“I’ve got a real bad feeling Trish.”
“I know. Look, ain’t nothing we can do. You wanna go to that park we found her at? Maybe she’ll be there, you know?”
She realized how lame it sounded as the words left her mouth and she cursed herself under her breath.
“No. I wanna go to the police station.”
Trish did her best to keep the crestfallen look from her face.
“Okay. I understand girl.”
They walked in silence and when they got inside Marcie went to the desk.
“Excuse me, we’re here about the incident in the alley at 3rd and Mission.”
The officer raised an eyebrow and looked them both over.
“You have information about the incident?”
“Well, we were wondering if you could tell us who was killed. A friend of ours is missing.”
“We can’t give out that information. If you want to file a missing persons report I can…”
“No. Look, we just want to know if she was the one. Her name is Sophie.”
“Please be seated. I’ll get someone to come talk to you.”
A few minutes later a detective appeared.
“My name is Lieutenant Samuels. I understand you’re inquiring about the homicide in the alley.”
Marcie gasped at the word homicide.
“Yes. Could you tell me if the…victim’s name was Sophie? We know her. She was supposed to meet us yesterday and never showed up.”
Lieutenant Samuels looked back and forth between them and sighed.
“I can’t tell you much about the situation. The family has been notified and they’ve identified the body.”
He looked around the room then back at the women.
“You say she was a friend of yours?”
“Yes. Well, we meet her a few days ago. We were trying to look out for her. She didn’t seem to belong on the streets. She was so innocent.”
Marcie choked up. The Lieutenant got her some tissues and led them to a private room.
“Look, this is an unusual situation. Her family took most of her personal effects. They were scattered around the alley near her body. The motive seems to have been robbery but she didn’t have anything worth taking as far as we can tell. Do you have any idea if there was anyone who might of wanted to do her harm?”
Marcie told them about the two drug addicts they had seen off the day before. Trish gave him a detailed description. Lieutenant Samuels took notes.
“Thanks for that. We’ll put out an all points bulletin based on your descriptions.”
He seemed to be thinking something over then spoke again.
“Look, we have a journal the family didn’t want to take after they had a look at it. Too hard for them to understand I guess. I shouldn’t be doing this, but if you want I can let you have a look at it. Might help you understand this, crazy as it is.”
They both nodded and he left and returned a few minutes later and placed the journal on the table.
“I’ll be back in a bit. Please don’t remove anything.”
They waited for him to leave and then opened the book. They read in silence with a growing sense of horror. Sophie was a doctoral candidate writing her thesis on homelessness. She had decided that in order to understand it she needed to live the life for a time. She had taken a semester off to do just that and finish her thesis.
At last they came to her final written words.
“I feel a growing sense of disconnectedness to the world I come from. It’s something I hadn’t expected. I must end this soon. I fear I will lose myself completely. I wander through this no man’s land between nothing and everything and despair of the incomprehensibility of it all. What a living hell it can be.”
They looked at each other and didn’t need to speak. Rising from the table they walked out into the harsh sunlight and didn’t look back.