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The Nightmare: Chapters 3, 4

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Alexandrov had a wife named Natasha. They lived in a beautiful apartment in the richer district of the city. Yet they didn't always have the best of marriages. It was Alexandrov's habit to dive into his work and never get out until weeks later, when his cases were finished, to the neglect of his wife. Now was the beginning of one of those periods.
Natasha was never sure how to express herself when this would happen. She would tell herself that it was all for his sake, since he provided the money, and his work was very valuable to him. But she was very sad and lonely, and although she wanted to talk to him about it, she was too afraid to do so.
When Natasha saw him come home now at midnight, she groaned inwardly. "How long will this last? My bet will be... 3 weeks," she said bitterly to herself.
"Why do you come home so late?" she asked quietly. She already knew the answer, but she wanted to make sure.
"A big case. I've never seen the like of it before. So little evidence, and such strange circumstances! I could tell you all about it, but it's gotten too late now. How come you stayed up so late?" But he went out of the room before she could even answer.
Natasha sighed. Alexandrov didn't even ask how her day was.

A week passed, and still no sign of a result. Alexandrov worked hours each day to try to get as much evidence has he could. He went door to door, asking the neighbors about the couple who died, they relationship, their comings/goings, etc.
Of what could be told, the husband, whose name was Ilya Federov was very controlling of his wife, Ana, a very beautiful woman. They often heard him yelling at her, and they could only imagine if he was physically abusing her, besides emotionally. Ana often walked out alone at night, to get away from her husband perhaps, only to come back and be yelled at for her foolishness at walking out alone. One of the reasons why he may have been so hard on her was because she had a miscarriage half a year before. He probably blamed her for it, and never forgave her. It was beginning to sound more like a revenge murder.
Alexandrov wrote down all his notes into a big black notebook. He took it with him at every interview, and when he went back to his office, he would examine all the details and connections. Once he could track down a certain key word or name, he would use it to track down on particular suspects. It was successful for him every time, and that's how he had such a high reputation in the city, and even the country, for his investigation techniques. But not this time.
The only key words he could find were "abuse" and "revenge," but they only led backwards. If the wife killed the husband, who killed her? Of all the connections, nothing made sense. Ana had friends, but not of the kind that would assist her in such killings. If she killed herself, why was no suicide knife ever found? Perhaps they hadn't looked enough, and that's what Alexandrov tried to do nearly everyday, but it was still lost. Obviously there was something else going on. And then, there was that ring.
The ring was one of the most curious things. It had no name or initial from a maker, as most rings had. Also, Alexandrov noted, it was placed on the same finger as the wedding ring finger, sort of as to replace it. The skull on the gem was particularly disturbing, it had a sort of malevolent energy around it. Why did this woman have it on? It was the most difficult question he faced.

One day, as he was thinking about what the ring was for, he tried it on his own index finger. It was so ice cold he nearly cried out, but the moment it fit securely on, the skull changed. It began to fade, and it turned into a human face. This shocked him. He took the ring off, and the face stayed where it was, the skull didn't come back. The face was blank in expression, and genderless. Perhaps it was sensitive to temperature? It was cold outside that day, so, Alexandrov put it by the window pane where it would cool off. But the face didn't change. If it was a clue for anything, it only gave him more questions.
All for this, however, the public continually praised Alexandrov and his discernment. "No one can do what he can do!" they all said, and more articles were written to give more updated news. Alexandrov wasn't able to give real truths yet, but he gave them what the people wanted, which was various discoveries, surrounded with melodramatic descriptions. He would get bonuses for it anyhow. But one thing he would give no details was the ring. In fact, hardly anyone knew about its existence, since he took it from the scene so early in the investigation.
The next discovery wouldn't entertain anyone though. It was a horrible awakening. Literally.


The news came from the office where the wine was being investigated. Alexandrov was stunned to hear what they found.

The scientists had been investigating everything about the wine for the past week, taking small samples, and heating it, chilling it, and putting other things in it to see if it would react. But, they had gotten no results. A bet was made who was the bravest to drink it, since apparently it was safe. One of them, his name was Andrei, bet $1000 that he would drink it, and he did, with no affects whatsoever. Yet after half a minute, he fell down flat on his face, right there in the lab.
They took him the the hospital. He was out cold for 7 hours. He breathed like one asleep. Alexandrov visited Andre in this hospital, and interviewed the other scientists for their stories about the incident. No one was sure if he would wake up ever again. Now everyone was sure that the wine was drugged with something, but what it was only could be guessed. An opiate? An anaesthetic? Also, why it couldn't be detected by any of their methods was also a mystery.
It was at the 7th hour when Andrei woke up. But when he had, all of them wished he hadn't. He woke up jumping from where he lay, screaming and screaming. He acted as if he had seen the most horrid monster you could ever imagined, or was being tortured, or both. Alexandrov and the others could not calm him down for half an hour. Andrei was completely traumatized.
When he finally did start calming down, all he could say was, "The nightmares! The nightmares!" Alexandrov asked him over and over what was in his nightmares, but he would get no response except that. Although it was now in the middle of the night, Andrei refused to sleep. "I will never sleep again," he told them all.
3 o'clock in the morning, Alexandrov went back to his office, and looked at all his notes. Perhaps this explained the scream of the woman! She had woken up after taking this drugged wine, apparently. The only question was, who gave it to her? It wouldn't have been herself! Who would give themselves a drug which seemed to induce horrid, indescribable nightmares? Whoever owned the fingerprint of the wine glass was the answer.
It was 5 in the morning when Alexandrov came home. He was exhausted, his emotions stretched thin. He lay down on the couch, and fell immediately to sleep, so as not to disturb Natasha in her bedroom.
Only, she was never there in the first place.

Updated May-28-2011 at 02:57 by Huilunsoittaja (Additional Chapter)

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