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Authors: Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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Someone to Watch Over Me

BOOK: Someone to Watch Over Me
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Table of Contents

Also by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

About the Author

About the Translator

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Preface: Saturday,
8
November
2008

Chapter
1
: Monday,
4
January
2010

Chapter
2
: Wednesday,
6
January
2010

Chapter
3
: Wednesday,
6
January
2010

Chapter
4
: Wednesday,
6
January
2010

Chapter
5
: Thursday,
7
January
2010

Chapter
6
: Friday,
8
January
2010

Chapter
7
: Friday,
8
January
2010

Chapter
8
: Friday,
8
January
2010

Chapter
9
: Saturday,
9
January
2010

Chapter
10
: Sunday,
10
January
2010

Chapter
11
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
12
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
13
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
14
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
15
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
16
: Monday,
11
January
2010

Chapter
17
: Tuesday,
12
January
2010

Chapter
18
: Wednesday,
13
January
2010

Chapter
19
: Thursday,
14
January
2010

Chapter
20
: Friday,
15
January
2010

Chapter
21
: Saturday,
16
January
2010

Chapter
22
: Sunday,
17
January
2010

Chapter
23
: Sunday,
17
January
2010

Chapter
24
: Monday,
18
January
2010

Chapter
25
: Monday,
18
January
2010

Chapter
26
: Monday,
18
January
2010

Chapter
27
: Monday,
18
January
2010

Chapter
28
: Monday,
18
January
2010

Chapter
29
: Tuesday,
19
January
2010

Chapter
30
: Tuesday,
19
January
2010

Chapter
31
: Wednesday,
20
January
2010

Chapter
32
: Wednesday,
20
January
2010

Chapter
33
: Wednesday,
20
January
2010

Chapter
34
: Thursday,
21
January
2010

Chapter
35
: Friday,
22
January
2010

Chapter
36
: Saturday,
23
January
2010

Chapter
37
: Tuesday,
9
March
2010

Also by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Last Rituals

My Soul to Take

Ashes to Dust

The Day is Dark

I Remember You

About the Author

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir works as a civil engineer in Reykjavik. Her books for children have won prizes and great acclaim.
Someone to Watch Over Me
is her sixth adult novel.

About the Translator

Philip Roughton is a highly respected translator of Icelandic literature, having translated works by the Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness, among others. He lives in Reykjavik.

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME
Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
Translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton

www.hodder.co.uk

First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Hodder & Stoughton

An Hachette UK company

Copyright © Yrsa Sigurdardóttir 2013

English translation © Philip Roughton 2013

The right of Yrsa Sigurdardóttir to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

eBook ISBN 978 1 444 73443 0

Trade paperback ISBN 978 1 444 73442 3

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

www.hodder.co.uk

This novel is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother,

Vilborg G. Guðjónsdóttir

(
4
November
1909

24
July
1982
).

—Yrsa

Preface
Saturday,
8
November
2008

The cat was keeping a low profile, concealing itself in the darkness behind the dense but leafless bushes. It crouched there, motionless, the only movement its yellow eyes flickering back and forth; its defences were up against whatever else shared the night. The humans who used to feed it had long since forgotten it, and the cat knew there were things hidden in the dark that didn’t come out in daylight. It always made itself invisible as the hush of night descended, when people let down their guard as the shadows either vanished or took over, depending on your point of view. The cat still hadn’t made up its mind which it was, and it didn’t care: it liked this time of day, even though its hackles rose from time to time in anticipation of the unexpected, of whatever bad thing was just around the corner. Everything that hated the light was now set free; the dark corners merged with their surroundings, all around was darkness and solitude.

A dull cracking sound made the cat flex its claws into the damp, cold soil. It couldn’t see anything but still it resisted drawing attention to itself, breathing more shallowly and pressing its scrawny body as flat to the ground as possible. The cold air, which moments before had felt so refreshing after a day sleeping on the sofa, became oppressive, and each inhalation left an unpleasant flavour on the creature’s rough tongue. Inadvertently, it hissed low in its throat, and frantically tensed itself to spring away from the terrible thing that was there somewhere but invisible, like the owners of the voices on the radio of the people it shared the house with. Suddenly the cat turned, darted out from under the bushes and ran as fast as its feet could carry it, away from the house.

Berglind sat up in bed, wide awake. When she woke in the middle of the night it usually happened gradually, while she tossed and turned in search of the perfect sleeping position. But this time she’d seemed to jolt awake from a deep sleep, feeling as if she hadn’t slept at all. It was completely dark in the master bedroom and outside was a pitch-black, starless sky. The illuminated hands on the alarm clock revealed that it was just gone three thirty. Had she been woken by crying from the child’s room? Berglind listened carefully, but heard only the low ticking of the alarm clock and her husband’s heavy breathing.

Berglind pushed back the duvet, taking care not to wake Halli. He’d had enough to put up with these past few months and the last thing she wanted was to disturb him. Although the holy men seemed to have done their job well, she didn’t dare to hope the matter was settled so soon after their visit. But she couldn’t express that to her husband, or to anyone else, in case people thought she was doing it for attention and ended up doubting her word – or rather, doubting it even more – over what had happened recently. Even Halli, who had experienced it all with her, had tried to find rational explanations, but most of them were so unlikely as to be ridiculous. He had never fully accepted her theories, although over time he stopped objecting to them, since nothing else seemed possible as the strange events kept multiplying. Still, it was to Halli’s credit that he had held back and tried his best to support her, despite the cracks that had formed in the foundations of their marriage. They weren’t on the home straight yet; their problems were far from over, although at least one of their biggest issues seemed to be behind them now. At work Halli’s hours had been cut back and seemed unlikely to be reinstated, and although Berglind’s job as a civil servant was supposedly secure there were financial issues there, too. Who knew, perhaps she would be next to suffer from the cutbacks.

Berglind’s eyes adjusted quickly to the darkness and she got out of bed carefully. There was no point lying back down yet. She would have a glass of water and check Pési was sound asleep; hopefully then she would be tired again. Otherwise she would play a couple of hands of solitaire on the computer or surf the Internet until her eyelids started drooping. Long ago she’d mastered the art of distracting herself with pointless and repetitive tasks in order to restore her peace of mind. Otherwise she would never have been able to stay in the house so long. Berglind shut the bedroom door behind her, trying not to let the hinges creak. They had been planning to replace all the doors when they bought the house, but they’d never got round to it. The hallway was cold as ice; the chilly tiles made the soles of her feet tingle and she regretted not having stopped to look for her slippers. In her heart she knew she never would have; it would be a long time before she could bring herself to poke around in the darkness under the bed. Hopefully it would happen. No, not
hopefully
, it
had
to. Otherwise she would lose her mind.

The water in the kitchen tap was lukewarm so she let it run for a while as she stared out at the familiar street and the houses opposite. The road was shrouded in darkness, although it looked like someone had forgotten to turn off the light in the garage directly opposite. Presumably a window had been left open as well, because a bare light bulb swung there slowly, as if in a gentle breeze. Otherwise the row of houses was dark. The yellowish gleam from the streetlight did not spread to the front gardens, but died out at the edge of the pavement where the shadows took over. Berglind looked downhill, across rooftops, ignoring the running water as she let her eyes wander along to where Vesturlandsvegur Road turned up towards the suburb of Kjalarnes. She let go of the tap and rubbed the goose bumps on her upper arm. A car drove along the main road and she thought she could hear its engine whine as it splashed through the rain-filled tyre ruts. Had they been there since the accident? The weather hadn’t been like this, that night. The road was in need of repair, but it wouldn’t happen any time soon. Berglind dragged her gaze away from the window and stuck a glass under the stream of water.

BOOK: Someone to Watch Over Me
11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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