“Why was Nina crying?”, Julia questioned. Alfred stayed mum, eyes fixated at a blank spot on the wall, emotionless. “Alfy!”, yelled Julia, “this has gone far too much!! It’s high time you were institutionalized,” she shrieked. It, however fell on deaf ears, Alfred sat there, no change in demeanour whatsoever. Red with rage, Julia stomped towards the chair, Nina stood up suddenly stopping her. Engulfed by disgust for her, she brushed her aside advancing towards Alfred. “How could she still stand up for him after all the abuse he had meted out to her?”, she wondered. Sobbing uncontrollably, Nina reached out to her, “There’s nothing you can do anymore”, she said, “we’re a little too late.” Julia turned towards her, concern replacing rage as she slowly moved towards Alfred. Quiet ensued, followed by another shriek and then even more silence.
Yanking the phone, she punched in those dreaded numbers. “We need an ambulance at 91, 1st street, Greenidge urgently”, she said, calming herself, then hanging up. The three minutes that followed seemed like an eternity. On arrival, the paramedics spelled out the obvious; something she had repeatedly denied to herself. He was no more. Dead on arrival, they would term it. In no condition to drive, she got into the ambulance, Nina besides her. Her brother had always been an eccentric, one she had despised for his brilliance, more so for the way, he had wasted away his gifts under the influence of drugs.
An overdose was an eventuality she had long prepared herself for, but that still didn’t make it an easier to accept. Dean met them at the hospital, a friend, not just to Nina and Julia, but one of Alfred’s own. Composed as ever, he took upon himself, the responsibility of all the paper work and anything else that needed to be done. Not a sign of pain or anguish on his face, he looked rather calm for somebody who had just been informed of the death of a friend. “How could he be so stoic under such adverse conditions?”, she wondered. Julia had always admired Dean, his demeanour today only established it more so. Broken, she could hardly speak, staring at Dean, like a child at a toy she missed, she felt ashamed. A dead brother, and she couldn’t help thinking about his friend who was helping them out.
“They were planning on conducting an autopsy, it isn’t debatable”, Dean announced, a little discomforted. That was the first display of any emotion on his part all afternoon. A little taken aback Julia asked Dean if everything was alright, he shrugged reassuring her. “Just not very comfortable with the whole idea of somebody cutting him open to see why he died, when we all know that it was an overdose”, he said, as he walked away towards the coffee dispenser. Raised as orphans, Dean was the closest semblance to family they ever had. Alfred and Dean went a long way back, to the days when they were in school together. She couldn’t help remembering the first time she had met him, it was also amidst a 911 call, her being the casualty that time around. She’d fallen of the swing at school, and Alfred had been called from his class, Dean accompanying him. Alfy had burst into tears seeing is little sister lying in a pool of blood, Dean running besides him, consoling him. He had always been the calming influence to her brother.
“We have the autopsy results madam”, said an officer in uniform “It may be better if all concerned would be in this same room” he continued. She looked around, no trace of Nina or Dean. Composing herself, she asked the officer what it was, “Your brother has been murdered ma’am, he did not overdose himself there will be an investigation, following which you may be able to take back the body”, he said. Questions flooding her brain, Julia broke down crying, feeling alone for the first time in her life. Nina and Dean: her two pillars of strength had suspiciously gone missing and she was now a suspect in the murder of her own brother.
“Was everything she ever knew a big lie?”, she couldn’t help but wonder. Faced with the prospect of jail-time for a murder she didn’t commit, it was now her prerogative to bring out the truth about her brother’s untimely demise. All she could remember was the concern on Dean’s face when faced with the prospect of an autopsy. “Was he the killer?? Or was it Nina? Where were the two of them?”, the questioned wouldn’t stop…”Dean, who was a brother to Alfy, and the man of her dreams wouldn’t do that would he? But if not him, then could Nina: a devoted wife to his brother, a sister to her, she had been her confidant for as long as she’d known her do it?” Fazed by two equally scary possibilities, Julia had decisions to make and quickly. She couldn’t bring herself to let the cops know what she felt, but if it was them, she wanted to be the first one to know of it as well. Never had she gone against law, this time however it involved family.
Life as she had known it, would never be the same, but how would she progress was a call she had to make.