Once the debriefing was over, they walked out of the room into the hallway. Uniformed policemen and men who looked like detectives were moving busily through the broad corridors. Occasionally, some of them would shoot curious looks at Kazuya and Victorique, seeming to wonder why children were in a place like this.
As they turned the corner, a pair of young men wearing rabbit-skin hunting caps came bounding up to Inspector de Blois.
“Inspector! We received word for you!” The two of them waved their linked hands in the air. “The maid who killed Roxane and escaped has been caught! They’re bringing her here. Oh, look, she’s already here!”
Julie Guile turned to look in the direction they were pointing, and gasped.
A beautiful Arab woman was being dragged down the hall by police officers on either side of her. Her black hair and supple chocolate-brown skin glistened under the lamplight.
When she looked up and saw Julie, a gasp of her own escaped her lips.
They had both grown into adults, and their features had changed beyond recognition. But when they looked into each others’ eyes, they each found that same familiar light shining within.
Unable to believe what she was seeing, Julie whispered, “Ree, is that you…?”
Their ten-year reunion was over in seconds, a mere crossing of paths in the hallway.
From behind the Arab maid, Julie called out to her police escort, her voice trembling. “Sir, is that … the person who killed Roxane?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Oh… So you had your own revenge too, Ree. It took ten years, but you did it….”
Julie put her hand to her throat and clutched the heart-shaped pendant—the pendant she had cherished and kept safe for all these years; Ree’s lucky charm. Julie had picked it up at that staircase, intending to return it to her, but never had the chance to do so.
Julie tore the pendant from her throat. “Ree!” she cried out. Ree looked back.
She threw the pendant into the air.
Ree shook herself free of the policeman’s grasp and reached out to catch it.
“I’m giving it back to you,” said Julie.
Ree tilted her head to one side, unable to understand her words. Then she raised one hand and began a hesitant wave, but was quickly restrained by the policemen. They rounded the corner, and she vanished from sight.
Julie Guile stood there for a moment, simply staring out into the empty hallway.