Anders Sand sat on the bench and looked at the graves of Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch, situated only metres apart. There was a steady trickle of tourists wandering past, pausing to show respect or at least recognition, and then moving on. A strange thing to do on holiday, Sand thought, to visit death. Our Saviour’s cemetery had become a top tourist attraction in Oslo, alongside the parks, cafés, museums and theatres.
He had spent his whole career dealing with the dead. Every investigation started with death. His was not the fight to prevent death. His was the duty to avenge it, to be the warrior for the victims, to punish those that dealt out death.
A row of ants marched along the ground at the foot of the bench. Sand followed them as the scuttled along. They reached his foot and swerved round it, correcting their course before carrying on along the straight route they followed. A single purpose, determined and undeterred by anything, the ants marched on inevitably to their destiny.
Twenty years with the Serious Crimes Squad, to what purpose was Anders Sand marching now? If he had achieved anything worthwhile it was providing comfort to family and loved ones broken by grief. When he first started as a homicide detective that was satisfying and fulfilling. It was no longer enough.
Every time a murderer was caught, every time they were convicted and put behind bars, Sand thought he had made the world a safer place. Then the next monster would emerge. And another, and another. The endless game of life and death, murder and vengeance, investigation and solution, horror and containment.
He picked up the small bunch of flowers that sat next to him and stood. He walked along the path, the grass neatly trimmed on either side, and knelt at the shining new headstone. Placing the flowers at the foot of it, Sand stepped back from the grave. He had no words, his emotions swirled internally, but he refused to let them show. Grief manifested itself in his grim, stoical expression and his bowed head. How did you deal with death when there was no one to avenge? Death had stolen his love away. In his life with Camilla, his dedication to avenging death had cost him time with his love, time with the living. He could never get that back.
Ants scurried past his feet. He looked at the line of them. They had carried on from the bench, following the same path he had walked, or rather, he had followed their path. He watched the line, tracing it’s progress. The ants coalesced behind the headstone, forming an embryonic anthill. Sand kicked at the hill, scattering ants in every direction. He stood on them, stamping his foot down hard. Killing them. Dealing out death. After a minute of fury, he stopped. Hands on his knees, he gasped in air.
The ants kept coming. An endless line of thousands. The anthill slowly grew once more. Life and death, there was no way to hold back either.
This is part one 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.