The grasshopper found the toe. It was small, about three quarters of an inch long. A small, big toe.
A millipede found the right hand. The nails were young and unvarnished and buried in the soft loam atop the bank.
Darkness fell on the valley. Then a young fox, curious, chanced upon the torso, tried to establish the situation, showed interest, left.
The parents appeared on national television, begged for the return of their precious daughter. Looked into the camera and said what a special child she was. Requested that whoever had her please let our special child go and show mercy. Newspapers with red titles printed her name on their front pages, spelled it wrong.
A leg, about twelve inches from knee to heel, was in a stream below a fence. An otter, up the narrow creek seeking crayfish, detected the scent, examined it from three yards distant, moved away downstream.
Fifty two men and women, dressed in paper suits that rustled as they clattered through the bracken, long sticks parting the undergrowth, two valleys away.
They arrested him. He knew the woods and people said he didn't talk to anybody. He didn't tell them anything. He said he didn't know anything about it. They locked him up and asked a judge if they could keep him for twenty-eight days. The judge said yes. In the night the police beat him, though they made sure not to leave any bruises.
The right leg was found across the petrol tank of a small capacity Japanese off-road motorcycle. The motorcycle lay abandoned half in, half out of the water.
A dog, out walking, found the head. It was alongside a stand of bracken, the long blonde hair splayed out and tangled. The dog's owner dialled 999 on his mobile telephone.
An ambulance drove slowly through the bracken and parked by a stream, the tyres sinking in the soft soil. More people in paper suits arrived in white vans. The ambulance went directly to the local hospital.
Wires were attached to the head. A box bleeped every few seconds. A spike was inserted into the arm, and saline solution injected. When the parents arrived, the girl was already conscious.
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