The corpse was lying there almost peacefully.
They didn't see something like that very often. It was usual for a murder victim to have an expression of fear or hurt or both, when they found them.
If they still had a sound face at all.
If it wasn't for the strange arrangement of the corpse, you could almost assume, that she was taking a nap, and soon would wake up to bake cookies for her grandchildren or crochet a scarf or something.
The room was cold, just like the glaring light.
There was no furniture and there weren't any windows.
It felt like a cell.
You felt like a prisoner in there.
They didn't want to imagine, what her last hours would have been like.
Had she been held captive?
There was a plastic bottle, probably formerly filled with water in the left-hand corner of the room.
Just above the corpse was a verse written.
Red dripped from the wall.
It wasn't the victim's blood, who didn't have any visible injuries, which could lead to the conclusion, that there might be a second victim.
It wasn't much blood though. There still could be a chance to save the second victim, unless it was animal blood, of course. They would have to ask forensics about that one later.
The letters on the wall were somehow cursive, which made the handwriting look beautiful in a grotesque way.
Lewis was sure, Hathaway was going to tell him, where the verse was from, every second, now.
And there he went:
"'Fair is foul, and foul is fair;
Hover through the filthy air.'
-The weird sisters, MacBeth, Act one, Scene one. ...Shakespeare..."
Just as he had been expecting. He mumbled something along the lines of 'stupid ... Oxford'.
"But what has it to do with the murder?", he asked.
They had a closer look at the body.
The woman was in her late 60s.
Her arms were crossed, her eyes were shut, her skin was as grey as ashes, her hair was white.
She seemed quite small, had a flowery dress and a blue hat lay next to her.
Like you would imagine a young grandma.
“She’s been dead for three hours.”, Laura said. “It looks like a heart attack, but I’ll know more later.”
The rest of the house was quite empty. A small bedroom. In one of the drawers were old and dusty children’s clothes.
A living room with a sofa and a really old Tv. Hathaway didn’t even remember at the moment, how they were called. It wasn’t a flatscreen.
The kitchen was clean, and didn’t look like, it was used very often.
The bathroom also was quite empty. There were a few half wet towels, and a collection of used toothbrushes.
They probably would have to come back to that place sometime later.
When Hathaway left the crimescene, while Lewis still chatted with Laura, there was, out of nowhere, a little girl, that suddenly grabbed his arm with tiny hands.
"Excuse me, Mr, Sir, where is my auntie?"
"Who is your auntie?", Hathaway looked down to her, already assuming the worst. The girl had long blond hair and blue eyes. She wore a red dress and black shoes. Maybe they weren’t related. Maybe this was a coincidence, he wanted to tell himself.
"Have you seen her?", she asked.
"Can you describe her to me?"
"She likes to bake cookies and reading and yelling at the TV, when there is politics on it."
Hathaway had almost grinned, when he asked: "How does she look like?"
"Her hair is white like snow, she is bigger than me, she has brown eyes and she wears a dress. Have you seen her?"
Hathaway looked down at her uncomfortably and asked: "Umm... Where are your parents?"
"They are with Jesus, auntie always says."
"Do you have any other relatives?"
"Just my auntie. Where is she?", she asked.
"I think she is with your parents, now.", Hathaway stuttered, not knowing, what else to say.
"Oh. ...Can I go to them?"
"I'm sorry, but you can't." Hathaway said slowly and his heart broke a little.
"Oh." The girl pouted.
"...Maybe later...You can come with me, if you like to..."
The girl shook her head and crossed her arms, while still looking adorable: "I'm not allowed to go with strangers."
"I'm James, I-"
"But auntie said-"
"I'm a police officer."
"Auntie says police officers are stup-"
Then Lewis approached them: "Laura has finished, we can go."
"Sir, we have a problem.", Hathaway said, then came closer and whispered something in his ear, while the girl carefully watched them.
"Hello, my dear, I'm Robbie. What is your name?", he said cheerfully.
"Anne.", she answered shyly.
"That's a beautiful name. I have a daughter, but she is now a grown up and has her own children. But when she was your age she really liked ice cream. Do you like ice cream?"
"Yes, I do." Her eyes lit up.
"Then let us get some. And we can talk a little-"
"I don't know." She stepped back.
Then Laura, who had packed her things up, approached them. She looked at the girl.
Before she could say anything, Lewis said: "Anne, this is Laura."
"Is she from the police too?" She watched her suspiciously.
"No, she isn't, but she is a friend of us."
"Laura, we just talked about getting some ice cream for the niece of - What was your aunties name again?"
“And her surname?”, the Sergeant asked.
“Ford.”, Anne reluctantly said and Hathaway quickly wrote it down.
"...Oh, I see...", Laura nodded, understanding, what they tried to do there.
"Would you like to join us?", Lewis asked. “Hathaway is paying.”
"Sure... Maybe for half an hour. But then I have work to do. I have to- You know what I have to."
The men nodded.
"Are you coming, Anne?", Lewis asked and held his hand out.
The little girl looked at each one of the grownups carefully. "Ok.", she said reluctantly. She ignored Lewis’ hand, still sceptical and took Lauras hand instead and followed them.
Soon, they sat in a small and quiet café, not very far from the crime scene, each one of them holding a small ice cream cone.
Anne got blue and green ice cream with undefinable but very sweet flavours, Laura got strawberry and chocolate, Hathaway a mixture of different fruits and Lewis just vanilla.
They tried to act as casual as possible.
Not knowing how much the girl knew and how much she understood, what she had seen, and wanting to talk to her, before she had to be taken to an orphanage or worse.
None of them really knew what was the best way to ask her about the events, that led to the death of Caroline Ford. So Lewis talked a bit about the weather and Laura showed them some pictures she had taken of a cute cat, she had seen on her way to work this morning, on her phone.
"Did Caroline have any enemies?", Hathaway finally asked.
Laura and Lewis exchanged a side-glance.
"Huu?", the girl asked, her mouth full of ice cream.
"He likes to know, if there were any people who didn't like your auntie.", Lewis clarified.
"I don't know. She often yells at people. They don't like that." She shrugged her small shoulders.
"Which people does she yell at?", Hathaway asked.
"Stupid people.”, she said.
“Do you know their names, or anything else to describe them?”
“People she meets on the streets or knock on the door. They all look different.”
“Where were you this morning?”, Hathaway asked.
Laura kicked his leg, which shocked him a bit, so he had to swallow up and cough.
“I was at the playground.”
“Are you allowed to go there alone?”, Laura asked.
“Please don’t tell auntie.”
“We won’t tell her.”, Lewis said reassuringly.
“Did you see from there anyone entering the building?”, Hathaway asked.
She shook her head.
“When did you last see your auntie?”
“I see her every day.”
Lewis and Hathaway exchanged a look. What had the woman been doing in that room?
“Is there a room in your house … which you are not allowed to go into?”
“No. all of the rooms are boring. I don’t like that house. But auntie says, when I get older, I can go to a school, where I can also live.”, she answered cheerfully.
“That sounds nice.”, Laura said.
“Thank you for my ice.”, Anne said, when she had finished it.
“You are welcome.”, Lewis said.
Without exchanging words, Lewis and Hathaway decided, that the girl had answered enough questions for that day.
Also Laura had to get back to work to have a look at Caroline Ford.
Hathaway crossed his arms and focussed on the floor, while Lewis and Laura tried to clean the girls face, because she had smeared the blue ice cream all over it.
Then they had to go back to the police station to inform chief superintendent Innocent.
Because they didn’t know where else to put her, Anne had to wait with Laura in the morgue.
But before they entered the office, Hathaway stopped the DI and whispered: ”You miss being a father.”
Lewis didn’t answer.
“Do you want us to keep her?”, the Sergeant asked.
Lewis first looked stubborn, but then he nodded “Yes.” and they entered the office.
“I heard you found a young girl at the crime scene.”, Innocent said straightout. She leaned against her desk and had her arms crossed.
"She probably knows more, than we think.", Hathaway said.
“She might be able to help us, solve the case.”, Lewis said.
Innocent answered: “Let her tell you everything she knows and then I’m going to make some phone calls and-“
“We can’t put her in one of these… childprisons.”, Lewis suddenly exclaimed.
“We can take care of her.”, the Sergeant added.
Innocent took a deep breath: “Hathaway-“
"I have taken care of children before and they turned out perfectly fine.", Lewis said stubbornly.
Innocent finally, to the surprise of all of them nodded with a sigh.
"Take care of her until we find another solution."
“Thank you.”, Lewis said, before they left the office.
Innocent rolled her eyes.
In the dark of night they drove to Lewis’ home.
James was tired and hungry, but he didn't complain, because the girl wasn't complaining either.
But he did sigh, which earned him a sideglance from Lewis.
Anne was very quiet, but they assumed, that she was just tired after the long day.
Hathaway had to look after the girl, while Lewis phoned Lyn to ask if she knew, where her old toys were.
"I can't sleep.", the little girl said, small tears, streaming down her face.
"...What is wrong?", Hathaway asked helplessly.
"There is this dark shadow."
"You should try to imagine something nice, like..." The Sergeant looked completely lost.”Like flowers?”
"Also I miss my Teddy bear. Charly."
"Then we should wait until Lewis is back."
And they sat in silence for a few minutes.
“Can I have a glass of water, please.”, the girl asked.
Hathaway brought the water.
“The pillow is too small.”, the girl whined.
Hathaway brought a second pillow.
"I saw you have a guitar in your car?", the girl finally said.
"Yes...oh, would you like me to play something for you?", he said reluctantly.
"Maybe.", she said quietly, but her voice was much less teary.
Hathaway got up once again and soon came back with his guitar.
He started to play something softly.
And when Lewis finally came back, the girl already was fast asleep.
So Lewis and Hathaway sat down in the living room to do some research on the internet.
“We’ll have to buy her a new stuffed animal. I can’t find Lyns old ones.”, Lewis said. “But good job, getting her to fall asleep.”
“I’m exhausted.”, Hathaway said with a small smile.
“Isn’t she just adorable?”, Lewis asked.
“Yes. Yes she is.”, he answered.
And then they got silent again, the only sound in the room being the clicking- sounds of the keyboard.
They found the police reports of Josephine and Gabriel Ford being killed in a car accident three years ago, leaving a young daughter behind.
With the help of Facebook and the universities website, they found out that Caroline Ford had been a Tutor for one of the theatre clubs. And from that point it wasn’t hard to find out, that this particular theatre club had a rivalry with one of the latin clubs.
"Well, we are in Oxford.", Hathaway said, shrugging, when Lewis looked at him.
"Let's call it a day." He stretched his hurting limbs and got up. "It's long past midnight."
Hathaway nodded and laid down on the sofa.
Lewis looked for a moment, like he wanted to say something, but then he just gave him a blanket, said ‘good night’, and went to sleep in his bedroom.