“Mary’s dead?” Darkness fell over Marta’s countenance. “Was it because of the drums?”
“No, her brother said she was shot.”
“Shot?” Marta’s legs collapsed beneath her but John caught her as she began to fall. Picking her up, he moved her to a nearby bench. Sitting her gently down, he sat beside her.
“Do they know who shot her or why?” Marta scanned her husband’s face for answers.
“I need to go and talk with her brother,” John said hollowly. “I need to get more details. Do you think you can find your way home?”
“Yes, but I need to call Katie and warn her. This situation keeps getting weirder by the minute. She has children, John. I don’t want anything to happen to her.”
“I don’t want anything to happen to you either,” her husband returned. “I need to ask you a few questions. Are you up for it?”
“I suppose. What do you want to know?”
“Do you remember when the drums started?”
“I do actually. I hadn’t put it all together before but they began on my birthday.”
“Are you sure?” John stared at her with worry in his eyes.
“I am. Why? Does it matter?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “Can you find out from Katie if hers started at the same time?”
“Of course,” Marta whispered.
“How did they begin?”
“They were quieter at first. They reminded me of one of those songs that play over and over in your head even when you don’t want them too. But they began to keep me from sleeping about two weeks ago. That’s when the sound escalated to something that I couldn’t ignore.”
“That sounds right. That’s about the same time that Mary began complaining she wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t elaborate on what was bothering her and I didn’t press. Now I wish that I had,” John mused.
“Honey, you didn’t know,” Marta tried to comfort.
“Okay, I’m going to talk to Mary’s brother, Josh. I’ll meet you at home as soon as I’m done.”
“I’m going by the newspaper to put in an ad. Katie and I thought it might help us connect to others experiencing the same thing.”
“That’s actually a good idea. We are going to need a focus group in order to figure this out.” With that John kissed his wife and turned to leave.
Marta called Katie and told her of the latest occurrence. The silence on the other end of the phone frightened her.
“She’s dead? Does that mean we are going to die too?” Katie’s voice sounded thin and hollow.
“You must not think that way,” Marta encouraged. “Her death could be unrelated to the drums.”
“But you don’t believe that,” Katie returned. “I can hear it in your voice.”
“I don’t know, Katie. This whole thing is just so odd.”
“You’ll let me know what you find?”
“I will. I’m going to the paper right now to place our ad. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll know of others hearing the same drums.”
“I’m not sure that is a good thing,” Katie returned.
“Knowledge is knowledge. We need more of it to figure this thing out.”
“Okay,” Katie answered. Then she hung up the phone suddenly. Marta considered calling her back but thought better of it. Instead, she rose to walk three blocks to the newspaper office.
After placing the newspaper ad, Marta hurried home. John had not yet returned. She took one of the pain pills her doctor gave her and settled on the couch for what she hoped would be a nap. To her amazement, she fell asleep. When she awoke, it was dark outside.
Running to the phone, she looked for messages. There was nothing. She picked up the receiver and dialed her husband’s phone number. He answered on the second ring.
“I’m just pulling into the driveway,” he advised. “Open the door for me.”
As he approached, Marta could see the worry in his eyes. She already knew one thing. Mary’s death was definitely connected to the drums.
“Mary knew her attacker,” John said flatly. “She left a message in her own blood. It said “drums, doctor”.
“What does that even mean?” Marta suspected he would not have an answer.
“Josh said Mary was having trouble with her doctor as well. He refused to run tests or do anything to help her. He suspects the doctor had previous knowledge of her condition. If she made that connection, he might have felt it necessary to eliminate her.”
“I don’t understand,” Marta mumbled. “Are you saying that we were deliberately made to suffer?”
“I can’t say for sure yet,” John returned. “Did you place the newspaper ad?”
“Then maybe we’ll find others who are suffering too. We need to get a group together and see if we can figure this thing out. Otherwise other doctors might decide to eliminate the threat.”
“We should call the police,” Marta whispered.
“And tell them what? Do we tell them that a drum beat in your head is spelling your doom? I doubt they would buy into that theory. No, we need more information before we call the police.”
Suddenly the phone rang. Marta reached over to pick it up.
“Is Mrs. King home?”
Marta recognized the voice of her physician. “Yes, I’m here doctor.”
“I just wanted to check and see how you are doing. Is the medication working?”
“Yes, I was able to catch a short nap. Thank you!” Marta tried to keep her voice calm and level.
“Well, that’s good. Call me if you need anything.”
“Will do,” Marta replied. She hung up the phone and looked at her husband. “He’s suspicious I think,” she said with fear.
“Then let’s hope we get some quick answers tomorrow. We have to stay one step ahead of them.” John hugged his wife closely. “I love you, baby. I’m not letting anyone take you from me.”