The sun shone on Oslo, the signs of Spring finally showing. There was warmth in the sun and families sat on picnic rugs and played games on the grass. Sand and Gabi walked along the path. Gabi’s arm was still in a sling. The bruises and swelling on Sand’s face had receded. He moved stiffly with two broken ribs and the stitches in his shoulder.

It had been a week since Sand had been picked up from the yacht. Dag Moen was missing presumed dead. In the stormy sea the chances of anyone being able to swim back to shore were zero. In the sub-zero temperatures he would have frozen to death in less than a minute.

‘He stole the yacht as part of his plan?’ Gabi asked. Sand hadn’t been back to work yet. Although they had spoken briefly on the ‘phone, it was her first chance to get the full story.

Sand nodded. ‘It was supposed to be his getaway, I think. He should have killed me on the whaler and then got away before anyone missed me. They found the owner of the yacht in his apartment. Moen had followed him home one night, broken into his place and left him tied up in the closet. Took the keys for his yacht.’

‘He was lucky to get away alive. If Moen was evil or insane, why didn’t he kill him too?’

‘Nothing is black and white,’ Sand said. ‘I’m not convinced he was pure evil. There was motive to what he was doing, and he had a plan that made sense in his reality. I was the target all along.’

‘You have to be a little sick to want to avenge a father who raped your mother and murdered innocent men.’

‘I’m not making excuses for him, but think about the life he had. No father, a mother who lied to him, dealing with Asperger’s, bullied by other children, no friends. The revelation about who his father really was tipped him over a precipice that was already crumbling.’

‘What about his mother, Brit? Why would she keep in contact with her brother if he abused her.’

‘I bet there is something in their past that brought them together. I wonder what their parents were like.’

‘Or maybe the whole family is nuts. The whole obsession with whale-hunting, you don’t think that was crazy?’ Gabi said.

‘Again, nothing is as black and white as that. You have to be careful not to dismiss people as crazy.’

‘Like you did with Jules Eckberg twenty years ago?’

‘And look what happened.’

They stopped and sat on a bench overlooking the large pond. Children pushed sailboats across the water.

‘Are they still searching for the body?’ Gabi asked.

‘They’ve scaled back the search. He’ll be fish food by now if he hasn’t washed up on the shore.’

They sat in silence watching the people of Oslo enjoying the park. Sand sighed. He wished they had found Dag Moen’s body. He knew it was impossible for him to have survived in that sea, but nothing was that black and white. He would always have that nagging doubt. He would always be looking over his shoulder.

Sand jumped as Gabi’s ‘phone rang. She fished it out of her pocket. It was Pedersen. She spoke to him briefly, hung up and looked at Sand.

‘Dead body found abandoned in a dumpster. Pedersen wants to know if you’re ready to return to duty. Probably a drunk.’

‘Possibly a drunk, but also a person with a story, a history. Our job is to investigate that and find out how he died, and if necessary, who did it. Remember, nothing is black and white.’

Gabi laughed. ‘Nothing is black and white, I know, Boss.’ They stood up and began walked back to the squad car. Gabi opened the passenger door and looked over the car roof at her dishevelled partner.

‘How about a zebra, Sand? They’re black and white.’


A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

This is part twenty-six, the concluding part, 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 make up a continuous story, all based round the objects found in this children’s jigsaw:

3570513_R_Z001A_UC17690531

To read the full story and catch up on other entries visit here: A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with the story all the way, and to those who have dipped in and out. Your comments and support make the whole thing worthwhile, and I hope you have enjoyed the story. I have no doubt Anders Sand and Gabi Henrickson will return at some point in the future. To those loyal few who have been reading and commenting everyday, I can’t thank you enough for taking an interest and giving up your time to read my story.

I have been privileged to discover many new blogs and writers over the course of the challenge and look forward to keeping in touch and reading more from everyone – especially now I have a bit more time on my hands! Here’s to the A to Z Challenge 2018!

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108 thoughts on “Z IS FOR ZEBRA

  1. Great last line!! And I’m sure Dag is out there somewhere…

    I’ve enjoyed your A-Z very much. It was an innovative way of approaching the challenge and your story has been very exciting. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, a little nod and a wink to the reader at the end! Glad you liked it. I’m sure Dag is dead at the bottom of the sea, definitely. No way he’s still out there hiding, waiting…. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the little joke at the end, nice to leave it with a bit of a laugh. Thanks for sticking with it for the whole month, make sit all worthwhile to know there are people reading it 🙂

      Like

  2. on the last line. You unexpectedly left us with a smile (or a snigger maybe). And the door left open in case you decide you want to re-visit this particular villan.

    A really fantastic story, I’ve enjoyed it hugely. Oddly, this is an idea we’d decided to try out on Fiction Can Be Fun as a combined effort next year. Mind you, you’ve set the bar jolly high!

    But for now, this is Debs from Bunny and the Bloke signing off for 2017’s Challenge!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will have to check out some of your prompts – now that I have some time again. Glad you liked the little joke at the end – nice to end on a bit of chuckle. Thank you for sticking with my little story through the whole month and for your comments, very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d echo Debs’ comments – brilliant read: brilliant idea, brilliantly executed. I can see this being a neat Easter egg for a published book, unless you have other plans…

        And we’d love to see you over at Fiction Can Be Fun – next prompt is coming up in a week’s time😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. And the body in the dumpster either turns out to be Dag Moen (who somehow made it to shore, but didn’t manage to get the medical attention he would have needed, or he trusted the wrong person to take him to the hospital)…or he managed to make it to shore and somehow had the strength to kill one more person, just to let Sand know he’s still out there, before finding a taxi and going to the hospital (which he’ll be long gone from by the time Sand and Gabi get there). Possible sequel idea. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good ideas – but for know I’m going for a lie down and a rest, and I’ll let you decide if it has anything to do with Dag or not! Thanks for reading and all your comments and encouragement through the month. Much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great storyline and it flowed really nicely. As I was reading about the dead body I thought ah that could be him! But apparently it’s for another day, a day in the office for Det. Sand 🙂Congratulations for completing the challenge, Iain! Looking forward to reading more stories/great work of yours! 🏆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like Sand, we might be left wondering if Dag is still out there for ever more – we shall see! Thank you for all your comments and for reading it all the way through – makes it all worthwhile and much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on finishing such an entertaining A to Z Challenge! I loved reading your story and think it was so creative of you to use the puzzle as your daily prompts. Which was the toughest for you to incorporate? I think you made them all flow naturally in the story. Nice job 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking back I think Squirrel and Jelly were the toughest, although I was pleased with how I managed to get them in. I think if I would change any it might be D for Drum – by the end of the story I can’t see my lead character sitting at a drum kit – but it worked for the challenge! Thank you for sticking with it all month, much appreciated and thanks for your kind comment too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really liked squirrel and learning the Norwegian word for it 😁. Have you spent time in Norway? Just wondering why you chose that as the setting. That’s interesting that you feel that way about the drums. I can see Sand playing to be creative or to get his frustration out. If not playing drums, why do you see as a more likely hobby for him?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see him as more refined- if it was music maybe a piano, or just listening to classical music. Or playing chess, always a good one. Never been to Norway, but settled on it when looking at having to fit in Igloo and Whale, and the zoo – all are real locations in Norway.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That was a nice wropped up.
    Like many other, I’m nor really sure Moan is dead. No matter how impossible ocnditions are, if an author doesn’t give certainties, it means he/she has something in mind 😉

    Congratulation on concluding the challenge. Your was doubly hard, being this a story. Actually, it was thricely so, because of the pazzle. Hat off to you.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind comment and glad that you enjoyed it. As for the evil Dag, well, we’ll see… There’s always next year’s A to Z challenge! Thank you for sticking with it and offering encouragement all the way through, really appreciated it 🙂

      Like

  7. Alright, we crossed the finish line!

    Mixed feelings here. Love the way you wrapped things up and the climax was electrifying, but I wish there had been more to Dag than a messed up childhood that drove him crazy. Also a bit ‘eh’ on Eckberg being a whaler who just grew to love slitting living beings open.

    That being said, I loved the scene with Camilla. I kind of wish we’d seen more of her earlier, as that short bit with the cancer diagnosis was very powerful and gut-wrenching.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having to stick to the objects in the jigsaw was the challenge, so there’s only so much you can do – and it was a bit of fun writing rather than trying to be an all-encompassing novel, so if I was ever to expand on it I could include more of Camilla and Dag’s and Eckberg’s background, without being restricted by the objects in a children’s jigsaw – like a whale! Thanks for reading it all the way to the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, that’s a fair point.

        I really loved the setting of the whaling factory and the yacht at the end. I could really envision that as the climax of a film as I was reading.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Never kill off your best characters if there’s a chance of a sequel… but I’m not sure if I will bring these characters back again, certainly need a bit of a break just now! Thanks for reading and sticking with it through the whole month, much appreciated James, especially with everything going on for you. Hope you’re doing well.

      Like

  8. What a grand finale! I love how in spite of everything that Moen put Sands through you showed the tender side of Sands. The side that doesn’t want to be too quick to judge and criticize. It is so true not everything is black and white. And with that said, your last line was Superb! 🙂
    Thanks for all your hard work this past month and thank your children for their puzzle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Joy. Glad that you liked it and thank you so much for reading it through the whole month and giving kind and encouraging comments. Really appreciate it. I can show the kids the story when they are older and tell them how I used there jigsaw as the inspiration for it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very welcome, was my pleasure!
        And yeah, probably best to wait to read them the story when they are older. Not exactly your typical bedtime story for little ones. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Iain, this was gripping, addictive even! And I loved all your black and white references in this final episode. I wondered where the zebra was hiding and there it was in plain sight right at the end! You are one of the few I’ve come across to have used the puzzle, and for that, I must applaud you. I chickened out, or should that be pussied out?! Thanks so much for spending time in Amble Bay. The locals will miss you I’m sure!

    It’s farewell to Amble Bay!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh that last line fits perfectly for Zebra. They are after all black and white 😉 So, is Moen dead or not is the question though. Like Sand, I need proof 😁 Maybe another story in the making?
    Once again, great job, Iain. Loved reading each and every post and enjoyed them throughout. Looking forward to reading more fun posts.
    P.S. I apologise for the late read. A bit under the weather so staying away from bright lights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Glad you liked it, and thanks for staying with it for the full month, and for all your comments. Really appreciate it and we’ll just have to wait and see if Moen returns or not! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry I missed the start of this story. I’m going to go back to the beginning and read it all the way through when I get a breath. I love the way you used the puzzle. Congrats on finishing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows, maybe in some form, although I’ll be glad not to have to include zebras and drums and pandas!!! Thanks for sticking with it all month and your kind comments. Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. wonderful! i went for a walk by the sea and fully expected a dag’s body to wash up and get stuck in the mangroves in bombay. come, visit us some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great tie-up! I still think you’ll bring old Dag back for another go at Sand next year (and I’ll look forward to reading it)! I’ve really enjoyed this serial. Great job turning words from a children’s puzzle into a murder mystery! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well done. I love the ones that are a bit less obvious. You’ve done that all the way through. Glad Sand and Gabi are alive but Dag’s still out there, I know it. What are we to do without finding out about Sand and Gabi each day?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They may all appear again one day, but they need a rest as much as I do! Thank you for reading and all your kind comments, it made the writing all the more worthwhile 🙂

      Like

  15. Congratulations you made it to the end, it was a very interesting story even to the last line. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up again even as a ghost, as you said nothing is black and white.
    It’s been nice meeting you, through the A to Z challenge 2017. Looking forward to your future writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maggie, for following the story all the way and all your kind comments. Can’t even bring myself to think of doing it all again next year, but maybe after a break I’ll think of something new to do! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Take a bow, Iain. Fantastic story, and amazing how you pulled it all together for the AtoZ challenge. Nice little ending too. Ha! That was great stuff. And no, Dag is not escaping his burial at sea. That’d be too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John. Glad you liked it. Saving it all up and reading them all at the end is probably the best way to read it. And thanks for suggesting the challenge to me. Dag is certainly at the bottom of the sea, at least for a couple of months while I lie down and have a rest!

      Like

    1. Thank you. It was a lot to ask for everyone to keep reading each day, I appreciate the effort you made in sticking with it and thanks for your kind comment.

      Like

  17. Great finish! Of course Zebra is black and white – that was a clever way to finish! Sand will always be looking over his back for Dag, won’t he? Even if Dag’s chances of survival is next to slim. I loved reading the series and really hope to see more of Sand and Gabi. Congratulations on completing the challenge – I can understand it would take a lot of effort to write a series of 26 letters spanning a month. A job very well done. I guess you can have a mug of beer and maybe take a vacation in Oslo? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, it would be good to visit Oslo one day! Thank you for reading and commenting, it was really appreciated. I’m sure I’ll see those characters again someday. As for Dag though…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Bravo! What a great ending! Still wish they’d found a body though! lol I guess I’m a bit like Sand in that regard, I like my endings clean. 😉

    This was really well done. Will you be publishing this? I think you could carry out a self-pub version on Amazon super well. I know I’d promote it!

    Congratulations on finishing the Challenge! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the support. I may re-visit it for self-publishing one day – I would like to re-write it and maybe make it into a novel length. We’ll see! Thanks for sticking with it and all your comments, really appreciated. 🙂

      Like

  19. I thought this was a great story and such a clever way to do the A to Z challenge! I fell behind reading for awhile, but it was nice to be able to read it all at once because some of the endings are really suspenseful! I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I’m curious already for what you’ll plan next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it – I should go back and read it all in one go too now that I don’t have to keep writing new parts! Really appreciate you sticking with it and for your kind comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow!! I feel so very guilty to have missed reading your tales through AtoZ. But I’m definitely going to read the entire story for sure! 🙂 What a great way to take up this challenge! Thank you so much for following me through A to Z and hearty congratulations for a successful completion! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Congratulations, Iain! You constructed a fast-moving, coherent murder mystery out of some challenging pieces. Well, done. The only thing I would ask is that if you revisit Sand and Gabi, please don’t side-line her next time. It makes Gabi seem more a token woman than a supporting character. (If that’s all you meant her to be, you might not want to admit that to me. 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue. I admit Gabi got a bit side-lined here, it was a story about Detective Sand and his past after all. She seems to have been a popular character though, so next time (if there is one) I’ll have to give her a bigger part! Thanks for reading all the way through and I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m all finished now and to be honest I’m kind of sad it’s over….or maybe it’s not.
    I really enjoyed this, you’re an excellent writer and you kept me hooked the whole way through. I’m glad I waited until the end and read it all, I think day by day would eventually have driven me bananas, I’m a tad impatient.
    You should be exceptionally proud of this, because it’s really rather awesome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such kind words, and for reading it all from start to finish. I’m pleased you enjoyed it and take great encouragement from your comment. Who knows what will happen next, I feel Sand and Gabi will be back at some point in the future for sure!

      Like

  23. Ohhh will we be seeing more of Detective Sand in the 2018 A-Z challenge? 😉 I guarantee you that I’ll definitely read the sequel (or a prequel, for that matter!) Great story, Iain. Congrats on making it to the end. Thanks for showing us that it’s possible to write a crime story could be based on objects from a children’s puzzle. Inspiration can be found anywhere. And you depicted the story so beautifully. I’m glad that Moen is gone for the good (I hope!) and that things are nearly back to normal in detectives Gabi and Sand’s lives. Thank you for entertaining us. I loved reading this. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shweta for sticking with it all the way through and for your kind comments. So pleased you liked it. I think they will be back for another story sometime, but not sure when or how at the moment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a pleasure to read! 😊 Thank you so much for the story. Looking forward to reading more of Sand’s adventures… Whenever you’re ready! I’m so glad that I came across your blog. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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