I just can’t see a world in which the preceding isn’t complete fabrication. It reads something like how someone who has never been in a courtroom might imagine the proceedings therein. The fact that it is printed on what appears to be some kind of official letterhead is even odder, but the contents themselves are so far-fetched as to make researching said events a waste of effort. The disappearance of Cat during this whole ordeal is a crucial detail, one which his entire legal situation hinged upon and which will absolutely bear further comment down the road. The second piece which requires subsequent elucidation is the blood/wine/mysterious DNA-bearing substance found pooled on the floor. The third is the utter disappearance of Smart. And let’s not consider too deeply—the court certainly didn’t—the metaphysical transmogrification of glass wine bottles.
The thing of it is: I almost don’t care. I find Cat’s cloak-and-dagger absconding from his homeland far more interesting, and this box speaks much more to his personality than to a murder mystery. He may be a killer, that really isn’t for me to say, at least not at this point in the investigation. What remains is a mass of papers and the bulk of “Tails,” another strange piece or two of which is worth reproducing here.
“We passed the three crosses, I recognized them from before. The center one is larger, but they are all imposing. That religion really requires imposition. I am glad no one here seeks to impose it upon me. We had to drop of Claiborne last night, there was no other option. He had a difficult day. He got spooked during the job and slunk away, it took all of our emotional resources to bring him back around. Such a complicated combination of people are bound up inside him. The darkness is deep, and the lightness is surface. He finished strong, as always, but this will be the end for now. We brought him first to the Snoratorium, one of the few facilities of its kind. I don’t see him as similar to the other convalescents, but that is probably what everyone says when dropping off their associates. He had to check himself in, and I could see they would test him as soon as he walked through the door. Sandleman kept an eye on him, but ultimately he was in better hands. This business will crack anyone a bit. He had begun to split personalities, and I could see he was fighting to keep them in check. I have seen this sort of thing before. One minute he would be cracking wise with Jack and the next he would be weeping in Aunt Sandy’s lap. He will be happy, we will pick him up tomorrow, and then put him on a plane home.
I just thought of the bridges on the way back back. They were beautiful in the daylight as well, more frightening, but equally beautiful. The water was more still at midday, and the sky was slate grey in the winters, which was mirrored in the water. Grey above and grey below, with those same submerged trees and the souls within reaching up to escape. Or to wave. It always reminded me of snow, that is why it was frightening, because it looked like you walk on it. I wanted to climb those trees and speak to them, but they would have no use for me at all. They would have to listen, though.”
On the back of a lengthy hardware store receipt, only the name and address of which can be read through the reverse side:
“Jack went to court, he was fantastic. He knows his way around there, he is much more comfortable than I would have thought. Son of a jurist or something like that. The magistrate said he was in contempt, which I thought was a pretty obvious statement. He said Jack had been in contempt for 27 years. Jack said it had been at least that long, took out some of the money we have made, and asked what three decades would cost just so he could be in contempt for a few more years later, just in case. I love him. We’ll skip into the river together when this is all over.”
Is it starting to make sense yet? Form some kind of a pattern? Still time to decide…