|Primary Characters:||Fischer, La Cour, Helene, IP
|Warning:||adult themes, violence
|Description:||The La Cours and Fischer return from the Hague. They’re staying in a hotel, the Faber, where odd things happen. La Cour’s visions return, which is lucky for some. Crossover with At the Faber. (And some The Eagle)
Allan Fischer and Thomas La Cour carried the last bags out to the waiting cab. Helene La Cour was already in the car, her youngest in her arms and the two twin girls beside her. It had taken a while to get a cab with two children’s seats, but at last it was here. When the driver had packed the last two pieces of luggage into the trunk, Fischer was already seated next to the driver and La Cour beside his wife.Helene glanced at the clock on the dashboard. They were running a little late, but they would be in time for the plane to Copenhagen. She wasn’t quite sure about how she felt about the return to Denmark. While she’d been living here in the Hague, she’d often been homesick. Now, despite everything, she felt a touch of melancholia. But after all, Denmark was home. Now that the girls were getting a little older, they’d be better off at home.
The flight home as always, felt shorter than expected. It was as if between trips, they forgot how quickly they could travel from one European country to another.
Since they didn’t own a home in Danmark any longer, either of them, they had decided to stay in a hotel to begin with.
Once La Cour and Fischer had had occasion to visit a hotel, in connection with a crime investigation, and it had made a favourable impression on them. So they’d booked a room at the Faber. Unlike many other hotels, it was an older building and the entire setup was more homely and old-fashioned than the La Cour-Fischer family was used to.
It would be a combination of vacation and reacclimatisation to Denmark after spending a couple of years abroad. Though neither of them ever discussed it out loud, they had agreed that it might be a good idea to keep a low profile to begin with. They weren’t ashamed of their special relationship, but they realized that their old friends and colleagues would most likely find it hard to understand.
When the cab stopped outside the Faber they were met by a polite young man who helped them with their luggage and showed them to their rooms, on the third floor. As they’d requested, they had been given adjoining rooms. Fortunately no one had asked why.
Helene stayed in her room and tried to make the girls and the baby comfortable. Fischer and her husband walked down the stairs to register. When Fischer turned to go, he realized that La Cour was staring straight ahead absently.
After looking around to make sure no one seemed to be looking at them, he patted his lover’s arm lightly.
“Ready to go?”
La Cour looked concerned. Then a glint of recognition came into his eyes and he smiled and nodded.
They returned upstairs to Helene. Though the plane had landed at nine thirty, it was already lunchtime, or rather time for a late lunch.
Helene was waiting for them. The girls were loud and tired, but apparently hungry as well. The boy had already been fed and was dozing in the baby carrier. This time they took the lift downstairs. La Cour was carrying one of his daughters and Helene the other.
Fischer, who had the baby in his arms, watched them out of the corner of his eyes. At times like these he felt a little apart from the others. At least now that he was back in Denmark, he’d get to see his oldest son again. His room was big enough for another bed and he’d already been assured that one would be added when his son came to visit.
Inside the dining room, several of the tables were available, as could be expected this late in the afternoon. A smiling young woman was walking around, exchanging a few words with the guests. When she came to their table, she introduced herself. She turned out to be one of the owners.
They ordered and ate in silence. Though the trip had been comparatively short, they were all quite tired. As soon as they’d eaten, Helene took the children upstairs and put them to bed. She started up her laptop and got back to work on her latest article for a journal of psychology.
La Cour was busy handing out stuffed animals and tucking the girls in, and avoiding their requests for glasses of water. When Fischer had put the baby to bed, he did his part. The girls were as attached to him as to his parents. All in all, they took their special relationship for granted.
Helene looked up from the computer and smiled at her men. They looked so domestic. When the children had fallen asleep, La Cour sat down in an armchair. Fischer was already seated on the couch.
Contentedly, they returned Helene’s smile. This wasn’t the same as a house, but they still enjoyed staying together.
“You look tired. Aren’t you going to bed?”
Fischer shook his head. La Cour did the same, at exactly the same moment but they weren’t watching each other, so only Helene was aware of it.
“I promised the boy I’d call him as soon as I got back. And then I was going to give IP a ring.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s been a while since we heard from him.”
“Right. Better do it in Allan’s room, so the girls don’t wake up.”
As soon as they got into the corridor outside, La Cour’s concerned expression returned. He looked around, searchingly. The light flickered, but other than that, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.
An older man came down the stairs from the floor above, and stopped for a moment. Fischer noted that he too looked concerned. Then he continued on towards a door further along the corridor. He brought out a key and disappeared into the room inside.
Fischer and La Cour entered Fischer’s room and closed the door behind them. La Cour sat down on a chair, while Fischer called his son.
“Hi, sweetie. It’s dad. Yes, I’m here now. Seems like a nice place. Yes. I’m looking forward to that too. Ask your mom. As far as I’m concerned you’re welcome to come on Saturday and stay until Sunday afternoon. Great. Wow, you’re good at that. I’m looking forward to seeing you in action. Can I speak to your mom? Oh. No, it doesn’t matter. Just ask her to call me later. Ok. Hugs.”
“How was he?”
“He was fine. I don’t think he’ll be able to make on Saturday, but the next should be fine. I’m really looking forward to seeing him.”
“Yeah, it will be nice to see him again. Are you going to call IP or shall I?”
“You do it. I need to put some stuff away.”
La Cour punched in the number to his old colleague IP Sörensen. The phone kept ringing and La Cour had time to wonder if perhaps he was disturbing IP doing something important. Then he heard IP:s familiar voice on the other end of the line.
“Hi. It’s me. Thomas. Yes. It was fine. I just thought I’d give you a call and catch up. It’s been a while. Exactly. I’d love to. It’s a nice place. Perhaps you remember it? The Faber. Oh. Ok. Right. It will be fun. Then I’ll see you then. Oh, Helene gives you her best. You have no idea how much the kids have grown. He’s back too. Here? Hm. Sure. If you like.”
Sheepishly, La Cour handed the receiver to Fischer, who studied him inquiringly, but accepted it.
“Hello. How did you – Well, I don’t have anywhere to stay either, so I got a room here too. Sure. The kids needed to sleep so I told Thomas he could use the phone here. Right. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again. You too. Absolutely. Say hi to Ingrid.”
After Fischer had hung up, for a while he remained deep in thought, then he turned to face La Cour.
“How the hell did IP know I’d be here too?”
“Well, I certainly haven’t told him. I wouldn’t. You know that.”
“Yes, of course, but who could have -”
Then he shrugged. It was only a matter of time anyway, before their old colleagues found out. Still, he couldn’t help wondering who’d given their secret away. His ex-wife? The boy? No, surely not.
Later in the evening, the twins woke up, more playful than ever. Helene and La Cour unpacked their toys and dug out some picture books. They took turns with Fischer, reading to the girls, when they weren’t running around playing noisy games. Fortunately, their little brother didn’t wake up.
A little later they went downstairs for dinner. Helene looked pleased. Staying in a hotel was comfortable. No domestic work. It was just the laundry that would be a bit tricky, but they could deal with that later.
Since they were all a bit tired, they went to bed early. Fischer said goodnight and disappeared into his own room. Helene stretched out and turned out her bedside lamp. A little while later, her husband did the same, but it took him a long time to fall asleep.
Eventually, the fatigue took its toll and he dozed off, but he woke up almost right away. He thought he’d heard a child crying. It wasn’t one of his girls, it was someone older. As he’d expected, the room was quiet and there wasn’t any noise coming from outside. Besides the child’s crying, he’d heard terrible screams as if from someone in mortal fear.
But now all was quite and calm around him. Or was it? He still had a vague feeling of unease, like he’d had ever since he’d set foot inside the hotel. He was hoping it didn’t mean something was about to happen.
Helene, who had gone to bed a little earlier than her husband, being tired from the trip, and having been up once to see to the baby, woke up around seven, and couldn’t go back to sleep. She glanced pensively at her husband, but he didn’t seem to display any signs of waking up. After a moment’s consideration, she decided that she’d be able to go down and have breakfast, before the girls woke up. They were tired too after the trip. Besides, if they woke up, Thomas would have to take over. They were his children too.
Silently, she got dressed and cleaned up. No member of her family moved or made any signs of being about to wake up. Outside Fischer’s door Helene briefly stopped and considered again. But there were no sounds from in there either, so she continued on down the stairs without waiting any longer.
One or two guests were nursing their coffee cups, but other than that the dining room was empty. Helene ordered a continental breakfast from a teenage girl, or at least one who seemed to be about that age.
Some daily newspapers were lying on a small table by the wall. The girl had pointed it out, so Helene went to get a Copenhagen paper. There were also a few German, a couple of English and two Swedish morning papers. As she was making her choice, a young man hurried over and returned a Norwegian paper.
Really great service, she concluded, as she was returning to her table with the Copenhagen paper. Her breakfast was just being set out on her table and she smiled and thanked the girl.
Nothing much seemed to have happened on this particular day, so she soon tired of the paper. She looked around and saw that an older woman smiling politely was passing her table. The woman noticed her attention and their eyes met.
“Good morning. I hope everything is to your satisfaction? You moved in last night, didn’t you? With three young children?”
“That’s right. Oh, and thank you. My name is Helene La Cour.”
They politely exchanged greetings. Helene had already suspected that the woman had something to do with the hotel so she wasn’t surprised when the woman introduced herself.
Helene wondered if she might ask the woman to join her or if perhaps she was on her way to some appointment. She decided to ask.
“Perhaps you’d like to sit down? If you have time, naturally.”
“Thanks, I don’t have anything booked for the next hour or so. Please, call me Alice.”
“Alice. And you know my name is Helene.”
Now that the polite exchange was over, the two women began to chat relaxedly.
“I believe you just arrived from Holland?”
“Yes, my husband and I have been working there for a few years, but now we felt it was time to come home. The girls are getting a little older now and I was concerned about their linguistic development. Naturally they speak Danish, but also Dutch, English and German. Perhaps I was worrying needlessly, but – in any case, the decision is made. In fact I was a little homesick too.”
“I can understand that. How old are the girls? And the baby?”
“They’re almost four, and the boy is eight months old.”
“Oh, they’re twins?”
“Yes. We’re looking for work at the moment, my husband and I, but for the next couple of weeks we were going to stay here, if that’s alright with you.”
“Yes, absolutely, no problem. This is the off season and besides, you’ve booked ahead. Does the room suit you? There’s a suite, but it’s being renovated.”
“I see, but that’s not intended for families with children, is it?”
“Actually, it is. It used to our private rooms, my husband’s and mine, so when it’s done, there will be room for a family with children. With slightly older children, there’s also the option of choosing adjoining rooms.”
“How many children do you have?”
“Three. They’re grown up now, but you never stop thinking of them as children. Perhaps you’ve met one of them? Adam is the manager now and Julie shares the responsiblities with him. My youngest is in charge of the bar.”
“Oh. Yes, we met Julie last night. It must be nice to be able to work together like that, all of you.”
“Yes, it is.”
The older man they’d seen in the foyer walked by. He stopped in a corner of the room and remained standing there. It was as if he was listening to something. Other than that, he didn’t seem to be doing anything. Helene sensed that the sight of the man made Alice tense up or perhaps it was his behaviour that bothered her. Helene was wondering what was up.
“Excuse me. I think I’d better – It was nice to meet you. I hope you and your family will enjoy your stay here, Helene. I’m sure we’ll meet again.”
“I’m sure we will.”
Alice walked over to the older man and spoke to him silently. He, on the other hand, didn’t lower his voice at all.
“The hotel is upset about something. Something is going to happen.”
“Don’t talk like that, John. That’s enough. I’m sure you have something to do?”
“We’ll discuss that later. Come on.”
He looked rather distraught, or maybe Helene was reading too much into his demeanour. Clearly the man was an employee. She didn’t think there was anything else to their relationship, even if there seemed to be a certain intimacy between them. In any case, they left together and Helene didn’t see them for a couple of days.
The next time she saw the older man – John – he was walking backwards out of a room on the same floor she and her family was staying. He seemed to be staring into the room he’d just left, his face locked into a rigid mask of fear. Helene, who happend to walk by, tried to peek into the room.
For a second the entire room was visible and as far as she could tell, it was empty. It was just for a moment, before John collected himself and closed the door, but she didn’t think there was anything to see. What could have upset the man so? If John really was upset, the expression on his face that hinted as much, was gone so quickly Helene wasn’t sure. Perhaps she’d been mistaken.
He watched her hesitatingly, and she was about to walk on by. Her curiosity would most likely remain unsatisfied. In the end, though, she couldn’t help asking. Her mind wasn’t used to being idle and though the twins and the baby offered new challenges every day, she was missing something to occupy herself with.
“Very beautiful house. Have you been working here for long?”
To her surprise his face tensed up and she realized that for some reason, it had been the wrong question to ask.
“Yes, for many years. Excuse me. I have work to do.”
She must have looked surprised, because John turned, seemingly intent on making up for the curtness with which he’d addressed her.
“The house has its roots in mediaeval times. There was once a monastery in this site.”
He nodded, more amiably now, but he didn’t wait for any further questions.
His behaviour made Helene even more intrigued. She decided she’d do a little research about the building.
That very same day, she took the twins to the library to get some research done and to let the twins have a little change of scenery.
In the meantime, La Cour and Fischer, who was keeping an eye on his youngest son, in their respective rooms, began to make phone calls about potential jobs. Helene had already been promised a tenure at the university from the next term, but until then her only plans were to write a few more articles for Danish and international journals of psychology.
Later on, she might also work with the police again. She’d told them it would depend on her current situation.
Fischer first called his old boss Ingrid Dahl. It felt as if he’d been gone for a long time. He shouldn’t have just quit without securing another job, but it was obvious Helene was homesick. They all were. In any case, they would be sure to get some kind of job and they had enough money in the bank to get a house or at least a rented flat, while they continued their job search.
Ingrid sounded a bit distracted. Fischer was hoping he hadn’t picked an awkward time to call.
“Hi. It’s Allan. Fischer.”
At least she sounded pleased to hear from him. Just in case, he checked, before he began fishing for new employment.
“I’m not disturbing you, I hope?”
“No, not at all. I just hung up after nagging Tobias. He wants to drop out of college and go to Australia or Asia. I suppose I should be grateful he doesn’t want to join a band. That’s what he told me last summer.”
“You didn’t consider some reverse psychology? Something about how incredibly exciting travelling is, and he won’t get such valuable experiences from just staying at home, studying?”
There was a pause during which Fischer was wondering what Ingrid was thinking. He had no experience raising teenagers. Fortunately, it would be a couple of years before his eldest was a teenager.
But when she began to speak again, she sounded rather impressed.
“Shit. I should have thought of that sooner. It’s a little late for that now, I expect. But it sounds like good advice. Oh, well, I think I’ll have to get Gry to work on him. She’s settled down nicely, though she had a baby last year. On her own. But I guess you didn’t call to find out about my family.”
“I just thought I’d get in touch now that I’m back.”
When Ingrid opened her mouth again, her voice had an odd undertone.
“Oh. So you did come back again. You didn’t like it there?”
“Yes, I did, but in the end – I guess I should have looked for a new job first, but – the boy’s getting older and I don’t want to lose touch with him.”
But it didn’t sound that way. In any case, whatever Ingrid had in mind, she didn’t comment. Instead, she began talking about her family again.
“Gry works in a paper. Mum and Ulf are fine, but they’ve moved to Spain. I live alone and I’ll tell you it feels good.”
“And Jan -”
“I’m still seeing him, but – you know how it is. Besides, have you heard of a new special team investigating crimes with international connections?”
“No, I’m afraid I’ve lost touch a bit, in the past couple of years.”
“The head of the team recently retired, and one of the members have quit for his own reasons. Besides, we’ve been given some new funds so we could use a few more members.”
“Are you involved with that?”
“Not personally, but I hear things. The minister has a close connection to them. Actually, I was thinking of you and – in any case send in an application and I’ll put in a word for you. The La Cours are back too, right?”
There it was again, that odd undertone in Ingrid’s voice. Fischer lost track of the conversation and almost forgot that Ingrid had asked him something. Did she and their old colleagues know? Not that he was ashamed of himself, but it still felt odd that what he’d believed to be their secret might not be a secret at all anymore.
“Yes. We were on the same flight.”
“Are they looking for work too?”
“Yes. At least Thomas is. Helene has been promised something at the university.”
“I see. We’d be glad to get Thomas too. Why don’t you mention that to him.”
“Yes, I will. Thanks.”
“The commanding officer has already been appointed, but as it happens, all positions demand equally high qualifications. They might need to consult a psychologist from time to time. I only mention that in case Helene should be interested.”
“I’ll let her know.”
There was a beep on the other end of the line and he realized that Ingrid must have had another call or a visit. The latter seemed to be true.
“You’ll have to excuse me now. I just had a visitor. Talk to you later. I’m glad you got in touch.”
“Yes, it was nice to hear your voice again. Bye.”
For a while, he remained sitting deep in thought, then got up, and after a glance at his son, sleeping calmly in his carrier, went into the corridor to knock on La Cour’s door.
“I just spoke to Ingrid. She told me about some jobs she suggested we apply for.”
“Oh. What sort of jobs?”
“Apparently there’s a new group investigating crimes with international connections. A couple of their people have left and they’re also looking for a few more. Ingrid promised she’d put in a word for us.”
“Well, that was nice of her. But what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, really. She just sounded a little odd when she metioned you. I’m wondering if somehow they’ve found out about us.”
To Fischer’s surprise, his lover didn’t seem at all concerned over that possibility. He seemed absentminded and even worried.
“Is anything wrong?”
At first it looked as if La Cour hadn’t heard the question, then at last he roused himself.
“I don’t know. There’s something about this place -”
Suddenly Fischer recalled La Cour’s premonitions. He hadn’t had any in the time they’d been involved, but when they’d both been working for Unit One, those visions or whatever they were, had actually saved their lives on more than one occasion.
Fischer especially remembered a time when IP:s life had been in danger, and La Cour had managed to save him. Also – the last assignment – but he didn’t even want to think about that. It had had such serious consequences for himself and others, that he least of all wanted to dwell on those memories.
“You don’t think anything is going to happen? A fire or -”
“I don’t know. I hope not. At the moment, it’s just a vague sense of unease, but a couple of times I’ve had bad dreams. Dreams that felt very vivid. Though maybe that’s just this place. The house must be pretty old.”
“That’s right, didn’t Helene say something about it being from mediaeval times? I think she was going to do some research about it, just to pass the time.”
La Cour nodded vaguely. It was clear that he was still dwelling on the unpleasant feeling he’d had. His reaction made Fischer worry too, but he tried his best to ignore the feeling. The way he remembered things, La Cour usually managed to warn them in time. Most likely he wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while. Maybe never.
“I think we’d better go into the city sometimes. It gets monotonous, just idling about out here.”
Fischer saw that this was something he’d need to discuss with Helene. When La Cour was in this kind of mood, he was hard to reach. Fischer considered simply waking his lover from his brooding and giving him something else to think about, but for Helene’s sake he didn’t. Most of the time, it would be the three of them together. It was better that way.
In any case, Helene showed up within twenty minutes. She looked vivacious and excited. Since it was time for lunch, they went downstairs to eat, but as soon as they were back in their room again, she began to tell them about the results of her research.
Fischer listened carefully, and he noted that La Cour did too.
“I told you that I happened to overhear the caretaker saying something odd about the hotel being upset, or something like that, didn’t I?”
Fischer nodded, slightly amused. If all this was just about some confused old maintenance man’s ideas, he was pretty sure Helene could use a night on the town.
“I asked him if he’d worked here a long time, but he didn’t seem too keen on answering my questions.”
“Yes, you told me that. So did you find anything interesting about the history of the house?”
“Yes, I did. It’s like he said, the hotel is built on top of the remains of an old monastery. I found some material about it, but most of it didn’t seem to be here. You probably have to go into the centre to find it. What I did find was some old papers from the war. Listen to this -”
When Fischer realized that La Cour was just as eager to hear the rest of it, as Helene was to tell it, he forced himself to sit down and listen carefully. He was more interested in the present and the future, than the past.
“John must have lived here all his life. Not actually in this building, but nearby. During the war, he was connected with some members of the resistance. I think a relative was in it. In any case, some of the Germans made the connection and – it’s really dreadful, when you think about it -”
“During the war? He must have been a little boy. Seven or eight years old?”
“Yes, something like that. They -”
Helene broke off and glanced at her daughters, who had been in their beds, playing, but seemed to have dozed off. Fortunately, they would often sleep for a while after a meal.
“They tortured the boy to make him tell them where two members of the resistance – fortunately not his relative, but a few of the others – were hiding. And they made an example out of those young men. They tortured them, and forced them to reveal the whereabouts of a couple of other resistance men. Other things too, presumably. No one knows for sure. Greater part of this area was pretty much destroyed, mainly at the end of the war.”
“Are you sure it’s the same John?”
“It has to be. His first and last name are mentioned and that’s the one who’s working here, unless there’s someone by the exact same name. He’s too old to have had a father who was a child during the war.”
“I should think so.”
“That could explain his odd behaviour.”
“Why? Are you saying the torture made him lose his mind?”
“Well, I don’t know. He seems pretty normal, except for these ideas. Besides, it might just be the way he talks. The hotel is upset – that could be an exaggerated metaphor for something being wrong. Something that needs repair, or a bad feeling among the staff, or some troublesome guests. You never know.”
“So what do you mean?”
“It happened here. Right outside. Or rather they caught the boy in one of the sheds around here. The executions of the resistance fighters was right outside here too.”
“And he chose to go to work here anyway? Remarkable.”
“Yes, but he might have felt at home here. It did say something about him being from here. Perhaps he had some sort of connection to the hotel. But anyway, he must have developed these ideas about a sort of metaphysical connection to the hotel, after his traumatic experiences during the war.”
“Yes, that could be it.”
Fischer watched La Cour reflectively. That seemed to be the only explanation, after all. But maybe La Cour’s anxiety was completely unrelated to the caretaker’s delusions. Either way, he was going to keep his eyes open and be prepared to act if at the slightest sign of anything being wrong.
Just as Fischer had hoped, his eldest son came to visit on Friday afternoon. He had been promised he’d get to stay until lunchtime on Sunday. It really was wonderful seeing his son again after so long. He and his mother had visited sometimes during the summers and Fischer had flown back to Denmark to spend a weekend or so with the boy, but other than that it had been very long since the last visit..
On the same day, IP showed up to spend the evening with them. That wasn’t what they’d planned, but IP had met the boy while they were all working together so there was no problem about that.
Fischer, who wanted to spend some time alone with his son, promised to keep an eye on the twins and the baby at the same time. That gave the La Cours the opportunity to go to the bar to have a couple of beers with IP.
La Cour mentioned the special team Ingrid had told them about. IP nodded.
“Yeah, I know about it. There’s been a lot of attention focused on it lately. Negative and positive as well. You can’t please everyone. If Ingrid recommended you apply, your chances should be fair.”
La Cour considered IP:s words, then nodded.
“You never considered applying yourself?”
“Me? I’m not as qualified as you and Allan. Especially not nowadays.”
“I don’t know. You got the job on Unit One. Ingrid said they needed to fill several positions. They might even need to consult with a psychologist.”
“That sounds exciting. I already have a job on hand, but that sounds more like project based consultations. I might be able to fit it in to my schedule. I’ll think about it. We can always take turns looking after the children.”
La Cour nodded.
“Of course. We’ll split the work evenly.”
“They’ve really grown. Well, not that I’ve seen them before. But I remember when you were pregnant, Helene. I mean the first time.”
“They’re growing so fast you can almost see it.”
“How are you getting on here?”
La Cour hesitated. Eventually, he’d confided in Helene about his misgivings concerning the hotel. He couldn’t keep her out of the loop, about that sort of thing. He didn’t even want to. Usually she had something comforting to tell him, that was helpful, not just something to make him feel better.
She had offered her theory that it might be something to do with the strange caretaker. That explanation had only partially convinced La Cour. There was something – he didn’t know exactly what. On the other hand, the hotel had felt somewhat less unpleasant lately. Perhaps she was right after all.
They ended up staying up until late. After Fischer had put his boys to bed, Helene had taken his place upstairs. She left the men to their memories.
After a while, it became apparent that IP had something on his mind, something he was reluctant to mention, but which was bothering him. In the end, he made an attempt to raise the issue that seemed to be so painful. He cleared his throat, looking awkward.
“Um – there’s something I should tell you – especially if you’re going to be working in Copenhagen again.”
La Cour smiled politely, but distantly, as was his way, especially since he’d moved into the hotel. Fischer on the other hand, tensed up. He had an unpleasant hunch he knew what IP was about to tell them.
“You see – one of my – a friend of mine, told me something about you – in any case I want you to know that – they know. Ingrid and Gaby and Johnny and the others. Everyone.”
IP moved about restlessly. He was well aware of the fact that he’d been the one who was suprised enough to let his knowledge slip, at a dinner party at Ingrid’s.
Fischer swallowed hard. This could mean trouble. He wasn’t ashamed, not at all – but still – would this affect their chances of getting the jobs? Not that it had seemed that way, judging by Ingrid’s tone. Was it that she hadn’t fully understood the nature of their relationship? Or had she decided to keep the information to herself? Surely IP wasn’t hinting at something else? No, surely not, what would that be?
So, that was it, their secret out in the open.
IP hastened to reassure them.
“But no one – judged you in any way. Neither am I, naturally not. I just thought you’d like to know.”
“Thanks. It was good of you.”
IP:s expression didn’t turn more cheerful. Fischer was wondering what else was the matter, then he had an instant insight. It was IP:s girlfriend – that reporter, it had to be – who had dug up the information about them. Clearly IP was the one who had told Ingrid.
Strangely enough, Fischer didn’t resent his old colleague and friend for his slip. They’d been through too much together. In fact Fischer was hoping IP would apply as well, and hopefully get the job in that special team.
“Allan – Thomas – I have to confess I was the one who – I was completely baffled, you see. It was the last thing I’d have expected. I didn’t mean to -”
La Cour smiled amiably.
“Don’t worry about that. Of course you were surprised. Between you and me, so were we. All three of us. But that’s life for you, isn’t it?”
“I guess so.”
But deep inside, IP was thinking he’d never felt attracted to another man. Of course sharing a woman might be a different matter. He wasn’t absolutely sure what the relationship between the La Cours and Fischer was like, so he shouldn’t draw too many conclusions. Besides it was none of his business. Fischer and La Cour were great guys. Absolutely terrific colleagues. Their personal lives were irrelevant.
In the end, they broke up the party. La Cour and Fischer walked IP to the exit and watched him walk, rather unsteadily to the waiting taxi outside. They waited until the taxi had driven off, until they turned and returned inside. The lift doors opened as they passed.
Inside they caught sight of the young hotel manager, Julie and a young man. They were kissing. It took them a while to realize that the lift had stopped and that the doors were open. When Julie realized they had an audience, she blushed slightly, but recovered her poise quickly. She said goodnight and pulled her partner along towards the exit. He said hello, and introduced himself as Jimmy and said something about the kitchen. So he was a hotel employee too. Jimmy seemed rather amused at the thought of being found out with his arms around one of his bosses.
It was late. La Cour and Fischer went into the lift and pressed the button for their floor. Time to go to bed. The children usually woke up early.
The room looked different. It was more bare and the light, what little there was, seemed different somehow. He looked around, but neither his wife or the children were anywhere to be seen. He didn’t recognize his surroundings and had a moment of disorientation. He became aware of a sense of dread. Terror. What it was he feared, he didn’t know.
He began to walk, in a direction he wasn’t quite able to discern. Forwards? Backwards? To the right? To the left? He didn’t know. Neither did he know where he was going or how long it was taking him to get there. He caught sight of something up ahead, something dark. There was something odd about it, as if the creature was neither sitting or standing.
The shadow – because that was more or less all it was – seemed to be swinging back and forth as in a light breeze. Suddenly the darkness was dispelled and he saw –
He came to with a start, breathless and panic-stricken. His heart pounded almost painfully and it was a while until he could answer Helene’s worried questions.
“What’s the matter? Are you alright? Thomas, calm down. There. It’s alright.”
Her soothing words were accompanied by gentle stroking of his hair and neck. The twins began to cry, loudly and Helene left him. He heard her speak to the children, calming them, then hugging and comforting them.
“It’s nothing to be afraid of. Dad was just having a bad dream. There, there.”
After a while, the girls quieted down and Helene returned to him. Fortunately, the boy hadn’t woken up.
“How are you? Feeling better?”
“Yes. I don’t know what happened. It was just as you said, a dream, but I knew that, somewhere. I was just too – terrified.”
Helene nodded encouragingly. He was vaguely aware that she fell back on her role as a psychologist, but at the moment that didn’t bother him. On the contrary, it felt good.
“Was it really terrifying?”
“Yes. I don’t remember any details, but at the very end, just before I woke up, I saw -”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry I woke the girls. A man of my age really should know better.”
“Never mind that. They understood. Anyone can have bad dreams. Or – are you saying this was one of those other -”
She left the sentence unfinished. La Cour knew well enough what she was referring to. He considered. It didn’t feel as if there was anything to fear from a hanged man. Either the dream was symbolic, or it was a sign of something else. A warning. If it wasn’t a perfectly ordinary dream, like any horror movie
“I don’t think so, not like that. What I’m afraid of is that it’s something to do with this hotel. I’ve had such a bad feeling ever since we got here.”
“Yes, you told me. Do you think we should move? Mum says we’re welcome any time. It will be a little crowded, but -”
“We wouldn’t be able to bring Allan. Besides, it’s ridiculous. Normally – before – while I was working for Unit One, my warning visions used to be directly connected with an incident. No, it’s alright. If anything comes up, I’ll let you know. So far there’s no reason to move out.”
“Ok. Good. Do you think you can go back to sleep now?”
He was ashamed of frightening the children and to let Helene see him like this – confused, irrational, weak. How lucky that she was so understanding. It occurred to him that Fischer might be in danger, but almost at once, he dismissed the thought. Nothing was threatning Helene, the children, Allan or himself, but if someone was, it would have to be someone else, someone at the hotel. The trouble was, how to tell who, among so many people – staff and guests – was behind this vague feeling of menace.
In the morning, the night’s bad dream was already a vague memory. They took the lift downstairs, something the girls seemed to enjoy. Fischer and his son joined them and they had breakfast together. Everything felt normal. They caught a glimpse of the young man they believed to be Alice’s oldest son, Adam. He was behind the reception desk speaking to his sister. He disappeared into what they assumed was his office.
Helene went out to do some shopping and brought the girls along. There was something foolhardy about that, but Helene stubbornly insisted she could handle it.
Fischer was going out as well, with his eldest, so they left the hotel together. Though La Cour would love to get out for a while, he thought he should call Ingrid Dahl again to inquire about his and Fischer’s applications. Besides, it was his turn to keep an eye on the baby.
He watched the rest of his family leave. Then as he was about to go upstairs, he caught sight of one of the hotel managers, if he’d understood correctly. The older woman Helene had befriended. Alice Faber.
He greeted her politely, and was greeted equally politely in his turn, then walked up the stairs. At the first landing, a strange feeling came over him. While it lasted, he wasn’t afraid, but afterwards he felt chilled. It was as if he was hearing a monotonous song. At first there seemed to be just one person singing – a woman, girl or young boy – then some more voices joined the first. He didn’t see anything, but sensed a presence, of one person or several, or – whatever it was. While it lasted, he wasn’t afraid, but afterwards it was a while until he felt warm again. Perhaps it was some kind of delayed shock, but in any case it was unpleasant.
He continued upstairs and when he came to the next floor, he saw a man walking further up the corridor. For some reason La Cour stopped and watched the man’s receding back. His bearing suggested aggression and irritation. The man opened the door to one of the rooms and vanished inside.
There was no reason to believe there was something unusual about the man, but even so, La Cour was hit by a sense of unreality. Somehow it was as if he had looked back in time. As if the man wasn’t there now, and had walked into the room a year or more ago. La Cour also seemed to know that the man was doing something in there that filled him with dread. Though he was a police officer and had often dealt with violent and dangerous situations, professionally, he fled up the stairs to their own room. Despite everything, he felt quite safe in there. The eerie sensations he sometimes experienced there wasn’t directly associated with the room, but seemed to come from other parts of the hotel
It was a while until he had collected himself and felt up to calling Ingrid. He spoke softly so he wouldn’t disturb the baby.
“Hello, Ingrid. Thomas La Cour here.”
“Hi, Thomas. I’m glad you called. I’ve spoken to Marie Wied, the acting commander in charge of the group. So far things are looking good. Of course I can’t make any promises, but I think you can count on getting those jobs, you and Allan. Also, Marie would love to consult with Helene when necessary.”
“Thanks for the tihp and your help. Listen, I was thinking – IP has been here and we were talking about jobs and so on. You don’t think there might be a position for him too, in this group?”
There was a pause and La Cour was wondering if Ingrid was trying to find a tactful way of saying that IP:s talents wouldn’t be needed, but when she spoke again, she sounded quite positive.
“That never occurred to me. He seemed to be quite happy at his new job, at least I thought so. But you’re right, he should fit in there. I’ll mention it to Marie, and I’ll call and ask IP about how he feels about it.”
“We discussed it and he seemed to think he isn’t qualified enough.”
“Hm. We need all kinds of qualifications and we got along great in Unit One. No, he’s fine. I haven’t heard that much about the other applicants. Someone exceptional might have shown up, without me hearing about it, but – it’s definitely worth a shot. Thanks for the tip.”
“Thank you. Well, I guess I’ll leave you to it. When we get settled in, maybe we could invite you and Jan and your kids too, if you like, to dinner.”
“Thanks, it was nice of you. I’d love to come, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get the kids to join me. Maybe Gry, but I don’t think I ought to drag her along to my dinner parties. And Jan – I don’t know.”
“Ok. I just thought I’d mention it. We’re looking for a house.”
“If I hear anything I’ll be in touch. What a shame you guys didn’t return last year. That’s when I sold mine. I’d have given you a good price.”
“Yes, that’s a shame, but I’m sure we’ll find something anyway.”
He considered mentioning what IP had told him, but at the last moment, he lost his nerve. Knowing that Ingrid knew was one thing, but bringing it out into the open was quite another matter. No, they’d better let their special relationship remain an open secret.
He said goodbye and hung up. If they really got those jobs, they shouldn’t have any trouble paying the price for the house. They’d look for a house with a separate flat, so they could ‘let’ it to Allan and his older son, for the times he had him over.
On Sunday afternoon, Fischer got his eldest on the train, then returned to the hotel. Helene was in her room, keeping an eye on the twins and the baby, while she was finishing an article for an American publication about behavioral science.
She wanted to be left alone, so she could email it to the journal before the deadline, Monday morning. La Cour went downstairs to have a couple of beers with Fischer. They sat at the bar. The young man behind the counter wore a name tag, identifying him as Nikolai. He kept a watchful eye on the two bartenders who were mixing the drinks.
“So what do you think about the jobs? Do you think we have a chance?”
Fischer put his beer glass down and leaned back in his chair. He couldn’t feel any weird vibes from the hotel. The only thing he’d noticed was that the light sometimes flickered, seemingly for no reason. There might have been noises from the pipes inside the walls. At least he assumed that’s what it was. But that wasn’t unusual in a house this old. Maybe it was just nerves that made La Cour feel so jittery.
“That’s what Ingrid said. I think it’s quite promising, and as soon as we know for sure, I say we go and check out some houses.”
“How do we manage that? That is if you want me to live there too. I could get a flat and come and visit.”
La Cour studied his lover reflectively. He was pretty sure Fischer was only saying that so they wouldn’t feel he was intruding on them. After all, he and Helene were married. But if he really had wanted to get out, surely that would have been obvious?
“If that’s what you want, I’m not going to stop you, but – I thought – we were hoping, Helene and I – that you wanted to -”
Fischer smiled contentedly. Sometimes he just had to hear La Cour or Helene say it. That they still wanted him.
“Of course I do. I was just wondering if you still -”
“Of course we are. Stop that. If you want out, say so. Otherwise, you can just assume nothing has changed. I mean, we’d let you know if something changed.”
“Right. Can I come along when you take a look at the houses?”
“I should hope so. I was thinking there might be a place with a separate flat, and we’ll ‘let’ it to you and the boy, when he’s with you.”
They kept talking for a while, feeling relaxed. Helene had asked them not to come up until ten at the earliest, preferably later, to give her time to finish the article, so there was no rush. They were nursing their last beers, when Nikolai closed the bar.
“I’m closing the bar now, but you’re welcome to stay. We don’t lock the door to this place, just behind the counter, so stay as long as you like. I’ll just tidy up and so on.”
“Thanks. We’ll be going upstairs in a while.”
“Don’t hurry on my account.”
Nikolai excused himself and while he was drying his hands on a towel that hung over his shoulder, he vanished behind the counter.
The bar they were in was small and intimate. Earlier they’d been in a few dining rooms, and other lounges, on the first floor. This was the smallest and also the calmest.
There was an exit that led to a backyard. They’d seen the bartenders going into the yard to smoke during their breaks. The door was ajar and there was a slight draught from it. Though it neither rained or snowed, it was cold. Colder than in the Hague. After all, this was further to the north.
Fischer began to talk about the football game he and his son had been to on Saturday. It was a while until he realized that La Cour wasn’t listening. He had an absent look in his eyes and it was clear that he was completely unaware of his surroundings. Suddenly he got up and walked towards the foyer. Fischer hastily followed. This reminded him unpleasantly of the past, when they’d been working together in Unit One. Something was wrong. He wished he had had a service weapon. La Cour wasn’t heading towards the stairs or the lifts, as he’d suspected, he was walking towards another door, further away, in the opposite directioin. It led to one of the dining rooms.
They heard a man’s voice calling out and Fischer glanced hastily in the direction of the reception desk. Adam – one of the owners, as far as he could tell – was standing there, looking nonplussed.
“Hey – Thomas – what’s wrong? Nothing to do with Helene or the children, is it?”
There was no reply.
The dining room was empty and the lights out. The only visible light was that which came through the open door from the foyer and from another door, at the extreme end of the room, one that must lead into the kitchen. It had the typical glass windows on top. La Cour stopped before the kitchen door and gazed inside. Fischer almost walked into him, but stopped himself just in time. His lover’s behaviour made him automatically move quietly and the next time he tried to ask La Cour what was going on, he practically whispered into La Cour’s ear.
“What’s this about? Is anyone in danger?”
No reply, this time either.
La Cour pushed the door open, and stepped inside. Fischer heard the door to the foyer open and glanced behind him. Adam was following them. He called out after them again. Fischer hesitated. Perhaps he’d better stay and try to think of an explanation that would sound reasonable. In the end, he decided to stick to La Cour. By now he was more or less convinced someone was in danger. They would both be needed, especially since they were unarmed.
Inside the kitchen it was mostly dark too. This late there wouldn’t be any cooking done here, unless room service offered some choices even this late. The only light came from the other end of the kitchen. There were a few big doors Fischer guessed would be leading into the freezers or possibly a larder.
It looked as if someone had been standing at the sink, doing the dishes, because there was still water there and some bowls and pots were still on the counter, but the rest of the dishes seemed to be done. Presumably most of them would be done in a dishwasher. Fischer frowned. It was as if someone had left the kitchen in a hurry. A broken pitcher was lying on the floor and a tray was standing askew, propped up against a paper box. Now that he’d noticed that, Fischer automatically began to watch the kitchen with a policeman’s eyes. A door that had to lead to the backyard and the loading bay for receiving goods, was standing ajar. Had someone come in that way recently? Or left through it?
By now, Adam had caught up with them. The expression on his face was a mix of polite inquiry and irritation. Mainly he looked puzzled.
“Excuse me, but this area is for staff only. What is this about? Perhaps I could -”
Fischer glanced at La Cour then back at Adam. What was he supposed to he tell him? He had a hunch a fight or something like that had taken place here recently.
“Well, you see -”
He broke off and pointed at the broken pitcher and the tray. Adam made as if to pick them up, then the real meaning of the gesture hit him.
“Is anything -”
Fischer put a finger to his lips as he glanced around the kitchen. Adam seemed to understand. They split up and as silently as possible, they searched the kitchen. It didn’t take long. There was no one around and no more traces of any kind of attack could be seen. La Cour seemed to be listening for something. Adam and Fischer returned to him and stopped and looked around.
“I think perhaps -”
Once again Adam fell silent. Fischer assumed that the hotel owners knew they were police officers. Even if they didn’t, at least Adam seemed reasonable.
They moved closer to the freezers. Adam reached out to open one of them, but Fischer held him back. He nodded for Adam to get behind him and La Cour. Eventually, Adam agreed, but he looked even more puzzled now.
La Cour pointed at the other door, the one that looked as if it led into a larder, not a freezer.
“There’s two of them. Julie and the young cook. Remember?”
“One man, armed with a knife is keeping them in there. We’ll have to -”
Fischer looked around the kitchen. There should be something they could use as weapons. Clearly knives, but perhaps something else. His gaze fell on a frying pan. It was big and heavy, but quite easy to handle. He weighed it in his hand to find the proper balance. Frustratingly, La Cour didn’t seem to have any intention of arming himself.
“His back is to the door. We’d better hurry. He’s going to -”
Adam heard La Cour mention his sister and gasped. A look from Fischer silenced him again. Fischer pointed towards the door leading into the dining room, but Adam ignored him. Instead, Adam picked up a rolling pin that was on one of the counters. He stared defiantly at the other two. Fischer shrugged. As long as the other guy stayed behind the professionals, he could have a go at helping them. La Cour put his hand on the larder door and pushed it open an inch or so.
Someone inside was speaking. A man.
“This is nice. It’s been a while, Jimmy, my boy. Did you miss me? No, I can see you haven’t missed me at all. But you don’t seem to have listened very carefully, last time I paid you a visit. I told you not to make me angry. But of course you had to play at being a respectable citizen and have them ban me.
You’re the one who set that up? Julie, that’s your name, right? You’re hot. I can see why Jimmy is into you. How easy you forget, Jimmy, my boy. Once upon a time, it was just you and me. But I get it. Now that you’re free, it’s girls again. Sure. I prefer chicks myself, though you’re not too bad yourself. With your eyes closed there’s practically no difference.
Are you that good, Julie? Show me. Start with Jimmy. Go on. No? Then I’ll get straight to the point. Jimmy, I warned you, but you just had to get in my face. No one does that to me. I wonder if she’ll still want you when I’ve cut your face a bit. No, don’t move. Hands behind your back. And you, Julie – you stay over there. Move and Jimmy gets it. Then, after I’ve punished him, we’ll see how good you are.”
La Cour didn’t wait any longer. He pushed the door wide open. It hit the man in the back. Fischer was only one step behind. He passed La Cour and saw the man with the knife regain his balance. He still had the knife in his hand, and he wasn’t wasting any time. He attacked instantly.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Fischer smashed the pan down on the man’s wrist. There was a nasty crunch. The knife fell to the floor and Fischer kicked it away. It landed by the wall. La Cour’s temporary paralysis ended, and he grabbed the perpetrator’s other arm and twisted it behind his back. He shoved him up against the wall and held him there. Judging by how laboured the man’s breathing sounded, the pain in the broken wrist was so bad he wasn’t even considering breaking free.
Adam pushed past the two hotel guests who had saved his sister and Jimmy from their attacker. He pulled Julie close and held her. She slumped down on his shoulder, and he could tell how tense she was. It wasn’t too long ago she’d confided in him about what had happened to her in the USA. The memory filled Adam with dread and judging by what he’d just heard, she’d come close to suffering the same fate again. Besides, it was clear that this man knew Jimmy from before and had been about to get his revenge on him. That reminded Adam of Jimmy. Jimmy seemed to be in almost as bad a way as Julie. Adam let go of Julie pushed her towards Jimmy. If someone was going to comfort Jimmy, it would have to be Julie. He had to draw a line somewhere. And if Julie was comforted while she was comforting Jimmy, all the better.
Adam turned and took a look at the man who was holding the attacker up against the wall. His friend or maybe colleague was watching him. Not until then, did it hit Adam that he’d have to call the police.
“I’ll go and call -”
“Good. Ask for a police officer named IP Sörensen. Jens Peter Sörensen.”
“It’s a former colleague of ours.”
Adam hurried off to make the call. Even if those two were policemen, they didn’t seem to have their service weapons or truncheons. Not handcuffs either, apparently.
Towards dawn, Fischer and La Cour could at last return to their rooms. By then, La Cour had already been upstairs briefly to reassure Helene and explain why they would be even later. That didn’t bother her too much, once she was sure they weren’t injured. There were still a few sentences she’d like work on before she considered the article finished. The children were sleeping peacefully, so La Cour wasn’t concerned about leaving Helene alone again.
Two uniformed colleagues took the man, whose name was Viktor, away. Apparently he and Jimmy had shared a cell for a time. That much had been clear to Fischer already, after overhearing what Viktor had said to Jimmy and Julie. He was unpleasantly reminded of the time he’d been in a cell and had been at the mercy of a man not unlike Viktor, but with an effort he was able to ignore the memories.
IP had actually been on duty, or at least someone had informed him, because he’d shown up just after the uniformed colleagues.
Julie and Jimmy were on a couch in a room that was even smaller than the bar where La Cour and Fischer had been earlier. They looked pale and shaken, but Fischer knew that the worst shock had only just started to set in. It would get worse. Julie’s mother and her two brothers stayed nearby all the time. Their mother was on Julie’s other side, patting her hair, while Nikolai was running back and forth, carrying glasses and bottles, trying to make Julie and Jimmy drink some to calm their nerves.
His behaviour annoyed a few of the cops, but Fischer and La Cour understood. If nothing else, it gave the youngest brother Faber something to do. The caretaker, John, showed up after a while, and nodded as if he was pleased about something. He mumbled something about the hotel being at peace again, or something along those lines. Alice told him off sharply, and though apparently completely unperturbed by the reprimand, he obediently left.
La Cour thought it might be true. In any case he felt considerably more at ease now. As if the threat had been neutralized and everything was fine again. The light wasn’t flickering and at least for the moment, there were no odd sound effects in the background.
Finally, it was all over. Alice led Julie towards the lift, and Fischer heard her say something about making up a room for Jimmy. The latter insisted he’d be alright, only to give him a moment later. Nikolai walked off, either to make up the room or to get someone else to do it.
Adam sank down beside the policemen – Fischer, La Cour and IP, and reached for a glass his sister had barely touched. He emptied it one single draught. Finally his face began to regain its colour.
“I really must thank you properly. How -? I mean, how did you know -”
Fischer studied La Cour with interest. How would he explain this? La Cour seemed to be hesitating, then he began to talk.
“I thought I heard something.”
Adam waited a while, but La Cour didn’t say anything else. After a moment, Adam shrugged.
“It doesn’t matter anyway. You saved my sister and Jimmy. We’re all very fond of him. Julie hasn’t been this happy for a long time. What you did – I can’t thank you enough. That guy Viktor showed up last year, and tried to get my brother to buy some black market booze from Eastern Europe. Jimmy warned us. I suppose this was to get back at him for that. But I need to go upstairs now, to make sure Julie and my mother have gone to bed. You’ll have to excuse me. If there’s anything you need – just let us know. Charge it to the hotel.”
La Cour got up, and Fischer too. Adam held out his hand and thanked them all, IP too, then disappeared in the direction of the lifts. When he was gone, IP turned towards his former colleagues.
“Well, I guess I should get myself home. A good thing you were here. You don’t seem to have lost your old touch, Thomas. Lucky for those two kids.”
“Yes. Listen, IP – I asked Ingrid and she told me you should go ahead and send in that application.”
“Yeah, she called me and mentioned something about that. So I did, but I haven’t heard anything yet. Have you?”
“No, not yet. I hope we’ll get to work together again soon.”
“I’d like that. We’ll keep in touch. Give my best to Helene and the kids.”
At long last La Cour and Fischer were able to get to bed too. They stopped briefly in Fischer’s room, so they wouldn’t wake the children.
“IP is right. You haven’t lost that ability. I was almost beginning to think you had.”
La Cour nodded.
“Me too. Since I got married and -”
He nodded at Fischer. Fischer couldn’t help smiling. What La Cour had said could be applied to Fischer too. Since he and La Cour had become involved and even more since he and Helene had found each other, he’d managed to put the worst memories behind him. He could guess how La Cour felt.
“I’ve had fewer of those visions, but clearly they’re not completely gone. Fortunately. He was going to kill Jimmy and probably Julie too. And before then – In any case, things turned out alright.”
“Thanks to you.”
Fischer couldn’t help being impressed, even though he too had played a certain part in the night’s drama. After all, he was the one who had smashed that guy Viktor’s wrist. He took a step closer to La Cour and pulled him close. Just this once, they might make an exception to their rule. Helene wouldn’t mind. They kissed for a while, until La Cour’s conscience struck him. By now, Helene must have finished her article.
“Perhaps you’d like to join me?”
Fischer wasn’t sure how to interpret that smile, but couldn’t help smiling too.
“I’d better not. Some other time. When the children have their own rooms.”
“I’m exhausted. We’d just be sleeping, that’s all. Anything else is completely out of the question. So if you like -”
The thought of waking up with the two people he loved the most in the whole world, except for the children, was tempting. Even so, after a moment’s consideration, Fischer shook his head. If the girls saw them together, they’d begin to talk about it and some day their nursery school teacher and the parents of their little friends would find out. He’d better not.
“Like I said, some other time.”
He kissed La Cour lightly on the lips and pushed him towards the door.
When La Cour closed the door behind him, Helene looked up from her computer.
“Finally, I’m finished. I heard you’ve been a real hero. Come here.”
Hastily, he undressed and stretched out on the bed beside her. Helene pulled the covers up over them.
“So your – visions – aren’t completely gone?”
“That’s good. Especially tonight. Alice would have been devastated if anything had happened to her daughter.”
La Cour nodded mutely. He really was tired. It was as if the visions tired him out as if he’d just been out running for miles, or as if he’d closed a complicated murder investigation. He felt almost physically exhausted. Lying like this next to Helene again felt great. Tonight he didn’t think he’d see or hear anything that might disturb his sleep.