No one had heard or seen her after she had passed the greenhouses, no one from Venhaug. People living at the place who were away because it was Sunday could so definitely account for their activities and had such undeniable alibis that no one among them could be suspected. Everything ended with a furrow in the snow, a few spots of blood in the furrow, and bubbling water in a black hole in the snow that covered the frozen Numedal River.
The one she had met had perhaps known she would come, and had perhaps been familiar with the hole in the stream. That was all.
Toward morning, shortly before six, Julie and Erling were sitting in [p. 330] the dark in the living room. They heard steps upstairs and listened. It must be Jan emerging from his room. They heard him switch on the lights as he approached. Suddenly Julie and Erling too sat in the strong light. Jan walked into the room without seeing them. He had a bottle in his hand and put it beside the chair where he slumped down. He looked up at the enlarged photographs of Harald and Bjørn whom the Germans had murdered. Julie and Erling could not see his face. A few times he drank from the bottle. After perhaps a quarter of an hour he rose and kicked over the bottle; with the sound of a faintly purling brook the contents emptied on the floor, spreading an odor of cognac through the room. Then Jan said, in a low, clear voice: "She avenged you."
Returning to his room he switched off the lights, one after another. The house was again dark. Erling reached over and turned on the reading lamp. He looked at Julie, who clung to him, one arm firmly round his neck. Her face was distorted from weeping. From the corner of the house the man with the police dog looked at them, expressionless. Erling turned off the light again and mumbled to Julie, "Jan promised them he would avenge her. That means he is going to live."
Julie sobbed. "What about you, then, Erling?"
"I don't know."
Copyright © 1958 by H. Aschehoug & Co., Oslo, Norway. Used by permission. English translation copyright © 1966 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.
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