Belle: Smudge

Vase, look out for sli

It meant absolutely nothing to me. Irena sat on the floor, concentrating really hard on working it out. Gervase continued looking through the wreckage.

I walked through the ruined lab without touching anything, just in case. If I moved things, other things might get hidden.

My phone buzzed just as I noticed a gleam between lots of singed paper.

"Hello?" I asked, answering one-handedly as I used my other hand to pick up the object, which I discovered was a ring.

"Belle! Are you all right? You've been gone ages!"

"What? Oh, Matthew. Yeah, I'm fine. I'm... uhh..." I trailed off when I noticed what was engraved on the ring. 

J.H. Joe Henley. 

"You're...?" Matthew turned it into a question. I didn't answer, I was working on preventing myself from crying again. "Belinda?"

I sighed and put Joe's ring on my thumb. "I'm here."

"You're getting distracted."

"What do you expect? Hold on a minute, why is there...?" I picked up some of the burned paper and underneath was a smudge of mud. It looked like it could have been a paw print or something, but then I remembered that there had been a struggle. It was probably just a smudge. And besides, there had been a cat here. "Matt, I going to have to go."

"Belle, where are you?" Gervase called. I realised that I was crouched down behind a desk. 

"Oh, I'm here," I said, getting up. "Um, I don't know about you, but I don't think there's much else to find here."

We all scanned the room again hopefully, just in case we'd missed anything. Anything at all. But I couldn't find anything, and apparently neither could they.

We sighed.

The End

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