The next morning I sat on the giant, blue, double decker bus headed for the sticks, watching the nondescript countryside zip by through the drizzle.
I toyed with my phone. I don’t trust the police. My Grandma, for all her hippy dippyness, was kind of anti-establishment, and raised me to be suspicious of any government agencies. Not, like, shoot them on sight or anything; just, watch your back. Don’t tell them more than you need to.
Even before that, in fact, the night my parents died, a woman officer was assigned to take care of me, to keep me out of the way as their bodies were loaded onto ambulances that didn’t bother to pretend with sirens. She was so pissed to have been stuck with babysitting duty when she clearly wanted to be in on the action, that she left me alone every two seconds to go poke her nose in. I hated every last one of them that night, even the paramedics – would it have killed them to put the sirens on for one minute? – but her most of all. I remember with blinding clarity thinking what a bitch she was, that she couldn’t dial her ambition down for one freaking hour until my Grandma arrived, and over the months that followed, every time she tried to talk to me I’d just snarl at her. Once, I spat.
I am furious about how this whole situation has been managed. Would it have killed them to speak up and officially say that Anders was not, and had never been under suspicion of killing Jenny? But what do they care? It’s not their job to worry about the people whose lives they ruin; it’s their job to tick “solved” off their to-do list, and leave someone else to clear up the mess. But I’m gathering that Anders, and even Daniel and Tove don’t see it that way. I’ve observed an acceptance, a passivity, almost, a sense of “whatever they need to do.” Anders isn’t outraged that he was kept in jail for three days while they investigated him for something he didn’t do, he is simply relieved that that it’s over.
The invitation to call Nadja Johannson was so that I could help her, not the other way around, there is no doubt of that. Is there a way I can play it so that it could be, just a little bit, mutually beneficial? I know that the details of any ongoing investigation is going to be confidential, of course she isn’t going to tell me anything. But if I am living with a man who she thinks may have killed two women already, wouldn’t she want to help me? To protect me? It’s playing with fire to so much as hint that I am the tiniest bit afraid of being a third victim; the last thing I want to do is fuel her suspicion even an iota. But why else would I call her? I am either trying to get some information out of her that could help Anders, or I might as well toss this card out the window onto the freeway.
I was so deep in thought that I jumped when my phone rang, for a fleeting second I thought it would be her. But it was Anders. While I was dithering over whether or not I should call Nadja Johansson, she had called him.
Hanna had been receiving threats. Her death is officially declared a murder investigation.
The bus pulled into a little cobblestoned seaside down, and I stepped off into the glistening, after-rain, sunshine. Right away I spotted Tove waiting for me, in her customary leggings and sweater. I hadn’t actually laid eyes on her in almost three weeks, and as soon as I did, everything flipped around a little bit.