The one standing before me was a small girl. An investigation into a cold case...? Well! Even something small would do. If there had been an incident, we should investigate.
"Mr. Nanase! A case! A job!"
"Are you serious?" he retorted in amazement.
That was fine. I had anticipated that. I stood in front of Mr. Nanase.
"Mr. Nanase. Neglecting your work as a detective is an indisputable crime."
"Take a look. This innocent young girl is asking for our help."
Mr. Nanase looked over at the girl resignedly.
"Mister! You're not busy, right? Come with me for a bit."
"What about that is an innocent young girl?"
Well... maybe that wasn't exactly how you would describe her. But, with no way to turn back now, I managed to force Mr. Nanase into joining us - even if it did take an hour. It took so much effort that looking back on it now makes me want to throw up.
Thirty minutes later, the girl was leading us through the shopping district. The girl talked all the while, trying to outdo the hustle and bustle of the streets.
"This butcher here! This place does Daddy's favourite korokke!"
So where was the cold case?
Mr. Nanase followed at a languid pace. Sure enough, he looked like he would rather be anywhere else. He had come along at least, so it didn't really matter.
"So, once Daddy and me eat korokke here, we come to this toy place..."
What was I doing? I was scared to look back at Mr. Nanase... Timidly turning around, I saw Mr. Nanase buying korokke at the butcher's. Maybe he was having more fun than I'd thought...? In any case, he didn't seem to be so glum after all. Feeling slightly relieved, I went back to following after the girl.
Leaving the shopping district and turning the corner, we found ourselves on an avenue. A warm breeze caressed my cheek. The earlier hustle and bustle seemed a world away.
"Don't you think this street is pretty? This is my favourite place to take a walk. Daddy says it's prettiest in the autumn. He says that spring, summer and winter are nice, too, but autumn is the best."
Talking about her daddy again...
"But spring is my favourite. It feels good, right?"
Yes... Yes, it did feel good, but...
I glanced at my watch. What on earth were we doing?
"By the way, this cold case...?" I asked.
I couldn't help but think that she was just having fun. Maybe we really had only been made to join in on her game.
"The scene is just about over there."
Anxiously turning back to Mr. Nanase, I saw him walking lazily in the distance. He was probably angry. I'd forced him into this, after all...
Stepping off the tree-lined path, the girl went into a small park and came to a sudden stop. For a while she stood silently, her back to us. Finally she slowly turned around, holding her arms out wide and smiling.
"This is it. This is where I played badminton with Daddy!"
This was the scene of the incident...?
Straggling behind, Mr. Nanase lit a cigarette.
"He spent hours here with me, telling me how good I was getting. That I would be stronger than him soon. We ran and laughed a lot."
Suddenly, the girl's face clouded over with loneliness.
"We had so much fun... Why...?"
Had she had a fight with her daddy? I couldn't understand the connection between cold cases and the girl's story. Mr. Nanase, however, still facing away, muttered, "Don't overwrite the memories of the happy times you spent with sad ones."
A single tear rolled down the girl's cheek.