File 1: D for Death

After the first snowfall of the year in Belgium, seven-year-old Carmen took her sled and went outside to play in the snow, but a few hours later it was starting to get dark, and she had not come back inside yet, so her mother went out to look for her.  There was a park with a hill that was good for sledding across the street and around the corner, so Carmen’s mother assumed she would be there, riding her sled down the hill with the other neighborhood children, but when she got there, there were no kids. There were marks on the hill indicating several sleds having slid down its surface, but all of the children must have gone home.

Carmen, however, had not been at her house and had not crossed paths with her mother on her mother’s way to the park. The mother, worried about her only child, called the police to help search for her daughter.  They looked for hours before one of the officers stumbled over something half buried at the base of the hill.  Pulling out a flashlight and calling the rest of the party to help, they dug up a small body, wearing Carmen’s clothes, warm enough to be assumed to be alive.

The mother was flooded with a sense of relief to be reunited with her child, but that relief quickly congealed into a pit of horror in her gut as the search party found that little Carmen was missing something–her head.

The body was pulled out of the snow, warm and still bleeding, with nothing upon her shoulders, or anywhere near her. There was nothing, other than the sled she had been playing with.  The only clue to the little girl’s death found was the letter D in what appeared to be blood on the sled.

Assuming she had been murdered by someone whose name began with the letter D, the police launched a search for the criminal, and in the meantime, no one was allowed in the park where Carmen’s body had been found.  But, at the conclusion of a week, the murderer had not yet been found, and people had to be let back into the park.

A friend of the grieving mother thought it would be a good idea to have the neighborhood children collect flowers to place on the spot where Carmen’s body had been found.  The kids and their parents gathered on the spot along with Carmen’s mother, and as the children laid down their flowers, a breeze picked up.  The breeze continued to gain strength, whipping the hair of the people in the crowd, but they did not notice the oddity of the sudden wind until something light brown tumbled out of a low branch of a nearby tree, and the breeze stopped altogether.

Thinking the object to be some kind of dead animal, one of the men in attendance kicked it back toward the tree from which it came, but kicking it caused it to roll over once, the brown mass shifting to reveal a face with something rust colored stuck to its cheek–Carmen’s head had been found, and the thing on her cheek turned out to be a piece of cloth torn from her jacket with the insignia found on each child’s school uniform–a letter D, the same size and font as was found imprinted on the sled.

Upon further examination, it was ruled that Carmen had not, in fact, been decapitated by a human being, but by her sled, which had hit a rock and caused her to go airborne.  While in the air, the girl and the sled had both flipped, and one of blades the sled stood on had hit the little girl in the neck, almost completely removing her head and killing her instantly.  Continuing to fly through the air, her body also hit a branch of a tree, finishing the job of removing her head.  The head remained on the tree until it was later knocked off by the wind, while the body and sled tumbled a few feet away, into a pile of snow at the base of the hill.

A day after this ruling was given, a man dressed in all black emerged in the park, seeming to simply melt from the side of the hill into the park. Whistling an unidentifiable, solemn-sounding song and twirling something between his fingers, he made his way home. At the house, he pulled up a panel in the floor and in the box that lay beneath, placed the lock of light brown hair he had been holding along with a knife with the name “Carmen” carved into the handle. Closing the box, he chuckled softly and said, “Agent D strikes again.”