The night streets were deserted. The residents of Bergen knew better than to go outside when a major storm was blowing in from the Norwegian Sea.
Bakke managed to keep the car in sight. Dag Moen’s driving was reckless, hurtling through the streets as the driving rain reduced visibility to almost zero.
‘He’s heading to the docks,’ Bakke said, gripping the steering wheel. ‘There’s a spare jacket on the back seat.’
Sand discovered he was shivering, wearing only his vest that was soaked through. He reached round and put the jacket on.
After a further ten minutes the car in front jerked to a stop. As Bakke pulled up behind it they saw Dag Moen exit the car and sprint away.
‘Call for back up, then follow me,’ Sand shouted over his shoulder as he jumped out the car.
The cold rain lashed into his face. He saw Moen leap over a chain fence and scramble down the other side. Sand reached the fence and jumped onto it. He caught his jacket on barbed wire at the top of it. He managed to free himself and fell from the top. He landed on his back, grunting with pain. He staggered up and continued running.
The dock was filled with old whaling ships. They stood in rows, tethered to the crumbling concrete, their rusting hulks battered by the wind and rain. Sand could hear them groaning and straining on their moorings as he sprinted along beside them.
Ahead he saw Moen jump from the dock onto the deck of a whaler and disappear into a door. Sand arrived at the whaler and saw the name of the ship written on it’s bow. ‘The Queen of Bergen.’ Sand thought back to the Queen of Spades playing card Moen had given him. This was the ship his father had worked on. This was where his endgame was to be played out.
Sand jumped without stopping and thudded onto the deck, jarring his knees as he landed on the metal surface. He charged through the door and slipped and stumbled down the metal stairs on the other side of it. He heard Moen’s footsteps ahead of him in the dark passageway.
Another door clanged shut. Seconds later, Sand opened the same door. He was gaining. He burst through onto a gantry. Below looked like the engine room of the ship. As he peered over he realised his mistake. He felt his feet leave the ground as Dag Moen lifted him up off the gantry. Sand spun over the metal railing and began falling.
He reached out. His hand grasped the railing. He dangled in mid-air. Dag Moen sneered over the railing at him. He stamped his foot on Sand’s hand. Sand fell. His feet hit the ground and took the brunt of the impact. The gun slipped from his grasp and slid away. Sand lay still on the cool floor.
Moen stood over him. ‘My father worked on this ship once. He killed and gutted whales here. Fitting that I do the same to you in the same place. You like how my plan has worked out in the end?’
Sand saw the sharp whaler’s knife that Moen raised above his head.
‘Why are you doing this?’ Sand asked. ‘It won’t bring your father back.’
‘You know how it feels to lose someone you love, Detective. Your wife was taken from you.’
‘That was life. Cancer. That’s just what happens. Why do you compare that to your father?’
‘Compare and contrast, Detective. You got to spend your life with someone you love. Share memories. Imagine you had gone through your life knowing your wife was living her’s separately, taken from you, unable to see her, to be with her.’
‘You’re father was a killer. A murderer and a rapist. He wouldn’t have loved you.’
‘You took him from me. You took away the one person who could have given me a family, someone who would have truly loved me.’
‘You’re insane,’ Sand said.
Moen made an animal howl. He raised the whaler’s knife again. The world moved in slow motion. Sand heard the wind outside, the ship creaking and rattling. He saw Moen’s enraged face. The knife glinted as it began to arc through the air. He saw the door above them fly open and Bakke burst through. The gunshot echoed round the metal room. Moen spun round and screamed out in pain. The blade flew from his hand and hurtled towards Sand. He rolled over. The blade embedded itself in Sand’s shoulder.
He saw Moen howling and grasping his hand, destroyed by the bullet that had hit it. Then he disappeared. Bakke got to Sand as he was pulling the blade from his shoulder.
‘You’re okay?’ Bakke said, pulling Sand to his feet.
‘I’ll survive,’ Sand winced as he felt blood running down his side. ‘Where did he go?’
Bakke pointed. ‘Down that way.’
‘I’ll follow him. You head back up and cut him off if he comes out at the top.’
Sand took off down the dark corridor. At the end of it was a stairwell. It led up to a door. Sand came out onto the deck. He looked over in time to see Bakke appear at the other door.
‘Where is he?’ Sand shouted. Bakke shrugged. He couldn’t let him get away, Sand thought. If he did, Moen would never resurface again, or worse, he would kill again.
He ran over to the railing. The ship lurched on the stormy waves. As Sand looked out, a lightning flash illuminated the docks. Sand saw the figure of Moen staggering along. Their was a gangplank that joined the whaler to the shore.
‘Come on,’ he ran past Bakke. Gritting his teeth, Sand faced into the wind and ran. One final effort, he thought. One more battle with evil.
This is part twenty-three of my A to Z Challenge 2017. More information on the challenge, and other stories and blogs taking part in it, can be found HERE.
Throughout April I hope to publish a section a day, relating to a letter of the alphabet, which in the end will make up a continuous story, all based round the objects found in this children’s jigsaw:
Other entries in the challenge, and a version of the final complete, joined up story can be found here: A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.
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