VI


11.30

Linda lets Martinsson talk, she's well absorbed in abstract (forced) parallelisms to be too coherent, anyway.

It was also snowing, that time, she thinks, he looked so peaceful through the window of his living room-

-stop.

… they'd talked to the neighbors, too, that time, to that woman than then got killed-

-stop.

A dog comes, tame and asking its master for food, but your master can't feed you because he's answering some questions, she thinks, gets distracted.

The Olssons look so ordinary, so unsuspecting.

"Think hard," Martinsson requests, "Wasn't there anything out of the ordinary, that day, something that called your attention?"

The dog must have sensed something, they say,

I think someone was arranging stuff in the shed, they say,

11.53

I saw a red van parked by the house in the morning, they say, I think it was delivery or something, they say.

11.54

Linda snaps.

"How didn't you hear the gunshot, then?"

11.55

She's not the only one surprised by how harsh her voice sounds, but Martinsson isn't Wallander and he draws no conclusion from it.

"I don't know…?" Mr Olsson starts, "His house isn't so near, so maybe, oh… the wind could be blowing wrong…?"

"… not really, no," his wife interrupts, "I was vacuum-cleaning that morning. I'm sorry."

Linda falls into cryptic silence again, Martinsson has nothing to say about it, the silence grows uncomfortable, and eventually, they leave.

14.20

It's cold, and Linda sees Martinsson through the foggy car windows. They've stopped at a gas station to grab something to eat, though she isn't really hungry; maybe she'd like some coffee but just not black today. Life is already too bitter as it is without midday coffee.

She gets by inspecting the wintry landscape instead, how the snow isn't dirty here in the middle of the silent countryside where it's so still and so timeless, and everything always looks the same.

20.00

Everyone's going home, so Linda grabs her coat and goes home too, or tries.

She's suddenly taken a wrong turn not entirely by mistake, and quietly she finds herself driving through the city that's turned yellow and indigo for the night, the sky and shadows dark against the piled snow tinged warm through lamplight.

It reads 20 km/h while the streets become familiar in a way that makes her feel a little like a widow, and when she parks before a cottage that's like an island in the pristine snow, she knows she's far away from Ystad now,

she knows she's sealing her course this time again like she's done before, but done the wrong way.

There's a gravel path that's well kempt and snow-flecked, leading from the driveway till the front door, but once she's walked it, before knocking she looks inside.

It's foreign to her in a way that feels like she's displaced. There's a family inside, a family just like any other, two parents, two kids, a home like any home with a hearth and hand-knit tapestry on the walls.

It's a place transfixed, though; there is no bookcases and no coffee tables, no leather couches,

most certainly no Stefan.

She shudders. He doesn't live here. Probably never even has.

One of the kids sees her, and she watches him do like one would watch a scene in a movie in slow-motion. The father looks at her: a myriad of pixels turned a person turned a man looking at her from far away, reaching out to her from a home to a freezing winter night.

He's stood up, he's come up to the window, she hears him through it saying,

"Can I help you?"

without fear. Why would he be afraid, anyway?

"Not really, no," she answers and shakes her head, wondering vaguely how well it is he can hear her,

"I'm sorry. I think I got the address wrong."

.

.


A/N

Hello, sorry for the wait. My muses were holding a guild, they took their time.

Please, comment. I feel motivated to go on if you do :)