As the park was outside the hotel, I turned back, and left through the front door. I recalled the map of the incident I had received from the boss.
… As I recall, it should be right next to the hotel, right?
I moved alongside the wall to the park. Along the way, there were strange stone statues, and hedges cut into human form, so I’m sure these were the strange objet d’art the boss talking about.
It’s true the statues here were somewhat odd. But I was hard-pressed to find exactly what was so strange. Then I noticed.
“She’s terribly made, that woman.”
I looked at the statue that was likely in the shape of the goddess, and muttered. While made of voluptuous body, her arms and legs were supple, so I thought she had to be a considerably beauty as I turned to look at her face, but there was the face of a woman making a terribly unsightly expression.
… Just why?
That wasn’t the only ugly statue in the park. There were a few statues modeled after monsters, but each and every one of them was making a terrible facial expression, and as things were, it weakened the impression they were about to do battle.
Continuing through the park, I eventually reached my destination point. There was a knight on a white horse just as I’d seen in the pictures, but looking closely, as expected, the statue’s expression was terrible as well.
… Just what were they trying to do? The people of this hotel?
It really bothered me, but I got the feeling it was irrelevant to this case, so I put it aside.
For now, I took a photo of the site. The knights on his white horse held his real sword up high. As one would think, there wasn’t any blood left on that sword.
… Come to think of it, this was a crime scene, but they didn’t have that.
Normally, in the case of a criminal case, unless there were any special circumstance, the scene was only preserved from three days to a week. And since murder was one of those special circumstances, the scene was usually preserved until the case was resolved.
The definition of ‘case resolved’ depended on the district whose jurisdiction it fell under, but around these parts, the timing was defined as once the suspect was apprehended and handed a guilty verdict.
As long as it wasn’t an especially special case, the first trial of a criminal hearing rarely stretched longer than a year or two.
As the number of judges and prosecuting officers was overwhelmingly insufficient for the number of criminal cases, the time allotted to a single case never ended up too long.
The police of this country were proficient. They were proficient, but there’s no guarantee they never made a mistake.
The possibility of false charges… existed. I could only believe in that as I investigated.
I looked over the park. Turning to the hotel, I could see a glass –sided wall, a passageway on the other side.
… So that’s where it was taken.
I recalled the trial. As I recall, the security camera stationed there had been taking footage of the park.
I approached the hotel. Looking over every nook of the passage through the glass, there was a camera, sure enough.
The lens was motionlessly fixed on me, as it continued recording without rest. The camera fastened onto the ceiling had a red light on, so it seems it was still filming now.
… Then someone’s in the guard room today?
I suddenly began to feel embarrassed as I removed myself from the glass window. But even so, my actions up to then had already been seen by some guard far away, so it was too late.
I turned to show it my back. Recalling the camera footage, I checked to see if there was anything different in the current scenery.
… There wasn’t any snow. Of course.
A month had already passed since the incident took place. It would be stranger if the snow from then was still piled up.
I slowly approached the knight on his white horse, and looked behind it; it had been obscured by the statue up to now, but there was a white circle on the ground.
The identity of the round line was a length of rope, and a plastic plate was fastened on top. I’m sure this held the role of a place keeper. The plastic plate had the number 4 written on it.
This was evidence of the police preserving the scene. Number 4 was the evidence number of whatever was seized there, and the string was to show its exact placement. Normally, they’d use chalk to leave marks where the evidence was, but I doubt chalk would draw on the park’s artificial grass.
… No, that’s wrong.
At the time of the crime, this site was covered in snow. It didn’t matter whether it was land or lawn, they simply couldn’t use chalk.
And on that space… when you think about it, it’s clear what was there on the day of the crime.
Seeing the positioning of the statue, there was no doubt about it. On the day of the crime, what was left here was the victim’s arm.
The victim fell from the sky, collided with the statue, and had his arm thoroughly severed at the joint.
A terrible scene revived in my mind. I shook my head once to hammer the vision out of my brain.
If this is where the arm went, then where did the all-important body go?
I recalled the security footage. Based on that tape, the severed arm fell right to the ground, while the remaining body fell onto the hedge, bounced, and fell to the other side.
There was a hedge nearby the stone statue. It looked small on camera, but actually standing before it, it was even taller than me.
Since I’m a meter seventy, the hedge had to be larger. Maybe it was around two meters?
I took a detour, and circled around to the other side. The body had fallen there, so naturally, I thought there would be one on this side as well.
But there wasn’t anything behind the hedge, nothing but artificial lawn.
… Huh? Why isn’t there any thread or a number plate here?
Something that should have been there was gone. That’s all it was, yet I was assailed by a strange feeling.
If it was related to the case, the police would collect any and everything as evidence. Of all else, when one part of the body was properly stored as evidence, what’s the meaning of there being nothing done to the main portion?
… Should I check up with Cate later?
I felt uneasy about asking her for anything, but this was a lawyer’s job. There was no helping it.
I sighed. I looked around the area some more, but I felt even if I stayed any longer I wouldn’t find anything. The park was awfully tidy, and the statues were the only things that stood out.
Finally taking a photo of the park, I returned to the entrance hall.