Detective Hamilton locked his apartment as he left for the meeting with the mysterious young girl. He couldn't believe she was older than his own daughter, who was barely 18 now. Who was she and what had she been doing out there all alone? Why had she been afraid to talk to him? He sighed and kept walking. He'd find out when he talked to her. The farther he got from the heart of the city the fewer people he encountered. He guessed that people were still suppositious about the wild. That brought up another question: if she was so afraid why would she been in the woods? They were more dangerous than the city and no one had explored them for a long time.
He found himself in the same place as he'd been yesterday morning, the yellow police tape still bordering the place where the victim had been laying. Not 15 feet away was a small outcrop of rocks and sitting on top of them was the girl. She wasn't looking at him, or even his direction, just starring out into the empty park. How long had she been waiting for him? Or had she even thought he would come? He walked up to her. "Hello?" he said.
"So you came." She said. So she had doubted him. "Follow me."
He hesitated but then followed out of sheer curiosity. She walked effortlessly in front of him, avoiding twigs and rocks, treading soundlessly through the woods. Soon the forest became denser, whatever path she was following was disappearing. Still he managed to keep up with her. He cursed under his breathe at her speed, he was definitely too old for this. Then he realized how deep they were getting into the woods. He began to panic. What was he doing? And where the hell was she taking him?
"Umm…excuse me? Where are you taking me?" he asked.
"You wanted to know about me. The safest place for you to learn about me is away from the city, it isn't safe for someone like me, and there are people who would try to get me if they knew I was near the city." She said.
What was she so afraid of? Who were the people she was afraid would find her? She didn't seem truly afraid of anything; after all she was out here in the wild. Damn two mysteries at once and he was no where near close to solving either of them. He sighed. It was too early for this. "Are we there yet?"
She turned around and smiled at him. "We're here."
Here turned out to be what was once long ago probably a fox den and was now abandoned. Was this where she lived? There were remnants of a small fire in front of the cave, a cooking fire he assumed. So this was her home, at least temporarily. He seemed to get the feeling she moved around a lot. Probably running from the ones she claimed were after her, they'd probably chased her all the way out here into the wild. How had she learned to survive out here? Had she been taught or had she learned to do it on her own? She motioned for him to sit as she went into the cave to retrieve something. She returned to the fire ring with a pack over her shoulder.
"So where would you like to begin?" She asked him.
"How about with your name?"
"My name is Alexandra." She said her brown eyes twinkling. "I don't have a last name, at least that I know of. My parents abandoned me when I was young."
"Why don't you tell me how you ended up here?"
"I grew up in the local orphanage, in this very city. I was like the girl Annie from that old musical, I always believed my parents would come for me, they never did. When I was six I found out they truly abandoned me. I was so angry, I burned the only picture I had of my family. Two years later I received a package, inside it were a backpack, this backpack right here and a ring." She held out her left hand. Wrapped around her middle finger was a fox ring maybe that explained her living in an abandoned fox den. "Then they came. They were government from there looks, I didn't care to find out what they wanted from me, so I ran. I packed the bag and took the ring with me. I ran all the way here before they stopped following me. I knew the stories, we all did, but it was the one place I was safe from them. Finally I found myself here, it began to rain so I risked going inside the cave. I found a tent and a note inside; the note was a set of instructions about what to do once I got here. Over time I found other things in the cave, other supplies and food. Once I'd eaten and was confident enough, I returned to the city. I used the number I'd found in the pack at a local ATM, the amount of money in the account was dizzying. I ended up paying someone to buy everything for me. Once that was done I left; traveled far and wide trying to escape till finally I ended up here again. Back to where it all began."
She sat, musing over the past as he watched. Alexandra, a girl chased away, abandoned, and left to live in the wild. Was she really any older than his own daughters? Was this the life she truly wanted? Or did she want something more than to run away from some unknown foe? He guessed the real question was did she really have a choice. To that he would have to answer no. She glanced in his direction with a long sad look.
"That was eight years ago. Since then nothings been the same, a part of me doubts it ever will be." She sighed. "I'm only sixteen and I've traveled the whole world looking for safety but haven't ever managed to find it." She laughed bitterly. "I've never even had a boyfriend."
"Why are you telling me all of this? No offense, but, I don't know, yesterday you didn't exactly seem to want to talk to me and now you're telling me your life story."
That seemed to calm her down as a solemn look passed over her features. She narrowed her eyes looking passed him at something unseen or none existent. "I don't know, but when you followed me yesterday you could've dragged me back with you. You didn't. All you did was try to find out more about me then you left me alone when you decided I really didn't want to talk to you. I guess I just thought I could trust you."
"What will you do now?" He asked when she'd been silent for a while.
"I thought I might help you with your investigation. I think your murder was hiding in the borderlands while you guys were looking over the body."
"You want to help me?"