When we rose up into the sky it was hard to contain my curiosity about Muriel. But, fortunately, there were more important matters at hand. I tried to remember everywhere that Isabel had been seen and where we met her.
Strangely enough, my mind kept pulling at that strangest of places, on the street in the rain.
Did I remember what street it was?
She looked around to me.
She simply nodded as I changed direction. It was odd, but even though I didn't know the name of the street, my mind just unraveled with the city layout, knowing where we drove into the city, triangulating the position based on Hitori's house and the highway. It took me a while to find it, but the street was there, lighter than the night before.
Of course Isabel wasn't there.
"Why here?" Muriel asked casually.
"I saw Isabel here when she told me I should be on the building at midnight."
She nodded. "Alright, so where to start."
I closed my eyes and relived that moment, taking care to not go further. I could feel it sitting there, the memory of their bodies...
No, focus. Isabel was standing here, talking to me, the rain flowing over her face, light reflecting off the drops. Her hair clinging to her face and clothes. No backpack or a backpack? I focused more and remembered the shape of it on her shoulders. The same clothes, no indication of having a place to sleep. But there was something about this street.
Normally I wouldn't ever be there.
Was she there, almost as usual, to meet me and talk to me? Or was that accidental?
Muriel attracted my attention. "Amy, come see this."
I walked to her and saw what she was looking at, on the ground. It was some drops of blood, strangely fresh. There were only five drops but it was almost in the shape of... "Is that an arrow?"
Muriel nodded. "It's strange, but it does appear to be. It might be interesting to follow this." She leaned down to touch it. "It's thinned... Maybe an anti-coagulant."
I blinked a few times. "Isn't that the stuff to avoid blood from becoming hard?"
Muriel nodded. "That, and it makes it hard to see how old this is. No footsteps on it though. Let's be careful."
She didn't draw her sword but there was a certain alertness in her step when we headed where the blood pointed. It wasn't a very exciting alley, actually. Just the standard we-need-somewhere-to-place-our-garbage-out-of-view alley with a door and three walls.
"Nothing?" I spoke almost disappointed.
Muriel looked around and then looked up. "Not nothing..."
I had to avert my eyes before looking again.
It was Isabel's body. Hanging limp from a rope, from the roof somewhere, around her neck. Her wrists were cut and her clothes were wet with the red blood. But strangely she was still bleeding. She wasn't bleeding fast and her clothes weren't saturated yet, so there was no blood on the ground. In fact, did I imagine that her heart was still beating, however faintly?
The little girl, dressed in white, painted red.