Black Seconds by Karin Fossum

By Karin Fossum

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The other woman’s concern, her anxiety and sympathy, which con cluded with the reassuring words, ‘She’ll turn up, you know what kids are like,’ tormented and haunted her. 6 ‘Yes,’ Helga lied. But she did not know. Ida was never late. No one was home at Therese’s. She spoke to Richard’s father, who told her his son had gone down to the stable. So she waited while he went to look for him. The clock on the wall mocked her, its constant ticking: she hated it. Richard’s father came back. His son was alone in the stable.

It was inconceivable. What if Marion vanished like that? What if the sound of tyres from 27 her son’s Opel never materialised? She tried to imagine hours of waiting. Imagined that the familiar sound of tyres never came. That sooner or later she would be waiting for another sound, the sound of the telephone. She rang his mobile, but it was switched off. When he finally turned up, it surprised her that he did not pop in to say hi, but went straight up to his room. He must have seen the light in the window and realised that she was awake.

Now he was looking at the Opel. From the bench where he was sitting he could not see the damaged wing. He could make himself believe that it had never happened, that it was all a bad dream. ’ Willy said without looking up at him. Tomme thought about it for a while. ‘It was horrible,’ he said. ‘Just walking around searching like that. Loads of people had turned up. They’re looking everywhere. ’ Willy asked. ’ He looked across to his older friend. Willy was quite skinny, he thought. He had a lean face with a protruding chin, and bony shoulders.

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