With Clay laid out on the couch, an ice pack over his forehead, Francesca found herself on her own. She sat at the table for a long while, allowing the clues to shift around in her mind, trying different configurations. Something crucial was still missing. Looking over the table, her eyes landed on the fake ID tag she had made for Clay. “Ah,” she smiled to herself, “There is more than one way to scare a cat!”
It took very little time to change the name on the ID card. Forgery was one of the useful skills one acquired up in the Movement. Soon she found herself in front of the office of records. It was a rather drab buildling. Perhaps, she supposed, looking over the worn stone facade, it had been magnificent in its time. But that time must have been long ago indeed. Now it was almost a forgotten edifice, a sad building behind a sad stone facade, in a part of town that was not what it once was. How ironic, she mused — a department of records in a buildling that time forgot. Ah well, she shrugged as she entered, none of us are as we once were.
She looked idly around after ringing the bell. The interior must have been beautiful in its day. The high walls with their ornate faux columns spoke of a sense of grandeur one no longer generally encounters in the offices of government. The clerk, when he finally came to the outer desk, appeared to be a young man in his twenties. He barely glanced at her identification before waving her over to the stacks and quickly removing himself back to his office. She marvelled at how eager he was to return to work, impressed by his dedication and focus. Looking briefly into his doorway on her way to the stacks, Francesca got only the briefest glimpse of the image upon his computer scene. She blushed at the sight — the young man appeared to have decidedly unmunicipal interests.
The records were a bit of a jumble, with various volumes out of their proper order. Clearly the young clerk’s mind was otherwise engaged. Methodically she began to go through the thickly bound tomes, placing each in turn in its proper order, until a sense of organization had begun to emerge.
She was almost all the way through before she found what she was looking for. The birth records, at least, were reasonably well organized. It took her very little time to find the name — Bianca Renford. The girl had been an orphan. Renford was apparently a name given to her by the Sisters. Her mother was unknown. There were not many details, but there was a written addendum to the record that clearly referred the reader to a later volume — a record of deaths. “At least,” she said to herself, “Here was a clerk who showed some interest in the job.”
She took down the volume in question and laid it on the table, standing over the heavy wooden tabletop. It was quite a bit larger than the first. The region had grown in population in a few short decades. Flipping to the correct page, she ran her finger down the small print of the column until she found the reference at the very bottom of the page. “Hmm,” she mused, “it seems the birth father was eventually identified after all.” Turning the page, she saw that the girl, now a young woman, had been a victim of homicide, but the details were not provided. She made a mental note that she must later look through the news reports from that day and week.
Francesca read on. Three years before her untimely death, Bianca had borne a child. The father of the child had been recorded as well. It also seemed that at the time of the her demise, Bianca’s own birth father had at last been identified, and had been duly recorded as her child’s grandfather.
It was all quite neatly entered, but in exceedingly small print. The name of the child was Noir LeFevre. The last name was apparently that of a man Bianca had married and then rather quickly divorced. But it seemed that this man had not been the boy’s actual father. The biological father was identified as “Clayton Adam Terransky”.
Francesca didn’t know what to think. What could possibly have happened that would have caused Clay to have retain an odd and traumatic memory of Bianca, and to have had no recognition of the name of his own son? Is it possible she had simply not told him he was a father? Francesca tried to place herself in the position of this young woman.
It was possible the grandfather would know something — she could perhaps find him and the mystery would be cleared up. She looked to see the name of young Noir’s grandfather, and then Francesca had to sit down. It was not clear to her, in that moment, whether her legs would have continued to support her. Bianca’s father was identified as one “Frederick White”.