Sand hung up the ‘phone. The rain battered off the hotel room window. Pedersen had given him permission to stay on for a couple more days in Bergen. Nothing had happened in Oslo. Dag Moen had still gone to ground somewhere. Either he was gone for good or he was biding his time. There was no reason for Sand to go back to Oslo. He could dig round further in Bergen. It would be difficult to find any surviving evidence to link Jules Eckberg, alias Verne Schloss, to the Karlstad murder. In some ways it didn’t matter. Eckberg was dead and he had spent his life in jail for murder. The fact it was a different murder in Oslo made little difference. Sand lay down on the bed and closed his eyes.
Egil Lund admonished his young partner. ‘You may have been a detective for a couple of years now, but you still have a lot to learn.’
Sand shook his head at the elder detective. They sat in the car, where they had been for the whole evening. The crumpled takeaway wrappers were tossed onto the back seat, the radio news played in the background. The death of Princess Diana in Paris still dominated the headlines.
‘I’m just saying,’ Sand continued, ‘we won’t catch this guy sitting around waiting for him. We need to try and draw him out. Taunt him. Rattle his cage.’
‘How exactly do you suggest we do that?’ Lund said. ‘Patience, Anders. If there’s one thing you need to be a good detective, it’s patience.’ Sand mouthed along the last two words as Lund said them. He had heard the lesson before.
‘Sure, I know, but…’
Lund interrupted him, grabbing his arm and pointing across the road.
‘One day you will learn that I am always right,’ Lund said. Sand followed his look. Across the street a tall man had entered the building they had been watching for the last week. ‘Even murderers are creatures of habit.’
They had been staking out Jules Eckberg’s favourite drinking hole, and there he was, casually strolling in the door.
Sand opened his door. Lund tried to hold his arm. ‘We call back up,’ Lund said.
‘Come on. He doesn’t know we’re here. We can arrest him ourselves.’ Sand got out and closed the car door.
‘Shit,’ Lund swore under his breath. He called in the sighting and requested a tactical team. Then he hurried across the road after his eager partner.
Sand walked into the dingy bar. Weak sunlight created shafts through dirty windows. The barman was sitting on a barstool reading a newspaper. A woman sat in a corner booth. A dog slept next to her.
Sand took out his badge and showed it to the barman. ‘The man that just came in here. Where is he?’
The barman took in the smartly-dressed young man in his pressed suit and tie. He didn’t like young upstarts. He liked police officers even less. ‘What man?’
Sand impetuously stepped forward. He didn’t notice the narrow entrance that led to the toilet. Too late he saw the movement out of the corner of his eye. The glass smashed into the side of his head and sent him sprawling to the floor. The man was on top of him before he could recover. He felt his tie being yanked hard, it closed round his neck. With his other hand, Eckberg punched Sand hard. Sand gasped for breath. The more he struggled the tighter his tie gripped his neck. Sand was sure he was about to blackout.
Then there was a crash as Eckberg was tackled by a charging Lund. Sand struggled to loosen the noose around his neck. He crouched on all fours, sucking in oxygen. He heard the click and Lund’s voice. ‘Jules Eckberg, you are under arrest on suspiscion of murdering Bjarne Johansen.’
Sand struggled to his feet. Lund marched Eckberg passed him. Sand looked into Eckberg’s eyes. He expected them to be wild, the eyes of a deranged madman. They were only cold and filled with hate. The tactical unit burst through the door.
‘One day you’ll listen,’ Lund chastised Sand. ‘How many times do I have to tell you not to wear a tie? Ties are for bankers, lawyers and politicians.’
Sand took the crumpled tie off. The barman still sat on the bar stool. He hadn’t moved.
‘Whiskey.’ Sand said. ‘Make it a double.’ He threw the tie down on the bar.
Sand opened his eyes as his ‘phone rang. He reached over and swiped the screen to answer the call.
‘So you made it to Bergen,’ Dag Moen said.
This is part twenty 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.