System Fault: Fatal

She would have resisted. And a girl of twelve in panic could be as bad as a wounded cat. Especially Sophie. The blood stains were a testimony to the talent she displayed in the dojo. A smile almost formed on his lips at the thought of her counter measures but instead his face drew into a sneer, as a sobering fact replaced the image: no girl of twelve would be any match for an adult. Not even his Sophie.

Serge rose and shuddered as the sun disappeared behind the rooftops. The drop in temperature that always followed the onset of twilight never failed to pierce. He knew the sensation well. But there was more to it this time: an ice cold rage was sweeping through him. The kind of rage that comes from impotence and fear.

Of course, the police would do their job. Scan and circulate her class photo, forensics would answer the question of who’s blood it was. The thought that it might be hers send a new wave of violent emotions cursing. He exhaled and watched the white cloud drift off and dissipate. They would follow procedure. And at best they would find her body. Years later some DNA sample would match and the media would announce that the family was looking forward to finding closure. Serge shook his head. It was complete bullshit. Whoever invented that concept had obviously never been standing beside a hole in the ground with a kid-sized coffin in it. Unlike the hole in the ground, the one inside could never be filled.

He looked at his watch: 5:40 pm. Less than half-an-hour had elapsed since his heated argument with Ilena. She had been wrong. Still was. There was not only one thing they could do. Apart from the obvious call to the police, there was one more action that could be taken: Find Sophie.

The police would undoubtedly be arriving at the school soon and when they did the case would be re-classified as a criminal investigation. It would probably be the main item on the Croatian national channel tonight.

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