It Wasn’t Me

By: Nur Fatimah Syifa Binti Noor Mohd

The razor blade slowly slid in her wrist. It felt numb. It didn’t feel like what she thought death would be. She didn’t even think it as a suicide. For her, it was the end to everything. This had to stop. She couldn’t live like this anymore. Life wasn’t for living in fear. She tried her best, but nothing worked. After all, she thought killing herself was the best solution for everything.

1 month ago,

“Police department is on the line. How can we help you?” Shawn answered the phone call. “A murder? Can you tell us the location?” He stood up ready to give orders. “Thank you, mister. We’ll be right there,” as soon as he put down the landline, he jogged to the garage while shouting, “Red alert! Prepare 2 jeeps and call the CBI team!” It had been only two weeks since he was transferred to this city and there’s already a murder case that he needed to solve. As soon as he entered the police jeep, he switched on the siren and told the driver where they’re heading.

When they arrived at the old warehouse, there were a lot of people and reporters surrounding something. Shawn took the hailer out from the jeep’s boot and started talking, “Everybody calm down and step aside, now. This area is under police supervision. Make way!” Two other cops put a yellow and black tape around an opened box that the CBIs were inspecting. There was a dead human body in that wooden box. A lady was repeatedly stabbed in the stomach and stained blood was everywhere on the floor. People around the box put on a facemask or covered their nose because of the terrible smell. While the CBIs investigated to whom it belong, Shawn inquired the people there if they had witnessed this crime scene that happened last night.

A middle aged man approached Shawn and said, “Every night, I would ride my bicycle this way when I return home from my work place over there,” he lifted his arm to show his work place, “but there was a van parked in front here last night when I passed this road,” he pointed at a spot across the road, “I was curios so I stopped cycling but then I heard a lady’s muffled screaming voice. I was alone and I became scared so I cycled away quickly.”

“Can you remember the color of the van? It’s plate number?” Shawn asked. “If I am not mistaken, it really seemed like an ambulance van but I couldn’t make out the plate number,” the man said.

Shawn made a call to the emergency department and asked if there was any ambulance from any hospital came to this area last night but they said there was none. So obviously, the van was a fake ambulance. The plate should be faked too. “It’s simple. We can easily track down the van. Put roadblocks in the radar of how far the murderer could escape to by now,” one of the cops said. “No. It will not be that simple. If the murderer can fake a plate number and change the paint of a van, then he can do it again. It has been more than 10 hours overnight, I doubt the ‘ambulance’ still exist,” another cop gave his opinion. Shawn stared into the distance, thinking about every single possibility.

“Sir! The CBIs are calling you,” a junior cop said to Shawn. Shawn walked through the crowd and reporters that didn’t stop asking irrelevant questions to him. He turned deaf ear to them while lifting his hand and said, “Once the case is solved, the police department will be more than happy to give the reports. Please don’t disturb us while we’re working for it right now.” Shawn continued walking with loads of microphones pointing towards him from his left and right until he heard someone beside him said, “You sure you can solve it? I dare you.” Shawn stopped and turned to his right hoping to see the owner of the voice. In a matter of second, the person who dared him disappeared into the crowd.

“Sir! Sir!” As realization hit him, he walked straight past the sea of people into the warehouse. He never felt so challenged to solve a case in his entire life. This time, he promised that he will solve this case all by himself no matter at what cost.

“Luke, have you found anything?” Shawn said to the CBI, Luke. “There you are, Shawn. So we have identified the body, she is a 20 year old college girl whose name is Amy Jones. For further information, we can discuss in the station because I bet there are reporters eavesdropping us from everywhere,” Luke chuckled to ease the tensed situation. Shawn gave him a few nods before telling the cops to collect as much evidence as possible. The paramedics were also wrapping up the body to run a postmortem in the hospital.

It was already mid night, Shawn was still working at his desk. He stared at every bit of the information file about Amy that Luke gave to him in the evening. Apparently, both her parents had divorced a long time ago and lived in different countries. It didn’t seem to him that they even cared about their daughter as Amy lived on her own ever since then. She’s also the only child so she had no one else other than her selfish parents. At 15, she lived with her boyfriend, Scott Williams, in an apartment but they broke up when she was 16. Reason they broke up; her boyfriend started dating a 17 years old teenage girl whose name was Louise Wilson that won a beauty pageant at that time.

Because of that, at 17, Amy also competed in a beauty pageant and she got gold medal. Amy had already moved on with her ex and she entered the Miss London competition when she was 18. She only won as a Miss London but she lost in Miss England competition. As she’s already 20, she decided to compete again and she successfully made it to Miss Universe. Next week was supposed to be the final round of the competition and everyone thought Amy had the highest chance to win. Shawn pitied her that she wasn’t able to achieve her dream before she died.

Shawn’s eyes darted to the next page. A sticky note that had been taped there said, “Dear Ms. Jones, you have been forgiven.” It must be someone that used to hold a grudge against Amy or someone that Amy did something wrong to.

The following day, Shawn rang the bell of an apartment. As the door swung open, a young teenage boy stood there. His hair was wet, probably he just came out of shower. Without further ado, Shawn showed his identification card and barged into the room after shoving the boy’s shoulder. He sat at one of the sofas and asked the boy to sit in front of him. “Scott Williams, you know why I came here, right?” Shawn asked. Scott nodded. “When was the last time you met Amy Jones?” Shawn asked, watching his expressions and reactions. Scott exhaled and ran a hand through his hair while saying, “I had never met her after the night she left this apartment.”

“Do you expect me to believe that?” Shawn asked just to test him. “Sir, I guess you really shouldn’t waste your time suspecting me,” Scott protested. Scott watched as Shawn stood up so casually. He wandered around the photo frames corner. There were lots of Louise’s pictures but Shawn stopped at one, the picture of Amy and Scott. Shawn took the frame in his hand and asked, “Why do you still keep this? ”

“Oh that’s just nothing,” Scott said. “Do you personally think Louise has anything to do with Amy’s murder?” Shawn asked more. “No sir, Louise is not like that. I’ve heard about Amy, it was horrendous. I’m sure Louise won’t do something like that,” Scott defended. “Well, thank you for your time,” that was the last word from Shawn before he walked out of the building.

Shawn walked down the aisle and stopped in front of one lecture hall. He was pretty sure that she’s in there before he opened the door and said, “I’m sorry but I need to talk to Louise Wilson, right now.” Everyone’s eyes were on Shawn and Louise as she hesitantly stood from her seat at the back and walked down. They entered the cafeteria building and sat at one of the booth awkwardly. “Do you know Amy Jones?” Shawn asked. Louise thought for a minute before answering, “Yeah, we competed together in Miss England this year. Can I ask why?” Shawn took a sip of his coffee and said, “Two days ago, she had been murdered in an old warehouse.” Shawn watched her expressions carefully.

“Oh, I feel sorry for her,” She looked totally innocent. “Aren’t you jealous of her that she got to enter Miss Universe but you don’t?” Shawn asked. Louise smiled, “Miss England is a competition where 51 contestants representing each state in England compete to win and go to Miss Universe to compete against many more countries. Of course we would all be jealous that she got to win but at the end of the day, we are also grateful and proud of her. She’s such a beautiful and kind person.” There were no signs as if she’s guilty. “Was there anyone that holds a grudge against Amy during the competition? Because the murderer left this sticky note in her pocket two days ago,” Shawn showed the sticky note to Louise. “It’s hard for me to say because I’m not that close to Amy either. ‘You have been forgiven’? That sounds creepy,” Louise chuckled. “As creepy as it is, the murderer must be heartless too. Anyway, thanks for your time,” Shawn said before walking out and drove his car away.

Louise massaged her forehead, “No one here is safe anymore. There are murders everywhere.” She lets out a deep breath and went straight to her class, continuing what was abandoned a while ago.

After finishing her class, Louise went straight to her apartment. As she entered the door, she noticed the lights were already on. “Scott, are you here?” Louise asked. “Yeah,” Scott answered weakly. His eyes were glued to the news channel about Amy’s murder on the television. Louise sighed knowing that he must be sad about his ex girlfriend. “Look, I know you’re sad because of what they did to her but-” Louise’s sentence was cut short when Scott suddenly stood up and palmed her. “Stop it, Louise. I’m trying to help but please don’t drag me into this anymore,” his voice lathered in regret.

Louise scoffed in disbelief before turning into a serious expression, “What are you talking about?” Scott shook his head and said, “I can’t. I really can’t do this anymore.” With that, he walked out from her apartment. Louise fell onto her knees with irritated eyesight. She blinked a few times while her hands searching for the drawers. When she found the knob, she pulled it out and took two pills from the bottle. After she swallowed them, she lied on the floor blinded with sleep.

“Post-mortem results showed that it is true the scalpel from the crime scene was Amy’s murder weapon. We got the murderer when we traced the fingerprints so you need to come here to see it yourself,” one of the forensic science department police said to Shawn through a phone call. As soon as the call was ended, he rushed to the lab. The curiosity almost killed him. When he reached the police lab, Shawn quickly approached the police that made a call to him just now. The police showed him a piece of paper containing information about the suspect that has matched to the fingerprint on the scalpel.

“Get an arrest warrant ready. Work fast!” The situation in the police station went hectic as everyone was running here and there. Shawn got on the jeep with the rest of his team and headed towards the lead suspect’s apartment. The sirens were blaring non-stop and Shawn was excited to finally solve the case after 35 hours. Only one thing that was running inside his head; why would someone dare him like it’s the most difficult case to solve while the culprit herself left fingerprints on the murder weapon. Maybe it was just a fool that reporters use to boost up the pressure to the case.

The bell rang once, twice, it didn’t stop ringing. Louise that just woke up hurriedly went to the door. She became annoyed of how impatient the person was. She didn’t even peek through the spy hole just because she was extremely pissed and opened the door.

When the door opened, Shawn lifted up the arrest warrant paper as he took Louise’s both hands and cuffed them with the handcuff. The other two cops pointed their guns at Louise and began leading her to the police jeep at the basement. It was at 9 in the morning, which was a busy hour in the streets in front of Louise’s apartment. Everyone that saw her and the police started murmuring and whispering around.

Meanwhile, Louise was shell-shocked. She totally had no idea what has she done or what causes her to be dragged into the police jeep like this. Everyone out there was looking at her and possibly talking bad things about her and she was so embarrassed. Her hands were cuffed and her arms where the cops held tightly were aching.

As she entered the back of the jeep, the back of her head was spinning. She swirled her head to ease the pain but it didn’t work. Her eyes started to water, not because she was about to cry but because her vision was too blurry to see.

Shawn was at the passenger seat at the front thinking about the things that he still needed to investigate, such as what was her purpose of killing her or why did she leave her fingerprints at the scene and lied to him when he asked about it the other day. While he was wondering, Louise suddenly screamed with a very high- pitched voice. She shouted to stop the vehicle but Shawn said to the cop driver not to listen to her and continue driving. In a split second, Louise stopped shouting and fainted. Two frightened cops by her side became frantic.

By the time they arrived at the police station, the cop sprinkled water on Louise’s face to wake her up. She was shivering and breathing heavily when they took her inside the lock-up. “I...I need my…medicine,” she whispered with the strength that she had left before passing out again in the lock-up. “What did she say?” the cop that was putting the lock asked another cop. “No idea. Let her be until our senior officer say something,” he just shrugged.

“Wake up, lady!” Louise woke up when some cops harshly shook her shoulders. She realized where she was and just followed where the cops were taking her without asking any questions. They asked her to sit inside a room, so she did. She waited in there until someone came in. It was the same cop that she met at her college the other day. Louise was hoping if this cop would believe what she says and that she’s innocent and also that she didn’t even know the reason they brought her here.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, there will be an attorney appointed to you by the court. With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?” Shawn started with the Miranda rights.

Louise took deep breath. “Sir, I don’t know about the charges against me,” she said shakily. “Well, you are being charged with murder and violating private property. Also, stealing hospital’s ambulance van and performing vandalism acts by removing its tracker device.” Shawn smirked to think that she is still acting innocent. Louise was on the verge of crying but she calmed herself down and stayed silent. She was definitely sure that these were all false charges.

“You can’t deny it anymore, Miss Wilson. We received a call from the hospital and they said some people witnessed you getting on the ambulance. You even threw the tracker out that they can’t track where you’re going. Anyway, a passer-by said he saw the ambulance van parked in front of the old warehouse that night, where you killed Amy Jones. Why did you kill her?” Shawn asked.

“I didn’t do it, please understand,” Louise pleaded to Shawn. “We need your alibi for that night. Where were you?” Shawn asked while holding the pen ready to write down. Louise shut her eyes tight trying to remember that particular night, then she shook her head. “I can’t remember,” she said with disappointment.

Shawn scoffed, “Let me tell you, you are at the stage where you don’t even have to agree to your charges but you will still be charged. We have witnesses, evidence such as CCTV footages and very importantly, we have your fingerprints on the murder weapon.” Louise looked at Shawn with disbelief but she remained silent.

“Well, then. If you’re still not saying anything, we will now let the prosecutor in charge handle this case,” Shawn stood up with the file in his hands to get out when suddenly Louise shouted, “Stop! Stop right there! Don’t come near me! Why are you here?” Shawn was shocked but when he turned around, he noticed that Louise wasn’t looking at him but somewhere at the walls behind him.

“You’re dead, Amy. How did you come here?” Louise asked, looking at the blank walls. “Louise, why did you kill me? Why?” Amy kept coming near Louise even when she shouted not to. “I told you it wasn’t me! It’s not my fault!” Louise protested. “Even if it’s not your fault, it’s still you who killed me. You can’t deny it,” Amy said.

Louise screamed in pain with both her cuffed hands holding her head. In one blink, Amy disappeared. Shawn called the other cops to bring her back to the lock-up and told the prosecutor to meet her another time. She did the same thing that happened in the jeep, screaming and then passing out. Shawn thought that she must be in trauma or she regretted and felt guilty for killing Amy.

Scott felt sorry for Louise. He needed to help her in times like this but he turned out to be a coward since he watched the news about Louise being arrested for the suspect of murder. He needed to set this right. He’s the only one that can prove that Louise’s not guilty.

Trial Day 1,

“We have evidence including Miss Wilson’s fingerprint match in this.” Prosecutor Samuel handed a file for the judge to inspect. “Also, we bring these two witnesses from the night when the incident happened. Firstly, we’ll let you hear Miss Cara’s testimony.” Samuel said.

“I work as a clerk in Markham Hospital. It was at least quarter to 10 in the night. I ended my shift and was about to leave when I saw a lady entering the driver seat of an ambulance. We never had a lady driver so I was shocked but I didn’t tell anyone because everyone was busy at the time. I also saw her throwing the tracker out from the window, how cunning of her,” the first witness, Miss Cara said.

Louise sat uncomfortably waiting for her attorney to interrogate the witness but he stayed silent. She couldn’t even remember the night herself to deny what Miss Cara said. She thought about what will happen if it’s true, if she’s guilty? What if she ended up taking all the blame and lived her life in the prison? Her hands started shaking. Even Scott didn’t attend the trial, she thought about what if he hated her and couldn’t believe that it’s not her fault?

“Now we’ll hear Mr. Graham’s testimony,” Samuel said. “Every night, I’ll ride my bike on the old warehouse street when I’m returning home from my work place near there. But on that night, at about 10, I saw an ambulance parked in front of the warehouse. I stopped cycling because I was curious but I became scared when I heard a lady’s muffled screaming voice from inside the warehouse. I cycled away quickly not even looking at the plate number,” Mr. Graham testified.

Louise’s body was shaking, her eyes became out of focus. She couldn’t accept what she heard. She kept telling herself that it’s not her fault but like Shawn said, she felt like she will end up in the prison for the rest of her life. “Why is this happening to me?” she whispered.

“As that being said, Your Honor, it is certain that Louise Wilson committed the crime. Thank you,” Samuel was satisfied that he would win this case.

“Do you have anything to say as Louise Wilson’s attorney, Mr. Albert?” the judge asked Louise’s attorney. It seemed like the last hope before she’s sentenced but he remained silent. Maybe because he knew that there was no point of defending someone who really is the culprit. He knew that there was no chance he could win this case. Mr. Albert stood up and said, “No, Your Honor. We agree to the charges.”

Louise’s breath hitched. She stood up shakily, just to collapse back onto the floor. Everyone was shocked. The room was loud before the judge slammed his gavel three times and ordered, “Due to some circumstances, I am bound to postpone the sentencing until the accused condition is stable. Court dismissed.”

Louise was still being locked up. She cried knowing that there’s no other way than to receive the punishment. She didn’t even know what was wrong with her. After they were dismissed, the cops took her back to the same lock-up.

“Miss Wilson, there’s a guy that wants to meet you outside,” a cop said before holding her hands and dragging her to where she should meet him. As soon as she saw who the guy was, she shouted, “Scott! Scott It’s not my fault. I’m scared. They’re trying to kill me and ruin my life.”

Scott felt ashamed to leave Louise hopeless in times like this. “I’ll try my best to help you. I’m sorry, Lou,” Scott said. “Please. Please get me out of here. I’m feeling like I’m going to die in here,” Louise cried. “I know. Just be patient and trust me,” Scott assured her. ‘Maybe it will get better for her,’ Scott thought.

Scott went in the lawyer’s office and paid for a private attorney. The old experienced lawyer whose name was Mr. Beckham and Shawn discussed everything about the case. “Don’t worry, Mr. Williams. This is an easy case but you know that the outcome would not change, right?” Mr. Beckham asked. “Yes sir. I still want the best for her,” Scott said positively. “Well, if that’s what you wish, I can do it for you,” Mr. Beckham smiled. “Thank you, sir,” Scott said gratefully.

Trial Day 2,

Starting the trial, Prosecutor Samuel explained all the charges for the second time. Louise in the accused seat turned her head to the left, looking at Scott who’s sitting in the front row. She stared into his eyes, searching for a ray of hope. Scott smiled reassuringly while showing a thumb up. Louise felt relieved that there was someone that still trusted her. She believed that this was going to end here, that she could go back home after this.

As the prosecutor finished, the judge asked the defense council, “ Do you agree to the charges, Mr. Beckham?” Mr. Beckham confidently stood up and said, “ I plead not guilty, Your Honor.” He headed to the judge’s table and placed an envelope on it. “What is this?” The judge asked. “As you may see in the envelope, it is a medical report of Louise Wilson,” Mr. Beckham answered. Everyone in the room stayed silent, anticipating what was to come next.

The well-known lawyer said, “Yes, I do agree that she had committed the murder but she wasn’t in her real state of mind. For your information, Louise Wilson had been diagnosed with early symptoms of schizophrenia.” As that being said, the whole room was shocked and everyone was loud until the judge slammed his gavel. “The night the incident happened, it’s true that she stole the ambulance van but I also do have her alibi for what happened before the murder,” Mr. Beckham continued.

“It all started a few weeks before when her boyfriend, Scott Williams, realized that she had a mental illness. Anyway, her boyfriend and Dr. Jasper whom she believed to be her boyfriend’s doctor didn’t tell her that she was the real patient. She continued to think that she was just there just to accompany her boyfriend who’s having an appointment with the doctor. That fated night, Dr. Jasper asked her to wait outside his room to talk about her mental health with Scott. According to Scott, he came out but Louise was nowhere to be seen. He thought she went home so he didn’t search for her but that’s when she stole the ambulance and drove to the warehouse,” Mr. Beckham explained.

There were no words to explain how Louise felt at that time. Her heart was crushed to pieces. All this time, the person she trusted the most was no more than complete and utter lie. How could they think that she’s crazy? She thought that it was the day she could crawl out from her slander, but it all just turned out to be worse.

At the end of the day, Louise was sentenced to be admitted at a mental hospital with police supervision for at least two years and can only be released when there’s a doctor’s statement that her condition is back to stable.

One month later,

She can’t do this anymore. Her beautiful life had vanished. She was left alone in these four huge walls. Doctors were coming in and out, nurses that came to inject antibiotics, some workers that came to feed her with food and cleaners that clean the area. This was exactly the same as living in prison. Once in a while, she would see Amy cynically laugh at her. The other time, she even thought the broom that cleaner use was a sniper to kill her. She knew there was no point of living locked up in here.

The razor blade slowly slid in her wrist. It felt numb. It didn’t feel like what she thought death would be. She didn’t even think it as a suicide. For her, it was the end to everything. This had to stop. She couldn’t live like this anymore. Life wasn’t for living in fear. She tried her best, but nothing worked. After all, she thought killing herself was the best solution for everything.

“Stop!” One of the nurses screamed on top of her lungs. “Doctor, she’s trying to commit suicide!” She continued. They took the razor blade away from her. “Where did she get that?” Another one asked. “Is she still alive?” The other one panicked. “Yes, I can feel her pulse,” someone said. “Bring me the first aid kit and inject her some thiopental,” the doctor said. As soon as the fluid flowed into her body, she fell asleep.

3 years later,

Louise Wilson’s Diary,

I am free now. It has been a tough journey, for me and other schizophrenics. We didn’t ask for this, but fate has got us to be strong. I still love Scott, the guy who always supported me without me knowing. I once thought to end my life, thanks to the doctors and nurses, I’m still alive and enjoying the moments of my life today. I would like to thank every single person who put trust in me during my journey to live normally again, even if I don’t trust myself. I believe everyone has their own ups and downs in life, just be patient and endure it with strength. If life’s not being good to you now, just believe that you’re actually extraordinary but you don’t know it just yet.