Al Niente

Punk Princess Pix: Murdered at 21

On the morning of May 3rd, Pix, lead singer of rock band Pixilated Homicide, was found
dead in her apartment along with her boyfriend, Jay Thomse, also dead. Only 21 years
old, Pix was on top of the world as one of the top female vocalists on the west coast.

Police say Thomse murdered Pix around 3:30 in the morning on May 3rd, after Pix had
returned from a band meeting held in the hotel room of Fin, Pix's brother and the guitarist
of Pixilated Homicide. After murdering Pix, Thomse took his own life as well, leaving no
explanation as to why he killed himself and his girlfriend.

Pix had just rekindled her relationship with Thomse after less than a year of dating Pixilated
Homicide's drummer, Westley.

Joe, the bassist of Pixilated Homicide, was the only band member available for comment. "Fin
and Westley are too upset," he explained. "The band's been having some hard times. Pix had
actually just announced to us the night she was…the night she died, that she was quitting
the band. I can't believe that while we were sitting up in Fin's hotel room trying to think of a
way to save the band, Pix was at her house, probably fighting for her life."

Fans' reactions to Pix's death has inspired the belief that good can, indeed, come from a terrible
tragedy. As more and more fans collect outside of Pix's apartment building, leaving calla lilies,
reportedly Pix's favorite flower, tears are shed, hugs are shared, and bonds are formed.

Elisa James, a fan of Pixilated Homicide for nearly two years, says, "It's hard to believe she's
really gone. Ever since I found Pixilated Homicide, they've been my whole life. And now that Pix
is gone, I don't know what I'll do…"

Another fan is more optimistic. "Pix was an angel, and now she is where she was meant to be.
It was always a crime for her to live among us mere mortals. I just wish she hadn't left us so
suddenly, and so…violently."

It goes without saying, Pix was a woman who has left her mark. Among family, friends, and
even strangers, her kindness reached out to everyone who met her. Rest in peace, Pix.

The article made me feel both mad and comforted. The fans were trying to be wise and uplifting, but they sounded like freaks. "Pix was an angel…it was always a crime for her to live among us mere mortals." What did that girl know about Pix? I flipped the page of the magazine and sucked in a deep breath, feeling as though someone had punched me in the gut.

Staring back at me, with large, green eyes, was Pix, her face forever immortalized on the glossy pages of the gossip magazine. Her hand was buried in her spiky, blond hair, her rosy lips barely parted, with a come-hither look in her eyes. This was taken before she had started to lose weight. Her cheeks were still round and rosy, and her collarbone wasn't protruding unnaturally as it had been in the last year or so of her life.

I closed the magazine quickly, trying to escape the uneasy feeling I got when I looked at a picture of Pix. Dead. What if she was haunting me? She could be a ghost, looking over my shoulder, watching my every move. I shuddered and pushed the thought from my mind, wondering if this was what true paranoia felt like.

I could have helped her.

The thought wouldn't leave me. I hated living in the past, but that was all I could do lately. Imagining that night, over and over again. Seeing Pix, starved and desperate in front of us. She was probably silently begging us to help her. To find her help. And we yelled at her. Ignored her. Turned her away in tears.

I almost felt like if I regretted it enough, somehow I'd be able to go back in time and make it right. Like the past could be rewritten just like that. The future seemed so dark without Pix.

Pixilated Homicide died with Pix. We never even discussed it since that night in Fin's hotel room. We couldn't even think of the title without being disgusted with ourselves for the choice. Someone less sensitive might have come right out and said the name was ironic, but luckily we were all too busy drowning in self-pity to think up such clever quips.

Grey was surprisingly helpful. Once a week, he checked up on us all to make sure we were doing okay. Joe joined him, sometimes, so he could visit me and Fin. Fin and I never saw each other because neither of us would leave our apartments. Neither of us were the type to call someone, so as the months passed, I soon became used to having Pix and Fin gone from my life. Grey and Joe urged me to leave the apartment, look for a job at least, but I couldn't be bothered. I didn't care if I was destined to die and rot in my living room.

Joe told me that Fin had started seeing a therapist. He was writing music again, and Joe wanted me to hear it. I ignored him, imagining him and Fin planning a new band. It had only been seven months since Pix died and already they were ready again. Probably already had another singer, too. I retreated further into my isolation and stopped letting Grey and Joe in when they came to visit.

One night, I dreamed. I hadn't remembered a dream since Pix died. Every night since then had just been blackness, stretching on through the whole night until I finally woke the next morning to the sun's rays invading my room, sneaking through cracks in the blinds.

The sky had turned a dark shade of sepia, and rain fell like knives on my shoulders and in my eyes. I cried blood, staining my cheeks, but it felt so good I didn't want it to stop. Beneath my feet, the lilies were wilted, their petals curled up, like they were starving, and the little veins were all dried out. Someone had sucked the life out of them. There wasn't any light, the clouds covered the sun, and all the warmth was gone. It must have been beautiful once, but since she left everything was dead and dry, cold and lifeless, like her corpse, and I saw her skeleton fingers, reaching out to me like she was still begging me . . .

I reached down and touched her skull gently, and there was a pulse in the air so strong that it knocked me off my feet. When I opened my eyes, I could see clearly again, and there was no rain. The sky was a deep blue, like it should have been, and the sun's rays warmed my face. The lilies had sprung back to life, and they were all different colors that lilies never should have been, like highlighter yellow, neon green, fire-hydrant red; and they all danced and pulsed with electric life, like a cheering audience below our stage. But something was still wrong, hanging in the air, and I looked down and there she was, no longer a skeleton, but beautiful as ever, and her eyes looked at me, lifeless, and I could see the reflection of the last thing she saw shining in the teardrop still hanging from her eyelashes.

I almost cried until I felt a hand on my shoulder, and warmth spread through my whole body. The voice didn't come from anywhere, but it was everywhere inside me, and it told me everything . . . and it was right.

I woke up smiling, reached for my phone, and called Fin.

"I dreamed of her," I said when he answered.

There was a pause, then Fin said tentatively, "What happened?"

"I saw the last thing she saw before she died." I took a deep breath. "It was us. A picture of us. It must have fallen from a table or something. She died smiling, because she saw you, me, and Joe." I let out something between a choked sob and a hiccup of laughter. "She died smiling."

The other line was nearly silent, but I could hear Fin sniffling softly in the background. After a moment, he said, "You should come over."

"I'll be right over," I said, hanging up. I took a deep breath, feeling Pix all around me, and then leaving. Peacefully.