Kepler Lars – The Fire Witness 3/4 [Full Mystery Thrillers Audiobooks]

chapter 94 doula mumbles that she’s tired she wiggles out of daniel’s embrace and walks to the window she starts to lick the glass have you ever heard vicky say something asks danya like what that she has a hiding place somewhere or places where nope doula says turning toward him but you like to listen to the bigger girls when they talk danielle says so do you doula replies i know danielle says but right now i’m having trouble remembering things the doctor calls it arousal is it dangerous he shakes his head but he does not try to smile i go to a psychologist and i get drugs for it don’t be sad she says and she her head it was a good thing that miranda and elizabeth were killed there are too many people on the planet anyway i loved elizabeth i needed her and tula slams her head backward into the window pane and crazes the glass the best thing for me to do right now is to hide behind a dresser in my room she says wait a moment chapter 95 alien is on her knees at the end of the bed looking at a trunk she can tell it’s an america chest from the name and address written on the lid in elegant lettering fritz gustavsson 1861 harmhonger at the beginning of the 20th century more than a quarter of the swedish population emigrated to america their belongings packed into these trunks but perhaps fritz never got away aylin tries to lift the lid she can’t get it open and breaks a nail the trunk is definitely locked she hears the sound of glass shattering someone screams aelin shudders and walks to the window there are seven small containers on the sill some tin and others porcelain she opens the first two one is empty and the other has a coil of old string through the small window she can see the dark abyss of the lawn beyond it light from another window falls on the outhouse and the stinging nettles beside it she opens another porcelain jar and sees a few old copper coins a tin jar with a painted harlequin on the side contains a few nails and a dead bumblebee glances outside again as she feels her pulse rise in her temples everything is quiet all she can hear is her own breathing the shadow of a figure passes over the nettles and aelin drops the jar someone could be standing outside and looking right at her she moves away from the window and is heading for the door when she spots a small sticker on the closet door it’s tigger from winnie the pooh tula had said that a tiger keeps watch over the flower button inside the closet oil skins are hanging from a hook and behind them is an ancient vacuum cleaner aelin’s hands shake as she pulls the vacuum cleaner out beneath it there are flattened tennis shoes and a dirty pillowcase she grabs a corner of the pillowcase and can feel the weight of what’s inside she pours out the glittering contents onto the floor coins buttons hair clips glass marbles a sim card for a cell phone a shiny ballpoint pen capsules earrings and a key ring attached to a little metal fob with a light blue flower aelin looks at the fob closely she turns it over and sees the name dennis engraved on it this must be what vicky’s mother gave her aylin pockets the key ring and stuffs everything else back in the pillowcase she puts it back in the closet lifts the vacuum cleaner back on top and pulls the oil skins to the front she hurries over to the bedroom door she listens for a moment then opens it and walks out tula is standing there she is waiting in the dark hall a few steps away and she stares at aelin without saying a word chapter 96 doula takes a step toward aylin and holds out a bloody hand

her face is pale and her eyebrows are invisible her hair is hanging in red wisps around her cheeks go back inside the room tula says i have to talk to dania we can go inside together and hide what’s happened go inside the room tula says licking her lips is there something you’d like to show me yes what is it it’s a game vicki and miranda played it last week tula says she raises her hands in front of her face i have to go aylin says i’ll show you how it’s done tula whispers aylin hears other footsteps in the hallway and catches sight of danielle carrying a first aid kit luchu and almira are coming from the direction of the kitchen tula runs her fingers through her hair and they come away coated with fresh blood tulla you were supposed to stay in the dining room danielle says he takes her other hand and leads her away we have to wash your wound and see if it needs stitches aelin stays still and waits until her heart calms down she fingers the key ring a few minutes later the door to the kitchen opens again tula walks out trailing her hand along the wooden paneling danielle is beside her saying something in a serious but calm tone tulla nods and then goes inside her room and shuts the door aelin goes to the kitchen but waits until daniel turns to her before she asks what happened she’s alright she banged her head on the window a few times until she broke the glass has vicky ever mentioned someone named dennis asks aylin she keeps her voice low as she gives danielle the key ring he looks at it and turns it over in his hand he whispers the name dennis to himself well he says at last i think i’ve heard the name but i alien i’m embarrassed i feel totally worthless because you’re trying yes but i’m not at all sure that vicky has told me anything that could help the police she didn’t really tell me all that much and he stops talking as they hear the sound of footsteps coming up the steps outside and the front door opening a massive woman in her 50s enters and she’s about to lock the door from the inside when she catches sight of them you’re not supposed to be here she says as she heads toward them my name is daniel grim and i’m the girls cannot receive visitors at this time of night the woman interrupts him we’re just about to leave danielle says we just need to ask caroline about you’re not going to ask anyone about anything chapter 97 yona is in the police station riding up the elevator he’s holding a small plastic bag containing the key ring the fob looks like a large coin a silver dollar dennis is engraved on one side and a light blue flower with seven petals is embossed on the other the coin is linked to a large empty key ring late last night aylin called yonah she was in her car driving danielle back to the hospital and was planning to stay in a hotel in sunsfall for the night she told yona that tula had stolen this key ring from vicki’s purse early on friday it was important to vicky her mother gave it to her aylin said she promised to courier it to him as soon as she’d checked in now jonah is turning the plastic bag over and over in the fluorescent light of the elevator then he stuffs it in his pocket and gets off at the fifth floor he wonders why vicky’s mother would give her a key ring with the name dennis on it vicky bennett’s father is unknown her mother gave birth outside the health care system the child did not enter state registers until she was six perhaps the mother knew the name of the father the entire time was this a way to let vicky know anya is at her desk and before he can ask her if she’s learned anything about who dennis is she says there’s no person by the name of dennis in vicki bennett’s life not at birgita gordon not at jungbakken and not with any of the foster families strange says jonah i even called solga bauer from seppo anya tells him and smiles they have

their own records of course someone must know who dennis is he says as he sits on the edge of her desk nope she sighs and drums her fingers on her desk her nails are long and red yona looks out of the window clouds are chasing each other in the strong wind i’m stuck he says i can’t look at the reports from the national laboratory i can’t ask questions and i have nothing more to go on perhaps you should recognize that this is not your case anya says quietly i can’t let it go he whispers anya smiles pleased and her plump cheeks turn red since you’ve nothing better to do at the moment i’d like you to listen to something she says and it’s not finnish tango for a change i didn’t think it was he says as he pulls up a chair of course you did she mutters typing on her computer this is a telephone call i answered earlier today do you record your calls as a rule yes she replies in a neutral voice a woman’s thin voice starts speaking i’m sorry that i keep calling the woman says her voice is almost breathless i talked to a policewoman in sonsfall and she said that a detective by the name of ionalina might be interested talk to me anya’s voice says if you listen to me only listen there’s something important i have to tell you about the murders at birgitta gordon the police have a tip line anya’s voice explains i know the woman says quickly there’s a waving japanese cat on top of anya’s computer each time it waves it clicks i saw the girl she didn’t want to show her face she says there was a large rock a bloody rock you have to look for it are you saying you witnessed the murders they can hear the woman breathing before she answers i don’t know why i’ve seen this she says i’m frightened and i’m very tired but i am not crazy are you telling me you saw the murder or maybe i’m going crazy the woman says as if she didn’t hear anya’s question the telephone call ends abruptly this woman’s name is flora hansen she has a report made against her why british at the tip line got tired of her calls flora has called in a number of false tips and wanted to be paid for further information does she call the tip line often no she’s never called before it’s just the murders that beard gordon i thought you should hear this before she calls back she’ll certainly phone you she keeps calling even though the police have reported her and now she has my telephone number what do you know about her british says that flora has an alibi for the evening of the murder she held a seance for nine people at oplanskaton 40 here in stockholm anya says amused she calls herself a medium she says she can get answers from the dead if she gets paid for it i’m going to go see her jonah says getting up from the chair yona people know about this case anya says her smile is uncertain and before too long someone else will have a tip if vicky bennett is alive someone will see her sometime right he says as he buttons his jacket anya is about to start laughing but catches yonah’s gaze and suddenly realizes what he knows it’s the rock she says so it’s true there was a rock right he says but only the needle and i know that the killer used a rock chapter 98 jonah knows that in rare difficult cases the police turn to mediums and psychics for help he remembers the murder of england the police consulted a medium who described two killers both descriptions turned out to be completely wrong the true killer was caught because someone trying out a new camera just happened to take a photograph of the girl and the killer’s car jonah had read an independent study done in the united states about a medium the police turned to more often than any other

although the woman had been used in 115 investigations the study concluded that she’d never contributed any valuable information in any case jonah shivers in the chilly afternoon air as he gets out of his car and walks toward a grey apartment building with satellite dishes on every balcony the door to the entrance has a broken lock and someone has sprayed graffiti in pink all over the entrance hallway jonah takes the stairs to the second floor and rings the bell at a door with the name hansen on the mail slot a pale woman in gray clothes opens the door she looks at yonah shyly my name is jonah lina he says he shows his police id you’ve called the police a number of times i’m sorry she says and looks at the ground people are not supposed to call the police unless they have something to say but i called because i saw the dead girl she says she looks up into his eyes may i come inside for a minute jonah asks she nods and leads him through a dark hall with worn out vinyl flooring to a small clean kitchen flora sits in one of the four chairs and wraps her arms around her body jonah walks to the window and looks out the facade of the building across the street is covered in plastic sheeting the thermometer fastened to the outside window frame rocks slightly in the wind i believe that miranda is coming to me because i let her in accidentally when i was doing a seance flora starts but i don’t know what she wants when do you hold your seances every week i earn my living by speaking with the dead she says and a muscle twitches near her left eye in a manner of speaking so do i says jonah quietly he sits down across the table from her i’ve run out of coffee she says apologetically it doesn’t matter he says you said something about a rock when you called i didn’t know what to do miranda keeps appearing and showing me a bloody stone she indicates how large it is with her hands so you held a seance jonah prompts her a girl comes and tells you no it was later she interrupts it was after the seance when i got back home and what did this girl say to you flora looks at him directly her eyes dark with the memory she shows me the rock and tells me to close my eyes jonah looks back steadily with his gray fathomless gaze he has only one thing to say if miranda comes back i would like you to ask her where the killer is hiding chapter 99 jonah takes the plastic bag out of his pocket and dumps the key ring on the table in front of flora this belongs to the murder suspect he says flora looks at it without picking it up dennis she asks we don’t know who dennis is but perhaps perhaps you can feel something from it jonah says maybe but this is my job she smiles embarrassed and hides her smile with her hand of course he says how much she looks down at the table as she tells him the price for a half hour sitting jonah opens his wallet and pays for one hour flora thanks him and gets her purse then she turns off the ceiling lamp there’s still some light outside but inside the kitchen it’s fairly dark flora takes out a tea light and a silk cloth with golden edges she lights the candle and places it in front of yonah then she places the cloth over the key ring yona watches her without presuppositions flora places her left hand beneath the cloth she sits still and then her body begins to shake she takes a deep breath dennis dennis she mutters she touches the metal tag beneath the black cloth they can hear

voices from the neighbor’s television through the walls suddenly a car alarm goes off on the street below i’m getting strange pictures nothing i can make out yet keep going jonah says flora’s light curly hair touches her cheeks her skin turns bright red and her eyes dart under her eyelids there’s power in this object there’s loneliness and rage i feel like i’m burning when i touch it she whispers she pulls the key ring from beneath the cloth and holds it in her palm she opens her eyes to stare at it miranda tells me there’s a thread of death they were both in love with dennis i can feel jealousy burning in the medallion flora falls silent then she mumbles that the contact has been broken and pushes the key ring at yonah yonah gets up he was wasting his time coming here he thought that she might know something real for reasons that she did not want to mention it’s obvious that flora hansen is only telling him what she thinks he wants to hear dennis is from a time long before beard gita gordon vicki had received it from her mother years ago i’m sorry that you feel you have to lie jonah says he takes the key ring from the table may i keep the money she asks i can’t manage i collect bottles and newspapers from the subway and from all the garbage cans jonah stuffs the key ring back into his pocket flora picks up a piece of paper and follows him into the hallway i really did see a ghost she says i’ve drawn a picture of her she shows jonah a childish drawing of a girl and a heart she practically holds it in front of his face yonah pushes her hand away she drops the paper and it sails to the floor jonah steps over it opens the door and leaves chapter 100 jonah is still feeling irritated when he parks his car outside diesa’s apartment building on lutzengatan near kalaplan circle vicki bennett and dante abrahamson are alive and hiding somewhere and he’s lost an hour of valuable time speaking with a disturbed woman who lies for money deesa is sitting on her bed with her computer on her lap she’s wearing a white robe and she’s pulled her brown hair back into a ponytail jonah takes a shower in the hottest water he can stand then he lies down beside her as he leans his face next to her body he can smell her perfume have you been to sunsval again today diesel asks distractedly as he runs his hand down her arm no not today jonah answers he remembers flora’s pale lean face i was there last year on an archaeological dig diesel tells him i dug around the hergum women’s house the women’s house in seylonga on the outskirts of sunsfall she looks up from her computer and smiles if you have a chance between murders you should go there she says jonah smiles as he runs his hand over her hip he follows her thigh to her knee he doesn’t want diesa to stop talking so he asks why do they call it the women’s house it’s an iron age grave mound but it was built over a burned down house we don’t know what happened there were there any human bones inside yes the remains of two women she says as she puts away the computer i brushed the dirt away from their combs and jewelry jonah rests his head on her knee and asks where did the fire start we don’t know but there was an arrowhead in the wall so they were attacked from outside perhaps the villagers set fire to the house and let it burn she says she runs her fingers through his thick damp hair tell me more about the graves jonas says we don’t know much she says wrapping the strand of his hair around her finger the women were inside weaving bits of their looms were scattered throughout the site isn’t it strange that it’s the small things like nails and combs that survive the ages jonah resolves to visit the sami bridal

crown of braided birch route and then go to kroneberry park and its old jewish cemetery where his colleague samuel mendel lies all alone in his family grave chapter 101 a soft kiss on his mouth awakens yonah disa is already dressed she’s brought him a cup of coffee on a breakfast train i fell asleep he said you slept like a rock she smiles as she heads toward the hall jonah hears her close the door after her then he gets up and puts on his pants while he’s standing next to the bed he realizes that he’d visited flora hansen because she happened to guess right about the rock it’s called confirmation bias unconsciously all people tend to heed results that confirm their theories rather than those that don’t flora called the police many times mentioning different murder weapons but it was only when she mentioned a bloody rock that he paid any attention to her now that flora is off his list there are no other clues for him to follow jonah walks to the window and opens the thin white drapes the grey light of dawn still holds some of the previous evenings gloom even the splashing he can hear from the fountain at karlaplan circle seems melancholy pigeons strut around the closed entrance to the shopping center a few people are already on their way to work there was something desperate in flora hansen’s voice and eyes as she told him how she collected bottles and newspapers in the subway absent-mindedly he puts on his shirt and stares at nothing as he buttons it he had just made a logical connection but he lost it immediately he tries to go back in his thoughts and remember what it was but it glides away again it was about vicky her mother and the key ring was it something he saw he puts on his jacket and looks out the window at carlaplan circle again a bus is driving around it it stops and lets on passengers farther down the street an elderly man with a walker is smiling at a dog sniffing around a garbage can a woman in a leather jacket is running toward the subway she scares a flock of pigeons on the square they take off and fly in a semicircle before they land again the subway there’s something about the subway yonah picks up his cell phone he thinks he’s right about his intuition but he wants to check some facts first while he waits for the signal to go through he walks into the hallway and puts on his shoes holger here jonalina here jonah says he opens the front door and a very good morning to you i have there’s something i have to ask first jonah interrupts as he locks the door behind him you went through the purse we found at the dam right yona is starting to run down the stairs i had already taken pictures and listed the contents when the prosecutor told me they were shutting down the investigation i am not allowed to read your report jonah says there wasn’t much to it holger says jonah can hear him shuffle papers i mentioned the knife you mentioned some sort of bicycle tool did you find out what it was jonah is rushing down lutson to his car yes i did holger says it took a little time since i’m from western orland it wasn’t a bike tool at all it was a key to the driver’s cab in a subway car has this key been on the ring recently how the hell should i know holger is quiet for a moment and jonah assumes he’s looking at the photograph in his report you’re right it’s shiny around the eye jonah thanks him for his time and runs the last few yards to his car alien told him that tula steals pretty things from everyone around her earrings shiny pins coins and lipsticks tula had taken the beautiful key ring with its light blue flower and left the ugly key in vicky’s purse he taps in anya’s number as he opens the car door hello ghostbusters anya says anya can you help me i need to talk to whoever is responsible for stockholm subway system by now yonah is in his car and has started to drive let me connect with the spirits instead

anya i’m in a hurry well who got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning anya mudders yonah is driving toward the stadium did you know that all the subway cars in stockholm have their own names as well as numbers he asks of course i wrote in rebecca this morning and what a fine car she is too i just figured out that dennis isn’t a person it’s the name of a subway car and i need to find out where it is right now chapter 102 yonah is fairly certain that the key from vicki’s mother susie fits a mechanical lock that’s on all the subway cars but the name on the fob points at a specific car perhaps susie kept her personal belongings in the driver’s camp perhaps she slept there sometimes he knows that she sometimes stayed in the subway tunnels or slept on benches in a subway station after it closed perhaps she even lived in an abandoned tunnel deep underground somehow she had got hold of a key yonah thinks as he drives it couldn’t have been easy it must have been one of her more valuable possessions still she gave it to her daughter she’d also gotten a key ring with the name dennis so that the girl would not forget which subway car was the important one maybe she knew vicky was planning to run away vicky had already run away many times and managed to stay hidden for a long time at least twice the first time she was only eight years old and she’d been missing for seven months when she was found in the middle of december severely hypothermic in a parking garage with her mother the second time she was 13 vicky had been gone for 11 months when she was arrested for shoplifting near globen it’s easy enough to get into a driver’s cab any box and wrench the right size would work even if vicky is not in the subway car named dennis she might have left clues there from her time as a runaway clues that could lead to her present hiding place yona has almost reached the police station when anya calls and says she’s talked with someone at stockholm local transport there was a subway car named dennis that was taken out of service some time ago due to serious maintenance issues where is this car now he didn’t know she said it could be at the depot in rishna but more likely it’s parked at the service depot in johannes connect me jonah says it turns his car around and the tires thud over the speed bumps he runs a red light as he turns into fleming gatan chapter 103 yonah drives toward johanashov south of stockholm a man answers his phone call it sounds as if he’s in the middle of eating subway traffic technical division shelley here yona linda from the national police can you confirm that a subway car named dennis is parked with you at johannes dennis the man says smacking his lips do you have the car number no sorry i don’t hold on let me check yonah can hear the man talking to himself and then the man picks up the phone again there’s a den is with a z at the end that could be the one okay jonah hears the man swallow his food before he speaks again it’s not in the current register it’s a really old car as far as i can tell from this database it hasn’t been used in traffic for the past few years where is it now probably here but let me connect you to dick he knows everything the computer doesn’t shella’s voice disappears and is replaced by the sound of electric buzzing then an older man picks up the phone his voice echoes as if he’s in a cathedral or a room made entirely of metal swinging dick here he says i just talked to shella yona says he thinks that a car named dennis is parked out by you if shella says it’s here it probably is but i can go and take a look especially if it’s a vital matter of life and death and the honor of my country it is actually jonah replies are you in a car yes heading here jonah hears dick climbing down a metal staircase a large heavy door creaks he sounds slightly out of breath when he next speaks i’m down in the tunnel now are you still

there still here it looks like we have mikhaila and maria dennis should be in one of these corners jonah can hear dick’s echoing footsteps even as he’s driving as fast as he can over the central bridge he thinks about the times vicky was on the lam she must have slept somewhere she must have felt safe and secure somewhere do you see the car yet asks jonah not yet we have eleanor there’s sylvia even the lighting down here doesn’t work like it should yonah can hear footsteps as dick keeps going down a tunnel beneath the industrial center of johannes shove let’s see i haven’t been back this far in a long time let me turn on my flashlight it’s the deepest inn of course here it is dennis totally rusty and looks like you’re sure it’s the right car i can take a picture if you want what the hell there’s people inside i can see people shh jonas says dick whispers there are some people inside the car keep away from them jonah says they’ve put a damn gas cylinder in front of the door there’s a rustling sound as dick moves away swiftly he’s breathing hard it was i saw people in there he whispers into the phone jonah thinks it can’t be vicky because she doesn’t have the key and the key ring jonah hears sudden high-pitched screaming it’s distant but clear there’s a woman screaming in there she seems out of her mind get away from there as best you can jonah says he hears more steps and hard breathing he can still hear the screaming but it sounds fainter what did you see jonah asks a large cylinder for welding was blocking the door what about the people there was graffiti on the door but i could tell there was a tall person and a shorter person and maybe more than that but i’m not sure how did they get in we keep the tunnels locked but if you’re determined you could break in pretty easily listen to me carefully jonas says i’m a detective inspector and i want you to leave the tunnel now and wait outside for the police to arrive chapter 104 a black van is being driven a top speed through the gates of the transit depot in johannessov dry gravel is churned up in a cloud of dust as the van swings around and stops in front of a green metal building after he talked to dick jonah called the provincial chief of police and told him that this could be a possible hostage situation a swat team was immediately dispatched five police officers climb out of the van all of them heavily clothed in boots dark blue overalls bulletproof vests helmets protective glasses and gloves they are all armed jonah walks over to meet the group three of them are carrying jade green automatic rifles with red dot sights from heckler and coke these weapons aren’t anything special but they are lightweight and can empty a magazine in less than three seconds the other two men in the group are carrying sniper rifles jonah shakes hands with the swat team leader the doctor in the group and three other men and then explains that the situation could be urgent i’d like us to go in at once he says but since i don’t know what your run through has been let me emphasize that we don’t have a positive id of either vicki bennett or dante abrahamson while waiting for the swat team to arrive jonah talked with dick johnson who gave him a map of the tunnel on which he drew the locations of the various subway cars a young officer holding a sniper rifle raises his hand are we assuming that she’s armed he asks probably not with any kind of gun yonah replies so we can expect to meet two unarmed children the man says and shakes his head with a grin we don’t know what we’ll meet you never know what you’ll run into during a situation like this yona says he shows them a picture of a subway car similar to dennis where are we going in asks the swat team leader the front door is open but blocked with one or two gas cylinders jonah explains are you getting all this the swat team leader turns toward the others

jonah puts the map over the drawing he points out the various side tracks and the location of the subway cars i think we can get this far without being discovered jonas says pointing to a curve in the tunnel it’s hard to say for sure the swat team leader nons it’s not all that far but i would like a sniper on the roof of the closest car i’ll do that one of the men says and i can go here says the younger sniper they follow yonah to the steel door one of the men checks his reserve magazine while jonah puts on his bulletproof vest our primary goal is to get the boy out of the car and our secondary goal is to get the suspect jonah says as he opens the door if you must fire aim for the girls legs first and foremost otherwise aim for the shoulders or arms a long metal staircase leads down to the tunnel where the subway cars wait for repairs the only sound is the dull tramp of heavy boots chapter 105 as soon as the team reaches the tunnel they start to move more slowly and carefully the sound of their footsteps mere whispers against the metal clad tunnel walls they approach a buckled train that gives off a strange smell its cars looking like dark ruins from an abandoned civilization the beams from their flashlights flicker over the rough walls they’re moving single file quickly and almost soundlessly the tracks branch out near a manual switch a red light with a broken shade gives off a weak light and a work glove lies forgotten on the black gravel dim light from induction lamps set at intervals down the tunnel allows them to see the way forward jonah signals to the men to turn off their flashlights and they pass through the narrow gap between two cars with broken windows a box of oil covered nuts and bolts leans against the wall loose cables outlets and dusty wires surrounded they’re almost there now so they move cautiously jonah points out a car for the first sniper who climbs onto its roof unfolds a tripod and begins to adjust his insult site the others mount their weapon lights then approach the next car in the tunnel their quick short breaths are the only indication of the stress they’re under though one of the men keeps compulsively checking the clasp on his helmet the swat team leader exchanges glances with the younger sniper and indicates a line of fire someone slips in the gravel and a loose stone clatters off the rail a shiny rat jumps toward the wall and disappears jonah keeps walking forward at the side of the tunnel ahead of the others he sees the car named dennis on the track closest to the wall cables or ropes are hanging from the ceiling of the tunnel he moves slightly sideways and notices a weak light coming through one of the car’s dirty windows the beam of light moves like a butterfly making the surrounding shadows grow and shrink the swat team leader loosens a shock grenade from his belt jonas stands still and listens before he resumes walking he knows he’s now in the line of fire and that the sniper’s rifle is aimed at his back he can see the large green gas cylinder lodged in the open door when he finally reaches the car he squats and places his ear against its metal wall immediately he can hear someone walking around inside the swat team leader signals to two men like shadows they run through the darkness they are big men but they move soundlessly all that can be heard is the quiet scrunch of holsters bulletproof vests and heavy overalls in motion then they’re right next to yonah yonah has not even drawn his pistol but sees that the men from the swat team already have their fingers on the triggers of their automatic rifles it’s hard to make out anything through the cars filthy windows but a small flashlight lying on the floor reveals boxes empty bottles and plastic bags between two seats there’s a large bundle tied with a rope the flashlight beam begins to shake as the whole car vibrates somewhere a subway car is moving on another set of rails thunder rolls along the tunnel they can hear weak moaning yonah draws his pistol a shadow moves

deep inside the subway car it appears to be a large man in jeans and sneakers crawling away jonas stuffs the first bullet into the cartridge position and turns toward the swat team leader he points at the man inside the subway car and gestures for the team to move on in chapter 106 the central door bursts open with a bang and the swat team storms the subway car windows are broken and shards shower down on the ripped up seats and the floor the gas cylinder falls with a thud and rolls through the car the argon hissing as it escapes all the inside doors are forced open jonah steps over moldy blankets egg cartons and old newspapers lie still someone bellows they search the car section by section using the light from their weapons they go between the seats and look through the dirty plexiglas dividers between sections don’t hit me screams a man inside the second section quiet the swat team leader tapes the gas cylinder’s vent shut jonah rushes toward the driver’s cab there’s no sign of vicki bennett or dante the car stinks of sweat and old food the walls and windows are scratched and covered with scrawls someone has recently eaten grilled chicken the greasy paper is lying on the floor among beer cans and candy wrappers newspaper rustles beneath jonah’s feet the light from outside is dappled by the broken windows jonah reaches the driver’s cab he’s certain the name dennis on the key ring points to this place where vicky’s mother used to hide the swat team has already broken the door open and jonas steps inside the cramped space is empty a syringe without its needle is lying on the instrument panel beside pieces of sooty aluminum foil and empty plastic capsules on the small shelf beside the petals there’s a package of painkillers and a tube of toothpaste yonah keeps searching and finds a rusty food knife stuck to the foam under the ripped driver’s seat there are more candy wrappers and an empty baby food jar which once held plum puree through the side window yona can see the swat team has captured the man in jeans his face is heavily wrinkled and his eyes are wide with fear he’s coughing blood into his beard he’s yelling his arms are bound behind his back with plastic handcuffs he’s forced onto his stomach and the muzzle of an automatic rifle is pointed at the back of his head jonah keeps searching the cramped cab his eyes fly over buttons and knobs the microphone and the stick with its polished handle and he doesn’t know where else to look why did vicky and her mother have keys to this place there’s nothing here he’s examining the screws fastening the grille over the ventilation outlet when his glance falls on a word scratched on the wall mama he takes a step backward and sees right away that everything scrawled on the walls are messages between vicky and her mother this must have been a place where they could meet in peace and whenever they missed each other they left messages mama they abused me i couldn’t stay i’m freezing and i need food have to go back but we’ll be here again on monday don’t be sad vicky they put me in detox so i missed you thanks for the candy sweetie i’m sleeping here for a while uf is a pig if you can leave some money that’ll be great merry christmas mama you gotta know i can’t call you back for a while mama are you angry with me for something chapter 107 jonah leaves the cab and joins the swat team they surround the shaggy man who’s sitting with his back to the wall he’s crying and seems bewildered jonah takes off his bulletproof vest squats down in front of the man and says i’m looking for a girl and a little boy don’t hit me mumbles the man nobody is going to hit you i need to

know if you’ve seen a girl here in this subway car i didn’t touch her i just followed her was she alone i don’t know if she locked herself in the cab did she have a little boy with her a boy yes maybe maybe answer the question barks the swat team leader you followed her here jonah says what did she do after she got here she left again the homeless man answers his eyes still show his fright where did she go do you know where she went that way the man says using his head to make a helpless gesture toward the opening to the tunnel so she headed toward the opening is that what you’re trying to say maybe not maybe answer the question snaps the swat team leader but i don’t really know the man snivels when was she here jonah asks carefully was it today she left just a minute ago he says she started screaming and then she took off jonah begins to run down the side track behind him he can hear the swat team leader take over the questioning his voice brusque and hoarse he demands to know if the man has done anything to the girl or molested her in any way jonah runs along the rusted track to its end up a set of metal stairs and into a long hall ribbed with pipes running along the ceiling at one end there’s a large door and the damp concrete floor before it shines with the light from outside creeping when yona reaches it he finds it is broken and is able to push his way through the gap he’s outside in the middle of a rough stone crossway that spans more than 15 or so pairs of train tracks the tracks gather like a ponytail farther up and then curve smoothly to the side he can spot the thin figure of a woman farther down the embankment she has a dog with her a subway train starts to thunder and passes him shaking the ground beneath his feet jonah sees glimpses of her figure as the windows of the train flash by he keeps running along the embankment through tall weeds and over broken glass crushed tins and used condoms there’s electric buzzing and a new train approaches from shema brink jonah has almost caught up to the thin figure it jumps over the tracks in front of the train and grabs her thin arm he pulls her around to face him she’s surprised and tries to hit him but he dodges her blow he loses his grip on her arm but still has her jacket she tries to hit him again while she wriggles out of her jacket she drops her shoulder bag and falls backward onto the gravel chapter 108 jonah pins the woman down among the thistles and browning cow parsley alongside the tracks he grabs her hand as she reaches for a stone and tries to calm her the dog cringes beyond arm’s reach i only want to talk to you you she yells as she tries to wriggle out of his grasp she kicks but he blocks it and keeps her down her small breasts are heaving she’s extremely thin and her face is wrinkled and her lips badly cracked she’s perhaps forty years old maybe only in her thirties when she can’t get free she starts to whisper soothing phrases to placate him calm down now jonah says again and lets her go she looks at him shyly as she stands up she picks her shoulder bag up from the ground her filthy black t-shirt declares kafka didn’t have much fun either and her thin arms are mottled with injection scars on the inside of her forearm there’s a tattoo which has been cut to pieces she runs her hand over her mouth and glances down the tracks she shuffles sideways testing him don’t be afraid i really have to talk to you i’m busy she replies quickly did you see anyone inside the subway car when you were there i don’t know what you’re talking about you were staying in a subway car she doesn’t reply she shuts her mouth tightly and scratches her throat jonah picks up her jacket and turns it right side out he hands it to her and she takes it without thanking him i’m looking for a girl who you i haven’t done anything i’m not saying you have jonas says well what the do you want from me then

i’m looking for a girl named vicky so how does that make it my business jonah pulls out the photo of vicki that was used for the bulletin no one i know she says automatically take another look you want to give me some money no come on can’t you help me out here a subway train passes by them small sparks flying from its wheels i know that you’ve been hanging out in the driver’s cab jonah says susie started it she says not wanting to be blamed jonah shows her the photograph of vicky again it’s susie’s daughter yonah explains i didn’t know she had kids the homeless woman says and rubs her nose the buzz of electricity and the lines overhead gets louder how did you know susie we kept to ourselves in the garden plots as long as we could i felt really bad when i ran into her i had hepatitis and this guy vadim was after me he used to beat me up and susie helped me out she was a tough bitch all right but i wouldn’t have made it through the winter without her i wouldn’t have had a chance but when susie died i took her stuff because the woman mutters something to herself and starts rummaging through her shoulder bag she takes out a key identical to the one vicky had in her purse why did you take it anyone would anyone that’s the way it is i took it from her before she died even the woman confesses what else was in the subway car she scratches the cracked corner of her mouth and mutters this to herself she takes a step to the side farther away from yonah two subway trains are heading closer in the same direction on separate tracks one is coming from bluset and the other from shema brinks station i need to know yonah says all right what the the woman says rolling her eyes there was some stuff to eat and a cell phone do you still have the cell phone the sound of metal scraping and the thunder of the subway trains keep getting louder you can’t prove it’s not mine the first subway train passes them shaking the ground beneath their feet loose stones jump from the embankment and the weeds twist in the draft an empty mcdonald’s cup rolls between the other set of rails just let me look at it jonah yells yeah right she laughs the second train speeds by and their clothes flap in its wake the dog next to the woman begins to bark the woman moves backward along the embankment and says something yonah can’t hear then she turns and starts running across the tracks jonah has no time to react the woman doesn’t see the third train coming in the opposite direction at top speed its thunder is drowned out by the two other trains but now it is deafening yet when its front hits the homeless woman the impact is silent she disappears beneath the first car the train screams as the brakes are slammed on and its cars smack one another as they slow to a stop now the only sound is the buzz of insects and the far-off hum of traffic the driver is sitting in his seat as if he’s turned to stone a long trail of blood runs over the rails there’s a dark clump of cloth and flesh under one of the cars the stench of the brakes starts to spread the dog starts to trot back and forth along the tracks with its tail between its legs it doesn’t seem to know where to go or where to stop jonah picks up the woman’s shoulder bag which has landed in the ditch the dog comes up to him and sticks its nose in the bag as yonah empties out its contents candy wrappers flutter away in the wind followed by a few banknotes jonah takes the black cell phone and leaves the rest he walks over to a concrete piling next to the embankment and sits down the westerly wind smells of garbage and city he clicks until he reaches the cell phone’s voicemail he calls it and finds out there are two messages hi mama says a girl’s voice it can only be vicky why aren’t you picking up your phone if you’re in detox let me know i like this new place maybe i told you already the last time i called the automatic voice says

message august 1st 11 10 pm hi mama vicki says her voice is tense and breathless stuff has happened here and i need to find you i can’t talk long i’ve just borrowed this phone mama i don’t know what to do i don’t know where to go maybe i can ask tobias for help the automatic voice says message yesterday 2 pm the sun breaks through the clouds all of a sudden the tops of the subway rails shine in the light chapter 109 elin frank wakes up she’s in a large strange bed the green shine of the television clock dimly lights the bedroom of the presidential suite she can see the decorative curtains hanging in front of the heavy curtains that block the sunlight she’s been asleep for a long time there’s a sweet aroma from an arrangement of cut flowers in the living room of the suite the smell nauseates her the air conditioner has been spreading an uneven chill but she is still too weary to get up and turn it off or call the reception desk aylin thinks about the girls in the house by the coast one of them must know something more there must be one witness to what happened at birgita gordon that little girl tula was speaking and moving as if she were near the boiling point perhaps she saw something that she doesn’t dare tell anyone aylin has a vivid mental image of the girl grabbing her hair and trying to stab her face with a fork the memory should make her more frightened than it does it’s almost impossible for her to understand yesterday’s events she slides her hand beneath the pillow the wounds on her wrists ache she remembers how the girls went on provoking daniel when they found his weak spot aylin twists inside the sheets as she pictures danielle’s face he has a pleasant mouth and sympathetic eyes it’s ridiculous how she’s been faithful to yak except for that misadventure with the french photographer she hadn’t intended to be faithful she knows that they’re divorced and that he will never come back to her after she takes a shower aylin rubs body lotion into her skin using the no name brand provided by the hotel she rewinds the bandages around her wrist and for the first time in more years than she can recall she dresses in the clothes she wore the day before during the car ride back danielle did his best to recall vicky mentioning someone named dennis he was frustrated that he couldn’t remember anything her stomach has butterflies when she thinks about danielle grimm she feels as if she’s falling from a great height and enjoying every minute she roots around in her purse and finds an eyeliner pencil and applies it lightly along her eyelids her movements are slow and her face shows her conflicting emotions it had been very late when they arrived at his house in sonsfan a gravel path led through an old garden and the dark silhouettes of fruit trees waved in the wind before a small red house with a white veranda if he’d asked her to come inside she would have done so if he’d asked her to sleep with him she’d have done that too but he hadn’t asked he was careful and pleasant and when she thanked him for his help he’d said that taking this trip had been much better than any amount of therapy she’d missed him as she watched him walk through the low gate and head toward his house she’d stayed in her car for a while before she’d driven back to the center of the city and checked into first hotel she can hear her cell phone purr in her purse which is next to the fruit bowl in the living room she hurries to answer it it’s yona lina are you still in sunsval the detective inspector asks i’m just about ready to check out of the hotel aylin says as a wave of fear rushes through her what’s happened nothing don’t worry he’s quick to say i just need some help with one thing if you have the time what’s it about if it’s not too much trouble i want you to ask daniel grimm about something i can do that she says in a low voice a big smile crossing her face ask him if vicky has ever mentioned someone named

tobias dennis and tobias she says thoughtfully just tobias tobias is the only lead to vicky we have left chapter 110 the sun is fairly high in the sky by the time aylin frank pulls away from the hotel a few minutes later she drives along bruce gatan past its neat single family homes and parks beside a thick hedge she leaves the car and walks up to the low gate daniel grimm’s house is well cared for its black gabled roof appears new and the gingerbread trim on the veranda is covered in bright fresh paint this was the home danielle and elizabeth grimm shared until just over a week ago aylin shivers as she rings the doorbell she waits for a long time listening to the wind moving through the leaves of the birch trees a motorized lawnmower on one of the lawns nearby shuts off aylin rings the bell a second time she waits a bit more then decides to walk around the house sparrows take flight from the lawn a dark blue hammock sways gently between two large lilac bushes daniel is lying there asleep his face is pale and he’s curled up as if he’s freezing aelin keeps walking toward him and he wakes with a jerk he sits up and looks at her with a question in his eyes it’s too cold to be sleeping outside aylin says as she sits down on the hammock beside him i couldn’t go inside the house he says and shifts so she has more room the police called me this morning she says what did they want did vicki ever mention someone named tobias daniel wrinkles his forehead and aylin is about to ask his forgiveness for her intrusion when he stops her wait he says quickly he must be the guy with the loft apartment in stockholm vicky lived with him for a while his tired face breaks into a large warm smile alin is surprised she takes her cell phone out of her purse as danielle shakes his head how the hell did i remember the address like that he asks i forget everything these days i can’t even remember my parents middle names aylin gets up from the hammock and steps into the sunshine she calls yonah to tell him what she found out while she’s speaking to him she can hear him start to run and before she says goodbye she hears a car door slam chapter 111 aylin’s heart is skipping as she sits back down next to danielle in the hammock she feels the warmth of his skin next to her leg he’s found an old wine cork between the pillows and is peering at it near-sightedly we took a course in wine and decided to start collecting nothing special but some wines are very nice i got them as christmas presents from bordeaux two bottles of chateau o brion 1970 we were going to drink them when we retired elizabeth and i people make tons of plans like this we even saved some marijuana it was a joke we often joked that we’d finally act like kids when we were old kids who play loud music and sleep in i should head back to stockholm aylin says yes you should they swing for a while and the ropes of the hammock creak against the hooks in the trees you have a nice house aelin says softly she places her hand on his he turns it over and their fingers intertwine they sit in silence as they continue to swing the hammock keeps creaking her glossy hair falls into her face and she sweeps it away and meets his gaze danielle she says yes he replies in a whisper aelin looks at him she thinks she’s never needed the tenderness of another human being as much as now something about his gaze and his wrinkled forehead touches her deeply she kisses his mouth softly smiles and kisses him again

she takes his face between her hands and kisses him deeply dear lord he says aylin kisses him again and skims her lips over his beard stubble she opens her blouse and pulls his hand to her breast he touches her gently and caresses her nipple she kisses him again and slips her hand into his shirt his stomach trembles at her touch waves of desire go through her body and she feels weak she wants either to lie in the grass with him or sit astride his hips she closes her eyes and pulls him to her he says something that she doesn’t hear her blood pulses inside her she feels his warm hands on her body but then he stops and pulls away alien i can’t sorry i didn’t mean she tries to breathe more calmly i just need some time he says there are tears in his eyes it’s too much for me now but i don’t want to scare you off you’re not scaring me off she says and tries to smile aylin gets up and adjusts her clothes as she leaves the garden she gets into her car her cheeks are flushed and her legs are still trembling as she drives away from sonsfall five minutes later she has to turn off onto a forest road her panties are soaking and her heart hasn’t stopped racing her blood throbs through every vein she looks at her face in the rear-view mirror her eyes are heavy and glistening and her lips are swollen she can’t remember the last time she felt such sexual power stream through her body danielle seems unimpressed by her beauty instead it feels as if he can look right into her heart she tries to breathe slowly and waits but finally she looks around the small forest road she shifts her dress and lifts her ass so she can pull her panties down over her hips she touches herself hard with both hands her orgasm comes violently in quick bursts she’s panting and sweating with two fingers inside herself she looks out the windshield at the magical rays of sunlight streaming through the branches of the scotch pines chapter 112 night is falling as flora heads to the recycling bins behind the grocery store to look for cans and bottles she can’t stop thinking about the murders in sonsfon she started to fantasize about miranda and her life at birgita gordon she imagines miranda wore suggestive clothing smoked and swore she stops thinking about the girl as she passes the grocery store’s loading bay she looks in the cardboard boxes stacked near the dock then she keeps going she starts to imagine miranda as a child playing hide and seek with some friends outside of a church she sees her cover her eyes and start to count to one hundred a little girl is running among the gravestones and laughing in an exaggerated way already a bit frightened flora’s heart is fluttering she stops beside the bin for old newspapers and cardboard boxes and puts down her plastic bag of empty bottles and cans she goes up to the container for clear glass and shines her flashlight into it the light leaps over both broken and whole bottles in one corner flora spies a bottle that she can get some money for she reaches in and gropes around since she can’t look in at the same time something touches her it feels like someone is stroking the top of her hand a second later she cuts her fingers on a shard of glass she snatches her arm out and backs away she can hear a dog bark far away and then she hears the slow prolonged crash of glass inside the large bin flora runs away her chest hurts and she can’t catch her breath her wounded fingers are burning she looks around the ghost was hiding among the glass bottles she thinks i see the dead girl as a child miranda haunts me because she wants to show me something she hasn’t left me alone since i lured her to this side by my seance flora sucks the blood from her fingertips and relives how the girl

tried to catch and hold her hand she thinks that the girl tried to hiss something she can hear it now someone was there and witnessed the whole thing there weren’t supposed to be witnesses but there was one anyway one witness flora starts to walk again as quickly as she can she’s looking back over her shoulder and screams when a man bumps into her he smiles and mumbles an apology as she hurries away chapter 113 jonah walks briskly through the entrance to the building at volmari schools got on nine he runs up the stairs to the top floor and rings the bell beside the only door his heart starts to calm down as he waits for an answer the brass plaque screwed to the door bears the engraved name horatskova there’s a piece of tape above it on which the name lundhagen has been scrawled he knocks as hard as he can but he can’t hear a thing inside the apartment he opens the mail slot and peeks inside it’s dark but he can see the floor is covered with mail and flyers he rings the doorbell again waits and then pulls out his cell phone to call anya can you search for tobias horatskova no such person she replies a moment later horatskova and volmari schools got on nine there’s a victoria oratskova at that residence anya says she keeps typing what about a tobias lundhagen let me tell you that victoria huarazkova is the daughter of a diplomat from the czech republic what about tobias lundhagen yes he lives there either he rents it from her or he lives with her thanks jonah wait anya says hurriedly yes three small details one you can’t go into a diplomatic apartment without a warrant from the justice department okay he says two you have a meeting with the internal review board in 25 minutes can’t make it three at 4 30 this afternoon you have a meeting with carlos jonah is sitting straight back in a hard arm chair at the office of the public prosecutor for police cases the head of the internal review board is reading the report from the first interview with yonah in a monotone then he hands it to yonah so he can approve and sign it mikhail boga has a drop of snot hanging from his nostril he sniffs it into his nose as he takes the report back and hands it to helean fiorina the lead secretary then he starts to read the transcript of the testimony given by the witness euron stone from seppo three hours later jonah is walking the short stretch from kungsberg bridge to the police station he takes the elevator to the eighth floor walks past carlos eliason’s assistant and knocks on the chief’s door he takes his place at the table where his colleagues petter nestland benny rubin and magdalena ronander are already waiting yonah i am a reasonable person but this is going too far carlos says he’s feeding his paradise fish bringing in the national swat team petter says with a grin madalena is sitting silently looking at the table tell them you’re sorry carlos says because i wanted to save the life of a little boy asks jonah no because you know you were wrong i’m sorry jonah says peter giggles his forehead is sweaty i’m going to have to suspend you from active service carlos says until the internal investigation is concluded who is taking over the preliminary investigation is being shut down vicki bennett is alive yonah interrupts probably tomorrow afternoon once the prosecutor has the chance to formally close it she’s alive get a grip then he says i’ve also taken a look at that security film carlos silences benny with a wave of his hand there’s no indication that it was vicky and the boy on that security film at the gas station she left a message on her mother’s cell phone voicemail two days ago jonah says vicky doesn’t

have a phone and her mother is dead madalena says in a serious tone you’re starting to get sloppy yonah petter says in a pitying voice carlos clears his throat and hesitates before he takes a deep breath this isn’t easy for me he says slowly petter looks expectantly at carlos while magdalena stares at the table and benny doodles on a piece of paper i’ll go on leave for a month jonah says that’s good carlos says that will solve as long as i can enter a specific apartment first an apartment carlos’s face darkens and he sits down behind his desk as if all his strength has just left him it was purchased 17 years ago by the ambassador from the czech republic he’s given it to his 20 year old daughter forget it says carlos the daughter hasn’t lived there for 12 years doesn’t matter as long as it’s owned by a person with diplomatic immunity paragraph 21 doesn’t apply to it anya larson comes into the office without knocking her blonde hair is arranged in a bun on the top of her head and she’s wearing glittery lip gloss she walks right up to carlos looks at him and gestures toward his cheek you have a spot of dirt on your face she says is it my beard carlos asks weekly what maybe i forgot to shave this morning carlos says it doesn’t look good at all i see he says as he looks down i need to talk to yonah are you done here no carlos says where anya leans over his desk the red beads of her necklace jostle in her cleavage carlos is about to remind her that he’s married when his eyes fasten on the shadow that disappears into her low-cut blouse below the lowest bead are you about to have a nervous breakdown anya asks yes i am carlos says weekly their colleagues stare as yonah gets up from his chair and walks out of the office with anya they head toward the elevators and yonah presses the call button so what do you want anya he asks oh here you are all stressed again she says and offers him a piece of candy and a red and white striped rapper i just wanted to tell you that flora hansen called back and i need a decision on a search warrant anya shakes her head she peels the paper from the candy and pops it into yonah’s mouth flora wants to give you your money back she lied to me she just wants us to listen she said that there is a witness she really did sound frightened and she kept repeating that you have to believe her she doesn’t want money she just wants us to listen to her i must get into the apartment at volmari schools got on nine she takes the paper off another piece of candy and holds it to yona’s mouth as she puckers her lips yonah eats the candy anya laughs happily and unwraps a third piece and holds it up it’s too late jonah is already in the elevator chapter 114 there are balloons hanging from a door with a scratched window in the volmar schools got on building the high voices of children singing comes from the inner courtyard jonah opens the door and looks in it’s a small garden with a lawn and an apple tree in the last light of the evening sun he can see a table set with colorful paper napkins and cups as well as streamers and balloons a pregnant woman is sitting on a white plastic chair she is made up to look like a cat she’s calling something to the children yonah is hit with a pang of longing one of the girls leaves the group and runs up to him hi she says and pushes past him through the door festooned with balloons her bare feet leave dirty footprints on the foyer’s white marble floor she opens the apartment door and yells that she has to pee one of the balloons is loosened from the door and falls to meet its pink shadow jonah sees that the entire foyer is filled with traces of bare feet back and forth from the entrance up and down the stairs past the storage door and the cover of

the garbage slot for the second time jonah walks up to the loft apartment and rings the bell he stares at the brass plaque with the name horatskova and the piece of tape with the name lundhagen he is starting to get a headache he can still hear the voices of the children coming from the inner courtyard he presses the doorbell again and is about to take out his break-in tools when a man of about 30 opens the door his hair is styled so it sticks up the security chain is not attached and it clatters against the door frame old mail and advertisements still cover the floor in the narrow entry hall a tiled staircase painted white leads up into the apartment are you tobias depends on who’s asking the man replies he’s wearing a short-sleeved shirt and black jeans his hair is stiff with gel and his face has a yellow tinge the national police yonah says no the man says in english with an amazed smile may i come in no i’m just going out but if you know vicky bennett jonas says maybe you should come in for a short while tobias says seriously jonah is aware of the heaviness of his new pistol in its shoulder holster as he walks up the short staircase and into an attic apartment with a sloped ceiling and rounded windows a framed poster showing a goth girl with large breasts and angel wings is hanging on one of the walls tobias sits down on the sofa and tries to zip up a large dirty suitcase on the floor close to his legs but gives up he leans back into the sofa so you want to talk about vicky tobias says reaching forward to take a handful of candy from a ceramic bowl when did you last hear from her jonah asks as he flips through some of the unopened mail on the sideboard well that’s a good question toby a size i don’t know it must have been a year or so ago she called from damn he has dropped some candy on the floor what were you going to say she called me from udavallah i think she talked a lot but i really don’t know what she wanted no calls the past few months nope jonah opens a small wooden door which leads to a closet four hockey video games are unopened in their packages there’s an old computer on the shelf i’ve really got to get going tobias says when did she live here tobias tries to close the suitcase again one of the windows on the side facing the inner courtyard is slightly open the children are now singing the birthday song almost three years ago how long did she stay she didn’t stay here the whole time about seven months in all tobias answers where did she stay when she wasn’t here who knows you don’t know i had to get her to leave here a few times see you don’t get it she was a kid but she could be really difficult in what way the usual drugs theft suicide attempts he says as he scratches his scalp i never thought she’d kill anybody though i saw it in the tabloids i mean it was all over tobius glances at the clock and then meets the detective’s eye why asks jonah after a few moments of silence why what tobias replies why’d you let her stay here i had a rough childhood myself he says and again tries to close the zipper on the suitcase jonah can see it is filled with tablet computers in their original packaging can i help you yonah holds the zipper together while tobias zips it shut sorry about this stuff he says padding the suitcase i promise it’s not mine i’m just watching it for a friend i see jonah says tobias laughs and a bit of candy flies out of his mouth he gets up and pulls the suitcase behind him as he goes down the stairs and into the hallway do you know where vicky would be hiding asks jonah no idea wherever she finds a spot who does she trust no one he replies he opens the front door and heads toward the stairwell does she trust you i don’t think so there’s no chance that she’d come here jonah dawdles in the narrow hall

a few seconds and opens the key cupboard by the front door no maybe she’d go to nah forget it tobias says his back turned to yonah he presses the button to call the elevator what were you about to say jonah asks i need to get going jonah carefully removes the spare key to the apartment from its hook before he leaves he closes the door behind him and rides the elevator down with tobias chapter 115 they leave the building to the happy shrieks of children the balloons on the apartment door are bumping against each other in the breeze they walk out to the sidewalk and into the glare of the setting sun tobias stops to look at yonah he scratches one of his eyebrows and then starts sliding away while peering down the street you were about to tell me where she could be hiding yonah says i don’t even remember his name tobias says shading his eyes with his hand he’s the stepfather of a girl i used to know mikhan i know she used to sleep on a sofa bed at his place near mosabaka square don’t know why i’m going on and on you know the address tobias shakes his head and pulls at the heavy suitcase a little white house across from the theater he says jonah watches him disappear around the corner with his stolen goods he thinks about driving to mostabaka square and knocking on doors but something is holding him to this place a rising sense of unease chills him it’s evening and it’s been a while since he ate or slept it’s getting more difficult to hold his headache at bay and to keep thinking jonah starts to walk toward his car but then stops he’s just figured out what didn’t fit he has to smile to himself how could he have missed it he must be very tired not to realize it until now perhaps it was too obvious like the missing link in a classic detective novel tobias said he’d followed the case in the tabloids yet he talked to yonah as if vicky were alive journalists throughout the country have been writing and broadcasting since wednesday that vicky and dante drowned in the indole river they’ve been howling about the thoughtlessness of the police in aggravating the mother’s suffering by categorizing vicky’s file as a missing person report tobius knows that vicky is alive this brings to mind an earlier observation yona is sure he has recently seen something without realizing its significance so instead of following topias he turns around and returns to volmarik schools got on he remembers the pink balloon that fell from the door and rolled weightlessly across the marble floor of the foyer there were a number of footprints made by children they’d been playing and running back and forth from the inner courtyard jonah thinks that vicky could be barefoot since she’d lost her shoes in the river he opens the front door and scrutinizes the floor and sees that his mind did catch something correctly one pair of the bare footprints leads directly from the front to the basement door but not back again chapter 116 jonah follows the footprints to the metal door and takes out the key he stole from tobias’s apartment he unlocks the door and finds the switch for the ceiling light the heavy door shuts behind him it’s dark for a moment and then the ceiling lamp flickers on the walls stream cool air and the putrid odor from the garbage room reaches him from one of the vents he stands still and listens before he keeps walking down the stairs he reaches the bottom and sees an overflowing bike storage area he squeezes past bicycles sleds and baby strollers and starts down a long haul lined on one side with wire mesh cages that serve as storage lockers insulated pipes run directly below the ceiling there’s a loud rumble as the elevator motor starts up the odor of urine permeates the still air he hears someone move at the far end of the basement jonah remembers the photograph of vicky which was used for the general alarm

it’s hard to imagine that shy blushing face contorting with uncontrollable rage the only way for her to be able to swing that hammer would be with twice her natural strength he tries to imagine her standing in front of him swinging the hammer and rubbing blood from her eyes before striking again jonah tries to breathe quietly while he uses his left hand to unbutton his jacket and pull out his weapon he’s not yet used to its heft and balance in one of the storage cages there’s a brown rocking horse with its nose pressed against the wire behind it there are steel edged skis poles and a brass curtain rod it shudders as he realizes that vicky could have hidden among the heap of sleds he’s already walked past and could be sneaking up behind him there’s a rustling sound and jonah turns the hall is empty the sewage pipes rattle in their place against the ceiling as he turns back the ceiling light goes off automatically he can see nothing and reaches out with his hand until it touches the wire mesh of a storage locker farther away he sees a small light glow against the plastic case of the circuit breaker it’s a yellow flicker just enough light for someone to find the button for the ceiling light jonah waits for his eyes to adjust to the dark and then starts to walk the light disappears jonah stands still and listens it takes him a moment to realize that someone has walked in front of the yellow light he squats down to make himself a smaller target the elevator machinery kicks in then the switch is visible again jonah moves back and at the same time here’s someone shuffling down the hall toward him someone is there someone is at one of the storage lockers in front of him vicky he says into the darkness the door is opened to the basement and voices are heard from the top of the stairs someone is heading for the bicycle storage area while the ceiling light flickers yonah uses the moment he takes a few quick strides to the end of the hall and aims his gun at a huddled figure the light comes on and stays on the basement door closes and the voices fade in the distance jonah holsters his pistol and kicks the door to the storage locker open he hurries inside the figure inside is much smaller than he thought the bent back heaves with her breathing vicki bennett is the girl huddling there her mouth has been taped shut and her arms are tied to the wire mesh behind her back yonah reaches her and tries to loosen the ropes her head is bent and she’s breathing hard her matted hair is hanging in front of her face vicky i’m going to get you free she kicks him hard in the forehead just as he bends forward the kick is so hard he stumbles backward she keeps kicking him in the chest her shoulders are going to be dislocated by the force she’s using she kicks again but this time iona blocks her kick with his hand she’s screaming underneath the tape and throws her body forward an entire section of wire mesh gives way vicki is pulling with both arms and is trying to reach a sharp steel laugh when jonah knocks her to the floor he holds her still with one knee and puts handcuffs on her before he unties the ropes and rips off the tape from her mouth i’m going to kill you screams vicky i’m a detective and so rape me go ahead i don’t care i’ll find you and kill you and all you vicky yonah repeats in a louder voice i’m a detective inspector and i need to know where dante is chapter 117 vicki bennett is panting through her half open mouth and staring at him with her dark eyes there are patches of dried blood and mud on her face and she seems exhausted if you are a police officer you have to stop tobius she says hoarsely i just talked to him jonas says he was on his way to sell some tablets which he that son of a bitch she says still panting vicky you realize i have to take you to the police station yeah whatever i don’t give a first please tell me where the boy is tobias took him i trusted tobius

vicky says and looks away her body starts to shake i shouldn’t have trusted him again what are you telling me you’re not going to listen she says as she looks at yonah with tears in her eyes i’m listening tobius promised to take dante back to his mother he hasn’t done that yona says i know i trusted him such an idiot her voice breaks and panic glitters in her dark eyes don’t you get it he’s going to sell the boy he’s going to sell him what are you don’t you get it you let him go she screams but what do you mean by sell him toby selling the boy to someone who will sell him again and you will never be able to find him now they’re both running through the bicycle storage area and up the steep stairs jonah is holding one hand around vicki’s thin lower arm while he takes out his cell phone and starts calling the county communications center send a car to volmark school got on nine to pick up a murder suspect he says quickly i need help to catch a kidnapping suspect they head through the entrance and out onto the sidewalk jonah points out the direction toward his car and says to the duty officer who answers the phone the kidnapping suspect is tobias lundhagen and wait jonah turns to vicky what kind of car does he have a big black one i’d recognize it if i see it what make no idea do you know if it’s what the hell vicky screams sorry jonah ends the call and takes both of vicki’s shoulders who is he planning to sell dante to i don’t know god i don’t know how do you know that they’re planning to sell him did he say so jonah looks into her frightened eyes i know him i what is it vicky’s voice is weak as she says the slaughterhouse area that’s where we need to go the slaughterhouse area they run to his car he opens the door to the front passenger seat and she gets in her handcuffed arms behind her yonah slams the door and sprints to the driver’s side throws himself in and hits the gas gravel spews from the spinning tires vicky falls sideways as yonah turns sharply onto timmermansgatan in one fluid movement vicky pulls her handcuffed hands beneath her bottom and feet and rests them in her lap put on your seatbelt jonah says they’re doing 60 miles an hour when yona touches the brakes the car’s tires squeal as it swings into horns a woman is standing in the middle of the street looking at her cell phone idiot vicky screeches jonah passes the woman on the wrong side of the median and almost collides with a bus head on but manages to swing back into his lane he drives past maria square and speeds up near maria church a homeless man is digging through a garbage can and then walks into the street without looking his sack thrown across his back vicky holds her breath and shrinks down yonah steers up the curb into the bike lane and down again an oncoming car honks but jonah increases his speed after he’s past the long wall across from the church and ignores the traffic lights as he turns right into the sodare tunnel lights along the walls pulse monotonously into the car as they race through the tunnel vicky’s dirty face is frozen her lips are cracked why the slaughterhouse area asks jonah that’s where toby has sold me chapter 118 the traffic is light in the suder tunnel and jonah is able to drive extremely fast there’s a crackle on yonah’s radio as he requests backup from the police as well as an ambulance he says he’s heading for the slaughterhouse area in johannes shove but explains he does not yet have a specific address beside him vicky gnaws on her nails i’ll get back to you he says as his car thumps over the remains of a truck tire the long tunnel ends in a curve between concrete walls forcing yonah to slow down the sun has now set and the yellow light from lamps strung overhead across the street flashed like a strobe over her pale face

the car speeds up drive faster she says although she’s bracing herself against the glove compartment as if it would protect her in a crash i said i’d pay double if he’d get money and a passport for me he promised he’d return dante to his mother and i believed him can you believe it after all he’s done to me she starts hitting her head with her fists how can anyone be as stupid as me she says all he wanted was dante he whacked me with a pipe and locked me up i was so stupid i shouldn’t even be alive on the other side of hama bileden’s water they pass beneath the viaduct of nina’s vegan and around the globen arena the arena looks like a dirty white celestial body next to the soccer stadium they drive toward a large enclosed area with industrial buildings and parked trailers neon signs hang over both lanes of traffic white letters on a red background tell them they’re in the slaughterhouse area the booms are up so they drive straight in tires squealing where to now asks jonah as they pass a grey warehouse vicky is biting her lip as she looks around i don’t know chapter 119 the sky is dark but neon signs and street lights illuminate the maze of the industrial area almost all work has ended for the day but on a cross street deep in the maze a crane is lifting a blue container the machine is making a grating scraping noise jonah drives past a dirty building with a bent sign advertising stakes and is coming up to some green sheet metal buildings next to a turnaround the steel gates are closed they drive past a yellow brick building with a loading dock and rusty containers and turn at the meat center they haven’t seen a single person they pass a less well-lit street garbage cans old trucks and large blower ducts fill the space by the parking lot under a billboard that reads have our hot dogs there’s a van with a pornographic picture painted on the side there’s loud grinding as they drive over a well grid jonah turns to the left around a crooked railing a few seagulls fly up from a stack of wooden pallets there there’s his car vicky yells it is definitely his i recognize the building i bet they’re inside a black van with a confederate flag pasted in its back window is parked in front of a large building as brown as liver on the other side of the road four cars are parked in a row along the sidewalk jonah drives past the building turns left and parks in front of a brick building three vertical flag signs are flapping in the wind jonah says nothing but he takes his key and unlocks vicky’s right hand he fastens the free handcuff to the steering wheel before he leaves the vehicle her dark eyes land on him but she does not protest she watches him run back his figure illuminated by a street light sand and dust whirl around him he turns right and disappears between the closed buildings there’s a small alley with loading docks iron staircases and containers for slaughterhouse waste yona approaches the door vicky pointed out he looks back for a moment and takes in the deserted location far away there’s a forklift moving around inside a huge building with an open front wall like an airplane hanger he walks up a metal staircase opens the door and enters a hall with cracked vinyl flooring he walks silently past three offices with thin walls one has a plastic lemon tree inserted into a white pot filled with let up balls there are traces of christmas glitter on its branches behind it on the wall there’s a framed slaughterhouse license from 1943 issued by the crisis committee of stockholm there’s a steel door at the end of the hallway and on it is a laminated poster showing the rules and regulations of slaughterhouse hygiene someone has scribbled rules for care of over the top jonah pushes the door open a few centimeters to listen he hears voices in the distance he pushes the door farther open so he can look in

he sees a large machine hall for slaughter lines and automated hog splitting the yellow tiled floor has a slight shine the stainless steel counters listen a bloodied plastic apron hangs over the edge of a garbage can jonah pulls out his gun and his heart leaps when he smells the gun grease chapter 120 gun in hand jonah sneaks inside bending low behind the large machinery he can smell the sweet odor from the rinsed floor and the rubber mats he realizes that he didn’t stop to give the county communications center an address they have probably reached the slaughterhouse area by now but it might take them some time to find vicky a memory flashes through his mind a merciless memory of seconds during which lives change and time compresses jonah is 11 years old and the school principal has come to his classroom taken him out into the hall and told him what happened the principal’s cheeks are wet with tears jonah’s father was a policeman and was on patrol he’d gone into an apartment and had been shot in the back his father had been on his own against regulations jonah has no time to wait for reinforcements in front of him pneumatic knives and casing pullers covered in dirty membranes are hanging from a rack above a stainless steel roller conveyor he keeps moving forward he can hear the voices more clearly no he has to wake up first a deep wheezing male voice give him a minute jonah recognizes tobias’s voice with its innocent boyish tone what the hell were you thinking another voice also male i wanted to keep him quiet tobias replies he’s practically dead says the wheezing voice i won’t pay until i know he’s all right we can only stay two more minutes says a third male voice he is serious jonah creeps toward the voices as he reaches the end of one conveyor he can see the boy lying on a gray blanket spread on the floor he’s dressed in a stretched out blue sweater corduroy pants and tiny sports shoes his face has been washed but he is filthy and unconscious a large heavyset man is standing beside the boy his beer belly protrudes from a leather vest and he’s sweating so heavily that it’s running down his face he stamps his foot with irritation and tugs at his white beard jonah feels a drop hit him a hose clip is loose and drops of water are falling from it they run over the tiled floor to the drain large man starts to pace while constantly looking at his watch then he squats beside the boy let’s take a few pictures comes another voice a new one jonah does not know what to do besides tobias there are at least four men and he can’t tell whether they are armed or not he really would like a swat team to appear right now the large man’s face shines as he pulls the shoes from dante’s feet the small striped socks come off with the shoes the boy’s heels hit the blanket as the man’s huge hands start to unbuckle the boy’s pants jonah can’t stand to watch any longer he doesn’t bother to hide as he heads for the cutting counter with its freshly sharpened knives of various lengths thicknesses and blade edges he keeps his gun pointed to the floor jonah knows he isn’t following regulations he just can’t wait any longer he heads directly for the men what the hell yells the heavyset man he lets go of the boy but remains squatting you are under arrest for kidnapping jonah says as he kicks the huge man in the chest the man falls backward from the blow he can’t stop his fall and crashes into buckets of trimmings rolls over the floor great and knocks a box of ear protectors down before he lands in the heavy skinning machine jonah hears the click of a safety being released and feels a muzzle being pushed against his spine between his shoulder blades he stands absolutely still as he knows the bullet would go right through his heart if it left the weapon that instant

a man of about 50 comes up to yonah from the side he has a blonde ponytail and is wearing a brown leather jacket he moves as softly as a bodyguard and he’s pointing a sawed-off shotgun at yonah shoot him someone shouts the fat man is on his back panting heavily he rolls over and tries to get up but stumbles he writes himself against the machine and gets to his unsteady feet then he disappears from yonah’s line of sight we can’t stay here tobias is whispering yonah tries to see what’s in the reflections on the gleaming metal of the cutting board and the hanging knives but it’s impossible to make out how many men are behind him hand over your gun a calm voice says behind him jonah lets tobias take his pistol his colleagues must be near by now he must not take any risks chapter 121 vicki bennett is still in the front seat of jonalina’s car she’s biting her dry lips and staring at the reddish brown building she’s holding onto the steering wheel so that her handcuffed wrist won’t chafe after every time she gets angry or afraid she has trouble remembering what happened her memory bounces around and glances off one detail or another then disappears for good vicky shakes her head and closes her eyes then she looks back at the building she doesn’t know how long ago the detective with the pleasant voice went into the building his coat fluttering behind him in the wind perhaps dante is already lost for good he’s gone down the black hole which sucks in children of all ages she tries to keep calm but she’s frantic to get out of the car she sees a rat scurry along the edge of a damp concrete foundation and run down a drainpipe man who had been driving the forklift has stopped working he’s shutting the high doors to the hangar and locking them then he leaves vicky stares at her hand and the shiny metal keeping her prisoner tobius had promised to take dante to his mother vicky wails how could she have believed tobius again if dante disappears it’s her own fault she twists as far as she can to look out the back window all the doors to the building are closed and there’s no one in sight the yellow cloth of a ripped awning flaps in the wind she pulls against the steering wheel with both hands in an attempt to break it off it’s no use damn it she’s breathing hard as she slams her head against the neck support she glimpses a poster advertising fresh meat and swedish goods someone has drawn a pair of eyes and a downturned mouth in the dust the detective should have been back by now she hears a sudden bang as loud as an explosion the echo reverberates and then dies away she tries to see anything at all and cranes her head in all directions the area is deserted what are they doing her heart beats against her chest who knows what can happen in this place she breathes harder as she pictures a lonely child crying from fear in a room with strange men the image just came to her mind she doesn’t know what it’s about vicky feels panic rising and tries to wrench her wrist out of the handcuff she can’t she pulls harder and the pain makes her catch her breath the metal glides up the back of her hand but sticks vicky is breathing through her nose as she leans back braces herself with one foot on the steering wheel and the other on the handcuff and then she pushes her legs with all her strength vicky screams as flesh rips away from the back of her hand and her thumb breaks her hand has slipped free from the cuff chapter 122 the muzzle is removed from yonah’s back he can hear footsteps moving away and he slowly turns around a short man in glasses and wearing a gray suit is backing away from him he holds a black block which he is aiming at yonah his left hand is hanging at his hip jonah wonders if the man has

heard it but then realizes it’s a prosthetic tobias is standing behind a dirty counter he’s holding jonas smith and wesson but doesn’t seem to know what to do with it to jonah’s right the man with the blonde ponytail is aiming a sawed-off shotgun at him roger the short man with the glock says i want you and mikey to take care of this cop once i’ve left tobias’s eyes are dark with anxiety a young man with cropped hair and wearing camouflage pants is walking straight toward yonah pointing a homemade gun at him it’s a small submachine gun with additional parts attached jonah is not wearing a bulletproof vest but he’d rather take his chances with this gun than with the others a homemade weapon can have the same firepower as an average automatic weapon but usually it’s been badly built a red dot appears on yonah’s chest it’s from the laser sight on the gun the kind the police used a few years ago jonah says lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your neck the man with cropped hair smiles the red dot slides to yonah’s solar plexus and back up to his collarbone shoot him roger says he’s still aiming at yonah with the sawed-off shotgun we can’t have a witness stammers tobias he runs his hand nervously over his mouth the man with the prosthetic hand looks at tobias and says get the boy to my car then he leaves the hall tobias doesn’t look away from yonah for a second as he walks over to dante he grabs his sweater to pull him away over the tiled floor he is not gentle i’ll be after you in a minute jonah yells at him there’s about six yards between yonah and the man called mika with the homemade gun yonah moves slowly toward him the young man yells stand still mika yonah says softly if you lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your neck you’ll be fine shoot the cop yells the man named roger you do it mika says what what did you just say roger says and lowers his rifle chapter 123 mika is breathing hard the laser dot jumps around yonah’s chest it disappears and reappears i can tell that you’re scared jonah says he comes closer shut your mouth and keep it shut mika says backing away you’re shaking shoot him what the hell are you waiting for yells roger put down the weapon jonas says shoot him he’s too afraid jonah says i’m not afraid i’ll do it roger raises the rifle i don’t believe you yonah says he can see a thor’s hammer on a chain around roger’s neck you want me to prove it you want me to shoot you roger is screaming as he edges closer roger puts his finger on the trigger and aims it at i’ll shoot off your head he hisses jonah looks at the floor and waits until the man is close enough then he whips his arm around and catches the barrel of the rifle pulls it toward himself and jerks it around its butt bashes roger’s cheek his head jerks to the side and he stumbles into the line of fire of the submachine gun jonah is now behind him and aims the rifle between roger’s legs he fires the sound is deafening and the weapon jumps the cluster of bullets passes between roger’s legs and slams right through mika’s left ankle his foot is torn off and rolls beneath the cutting table blood pours from the stump of mika’s leg and he reflexively fires the submachine gun six bullets slam into roger’s chest and shoulders mikey falls while still screaming and the rest of the shots go wild toward the ceiling ricocheting among the pipes and the overhead cranes roger falls to his knees and leans forward his ponytail hangs over his cheek he is holding himself up with his arms but a steady stream of blood flows from his chest and drains through the grate for pig’s blood the short man with the prosthesis and the glock is running toward them jonah leaps behind one of the machines one for inflating pig’s carcasses to make slicing easier he can hear the man follow him and kick away a rattling cart

the man’s breathing is ragged jonah moves backward and opens the rifle it has just one bullet mika is still screaming and calling for help ten more steps back and jonah spots a yellowed plastic strip curtain over an opening he realizes that behind it is a refrigerated room he can glimpse slaughtered pigs hanging there tightly side by side he thinks that on the other side of the room there must be a door to the loading dock facing the road chapter 124 the door to the reddish-brown building is propped open by a rolled-up newspaper a white metal sign above it says larson’s boutique meets vicky walks up to the black metal door stumbling over the shoe grate and goes inside blood drips from the wound on her hand onto the newspaper she has to find dante that’s all she can think about it’s her only plan she heads through the employee dressing room past wooden benches lined up in front of bent red metal lockers a poster of the soccer player zlatan ibrahimovic is taped to one of the walls in the niche by the windows a few plastic coffee mugs are standing on a brochure from the food workers union vicky hears screaming on the other side of the wall a man is calling for help she looks around the dressing room she opens a cupboard and pulls out a few sand colored plastic boxes she opens the next cupboard and keeps going she sees the garbage can and looks inside among the tobacco papers and candy wrappers she spots an empty glass bottle the man is still screaming for help but his voice is weaker what the hell vicky mutters and she picks up the empty bottle she holds it tightly in her good hand and rushes out the door at the far end of the room into a cool storage room with pallets and packing machines she runs as silently as she can toward a large garage door as she passes a pallet of plastic wrapped cardboard boxes she sees movement from the corner of her eye and stops a shadow is moving behind a bright yellow forklift she sneaks forward to the forklift she touches the vehicle and slowly moves around it and catches sight of a man leaning over a bundle on a blanket i don’t feel good comes the voice of a small child can you stand up the man asks vicky takes one step toward them the man turns around it’s tobius hey vicky what are you doing here tobias smiles in surprise she comes closer wondering what is going on dante is that you she asks the boy lifts his head from the blanket and peers at her as if he can’t make her out in the darkness vicky can you help me out here can you take him to the van asks sobius i’ll be right there but i am just do what i say and everything will be fine he says all right she replies tonelessly hurry up just get the kid to the van the boy’s face is gray and he lies his head back down on the blanket and closes his eyes you’re going to have to carry him toby’s size okay vicky says as she walks up to tobias and breaks the bottle on his head he looks surprised at first he sways and lands on one knee he touches his hairline and feels glass splinters and blood what the are you she hits him as hard as she can with the rest of the bottle it lands on the side of his neck and she twists it his warm blood starts to run over her fingers her rage is so strong she feels drunk with it her anger burns like overheated insanity you never should have touched this boy she screams she aims at his eyes and stabs his eyes are grabbing at air but he gets hold of her jacket and pulls her toward him then he hits her in the face with his fist she falls back and it’s as if the light has gone out as she falls she remembers the man who paid tobias remembers waking up with the pain in her vagina remembers the doctor saying that her ovaries were damaged she lands on her back but she’s tucked in her head to keep it from hitting the ground

she blinks and her sight is restored she gets up unsteadily but she keeps her balance she feels blood running from her mouth tobias has found a board with nails in it he’s trying to get to his feet as he reaches for it vicky’s left hand is throbbing from her broken thumb she clutches the remnant of the broken bottle with her right hand and slams it into his outstretched hand her own blood sprays into her eyes he hits wildly she stabs his chest and his forehead and finally the remnant of the bottle breaks apart slashing her hand still she keeps hitting him until he falls to the ground and doesn’t move chapter 125 vicky can’t run any longer with dante in her arms she feels as if she’s going to vomit she’s losing feeling in both her arms and she’s afraid she’s going to drop him she stops so she can shift his position but falls to her knees instead vicky sighs as she carefully lays the boy on the ground he has gone back to sleep his face is colorless and vicky can hardly hear him breathe they have to either hide or get out of here she pulls herself together and drags him by his sweater to a garbage container hoping they can squeeze behind it dante moans and she pats him and watches him open his eyes for a moment before closing them again ten yards away is a glass door next to a large garage entrance but vicky can’t carry the boy any farther her legs are trembling from exertion all she wants to do is lie down next to him and go to sleep she knows she can’t she’s in pain and her hands are bloody and her arms are numb she can see an empty street through the glass door she sinks to a sitting position breathing hard she tries to collect her thoughts as she looks at her hands and at the boy she pushes hair out of dante’s face and leans toward him wake up now she says he blinks and looks at her blood-covered face he seems frightened i’m all right she says it doesn’t hurt have you ever had a bloody nose he nods i can’t carry you any longer dante she says fighting the urge to cry you have to walk the last bit i just want to sleep dante says as he yawns it’s all over now you are going to go home what you are going home to your mother she says and smiles it lights up her exhausted face all you have to do is walk he nods and sits up he runs a hand through his hair somewhere within the large storage area there’s a loud bang as something falls it sounds like steel pipes are starting to roll try and stand up now vicky says they both get up and start toward the glass door each step is unbearably hard vicky realizes that she might not make it then she sees the revolving blue light of a police car more cars pull up beside it vicky thinks that they’re saved hello it’s a man’s harsh voice hello the man’s voice echoes between the walls and the ceiling vicky is dizzy and has to stop dante keeps going vicky leans against the cold metal of the container go straight out the door she says her voice is weak dante looks back and it seems as if he is going to turn around no no go straight out she pleads i’ll be right there she sees three uniformed police officers running in the wrong direction they’re heading to a building on the other side of the street dante keeps going toward the door he pulls down the handle and pulls nothing happens hello the man’s voice is closer vicky bites her lip and spits bloody saliva on the floor then starts to walk again won’t open dante says as he pulls hard on the door her legs are shaking but somehow she manages the last few steps her hand burns with pain as she pulls on the door handle as hard as she can the door does not budge she pushes it but it is locked she tries banging on

the glass but there’s not much sound she can see four police cars outside their blue lights flash over the facades and windows of the surrounding buildings she waves to get their attention but no one sees her heavy footfalls are approaching swiftly behind them vicky turns and sees a heavyset man heading right for them he is smiling chapter 126 beneath the ceiling is an electric conveyor hung with tightly packed pig carcasses the chill of the refrigerated room dampens the sweet smell of the meat jonah runs bent over beside the bodies of the animals deeper into the room looking for something to use as a weapon he can hear dull screams from the machine room followed by a few quick thuds he tries to spot his pursuer through the plastic slats that cover the opening an indistinct figure is moving between the cutting counters he appears as wide as four people and then as thin as a stick he is running jonah’s way and he is carrying a pistol in his right hand jonah backs up and bends over he looks underneath the pig carcasses and sees a white bucket against the wall next to it are a pipe and a few dirty rags he could use the pipe he inches toward the bucket but stops when the short man moves aside the heavy plastic slats with his prosthetic hand jonas stands still and glimpses his pursuer in the narrow reflections on the chrome edge of the doorway he watches the man enter holding his pistol with his arms straight out his eyes search the room without making a sound jonah takes a few more steps toward the wall he’s hidden behind a pig and can no longer see his pursuer but he can still hear him walking and breathing fifty feet farther on is an exit which probably leads toward the loading dock jonah could run down the aisle between the hanging carcasses but right before he reaches the entrance his pursuer would have a clean line of fire for a few seconds a few seconds too many yonah thinks he can still hear quick footsteps and then a thud one of the pigs starts to swing and the connection to the conveyor jibbet creaks jonah reaches the wall and sinks down next to the cooling unit his pursuers shadow appears not more than 30 feet away time is beginning to run out the man with the prosthetic hand will find him soon jonah slides to the side and picks up the pipe it’s made of plastic it’s absolutely useless as a weapon he’s starting to move away when he notices that there are tools in the white bucket three screwdrivers a pair of pliers and a knife with a powerful short blade jonah draws the knife from the bucket slowly metal scrapes against metal the blade slides against the jaws of the pliers he figures out where his pursuer is from the sound of his footsteps and realizes he has to move now a shot is fired and the bullet slams into a carcass 18 inches from yonah’s head the one-handed man is running at him yonah rolls away under the row of meat chapter 127 the cop has no weapon he must be afraid the man thinks as he pushes his hair out of his face with his prosthetic hand he stops so he can aim his gun he tries to peer through the row of slaughtered pigs he has to be afraid he repeats to himself he’s hiding right now but he is going to make a run for the door facing the street he’s panting and the air is dry and cold in his lungs he coughs weakly and turns completely around he looks at his pistol and then raises his eyes he has to blink hard perhaps there was just something there by the cooling unit he starts to run alongside the row of pigs he has to end this all he has to do is catch up to the cop and shoot him point blank first through the trunk and then a shot through the temple he stops the space along the concrete wall is empty there are a few dirty rags and a white bucket on the floor nothing else he spins on his heel and begins to walk back to where he’d come from all he can hear is his own breathing

he pushes a pig with his left hand it’s heavier than he thought he has to really heave it to get it to swing and it hurts him where the stump of his arm presses against the prosthesis the gibbet’s fastener squeaks the pig swings to the right and he gets a glimpse into the next row he can’t go anywhere the man thinks he’s in a tiny cage all he has to do is keep a line of fire open toward the exit in case the cop tries to get out while also monitoring the plastic sheeted opening his shoulder is getting tired and he lowers his pistol slightly he knows he’s risking valuable seconds but the weapon will start to shake if his arm gets too tired he sneaks forward and thinks he sees a human back he aims and fires the recoil bumps against him and the spray from the fuse burns his knuckles adrenaline pumps through his body and chills his face it was only a pig hanging crookedly this is going to hell he thinks but he has to shoot the cop he can’t let him get away not now but where the hell is he where is he gone the ceiling creaks and he looks up at steel girders and overhead cranes he can’t see anything he backs up and stumbles he grabs a pig for balance and feels the moisture of the cold meat through his shirt the rind glitters with small drops of condensation he feels nauseated something is not right anxiety is starting to overwhelm him he can’t stay here much longer the man keeps retreating he sees a quick shadow against the wall and raises his weapon all of a sudden there’s an electric buzz from the ceiling and all the pigs start swaying it’s hard to make out where one carcass starts and the next leaves off then the conveyor system roars to life the heavy carcasses start to revolve they are moving along the conveyor and pulling an ice cold breeze through the room the man turns around and blinks he tries to look in all directions at once and thinks that the job isn’t worth this it was supposed to be simple by a swedish boy the police believed was dead he’d get a good price for him without going much farther than holland or germany it’s not worth all this trouble the pigs stop suddenly and swing in place a red lamp glows on the wall the cop has hit the emergency button the room falls silent and the man feels uneasy what the am i doing here he asks himself he bends down to look beneath the carcasses and then takes two steps forward the exit to the street is still closed he turns around to check the exit with the plastic slats the cop is standing right in front of him a shiver goes up his back chapter 128 jonah can see the short man starting to take aim at him he tracks the man’s arm motion as he steps toward him and knocks his pistol upward as he grabs his wrist he slams the man’s hand over his head against a pig carcass and drives the knife through the palm the blade plunges deep between two ribs the man screams yonah lets go of the knife and moves away the short man fumbles his lifeless prosthetic fingers over the knife handle then gives up he’s caught he can’t move or the pain will increase blood runs from his palm and down his shirt sleeve jonah picks up the pistol and leaves the refrigerated room without looking at the man the air in the large machine hall feels warm he races along one of the walls in the direction tobias disappeared with dante he stops at a green metal door and checks the pistol there is at least one bullet in the chamber there could be more in the magazine he opens the door and steps into a warehouse area goods are stacked on pallets and there are forklifts standing still he can hear a rustling moaning sound jonah determines the direction and runs over to a large garbage container blue light is dancing through a window and over the floor he raises the pistol and creeps around the container the fat man in the leather vest is on his knees with his back to yonah he’s banging vicky’s head on the floor

dante is lying a few feet away curled into a ball and crying as if he’s been completely abandoned yonah reaches the fat man before he can get up he grabs him around his throat with his arm and pulls him up and away from vicky he pushes him backward then lets go of the man’s throat and kicks him in the chest so hard that he flies through the glass door the fat man lands on his back among the splinters of glass and the blue lights revolve over him three uniformed policemen run up with drawn weapons they aim at the man on the ground who is trying to sit up one of the policemen looks up yo nalina the policeman stare at the tall detective standing in the broken door glass is still falling from the frame i’m just an observer jonah says he throws the glock on the ground and heads back to vicky he kneels on the ground she is on her back and her breathing is irregular her arm is at an odd angle dante has stopped crying and looks at yonah in surprise iona rolls vicky onto her side into the recovery position then squats beside her he strokes her cheek and whispers that everything is all right now an even stream of blood starts flowing from her nose she does not open her eyes or respond to his words but her feet are twitching chapter 129 the man who flew through the glass door tried to sit up but two policemen grabbed him and forced him onto his stomach before they handcuffed him the first paramedics to arrive put an oral airway into vicky’s throat and immobilized her head before they lifted her onto a stretcher jonah told the operations leader what had happened while two police units entered the building one on each side in the refrigeration room they found a silent pale man with one hand impaled to a pig carcass by a knife the police officer who found him called the paramedics and needed the assistance of a fellow officer to wrestle the knife out of the meat the blade grated against the ribs and came out with a sucking sound the injured man pulled his hand to his stomach using his other prosthetic hand but then twirled to the ground the man who had been hit in the chest by the homemade automatic rifle was dead the young man who had pulled the trigger when jonah shot him was still alive he’d saved himself from bleeding to death by cinching his belt just below his knee as a tourniquet when the police patrol unit approached with raised guns he pointed to his foot which had been shot off it was lying beneath the cutting counter the last man they found was tobias lundgren he’d hidden among the garbage in the warehouse room his face was cut to bits and was bleeding profusely but none of his wounds were life-threatening he tried to crawl deeper into the mound of garbage when the police pulled him out he was shaking from fear carlos eliasson has already been informed of what took place in the slaughterhouse area when jonah calls him from the ambulance one dead two seriously wounded and three slightly injured carlos reads out loud but the children are alive they survived yonah carlos saiz everyone decided they drowned but i yes you were right absolutely carlos interrupts but you are still the subject of an internal investigation and you had other orders so i was supposed to just let it be yes that’s what you were supposed to do but you know i couldn’t do that the sirens abruptly stop wailing as the ambulance turns into the entrance of the cedar hospital emergency receiving area the prosecutor and her people are going to be the ones to question the witness you are now on sick leave and cut off from everything jonah takes this to mean that the internal investigation is not going his way and it crosses his mind that he may even be charged nevertheless the only emotion he feels is relief vicki bennett has been found and the little boy ripped from the jaws of wolves jonah climbs out of the ambulance unassisted but he heeds the paramedic’s

request to lie down on a stretcher they lift the rails and roll him away instead of waiting in line for an x-ray after he’s been examined and his wounds dressed he heads out to find the doctor in charge of vicky’s care a nurse points to where a short woman is studying the automatic coffee machine jonah explains that he has to know whether vicky can be questioned today the short woman listens to him without looking up she presses the button for mocha and waits for her cup to be filled then she says that she’s done a ct scan of vicky’s brain in order to determine whether there has been intracranial bleeding vicky has received a severe concussion but luckily there has been no cerebral hemorrhage we must keep her here for observation but there’s nothing to indicate she can’t be questioned tomorrow morning if it’s important the doctor says she walks away with her coffee cup in her hand the prosecutor suzanne erst is on her way from sunsfall to stockholm tomorrow morning at eight o’clock sharp she intends to start her initial interrogation of vicki bennett the 15 year old girl who has just been arrested and charged with two murders and one count of kidnapping chapter 130 vicky is sitting up in bed the curtains drawn around her when yonolina shows his id to the young policeman guarding the door and walks in her head is bandaged her face is covered in bruises and grazes her broken thumb is in a cast suzanne erst is also there with her is a younger woman jonah does not greet them but pulls up a chair beside the girl how are you feeling yes she gives him a muddled look and asks is dante with his mother now he’s here at the hospital and his mother is sitting next to him was he hurt no he’s fine vicki nods and then stares into space how are you feeling yourself jonah asks again she looks at him but is not able to answer before the prosecutor clears her throat i would like yonah lina to leave this room right now suzanne says now you’ve done it jonas says and doesn’t look away from vicki you are not part of this initial investigation suzanne raises her voice they’re going to ask you a ton of questions jonah says to vicky i want you to stay here she says in a quiet voice honestly i can’t jona says vicky whispers something to herself and then she looks at the prosecutor i’m not saying anything unless yona stays suzanne says he can stay if he keeps quiet jonah is watching vicky and thinking about how to get through to her two murders are a heavy burden to bear most girls her age would have already broken down and confessed but vicky is calm and expressionless she won’t let anyone inside her mind she creates quick alliances he thinks but hides her true motives to keep as much control as she can over her situation vicky bennett the prosecutor starts with a smile my name is suzanne and i’m going to be asking you questions but before we begin i have to let you know that we are recording everything so that we can listen to it later this means i don’t have to write much down which is nice i’m lazy that way vicky is not looking at her and doesn’t react suzanne waits a moment and keeps wearing her smile then she rattles off the time date and the names of the people in the room we usually do this before we get started she explains do you understand who we are asks the second woman my name is siegener riedelman and i’ve been appointed as your lawyer signa is here to help you the prosecutor says do you know what a lawyer is asks cigna vicki gives a slight nod i need an answer cigna says patiently i understand vicky says and then she smiles broadly

what’s so funny asks the prosecutor all of this vicky says then she lifts her arm and pulls out the narrow tube from the inside of her forearm and watches her blood trickle down chapter 131 the room is silent except for a scraping noise from outside a bird has landed on the windowsill the fluorescent light hums overhead a nurse has been summoned and vicky’s iv is fastened once more to the catheter in her arm the nurse pulled open the curtain around the bed before leaving the room the better to keep an eye on this patient suzanne ust drags a chair back to the side of the i will be asking you about some things that you’ve done she says i want you to tell us the truth and nothing but the truth vicky says looking down eleven days ago you left your bedroom at birgita gordon in the middle of the night do you remember this i haven’t been counting the days vicky says there’s no emotion in her voice but you remember leaving birgita gordon in the middle of the night yes why did you leave suzanne erst asks vicky pulls at a loose thread on the bandage around her hand have you ever done it before done what left birgita gordon in the middle of the night no says vicki she sounds bored why did you do it this time when the prosecutor doesn’t get an answer she smiles and asks in a milder tone why were you awake in the middle of the night don’t remember and so let’s move back a few hours do you remember what was going on then everyone went to bed and you were awake what did you do nothing you didn’t do anything until you left get a gordon in the middle of the night don’t you think that’s strange no vicky is staring out the window i want you to tell me why you left beard gordon suzanne says her tone turned serious i won’t stop asking until you tell me what happened do you understand i don’t know what you want me to say vicky replies quietly i know it’s difficult but i want you to tell me anyway the girl looks up at the ceiling and her mouth moves as if she’s searching for words then she says in amazement i killed she stops and pulls at the iv tube keep going suzanne is tense vicky shakes her head and moistens her lips you might as well tell me suzanne says you just said you killed right there was an irritating fly in the room and i killed it and i what the hell excuse me i’m sorry but isn’t it strange that you remember killing a fly but not why you left birgita gordon in the middle of the night chapter 132 suzanne erst and signer riedelman have requested a break and left the room for a moment the gray morning light is reflected in the iv pole and the chrome bed railings vicky bennett is sitting up in bed and cursing to herself isn’t that the truth jonah says he has taken suzanne’s place on the chair beside the bed all i can think about is dante she says dante is going to be just fine vicki is going to say something else but the two women return yonah gets up and walks over to the window so suzanne says full of energy you have admitted that you left piergita gordon in the middle of the night and went straight into the forest this is not something that people do for no reason you did have a reason to run away didn’t you vicky looks away runs her tongue over her lips and says nothing answer me says the prosecutor yes why did you go on the run the girl shrugs you did something that’s hard to talk about right vicky rubs her face i have to ask you these questions

suzanne says you think i’m being difficult but i know that you’ll feel much better after you confess will i you will vicky shrugs her shoulders and meets the prosecutor’s eyes so what do you want me to confess just tell me what you did that night i killed a fly the prosecutor leaves the room abruptly without saying another word chapter 133 it’s 8 15 in the morning as saga bauer opens the door to the appeals room at the offices for the public prosecutor for police cases mikhail boga who is responsible for internal investigations rises from his armchair saga is still damp from her shower and her long blonde hair with its colorful bands winds over her narrow shoulders and down her back she has a bandage on the bridge of her nose but she’s still incredibly beautiful saga has run a mile this morning and as usual she’s wearing a hoodie from narva boxing club faded jeans and sneakers are you saga bauer mikhail asks with an unusually large smile that’s right saga replies he wipes his hand on his jacket before he takes saugus i’m sorry don’t mind me it’s just if only i were 20 years younger you must have heard this before mikko boga is blushing as he sits back down and loosens his tie he can’t take his eyes off soga the door opens and sven vikland comes in he greets them both and then stands in front of saga at a loss for what to say finally he just nods then places a carafe of water and three glasses on the small table before he sits down saga bower is an inspector with seppo mikhail bogar begins then he smiles that uncontrolled smile i have to say this before i can continue you look like one of those princesses in a john bower painting he waits a beat and then pours himself a glass of water you have been called here as a witness mikhail continues now in his role of internal investigator he taps a folder you were present at the action in question what would you like to know soga asks the petition against yonah lina he is suspected of warning euron stone is a complete idiot she says you don’t have to get angry mikhail borges says soga bauer remembers very well the time she and yonah had entered the secret headquarters of the brigade a far-left group daniel markland the brigades expert on hacking and eavesdropping had given them the information they’d needed to save the life of penelope fernandez so you don’t believe the operation was unsuccessful of course it was i was the one who warned the brigade the petition says jonah is the best officer in the country it’s always good to be loyal but we are going to prosecute then go to hell saga gets up and knocks mikhail borga’s folder out of his hands setting his papers flying as she leaves she stomps on them then slams the door behind her so hard the window shade snaps up saga bauer may indeed look like a fairy tale princess but she feels like what she is a detective with the security police she is one of the best sharp shooters in the core and she’s a boxer at the highest level of the sport chapter 134 saga is still swearing as she storms outside onto kungsbro bridge she has to force herself to walk more slowly while she tries to calm down her cell phone in the pocket of her hoodie rings she pulls it out and looks at the display it’s her boss at sippo we have an inquiry from the national police says werner his deep voice rumbling in her ear i’ve checked on yemi and jan peterson but they can’t do it and i’m not sure euron stone is up to it what’s it about the interrogation of a minor a girl she’s psychologically unstable and the head of the preliminary investigation needs someone trained in questioning techniques and who also has some experience so

that’s why you went to yimi first saga says not hiding her irritation but why yon patterson why would you ask him before you’d ask me and why in the world would you ever think that you’re on stone saga forces herself to shut up you want a fight asks verner with a sigh who the hell went to pulach and did the german national defense training and please i’m not finished you know i was there when muhammad al-abdali was interrogated but you weren’t the head of the interrogation no but i was the one who made him spill whatever she ends the call she thinks she’ll resign tomorrow the cell phone rings again okay saga we’ll put you on it just shut up she yells and turns off the phone carlos spills fish food on his jacket when anya flings his office door open he starts to scrape the flakes into his palm but then his desk phone rings can you please put it on speaker he asks anya it’s verner anya says as she presses the button what a surprise carlos says cheerfully as he brushes his hands over the aquarium it’s verner here again sorry it took me a while to get back to you not to worry well i’ve looked high and low but all my best guys are already on loan to alex allen at the joint intelligence committee says the head of seppo he clears his throat we have one woman though you might have met her saga bauer she might be able to sit in anya leans toward the telephone and barks so sit in and look pretty is that what you mean hello who’s that asks verner shut up on your hisses i know saga bauer and i can tell you that seppo doesn’t deserve such a hard-working diligent anya carlos says wiping his hands on his trousers and placing himself between her and the phone on his desk sit down on your roars carlos sits down at the same time as verner’s voice says i am sitting down you call saga right up and beg her pardon anya says to the speaker chapter 135 the policeman on duty blushes as he looks at saga bauer’s id he opens the door to room 703 for her and tells her that the patient will be back soon saga walks inside and finds two women in an almost empty room the bed is gone but the iv is still there along with two chairs excuse me asks the woman in a gray dress suit yes asks soga are you one of vicky’s friends before soga is able to answer yo lina walks in yonah she says in surprise she smiles and shakes his hand i thought they’d cut you off from everything i am cut off he says how wonderful for you she says the internal investigation folks are doing a great job he says smiling so broadly that dimples appear in his cheeks suzanne erst looks more closely at soga she asks i thought i mean excuse me for where’s vicky bennett soga asks jonah the doctor is doing a new ct scan jonas says and walks over to the window it looks out this morning i decided to take vicki bennett into custody the prosecutor says it would be nice if we had a confession before i do so you’re going to prosecute her asks soga you weren’t there suzanne says i was i saw the bodies and it does mean that she will go to jail she’s 15 years old and is beyond juvenile closed care saga smiles although she’s skeptical but to send her to prison don’t get me wrong the prosecutor says but i was expecting a more experienced interrogator i understand saga says still you should have a try you really should thanks saga says i’ve already spent half a day here and i can tell you this is not your average interrogation suzanne ost says taking a deep breath how so

vicky bennett is not afraid she seems to enjoy the power struggle and you soga asks do you enjoy the power struggle i don’t have time for her games and not for yours either tomorrow i will be in court to request an arrest order i listened to the recording of this morning’s questioning i don’t believe that vicky is playing a game with you saga says i am absolutely sure that she is the prosecutor says still murder can be traumatizing for the murderer her mind may have created islands of floating memories with no clear borders is that what they teach you at seppo these days the interrogator must begin by assuming that everyone wants to confess and to be understood saga says ignoring suzanne’s provocation is that all any confession is connected to feelings of power the person who is confessing has power over the truth saga keeps her tone friendly that’s why threats don’t work but using a friendly attitude and respect don’t forget that this girl is suspected of two brutal killings they hear the sound of the bed being wheeled up to the door of room 703 chapter 136 two nursing assistants steer the bed through the door vicky’s face has swollen considerably since the morning her cheeks and forehead are covered in scabbed wounds her arms have been freshly bandaged and her thumb is in a cast the assistants parked the bed in place and moved the drip bag to the freestanding iv pole vicky is lying on her back staring at the ceiling she doesn’t listen to the two women pushing the bed who are trying to carry on a conversation with her she looks grim the assistants let the side railings down and unfasten the belts that tie her to the bed as they leave soga notices that there are now two officers posted outside the door saga waits until the girl looks her way before she goes up to her side and sits down my name is saga bauer and i’m here to help you remember the past few days are you a social worker or what i’m a detective from the police from soga replies you are the prettiest person i’ve ever seen in real life what a nice thing to say i’ve cut open pretty faces vicky says and smiles i know soga says calmly she takes out her cell phone and presses record she quickly mentions the date time place and the names of everyone in the room then she looks at vicky quietly for a while you’ve been through some awful stuff she says i saw a newspaper vicky says she swallows continues my face and dantes they wrote some terrible things about me did you recognize yourself in their articles no tell me what happened instead use your own words i ran and ran and i froze i was freezing vicky looks at saga wondering what to say next she’s trying to remember what she’s already said has she told them the truth and she lied she doesn’t know i know nothing about why you ran away but if you would like to tell me i’m listening saga says i don’t want to vicky says okay then let’s start with the day before saga continues i know that you had classes in the morning but after that vicky closes her eyes the usual boring stuff routines don’t you normally have activities in the afternoon elizabeth took everyone down to the lake luchu and almira went swimming all naked you’re not supposed to swim naked it’s against the rules but they do whatever they want vicky suddenly smiles elizabeth got angry with them and then everyone took off all their clothes you two no not me not miranda and not

tula what did you do i paddled a little bit and watched the others play around what did elizabeth do she got all naked too and went swimming vicky is still smiling what did tula and miranda do they sat and threw pine cones at each other well elizabeth was swimming with the other girls she swam like all the old ladies do and you what did you do i was bored so i went back how did you feel that evening fine were you really feeling fine why did you cut yourself then you cut yourself on your arms and stomach right chapter 137 soga is watching vicky’s response to that last question her face is darkening and her expression hardening the edges of her mouth turn down soga explains there’s a note in the log about you cutting your arms yes but it wasn’t a big deal we were watching tv and i was feeling a little bit sorry for myself so i cut myself i went to elizabeth and she patched me up i like it when she takes care of me she is calm and she knows i need a lot of bandages around my wrists because it always turns my stomach later when i think about my veins being open why were you feeling sorry for yourself it was my turn to talk to elisabeth but she said she didn’t have time what did you want to talk to her about i don’t know nothing big it was just my turn to have private time with her but i couldn’t because miranda and tula had a fight that doesn’t sound fair soga says so i was feeling sorry for myself so i cut myself and then elizabeth patched me up you had your time with elizabeth after all it seems yeah vicky smiles are you elizabeth’s favorite no who is all of a sudden vicky lashes her good hand at soga’s face but saga rolls her head away in time the rest of her body doesn’t move vicky doesn’t know how she missed and why saga is now gently stroking her cheek are you tired asks soga vicky looks at her and reaches to stop soga from taking her hand away then she looks back at her you usually take 30 milligrams of eutrexa before you go to sleep soga says after a moment has passed that’s right the girl sounds irritated what time 10 were you able to sleep then no you couldn’t sleep all night i understand i don’t want to talk anymore vicky says and she closes her eyes that’s enough for today the lawyer says we have 20 more minutes suzanne protests my client needs to rest sigma riedelman says as she walks up to vicky’s bed you’re tired aren’t you do you want something to eat well signet talks to her client softly suzanne listens to her voicemail she looks out the window her face expressionless soga is just about to turn off the recorder on her cell phone when she catches sight of yonah and stops he is looking at her with eyes the color of ice then he abruptly leaves the room saga asks sidney to wait a moment and then follows him he walks past the officers on guard and waits for her at the door to the stairwell have i missed something she asks vicky slept that night in her own bed the clothes she was wearing were covered in blood iona says quietly what are you telling me it’s not in the report but do you noticed it at the crime scene yes so she fell asleep after the murders i don’t have access to the lab reports but one thought i’ve had is that she may have overdosed on her sleeping pills utrexa is supposed to make you sleep but before you calm down it can make you agitated even enraged i don’t know for sure but it could be that she was angry at miranda for robbing her of her private time with elizabeth or maybe she was angry with elizabeth because she let miranda do so or perhaps it is something else entirely

you think that it’s possible she murdered elizabeth took the keys went into the isolation room killed miranda and then went to sleep yes the evidence in the isolation room shows two sides to the killer uncontrolled violence and then tenderness yonah is trying to read saga’s eyes but they give nothing away once miranda is dead her rage dissipates he says she lifts her body onto the bed and she places her hands over her face after that she returns to her own room as the medicine is starting to take effect it’s strong and she feels overwhelmingly tired chapter 138 when saga returns to vicky’s room the prosecutor says that the remaining 15 minutes they have are too few to get anything of value nods as if she agrees and walks over to the end of the bed sidney looks at her in surprise saga waits with her hands on the rails until vikki turns her battered face toward her i thought you’d been awake the entire night saga begins very slowly however iona says that you slept in your bed before you ran away from birgita gordon vicki shakes her head and cigna tries to get between them any questioning is over for today and vicky whispers something and scratches next to one of the cuts on her cheek saga wants to get the girl to tell her something more not much just a few honest words about her flight through the forest and why she kidnapped the boy she knows that the more the interrogator gets the suspect to say about the events leading up to the crime the more probable it is that the suspect will tell them everything jonah is never wrong saga says with a smile it was dark and i was in bed while everyone was screaming and slamming doors vicky’s voice is barely above a whisper so you’re lying in bed and everyone is screaming saga says what are you thinking what do you do next i’m scared and i’m lying under the blanket and trying not to move vicky says not looking at anyone it’s totally dark i’m soaking i think i pissed on myself or maybe my period was starting buster is barking and nina is screaming about miranda i turn on the light and see that i’m covered in blood saga decides not to ask about the blood or the murders she does not want to force a confession but to allow vicky’s story to unfold as it will were you also screaming asks saga i don’t think so i doubt it i wasn’t able to think vicky says i just wanted to get away get out of there i usually go to sleep in my clothes i always sleep in my clothes so i put on my shoes and grabbed my purse i got out the window and ran into the forest i’m scared and i walk as fast as i can i walk for ages and it gets light and i just keep going then i see a car it’s almost new just left out there in the middle of nowhere with the keys in the ignition even the door is open i know how to drive because i drove a lot last summer so i just get into the car and start to drive i want to go to stockholm and get some money so i can go see my friend in chile then there’s a bang and the car turns around bang just like that and i wake up my ear is bleeding and i look up and i see i’ve driven right into a traffic light and i don’t know how i did that all the windows are gone and it’s raining right into the car the engine’s still running and i’m alive so i keep driving then i hear someone crying and i turn around and i see a little boy in a car seat a little boy it’s totally crazy i don’t know where he came from i yell at him to shut up the rains just pouring down i can hardly see but right when i turn to go over the bridge i see blue lights on the other side of the river i reckon it’s the cops and i get a little panicked and i turn the wheel and we drive off the road

it goes fast we go right down the side and into the water and i hit my face on the steering wheel the water is over the hood and we’re just sliding into the river like nobody’s business we’re sinking but i know enough to take deep breaths from the air right under the roof and i go back to the boy and get the car seat unbuckled and hold him up so he can breathe but the seat’s too heavy with him still in it so i get the seat belt off him but the car seat floats up too so i grab it and push it out the window and i hold on to it and i hold on to the boy and we go up i’m pulling the car seat toward the shore the other side of the river but the river is too strong and i have to let go the car seat and i swim as best i can and we get to the shore my shoes and purse are gone but the boy is all right and in a bit we start to walk vicky stops for a moment and takes a deep breath saga notices the prosecutor’s shift slightly but her eyes are fixed on vicki i ask dante his name and tell him that we’re going to find his mother vicky says and her voice has started to shake i hold his hand and we walk and walk and we sing a song he learned in preschool an old man who wore out his shoes and we go down a big road with posts along the sides and a car stops and we get in the back seat this guy asks us if we want to go to his house and get some new clothes and some food vicky falters and blinks hard then carries on in a whisper we might have gone with him except he said we’d get some money too and when he stopped to fill up his tank we snuck out and kept walking i don’t know how far we walked but there was a rest area by a lake and there was a truck from ikea parked there and we found a heap of sausage sandwiches and plastic bags and a thermos on one side of the picnic tables but before we can swipe the food this man comes up to us and asks if we’re hungry he says he’s from poland and we can ride with him all the way to uppsala i borrow his phone and call my mom and i keep thinking if he touches the boy i’ll kill him but he lets us just sit there and we fall asleep he doesn’t want anything from us he just lets us off and we take the train the last bit to stockholm and we hide among the suitcases i don’t have the key to the subway car and i don’t know anyone it’s been too long i lived with a couple at mitsumokiansan for a while but i don’t remember their names but i remembered tobias of course i remembered tobias and also he lives on vol mari school skelton and you take the subway to maria taurean and i’m such a idiot i really don’t deserve to live she falls silent and turns her face away chapter 139 saga is still standing at the end of the bed and looking at vicky who is lying on her side motionless only her index finger moves along the rail of the bed i’m thinking about what you told me about the man in the car saga says the man who wanted you to come home with him i think your feeling that he was dangerous was absolutely correct vicky slowly sits up and looks into saga’s cornflower blue eyes do you think you could help me trace him down once all this is over asks saga vicki nods and swallows hard then she wraps her arms tightly around her knees it’s difficult for saga to see how this thin delicate girl could have broken the skulls of two human beings before we go any further let me just tell you that people always feel better when they tell the truth saga says saga feels the tingling calm she gets when she enters a boxing ring she knows that she is close to a truthful confession she can feel the change in the room it’s in the tone of voice the warmth the level of moisture in the eyes saga pretends to write something in her notebook and waits for a few moments before she looks at vicky as if the girl has already confessed to the killings so you were sleeping in bloody sheets saga begins softly

i killed miranda didn’t i vicky whispers tell me about it vicky’s mouth trembles and her face darkens into a blush there are times i get really really mad she whispers as she covers her face were you angry at miranda i was what did you do i don’t want to talk about it sidney walks over to vicky and says you know that you don’t have to say a word don’t you i don’t have to tell you anything vicky says to saga the interrogation is over suzanne erst says thanks whispers vicky she needs time to remember what happened says saga we have a confession says suzanne i don’t know if i you just confessed to killing miranda eric’s daughter suzanne says in a louder voice don’t yell at me you hit her didn’t you you hit her in the head i don’t want to say anything else this interrogation is over cigna says sharply how did you hit miranda suzanne asks it doesn’t matter vicky’s voice breaks and she starts to cry your fingerprints were on a bloody hammer which i can’t talk about it what the hell do you want from me you don’t have to say anything saga says you have the right to remain silent why did you get angry at miranda suzanne asks so angry that you i’m making a note of this the lawyer says how did you get into miranda’s room i unlocked the door vicky says and tries to get out of bed i really can’t talk about this anymore how did you get the keys i don’t know i elizabeth had them am i right i borrowed them vicky says as she stands up did she want to give them to you i smashed her skull in that’s what you want to hear isn’t it vicky screams she throws her food tray at the prosecutor and orange juice and yogurt with cornflakes spatter the wall go to hell she screams at cigna who is so startled she falls backward into one of the chairs before saga and yonah can reach her vicky rips out her iv and seizes the pole she hits suzanne as hard as she can the bag flies off and bursts against the wall chapter 140 afterward jonah remembers how he and saga leaped between vicky and the two women they tried to calm her iv liquid ran down the wall vicki was panting and looking at them with wild eyes she’d hurt herself and blood dribbled from one of her eyebrows the policemen on guard outside and the two nursing assistants rushed in and forced vicki to the ground four people in all vicky fought screaming and kicking to get free she managed to kick over the patient cart vicky was forced onto her stomach and injected with a tranquilizer she screamed hoarsely for a while longer and then went quiet a few minutes later they were able to lift her into bed she started crying and tried to speak but her speech was slurred the nursing assistants tied her hands and feet to the bed rails and then her legs and finally they fastened a large star-shaped belt over her chest vicky’s blood had stained the sheets as well as their white clothes there was liquid and food all over the floor half an hour later vicky lay completely still her eyes shut her face was gray and closed off and the cracks in her lips had widened her eyebrow had been stitched and a new iv was in place the two police officers were back in position outside the door and a cleaning woman had just finished mopping the floor jonah knows that the prosecutor suzanne erst is suspicious of him and that he is not supposed to get involved but he doesn’t like what is going on suzanne has decided that there will be no more interrogations before the hearing it would have been better to wait until all questioning had been concluded and all test results had been returned from the lab before starting the legal process but suzanne intends to take the girl into custody tomorrow he’s certain that if saga bauer had been given just a bit more time vicki would have told her everything now they had a confession that could be considered forced

as long as the technical evidence holds up it won’t matter anyway jonah thinks as he leaves the room once the girl is fast asleep he walks along the hallway only subconsciously aware of the strong odor of disinfectant escaping from an open door there’s something bothering him about this case if he ignores the rock the course of events is fairly clear it would hold up but it’s not fixed it’s like a pulsing shadow world it’s still changeable he wants to look through all the evidence the autopsy report the technical reports and the lab reports but he’s not allowed access why were miranda’s hands over her eyes he remembers how the bloodied room looked but he needs to read the reports from the crime scene to go deeper into the course of events suzanne is standing at the elevator holding the door for him they nod the prosecutor seems untroubled everybody hates me because i was too tough she says as they get into the elevator she presses the button still a confession is hard to ignore even if the defense wants to protest it how does the technical evidence look asks jonah it’s pretty good i’m going with the highest level of suspicion the elevator stops at the ground floor will i see the reports jonah asks suzanne erst looks surprised she hesitates a moment before she says it’s not really necessary good jonas says and starts to walk away do you think there’s a hole in my case the prosecutor asks she trots to keep up with his pace no jonas says shortly i have the reports right here she says and stops to open her briefcase jonah keeps walking to the exit you can hear her behind him shuffling through her papers then she runs to catch up to him he’s already reached his car when she gets to him it would be fantastic if you could look at these today she says breathlessly she’s holding out a thick folder it’s the preliminary results from skl as well as the cause of death from the autopsy reports jonah looks her in the eye nods and throws the folder onto the passenger seat before he gets in his car chapter 141 yonah sits down by himself in the inner room of il cafe and places suzanne erst’s folder on the table he’s convinced she’s made a big mistake in provoking a confession that morning he doesn’t believe that vicky meant to take dante he thinks she was telling the truth about not noticing him in the back seat when she stole the car and he can’t dispute that she saved him from drowning yet for some reason she killed miranda and elizabeth why yona opens the folder hoping that the answer lies in one of these reports why does vicky get so enraged it’s not just the utrexa she hadn’t taken it before she came to birgita gordon jonah quickly flips through the pages he knows that crime scenes and other places where there’s evidence reflect more than the actions of the suspect there are traces of the motive in the pattern of blood spatter in where overturned furniture lies in the footprints and in the positions of the bodies nathan pollock would probably say that the careful reading of the crime scene is more important than evidence collection the victim plays a role in the killer’s inner drama and the scene of the crime is the stage complete with stage directions and props there are multiple clues including coincidence but there’s always that bit which is part of the inner drama and can be connected to the motive for the first time iona has the reports from the crime scene investigation he starts to study the documents which detail the evidence collection and the analysis of the crime scene the police have done a good job and were more careful than yonah would have expected a waiter in a knit wool cap comes by with a large mug of coffee on a tray but jonah is concentrating so hard that he doesn’t notice a young woman with a ring through her lower lip sitting in the booth next to his says with a smile that she saw yonah order the coffee although the results from the national laboratory are not part of this report jonah realizes that the results themselves are clear

the fingerprints are vicki’s the highest level of certainty grade four plus has been noted there is nothing in the crime scene analysis to contradict anything he observed when he was there however many of his observations are not there for instance there’s nothing about how the blood that had coagulated on vicky’s bed must have soaked into the sheets for at least an hour the report also does not state how the blood spatter changed angle after the first three blows jonah reaches for his coffee and takes a sip he studies the photographs again he flips through them slowly until he’s gone through the entire stack then he pulls out two pictures from vicky’s room two from the isolation room where miranda eric’s daughter was found and two from the brewery room where elizabeth grimm was found he moves his coffee cup to one side and places the six photographs on the table he stands up so that he can look at all six at once he’s looking for a pattern after a while jonah turns over all the photographs except one he studies this photograph carefully he remembers how this scene looked when he was in the room he puts himself into the emotions and aromas of the murder in the photograph miranda is lying on the bed she’s wearing cotton panties and her hands are over her face the flash of the camera makes her panties and the sheets blaze white the blood from her crushed head is a dark formless shape on the pillow jonah sees something he didn’t expect he takes a step backward hastily putting his mug on the floor by his feet the girl with the silver ring through her lower lip watches him and smiles to herself jonah leans over the photograph of miranda but he’s thinking of his visit to flora hansen he’d been irritated about wasting his time talking to her as he was leaving she’d followed him into the hallway trying to show him the drawing she’d done of miranda but he’d pushed her hand away and it had fallen to the floor still he’d caught a glimpse of it as he stepped over it on his way out the door now as he’s looking at miranda’s arranged body he’s remembering the drawing it looked like it had been done in two stages flora had first drawn a stick figure and then filled in the limbs the girl in the drawing had shaky contours in certain areas but other parts of her body were still as thin as thread her head was disproportionately large her straight mouth could barely be seen since her unfinished skeletal hands were over her face the drawing was similar to what had been described in the newspapers what the newspapers hadn’t revealed was that miranda had been hid in the head and that the blood had run into the pillow no photographs from the crime scene had been released the press had speculated about what the hands over her face meant but no one outside the police and the justice system had known about the injury to the head strict confidence had been kept and will be kept until the moment the court process begins you figured it out didn’t you the girl in the next booth says jonah meets the girl’s glittering eyes and nods before he looks back at the photograph on the table what he realized while looking at miranda’s body in the photograph was that flora had drawn a dark heart next to the girl’s head right where the blood had been in reality the same size the same place it’s as if she’d seen miranda lying on her bed it could just be a coincidence but if he remembers flora’s drawing clearly the similarity is striking chapter 142 the bells in gustav vasa church are tolling when jonah meets flora outside karlian antiques on uplandskatan she looks terrible she’s tired and washed out a fading bruise is visible on her right cheek her eyes are heavy on a narrow door next to the store there’s a small sign declaring that a seance will be held there that evening do you have the drawing with you jonah asks yes she says as she unlocks the door they walk down the stairs to the basement flora turns on the

ceiling lamps and goes into the room on the right which has a small window near the ceiling facing the street i’m sorry i lied to you flora says as she rummages in her purse i didn’t really feel anything with that key ring but i may i just see the drawing i did see miranda she says as she gives him the sheet of paper i don’t believe in ghosts and yet there she was jonah unfolds the paper and looks at the childish drawing a girl is lying on her back holding her hands over her face and her hair is undone there’s no furniture or bed he’d remembered correctly next to the girl’s head is a heart shaded in right where miranda’s blood had run from her head and had soaked into the pillow why did you draw a heart next to her flora looks down at the ground and blushes i don’t know i don’t even remember that i did it i was scared and shaking all over have you seen the ghost since she nods and her blush deepens yonah is trying to understand how this fits could flora have guessed her way to the truth could she have guessed the rock as well if she had she somehow knew she’d guessed right because if the rock was right it would be logical for her to assume that it had been used to hit miranda in the head and that there’d be blood on the bed but she drew a heart not blood he thinks that wouldn’t be right if she were trying to deceive it doesn’t fit she must have seen something she somehow saw miranda in the bed but she didn’t see her clearly where she saw her for a brief moment and then she drew what she remembered without thinking too much about it he has a vivid mental image of the photograph of miranda with the bloodstain next to her head she sat down and drew what she’d seen she remembered a body lying down with hands over her face and that there was something dark beside her head a dark shape when she drew the picture she interpreted the shape as a heart she didn’t think about any connection or even logic jonah knows that flora was far away from birgita gordon when the murders took place he knows she has no connection to any of the people involved or to what has happened he looks at the drawing again and is struck by another thought perhaps flora learned about the crime from someone who was actually there perhaps a witness to the crime described it to her and told her what to draw a child witness who saw the shape of a heart perhaps all this talk about a ghost is flora’s way of protecting the witness i would like you to contact the ghost iona says no i can’t how does it usually work i’m sorry but i can’t do it here you must ask the ghost if she saw what happened i don’t want to flora says i can’t take much more of this i can pay you yonah offers i don’t want to be paid i just want you to listen to what i’ve seen i’ll listen jonah says i’m beginning to think that i’m really going crazy she says she looks at him while wiping tears from her cheeks then she stares into space and swallows hard i’ll try she says but i don’t really believe go ahead and make an attempt you’ll have to wait there she says and points to the pantry miranda only comes when i’m completely alone i understand jonah says he gets up and leaves the room chapter 143 flora is sitting absolutely still watching as the detective closes the door behind him a chair creaks as he sits down in the pantry and then there’s silence she doesn’t hear anything not even the sound of a dog barking or a car driving past and nothing more from the room where the inspector is sitting now she can feel how exhausted she is flora does not know what to do should she light a candle or burn incense she closes her eyes for a

moment then she looks at the drawing she remembers how her hand shook as she drew what she’d seen and how she had trouble concentrating she glances around the room to see if the ghost has come back and looks at her picture again she’s not good at drawing but she can see that the girl is lying on the floor she sees the small crosses and realizes she was trying to draw the fringe on the bathroom rug her hand had been shaking so one of the girls legs was as thin as a bare bone the fingers are just lines she can see part of the straight mouth behind them she hears the chair in the pantry squeak flora blinks and stares at the drawing it seems as if the fingers have spread flora can see one of the eyes the girl is looking at her flora jumps when there’s a rattling in the pipes overhead she looks around the room the sofa is black with shadows and the table is hidden in a dark corner she looks back at the drawing the eye is gone a crease in the paper runs over the face flora’s hands are shaking as she tries to smooth the drawing the girl’s thin fingers are hiding her face and she can only see part of the mouth the floor creaks behind her and flora whirls around no one is there she looks back at the drawing and tears come to her eyes the heart next to the girl’s head is becoming blurry she looks at the tangled hair and then again at the fingers in front of the face flora jerks her hands back from the drawing when she sees that the mouth is open she can tell it’s screaming flora stumbles to her feet as she stares at the screaming mouth and is just about to call for the detective when she really does see the girl she’s climbed into the cupboard and is trying to shut the door behind her but it won’t close while she’s inside it swings open the girl is standing still and her hands are in front of her face then her fingers glide open and she looks at flora with one eye flora stares at the girl she’s saying something but flora can’t make out the words flora walks closer and says i can’t hear what you’re saying i’m pregnant the girl says she takes her hands away from her face she touches the back of her head in surprise brings her hand back and stares at the blood she sways blood has started to flow from her head down her back and onto the cupboard floor she opens her mouth but before she can say anything her head shakes and her thin legs give way jonah hears something crash in the room next door he rushes in and sees flora lying on the floor in front of a cupboard that has fallen over she sits up and looks at him in confusion i saw her she’s pregnant iona helps flora to her feet did you ask what happened flora shakes her head and looks at the cupboard nobody is allowed to see anything she whispers what are you trying to say miranda said she was pregnant flora is crying now and starts to walk away she dries her tears looks back at the fallen cupboard and abruptly leaves the room jonah takes flora’s coat from the chair and follows her she’s already halfway up the stairs to the street chapter 144 flora is sitting on the steps in front of carleen antiques she’s buttoning her coat color is coming back to her face but she says nothing jonah has his cell phone to his ear and has just called niels oleon the head of forensic medicine at karolinska hospital wait a sec jonah hears the needle say i’ve just gotten a smartphone there’s static in yona’s ear yes what can i do for you yonah i have a short question jonah says by the way fripa’s in love the needle says in his nasal voice how nice jonah says i’m afraid that

he’ll be miserable if things don’t work out the needle continues you know what i’m saying yes but so what was your question was miranda eric’s daughter pregnant absolutely not you remember the girl who i remember everyone the needle says you do you never told me that you never asked flora has gotten to her feet and is smiling anxiously are you absolutely sure absolutely the needle says she couldn’t even get pregnant she couldn’t she had large cysts on her ovaries all right now i know thanks oh and say hi to fripper will do yonah ends the conversation and looks at flora flora’s smile starts to fade why do you do things like this jonah asks in a serious tone you told me the murdered girl was pregnant but she couldn’t even get pregnant flora gestures back to the door to the basement i remember that she but it isn’t true jonah says she wasn’t pregnant i meant to say flora whispers i meant to say she thought she was pregnant she wasn’t pregnant but she thought she was she believed it yumana yona swears and finish he starts to walk along upland katan toward his car