Sand walked through the hotel reception. The night porter saw him heading for the door. Sand was wearing the light windcheater jacket, the only one he had brought with him to Bergen. The night porter hurried after him with an umbrella.
‘Please, Sir,’ he offered it to Sand just as Sand pulled open the glass door. ‘You shouldn’t go out like that with the storm coming in.’
Sand had been aware of the rain but hadn’t realised a storm was blowing in off the sea. He took the umbrella. ‘Thanks.’
He pulled his jacket up round his neck and opened the umbrella on the hotel steps before ducking out into the wild night. Immediately the umbrella was blown inside out by the strong wind. Sand fixed it and managed to walk ten paces before it did it again. He threw the umbrella into the gutter. The cold rain stung as the wind blew it straight into his face. Sand embraced the feeling. He wanted to be invigorated for what lay ahead. He felt alive with adrenaline.
Dag Moen had told him to meet him at an address only five blocks from the hotel.
‘Why that address?’ Sand had asked Moen on the ‘phone.
‘You’ll see,’ Moen replied. ‘Maybe you’ll find some answers there. Be sure to come alone. This is a personal matter between you and I.’
Moen had ended the call. Sand was too experienced to leave himself no back up at all. He called the number Bakke had given him and woke the Bergen police officer. Once he had explained the situation, Bakke agreed to head to the same address, but remain parked a street away, ready to come to Sand’s aid if he was needed.
After walking the streets for ten minutes, Sand’s windcheater was soaked through. He felt the rainwater seeping through his clothes, his jeans were heavy and sticking to his legs.
He found the address he was looking for. The sign read ‘Bergen Whaling and Fishing Museum.’ Although the sign was lit, the building was locked and closed. Sand circled round the rear and found a door swung open by the wind that was increasing by the minute. The rain poured down in sheets.
Sand drew his service handgun and stepped inside the door. It was a corridor. It was pitch black. Sand edged his way along. Unable to see anything he strained his ears to try and sense if anyone else was there. He passed a door. He tried to open it but it was locked shut. Further along another door opened. Something fell out the door and clattered to the floor.
‘Shit.’ The cleaner’s cupboard, thought Sand as he picked up the mop and shut the door over. After the loud noise the hush returned. Only the howling wind and rain outside could be heard.
Sand crept forward. He came to the end of the corridor. There was a large double door, a fire door with a bar across it. Sand pressed the bar down and swung it open. He stepped into a large hall. Some low level safety lighting illuminated pictures on the walls and models of fishing and whaling vessels. He had come into the museum.
‘You made it, Detective Sand.’ Dag Moen’s voice boomed out of a speaker, filling the hall. The main lights crashed on. Sand had to shield his eyes from the sudden brightness. ‘I’m so glad you did.’
‘I wish I could share your enthusiasm,’ Sand shouted into the hall, trying to locate where the voice was coming from.
‘Your publicity stunt almost ruined my fun. Fortunately, I knew I could find sanctuary in Bergen, just like my father used to do.’
‘Is this part of your plan?’ Keep him talking, Sand thought. He likes to tell people how smart he is.
‘The plan was just a way to get your attention. All I really wanted was a reason for you and I to be alone.’
‘Is that why Dahlia Solberg had to die?’
‘That was a bit of unfinished business for my father.’
‘How do you know what he would have wanted?’
‘The letters he sent to my mother were quite explicit. He dreamed of killing Dahlia for stealing Bjarne from him. More than that he wanted to see the detective who had arrested him suffer as he had.’
‘Is it really worth it over some jealous lover’s quarrel?’ Sand’s eyes had adjusted to the bright hall. He moved forward. The hall was split into different sections of exhibits. He moved passed the area of ships and boats. Next to that was a separate room that was filled with large metal harpoons, fishing guns, hooks, saws and blades. Norway still hunted and killed Minke whales, but the industry was in decline and demand falling, Sand knew that much.
Under a spotlight in the middle of the glinting metal stood Dag Moen.
‘You really think that’s why he killed Bjarne? Because he left him for a young woman?’
‘Bjarne wasn’t the first, was he?’
‘No, my father was an experienced killer by then.’
‘Rolf Karlstad?’ Sand said.
Moen smiled. ‘I’m impressed, Detective Sand, you have been doing your homework.’
‘There were others?’
‘It’s amazing how many deaths can occur in a busy port city with so much casual labour and a shrinking industry leaving so many young men unemployed and homeless.
‘How many?’ Sand asked.
‘From the letters, six, but who knows the true number. That’s close enough, Detective.’
Sand had got within ten paces of Moen. They stood facing each other surrounded by the vicious, glittering armoury of the whaling industry.
This is part twenty-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 have published 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:
To read the full story from the beginning go here: A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.