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By Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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She hesitated. What in the blazes could be down there? She absolutely did not want to go down into even darker and fouler air. On the other hand, she agreed with Hjortur that they had to settle this here and now. She roused herself. ‘All right then,’ she conceded, grabbing Hjortur’s torch. ’ She opened the door wide enough to step through and saw Markus on the stairs, looking pale as a corpse. His face nearly matched the white helmet that he wore on his head. Thóra tried not to read too much into it, since the only light was coming from their torches, giving everything an otherworldly glow.

He took the kids every other weekend and sometimes asked to have more time with them when it was convenient, but in general he was not receptive to taking them at short notice. Hannes had a new wife, and his life now revolved mainly around the two of them and their needs. Thóra’s, on the other hand, revolved around everyone but herself; lately all of her time had been going into her work, her two children and her grandson, who had recently turned one. The grandchild actually came part and parcel with a fourth child - her daughter- in law.

The music was coming from the CD player on the bedside table, and next to it was an empty wine bottle, an open prescription bottle and a syringe. In the middle of the bed lay Alda. Dís didn’t need her medical degree to realize that there was little use in trying to resuscitate her. Chapter Four Tuesday 10 July 2007 Thóra leaned back in her chair and sighed, trying to decide who to ask to pick up her daughter Sóley - for the second day in a row. Her mother was out of the question. She had helped out the previous evening when Thóra had been delayed in the Westmann Islands, and besides that, her parents were on their way to the theatre.

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