It was a fine morning, as usual. The sun was still low enough not causethe usual blistering Arizona heat. Hanne checked her mirror. All she saw was New Flagstaff disappearing into the distance, fainlty obscured by the dust from Hanne’s car as it rumbled South toward Hope.
She yawned, in all truth it had been a sleepless night, or restless at least. Any REM sleep was disturbed by dark visions of figures creeping in unlit streets which evaporated every time Hanne stopped to look around. Streets that echoed with the sound of female screams, child screams. That all pervading malevolent something close behind. A mean oppressive something.
Several times she jolted herself awake as she felt the something strike. Her dreaming self confidence drained, because you can’t hit out and strike something that isn’t there when you look.
Hanne reached into a compartment on the car dashboard, popped a couple of gaurana pills. She needed to be sharp. Always needed to be sharp, but more so today. She felt as if a black Raven was sitting on her shoulder pecking at her, cawing warnings into her left ear. This case was different, personal.
She tried to drive the personal motivations away and replace them with her usual cool professionalism. It was not working.
It was not long before she made the left turn and swung the car into Hope Springs. How long since the last time here? Ages.
She looked around as she drove into town noting the changes. Certainly more people around and certainly less of them armed. More signs of commerce also. On the roadside here and there a few stalls has sprung up selling vegetables, clothes, even some fresh meats. The trade seemed brisk enough
Hanne’s car rumbled past The Waffelhus. She noted the pink and red auto parked to the right of the diner. Presumably the architect of the new and improved Hope Springs was inside. The Mayor. Miss Hyle Troy. She made a mental note to call by for a coffe and maybe even a waffle. But after she had visited the clinic. And ‘Doctor’ Tukiko Troy. My word how things change. The scrawny barefoot teenager now running her own practice.
Hanne pulled over and parked outside The Clinic. She stood for a while regarding the clean freshly painted walls and windows. Still a work in progress but judging by the oriental looking chap on the roof working away with a roll of felt, But what a difference.
She stepped inside and approached the receptionist. ‘Maisie’ according to her name badge. Hanne requested some time with The Doctor. Fortunately it was a slack morning and it was possible to be seen fairly soon.
As she sat waiting, the took in more details. The pervading smell of disinfectant, the spotless floor. Parked here and there a few medical machines including an incubator and most surprisingly a Defibrillator. A lot of money had been thrown at this place.
“But fairly unsurprising when you Momma’s the Mayor” Hanne muttered under her breath.
She looked along the row of chairs at the few other visitors. The usual, coughing old ladies, a mother bouncing an apprehensive small child on her knees. It all felt so.. civilised.
Just over an hour later Hanne had what she came for. A negative pregnancy test, which was a forgone conclusion in all reality. Hanne could not remember the last time she got laid. But more importantly, Tuki had not seen Silja at all for at least a month. Which reinforced the question.
“Where does Silja go in her free time?”
Hanne was so preoccupied with the vexing puzzle that she drive clear past The Waffelhus. She needed to get back to the office as soon as she could.