Sylvia Salk agrees to visit Monica Grand on behalf of the Cube Hunters. She realises that Monica was somehow involved in her husband's death, and wants to know what happened.
But Sylvia finds Monica in a pool of blood. She hears a few last words: Monica says the murderer was V; and she hands over an image file, which contains hidden text and the start of the long, misleadingReceda Trail.
Sylvia posts the file and this farewell message before taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
I'm so scared. I feel so alone, so helpless. So tired. I don't know what to do or who to turn to. I don't know who I can trust. Maybe not even you.
There was so much more blood than I've ever seen before. When Pietro... when my husband died there was no blood. But here it was soaked into the carpet, and splashed onto the walls, so that it was the blood I saw first and not the woman lying on the floor.
I ran over to her. She had been attacked, I'm sure of it, because it was so red everywhere and so wet, coming from her head and neck. Her eyes were closed, but as I leaned over her they opened. She said: "Ms Salk?" I went for my key, I wanted to call for help but she pulled on my arm. She whispered: "No." I didn't know what to do. I just listened, and I think I was shaking. So much blood.
You see? Do you understand? I went to Monica's apartment today, in the morning, just like you asked me to. Her voice was just a whisper over the access-system. I didn't think about that, I should have noticed. I walked through the building, took the elevator. The ride was smooth and seamless, I remember thinking about how smooth it was. I walked down the corridor to her front door -- I passed by three or four people leaving their homes for work. And when I got to her door it was slightly open. I remember that. I remember being surprised by it. And I remember the blood.
She said: "It's too late now. It was V, you understand?" I shook my head. I didn't understand. I still don't understand -- how can anyone make sense of any of this? How can this be true? She said: "I thought he was you... I wouldn't have let anyone up, but I thought he was you, a few minutes early." She closed her eyes. I thought she had died and there was a voice inside my head screaming and screaming at me to run, but I couldn't leave her alone. For Pietro, I had to know. I held her hand and brushed her hair out of her eyes, tried to comfort her as best I could.
Now there is blood on my hands, too, her blood on my skin and on my blouse and in my hair. I never thought this could happen. How can this have happened? It hurts to remember. So much blood, so much death. I want this to be over.
I leaned down and put my face next to hers. I think I was shaking, I don't know, maybe I was crying, but maybe it was my face wet from the blood. I said: "Who did this? Who did this to you?" She opened her eyes and she looked so tired, tired like me, her face pale and grey and I felt almost jealous of her, almost wanting to switch places. She whispered: "Someone told him. He found out. Maybe... police? Or," she smiled slightly, "me. Sloppy." She said something else, something I couldn't understand. Was it the words that would have made sense of this all? How can something like this make any sense?
She pressed a small object into my hand. I looked. It was a key. It had been crushed, one end wrenched off. I looked at it for a moment, and then back to Monica. But her eyes were closed and she was no longer breathing and all there was left was her with her blood everywhere and the broken key and me, all alone. All of us broken. I don't know how the key could have been still working but there was a file on it, I've left it here for you. I don't know if this is the right thing to do, I just can't see what's right and wrong anymore.
All I want to do is sleep but I know that when I do I'll dream of Monica, of Pietro, of all the blood and the death. I want to sleep without dreams. I want everyone to know how terribly sorry I am.
Since I promised, I suppose I should tell you, my Pietro and I, we met at a picnic at Caesura Park. I miss Pietro so. He was always so strong. I don't think I can carry on like this any longer, after all that has happened. I just can't be alone. I'm so very tired, and I think I need to sleep. Pietro never liked me to take these pills, but I need them now, I need to be with him.
I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. When I'm with Pietro, maybe Monica will be there, and we can both tell her how very sorry we are.