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The Ravens

The Ravens

Translated by Tiina Nunnally
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Ravens
    Book Description:

    It's been a long, dark time since a gruesome discovery drew U.S. Forest Service ranger Lance Hansen into a murder investigation that is now approaching a resolution-although not to his satisfaction. In fact, the mysteries have been multiplying and getting uncomfortably close to home. On the run after a hunting expedition with his brother, Andy, went awry, Lance is haunted by visions of Swamper Caribou, the Ojibwe medicine man whose death a century earlier remains unexplained. Willy Dupree, Lance's former father-in-law, has the ability to interpret dreams-and what he reveals may be key to understanding both deaths, past and present. Reluctantly taking on the role of detective, Lance uncovers troubling connections and grim secrets that will shake him to his very core.

    In the final installment of his award-winning Minnesota Trilogy, Norwegian crime writer Vidar Sundstøl's affinity for the northern world of Lake Superior is on full display-as Lance's search takes him from the wilds of the Boundary Waters to outposts steeped in voyageur history and Ojibwe culture, from the streets of the Twin Cities to the gritty port of Duluth, to the sleepy tourist towns that dot the North Shore-and as the mysteries of love and nature, history and culture merge in a powerful conclusion.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4472-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. 1
    (pp. 1-3)

    Lake superior had frozen over and was transformed into a desolate white wasteland. In Duluth the temperature hovered at a steady twenty below. No ships passed under the old Aerial Lift Bridge, although normally that would have happened several times a day. Now the bridge remained motionless all day long as the low January sun glinted off the frost-covered steel.

    Inga Hansen was knitting. Only the faint clacking of her knitting needles disturbed the silence. From the walls stared so many faces from her long life: her husband wearing his police uniform, the two of them in their wedding picture,...

  3. 2
    (pp. 4-6)

    He lunged out of bed, striking his head so hard on the floor that flames shot up in the back of his eyes, and he tore at his pajama top, sending several buttons flying. It was pitch dark in the room, and he was dying. His breath had stopped somewhere between his lungs and his mouth, like an elevator stuck between floors. Desperately he began flailing around in the dark, trying to make something happen, although he didn’t know what that might be. Nothing was certain anymore except that he didn’t have long to live. His hand touched something that...

  4. 3
    (pp. 7-9)

    After driving for a good hour Lance stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank and buy a couple of hot dogs, a soda, and a cup of coffee. He paid with some of the foreign coins that he was slowly getting used to. Then he gulped down the coffee so greedily and quickly that the young guy behind the counter couldn’t help staring.

    He felt better after eating the food and finishing his coffee. Then he continued southward through a landscape that didn’t change significantly. As he headed into the morning hours and away from the night,...

  5. 4
    (pp. 10-15)

    Ely is located on the shores of wind-swept Shagawa Lake, within the Iron Range of Minnesota, and Lance decided that would be a suitable place to begin. He checked in at the Lakeland Motel and ate a slice of pizza at the local Pizza Hut. Afterward he bought some bread and lunchmeat and a pair of snowshoes at a store close to the motel. He flung the snowshoes in the trunk of the car with a feeling that they might come in handy.

    The room was virtually identical to the one in which he’d just spent two months in Kenora,...

  6. 5
    (pp. 16-19)

    Lance got back in his car and drove the back roads toward Finland, but without knowing why or where he was actually heading. No matter what, he couldn’t let anyone see him. For instance, it would be unthinkable to walk into Our Place, Finland’s only bar, and have a chat with Ben Harvey, the amiable owner of the place. It was Ben who had told Lance that Andy had spent a whole evening in the bar with Georg Lofthus and his friend. That was one of the many things Andy had never mentioned, either to his brother or to the...

  7. 6
    (pp. 20-24)

    The kozy bar was a notorious gathering place for criminals and prostitutes. A good number of crimes had been committed over the years in the vicinity of this establishment. Yet Lance knew that the bar was completely harmless this early in the day, especially since he had a police ID in his wallet. He made sure the bartender caught a glimpse of it when he paid for his beer. The man briefly raised one eyebrow when he saw the ID. Lance kept his expression impassive as he picked up the pint glass and went over to a corner table to...

  8. 7
    (pp. 25-28)

    The next day he was driving aimlessly through the streets of Duluth when he caught sight of the redbrick building that housed the Great Lakes Aquarium. The building drew his attention in an inexplicable way, luring and enticing him, as if promising that it contained something he needed.

    After he bought a ticket and hung his jacket in the cloakroom, he stood in the middle of the huge hall, his mind blank as he looked around. The few other visitors who were present only served to make the place seem emptier; both their bodies and their voices seemed to disappear...

  9. 8
    (pp. 29-37)

    After taking a long and complicated route through the snow-covered forests and along icy waters, Lance pulled up in front of Willy Dupree’s house in the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. It was almost midnight, but for safety’s sake, he parked behind the garage so his car couldn’t be seen from the road.

    He felt a great warmth flood his chest when Willy opened the door.

    “Come in,” said the old man.

    More than two months had passed since the last time Lance was here. That was back in November, and he and Andy had finished the first day of their...

  10. 9
    (pp. 38-42)

    17 march.The boy arrived this morning. What a bitter cold he has endured! His face was like cold meat to the touch. His dreams are terrifying. He screams as we go about our daily chores. The children race anxiously past his bed every time they have to pass. My husband feels such great sorrow that it has not been possible for any of us to have peace in our hearts during this day. Thanks to God’s mercy he is still among the living, but just barely. His thoughts merge with his dreams, and he speaks in delirium. Thank God...

  11. 10
    (pp. 43-49)

    Chrissy hansen came walking through the school gate with another girl who was also clad in black from head to toe. Lance rolled down the car window and called her name. When she caught sight of her uncle, her first impulse seemed to be to run away. But then she said something to her friend, who continued along the snow-covered sidewalk alone as Chrissy went over to the black Jeep.

    “Get in,” said Lance.

    His niece did as he said, although reluctantly. Once she was seated in the car, she stared straight ahead without saying a word. “I thought we...

  12. 11
    (pp. 50-60)

    It was an ordinary-looking bar, equipped with a simple sound system and a microphone on a stand at one end of the room. Next to the microphone was a bar stool and a tall table with a pitcher of water and a glass. Lance noticed that Chrissy didn’t seem to know anyone, or at least she didn’t greet any of the other patrons. Yet there was something about the way she moved through the room that led him to believe she’d been there before. They found a table at the very back and hung their coats over the backs of...

  13. 12
    (pp. 61-62)

    The whiteness was starting to fill up her mind, and she had begun to hear the terrible sound of silence in the middle of the lake. When she looked around, there was nothing to see, not even the shadow of her own body, only the endless white. There weren’t even any compass points anymore.

    Inga jolted upright in her chair, as if she’d been about to doze off. Was she dreaming? No, but she hadn’t been vigilant about keeping tabs on her thoughts; she had allowed them to wander where they would. And lately that increasingly meant out to the...

  14. 13
    (pp. 63-69)

    Lance drove south from Ely through the same kind of snow-covered, forested landscape where he’d spent the past two months. Yesterday’s events had shaken him, both the surprising encounter with Clayton Miller and, in particular, Chrissy’s story. Had a blood-spattered man holding a baseball bat actually stood on the side of the road outside Finland? If that was true, it had to have been Andy. But there was something surreal about the story, as if it had been taken from an episode of The Twilight Zone, just as Chrissy had said. Except for the fact that such a series of...

  15. 14
    (pp. 70-75)

    It was 2:10 in the morning, and Grand Marais, which was the administrative hub of Cook County, seemed dead in the cold. Up on Good Harbor Hill, just outside the town, a black Jeep Cherokee was parked with the engine running. It had been there quite awhile. Spread out before Lance Hansen was one of the most beautiful views in all of Minnesota. With the snow and moonlight, and with the vast expanse of the starry sky displayed above Lake Superior, which was completely white and endless, the view was even more beautiful than usual, bordering on something supernatural, as...

  16. 15
    (pp. 76-79)

    After breakfast the next day Lance sat down in his easy chair to call his mother. It took only a few seconds for her to pick up.

    “This is Inga,” she said.

    He felt a lump form in his throat the moment he heard her slightly quavering voice. He had to clear his throat before he could say anything. “Lance?” she said. “Is that you?”

    She’d recognized who it was from the way he cleared his throat.

    “Yes, it’s me, Mom.”

    “Oh, it’s wonderful to hear from you, my boy! How are you?”


    “And how’s Norway?”

    “No, I’m back...

  17. 16
    (pp. 80-83)

    “Hey, son!”


    Jimmy threw himself into his father’s arms. Standing on the porch, Mary smiled as she shivered in the cold. Lance smiled back over the head of their son.

    “Did you have a good time in Norway?” she asked.

    “No, it was boring.”

    “Feel good to be back home?”

    “Definitely! I’ll bring him back in a couple of hours,” said Lance as he set Jimmy down on the ground.

    “Have fun.”

    Father and son both gave her a wave before she turned on her heel and went back inside the house.

    As they drove the short distance to...

  18. 17
    (pp. 84-93)

    When he woke up, Lance thought at first that he’d dreamed something, but he couldn’t remember what it was. Bewildered, he sat up in bed and looked around. The bedroom didn’t seem familiar, as if he’d gone into the wrong house and fallen asleep in someone else’s bed. Then he remembered: the white pickup. But that was no dream. His heart began pounding at a hollow, uncomfortable gallop. He got up and pulled open the curtains. The dazzling light stung his eyes.

    The clock radio on the nightstand said it was 10:41.

    He put on his bathrobe and slippers and...

  19. 18
    (pp. 94-96)

    The thought of a bloodstained Andy standing by the side of the road kept Lance awake. Only one other image had made as big an impression on him: the sight of the murdered Georg Lofthus with a row of white teeth visible in all the red, even though he was lying on his stomach in the woods. Once these two images had merged in his sleepless brain, it was impossible for Lance to separate them again. Previously he’d had in his mind only the picture of Andy driving toward the cross at around ten o’clock at night, after which he’d...

  20. 19
    (pp. 97-103)

    The next afternoon he rang the doorbell of Andy’s house. Tammy opened the door. She let out a little squeal that sounded genuine, but Lance couldn’t tell whether it was prompted by enthusiasm or alarm.

    “Back from Norway?” Her voice quavered slightly.

    “A couple of days ago. Can I come in?”

    Tammy stepped aside and opened the door wide.

    “Andy?” she called over her shoulder. “Your brother’s here.”

    Lance didn’t hear anything from inside the house except for some muted but throbbing music coming from Chrissy’s room on the second floor. He took off his boots and his heavy jacket...

  21. 20
    (pp. 104-105)

    Instead of driving straight to duluth to visit his mother, as he’d planned, Lance headed north again. When he reached the turnoff for Baraga Cross Road, he exited the highway and drove down to the parking lot, where he stopped the car and got out. It was early afternoon, but the sun was already low in the sky. He put on the snowshoes he’d bought in Ely, climbed over the snowbank, and headed into the birch forest. After a few minutes he caught sight of the cross between the tree trunks. In the deep snow it looked shorter than he...

  22. 21
    (pp. 106-108)

    She could phone, but that would give the impression that she was desperate for a visit, and she wasn’t. Her biggest concern was whether he was all right. Something was making her uneasy, though she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Just that it had something to do with Lance.

    She put down her knitting and slowly stood up, her knees aching. Then she went out to the corridor. Lakeview Nursing Home was a place for senior citizens who had good health insurance, for instance, from the retirement package of a deceased spouse. So it was no accident...

  23. 22
    (pp. 109-112)

    The next day in between classes Chrissy phoned Lance to ask whether they could drive to Grand Portage and visit “Jimmy’s grandfather,” as she called him.

    “Do you know Willy?” asked Lance.

    “Do I have to know him if I want to talk to him?”


    “Good. But it’s a little hard for me to get away. I mean, you saw for yourself what things are like.”

    Lance could hear that she was on the verge of tears.

    “Yeah. Not the best situation.”

    “I told them I’ve got dance practice at school tonight.”

    “Wouldn’t you rather go see Jimmy and...

  24. 23
    (pp. 113-122)

    Lance was eating a cookie that reminded him of Jimmy’s first year and the sweet smell of his hair.

    “Here, have something to drink,” said Willy, pouring Coke into the only glass on the table.

    Chrissy gave him a strained smile and took a sip. Lance saw her looking at the old dream catcher that hung underneath the photos of Willy Dupree’s parents.

    “A dream catcher,” said Willy.

    She blushed, as if caught in the act.

    “It was made more than a hundred years ago, for a little child who wasn’t sleeping well,” Willy explained. “And it’s been in the...

  25. 24
    (pp. 123-132)

    At the tofte ranger station everything was the same as always. Up near the ceiling the same bald eagle floated from its invisible strings, the big wolf over by the public entrance still had its tongue hanging out of its mouth, and the receptionist, Mary Berglund, had set the usual paper cup of coffee on the counter in front of Lance.

    “Did you go to Haugesund?” was the first thing she wanted to know.

    He shook his head.

    “My great-grandfather came from there. The one who drowned, you know.”

    “He drowned?” said Lance.


    “I didn’t know that.”

    “He fell...

  26. 25
    (pp. 133-137)

    The kitchen was faintly lit by the winter night outside the window. His long absence still hovered over the room. Two months of silence and stillness. Dust that had slowly settled and remained undisturbed. As if the whole house were as yet untouched by the fact that he was back. He recognized the old feeling of being one of the dead visiting the world of the living, incapable of having the slightest effect on it. Someone who couldn’t even stir up the dust.

    On the counter the coffeemaker was gurgling like a drowning man. He went over and filled a...

  27. 26
    (pp. 138-140)

    Big, wet snowflakes drifted past outside the window. Lance was sitting in his easy chair, staring at the gray swirls. It had been weeks since he’d seen any form of precipitation or even an overcast sky. The weather had been so dry and clear, with such a piercing brightness that it hurt his eyes. Now the tables had turned.

    He should really go visit his mother, but he couldn’t bear the thought of driving through such a heavy snowfall. It would have to wait until tomorrow. Instead he picked up his cell, which was lying on the coffee table, and...

  28. 27
    (pp. 141-146)

    It snowed the whole way to Minneapolis. The lake had disappeared behind the swirling flakes, but he could still sense the vast space out there. Everywhere he saw people shoveling out buried cars or clearing their driveways. Bowed figures wearing shapeless clothing and moving stiffly. Children played in the snow, dressed in caps and mittens and snowsuits, sliding down hills on their sleds. Snowmen had started to appear in yards and on playgrounds, some with the classic carrot noses and top hats. Lance noted how happy all this made him feel. Minnesota in the wintertime, with a beauty that was...

  29. 28
    (pp. 147-152)

    The rows of plastic chairs that were placed back-to-back in the glaring light made the place look like an airport waiting room. Along one wall was a series of small cubicles for visitors. Inside each was a single chair facing a window, and on the other side of the window was a little room with a closed door. Lance was sitting in a cubicle and staring at the door, which he knew would open soon. On the divider to his left hung a telephone receiver that was connected to another receiver on the other side of the soundproof glass. He...

  30. 29
    (pp. 153-154)

    Inga had awakened from a dream in which Oscar was sitting at the kitchen table in their house on Fifth Avenue. Behind him, outside the window, she could see a snowbank with the sun shining on it. The light had an April-like glow in her dream. But what she remembered most were his eyes, which were a uniform gray except for the big black pupils. That’s not my husband, she had thought as she stood next to the kitchen counter. “I’ve always had eyes like this,” said Oscar, and the second he said that, she knew it was true. She’d...

  31. 30
    (pp. 155-160)

    Lance fumbled for the clock on the nightstand and turned it around so he could read the red numbers. It was 3:18. What had awakened him? It wasn’t because he had to pee. As he was about to turn over to go back to sleep, he realized what it was. He’d left the bedroom door ajar, as he always did to keep the room from getting too stuffy, and through the crack in the door he saw faint flashes of light on the floor. It looked like the flickering light from a television screen. This wasn’t the first time that...

  32. 31
    (pp. 161-167)

    Debbie ahonen looked up from her magazine and smiled.

    “You’re back,” she said.

    Lance went over to the counter, but when he opened his mouth to say hi, only a hoarse sound came out. He’d realized that the pain and swelling in his throat might make it hard for him to talk, but he’d got in the car to drive to Finland all the same. Again he opened his mouth and tried to say something, with no better results.

    “Got a cold?” asked Debbie.

    At first Lance shook his head, but then he nodded.

    “You should get some cough drops,”...

  33. 32
    (pp. 168-169)

    Lance turned on the light and got out of bed, but everything was as normal as it could be after someone had broken in and jammed a gun in his mouth. He opened the curtains just a crack. The only thing he saw outside was the light from his cousin’s hardware store and his own reflection against the dark. It was the same old face he’d put on a few hours ago, without a trace of the eighteen-year-old who had looked up at him from the yellowing newspaper page in the basement of the grocery store in Finland.

    You are...

  34. 33
    (pp. 170-178)

    When he came to, he found himself headed for the shoulder of the road. The car fishtailed as he yanked the steering wheel hard to the left, but after careening from one side of the lane to the other a few times, he finally regained control of the vehicle.

    His heart was beating fast, and he had a nervous, flickering feeling inside his chest. Sleep, or whatever it was, had come over him so unexpectedly. It couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of seconds, but that had almost been enough. Right now he needed to make his way as...

  35. 34
    (pp. 179-183)

    The waves of hunger reminded him of the Northern Lights. The feeling had some of that same trembling, electric movement about it, like when curtains of the phosphorescent green light rippled across the winter sky. But then the feeling was replaced by nausea, and he started to retch, without bringing anything up. He sat hunched in his chair, uttering long, drawn-out grunting sounds that hardly sounded human at all.

    When he stood up, the room spun halfway around on its own axis. He took a few short steps, trying to correct his orientation, and crashed right into the wall, but...

  36. 35
    (pp. 184-192)

    Fully dressed, he sat up in bed and listened. There was a sound in the room that he couldn’t place. Or was it coming from outside? A sound that made him think of rain. The floor lamp in the corner cast a sickly green glow over the bedcovers and floorboards. He went over to the window and opened the curtains. A faint gurgling of water was barely audible. That must be what had made him think of rain. Silently he glided across the vast deep. With each stroke of the paddle the darkness grew beneath him, the lake opened, and...

  37. 36
    (pp. 193-197)

    It took only a few seconds after Lance woke up for him to realize he’d been dreaming. He climbed out of bed and went into the home office, where he found a pen and paper and proceeded to write down everything he could remember, all the way up to Swamper Caribou’s last words:This is what you are looking for.

    His throat felt better, so he went into the kitchen to cook bacon and eggs. The smell caused him to produce an excessive amount of saliva that came pouring out of his mouth. He leaned over the sink, spitting, while...

  38. 37
    (pp. 198-203)

    In the three years since the divorce, he’d never once canceled a weekend with Jimmy, but now that everything around him was spinning out of control, he thought it best to keep a certain distance. On the phone he’d just told his son that he’d come down with a sore throat, but he was sure he’d be fine by next weekend. Now he was standing in the middle of the living room, thinking that he ought to be feeling guilty, but he didn’t. One of his first tasks, when this whole thing was over, would be to stop this habit...

  39. 38
    (pp. 204-205)

    That night he spent a long time just sitting and thinking. If Chrissy and Lenny Diver had had a relationship, that meant she was either the mystery woman that Diver claimed to have been with on the night of the murder, or else she was the girlfriend that he had been two-timing. If the first instance was true, she would have come forward long ago to give him an alibi, yet for some strange reason Diver hadn’t wanted to reveal her identity. But what if she was the jilted girlfriend? The Chrissy that Lance knew would have still done what...

  40. 39
    (pp. 206-212)

    Tammy opened the door, dressed in jeans and a faded T-shirt with a logo from an amusement park somewhere in Wisconsin. Lance hung up his jacket in the hall and followed her into the house.

    “Coffee?” she called over her shoulder.

    “Sounds good.”

    She disappeared into the kitchen while Lance stood in the middle of the living room and waited. A moment later she was back, carrying a tray with mugs, a pot of hot water, and instant coffee.

    “Go ahead and sit down,” she said. “Don’t be shy.”

    Lance sat down. In silence they mixed themselves some coffee.


  41. 40
    (pp. 213-224)

    The temperature had dropped, and along Fifth Avenue in Duluth, the colorful building facades glittered with ice crystals. He drove slowly past his childhood home, which used to be painted blue, but was now a pale yellow. Oddly enough it didn’t bother him that strangers now occupied the house. In fact, it made him happy to know that children lived there. That his old room was in use.

    This was the second time he’d driven past, yet when he came to the little flower shop at the end of the street, he turned around and drove back. He just wanted...

  42. 41
    (pp. 225-231)

    Inga hansen was buried on a February day when the temperature was below zero and the wind was blowing in off the lake.

    Lance stood with his hand on his son’s shoulder as he watched the coffin being lowered between the dark earthen walls that glittered with frost. Jimmy’s mother, who stood on the other side of the boy, had placed her glove-clad hand on the back of his neck. They looked like a family. The silent boy’s small body trembled, but Lance couldn’t tell if it was due to tears or the cold. Only a few yards away stood...

  43. 42
    (pp. 232-237)

    Just after dawn the next morning Lance drove down Baraga Cross Road and pulled into the empty parking lot. With a heavy sigh he got out, took his snowshoes out of the back, and put them on. Then he climbed over the high snowbank. Somewhere close by a few titmice cheeped, but he couldn’t see them in the birch forest. Otherwise the only sound was the distant, snow-muffled rushing of the traffic up on Highway 61. The path he’d taken on that summer morning was gone, and even wearing snowshoes his feet still sank a ways into the snow. Soon...

  44. 43
    (pp. 238-240)

    Something was moving under the ice. A shadow appeared right under his feet, as quick as a darting fish but bigger than a man. It lasted no more than a few seconds, then he lost sight of it, but the fear stayed with him. There was more than just water beneath him. He hesitated, took a couple of steps out. Or was it in? The ice rocked with each step. Then he saw it coming back. The shadow. It came racing toward him under the ice. At that instant the ice broke under his feet, and he fell through. Desperately...

  45. 44
    (pp. 241-243)

    Only when he sat up in bed did Lance realize he had a cold. He sneezed loudly and got up to go to the bathroom and blow his nose. As he sat on the toilet with his pajama pants around his ankles, a solitary thought came sailing in from the near oblivion of the previous day, effectively turning any rush of happiness to ashes.

    What if Andy was also cleaning up after somebody else?

    There was only one person his brother would be willing to do something like that for. Just as there was only one person Lenny Diver might...

  46. 45
    (pp. 244-248)

    Tammy’s hair looked newly washed, and she had on a black blouse that he didn’t remember seeing her wear before.

    “Thanks for coming,” she said. “You have to help me, Lance. If Lenny Diver gets off, my daughter is done for. It’s as simple as that. He has a hold on her, both because she’s in love with him and because he supplies her with whatever she wants.”

    Lance had completely forgotten the story he’d made up about how Diver might be acquitted because there wasn’t sufficient evidence against him. The truth was that he was already as good as...

  47. 46
    (pp. 249-251)

    A little less than an hour later Lance was opening the door to the Kozy Bar. After his conversation with Tammy, he had called Chrissy. She answered the phone with a leaden-sounding voice and had agreed to meet him without even asking why.

    As soon as his eyes adjusted to the murky underground light, he saw that she was sitting in the darkest corner, at the same table where he had sat when they met several weeks ago. The only other customer was a gaunt old man sitting at the bar, who barely raised his eyes when Lance asked for...

  48. 47
    (pp. 252-257)

    As he headed back north on Highway 61, Lance felt that this burden was too much to bear. Andy, yes. But not Chrissy. The girl had been the closest he’d come to having a child in the years before Jimmy was born. And she’d always had something inside her that pointed beyond where she came from. What exactly it pointed toward was not something he’d ever considered; he just knew it was there. Poetry, possibly, he thought now, recalling her enthusiasm at the poetry reading in Duluth. Maybe she wrote poetry, or she could be studying poems and writing about...

  49. 48
    (pp. 258-262)

    He sat on the bed, which was covered with a hotel-brown bedspread, and listened to the sound of water pouring over Debbie Ahonen’s naked body behind the bathroom door. He thought she’d been in the shower for an awfully long time and wondered whether it was because she dreaded coming back into the room. If that was the case, he could understand, because then it really would be just the two of them in the whole world. Aside from her jacket and cap, which hung next to Lance’s on the row of hooks next to the door, she hadn’t taken...

  50. 49
    (pp. 263-264)

    The next day they went into the gas station in Finland, where Richie Akkola himself was manning the counter.

    “You quit?” he said.

    “Yep,” replied Debbie.

    “How am I going to handle this place and the store at the same time?” Akkola grumbled.

    “I guess you’ll have to find a way,” she said.

    “So you’ve found yourself a new guy who can support you and your old mother. Is that right?”

    Lance swiftly took a step forward, but the counter blocked his way.

    “Well, you can have her,” Akkola went on. “Be my guest. Let me tell you what kind...

  51. 50
    (pp. 265-272)

    Lance paused in the entrance to the pub at Fitger’s Brewhouse and looked at Chrissy, who was sitting alone at a corner table with a glass of what looked like Coke in front of her. She was wearing her usual black Goth coat, leaning back in her chair with her arms hanging limply at her sides, her eyes fixed on the table. Her face had a pallid glow in the dim light.

    As Lance went inside, she looked up and caught sight of him.

    “Are you living here now, or what?” he said, sitting down.

    “Here?” asked Chrissy in surprise....

  52. 51
    (pp. 273-279)

    A flush quickly spread up Tammy’s throat when she saw who was standing on the front steps. The crimson didn’t reach her face, but stopped just below her ears and chin. Lance couldn’t help staring.

    “Can I come in?” he asked.

    She bit her lower lip, looking skeptical, then finally stepped aside to let him into the hallway.

    “Did you forget something here last time?”

    “You might say that,” replied Lance as he hung up his jacket.

    “Well, I’m still here,” said Tammy in a low voice, almost as if she didn’t want him to hear what she’d said. She...

  53. 52
    (pp. 280-281)

    She was sitting on the bed with his gun beside her.

    “Tammy,” said Lance.

    As she raised the gun with a trembling hand and pointed it at her temple, he saw that she had something wrapped around her wrist. It took a couple of seconds before he realized she’d kept her daughter’s bloody scarf.

    “Tammy,” he said again, taking a step into the room.

    “Don’t move,” she shouted, fear in her voice.

    Lance froze in midstride and stood still as they stared at each other. Aside from Tammy’s shallow breathing, there wasn’t a sound in the house.

    “I don’t trust...

    (pp. 282-283)

    On a saturday in late may, Lance Hansen parked his old Jeep Cherokee in the lot near Baraga’s Cross. Next to him sat Jimmy, holding the old dream catcher that Lance had been given by Willy Dupree.

    “Are you ready?” asked Lance.

    Jimmy nodded solemnly.

    Hand in hand they headed across the deserted parking lot. When they came to the path that led to the cross, they had to walk single file, and Lance let his son go first. Since Jimmy was holding the dream catcher out in front of him on the palms of his hands, he moved slowly...

  55. Back Matter
    (pp. 284-284)