Okay hold our horses here.
It might be nothing.
Loads of people have viking tattoos. My ex was going to get one for goodness’ sake. That’s how basic they are.
They’re not quite as ubiquitous as those Chinese symbols that everybody on earth got in the late 90s/early 2000s and probably half of them say “chicken chow mein.”
I had a client once, years ago, training for a Tough Mudder. He had this absolutely gorgeous tattoo all the way down the inside of his right forearm. Asian characters, and so beautifully lettered, a real work of art. Except he got it while he was drunk at a Full Moon Party in Thailand and it turns out it actually says “this guy is an idiot”
That… really isn’t relevant right now.
Okay, let’s think about this.
So what if it’s not a coincidence. What if she has that tattoo because she is from Åke’s time, was maybe even part of his crew. What would that mean?
It would mean there are a lot more of us than I thought.
It would mean there are a lot more of them than I thought.
It would mean they know each other. That day, way back months ago, when Solveig talked to him at the identity parade, it would mean that she knew fine who he was and what they were saying.
It would mean she knows why I disappeared for a year.
It would mean she knows fine who attacked me.
Is that why she is a detective? Is she undercover somehow to protect her pals when they go for a spot of human sacrifice?
But how did she become a detective? I’m fairly sure you don’t just stroll into your nearest police station and ask for a job. She must have done some kind of training, or faked it amazingly well. She must have got hold of I.D., maybe a degree – where would she get that from?
Wee Jim Reid did a passport and stuff for Nate no questions asked because Granny asked him, and he’s known her donkey’s years. There’s definitely scammers who’ll take cash off anybody, but the really good ones, the ones who can come up with I.D.s and stuff that would pass muster even to the police themselves, they won’t do stuff for just anybody. That’s how they get so good – they don’t get caught.
And she must have been around now much longer than Åke and Nate and me. And that means that the time vortex thingmy spits us out regularly. Åke isn’t much for keeping time, but we worked out that Nate rocked up a couple of weeks before I did. Mila couldn’t have just been in that job two weeks – or less, as she’d have to have figured everything out, decided she needed to be in the police, sorted out some papers – when she first interviewed me.
And learned fluent English.
When she couldn’t read. I read once somewhere that learning a new language as an adult is twenty times harder if you can’t read it. The article was about how dyslexic people struggle to learn languages, but I imagine the same principle would apply to people who hail from the dark ages and didn’t exactly get their ABCs at school.
Except she’s obviously learned to read. There’s no way she could manage as a police officer covering up that she can’t read or write notes and statements and reports. So she must have been around for months, more likely years.
Or am I just spinning out because she fancies herself a Nordic goddess so thought it would be a laugh to get a rune tattooed on her wrist?
But all that makeup she wears. It could be to cover scars and markings that would raise too many questions. I’ve noticed that Åke’s scars aren’t all gruesome battle ones, he’s covered in totey wee nicks and scrapes and burns. I suppose a time without safety razors and splashguards and knee pads, not to mention sleeping rough, isn’t exactly ideal for baby smooth skin.
Those scars don’t heal, by the way. After my wee night of being murdered twice, I checked myself over in the bath and the scar I have on my knee for going flying when I tripped over a rock on Ben Kilbreck years ago is still there, as is the one on my shin I got – and yes I do hate to admit this – inept leg shaving when I was about eleven. Poor Granny came in and found me just about swimming in blood because it never occurred to me to wet my legs much less use shaving cream. So it’s like our bodies get frozen at the moment we… pass through the time vortex thingmy.
I haven’t had to clip my nails once since I’ve been back. I wonder what would happen if I tried to cut my hair. Would it grow back instantly?
I don’t think I want to try. The very thought gives me the heebie jeebies.
I have to find out and I don’t know how.
Do I risk approaching her? Is there any way I can ask what I need to without her having me carted away by the men in white coats if I’m wrong? Or losing the nut and draining me from a tree if I’m right, for that matter.
I just went to the window and looked out, this absurd notion in my head that I was going to see a rabble of vikings rampaging up the road. Or Mila scaling the front wall to break into my second floor flat through the living room windae.
Which is daft.
Even if she’s a viking, she’s not Spiderwoman.
I need to find out more.
I need to find Åke.
Okay. I’ve just packed my backpack and my camping gear and my paddleboard. I need to head back to where all this started.
I’ll update you when I can.