Free Fire by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg

Book: Fire by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg
through some papers in front of her. ‘But if not, how am I going to learn your names? Answer me that, eh … Kevin?’
    Viktor opens his brown leather satchel and lines up notebook, propelling pencil and rubber on the desktop. Shifts the rubber along a few millimetres. Fascinated, Minoo observes him out of the corner of an eye.
    Even at close proximity he might have come straight out of an advertisement. He is fully dressed but shows not the slightest sign of sweating. He doesn’t even smell. Not of sweat, not of perfume, nothing. As if there were no human body inside his clothes. Minoo suddenly feels acutely aware of being moist and sticky all over.
    Viktor, finally satisfied with his little desktop arrangement, turns to her.
    ‘It seems like we’ll have to put up with each other for a while,’ he says.
    There might have been a hint of a smile around the corners of his mouth, but the impression fades so quickly she thinks it must have been her imagination. Then Viktor turns to Ylva once more and seems to pay attention.
    The bell rings for the break. Anna-Karin sees Minoo rise and hurries to catch up with her.
    ‘Do you have time to talk?’ Anna-Karin asks quietly.
    Minoo nods and glances meaningfully towards the staircase up to the top floor.
    They start walking without looking at each other, pretending not to be going to the same place. It is hard to get rid of last year’s fear that they might give themselves away to the demons.
    Anna-Karin sneaks a sideways glance at Minoo. She asks herself if they are friends now, after all they have been through together, all they have been made to reveal to each other. Or is it simply fate that has forced them into each other’s company? Made them some kind of …colleagues in the struggle against the apocalypse?
    New messages have been scribbled all over the door to the toilet. Pupils still make a pilgrimage to this place in order to write messages for Elias and Rebecka, or just to make some general point by leaving their marks. But the toilet is hardly ever used. Rumour has it that the place is haunted.
    As Anna-Karin opens the door, her eye is caught by a couple of lines written in round letters.
    Anna-Karin steps inside and checks the cubicles.
    ‘No one here,’ she says. ‘Except us, that is.’
    Her voice echoes against the tiled walls. Minoo doesn’t reply. She stands silently, looking at the window. Then at the washbasins. Along the wall where the mirrors used to be. The screw-holes in the tiles are still there.
    ‘How are things?’ Anna-Karin asks.
    ‘All right. It just feels strange to be here. What did you want to talk about?’ she says, fixing her eyes on Anna-Karin.
    It’s her laser-beam gaze that looks capable of cutting through stone and steel. Anna-Karin clears her throat.
    ‘The forest,’ she manages to say. ‘It’s dying.’
    Minoo looks confused.
    ‘But not because of the drought,’ Anna-Karin continues. ‘Something else is going on. Something is wrong.’
    ‘What do you mean?’
    Anna-Karin feels frustrated. She wants to make Minoo understand. But how to go about it, since she herself hardly understands? She starts over again.
    ‘Something is going wrong with the forest and it might have to do with the dry hot weather, of course. But what if it is the other way round? What I’m trying to say is, could it be that the bad things happening to the forest are also causing the drought?’
    Anna-Karin tries to interpret the look on Minoo’s face. Pitying? Thoughtful? Irritated?
    ‘All I thought was … well, that it might be worth thinking about,’ Anna-Karin says. ‘You know how everyone is talking about the unnatural heat … what if it really is unnatural? Like, supernatural?’
    She shrugs, looks away. Regrets that she started on all this. ‘Forget it,’ she says.
    ‘No, don’t say that, it’s fine,’ Minoo replies. ‘We know nothing about what the demons are planning. We must be alert to

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