Wallander - The Woman from Malmo - 1


by Andrea Lena DiMaggio

Based on characters created by Henning Mankell
and the BBC and Swedish series Wallander
- the story takes place after this author's Wallander - Tvillingar

Oh write me a beacon so I know the way
Guide my love through night and through day
Only the sunset knows my blind desire for the fleeting
Only the moon understands the beauty of love
When held by a hand like the aura of nostalgia


4:32 am at the home of Linda Wallander…

“Mummy?” Klara came running into the bedroom clutching her Smaslug toy dog. Linda sat up and Klara ran to the bed and hopped on, immediately cuddling with her mother. Klara’s nightmares had subsided quite a bit, but the little girl still struggled since Hans’ presence at home was in its waning cycle. Linda pulled Klara close and shook her head at the empty space on the left side of the bed….

That afternoon….

She had worked from home all day, looking forward to a welcome weekend retreat that included some alone time while Klara enjoyed a sleepover at a friend’s house.

Linda stared at the photo on her desk, a family portrait taken not long after Klara’s fourth birthday. The couple was actually happy at one time, but the picture seemed to reveal some of the micro-fractures in their relationship. Yet the little girl in the picture was happy and well-cared for even if things had already begun to fall between the chairs.

Looking back now that she was an adult, the confusion and even anger she felt throughout her teens had disappeared for the most part, tempered by her understanding of her mother’s needs and her father’s weakness. The irony of her own marriage seemed to coax her into a tenuous acceptance while still steeled against the possibility that Hans’ absences were growing longer and with more frequency.

He was no different than a lot of men who deal with loss. His was especially understandable given the circumstances of both their deaths. But he did have a wife who still loved him and a little girl who was missing her father. That had to account for something, hadn’t it? She shook her head and turned away from the photo only to have her attention drawn back.

“You sent the file to Stockholm, Yeah?”

Kurt stood at the doorway to the den, almost cowering. His meds helped slow the inevitable to a near-glacial crawl, but the fear of how things could progress like a wildfire in a field of rapeseed kept their hopes tenuous at best. Linda smiled to herself, trying with little success to keep her husband’s behavior packed away in some existential acceptance.

“Yeah, Dad, I did.” A case that ended up resolved elsewhere for a change still set her off, but she recalled it was Kurt just being thorough, which was another indication of how things were still the same in the midst of change.

She blurted it out like a rebuke, leaving him looking hurt. That look she sadly recalled that came across her Farfar Povel’s face in the same way as his own struggles increased years ago. But Kurt’s frown eased into a grin, like a child who grows patient with his mother’s impatience. And he was still enough of Kurt to know how things worked in the way he occasionally spoke.

“Let’s wrap this up for the day, Linda? You’ve been working too hard ….”

He almost added ‘on my account,’ but neither of them wanted to indulge in guilt, self-identified or otherwise. Learning to work with what is rather than what is wished for is hard enough under the best of circumstances, but the need to fight outweighed the armies that waged against Kurt - and Linda.

“There’s a new inspector who’s been hired… from Malmo. Kim… Svedberg…? No, Svedin? Yeah, Kim Svedin.”

“Terrific. Ever since Ann-Brit stepped away, they seem to think they need a female from someplace else instead of right here in Ystad. What was wrong with Alie?”

“She got married and moved to Amsterdam, Dad.”

“Oh, yeah.” He sighed in frustration. Even the smallest lapse in memory sent a shudder through them both. But the recently relocated Alie Karlsson was just another hardly-there-at-all replacement in a long line. He sighed again. Linda half-smiled and pointed to the pile of papers on her desk.

“I would have forgotten too except the invitation is still here somewhere. I suppose I should just throw it away.” Linda sighed, wanting to forget Alie altogether. In her most recent of protracted estrangements with Hans, a very unheard of self-pity caused her to tumble into a brief if fascinating relationship with Alie.

“She’s the one you…” He resisted the urge to tease even if the relationship wasn’t a sore spot. Even so, Linda turned and glared at him. He started to wince until a smile crossed her face.

“I do miss her from time to time, but no more than Hans when he’s away bangin’ his latest girl to fight his mortality. At least he isn’t buying sports cars or yachts.”

She laughed and Kurt followed suit. It felt good for them to laugh together, life promising what it did.

“Dinner?” Kurt turned his gaze to the door. No eat-in since Linda had been home all day. Nothing special but another example of how he had not yet become the child to her adult, as some unfairly had already inferred.

She sighed. The time enough to be alone would come all too soon, and besides, it was only Friday. Hans’ excursions always seem to conclude at seven sharp on Sunday night, so perhaps a delightful weekend with a novel and laundry would still be in the cards?

“Sure, Dad. Let me close this email and we can head over to Marinan’s, okay?”

“Yeah, after all, I’ve got to watch my diet,” he laughed. A running joke since even trying to stay healthy, the diabetes that was under fair control still remained way down the list of his concerns. She laughed as well since he was still lucid enough to joke about things.

No diving into that ever-present river of fatalism. Kurt was not destined to lose, since in a way, he was already ‘ahead of the game’ but the disease would do what Alzheimer’s does, and that demanded laughter every chance he got. There would be a little bit of laughter and a little bit of crying before this latest case was wrapped up, but mostly, the Wallander family would finally find a measure of satisfaction as well.

Oh whisper me words in the shape of a bay
Shelter my love from the wind and the rain

The Woman from Malmo
Chapter One - – Längtar (Longing)

Ystad Police Station...

Linda had just sat down at the conference table for what she expected was a routine morning briefing. Chief Lisa Holgersson stepped next to her, putting her hand on Linda’s shoulder.

“Linda, I’d like to introduce you to our newest team member, Kim Svedin." Linda turned slowly to look past Lisa, expecting to see an average looking man. Instead, she was greeted with a surprise as a somewhat tall, strikingly handsome dark-haired woman extended her hand.

“Hello. Linda? I have a cousin in town here with that name. I don’t suppose you’ve met her?” The small talk was odd, but also oddly inviting as Linda did a quick mental inventory of anyone she knew with her own name. Kim smiled and sat down beside her.

“I’ve heard so much… excuse me, I don’t mean to… You probably get a lot about your father. I’m happy to make your acquaintance. She actually offered her hand a second time.

“I met pretty much the rest of your team Friday afternoon when I arrived. I’m looking forward to working with you…all.” Kim looked away slightly, her face beginning to grow a bit pink. Linda noticed Kim’s uneasiness and became uneasy herself. The moment was interrupted as Lisa sat down at the end of the table, speaking up.

“First, I’d like to welcome Inspector Svedin officially. Kim has been working the past few years in Malmo as a Liaison Officer for Special Crimes. Her expertise is a welcome addition to our team here. With so many changes over the past several months, we hope to see some stability to our workforce….” She paused and looked around the table.

“Excuse me. To you. In the impersonal moments of the job, it’s too easy to forget the personnel. Thank you all for your hard work. To continue, it’s to everyone’s benefit that we have someone here on a full-time basis. Regrettably, sexual crime indeed has increased quite a bit over even the past few years. I wish the need to address that fact.” Lisa paused and sighed.

“The Magnusson girl who went missing last month was found wandering in the center of town, She…” One of the patrol officers interrupted with a wave, catching Lisa’s attention.

“Excuse me, Chief? Wasn’t that the Magnusson boy?” His question was earnest if somewhat misguided.

She, and yes I meant to stress that, went missing after she was dropped off at home after a trip to Malmo for a support thing… for teens.” Lisa was surprised at the officer’s comment. It was her hope ans well as most folks she knew that den goda viljan actuall included kids like the girl.

”She was naked except for a blanket and she had been tatooed recently with the word pervers ... I won’t go into any other detail The report is in my office. But suffuce to say this kid was subjected to horrific treatment.” Lisa could barely contain the anger and prayed to god the sadness wouldn't come out either. She might be a woman, but her focus had to be at least less emotional than her team. Time enough for rageful tears even if she had been the first person to talk with the poor girl.

”We...” Kim raised her hand cautiously.

”We have seen at least three other such crimes in Malmo with at least two elsewhere. The only thing we know is that the crimes are nearly if not completely identical and that as soon as the crimes stop in one area, they have been committed elsewhere.”

”One ...” Nyberg shook his head in anger before continuing.

”One rapist hurting multiple girls!.” The officer who asked the first question looked sincerely apologetic, but another older officer spoke

”Aren’t these kids just seeking attention..” He didn’t get a chance to finish as Kurt walked into the meeting. A quick glare was followed by words that were as calm as he could mange.

”You need to join the rest of us in the Twenty-First Century, Andersson. Read about brain chemistry and...” He got stuck on a word and Linda winced, wanting to get his attention to mouth the word, but he continued”

”Genetics. Endocrinology.” He sighed, remembering another girl who had moved to Sweden to live with Anne-Britt’s cousin.

”GETTING BACK to the girl in town. Christina! She’s fourteen and has had little support from her step-father despite.... It would seem that the person who did this has been following these girls by their connection with support groups. Which means he knows or can find out where these girls live. I’ve every confidence in you all, but for this case, I’ve asked Inspector Svedin to take the lead,” She looked in Kim’s general directon, but faced Linda and Kurt, who was leaning against tthe wall behind her.

”Linda will work...” She paused for effect. ”Alongside Kim. With this case in mind, Kurt has an announcement. Linda winced. They had discussed his retirement, but he hadb’t mentiioned anthiung yo her, leaving her confused and even a little bit hurt. He stepped away from the back waqll and spoke.

”I’ve been promoted, of sorts. A strictly consulting position within the department. Too old to climb fences but too new to be turned out to pasture.” Lisa sighed, hoping to say the right thing that would not embarrass him,

”We’ve got him for quite some time, people. This case is goint to need every one of us,” She made a point to looke directly at Andersson.

”We’ve all got our work cut out for us in any event, but keep your eyes and ears open for the sake of other kids here and elsewhere as well. These kids have it bad enough but this is straight from the devil!" She paused to shake off the anger still dwelling under the surface before finishing,

"Let’s have a good day, yeah?” Lisa smiled at Kurt and he returned the gesture. Everyone knew things had changed and would continue to change for him, but his Chief and many of his colleagues were determined to let him know they knew he was ”still there.”

Lisa walked to where Linda and Kim still sat, almost ignoring wach other. While Linda would never have resented help from ’outside,’ Kim’s presence now made her feel awkward. She was caught off guard by Kurt’s announcement, even if it was a necessary acknowledgment of his problem.

But moreso, to be paired with a perfect stranger instead of any of her familiar colleagues left her wondering how to make this new thing work in the midst of so much other change. She went to stand up as Lisa approached but she felt her arm being tugged gently.

”I’m sorry you found out this way. Lisa was going to talk with you before the meeting, but I had car trouble and got here just as the meeting was going to start. Please forgive me?”

Kim lowered her gaze ever so slightly and Linda only just then noticed the long, thin scar that stretched up from Kim’s chin to her left ear. And somehow the frustration she was feeling dissipated only to be replaced with a growing curiosity about the woman she was slated to partner with.

”I cannot begin to bless whomever for the decision to send you here, Kim,” Lisa said as Kim and Linda rose.

”And I can’t think of anyone better to work with than Linda. She’s about as good a cop as they come.” Lisa wanted to smooth over any ruffled feathers, but the assignment wasn’t what made the two women feel so awkward, as obvious as it looked. They just didn’t know how to view each other, period.

On So cruel the things I've seen Know now that would scare you
I'll keep that part of me away when I'm near you
Cause life is real enough from this It's almost like a dream
even when I wake up And outside the life goes on

Next - Besvikelse (Disappointment)

as sung by the composer Emily Barker

Quiet Night
as sung by the composer Ann Terrheim

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