"I can't even begin to tell you how ridiculous you are being!"
Kurt Wallander tried to ignore the woman in front of him. As far as he could see the child wasn't ill behaved in any obvious way and he felt sorry for him. He turned to Magnus who shrugged at him.
"If you don't stop, we're getting in that car and going home. Do you understand me?"
"Mom, I've already told you that I don't want to be here. It's hauuuunted," the little boy whispered, his eyes wide with fear.
Magnus let out a small chuckle. The boy turned on his heels and gave Magnus a dirty look.
"Oh you think you're so tough because you're older than me? Just wait. Ghosts don't discriminate. They'll eat your eyeballs."
Magnus smirked, "ghosts don't eat eyeballs. But they can drag you back to their graves with you."
He lunged forward at the end of his sentence sending the kid back into his tired mother's arms. Kurt shot Magnus a look of reprimand but said nothing. After driving with him for four minutes he wanted to take a nap. How could he ever expect to get through a weekend with him? The entire time Magnus had tried to hold a one sided conversation. He plugged in his iPod and cranked his opera up so loudly that the windows begin to shake. Martinsson rolled his eyes and found his own iPod. Kurt had felt bad because he could see that Magnus had been hurt. Maybe he was as lonely as Wallander. Or maybe not.
"Marten, please don't do that," Wallander let out in a tired voice.
"Well, 'dad', I'm sorry. I'll just stand here with my hands in my pockets like a good boy."
The hotel clerk looked up from his paperwork and let out a long sigh. Wallander read the name plate "Alfven". He noticed the cigarette ashes on his shirt and how strongly he smelled of hard liquor.
"A room for Zettesberg."
Alfven nodded and turned around to his computer. Magnus stared at Kurt incredulously.
"A room? Are you kidding me?"
"Enough," Kurt waved Magnus away.
Magnus turned around and mumbled under his breath, "this is sh-"
"Your key Mr. Zettesberg."
Kurt smiled quickly.
"Come on, let's get settled in, shall we?"
When Wallander unlocked the door both men were too shocked to say anything. It seemed as if they had walked into some sort of a nightmare. Perhaps that should tell Alfven, it seemed like this should have been something he would have taken care of before letting them come all the way up here. Kurt and Magnus were too afraid to even look at each other.
"Great," Magnus said sarcastically.
Magnus took the first step and plopped himself on the bed. He made himself as comfortable as he could. Kurt shook his head.
"We're here for business."
Magnus smiled mischievously, "not pleasure? Awe you disappoint me, Kurt."
Kurt flinched at Magnus using his first name. He'd never told him how much it bothered him, but now it bothered him even more now that they had to share a bed. He began to resent Magnus a little more ever minute and more still when he smiled in that callous way. Sometimes it seemed as if there wasn't even a person inside of Magnus. He was an overgrown teenager to Kurt, but then he remembered his own teenager. His little Linda, when she had tried to take her own life in high school. It pained him to think of her feeling that desperate to end it all. How could he pretend to be Magnus's father if he could even be one for his own daughter? He couldn't even save her when-
But Magnus did. Kurt looked at him. There was a moment when Kurt felt a strong amount of pride for Magnus and almost wanted to tell him thank you. On for a moment though.
"Well we might as well catch some shut eye," Kurt said scratching behind his head.
Magnus rolled over on the bed and turned to Kurt. He got up and removed his shirt. The door to the bathroom shut and Kurt could hear the shower turn on. While Magnus was in the shower Kurt decided to get into his pajamas and lay in the bed. His eyelids grew heavy and he couldn't keep them open and soon he was asleep.
Kurt awoke to the sound of the door shaking and in the hazy vision of his weary eyes he saw a visage. It looked like an old woman in a white gown. His eyes grew wide and he could see everything clearer. The woman was gone but as Kurt got up from his bed a pot flew from the dresser and smashed on the wall just behind where his head had been seconds earlier. Magnus shot up in bed and saw the shards of glass on Kurt's pillow.
"What the hell?"
Kurt whispered to Magnus as he grabbed his gun, "it's here."
Magnus laughed as a ghoulish howl came from the door. His laughing ceased. He swallowed hard and turned to Kurt; his eyes wide with fear and a question on his lips. The two men, guns in hand, crept towards the shaking door. A chill filled the room and the old woman emerged from the shaking door. Her mouth hung unhinged and she flew at them and vanished in a cloud of smoke. The high pitched shriek of the ghoul left the room in silence.
"Kurt… what the hell was that?"
Kurt's mouth was dry, he kept his voice low, "that-that was…a very clever illusion."
The young man turned to the old man nodding his head in a way that told Kurt he was trying to reassure himself it was an illusion. They sat down on the bed, covered in sweat and didn't speak again until the next morning.