolls up a joint. Money on the table and there’s some jazz song playing in the background.
Three men enter the room. One of them is Sanchez, Sosa’s right hand man. “Boss.”
Sosa motions his hand to the table, the girl leaves his face and takes one paper, hands it to Sanchez. “What’s this?” Sanchez asks, eyes on this piece of paper.
“The flat address of Rose Aconite,” says Sosa. “Find out if she has the money. If she doesn’t, well you know what to do. Don’t hurt her too much. I’m sure she has some valuables ,” he talks without looking at the three men. Now the girl massages him.
“How much is she owing?”
“She knows. If she gives you any problems you know what to do.”
Jasmine heads over to Rose’s flat but finds cop cars outside the building. There’s also an ambulance. She’s come to give the money to Rose after collecting it from the bank after Violet transferred it to her account. “Excuse me,” she shuffles past a bunch of cops and the on-lookers of the nearby flats, makes her way to Rose’s own flat where the door is open. There are more cops inside, and a few paramedics.
“I’m afraid you gonna have to step back, lady. This is police matter,” says the man. Jasmine looks up at him as he also turns to stare at her. His eyes glow. “Hey. You are. .you the author. Jasmine. Jasmine Floral,” he says with a bright voice now.
“Yes. But please call me Jasmine.”
The man chuckles a bit. “Man, do I love your novels, The Murder Of Katrina Cole is my all time favourite. I’m detective Protea, a fan of your work.”
“Nice to meet you, detective,” she says. They shake hands. “What happened?” She asks as he leads her inside. Jasmine gasps, her eyes at the floor. “What…what happened?” She asks again.
Rose is lying face down on the carpet. Blood under her left arm which appears to have bled from the left wrist. Close to where her hand is sprawled there is a broken glass. She’s dead.
“A man called us to the scene, said he found her like this,” Detective Protea says.
“A man? What man?”
The detective looks around, spots the albino cop he wants and asks him whether the caller has been let off yet. “No, sir.”
“Bring him in,” says the detective.
Jasmine looks down at Rose. Just this last night they were talking in the taxi. Now Rose is dead. She lies there with open eyes. Her red hair a mess. Photos of the body are being snapped as paramedics continue with their work.
“Thank you Sargent,” the detective’s voice behind Jasmine. She turns and sees him standing with a man as the albino cop leaves. “Here he is. He found the body,” says detective Protea .
Jasmine looks at the guy with squint eyes. “What were doing here? How do you know Rose?” She asks.
“They’ve already asked me that. Rose was a close friend. I just came to check up on her.”
“So early in the morning?”
“Is there anything wrong with that?” Asks Sanchez, the other two are long gone.
“We think it’s suicide,” says Protea.
“We found this.” He hands her a note torn from a blank page somewhere. Jasmine puts her glasses on and reads. “‘To whoever finds this, I’m sorry.'”
The body gets covered in a silver material and gets picked up out of the flat. Yellow tape is now being stretched around the spot where Rose laid. Jasmine takes out the glasses and taps them on her chin.
“Who did you say your name was?” She asks the man.
“It’s Romeo, ma’am,” Sanchez says.
“Call me Jasmine.”
“Okay, Jasmine. Are you also..a friend? “
“Yes, for a very long time now and she never said anything about a close friend named..Romeo,” says Jasmine, once again her eyes squint. “Excuse me, gentlemen, I have a phone call to make,” she gets out of the room and calls Violet. The call goes through after four rings.
“Violet. Oh, God,” Jasmine rubs her forehead, imagines how she can break down the news, more importantly, how Violet is going to take them.
“Jas? Are you there?”
“Yes, yes, err. Listen, Violet. Something…something bad happened. “
“Are you gonna tell me or do I have to guess it out?”
“Rose has been found dead in her flat,” Jasmine says. “Suicide.”
For a minute Violet doesn’t say anything, Jasmine thinks she must’ve hang up.
“I’m still here, Jas. Are you there? At the flat?” Her voice sounds a lot dark and distant than before.
“Yes. Cops everywhere. The body has just been taken.”
“I’m on my way,” Violet says and hangs up, making Jasmine think there’s something urgent she hanged up the phone to attend to.
Jasmine returns to the room where she and Sanchez exchange grim stares as he is escorted out by a cop.
“Who were you calling?” Detective Protea asks her.
“Her twin sister.”
“She has a twin?” Eyebrows rise.
The detective nods at the knowledge. “Ah, I ses. Rose and Violet.”
The two are the only ones in the flat now. Jasmine can’t help but stare down at Rose’s blood on the carpet. She looks around but the entire place looks normal. This place, Rose’s home. Now it is her death scene. Jasmine retires on the nearby seat. Suicide? Rose? But why? Jasmine shakes her head, Protea notices that and asks. “What is it?”
“Don’t you find it weird, detective? ”
“Find what weird?” He shifts his body to face her.
“I suppose you didn’t know that Rose was under a huge debt. And Sosa, the man she’s indebted to, has been making threats, hinting at paying her a visit if she doesn’t pay up. Now this morning she’s dead and the cops are called by an unknown man who claims to be a friend.”
“Wait, you think…” The detective points to the open door.
Jasmine looks at the suicide note again, also brings up that piece of paper Rose gave her in the cab last night. “This does look like Rose’s hand writing but what if she was forced to write it? Then her wrist got slit to make it look like suicide.”
“Nah,” Protea begins to shake his own head. “That’s a far fetched theory Ms. Floral.”
“Sorry. Jasmine. You think that Romeo fella is the one who…?”
“It’s a possibility,” she shrugs.
“But what’s his motive? And if he did kill her then why would he call the cops? I think he would’ve opted for a clean getaway.”
“You are right, detective. May I please see Rose’s phone? I’d like to check something.”