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Don't Ask Me Why: Chapter 30

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It took several days for all the details to be figured out at the university. Police Investigators spent three whole days interviewing witnesses of the entire night, trying to piece together what really happened. There were security cameras in the hallway just outside the orchestra rehearsal room, but none inside, so all that was determined was that only three people entered that room, and only one, Tanya, came out. But who murdered who was quite a mystery from the evidence: Tanya's stilettos had Marcus' blood on both heels, but Ernest's was also on one of them. The knife itself was too tainted by Tanya's own blood for conclusive evidence on how it played a roll. The small fire in Marcus and Tanya's apartment was also put into consideration, as well as Tanya's ordering of a hotel room. Unfortunately for Alex, he had to go through the most rigorous of interrogations, because he was the closest in contact to all the individuals except Marcus. At the end of three days, it seemed conclusive that Tanya had indeed murdered both of the victims, and theory of motive was already guessed at as an act of ambition, until there was a breakthrough in the investigation: Ernest's phone.
The two managers had found Ernest dead, staring at the phone in his hand, but only assumed that he was trying to call the Police. In fact, further study of his phone revealed that within the minutes of Tanya's performance, he wrote a Note into the phone that was spelt in simplest terms:
"Marcus stabbed me. Tanya killed Marcus. Tanya despaired, finished me off. She loved me. Forgive us."
It seemed to be his last words, which he figured was more important than saving himself. The story thus changed to being a crime of passion rather than of ambition, though both weren't far from the truth. "Passion" and "Ambition" were no longer separate terms for Tanya and Marcus. It was all one and the same.
What was most difficult to scrutinize in the story was Tanya's own words at death, her admitting the blood to be her own, and to say "I've done nothing." Had she gone out of her mind that she would lie even in her last moment? Psychologists tried to analyze her words, and once again Alex was brought for interview, to try to figure out what was meant. However, Alex himself made the breakthrough when he gave his testimony of the situation:

"I had thought for a long time that she was perfectionist, so ambitious that she would do anything to reach it. But I was puzzled at first that she would kill both Marcus and Ernest just to claim this perfection. When I found out about the phone message, it all hit me: she wasn't just after perfection. She was after happiness. I think she had made a plan to gain this happiness, and almost succeeded, when Marcus dashed everything for her, and so she "despaired." I never realized that she loved Ernest, it never occurred to me. She must have kept it so secret, so suppressed, I can only imagine what kind of pain she felt in these prior months.
And now we come down to her final words, 'I've done nothing.' It wasn't so much a rejection of what she had done then it was a statement of what she felt she ever accomplished. She had described herself as dying on that stage, for entertainment. Because the words she sang were true for herself. And no matter how well she performed, it was meaningless to her, because real happiness was destroyed for her, and her life came to an end. In other words, it finally struck her that she had, indeed, done nothing with her life, because she never found happiness, meaning. And so, that is why I believe she killed herself. Remorse, despair, it had all become the same, self-pitying emotion.
On that stage, she had asked me forgiveness for what she left unnamed. This all made me reflect on whether or not she ought to be forgiven, or Marcus for that matter. All I can say is that I can't right now, until I've processed it longer. I feel the worst for Ernest, the real victim of the tragedy. I pray that he rests in peace...
I feel this tragedy has allowed us an opportunity to reflect on our human condition: our search for happiness and meaning, sometimes at great cost, and the great suffering that ensues when it takes over us. We all are never too high to fall to the same depths of tragedy. May we be careful that our passions, no matter how good they seem, do not lead to the end of us as well..."

In the funeral that took place for all three victims, Alex was bid to give this testimony to the audience. It was very hard for him to say it all, but the gatherers for the ceremony comforted him and accepted his words graciously. The entire school of music was there for the ceremony, from the teachers who knew the individuals closely to the students who barely knew them at all. But not a single soul in the whole university was untouched by the recent events.

It was a very long week. Most students postponed their recitals til the next semester, and in an action of mourning, all professors cancelled juries. Finals were taken in other buildings on campus, although most didn't go to those either. The Performing Arts Center had become a ghost town, because no one wanted to go there after such horrible events. The minutes after Tanya stabbed herself were some of the most horrible moments of its entire history, as the managers ordered a state of emergency, cancelled the rest of the concert, and made everyone evacuate. Everyone had been there, everyone had seen, from the smallest to the greatest in the school, and those outside in the community.
There was talk of creating a memorial to the three musicians, but it was almost too sad to commemorate, since it was such a selfish act of destruction. There was even talk of tearing down the whole building, if that could be afforded. Overall, no one wanted to be there anymore.

Then there was Marie.
She wasn't bid to testify as a witness, and she was glad for it, because when she had found out what happened, she nearly wanted to kill herself too in her agony. No one was in more pain than her. The loss of her greatest friend was already too much to bear, but the fact that Ernest was dead now too, an innocent victim of other people's evil, and which she considered was partially her fault, made her border on the hysterical. She felt horribly alone, distressed, hopeless, just like Tanya must have been.
But Marie wasn't alone.
The news of the tragedy spread all around outside the university, and soon, members of Marie's church found out. Three days after that ill-fated concert, her church invited her to a prayer meeting where the entire congregation came around her in the sanctuary to lay hands on her. They gave flowers and cards, and their deepest condolences. Marie was so touched by their love that she wept the entire time, but it wasn't as relieving as she hoped it would be. The death of Ernest loomed over her thoughts secretly, and she knew she had no way to make up for what harm she did to him.
If she had only accepted Ernest's love, she thought, none of this would have happened...

It came a day the next week that Tanya, Ernest, and Marcus' belongings were being given out by the police department to those closest to them. Members of the school of music nominated Marie to receive the bulk of Tanya's belongings, which was a horrible idea to Marie, but she accepted them nonetheless. She brought Tanya's things home to her apartment in boxes, and she went over each and every object in detail.
There was Tanya's choral scores, everything she ever sang and conducted, her papers, and other books. Tanya would have been proud to have found out that she got an A+ on her Masters Thesis that went alongside her conducting performance. But Marie wanted to burn it all, it was almost too painful to look at.
There was Tanya's make-up products, the things which she painted herself with so perfectly. Marie looked on these more sympathetically, since she remembered Tanya's vanity with compassion. Marie did not like make-up very much though, and figured she would only keep it in the box it came with.
Marie was not given any of Tanya's electronic devices of, since the police was keeping it all for their records, save one item, her phone. It was considered an unimportant part of the investigation, since Tanya left it in the hotel room she had rented. The batteries had long since died on it, but Marie charged it up so she could see some of the photos and videos that Tanya took on it, some of Marie's dearest memories of her.
When it turned on, there was an unread text message on it. Marie opened it.
It was from Ernest.