Wallander - The Woman from Malmo - 2



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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
https://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/fiction/54765/wallander-tvill...



Quiet night The thought becomes a whisper
Not a word you say could ever hurt me
Screaming streets are so quiet now
They are sleeping Just like we were about to

Previously...

”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 hadn’t mentioned anything to her, leaving her confused and even a little bit hurt. He stepped away from the back wall 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 going to need every one of us,” She made a point to look 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.”



Somewhere outside Malmo…

The sun, while somewhat obscured, peered through a gap in the exhausted rainclouds, bathing the field in a warm glow. The soft wind pushed the rain-covered wild rapeseed into waves that made the field look like an inviting golden lake. And in the midst of that cozy lake, despite that warm sunny glow, stood the cold island of an abandoned farm. Almost påträngande... intrusive.

The barn had long since collapsed under its own weight, leaving only the farmhouse, grey with weathering and boarded up, save for a small window in a gable almost bulging from the attic roof. Apart from the sound of the wind and the occasional call of a grouse or gull, the farm would have been silent but for the screams that came from the attic of the house…



The Woman from Malmo
Chapter 2 - Besvikelse (Disappointment
)

You say it's worth it all the troubles
and the worries
Just knowing I'll wake up with you
again tomorrow And I say it's worth it too

Linda looked around, hoping for a brief reprieve from the uncomfortable moment. She scanned the room until she caught Kurt’s eye. He held his hand up to his ear, mimicking a phone call before walking out. She sighed in frustration. First because his quick absence left her having to resume the conversation with Kim… Inspector Svedin.

But her frustration also arose from the hurt feelings from having to learn second hand about her father’s almost de facto retirement. Never more going into the field together. The brief existence of the Wallander ‘team’ had been supplanted by being paired with a perfect stranger.

“Perfect…Just great,” she thought; a cross between a muse and a sarcastic plaint. She turned to discover Kim still sitting quietly; her patience already beginning to annoy. Linda smiled politely, debating whether to follow her father to his office, but Kim placed her hand softly on Linda’s shoulder, almost invasive in her quiet deference.

“Yes?” Linda snapped off the reply but softened quickly.

“I’m sorry, I was just….”

“I know you and your father are a team.” Funny that she should use the present tense.

“I… We expected that this day would come, but…”

“My father….” Kim lowered her gaze only slightly, owing to a sense of commonality rather than her own disappointing struggles.

“Your father…He’s still sharp. Does he joke?” An odd question, but not surprisingly right on target. Linda smiled, authentic rather than polite and cordial for their own sake.

“Poppa just turned sixty, and he enjoys poking fun at the beast in the room.” Kim smiled back, only slightly adding to the already present curve of the scar on her face. Linda tried to avoid looking, but Kim noticed.

“I… it was a long time ago, and that’s all I’ll say… for now.” Linda switched from one awkward stare to another as she noticed Kim’s words were accompanied by a very slight smile. Trust?

“I’ve got to go to my car for some things. Let’s meet in a half hour to talk more?” Kim’s smile had turned swiftly to an angry frown. It wasn’t at all about who offered which idea first for her. Linda noticed that while the position wasn’t personal at all for Inspector Svedin, the crimes and the victims were entirely person for Kim Svedin.


Meanwhile…

Kurt sat in his car, not so much for privacy as rather to collect his thoughts in a quiet space as he scanned his cell phone for contacts. A moment later he had hit the preset.

“Hello? Anne-Brit? Yes. Kurt….How are you?” He paused as she spoke, almost too politely, but they hadn’t talked since her departure. He listened until her voice seemed almost quiet before getting to the frightening business at hand.

“Your cousin in Malmo? The girl we…you sent to your cousin, yeah? Yes, I know she has a name,” he tried not to be abrupt. He relaxed at Anne-Britt’s next few words.

“What? Sorry?” He listened as his former colleague apologized.

“That’s kind of you… yes I still can remember most things pretty quickly. Still here, I suppose.” He laughed nervously.

“Hang on? One sec?”

He looked out the window of the car, almost ignoring the parking lot and the road beyond as if a manager was flashing cues at him from offstage. A face appeared… two actually. The girl and the woman he knew years ago who shared the same name.

“Ah…I remember…After her mother? Inger?” Another pause.

“Yes, she’s doing well? Good. I don’t mean to be short with you but we need to talk…. No, face to face. As soon as…. You’re coming into Ystad for… Yes, lunch tomorrow would be perfect. Yes. At one is fine. See you then.” He heard the phone click and put it on the seat next to him.

Looking in the rearview mirror, he noticed that he had a blemish on his cheek. Rubbing it, he began to laugh softly at the irony of being almost past middle aged and still having a complexion that occasionally hearkened back to his teens. He shook his head and got out of the car and walked back into the station.


The farmhouse…

There was no need for anonymity, the man thought. He felt invincible, as all who share in his rage and hatred do. But he was still cautious enough to stay in the shadows behind the glare of the harsh lamps aimed directly at the girl. She was just waking up….more like being ripped into consciousness after a barely effective retreat from the pain.

“Want to see?” The man rolled an antique mirror over to the bed where the girl was bound. He tilted it at the hinged center, revealing to her a view that he considered comforting. She went to scream, but no words escaped her lips. He didn’t bother to gag her. Not just because no one would hear, but because he had been energized by her screams.

“You can’t fool anyone, little boy,” he spoke in rebuke.

The girl looked at the image that grew larger as he rolled the mirror closer. He had cut off all of her hair, a crude cut that left the remaining hair uneven and ugly while her shorn locks still lay across her body. He had torn the studs from her ears, leaving bloody lobes. Every bit of makeup had been scrubbed off, rough enough to leave a reddish shimmer on her cheeks.

And every part of her was flooded with unspeakable pain, but none so much as the memory of the horrific invasion of the assault. How utterly perverse but welcomed irony, the man thought, that the English word for the plant that warmed the field just outside the house and the crime that destroyed the innocence of the girl inside the house was the same word – rape.

Tears fell even as she still failed to utter a sound. She looked at him in plea, her question unspoken and with not even a whisper or mouthing silently. He glared at her and answered the only question she would have at that moment, since it was the same first question out of all the others.

“Why?”

He paused and stroked his chin in thought as he laughed; the softness of his voice more horrifying that any word he could ever shout.

“I could go into how much I hate you and your kind and why, but really, little boy? I do this mostly just because I can”.


The station, just before noon...

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

Linda sat at her desk. She had gone from understanding to impatient to resentful, only to sigh in frustration over everything the day continued to bring. A quick call home got an unexpected answer as Hans picked up the phone instead of Klara’s sitter. Klara apparently was having a great day according to Hans, but he said that almost always if Klara merely wasn’t crying about his absence.

“Din jävla,” she said under her breath. Hans spoke quickly, as if he had called her instead. He revealed nothing and everything when he insisted they had to talk. He barely communicated with her already, and his urgency could only mean one thing. The thought of divorce left her hurt and angry and scared and relieved all in on moment.

But it wasn’t just about Hans and her, but especially about a little girl whose father’s estrangement left her with only two people in the world who actually gave a damn. And that left Linda facing her own beast, as Kim’s father had so brilliantly put it. Soon, even if he lived many more years, her father might depart, likely leaving Linda to raise Klara by herself.

She sighed and turned around just as Kurt reentered the station. He headed to Lisa’s office while virtually ignoring Linda, still having made no time to talk to her.

She felt overwhelmed, and she stood up and quickly retreated to the sanctuary of the ladies room. She quickly entered a stall and sat down and began to sob. The sounds might be insulated to the outside but echoed off the bright, smooth tiles that covered the lavatory walls.

As her sobs subsided, she heard similar sounds coming from the stall to her left.

“Are you okay,” she spoke even as the woman beside her spoke the exact same words, which in turn reverberated in the room like echoes across a deep valley. Their words were quickly replaced by nervous laughter. Linda stood up and exited the stall, coming face to face with Kim Svedin.

“You okay,” she repeated, feeling odd that she didn’t add the woman’s name. It was fairly obvious that Kim was not okay. Her face was red, and not merely from crying. Kim used her jacket sleeve to wipe the mixture of tears and spittle from her face.

“I…. I made the mistake of looking at that girl’s file….” She said, looking back in embarrassment at the open door of the stall. She put her head down and used one hand to lean against the wall, unsteady. Linda squinted a bit only to have her eyes widen quickly in understanding. The quiet shouted at both of them as awkwardness gave way to shame for the past for one woman and feeling ashamed for being so quick to judge by the other.

“When I was fifteen….before…” Kim used her own gaze to eye her body up and down, and Linda’s eyes followed like she was being led on an adventure that Kim had never meant for Linda to undertake. Kim noticed and continued.

“When I was seven, I knew I was different…. My uncle ….noticed it ….and then when I was in Secondary some boys….” So many reasons to feel shame and guilt and none of them legitimate if still wielding a tenacious stranglehold . Kim sighed as her words refused to come forth, leaving her to look at Linda in plea before beginning to sob once again.

Linda wanted to run away and at the same time she wanted to hold Kim in her arms like she held Klara; a mother’s instinct for a woman the same age as her? A woman? Yes, of course…a woman, Linda just reached over and squeezed Kim’s shoulder while wondering how she could possibly work with someone so…weak? No, not weak at all. Kim frowned at herself and spoke in a raspy near whisper.

“I…I’m okay. I hate this, but it’s what I’m stuck with. I guess it’s what my Farfar used to say? He’s a poet among other things, and he says he just writes what comes to him? I’ll do whatever I can to be straight with you, Inspector Wallander.”

The same worldview, so to speak that Linda’s own grandfather used to describe his painting. Kim smiled slightly and Linda realized she wasn’t being formal for the sake of getting along, but rather earnestly wanting to defer to Linda’s place within the department.

“WE will find this guy.” A simple if as yet unknowable outcome that served to bring a focus that each had already chosen to embrace. A new team was being forged even as the old one was slowly and gently being pulled apart. Linda could only hope that both teams…or rather an amalgam of both teams would emerge, hopefully leaving Linda and Kurt and Kim able to take what came to them all to stop this horror. Linda nodded and offered her hand to Kim.

“Okay?” Linda paused while Kim considered it. She wiped her face once again before offering her hand in return to Linda.

“Okay!”


11:20 pm, just outside of Ystad….

The girl took the crude burlap hood off her head. She was dizzy from the drugs he had forced upon her but still every bit of her cried out in pain.

Through tear-swollen eyelids she peered down at her bare body, overwhelmed with shame. The man had left a blanket by her when he drove off.

“Cover yourself,” he had hissed. She was still too woozy to see anything clearly, which was exactly what he had counted on. It was as if he planned his departure to torture her one last time. Awake soon enough to know he left her but not soon enough to do anything other than shake nakedly in the open night air.

Almost an hour later she staggered down Kristianstadvägen, failing to notice the hospital to her right. As she walked further along, she saw a large delivery truck heading her way. She wiped the tears still remaining on her face before stepping into its oncoming path…


12:42 am…

“Linda? Yeah, it’s me,” Nyberg spoke into the cellphone. His hands shook as he stared at the truck driver sitting in the back of the ambulance.

“Another girl. She jumped in front of an ICA Delivery Rig… No, the driver’s okay but shaken up. He veered into a light pole in front of the Mora Promenaden restaurant and scraped the side of the cab, but he…he’s okay.” Nyberg choked back a relieved sob.

“The girl’s hurt awfully bad but not from this, the truck missed her. Yeah. She’s alive….”

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 – Undra (Wonder)…

Quiet Night
as sung by the composer Ann Terrheim
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmInifeZkzY



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