Smoking Out The Foxes
“Einarsson?”, Elena queries. I think. There is a city in Sweden called Gränna; famous for its pictoresque streets, its charm, and the polkagris, a particular form of Swedish candy-canes. Einarsson smells like polkagris, a scent of forbidden treats and of ‘naughtyness’ if that makes sense. Could he be a necromancer? And how do I tell Elena that without… you know, revealing that there is an entire world she doesn’t know about?
“I don’t think it’s him” I say, a bit uncertain as to how phrase my doubts. “Why? He’s certainly big enough, and he’s a national champ in wrestling?”, Elena asks doggedly.
“I just don’t think it’s him.” She shrugs, and looks at the rest of the twenty-one suspects. The senior class of 2014 has a grand total of sixty-four students. Elena divided that number into thirty-one students by some arcane process she won’t tell me. We’ve managed to eliminate ten, leaving twenty-one. I have tried to tell her that it might be someone outside the senior class, but she won’t listen.
“And…”, I add. “Remember that time in ninth grade, when we had to cut open the cow-eye? I think Einarsson was one of the people that couldn’t do it.”
/How odd./ What?/ A troll afraid of blood. /When you say troll, please tell me that you mean the internet kind…?
Verde flashes me a picture. A piece of a mountain detaching, taking the vague, doughy shape of a man. Moss-covered skin. The creature jumps under a stone bridge and hums to itself, an ancient Swedish nursery-rhyme about how the food was well done.
“Rune?”, Elena thunders. I blink. “Yeah sorry, just had a thought. You were saying?” “I was saying”, Elena continues,” that you’re probably right. Next!”
I look at the Murderboard, and the next name. “Liam Parson. And it ain’t him.” “What makes you say that?”, Elena challenges. “The letters? Duuh”, I answer.
The letters I am talking about is a new thing the police had found. Somebody leaked the information; that before Kajsa Gran died, somebody sent her several letters, the content of which made her kill herself. That’s horrifying. Subtle. It’s the hallmark of someone incredibly callous.
“You’re right”, Elena remarks.” Liam is about as clever as a very unsharpened axe”, she recounts, a bit mean-spirited if you ask me. She waves me on.
“Inger Farhamn” I drone. “Inger could’ve done it. She plays chess with Hannah all the time, even wins occassionally and Hannah is atleast twice as smart as us”, Elena offers. “More like thrice. She’s got the smarts alright”, I concede. “But does she have motive?”, I continue to ask. “I can’t remember if there ever was a rumor about her and Tregaro…. but she respected Sihle, and feared Gran like any smart girl in the senior year”, Elena muses. “No, it wasn’t her either”, Elena decides.
“Next!” “Ludvig Stark”, I read. “Ludvig Stark was bullied by Tregaro. And I think I heard Kajsa refer to him as that cosplaying freak” Elena voices out loud, with great confidence. “You heard her say that how many times now? And I want an example of one person Tregaro hasn’t wronged”, I complain. “And is he smart enough? I’ll give you that he has motive, but he lacks the ability, the physical strength”, I determine. “Alright then”, Elena asserts, “he isn’t the one.”
I read the next name without being prompted, ” Juha Lainen. ” We look at each other simultaneously. “Nope”, we both say, at the same time. Juha is one of those people that simply don’t care. Care about grades, looks, what other people think. I don’t think he could summon the emotion to hate someone to that degree, ever.
“Lovisa Nord”, I mention. “Smart enough. I think she was one Tregaro’s flings at one point. And if Gran was the queen of Ochre, then Lovisa would be the princess and- “She possesses motive, but she doesn’t really have much in terms of upper body, not discounting her ample bosoms”, I retort. “Bosoms? Really Rune?”, Elena japes. “But”, she continues,” it’s true that she is kinda frail. She almost failed P.E. in her sophomore year.” Elena makes a pistol with her fist, and shoots me.
I sigh. This isn’t going to tally out. The necromancer is making the barrowman do the killing. Using the conventional equation of motive+ability+alibi without the extra senses of a supernatural is going to be close to impossible.
“Henrik Lorsin.” I take out my phone, and I check his Facebook page on a hunch. Elena is jumping and reiterating all the reasons why he is the killer. “You’re wrong”, I interrupt her. “He was in Armenia when Tregaro died.” Elena staggers. “And more, he moved here when he was thirteen. I don’t think that’s enough time to cultivate neither the kind of hatred that the killer shared for Tregaro or the kind of dirt that allowed the killer to.. orchestrate Kajsa’s suicide.” That’s the deathstroke to Elena’s tirade. “Next!”
“Malin Sif”, I affirm. Elena frowns. “Hmm, why did I include her? She shouldn’t have been included.” I think of Malin Sif. Her scent… it doesn’t really have description, except that it’s sharp. Clear; like the air on high altitudes. /She is descended from one of Odin’s original daughters. Valkeries./ Could she have done it?/ Valkeries have some abilities over death, but they don’t force the dead walk against their will./ I make a note of it. “Next”, Elena demands.
“Ove Ugård”, I say quietly. I give Elena a harsh look, that quells whatever she is going to say. Why did she even add him to the list? Ove Ugård… is not right, not right in the head. He is this short guy who slobbers when he eats, doesn’t say much, except when he explodes, which is often the result of protracted teasing. From my own diagnosis, I think he has autism, or something similar. Unless Ove has a twin or an alternative personality, he won’t be the killer. I am appalled that she included him.
“Alexander Riviera”, I recite . Riviera smells like magic and chicken blood. /Candomblé./Can what?/ Candomblé– Brazilian sorcery, that’s what he smells like./ “Alexander is an avid ping-pong player; that means he has the strength. He is a longtime resident of Fallowfell, and a member of Student Council who was also an acquaintance of Kajsa. I’d say that he is the murderer in a heartbeat if I only had a motive”, Elena summarizes. “I have never met him”, l tease. She shrugs. “He was a friend of Sihle, an old ex-boyfriend of Gran and he used to be friends with Tregaro before they had an argument of some sort… but he was on a friendly basis with them all.” “Let’s put him in the top three?” I wonder. Elena nods.
“Fumi Naroshiki”, I quip. “Fumi was one of those girls that woke up naked at a Tregaran party, she and Sihle were mortal enemies for some reason, and because Sihle didn’t like her, so followed Kajsa, by default. That’s the motive, but she isn’t clever enough to orchestrate a suicide and….” Elena trails off. “And there is the fact that a tree-stump is taller than she is, making her an unlikely suspect in an dismembering-case?”, I say when Elena doesn’t finish her sentence. “I wish you’d gotten a better look at the killer”, she answers. “I got a good enough look that I can say this; unless Naroshiki grew about twenty-five centimeters, she isn’t the killer.”
Something I have said must have struck Elena, because she takes the Murderboard from me, and begins to erase names. “I should have thought about that. Height. Height!!” She hands me the Murderboard, where three names are left.
“Joakim Garzin” I voice out loud. Garzin is a supernatural and he is loud, and that is about the only things I know about him. Elena would know more… she has a certain history with him.”Garzin”, Elena says, then falters. She turns to me. “Could it really be him?” Jocke-dearest and Elena were hot and heavy until Elena met Lina, Elena’s previous girlfriend. I mull on the question. Joakim have friends everywhere. On the police-force. City-hall. Student Council. He was friends with the three dead. He’s the kind of guy that have friends, but not friends, you know? /Verde, could he be the necromancer?/ I feel Verde sift through my memories of his scent, which is leathery and sandy. /This Joakim is a gnoll. They don’t simply have the kind of magic for reviving the dead./ Thanks. I give Elena a smile that I’d like to think is reassuring. “No, I don’t think it’s him. Let’s see who is the next…”
“Maja Hazin”, Elena answers for me. “Maja is the right height. She is a member of the Student Council. She and Kajsa fought atleast two times about prospective boyfriends. She hated Tregaro and here is the thing; Maja is a known bodybuilder.” I don’t have any objections. “Put her in the top three?” “Yeah.”
“And last…”, I say, “… but not the least”, Elena concludes,” is Friedrich Lugers. Let’s face it. Friedrich can bend a bar of iron with his mouth, he once kicked Tregaro’s ass nine ways to Sunday, and he was together with Sihle for three years, before they had a falling out. He fits the bill, and I say we put him in the top three.” “I agree.”
I recount: in the top three we’ve got Alexander Riviera, Maja Hazin and Friedrich Lugers. I shake my head. Elena has good cause for believing them to be the murderers, but she doesn’t have the whole picture, which makes her analysis flawed.
This has been a big waste of time. /Not neccessarily./ How so?/ You needn’t care about physical ability; your suspicion is that one of the seniors is the necromancer, correct?/ Yea./ So now you have have a list. Let the hunt begin!/
I smile to myself. I might not be able to fight the barrowman as an equal, but if I ferret out the identity of the necromancer, I won’t need to. And some of these people are supernaturals, so I reckon that either way, I am going to be learning something….