Bina and I didn't really keep in touch; she's not much of a letter writer and phones just cost too much to make many Tokyo-L.A. calls. A few months passed; I finally got comission to work in a low-on-the-ladder job for a movie. The director noticed me, and I got him to consider me as a higher-up assistant for his next movie. So I was working tech on a horror film when I got a call from out of nowhere, or rather, out of Japan. She'd left me a message, so I almost didn't even get it. I need to start checking my messages more than once a week, really I do. Luckily, I got it before it was too late.
"Um, hey Christian... it's me. I'm coming back into town for a week; it's my sister's wedding. I get in Monday around four in the afternoon. I miss you. I'd really like to see you, but my family wants to take up all my time. Do you think you could meet me at the airport? Please? Okay, I have to go, I love you. See you Monday... I hope."
I must have listened to that message ten times. I don't think I'll ever forget it.
So that Monday I went to the airport around three, just in case. She'd also managed to email me the flight info, so I knew where to check on the plane. It was on time. I waited.
Around four thirty I started to wonder where she was. By five I was really worried. At five thirty, a cold dread hit me in the stomach, and I wished I could soothsay. The plane had been on time, the luggage was already gone from the claim area, and hers, which I recognized, had never been picked up.
In the corner of my eye I caught a flash of color. It was a bloody rag, dropped from someone's pocket. From the way it blurred around the edges, I figured someone was trying to fuddle it and failing. I knew then, I think.
How I found her, I will never remember. After seeing the blood, I went into a kind of gray rage. I vaguely remember fuddling the airport security to get past. I found her on the ground beneath and behind one of the runways. She was covered in a canvas tarp. I yanked it off and looked at what had been done...
And threw up. Yeah, I'm not proud of that, but there it is. I've seen greusome death, but that was worse. Much worse. There were bruises and weals all over her mostly-naked corpse. But that hadn't killed her. What killed her was that she'd been stripped of all her glamour while whoever did this was beating her.
I somehow managed to convince the police to go find her without seeming like I'd been out there illegally. I don't remember how, either. They told me I was in shock, and to lie down. I shouted at them to find her killer. I was sobbing uncontrollably. Then suddenly, someone touched my forehead and I just... fell asleep.
When I woke up, I was stretched out on the couch of someone's house. Not my apartment. For a few moments, I was so confused by that that I didn't remember what happened.
Then a tall eshu woman sailed into the room and started, noticing I was awake. She reminded me of someone for a second, but a fog clouded my thoughts as memory of the previous day returned.
The eshu kept trying to nurse me, but I wouldn't-couldn't- rest until I knew what had been done. Eshu are never ones for saving a story for later, so she told me. The police had taken Bina's body to the forensic lab and had planned an investigation. They didn't find the killer, which didn't surprise me at all. They had asked Helena, the eshu, to take care of me until they could question me again more thoroughly. Helena was working as a secretary to the police, but she had apparently taken over my care when she realized what I was instead of letting them send me to a hospital for nothing more than shock.
By the time I was calm again, after raging and then weeping, the police had called her to see if I could be brought in.
The police seemed content that I had had nothing to do with Bina's death and that I'd only come upon her by chance. They asked me about her life, her friends, her family, and if she had any enemies. I wish I could have told them why she was killed; they wouldn't have understood. Damn humans.
They still haven't found him. I only know it was a him because I overheard one of the officers saying that she was raped, which was the physical cause of death; shock after being beaten. If I ever find out who it was, I will kill him.
It was hard to work after that, but I did it. I didn't have a choice. Helena kept in touch with me, and thank whatever for that. I think I might have gone insane without her. I still don't know who she reminds me of... every time I think I've got it my mind goes all fuzzy. Must be someone I met in the Dreaming.
And then Sully got back in touch with me from UCLA. Must've been a year since we'd spoken, but somehow he just knew I needed a friend.
And that's where this story ends, because that damned bird knows it from here, and he sure as hell has a better memory of it than I do.