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.”I walked back to Istedgade, found a café on a corner, noticed the woman with the encouraging look at one of the tables but didn’t accept the invitation this time, either.I sat at the bar on a stool high enough to keep an eye on the entrance to the building I had just left, and I ordered a cup of black coffee and a Brøndums aquavit, the closest I could come to a Simers Taffel south of the Skagerrak.After twenty-five minutes a black Mercedes pulled up and a man got out.He was tall and somewhat rangy, with red-blond hair and a beard.He looked around before crossing the street and entering the building.I emptied my glass, nodded at the waitress, and followed him.I stood in the hallway and listened.At first I heard nothing.Then a door slammed, followed by hurried footsteps down the stairs.When he reached bottom he met my gaze.Now I recognized him.His hair was shorter, beard neat and well-trimmed, and he was distinctly better-dressed than the last time we’d met.But it was the same man I had found her with in Christiania twenty-three years earlier.His voice shook when he said, “Veum?”“That’s me.What’s going on?”Before he could answer, his phone rang.He put it to his ear, and as he listened he gradually grew paler.“But … but you can’t …” He glanced up the stairway, as if he expected someone to come after him any second.“Yeah … all right, I’m coming.Track seven.”Then he lowered the phone and looked at me again.His expression was darker than the night, it was as if someone had poured poison in his ear.“I have to go.”“I’m going with you.”He looked like he was going to object, but just shrugged his shoulders.We went out to the sidewalk.He walked past his car without a glance.“Where are we going?” I asked.“Central Station.Track seven.”“And what’s going to happen?”“We’re going to meet them.”“Who?” Impatient, I grabbed his arm.“Heidi?”He jerked loose from my grip and looked at me, his despair about to flow over.The darkness surrounding us had settled over Copenhagen.At the end of Istedgade rose Central Station, its steep gable like some heathen house of God.The wind that hit us came from frozen outposts.It was no merry evening in the King’s Copenhagen—or was it the Queen’s nowadays?“No,” he snapped.“Svanhild.”He rushed toward Central Station, and I did what I could to keep pace.No more was said.At the street’s end we walked directly in through the nearest entrance and bolted up the steps to the main hall, where Christian Mogensen made a beeline for the stairs to track seven.I followed.The tracks at Copenhagen’s Central Station lie in an excavated area underneath.On track seven, it was announced that an intercity train to Ǻrhus-Struer was arriving in five minutes.Mogensen ran down the steps as if the train was pulling out right in front of him.Without any hesitation I followed at his heels.The platform was packed, but Mogensen shoved his way through until it thinned out in the crowd of travelers standing with suitcases and other luggage, ready to board as soon as the train pulled in.They stood waiting for us at the far end of the platform, the blond woman and the broad-shouldered man I had met in the hallway an hour earlier.Mogensen stopped a few meters from them and stood with arms hanging, gasping for air.I stayed behind but off to one side of him for a clear view.A few tracks away, an S train was headed out to the suburbs, maybe up to what Copenhageners called the “whiskey belt.” No one here on the platform at track seven was indulging in whiskey.But the looks they exchanged were as cold as ice cubes.The woman I gathered to be Svanhild twisted her lips into the sourest smile I’d seen since Maggie Thatcher.“What’s wrong, darling?” she said to Mogensen.“You’re both crazy! Was he the one who did it?”The broad-shouldered man took a few steps to the side and raised his arm like a gunman before the last shootout.He nodded in my direction.“Who’s this clown?”Mogensen turned halfway around, as if he’d forgotten that I had followed him.Then he pulled out his cell phone and held it in front of them.“I’m calling the police! I am—right now!”“Remember to give them your confession,” Svanhild said, with an evil smile.“They’ll find your DNA when they test the sperm in her vagina.You gave me a nice-sized quantity of it this morning, have you forgotten? You didn’t say no, even when the gorgeous love of your life was waiting on Lille Istedgade—”“You don’t mean—”“A trip to the bathroom and a quick drain into a little bottle.That’s all it took.But we also grabbed a few hairs from your brush just to be safe and laid them on her pillow.”I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.“What are we talking about here? You’re not saying that—”Mogensen turned to me again, his face as white as a sheet.“They killed her.That woman there—that evil woman, my wife—she couldn’t let me live with another woman.The one I’ve wanted so much all these years.” He turned back to Svanhild.“Why didn’t you take me instead?”I was inclined to believe him.Her smile was more evil than that of the queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.“It wouldn’t have hurt enough, darling.Not long enough.”“And he helped you! My partner, your lover, Frederik Vesterlund.”“It was a sheer pleasure.For him too.He raped her while I held her down.But don’t worry.He didn’t come.Only you did.”I could hardly believe my ears.Christian and Frederik stood staring at each other, two kings on the same platform.Like some fake arbitrator I walked between them.“But you’re forgetting one thing,” I said.“What the hell is this Norwegian doing here?” Vesterlund bellowed.“He’s the crown witness for the prosecution,” I said.“I can testify that I saw you two leave the building before Mogensen arrived.And when he came, he wasn’t in there long enough to have done any of these things at the scene of the crime that you’re babbling about.”The train for Ǻrhus and Struer whistled in the tunnel behind us.It all happened within a few seconds.Svanhild pointed at me, and as if she was commanding a dog, said: “Frederik, get him!”Frederik Vesterlund lunged at me, but Mogensen stepped in before he reached me.Vesterlund swung at him, but Mogensen stepped to the side, grabbed his arm, and pushed him along.They stumbled toward the edge of the platform, and in the moments before the train was about to thunder past, they tottered at the very edge.The people behind us screamed in terror, the brakes screeched, and with a violent shove Christian Mogensen took Frederik Vesterlund with him down onto the track, where a fraction of a second later they disappeared under the massive train.Then it got quiet.Completely quiet.Svanhild Mogensen stood like a limestone pillar in the middle of the platform.Then she began moving, slowly and studiously.She opened her handbag, found a pack of cigarettes, stuck one between her lips, and lit it with a gold lighter.She gazed at me through the blue smoke with the look of a cobra just before it strikes.She walked toward me, her hips swinging discretely.As she passed, she blew a lungful of smoke in my direction [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]